learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

The Moment

I should be writing about training but for now this strikes me as more important. I can write about today and tomorrow together in one post, right?

Brooklyn came back to the hotel with us tonight. J did attend the morning of training today but not the afternoon, so he was surprised in a major way when I came through the door with Miss Brooklyn herself by my side! Now, as fascinated as he is with her, he’s til now been reserved. He’s enjoyed her, but always in a very controlled manner. The only environment he had access to her in was chaotic and confusing to him, so it was too overwhelming for him to truly know her.

Then she stepped into his world.

I was nervous. Not going to lie, I was very nervous. I was uncertain how she would take to the hotel room and more importantly, how they would take to each other now that they were in a more natural environment for him and a completely new environment for her.

I was an idiot. I am so, so happy to report that.

He was timid at first with approaching her, giggling nervously and jumping away. He repeated again and again “J doggie, good doggie” or “Brooklyn J” in his singular manner of speaking, growing less nervous and more overjoyed the more time passed. I got her settled and shown around then gave them a ball stuffed with some good treats for them to play with and all walls and reservations between them crumbled. They could have played that game all night! He rolled it, she dutifully trotted after it, snatched it up, snuck a treat out and brought it right back! Those of you who follow us on the J-Bear and Me Facebook page have already seen a little video of this… It went on and on.

That was not the moment that it became clear just what this all meant to J. This was (forgive the terrible quality of the photo):



You see, while Brooklyn rested on her mutt mat J disappeared into the bedroom. Moments later, out came J with three babies in his arms.He set them down carefully and gently introduced Brooklyn to one of them. He did this all quietly and seriously, holding it while she sniffed. She had tried to pick one up earlier while J wasn’t around and was corrected so this was not even an issue when he did this. She was tender with him and he was simply in love.

I only got hints of the beauty of this decision before. The moment he sat on her mat showing her his best friends, that was the moment. They found their language and he found in her not just a dog but a friend, showing her incredible trust by allowing her to “share” the stuffed animals with him.

My son has a new best friend. What could be any better than that?


  1. Sharon Pomeroy

    I am loving and adoring this!! We are
    Beyond nervous about the bonding involved and I love reading this tonight

    • Nicole

      The best thing I can say about bonding is simply watch. These dogs are placed so young because they are so much more amenable to things most older dogs would turn their nose up at. Each child and each dog in our class is finding their language and it’s a tremendous thing to watch. The bonds do not always look like the boy and dog on TV might but they are each beautiful and powerful.

      Raining down pupperoni, affection and FUN whenever their child is around helps a lot too 😀

  2. Kim

    What a special moment! I’m so happy for J and Brooklyn.

    • Nicole

      Thank you Kim! They are so happy together!

  3. Janice Vincent

    Oh Nicole…. how wonderful to see their gentle transition….. J will come to trust Brooklyn and their bond with deepen more and more. Your life is going to change – with so much love & for the better….

    • Nicole

      It really does feel like having another child but the moment they started playing, I knew all his nerves were crowd related and not Brooklyn related. He’s still learning her as are the rest of us but now I can breathe easier actually seeing what I should have known and had faith in – they will find their way.

  4. Joanna

    This made me teary eyes this morning! I’m all va-klempt. So happy for you all! (and yes, I just used exclamation points for every sentence) 😉

    • Nicole

      Joanna!! Tess and Oreo are one of THE best examples of a dog and a child finding their own language! Whenever I hear someone concerned about how their child and dog might relate now it’s the tale of Oreo and the ball I go to. This is so amazing, I say as I am up an hour before my alarm with a dog who is gnawing happily on her bone while ignoring her breakfast. LOL

  5. Deb Sanders

    Oh, this brought tears to my eyes, also! I am a great believer in the power a pet can have in a child life. But, I know Brooklyn is way more than a “pet.” Whether special needs or not, a pet can bring wonderful things into a child’s life! I pray that God uses this dog & J can develop into so much more than you could ever have dreamed! Love, love, love reading this account of bonding. 🙂

    • Nicole

      Thank you Deb! Just her companionship is invaluable to J, so her skills just make that all the more impressive. They will also make her performing her tasks more a labor of love towards J rather than a labor of obedience towards me, which makes me so very happy.

  6. Kim Ary Merritt

    I’m so happy for you! My husband and I say to each other almost every “4 Paws picked the perfect dog for Anna.” We just love to watch Lakota happily trot behind Anna as they walk back to her bedroom each night. He really is Anna’s best friend!

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