I am so excited to share what I did this month and the big adventure I went on that my paws can barely keep up with what I want to tell you all!
Let’s start with the beginning of April…
Shocking that the first weekend I went to go see Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater – we really like to go see movies now and again and it’s always a good training experience for me. Dark environment, kids and people everywhere, popcorn to ignore on the floor, lots of different noises, and having to stay settled on my “place”. By now I like to think of myself as an old pro at navigating the movie theater, especially because Becca makes sure to give me plenty of exercise before going. I took what we practiced in class a few weeks prior with going down aisles and ignoring food on the floor and only tried to steal 1 piece of popcorn.
The first week of the month Becca started feeling really crummy thanks to what she though was her seasonal allergies. However, with a terrible sore throat, she had to call into sick at school and I was off to accompany her to the doctors’ office. I did a wonderful job settling under the chairs in the waiting room until they called our name. It’s amazing how long you have to wait sometimes! My puppy raiser has never been a fan of doctors’ offices so I am glad that I helped calm her nerves. When it was time for Becca to have her temperature and blood pressure taken I think I could sense her not feeling so good, so I broke my down to do “lap” – I wanted to make sure she knew I was there for her! This is an extremely important setting for me to be accustomed to, as my future veteran will likely need me to attend appointments with them. Once we got to the actual exam room I was settled next to the chair and so quiet that it took the doctor a minute or two to even realize I was there. This is always the best compliment when people don’t realize I am even around.
The second weekend of April I had an important job of staying with Becca and her 2 younger cousins at their house while their parents were away visiting another cousin studying abroad. They are both in high school so I didn’t need to keep eyes on them all the time, but I was helpful in driving in the car and making sure they were up and off to school! The best thing about their house is that they have a chickens. Becca took me over to the coop to see them. I’ve checked them out months ago when I was younger, but it was just as exciting this time around. At first I was intrigued by them, but Becca made me sit and do “look” and “watch” and I enjoyed sniffing around and watching them walk in their coop and jump up on the box where they lay eggs. They also have a great deck that is enclosed; I explored it while Becca sat outside doing work for graduate school. At one point I used my service dog skills to open the small gate that my puppy raiser didn’t realize wasn’t completely latched. Luckily she noticed right away and I was just sniffing on the other side of the gate. As soon as she yelled “Clara, come!” I sprinted right to her!
Now is the part when I get to tell you where I went in the middle of the month……COLORADO! I went back in August when I was 8 months old and did great. Now at 16 months (jeez time flies!) Becca was confident in how well I would behave. The first day of traveling, in a matter of 7 hours I had been in an Uber, navigated 2 very busy airports, flew 4 hours on a plane, road a tram at the Denver airport, got on a shuttle bus, and rode in a rental car to the hotel. At security at the airport my puppy raiser takes all my gear off and just puts a leather slip leash on me. Even though I wasn’t wearing my vest I still was a well behave service dog. I sat perfectly still while Becca went through the metal detector and came right to her when she called me through. After landing and finally being able to stretch my legs while heading to get our bags a couple commented on how well behaved I was especially for not being that old. The first day we got to Colorado we went to dinner at the restaurant Becca’s brother Josh works at and I was thrilled when he came out of the kitchen to say hello to me. I wiggled lots with excitement because I haven’t seen him since Christmas! Josh is so proud of me and HD Ruby that a lot of the staff at the restaurant know about me from pictures he has shown them and stories he has told. Some of his friends stopped by the table just to see how I was doing!
One of the downsides to traveling out west is the time change…which meant I woke up bright and early! Although, it made for a beautiful morning walk watching the sun rise. After getting ready for the day we drove to Josh’s house in Lafayette which is fun because he has a fenced in backyard where I can play and sniff everything. I even put my paws up on his vegetable garden box in the yard to see what was inside…I do love carrots, I just wanted to see if he had anything for me! We walked a few blocks to get lunch and then a few more to go grab a drink at a nearby brewery. Afterwards we drove to downtown Denver and I spent the whole afternoon and evening in the city exploring! Really nothing phased me except the couple of dogs I saw that I wanted to befriend. My puppy raiser reminded me I was on duty and did some “look” and “watch”. We walked by the 16th street outdoor mall and I did a really good job heeling by Becca and checking in, not getting completely distracted by smells. We stopped to get a quick snack at a restaurant, went inside a couple shops, walked through Larimer Square, then had dinner at a really delicious new place, Hearth & Dram in Denver (well all the humans said it was delicious, I stuck to my kibble and treats).
