Hi everyone, it’s Karina.
My facilitator, Jeff, told me he’s been getting many questions about how things are going as I’ve settled into life with the Cousins family.
I thought I would try to fill people in on how a Canine Companion goes about helping out a child with special needs like my recipient, J.P.
The day typically begins about 8 a.m. when I begin hearing things happening in the kitchen. I anxiously wait for someone to come let me out of my kennel in J.P.’s room where I spend the night.
It’s an exciting moment for me. I’m hungry and ready to get outside. I mean, really, what’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Once that business is taken care of, it’s time for breakfast. I have no problem taking the command for that and usually beat my facilitator to the “sit” command. I just want them to tell me, “OK,” which means I can chow down.
The schedule for each day is different. It depends on what appointments J.P. has and if Jeff has to work.
Karina cuddles with J.P. in his bed
Sometimes I jump in J.P.’s bed and keep him company once he wakes up. Jeff and Paige have to get him changed and other stuff before he heads out to watch his morning cartoons.
I like to jump up on the couch with him sometimes while he takes his medicines and gets his formula running.
I enjoy getting my walk each day with Jeff. We usually go more than a mile, and on same days, we’ve walked 5K. That was kind of long, and I was ready for a nap after that.
Usually, after our walk, I get brushed, my ears get cleaned, and my eyes are wiped out. At least every other day, my teeth get brushed. (I’m not a big fan of that!) I also get my nails trimmed weekly.
Once a month, I get a bath. We just did that about a week ago, and I was very good while I got all sudsy in the tub.
I’m still getting to know J.P., and I’ve been used several times in occupational therapy. I’ve been brushed by J.P., and he’s helped with brushing my teeth, too. He’s also given me some kibble when I get up on the couch with him. Talk about incentive!
Karina assists J.P. during physical therapy.
On Friday, I played a big role in physical therapy, and J.P. was able to give me a hug. He really liked that. I was put in several positions while J.P. was stretched and worked on rolling over.
I enjoy accompanying J.P. on trips out of the house. I can help J.P. get ready by picking up his shoes and even clean diapers and hold them while Jeff and Paige get him ready to go.
I’ve been to several restaurants and doctor appointments with J.P. recently. I’m trained to open doors when they have those buttons for people who are in wheelchairs. I’m given the command to “push,” and I hit the button with my nose.
I stay pretty busy, but some of my favorite moments are just being loved — like any other pet. That’s something I really enjoy with Paige. After J.P. is in bed, I sometimes jump right in the recliner with her and snuggle.
It’s all been fun, and I’m enjoying my life with my new family, and look forward to what’s ahead. Thanks for the support everyone!