๐Ÿพ Arlen & Kristina ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

๐ŸŒ  Golden Retriever Service Dog 2/21/16 and 21 yo Handler ๐Ÿถ He has his own way of doing things! ๐Ÿ˜œ Utah ๐ŸŒฒ [email protected]

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The light is back in his eyes!โค๏ธ Arlen has been such a professional again on our last few outings and I can attribute it to one simple thing: positivity! Extra praise, fun, and encouraging him to be more of a goof. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Serious Goldens are no fun, guys! Arlen had just naturally fallen into a bit of a slump- less focus, missing commands, sloppy heeling, etc.. It reminded me I need to make more of an effort to make sure he's not bored with his job, or more serious than he has to be! ๐ŸŽ‰ This goes to show, Arlen actually behaves 100x more professionally, accurately, and calmly when his silly fluffy prancing cuddly goofy excited crazy self is encouraged and rewarded. It's a great reminder and wake up call for me, and I think it's a great reminder for all of us to encourage our dogs to be their crazy goofy selves, it brings out the best in them! โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿถ

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So concerned โค๏ธ๐Ÿถ

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Sometimes service dogs are more trouble than they're worth! ๐Ÿ˜‚โค๏ธ Every morning Arlen brings me a meal shake. He usually drops it gently into my hand. Well, a few days ago Arlen was very excited to get his breakfast and he knew we were in a rush. When he brought me my shake he threw it at me! It must've hit the ground just right because it exploded ALL OVER the kitchen. The floor, the cabinets... everything was covered in it. ๐Ÿ˜… In the first picture you can see the huge crack on the bottom of the (empty) bottle. I spent the morning cleaning the kitchen and was almost late to my appointment, and Arlen stayed home because I didn't have time to get him ready. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Silly boy!

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๐Ÿ˜ Baby Arlen was so excited to go save the world in his 'Future Service Dog' bandana ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿถ #waybackwednesday #Flashback #puppy

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Making use of what's around, even a laundry basket can become the center of a fun quick training session! ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ

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Ignoring cilantro on the ground ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜‹

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Sometimes Arlen likes to move over to the window seat and watch everything pass by. ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿถ

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We had an amazing 1.5 hour walk tonight, complete with some confidence building on playground equipment and bridges. I've been pretty sure that Arlen has entered another fear imprint stage (his are barely noticeable) so I've been trying to make a bit of an extra effort to give him the best experiences possible confidence wise. He had a great time, so, success! The best icing on the cake... There's a super scary aggressive dog behind a tall metal fence at one part of this trail. Last year when Arlen was little we were walking past one day and I didn't see the dog outside, he didn't either. Right as we walked past the dog lunged at the fence out of nowhere and scared puppy Arlen enough that he was weary to go back that way, and I didn't want another bad experience to happen so I kind of avoided that way when we took that trail. He continued to want to avoid it too. I decided him not liking that specific spot was better than chancing making him wary of all dogs. I never felt like I had the confidence I needed to take him past, even though I knew we'd need to face it someday. Well, tonight I decided he was doing great, I was feeling good enough, we were out that way, it was worth a shot. I took him that way and he trusted when I started walking that way. We pranced by confidently as the dog once again rushed up to the fence and started snarling. I had to ask Arlen to touch my hand to redirect back to me twice as we passed, but he redirected to me and we passed that dog so confidently! I am so proud of my Arlen boy. He was so proud of himself too. I love these times where I feel like it was a real building experience for us as a team. It sounds like such a small thing, we pass aggressive dogs all the time just fine, but this specific one was a victory for us! This is a long post, but it was a good long walk. โค๏ธ

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When you're trying so hard to wait patiently for your food ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿถโค๏ธ๐Ÿพ
#hungry #breakfast #patientlywaiting #funnyface

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We always talk about how much these dogs mean to us. But I donโ€™t think we ever truly know how much they mean to us, or how much we mean to them. This was last week at the festival, I asked Arlen to do grounding dpt but he decided I needed a full hug and kisses instead. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ (My mom who came to help with the festival caught this picture.)

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#Flashback to that time we went to Disneyland ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฐ It was a long hard vacation but we had a lot of fun too! โค๏ธ #flashbackfriday

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๐Ÿฆ‹Arlen found a Monarch butterfly in our grass this morning! Beautiful! It let us take a few pictures with it before flying away. What an amazing experience that it allowed us to admire it for a few minutes. โค๏ธ

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I discovered that Arlen loves to watch tennis. ๐ŸŽพ I also discovered that he will complain every time you pause it! (Watch all the way through) ๐Ÿ˜‚ Smart guy to know that I'm the one controlling it!

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The last night of the festival.๐ŸŽก We didn't sell as much as we hoped but it was a good experience! Arlen loved it, he always thrives on commotion. Good thing, because I'm a disoriented mess! ๐Ÿ˜œโค๏ธ๐Ÿถ He has been tasking like a complete pro. On top of my mind being so affected by all this, my body has reacted horribly to the long days and heat. My usual symptoms have gone haywire! Arlen has actually started doing some different untrained responses in response to the increase in severity. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ What a smart boy, I literally couldn't do this without him.

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Caption this! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿถ
Arlen was a bit crazy this morning! I'm extremely tired from everything this week, so this is how he decided to play by himself. ๐Ÿคฃ

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Victory! I've been working so many months for this, and here it is! I'm selling handmade dog gear at a local festival. This is just the beginning, guys! If you're local, come check us out!

