Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DAY SEVEN (Monday): Here comes the sun...

The weather in Xenia, OH was nasty a good part of the day.  It was raining and soggy and just down right gross out.  Incidentally, as miserable as the morning was for us, the weather conditions were perfect for the dogs to go tracking in.  Moist weather makes it so much easier for the dogs to pick up the scent they're looking for.  The weather has been so dry up til this point that Jeremy told us our pups have had to track harder this past week then they've really ever had.  The heat also makes it more difficult for them;  they cannot breathe in through their nose to pick up the scent at the same time they are panting.  Interesting stuff.  At any rate, Twinkie ran a perfect track this morning with Joe.  She hit the ground running and nailed it!  

Twinkie was loving life....she was running in the pouring rain, finding her boy, eating hot dogs, getting her orange tenny and smelling like a wet dog.  I don't think it could've gotten any better for Twinkie!  The flip-side to this is that my poor Zachary struggled the entire time we were at the park.  Although a day like today was perfect for Twinkie, it was was a sensory nightmare for Zachary.  He doesn't like the feeling of getting wet from the rain hitting him.  At nine years-old, he still doesn't like washing his hair, so you could imagine how happy he was about walking in the pouring rain.   He also hates the grass....most especially when it's wet.  The combination of the pouring rain hitting us even though I had a big umbrella and having to walk through the wet, sticky, prickly grass was just awful for Zachary.  We had to walk entirely through the grass for 200 yards.  Brutal.  Zachary cried and, literally, begged me to stop walking.  For a kid with Sensory Processing Disorder, ordinary sensory experiences that you and I don't even notice cause significant distress.  Zachary specifically has Sensory Modulation Disorder.  He is both hyper-responsive and hypo-responsive to certain sensory stimuli; he also CRAVES certain types of sensory input.   What this essentially means is that the world as he  processes it can sometimes be a scary, uncertain and painful place to live in.  This is a large part of the reason he struggles with anxiety.  It's not always easy being Zachary.  It's not always easy being Mommy watching Zachary struggle.  What I wouldn't do to make it all go away...

With a lot of deep breaths, constant reassurance and "promises", we finally made it to our destination. Whew!   Midway through, I had to change our track so I could get Zachary onto pavement.  I saw a sidewalk around a utility building not too far away and changed the game plan at that point.  Once I pointed out to Zachary where we were walking to, he saw a little light on the end of the tunnel, but he continued to struggle none-the-less.  To help him out and show him I understood how he was feeling, I took off my flip flops, talked about how much I hated walking in wet grass  and rolled up my leggings.  :)   When I watched Zachary cry and yell out in what looked like real pain, it just broke my heart into a million pieces.   I still cannot being to understand how people in our medical community don't believe that Sensory Processing Disorder is real.  I would welcome any of these MD's or Ph D's to come live with us for a few days and walk 200 yards in the pouring rain across two football fields with me and Zachary.   For more information about Sensory Processing Disorder, you can click on this link:  Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation  

What started out as a cloudy and rainy morning turned into an afternoon full of bright and beautiful sunshine!  We really try to find the bright side of things!  :)  After tracking at the park, we went back to 4 Paws for a little while, ate the Mc Donald's lunch that Zachary was promised and certainly deserved, then we were all off to the the mall.  Zachary LOVES this mall.  There's a million things to look at, elevators, frozen yogurt with sprinkles and a real train that you can ride on around the first floor.  He hits the mother load each time we go!  :)  

We not only worked on public access practice and obedience but indoor tracking at the mall as well.  This is exactly what it sounds like.....Twinkie tracking Zachary in the mall.  We worked in Sears, and Twinkie was once again awesome!!  She nailed it both times. Even though it's a little easier to track inside, I'm still trying to build my self-confidence when it comes to tracking with Twinkie.  Aubrey was such a different dog when it came to tracking.  I'm not always sure what Twinkie is "telling" me.  I know this will all come with time.  Have I mentioned how much Twinkie LOVES being out in the community for as much grief as she gives me about wearing her harness??!!   LOL  Well, if I have not....she LOVES it and is amazing when we're in the community.  Everybody tells her how pretty she is, and a million people both big and small ask if they could pat her.  She eats up every bit of the attention which makes my job that much harder the next day.  :)    Zachary is also lovin that his girl can come with him.  He loves walking with her, and I mean that literally.   Part of Zachary's sensory processing difficulties are related to his vestibular system.  This is what helps him understand where his body physically is in space.   Kids like Zachary are often clumsy, unsteady, "trip over air", don't like sitting on seats without a back and riding a bicycle.  So not only is he lovin Miss Twinkie being able to be with him all of the time, he's lovin the fact that when he's holding on to the one foot lead we have for him, she "grounds" him and gives his body the prompts it needs to recognize where it is in space.  

Twinkie is that bright ray of sunlight in Zachary's sometimes cloudy days. 


  1. So happy things are progressing so well! Yesterday you had me rolling on the floor laughing, today my eyes are filled with tears for you & Zachary. Sending big ((hugs)) from home :) (oh & guess what came today!!)

  2. Training is an emotional roller coaster for sure. Thanks for taking the ride with us!! :)

    I CANNOT wait to sit on my patio, drink Electric Lemonade and eat Beer Bread and dip!! (Then I'll be back to WW on Tuesday morning....our diets out here have be nothing less than terrible!!)