During this relatively quiet but jocund month I attended a crowded church in Sykesville where I joined in line to receive a snack given by a kind human gentleman donning a long, ornate green robe whom I had first met many months ago. His eyes were still smiling!
Jocund January also brought with it a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. There I surprised friends hard at work in their office. Their faces grew an ear to ear toothy smile when they saw my happy face!
After visiting my friends I hiked through Walter Reed to the ophthalmologist where I settled like a professional for the duration of the visit.
Everyone I passed in Walter Reed knew not to steel the attention of a service dog on duty. I did however cause everyone’s face to light up with joy as I passed. One could almost hear their thoughts.
Grocery shopping was performed like a professional, and I walked miles in the White Marsh, Columbia, and Arundel malls.
I also enjoyed a relaxing visit to Starbucks, a fun lunch in White Marsh with family, and
a family visit where I noticed but ignored a long haired familiar white feline.
An Eldersburg restaurant visit with friends who love my company was fun. To assist my puppy raiser I have been retrieving my ‘place’ from under the table after dinner. Handing it over gets a trifle challenging in tight spaces when my feet that I coordinate remain standing on my ‘place’. It seemed that my pearly whites and my four paws were duking it out.
Another enjoyable dinner, this time at home with more friends where I gave a ‘Recital of Skills’.
In part, I ‘put toys away’, dropped Kongs into the kitchen sink, pulled a door closed, pushed a door closed, settled on my place, carried my place to my puppy raiser, picked up a crutch, waited patiently for a treat, picked up my leash, and I put my paw in my puppy raiser’s hand.
Humans find the largest joy from watching me put all of my toys away, and always seem to ask the same question; could my puppy raiser teach their human children or even their spouse to put their toys away?
This recital especially impressed a human who generally does not care for canines. So I might just have recruited a new human to the canine team that night because his smile stretched across his face and days later he shared how impressed he was of me.
My feet walked the wonderfully scented trail at Centennial Park where I stopped to meet a new puppy friend. Back at home I used my ‘lift’ skill to wash my feet, firmed my ‘brace’ skill, rehearsed my skill repertoire, and on January Tenth I dropped one Kong into the kitchen sink without having been asked! Could there be popped buttons on the floor?
Of course I attended Big Boy classes during this jocund January. In advance of one class I had a professional photograph of my handsome self snapped by a very friendly and wonderful photographer, and for a second class we met in a Safeway grocery store where we practiced several fun skills.
One skill that my buddies and I practiced while in Safeway was entering a portal with a shopping cart (along with our puppy raisers). When the portal’s doors opened we found ourselves in a different part of the grocery store where we practiced placing items into the shopping cart’s lower and upper baskets, and carrying a shopping bag – among other skills. Do I need to say that my favorite practiced skill was dropping items into the shopping cart?
I have not shared with you two phrases that I have learned over time. The first is, “Are you hungry?”. After I hear this asked, I run with my tail wagging and stand in front of the refrigerator. The second is, “Would you like a snack?”. This is when I light up as if to ask ‘more food?’, and again run to the refrigerator.
Rounding out the month, I improvised with my Joanie, and this time I sang in front of my Billy who simply adored my performance.
I continue to meet each marvelously wondrous day with great enthusiasm. And of course, on a daily basis, everyone with whom I come across calls me handsome and falls in love with me at first sight. My happy list is extremely healthy, and continues to grow.
Jocund: cheerful and lighthearted… yes, that is I, Louie.