Meeting Tracy: the “I Save Benjamin’s Life” dog

The second full day was very full, with classes on reviewing commands, redirecting and succeeding with a dog, pack leadership, and really interesting stuff on understanding air flow and how to search to maximize the dog’s sniffing capabilities.  But, on reflection, all that seems overwhelmed by the culminating event at the end of the day (at 7:30ish), when Benjamin met Tracy for the first time. The first meeting was a little teary for several of us – and unbelievably full of energy for a 13 year old boy who had been waiting so long for this dog and for a dog meeting a new friend, with lots of other dogs and people around, too. They are both in the other room now, sleeping next to each other, after Benjamin walked her, played with her, gave her commands, fed her, and worked on the basics of bonding.

What’s obvious even at first reflection is that Tracy is highly trained and will do her jobs well – even though we’ve only seen some basic obedience commands right now.  What’s also obvious is why we’re here: Tracy and Benjamin need to bond and grow in trust with each other, and Benjamin (and the rest of us) need to be trained so that we can handle Tracy properly and maintain her.

Did Tracy pull him and get distracted when he took the leash and walked her? Yes. Was he able to redirect her all the time yet? No. Did she look to her trainer at times rather than Benjamin for commands? Yes, but not always.  Did Tracy and Benjamin already start understanding their commands and rapport better together, such that he could give her a sit/stay or down/stay command and then walk away and do some other things before releasing her? Yes.  And that’s good.

I didn’t ever take Tracy’s leash today, and I barely even got a chance to touch her.  But we don’t want her to think I’m the main one in charge of her.  She’ll need to obey me, but this is Benjamin’s dog. We’re all still figuring out what that means — but one thing the trainers expect is inscribed on a new collar they gave as a gift when he received the dog: The collar reads —  “Tracy: I Save Benjamin’s Life.”

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2 Comments

  1. Another tear jerking post in a good way. Seeing Tracy and Benjamin together anyone can see she is his dog and he is doing great being her leader. I read in a quote once that man is dogs god.Tracy looks to Benjamin like that and you can tell by how content and happy she is by his side.

    Reply
  2. Tina Houck

     /  July 24, 2012

    Thank you so much for blogging about these wonderful experiences. I am learning so much! I look forward to meeting Tracy soon!
    ~Tina Houck

    Reply

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