Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Life with Dazzler

Don't these two look like they belong together?

Ethan was a bit afraid of her during training and we wondered how long it would take to see a bond form between them. Once training was completed and she was in our home, they became fast friends. 

She is all business while she's working, but when Ethan is in his goofy state of mind and just being a boy, she's always game to play along.

She wants to be involved in whatever Ethan is doing. This table is great since it gives her the advantage of seeing what he's up to. 

Laying her head on his lap while he's on the computer.

Giving her boy kisses.

Things are going really well here with Dazzler. She seems to love her new home and is very attached to her new boy. We continue to work on her training and practice her skills and she continues to amaze. We have taken Ethan to the park and one of us will hide with him somewhere while the other gives Dazzler the command to track him. She loves doing this and is incredibly fast and accurate at finding him. The peace of mind that gives us is priceless. She has shown herself to be a social bridge for Ethan and has given him independence he has never known while out in the community. We took him to a Walmart to practice tethering and he was able to walk free of my grip and with Daz by his side. When we approached a young girl who was clearly enamored with his dog, he stopped and showed her how to pet Dazzler and signed and said "Your turn." That's incredible progress for him on many levels. 

Ethan has been making enormous strides in his development across the board since Dazzler's arrival. His language growth has been taking our breath away on a near daily basis. He is beginning to answer questions, say things spontaneously, and communicate in a very purposeful way. We are constantly surprised and amazed by him. 

He now has a playmate to fall asleep and greet the morning with. For years we've had to stay with Ethan until he falls asleep, but with Dazzler by his side he is willing to be a big boy and go to sleep on his own. That's also in part to that ever present and miraculous "dad magic" that happens when Rich is put in charge for a few days. 

I'm looking forward to the days to come instead of dreading them. I don't know if Dazzler can truly be responsible for everything wonderful happening right now, but she certainly has a big part in it. 


Kristina said...

I love the photos! It sure seems like Dazzler is the perfect companion for Ethan. I love how they are bonding together and I especially love that he can feel what it's like to just be himself with Dazzler without her demanding anything of him in return. Unconditional love from a dog is so good for your soul!

I know that the continuous training of Dazzler keeps you quite busy. It looks like she is a quick study and your hard work is paying off. Keep up the good work, Heather! I'm excited to see how the story unfolds - especially since I think a service dog is in our future!

MOJIE said...

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to hear this. Dazzler clearly give you peace of mind and Ethan the confidence to use skills he hasn't in the past.
Dazzler was made for Ethan and your family. I'm so happy she is working her magic so quickly!

Kyla said...

So amazing! I'm so glad they have each other.

dlefler said...

I love Dazzler. Just love her. They have a great bond - I am ecstatic to hear about the leaps and bounds Ethan has been taking! Just wonderful!

Celia Garnett said...

Hello I am doing a research project for my Heath Course about how family members of a child with hearing impairment can help the child grow socially and educationally. From the many articles I read, I have learned that keeping the TV use to a minimum and carrying on child friendly conversations with your child can help their speech skills and picking up on words and sounds. I also read that playing games that provoke asking others questions and being social with those around you can help the child with their social skills. Is there any other ways to help your child grow socially and educationally that you can share with me? Thank you.