December was a very exciting month for me for several reasons! The Christmas holiday season began with my puppy raiser and I going to buy Christmas, which meant great socialization in busy stores and the mall! At the mall my puppy raiser says I did a really great job ignoring people and not trying to sniff them when it was tight quarters; I really like to focus on Becca because I know that also means I get rewarded with my food. While at the mall Becca’s mom came and met us, so Becca took it as an opportunity for someone else to work with me in one of the stores while she tried items on. As soon as my puppy raiser was out of sight I was focused on her mom. She took me outside of the store and did some “settle” as people walked by. A little while later my tail started wagging and my bottom wiggling when I saw Becca coming back. We took some time to do “under” on benches, chairs, and tables throughout the mall. While we were out and about this month we did a lot of educating about Hero Dogs because there were so many people out and about! We love educating on the program and all the amazing things service dogs like myself can do for a veteran!
This month I also invited HD Maggie and HD Honor to my house for a playdate! I love all dogs and even the puppies. Boy do they have a lot of energy but I am quite good at keeping up with them! We ran around, chased each other, played ball, and rolled in the mulch. When Maggie came over first I showed her my big bin of toys and she really liked taking them out!
In the middle of December Becca’s dad had to have surgery and was in the hospital for 2 days. He loves me just like the rest of my puppy raisers family and was excited when I walked into his hospital room. The shiny, sometimes slippery floor didn’t faze me; I rode the elevator exactly how I should, and wasn’t bothered by all the machines beeps and noises. The staff and nurses on the floor really enjoyed seeing me and a few came by to ask if they could say hello and of course I minded my manners when they did so. Because Becca’s dad travels quite a bit for work I am usually very wiggly and excited to see him; however I knew something was wrong and I didn’t get as excited when I saw him. Instead I was very mellow and extremely gentle. Even when he came home from the hospital I didn’t ever jump, I kept a distance while he walked around and laid by his feet.
I think that December 15th should be a national holiday because that is my birthday! I celebrated my 1st birthday with some new toys and treats and Becca made me a doggie cake – it was delicious! Becca says she can’t believe that I am already 1 and she has been raising me for 10 months. Time really does fly.
Right before the holidays Becca got a group of Hero Dogs folks together to go with us to the BWI airport and volunteer with another organization called Operation Welcome Home. The greet and welcome soldiers home from deployment at the airport and we were grateful to spend our evening welcoming these men and women home. HD Munro, HD Maggie, HD Hazel, and I represented Hero Dogs and were a hit! There were many other people there which made for a wonderful public outing for our training. We are hoping to volunteer with them again in the near future!
A few days later when I woke up with my puppy raiser it was Christmas day! I had 2 stockings hanging with new toys and treats and I sat around the tree while the family opened presents…although I was a little sidetracked playing with my new gifts. While my human family enjoyed breakfast together I slept underneath of the big table because I already needed a nap! The rest of December was filled with family time and training. Some of the skills I have been working on include: take it, bring, give, place, pull, turn.
I am hoping that next month I can find a Hero Dogs event to volunteer with and also do one of my favorite things that I did this month which is go play with the big dogs at kennel duty! I’ll keep y’all updated!