Do you ever wonder what it is like living with a Comfort Dog?
Living with a Comfort Dog can be fun, hard work, and very rewarding. A Comfort Dog has a lot of needs, and because she does such important work, her caregivers will make sure she is properly taken care of. It’s part of her reward and our responsibility.
Lily has her own bed, toys, sleeping location, and dish in each of the homes that she lives at. Because we share resopnsibility for her, she has been trained to be comfortable in each of our homes. Feeding is a big ritual that helps her bond with her caregivers.
A Typical Day
The day starts with a good morning greeting by Lily. She wags her tail so hard when waking up and seeing her family, that sometimes I think she is going to wag her behind right off! She will follow me into the bathroom, but she never just bursts through the door…she will stick her nose in and wait for me to tell her to come in. She’s very polite.
She will then go outside for her morning “Hurry Up.” “Hurry Up” is the command that tells her when and where it is ok to go potty. Try that one, humans!
After that, breakfast is served. Comfort Dogs always eat after the caregiver does. This tells the dog that the human is “Alpha” so Lily will wait patiently on her mat while we eat, and she doesn’t beg or bother us. She politely looks away. After the dishes are cleared, she gets fed. Lily always waits to be told to eat. Sometimes she is so excited to eat she will drool a little, but she always waits to be told to “Go Eat.” Once I forgot to tell my Josie to “Go Eat” and I found her about 10 minutes later waiting patiently. Poor dog! But she knows this command the best.
After breakfast, Lily will go for a walk, coat brushed, teeth brushed, and ready for the day. When its time to go to work, we tell Lily to “Dress.” This is how we put her working vest on. She knows she is working when the vest goes on, and she calms right down and gets prepared for work. Then we’ll hop in the car and go for a visit to a nursing home, a school, or some other place where love and comfort is needed. We will also take Lily with us when we run errands, like grocery shopping, the post office, the gardening center, or the local Walmart. Traveling with Lily is always an adventure, and we have to add more time to running a simple errand because of the people we meet and speak with at all our stops. But these are also training and picture opportunities, and it helps the community get to know about Lily.
When we get home, the vest comes off with another “Dress” command. Then Lily becomes a real dog, playing, jumping, and running around. All these activities are done on command, and we make sure she has lots of time to have fun, run, and play. If she has had a particularly long and stressful day, then she will get a treat…an apple slice with peanut butter hidden in a Kong Toy. She’ll spend hours trying to get to that tasty treat. It helps her stay sharp and keeps her problem solving skills sharp. After all, she can’t just reach in there to get the apple out. Then there will be another walk before dinner, and then one after dinner.
If Lily has a home with another dog, then playtime with her friend is always on the menu. She loves to chase, play fetch, and run with her friends. And, throughout the day, training opportunities will come up. for instance, if we are cooking and drop something on the floor, we tell her to “leave it” and she does. Also, a “down-stay” is always good throughout the day. This helps Lily stay sharp, and also gives our pets a chance to practice their good behaviors, too. And, we will look for opportunities to take pictures of her playing, because her facebook friends like to see her being herself as well as working.
Lily also gets a massage at the end of the day. We make sure we massage every part of her, including her paws. She really enjoys this treat and it helps her relax.
Then it’s time to go to bed, and Lily is ready with a “Go to your mat” command. She sometimes takes her toy to bed with her, but she stays quiet until the morning when the family gets up and her day starts over again.
Well, that is pretty much how our day goes. Lots of love, play, fun activities, balanced with work, comfort, and pets. I hope you enjoyed coming along with us for a day. Spending the day with Lily always reminds me of Psalms 92:4 because of the joy Lily gives to so many people:
“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done. I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”
Is there something you would like to know about LIly and her day? Please write to us in the comment section, below. We would love to hear from you.