This month I had many fun and exciting experiences with my puppy raiser. 🙂 For starters, the beginning of February brought more SNOW. If you know me well, you know that I love this stuff – maybe not quite as much as I love water, but running through the powder, sticking my head in it, and eating it can be very entertaining and also great exercise. At least, that’s what Becca says, because she gets stuck having to shovel the snow so that I can get around. Becca also had some snow days this month because she works in a school, which is always a nice surprise because we get to spend all day together! Other days this month there was beautiful sunshine and warmer weather! Granted I will play, run, and work in any condition (except for days when I don’t feel like getting my paws wet in the rain) but it’s always more pleasant on beautiful days.
Big Dog class continues to be a favorite day of the week for me, because almost every week Becca takes me to the field to play first with at least one of my fellow Hero Dog friends. Then I go to HD and say hello to all my favorite staff members… oh, and we learn important things too. 🙂 This month one of our classes involved sticking our heads in different things, because you never know where a Veteran may drop something. I had to take a ball out of different bags, a food container, a metal bucket, a filing drawer, a desk drawer, etc. I don’t even hesitate because I know a kibble will be waiting for me after I give Becca the item. All of my retriever friends are like that… we really enjoy working for food!
Valentine’s Day just happens to fall during this month, so I assisted Becca in going to a Michaels craft store for supplies to make homemade valentines for her preschoolers. Now that I am 20 months old, going out and about is pretty simple for us – I heel so nicely, rarely pulling on the leash. I ignore people and distractions (not to say sometimes I do get distracted when people make kissy noises at me!), wait patiently in line, assist in taking something off the counter such as keys or a wallet when time to leave, and very willingly greet people when Becca says I am allowed to “say hello.” For Valentine’s Day, Becca’s mom was out of town, so her dad took Becca and I out for a lovely dinner at the country club. 🙂
That same weekend the three of us went to the Baltimore Museum of Art. Becca said she was SO proud of me! Museums are quiet places and I didn’t make a PEEP, not that I ever do in places, but many people didn’t even realize I was there. I was patient while my puppy raiser looked at artwork, standing or laying down right next to her. I rode an elevator, and even sat for brunch in the museum as well. There were some funny things to look at, but it was an enjoyable day!
There were two other fun planned events to attend this month, but we only ended up making it to one! First was a fundraiser being held at Waredaca Brewing Company, which is located on a horse farm. Another puppy raiser, Rheana, carpooled with us to the event, only we didn’t quite make it there. Becca’s car decided to stop working after we safely pulled over on the highway. There were a lot of laughs and giggles in the car, complete with taking selfies before Becca’s dad came to the rescue (and ultimately a highway patrol gentleman and the tow truck). We got home safe and sound, but we didn’t make it to see everyone else, which was a little bit of a bummer.
The second event that I had a blast attending was the volunteer potluck dinner! Beforehand I played with HD Grete and SD Chloe at the big field to burn off some energy. Then I mingled with other dogs including Therapy Dogs Dolly, Grant, and Teddy; Hero Dogs Mae and Chief; as well as lots of volunteers that make Hero Dogs such a special place.
In February I also helped out at kennel duty, accompanied Becca to many places out and about, and had my first stop at an investment center with T. Rowe Price to assist my puppy raiser in matters involving money. It was such a grown up thing we did. It is important to be exposed to all different types of places, after all! We also went to the park a few times where I got to check out the playground and I walked all over the climber, sniffing lots!
OH, and how could I forget my visit to St. Joseph’s School?! A couple times each year, the school does a “Lunch & Learn” with the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. They enjoyed a catered lunch while an eighth grader sat on a stage and interviewed Becca and me. I stayed on my “place” the whole time unless demonstrating my skills. The student interviewing us asked about what Hero Dogs does, the various types of volunteers, all about what being a puppy raiser entails, what skills I learn, who I will go on to be a service dog for… and asked lots of wonderful questions! I mingled with staff members beforehand, but it was very fun to surprise the students because they didn’t realize I was coming! There were lots of “aw” and “there’s a dog!” comments as I heeled by Becca up to our seats.
Well, these paws are tired, and that’s the gist of what I wanted to share from this month! The time is coming soon for me to move into “college” at Hero Dogs, so I am going to continue sticking right by Becca’s side and get back to cuddling.