Nina joined our family just over five weeks ago and from day one she has surpassed every expectation.
The first night she endeared herself to both of us by draping her paw over my foot and at the same time lying close to John while he watched TV. Later she settled on her bed in the hall outside our bedroom and we didn’t hear a peep out of her all night however it was a joy to open the door the next morning and be enthusiastically greeted by her with her fast wagging tail.
Assistance Dogs Australia staff could not have chosen a more suitable dog for us. She is gentle, calm and quietly responsive but lively when we encourage her to play games and react with us.
As John so elegantly wrote in his diary “She is the opposite of an encumbrance; she is a delight. Nina is such an adorable dog, it is a real pleasure to have her”.
I walk with her at a brisk pace every morning and either John or the both of us take her for another walk later in the day. She travels happily in the car and is equally comfortable on the tram or train. We all enjoy our walks by the bay.
Nina has been welcomed at local cafes and restaurants and we have not altered our daily coffee routine.
It is lovely to see Nina sitting by John’s side while he reads or watches TV and I have felt comfortable leaving them home for short periods while I walk to the nearby shops.
We are looking forward to the December completion of the park next to the railway station ( renamed Nina’s Park by us ) and the three of us can see ourselves being frequent visitors.
Nina accompanies us to the gym and waits with John in the lounge or coffee shop while I am at classes. She has attended medical and hairdressing appointments and her behaviour has always been impeccable. She attracts much attention and we are becoming more practised at deflecting too much interaction from admirers.
Nina is a focus for much happiness in our household. All members of our family are besotted with her and call frequently to see her ( and us! ) We share many photos of her with friends and family and still the requests come in for more photos and updates. We have successfully introduced Raffy, our grandchildren’s dog, to Nina and since we live in the same street it is fun to see them interacting with one another.
Our training provided by Assistance Dogs Australia staff has been productive and we make sure we practice and reinforce what we have been taught. Our grand-daughter revels in participating in the training and has successfully taught Nina the command “visit ” where she places her head on John’s lap , stares into his eyes and enthusiastically wags her tail.
John and I feel privileged and very lucky to have received such a magnificent dog and we are looking forward to reaping even more benefits from having her as we explore the possibilities and implement more of her helpful skills.
We have not regretted for a moment our decision to participate in the program as everything so far has been absolutely positive.
Maybe a minor qualification is warranted ……the vacuum cleaner is getting a workout coping with the dog hair. We have agreed it is a small price to pay
The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.