I’ve been wanting to give you an update on Kianna, my hearing dog.
Well, after we got home from CCI, it was havoc. Kianna, on-leash is just about the best-trained dog you can imagine. Kianna, off leash is a typical young exuberant dog that will tear into anything! She tore the wood handles off of a rocking horse a friend loaned us, she ripped up the kid’s toys; she went beserk! Added to that madness was the fact that she hadn’t been trained in my own specific sounds.
You see, CCI trains the dogs in general commands, like the base layer of a cake. It’s up to you to train your dog in the specific sounds you need your dog to hear for you, and you train them by using the technique that CCI spent 2 weeks teaching you. It sounds do-able but it can be really hard to implement and train when you are working by yourself (- like me!) and you need to teach your dog things like, “Kianna, go get Mommy”.
We haven’t worked much with the sounds.
I was feeling bad about that but I don’t anymore, because I look at our relationship with Kianna now and how well we gel. It’s more than that though.
Kianna knows that Moxie’s bolting is a problem. We’ve gotten Moxie a device that will sound off an alarm when she goes too far, but she doesn’t wear it all that time. What Kianna does is – and this is without any training, mind you – she sticks by Moxie when Moxie goes outside. Occassionally, Kianna comes and gets me. She “gets me” by nudging me, and “too far” is out of eyesight.
More often though, Kianna doesn’t get me, she just stays with Moxie. This is an enormous relief, the biggest possible help that she could provide right now, actually. I know that Moxie is safe with her, and if I call for Kianna, she will come – and Moxie follows.
I wondered for a while if Kianna was going to become Moxie’s dog but no. It’s clear to me now that Kianna is most emphatically my dog; she is with me constantly by choice unless Moxie goes outside. Moxie. Not the other kids – she doesn’t follow MacQ or Micah around like she does Moxie. Moxie.
I have absolutely no idea how or why that happened or work – the only answer I can give is that she senses where my worry lies – and that is absolutely with Moxie’s bolting.
She is the best dog, ever. I’m sorry, Pugsily.
And I’ve been meaning to tell you – Pugsily was adopted by a nice local family.
We knew we couldn’t keep him because we can’t bring him with us traveling again. He simply can’t take heat, like physically, he isn’t built for it. He also can’t run and the combination of all that – his not being able to walk any amount of distance, his getting overheated and miserable all added up. When we came back here to Northern California, we saw how utterly happy he was with the weather and made the decision to let another family have him. He’s an awesome dog. He needs weather that suits him and he needs to not travel.
So Kianna is our only dog.
And since she loves activity, loves running and playing and working – hearing for me and watching out for Moxie – she couldn’t be working out better with us.
I’m very aware that she can be trained to hear more for me – but I think that’s going to come with time, especially when Mikey is working less and we can work on commands together. Like, “Kianna, go get Mommy!”
More info on Service Dogs: Check out the website for Canine Companions for Independence (- this is the organization that I went to for Kianna)
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.