Magpie came into our lives in October 2011. You can start to read about our weeks training with her in Ohio here. We have used her to her full capacity and she is now just like one of the family. She goes everywhere with us. Some of the fun places she’s gotten to go with Deeds include: camping, hiking, the pool (poor thing can’t get in with him however), church, movies, Disneyland, Rock Concerts, Soccer Games, rodeo, parades and more (wow we have a lot of fun)!
Don’t let this little ladies professionalism in public while she is working fool you. She is a perpetual puppy at home and one crazy little black lab. I advise you not to leave anything in our backyard that you value. It has been deemed, by Mags herself, as a free chew zone.
She is Deeds comforter, support, calmer and friend. While he doesn’t cling to her like some kids do (and his sister would love to if we let her) he still has a magical bond with her. Just having her near is comforting to him. The bonding has been a process with these two but he loves her, and her little doggie heart loves him back.
We’ve written posts in the past about how to handle a service dog in the summer, and there are other little hints on some of the posts mentioned about how we handled Magpie in different situations. She is like caring for another child when we are planning to go anywhere we always think about what she needs, just like we do with the kids. We’ve learned to improvise, and pay attention to her behaviors. Sometimes she lets us know before we even notice it in Deeds that a situation is to much for him.
She has alerted to quite a few seizures for Deeds. I often get asked how she alerts us. It’s not like an episode of Lassie where she comes up to me and I “get it” instantly. Our little guy actually HATES the way she does it and it helps us out. Let me explain. A couple hours before a seizure Magpie will lick Deeds ears and neck obsessively He will scream at her and she just keeps on doing it, wich is how we know it’s happening if we aren’t sitting right there next to them. We always tell her “good girl” and then we watch Deeds for the next few hours. Without fail, when this happens we get a large seizure from Deeds. Some ask how that even helps if it isn’t right before the seizure and the answer is quite simple. It helps us to keep him out of harms way. He has fallen down the stairs before so we know that during this time he doesn’t go up or down them without someone with him, just incase. We also avoid baths and showers, swimming, climbing, etc. In these situations she helps us prevent could could be a dangerous accident.
While Magpie is an angel most of the time, she is still a dog. When people wanting a service dog ask me about where we got her, and if she helps one of the first things I tell them is that she is worth her weight in gold, but a lot of work. Just like a child needs to have rules and discipline so does Maggie. She will go through what we call “teenage” spurts where she really likes to test our limits. She watches us as much as we watch her and she is one smart little girl. She knows when we are watching that she should not touch that nugget that just fell on the floor….but if we aren’t watching and the nugget is within reach, well…. Sometimes it cracks us up, but it always keeps us on our toes. She has her favorites people, especially at church, and when they walk into a room and she hears them it can like containing a child at a candy store. Like I said she is amazing almost all the time, but she isn’t a robot and I think people should remember that when contemplating a service dog (or if they see me telling her no in public and decide to tell me I’m mean…yep it’s happened).
We hope you enjoy the antics of Deeds and Magpie on the blog. We know many of you have followed our journey from the very beginning helping us raise all the money we needed to get her and then to go out to the training in Ohio. We are eternally thankful. You gave us a helping hand and one of the most successful therapy tools Deeds ever had. She is his rock, and you helped make that happen!