Friday, February 11, 2011

K9 Logic was a Success

I took Shadow to the beach early today so I could tired him out a little bit, before his big presentation.
He seemed to have a lot of fun. That was until he saw me pull out the bottle of Shampoo!
            Cibola Nature Reserve Trip 28
Oh no… a bath!!!! He loves the water as long as he is in control of it! LOL

We got to the community room, about 15 minutes early to give him a chance to wonder around and get use to the people coming in.
I thought it was going to be a huge group of four, but thank God a few more people showed up!
We had 15 or so, so that wasn’t too bad.

I first explain to the group a little bit about addiction and things that people can become addicted to. Like Alcohol or Other Drugs, Food, Shopping, Sex, Work, Gambling, Computer, Games and ETC. 

   I share with the group that addiction is not a choice; I tell them about the insanity that an addict experiences. 
A definition of insanity that I like is:  a person doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. This can only apply AFTER learning that life is better once this behavior is stopped.
Relapse and Addiction is just like that. One way for an addict to help themselves is by learning about replacement. An addict needs to find activities that are healthy and constructive. Finding things to do with your free time is really important.

This is where Shadow comes in… a replacement activity could be teaching a dog some clever tricks. This takes time and patience. Once that part is mastered you can take it one step further by getting your dog Canine Certified so you can  take it to Nursing homes and hospitals. That is what I did with Shadow.
The smiles and laughter he brings to the faces of others is very rewarding to me. It is awarding to him to and he eats up all the attention he gets not to mention that he gets lots of treats for doing his tricks!

While I am talking about addiction I generally tell the group that I need to get something and I will be right back. As I leave I close the door behind me leave Shadow in the room.  He will go to the door and start making grunting noises. As if he were saying, “momma don’t leave me"!

When I come back in the room I talk about how at first look, it would appear that perhaps Shadow is addicted to me. You will soon learn that that is far from the truth.

We go on with the presentation,  now it is time for Shadow to do his stuff. At this point I show the audience some of the tricks that he can do. He knows how to: Shake , give Eskimo kisses, tells secrets , tells stories,                  imitate motorcycles, catches treats off of his nose , crawls like a baby , rolls over, stands, sits pretty, and fetches my slippers. A crowd favorite is first I tell him to lay down then point my finger at him and say, “Bang dead dog” and he slowly falls over. He will lay still until I tell him, “your alive!”   When all of his tricks are over, he even takes a bow. 

Once he gets going on the treats I could hand anyone in the room his bag of  treats walk around the world and he would care less! (That is until the food was all gone!) Now a dog  addicted to food isn’t really much of a story, but the reality is that he is not addicted to me or his food!

Through out the presentation, there are times where it looks like a switch goes off in Shadow’s head, he has this weird look on his face and stares strangely at my hands or the floor. I point this out to the audience, because he is beginning to show signs of his addiction. He is beginning to anticipate “his next fix”. 

From the momma’s boy to the show dog to a dog that seems to be only thinking about one thing… his drug of choice. His preoccupation is obvious. He is no longer interested in our partnership, he is ignoring me and I feel hurt and unimportant in his life. How could he do this to me again! I must have done something wrong, I should have tried harder. If only I would have…

Sometimes I can get his attention again and get him back on track to finish out the performance. Sometimes I can’t, he is just gone. I am left holding the bag again, embarrassed, scared and alone. I do my best to salvage what I can.
These are some common beliefs and questions and feelings that a family member of an addict might go through. 

Then when I am ready to show the group what it is that Shadow is addicted to, I tell them to watch his hind leg and his eyes. I move my hand close to my pants pocket, Shadow is trance like, just starring at my every move. I move my empty hand away and talk to the group a little more.

I move my hand back by my pocket and put my hand inside, the intensity in my dog’s eyes is unbelievable, his pupils are getting bigger and bigger.

You could throw treats at him at this point and he is more interested in getting his fix. His back leg begins to shake, just like the drug addict going through withdrawal. 

He stares at my hands and watches my every move. I show him both of my hands and say, “I don’t have anything”. He looks a little disappointed, he may relax a little; but the power of addiction has him in its grip. The cycle is in motion and it won’t be long before he uses again if he doesn’t get help.

Again my hand goes for my pocket, this time I take the object out of my pocket and turn it on…
It is a laser light! I shine it on the floor, run him around in circles,  and up walls. He just goes nuts for this thing. I turn it off and he just stares, sometimes at me others he will stare at the last place he saw the light.
Now lets check out an addicts ability to make sound decisions. I have the laser light in one hand and a piece of ham in the other. I throw the laser light on the left side of me and the meat on the right.

Shadow stops dead in his tracks. The dog doesn’t know which one to go for! Now that is NOT normal!
An addict does not know how to make sound decisions and may quit doing things they should be doing.
He will stare at this in anticipation, waiting for the next time, convinced  that it will be different this time… He doesn’t love me or his treats any less, It is just that his addiction is causing him tunnel vision.

                              The only thing in his world right now is the laser light.
The addict isn’t the only one in the family that gets sick, this illness affects the whole family.
If left untreated it can destroyed you and your life. There is help available, you can google “addiction services”or contact your local human service office.
For those of you that came to the presentation Thank you for taking time to learn through K9 Logic
For animal activists Shadow WAS not hurt by this in anyway. I exaggerate his affects to make a point.
By using him in lectures and presentations for clients in treatment programs, he has been able to help others understand the power of addiction. It is a great technique for treating resistive clients.

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