Toki enjoyed her first Christmas with us on Friday. She seemed quite nervous and unsure of what was going on in the morning when we woke up to open our gifts. I managed to snap a shot of her in front of her adorable stocking before she got into it. She got a new fuzzy pink sweater with teddy bear ears on the hood, one of her favourite treats and a grumpy bear toy. She had a great time opening her gifts and watching the rest of the family with our gifts.
We spent the rest of the day out visiting family and she was well behaved the whole time. Everyone commented on what a good little dog she was and were surprised that she did not beg for food when dinner time came.
I am looking forward to many more Christmas’ to come with my little girl and I know she is looking forward to them as well.
The other day I bought some cute Christmas fabric while shopping and thought it would make something cute. I needed something to do today and decided to sit down and make an adorable bandana for Toki to wear during the holidays. It was pretty simple and I think next time I will make adjustments so it sits better on her neck but other than that I think it turned out pretty cute and festive. I am hoping to make her some more to wear everyday while working.
A routine is something that has been recommended in my group therapy to help with stress and my mood disorder. I never realised how much of a difference it makes in my daily mood, it’s nice to know what I am going to do with my day.
Toki and I have been going to the park everyday now (when the weather permits) to get in some sun. I also make it a challenge to say ‘hello’ to every person who walks by us. Toki is getting her daily exercise and is also learning to be more social with the other dogs. She has met so many dogs on our walks and is less nervous than she used to be around them.
I have also been put into an acupuncture group through the hospital and I go with Toki every Monday. It seems to be helping with my mood and I also look forward to having something to do on Mondays. Toki likes to sit on the floor and sleep while listening to the relaxing music that is on. Everyone in my group always comments on how quiet and well behaved she is.
I am looking forward to our next trip to the park and coming up with other things to do during the day.
This is a question I get a lot with Toki and usually I reply with “Yes, she is.” It seems the public believes that only dogs coming from organizations are “actual” Service Dogs. I am here to put that myth to rest and let everyone know that any dog can be a trained Service Dog no matter what the size or breed.
All breeds can be trained to be a Service Dog if the dog fits the right demeanour. Just because a certain breed has a bad reputation does not deem them unfit to work or define their ability to perform in public. Toki looks a lot like a Jack Russell so people automatically assume she is a hyper mess. Well not all Jack Russells are crazy when trained properly and Toki is not even a Jack Russell; she is a Rat Terrier. She is a dream to train as Rattie’s are very trainable and she also has a very docile personality which was perfect for myself as her handler and trainer. She has been trained in obedience and the services she provides me with. Small dogs are usually used for tasks that do not assist with mobility or standing. This is because they are low to the ground and require the handler’s ability to crouch down to them. Toki is not used to assist me with my mobility so being small is not an issue for myself. She can still jump up if she is needed and I can get close to her when I need to.
On numerous occasions I have been asked if Toki is a “real Service Dog” and i have always been so confused as to what a “real Service Dog” was. Toki is a “Service Dog” so I am unsure what people are defining as “real”. I would never ask anyone with a medical device if it was real and it is actually quite rude to ask. It does get very annoying to have to explain to people she is a trained Service Dog and that Service Dogs do not have to come from a special organization. Toki is used to assist me and what she does for myself is really no one’s business. She is used to help me with my daily living and that is all you need to assume when you see us.
Please know that any dog big or small and any breed can be used as a Service Dog and what they do for their handler is very personal and not really anyone’s business but their own. As people we should not be asking about medical history or diagnosis’ when we see someone with a medical device; which is what a Service Dog is. Just know that when you see a Service Dog they are helping to make their handler’s daily life a much better experience.
Any dog can be a Service Dog no matter the breed or size.