By Debbie Bauer
I am over-the-moon proud of my boy Vinny this month! He and I were away from home for three weeks this month, visiting new places, doing new things, and he took it all in stride. We had a blast! It was, of course, so hard to leave the other dogs for that long. Both Vinny and I missed them so much! And this was the first long trip that I did not bring Treasure on since she came to live with me 8 years ago. It was hard to leave her behind. It is hard for my heart to accept that she is retired now and would rather stay closer to home.
We stayed at two different hotels and a friend’s home while we traveled, so there were many new environments for Vinny to adjust to. With each new space, he threw himself into exploring. It is fascinating to watch him mapping out a new space. He walks the same path many times, and then from different directions and he expands upon that path each time, adding a bit more to the map each time he makes a pass through. He bumps into some things, but then quickly remembers where they are. He learns a map of the outside too – from each new door to the elevator, to the door, to the potty area outside, or up and down steps, and he learns the map back to his door at the hotel.
I was honored to assist once again at a TTouch training with Linda Tellington-Jones. This was Vinny’s first time. He had fun meeting new friends, moving through the Playground of Higher Learning, and even doing an interview! You can see his resting space in the background of the picture.
Elements of the Playground of Higher Learning, such as the labyrinth above, are meant to help a dog learn to move in balance, starting and stopping mindfully. Moving through the Playground with its person gives both of them a focus, and can change behavior drastically and permanently by allowing both to experience new awareness.
When we weren’t in class, Vinny and I enjoyed getting to know my roommate’s new puppy Star. What a cutie! The two dogs had way too much fun together, while Rose and I always seemed exhausted trying to keep them occupied and exercised while on the road away from home!
And, of course, all the excitement makes for sweet dreams! I’m so very proud of the partner Vinny has become in such a short time already. Treasure certainly taught him everything she knows and prepared him so well to step into his role as ambassador, educator, and friend. I couldn’t wish for anything more! I do think we are both happy to be home for a little while, though!