Rolf and Vyrna are the proud owners of Jihu, the 2nd assistance dog to be placed in a Melbourne home in October. Vyrna recently reported that “all is going well”.
It is just one month since Jihu joined us, and I will never forget the sight of Alberto (from Assistance Dogs Australia) at the open front door, smiling broadly as he introduced the most beautiful dog I felt I had ever seen, a gorgeous black labrador! It was truly love at first sight – and we only hoped that we could be accepted as owners of this lovely boy.
Since then, we have had a roller-coaster ride with intensive training under the expert tutelage of Alberto and Kristen, much walking, investigating new surrounds together, getting to know each other. We love his typical morning greeting, rubbing his head against us and enjoying a rub in return. While we could take this to be a pure display of affection, we also recognise the unspoken message: ‘time for breakfast’.
By nature, Jihu is calm, soft, well-mannered, affectionate, accepting (of our occasional clumsiness), curious and obedient. He has accompanied us to hospital, where he lay next to the Rolf’s recliner while Rolf received a routine infusion. He has joined a group of ex-students at 50-year reunion at Melbourne Uni, untroubled by the BBQ’d meat being consumed on all sides. And he has shared a quiet moment of trust at home with Rolf, with his chin resting on Rolf’s hands and eyes locked.
Although Rolf has a major problem delivering words of command, Jihu is developing an understanding of Rolf’s unspoken intention, delivered mainly by gestures, body language. Rolf summed his feelings up the other day, with a spontaneous: ‘This dog is MARVELLOUS!! He is just BEAUTIFUL’. Rolf is one happy man, which is what this is all about. And I share that, in spades!
Vyrna and Rolf