Friday, April 4, 2014

Day #4 - Tracking Practice

Last night before Alec fell asleep, he had snuggle time and pet Rafi :)

Another great photo from Day #3

Rafi hanging out in the passenger seat, waiting for tracking practice!

Treats from Alec in the van!
Day #4 was AMAZING!  I wish we had photos from tracking in the park, but it was raining heavily and we do this, rain or shine...  At 9:30 on Thursday morning, we all met at a local park.  Each child and dog waited in their car until it was their turn to track, but many parents watched many of the children's dogs do their tracking.  It was amazing to watch.  Up until yesterday, the dogs were trained to track on of the 4 Paws staff, Rob.  Now we have to re-program the dogs to track their child.  As soon as Rafi's tracking harness was put on, he got very excited.  As Alec and Bill (Daddy) walked away, Rafi was allowed to watch the first couple seconds of them leaving and was barking loudly!  As they went and hid behind a large tree, I took Rafi aside so he couldn't see where they were going.  Then, the magic happened...  A retractable leash is used to allow the dog lots of room to track by scent.  What they are following is the child's skin cells that are shed naturally just by moving.  It didn't take long... Alec and Daddy were found!  It was a beautiful sight.
We also learned that tracking and tethering dogs don't wear vests like other service dogs.  They instead wear a harness that is better for these activities.  Today (Day #5) we are going to the mall in the afternoon to practice basic obedience in public.  Once we get the dog's card that goes into the harness, they are OK to go pretty much anywhere as a service dog.  However, we still need to pass the certification test on Friday 4/11 to be able to take Rafi home.  We believe he is the perfect match for Alec and our family.  We love our Rafi! 


  1. We love Rafi too, and his new pack.

  2. Christina - you have a gift for writing !!! I was getting excited for all of you while sitting here reading. Rafi is adorable and will be such a gift to Alec & your family !!!

  3. How wonderful, I can see the bond that's been created between Alec and Rafi. It's fun and inspiring to be a part of the journey. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Lots of love to the entire Stearns family,

  4. I am happy to see Alec doing better with Rafi. Please let Alec know that I am excited to hear about the trip and all the things Rafi can do.