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Arlen's annoyed face when I don't listen to his alerts. ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿถ: "Ridiculous human. I've told you to sit down. Stop taking pictures of me and listen! I will keep telling you to until you comply." Don't worry, I listened to him after that. I was already taking a picture of him before he started alerting so I had my camera open. I let him alert a bit before listening this time because sometimes I either don't realize he's telling me, or sometimes just don't want to listen right away (who wants their dog telling them what to do? ๐Ÿ˜‰). His persistence is extremely important so it's good to practice waiting longer sometimes when I'm able.

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When Arlen was a puppy he was an expert at camouflage! ๐Ÿพ One of his favorite spots to sleep was under the curtains by the air filter. When in a split second he silently disappeared from view, I always knew where to check first. ๐Ÿ’ค The perfect quiet spot for a puppy to get some rest! โค๏ธ๐Ÿถ

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Poor Arlen, the ratties found something they like more than him! (Swipe over to see how sad he really is!) ๐Ÿ˜‚ #squeak This is the Kaytee Tropical Fiddle Sticks Small Animal Flexible Hideout. I know a lot of you have small pets as well, or followed Arlen for his rat pictures, so I thought this would be a good product to review. ๐Ÿ The rats definitely love it! It's great for hiding, climbing, playing, and chewing, and you can bend it into any shape you want! Unfortunately there were a few things I didnโ€™t like about it. It was splintery, and it doesnโ€™t say what type of wood it is, or what is used to color it. I like to know whatโ€™s in/on the products my pets are putting in their mouths. The rats are having a blast with it, but I'm just not sure Iโ€™d personally buy another for those reasons. If youโ€™re not paranoid like me, this thing is awesome!
I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review. Thanks @chewy! #chewyinfluencer

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Someone's got their begging face on! #woof ๐Ÿถ
This was Arlen's first month as a #chewyinfluencer and heโ€™s in heaven! โค๏ธ Arlen got to try Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw meal mixers for dogs by @merrickpetcare (though we used them as treats)! We chose the salmon flavor because itโ€™s poultry free and Arlen is allergic to ๐Ÿ”. Wow, do they STINK! But you know what that means, high value treats! ๐Ÿ˜€ I can ask Arlen to do ANYTHING for just one bite. ๐Ÿ˜‹ Salmon is the #1 ingredient, and I love that thereโ€™s no grain, corn, soy, gluten, poultry, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives! And I also love that they can be used as an entire meal- that means I can give Arlen as many of them as I want without feeling like I'm filling him up with junk food. The only downside, I wish they didnโ€™t have so much potato in them (#2 ingredient), and I wish they werenโ€™t so crumbly. Over all I think these are a great product, and thereโ€™s no doubt Arlen agrees! ๐Ÿถโค๏ธ I received these goodies free of charge from Chewy.com in an exchange for my honest review. Thanks @chewy!

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Personal update: Today was my last day of transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment, another probably failed treatment. Iโ€™m not sure how to feel, should I celebrate being done or let myself cry because I still feel no different? It could've helped with a lot of my mind stuff. I hoped way more than I shouldโ€™ve. It was pretty much a desperate last try. Iโ€™m not sure whatโ€™s next for me, just gotta keep fighting through. โ€œYou cannot alter your fate, however, you can rise to meet it if you choose.โ€ -Mononoke Hime

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๐ŸŒฆ๏ธSuch a beautiful evening! We went to Walmart (Arlen was a pro) and when we came back outside there were two bright rainbows! As soon as we got home Arlen and I rushed to the end of the block where we caught the last of a rainbow before it disappeared.โ˜๏ธ

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๐Ÿ”Chickens are friends, not food!๐Ÿฅโค๏ธ It's hard for Arlen to understand that unlike rats, chickens don't like to be snuggled! When the chickens lay down he loves to lay with them, but when they walk around he wants to sniff them and ends up knocking them over, or worse, making them run away. Arlen is still working on not chasing the poor chickens when they run! ๐Ÿค For now I only bring one chicken out at a time on a harness when the dogs are out, that way all the interactions stay near me and I can intervene when necessary. ๐Ÿ˜œ Arlen just can't understand why they don't want to play, he even play bows at them. Silly boy!

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๐ŸŒ‘๐ŸŒ What did you think of the eclipse?

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Hey guys! I'm going to take a mind vacation. No need to worry when you don't see new pictures of Ar for the next few days, we'll be back!

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๐ŸŒฆ๏ธSunny rainโ˜” Arlen and I both spent the day resting. We had a big day yesterday (I'll tell you about that later โ˜บ๏ธ) so today neither of us wanted to do anything but sleep! By the evening Arlen was ready to play, so we went outside and he played in the rain. ๐ŸŒฆ๏ธ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’ง

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When you know you can't have it... but you just want one bite! ๐Ÿถ When Arlen knows he's not allowed to have something, he thinks I won't notice him taking it if he's slow enough! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„ (That's a random plastic Halloween spider ring he found in our house. I took it from him, this is him trying to sneak it back from me. ๐Ÿ˜‚)

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๐Ÿ˜ My favorite picture of Arlen in his gear. โค๏ธ๐Ÿพ

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๐ŸArlen playing with his Ratties โค๏ธ๐Ÿ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿถ They love each other so much! Arlen whines for me to let them out, and Daffodil and Clover climb on the door of the cage waiting. When I let them out they run right over to Arlen, who knows to lay down when they're out so he doesn't accidentally step on them (clumsy boy! ๐Ÿ˜œ)! The girls are litterbox trained, so I allow them to run around my room when I can with supervision. While they can go anywhere in my room, they often choose to play with Arlen! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿถ

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This guy's smiles... ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ He's the only reason I keep existing.

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