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Team Training Day 6: Guest Post by marijee

Hello all! I am marijee and I have been hanging out a bit with Mal, Leo, Kami and Leslie. Mal asked me to do a little blurb about my visits… so here I am!

First of all Leo is absolutely gorgeous. The pictures are great, but seeing him in person… just wow!  This guy is so affectionate… yes, I got a Leo hug, kiss and a groan! You might think a hug from a 70 pound dog overwhelming, but he is so careful and you never feel like you are being crushed… just loved on. It’s wonderful!

Leo and Mal are working great together. We were out in the rain today at the Corvallis Saturday Market and Leo ignored other dogs and people. Leo listened to instructions from Mal and I thought they both synced really well. Mal was really good at praising Leo and giving him positive feedback.  Leo really seems to want to please Mal and she is using the training tools from Leslie to make it all work.

Leo’s harness is really cool. It looks like it’s comfortable for Leo to wear… and very utilitarian. I love the zippered bag on top that holds Leo’s water bowl, waste bags and Mal’s wallet. Mal doesn’t have to carry her purse around… I think that’s a real plus!

When I first met Mal in January, and then when I picked her up at the train station last week she was using a cane. There was hesitancy in her walk and she seemed cautious about being bumped by the crowd. Looking at Mal today I saw a changed person. With Leo guiding her, the cane was gone and she looked confident and happy.  Leo is going to be such a tremendous help to Mal, physically and mentally.

Mal has such a great support and training team with her. Kami is a wonderful lady who is Mal’s support person. One really cool thing about Kami is she is very knowledgeable about taking care of animals. So she not only helps Mal with daily tasks, but helps with Leo, too! Leo thinks she’s great as well!

Leslie, Leo’s trainer is really amazing. She is always teaching and giving information to Mal to help her and Leo to become a great team. Leslie is so devoted and passionate about her dogs and the training of Service Dogs. You should check out her website and see the Mobility Dog stories.

I am so happy I got the opportunity to meet Mal. I just want everyone to know all the money you gave is so well spent and Mal is so deserving of your generosity. You are helping to change Mal’s life for the better.

**Fist bump** LOL!

Three short videos by Kami:


{ Racer } at: July 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM said...

This is so great. I have tears in my eyes.

{ Elletee } at: July 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM said...

So great. I could hear you Mal! And I remember that jacket! Are you walking at a pace you are happy with? It looked a little fast.

{ colliegal } at: July 1, 2012 at 9:45 PM said...

Hi Elletee,
No worries! Mal is actually in complete control of how fast she's moving and where she's going. Leo's job is to help her get there safely. He works in response to her voice cues and praise. The harness acts as a conduit that connects Mal and Leo and lets them "feel" eachothers balance and movement. Leo's training has prepared him to brace against harness pressure and resist any pull on the harness, so though it looks like he might be pulling Mal, actually he is not. Their movement is like dance, together and flowing all at the same time!
Thank you for your comment:)
Warm Regards,

{ mostly a lurker } at: July 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM said...

Thanks, y'all for chiming in!!

It's so very great, I can't even put words to how wonderful it really is. Yes, Elletee, I'm pretty comfortable with the pace. Sometimes it's a little fast and I just ask him to slow down and he does. As Leslie says, it's like dancing.

Hugs all around!!!

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