Today as Toliver and I wait for you Forrest, outside the Hyperbaric Chamber, he remains focused on the door, waiting until you reappear. His whole demeanor changes when he catches sight of you. You are HIS person and he is totally devoted to you. If your voice raises in frustration, he moves immediately to place his head in your lap or touch your hand. His unwavering focus on your face says, "Let me carry your load. I can handle it."
Day after tomorrow, you Toliver and I will meet with CCI trainers and other recent graduates for your recertification test. You haven't been able to get out much since your surgeries, so this week Tori was home from school and volunteered to help you and Toliver sharpen up your public skills at Wal Mart. You and Toliver navigated the aisles like a well seasoned team and Toliver demonstrated his ability to open the refrigerator door by pulling on the attached felt rope. Then Tori pulled out the country ham we brought and subtly dropped it on the floor. I pushed your wheel chair forward and you told Toliver, "Let's Go." He walked forward proudly by your side and never so much as glanced at the tempting ham as he strode right over it.
Toliver celebrates with you and Tori by selecting a new chew toy!
You and Toliver are ready, Darlin. For your recertification and for what ever other unknown challenges lie ahead. We are eternally grateful for Toliver, Canine Companions for Independence, and for Colleen, who taught Toliver how to love, trust, and heal HIS person.
Colleen, Toliver and Forrest were featured today in the Farmville Herald cover story. Try this link to read about them:
We hope you will enjoy this story and its message of generosity, love, and the bond between assistance dogs, their trainers and the recipients of this amazing program.