I can definitely tell the season is changing with the cooler weather and the leaves turning different colors, but that doesn’t stop my service dog adventures from happening. In September I turned nine months and my puppy raiser cannot believe how fast I am growing, but I try to tell her it is inevitable. We all grow up and get super smart and then work towards being paired with our own Veterans. That’s the ultimate goal. 🙂
Anyway, back to this past month…
The month started with a surprise visit from Becca’s aunt! She got a text one morning saying she wanted to come down to surprise Becca’s mom for the weekend, so of course the two of us answered with a “YES!” One day over the weekend we went to Lake Roland for a long walk with her. There were lots of people and other dogs because it was a weekend, but that makes for good socializing for this pup. I don’t drag Becca to go see the other dogs or have a big reaction, but sometimes I try to turn my head around and sniff as we pass by. I’m a friendly pup, what can I say!
On our way back to the car we found a water fountain for me to get a drink… However, that was Becca’s plan… I had other intentions.
Class continues to be a blast every week – I am usually so exhausted from running in the field with some of my friends beforehand and then spending time working hard that I crash once we get home and am off to bed right away. One week we practiced on a simulated airplane in the training room. There were rows and aisles of chairs where we worked on “follow,” “back,” settling under the seats, and ignoring the dog laying down next to us. We also pretended we were going through security with commands such as “stand stay,” “wait,” and our handlers walking away from us just to the end of our leashes. I have been to the airport several times so I like to think that I am a professional traveler by now!
One event that I attended this month was at the Fire Museum of Maryland to support Verus for Veterans! When I arrived I saw HD Louie there, and we represented Hero Dogs to promote a Verus event that will be taking place in November with donations coming to Hero Dogs. After licking Louie’s face a few times I was ready to be a role model and a wonderful service dog in training. I saw tons of trucks and equipment – new and old fire engines, and ambulances (I even got in a very old ambulance). I watched a hose spray tons and tons of water in the air and into a pool, and ended the very hot day by walking through the museum itself.
There were incredible mementos and pieces to take in inside, but I was mainly focused on watching Becca and laying myself on the cool floors while she read about everything and toured the museum. Oh, and I even saw a Dalmatian there! What a traditional breed to see at an event full of firemen-and-women… but I took one look and didn’t care much to give him all of my attention. My puppy raiser is the one who carries all the treats after all… She’s my person. 🙂
The second big event of September was representing Hero Dogs at the Washington Nationals baseball game on September 11th. Our organization was being honored during pre-game ceremonies along with numerous service men and women, first responders, as well as 9/11 victims and families. We stood on the field as the events took place, they announced each of our names, and showed us on the jumbo screen!
HD Ruby and I stood on each side of the dugout at one point as the players came out for the National Anthem. While I cannot put my paw over my heart, I stood still and politely throughout the anthem. I got a head scratch or two from players as they walked back into their dugout and compliments from service members walking through the tunnel as we went out to the field. We had the privilege of watching Navy members perform on the field, listening to them sing, and seeing the planes fly overhead. It was an incredible day shared with equally incredible people and dogs!
After the pre-game celebration, we went to our seats and watched the game. I minded my manners (except I did try to lick HD York a few times because he is so handsome), waited in line for concessions, and settled on my “place” during the game. I even gave HD York’s human brother a few licks when he hung out on my “place” with me. 🙂
The third event where I represented Hero Dogs was the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department open house! I was a little excited at first to see all my other HD friends, but once I got past the initial enthusiasm, I got down to business. I watched a fireman dress up in front of us dogs, listened as he breathed through his mask, watched them spray hoses, went on the back of a fire truck, got into and walked through an ambulance, and saw a live demonstration with real fire! Of course we kept our distance, but it was still good exposure. There was a lot to experience, none of which seemed to faze me, as you never know where your service dog adventures will lead you!
Graduate school also started back up this month, so I get to attend class with Becca twice a week for two-and-a-half hours. She makes sure I have plenty of exercise before we go so that I can sleep while she focuses on her professor. It’s about time I get to relax and she does all the work! While I do nap, I also wake up and watch my puppy raiser to make sure she knows I am still attentive. Becca’s classmates are very good at ignoring me, and the few people she has had in several other courses always ask to say hello to me either before class or after, but never during.
This month also brought another installment of “The Great Puppy Swap!” I went to stay with HD Bobby’s puppy raiser and HD Louie came to stay with my puppy raiser. I had some great experiences that included outings to a high school sporting event, to the mall, and out to lunch. I played a few times in their kiddie pool, and I settled while Emily worked out at the gym (yes, I did smother her with kisses as she did some stretching on the floor). I know Becca misses me when I am with other people, but it is good for my training to have new outings, go to new places, and learn that the rules that apply with Becca apply with others as well. We were both very excited when we were reunited in the field before Hero Dogs class the following week. 🙂
Wow, these paws are exhausted after telling everyone about what I was up to in September! While all the events and training outings were so much fun this month, bringing HD Ruby home for the weekend was also one of my favorite highlights (Becca’s too!). It is so fun having her around to play with and learn from.
Well… back to doing what I do best: following Becca everywhere, working for my treats to learn skills, and being loved on!
Check back in October for more Fall adventures!