Day 3 in Colorado started with an early drive to pick up my grandpa (Becca’s dad) from the airport. He was out of the country on a long trip so I got really excited for a second time when I got to wiggle and lick him! We drove to the lower highlands in Denver and met Josh and his girlfriend for Brunch. Let me tell ya..the 5 humans and I were at a tight table that not only was a semi-circle in shape, but also on a platform. I had to curl up to settle under the table, but luckily I am very go with the flow and had no issues. We saw another “service dog” that was fake come into the restaurant. I ignored it like the good dog I am and didn’t think twice about it. After brunch we went by Little Man Ice Cream for a quick treat (again…not sure why I didn’t get to experience any for myself…). Afterwards it was off to the Denver Botanic Gardens. Holy smokes there are so many plants, flowers, etc. to sniff and experience, but I only sniffed when Becca allowed me to take a break from working. I rode an elevator there and walked on lots of different surfaces. The most distracting thing was a huge area of water that I desperately wanted to go in, but couldn’t because it wasn’t a pool meant for swimming! After a long day with lots to take in, I went to take a nap at the hotel before heading to dinner in Boulder.
Day 4 in Colorado was Easter! And our last full day before heading back home. At the hotel there is a fenced in area off of the gym that Becca took me down to play in the morning after a walk. At one point I had a little bit of “puppy brain” and while I did a great job beforehand ignoring the hot tub, during my zoomies I plopped myself in on top of the step. Luckily it was not on and the water was only warm, but immediately Becca made me get out. I spent part of my day in and out of the car exploring a nearby town and then went off to have Easter dinner with all my favorite humans at Josh’s restaurant. I was sad to say goodbye to Josh but hope that I get to go out to Colorado again at some point! I even got so good at navigating the hotel that as soon as we got off the elevator I took Becca right to our room – one time she tried to trick me and keep walking straight but I veered off at our door.
With a 3:45am alarm, I was up very early the next day to head home and it was back on the shuttle bus, tram, through security, and on the plane for me. When I got to my gate I saw another service dog, whose name was Molly, waiting to board as well. At first I wanted to try and say hello, as did her dog, but it was time for me to be working and not socializing with other pups. Molly wasn’t even a year older than me and even her owner commented how well behaved I was and that I was showing her Molly up in good travel etiquette. Becca has expectations for me and I know how she wants me to behave. While I settled on my “place” and only stood up once on my mat the entire flight to stretch, her dog was putting her feet up on the windowsill, putting her paws up in other passengers’ laps (which the passengers and her owner was encouraging), and she was trying to crawl out of the bulkhead row to get to people. While the flight attendants and others interacted constantly with Molly, nobody bothered me because I think they can tell was working and take my job seriously. Becca of course lets me be a dog and socialize but when I am wearing my vest, it is work time!
This month in Hero Dogs class I also got to go see my friends during a Metro trip! HD Robbie, Bobby, Maggie, Honor, and Louie were at class with me and I did a nice job navigating the turn stiles, standing next to Becca waiting to ride the Metro, going “under” the benches, heeling around the platform, and staying under the seat while riding on the Metro. We even walked all the way up and all the way down an escalator that was turned off and not moving. This meant doing lots of “step” practice.
April brought another quarterly meeting which is fun because so many friends come to the field beforehand. I got to play with HD Boomer, Ivy, Stella, Hazel, Honor, and Louie. The humans had a great meeting and it also meant it was time for another great puppy swap – I went home with D H puppy raiser for the week and HD Honor came home with my puppy raiser. I had so much to share this month that next month I will tell you about puppy swap week!
Thanks for reading everything I had to share about April!