Oh, the work that I do and the places we go!! My Veteran often plays a fun game with me; I think I told you a little bit about it in my Christmas post. In this game she does funny things like rub her hands together or crack her knuckles and I respond by putting my head in her lap and/or pawing her leg. She does this in class sometimes and it’s hard for me to wake up from my nap to catch her doing it so I can get a snack. She taps her foot when she’s nervous and I’m getting better and better about stopping her from doing that. On our walks I remind her that life is better now than it used to be (each time she lets out a loud “Sigh” I put my snout in her hand and give her a little kiss). She doesn’t do that as much as she used to so I’m a bit out of practice on that one. I still win LOTS of treats every time she puts her hands in her pockets and I nip at her to remind her all is well.
The next two tricks I’m getting treats for are: 1) When she’s really scared and I’ve somehow missed all the other cues, she’ll start to cry and I’ll get to paw her leg and maybe kiss her face to make her stop and smile at me. 2) When she gets really angry at a slamming door or a big booming noise and says this certain word, I’ll get to bark and pull her away from the noise to a quiet place where she will pet me until she feels better… and gives me lots of treats.
We went to the VA in DC and she sat on the floor with me and petted me a lot while she spoke with the Trauma Services doctors. (Jennifer was there too so that was exciting!) Sometimes Mommy cries and takes me outside where I help her to smile and feel better about life now. Here is a picture of me working for my Veteran using my gift. See what a good job I can do; even while waiting for a prescription refill where there were lots of distractions, I still helped her to calm down and keep going. The pics are a little blurry but that’s cause I’m working hard at my job!
For Valentine’s Day my Veteran, her boyfriend, and some friends went to visit Mount Vernon. This was a Great Success for me! The first time Angelee and I went to Mount Vernon was in December, before I turned two and I had a very difficult time controlling myself amongst all the distractions (squirrels, children with fuzzy mittens, sheep, goats, and even a camel! Probably only experts like Mav and Radar could contain their excitement under THOSE circumstances)! But this time Mom used the gentle leader (that’s the strap on my nose) and I behaved like a champ all day. She was so proud of me.
I miss all of my friends at Hero Dogs a lot but I feel I am growing into my important role as my Veteran’s helper. I hear they got lots of new puppies at Hero Dogs, Inc., and I look forward to playing with them and teaching them some of what I’ve learned! Maybe one of the new recruits will also have the ‘gift!’ I know my job is an important one. As you can see, my Veteran has had a tough time with the transition of leaving the Army and becoming a full-time student again.
Most importantly though, I think that Kitty Cromwell is starting to like me… at least, he lets me sniff him more often now. I keep trying to teach him what fun playing chase can be, but I don’t think he likes playing chase much… yet.
Here I am trying to make new friends with my neighbors. Mom likes me to meet really big dogs that make me look tiny. I guess she’s trying to ensure I don’t get too big for my britches; whatever that means.
An oldie but goodie – in March Angelee celebrated her birthday… I think she looks even sillier in the birthday hat than I did in December!
Here I am visiting the FDR memorial in DC. Mommy posed me on these stones that say “I HATE WAR”… we both thought FDR must have been a great man and what an honor it is for me to be named after him.
Our visit to see these great ladies at their memorial happened way back before I turned two… Don’t I look younger?
Here I am with one of my favorite people, Angelee’s friend Tanya, just before Pilates class – all of the ladies are SO impressed with my “downward facing dog” pose. We go to Yoga and Pilates often, so I’ve gotten better with each class we attend. I used to try to claim my Veteran’s mat sometimes. Anyway, I think she appreciates the extra cuddle once in a while… I’m sure it helps her feel better during her stretching exercises.
Here we are on an unusually warm weekend between snowstorms. We took this right after getting home from a looooooong hiking with a big meetup group she joined. I love being a “Trail Dog” in addition to a “Snow Dog” and of course a Hero Dog. All the new people we hiked with were very friendly and happy to have me along with them. I smiled and romped all along the trail and made Angelee smile and laugh with my enjoyable antics.
I also enjoy my somewhat celebrity status among the little ones at church. All the girls and boys just flock to me whenever we go there – which is great because I get lots of practice on being pet by children. I love getting to be around all those kids – they always have tasty remnants of things on their hands or face, it’s such a challenge for me to sit still and not give them kisses!
Here I am on my bed at home after a long hard day of school, exercise, training, and working with my beloved Vet. Days in the life of a service dog are Exhausting!