Saturday, February 12, 2011

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Big Balloons

I'm always on the lookout for opportunities for Her Royal Highness (HRH) Berkeley to encounter some of the experiences that Southeastern Guide Dogs wants her to have before we bring her in for training. So on Wednesday afternoon when school was over and Emma walked into the library with a HUGE balloon, I thought, I cannot let this opportunity pass! I got out the camera and moved HRH into position.

Emma held the balloon out for HRH to see. The key idea was to get HRH to experience the balloon and to go back to the balloon if she didn't like it. I wanted her to respond to being called over to the balloon, which she did. Corey, another student who was waiting to speak with me indicated she would walk with HRH over to the balloon and I motioned her to go ahead. She and HRH walked over together to the balloon.

While you might think that HRH is too fearful and isn't responding well, if you think about it, she is doing exactly what I want her to do. She is continuing to go back to the balloon and trying to get a feel for it. The problem with the balloon is that it is on a string and it moves in crazy ways. She didn't have very long to get adjust to it. But overall, for her to go back as quickly as she did and give it another try, again and again, shows me great fortitude and courage and a willingness to go ahead and do something even though she might be tentative about it. It also means we need to buy a balloon and leave it in the house for her to get used to.

Of course, what we are ultimately going for is the gold standard: The Prince Charles Response, as seen in the video below. In 1994 when Prince Charles was about to give a speech in Australia a man with a starter's pistol attempted to attack him. As you will see from the video, Prince Charles' response was not fearful at all. I don't know if HRH will ever get to the Prince Charles level, but it's a goal.

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