I realized after we got home that I didn’t get any pictures of A’Kos and Kender today. I’ll have to remedy that next week! Today was A’Kos’ first trip to Foster where we have our homeschool co-op classes. Kender has been waiting to go back to Foster ever since the last term ended, and the last few days he’s been asking if we were bringing A’Kos to Foster. Yes, we were!!
A’Kos was just as wonderful and helpful at Foster as he has been everywhere else. Kender has always been painfully slow about getting in to the building, walking down the hall, and going up the stairs. A’Kos makes that process much, much faster! Once we got to the community room, Kender immediately ran off to the kitchenette to play with his old friends: the sink, the microwave, and the empty cabinets. Robin, the office staff member that we deal with for scheduling, came down to say hello and admire A’Kos. Everybody was so happy to see him, after watching our fundraising efforts and especially after sitting in Foster with Kender every week for the past several years.
A typical day with Kender at Foster has involved constant “Where’s Kender?” checks as he hides in the cabinets, plays with the light switches, escapes down the fire escape stairs, climbs a table and opens the second story window next to it, or just runs off down the hall to play in the water fountain or the bathroom sinks. Most days I would spend all or part of the day just sitting at the doorway to the community room where everybody not in classes hangs out, blocking the way so Kender couldn’t leave. Getting him to stop doing the things that were dangerous always involved screaming and thrashing as we pulled him away from the activity.
Today, I could take A’Kos over to where Kender was and distract him, then get him to follow us back to something more appropriate. I didn’t have to follow him around, though, or even sit at the doorway (although I did stay near the door); I was able to sit and chat with my friends and even get some knitting done. We walked out to the playground with A’Kos after lunch, and when Kender got tired we walked back inside and even took the elevator. Kender took a nice nap with A’Kos in the afternoon, and then played a little bit before we left. A’Kos especially enjoyed all the attention he got from the other kids, who also learned lessons about when it is okay to approach a service dog and when it is not. When it was time to go, Kender got his handle and we walked on down to the van together, with no detours into random ballet classes. Very little fussing, no major meltdowns even after we got home.
What a difference!