Saturday, March 15, 2014

Update on Cinna and Kreed's story

Cinna’s training has continued to progress and I thought it was time for an update on Cinna and Kreed. I last wrote about Kreed’s service dog Cinna in July 2013, click here: Service Dog.

Since then, Cinna has graduated from being in training to being just in service for Kreed and lots of exciting things have happened. First, this week Kreed has begun to take the lead with Cinna- meaning he is the one holding Cinna’s leash (while still tethered to him). This has given Kreed a new sense of both confidence and independence. You see service dogs with kids with autism out sometimes and the parent normally has the leash while the child is tethered. This has never been my goal for Kreed- I always had wanted him to have the lead and feel that independence, while at the same time we know he is safe and will not bolt. Cinna is fully aware he is to stay with Kreed and he will look to me for direction when Kreed steps away from me. If I say “stay” then he won’t budge and Kreed has to remain where we are. If I say “go” then he knows he is allowed to follow with Kreed.
And as you can see here, I can walk away from Kreed at a restaurant to get drinks or pick up the food, and I know he will remain at the table with Cinna and not fear him wandering off or wonder how I will both get the food and watch Kreed at the same time.
Or Kreed can feel the independence of going to look at movies without me having to be within inches of him for fear of him bolting to another section. 
The best part of all of this is Kreed no longer bolts. Kreed used to bolt in stores or in the street with no concern for his safety. Whatever caught Kreed’s attention he would go to it. Now Kreed is safer while crossing streets because he must remain with Cinna who directly follows my verbal commands and won’t budge if cars are coming. Secondly, Kreed now must use his communication device to ask me to go to a different isle or if he saw something he wanted to go look at. So Cinna has both increased Kreed’s safety and increased his communication skills. It’s a win-win!! It’s been amazing and has decreased my stress and anxiety when taking Kreed into the community. What a sense of relief.
At home Cinna has several new jobs as well. He now will bark and alert me if he finds Kreed on the ground. Periodically Cinna will go back to Kreed’s room and “check” on him. I trained him to go back there periodically. Often times he just stays with Kreed. And he has learned that if Kreed is on the ground to bark and alert me, so then I can take his vital signs. Additionally if Kreed is upset and I am unable to get Kreed’s device safely or his medical bag to take his blood sugar level or blood pressure, Cinna is in the process of learning to get the medical bag when I ask him to, so I no longer have to leave Kreed when he is not safe, but still obtain the things I need. This again is becoming a life saver skill.
Already Cinna has always known to try and block Kreed’ self injury attempts when he is upset. If he hears Kreed’s distinctive sounds, he will automatically go to Kreed and try to sit on his lap! Then Kreed is too busy trying to get him off of him that he can’t hurt himself! Kreed also craves the pressure that Cinna’s weight can provide.
Also, when Kreed is in OT, PT or Speech, sometimes they want him to lay in certain positions like on his stomach. Kreed doesn’t tolerate those positions well and tries to get up. Cinna lays across his legs and helps to stabilize Kreed and hold him in place. This has also proved to be amazing for us.

As you can see, having Cinna has been life saving for us in a number of ways. Their relationship has grown and developed and you will often see Kreed petting Cinna while laying next to him and it’s amazing. Especially when Kreed is leading Cinna, it’s truly wonderful to watch both of them. Recently Kreed even requested to have Cinna by him on his device and he wanted to pet him. This was also a first.
It’s been an amazing two years. We have literally had Cinna since he was eight weeks old and he started out his life with us by crawling in Kreed’s lap. He is there for Kreed when he is upset, when he needs to provide stability or if Kreed just needs a friend. For a child that has difficulty communicating, calming down and being socially aware of other things or people…their bond has helped Kreed in all of these areas and we will forever be thankful for the dog that Cinna has become. Our life has improved dramatically with regards to how we can help Kreed because of him. Just check out these photos!

And...the beginning of this life long friendship...