Portland Training: Day 4

Hope and I are getting comfortable with each other now.  I feel good walking with her and going in and out of public places.  I feel sure that she will behave the way she has been trained and I’m feeling better about being able to keep up those skills.  I am working to maintain a calm confident energy with her and it is coming more naturally to me now.  When Kati leaves us at night and we are alone together in the hotel, it feels easy and she curls up next to me at the foot of the bed.

IMG_2461Last night we went out with Kati and Laurel (another member of the ASDA family) to dinner and the theater.  When we got to the theater, they had reserved just 2 front row seats for us.  Although this was lovely, it was also a tiny bit awkward.  We really needed 3 seats.  Also, the stage was not elevated, it was level with us at the floor.  Also, Laurel brought her puppy-in-training.  Things looked like they might now go smoothly.  I was sorry that Laurel had to sit apart from us, but I felt grateful when Kati sat next to me.  I really did not know how things would go.

When the play started with a strobe light, a crash of thunder and an actor screaming on the stage 3 feet in front of us,  I started thinking that this was just too much to ask of a dog.  I was wrong.  Hope just looked up at me with an inquisitive look that said, “What’s wrong with that guy?”  I gave her a quick pat on the head and she settled in for the remainder of the show.

Unfortunately, Laurel’s puppy was not doing as well.  After a couple of minutes of yelps and squirms, Kati popped out of her seat and went to get the puppy out of the theater. She gave me a reassuring pat and then she was gone.  I considered, for a moment, whether I should leave as well.  I looked back to see Laurel in her seat and I decided to see what happened.  Ninety minutes later, Hope was calm and cool as the show reached its dramatic finale.  Screaming and chair throwing and a snap of a bull whip did not arouse more than a position change in her.

When the lights came up, I felt incredible.  If we could make it through that with perfect behavior, we were in great shape.  After the show, I reconnected with Kati and Laurel in the lobby.  We all felt very proud about Hope’s new found love of the theater.  Kati congratulated us with effusive praise.  The bond between us is growing nicely.IMG_2465


  1. Reply
    Jessica February 25, 2013

    So thrilled to read the background of your family, Gray’s journey, and bringing Hope into the family. I am in serious consideration of the fit of an ASDA dog for our son. Being connected to the organization on fb is wonderful but learning more about the lives of the families is so very helpful and inspiring. Best of luck in this new phase!

    • Reply
      rhonigolden February 25, 2013

      Thanks for the support, Jessica. I am happy to answer any questions you might have as you make your decision. So far, our whole family is very happy with our new family member!

  2. Reply
    Kristin February 26, 2013

    Rhoni, this is amazing! I leave on Saturday to go to Oregon to train with Hazel for our son, JJ, and this is such an awesome insight into what happens during Oregon training. But also you gave beautiful voice to the emotions that I think all parents must be feeling before a major change like this, I can definitely relate to the “are we going to screw this up?” “will we undo all her training?” Thank you for posting about the training, I can’t wait to read more about your journey and Gray’s with Hope :)

    • Reply
      rhonigolden February 26, 2013

      Safe travels, Kristin! You are in for an amazing week. I know it seems crazy right now getting ready to leave and imagining your family functioning without you for a whole week, but believe me, it is good for you and it will be good for them!!!

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