The last couple of months I haven’t been very diligent in telling you of my many adventures. I have visited a lot of different places now that I am grown and less bossy. I try not to bark as often but once in a while people need to be told, and I have learned a quiet bark combined with backing up is as effective. Hero Dogs Radar taught me that trick!
Alison, Steve, and I have been working hard in class visiting with my peeps and practicing new skills. We visited Washington Rio shopping center on one of our class trips. I met a friend of Alison’s who works at Cahra Salon. All the ladies in the spa were excited to see me because I am very well known in places Alison frequents. I have a feeling she talks about me and Hero Dogs to any one who will listen… and probably some that don’t.
Next we did a group walk around the pond and I discovered goose poop! Alison wouldn’t let me near it, but I did manage to get in a few good sniffs. Then I met the geese responsible for those wonderful smells. I was watching them from the railings and they came swimming up to say hello by honking at me. I responded in kind! Apparently that was the wrong thing to do.
Many of you may not know, but I am rather shy and do not like to use public facilities. After hours at Rio, I still could not find adequate facilities so Alison thought it best to leave, which meant I could hang with my buddies Grant and Franklin.
I took the canine good citizenship test thanks to my friend Tammy. I did really, really well until the very end when Alison left me alone. She didn’t tell me when she would be back so I was a bit perturbed with her and told the group this behavior was unacceptable. Alison came back and after she explained to me that she was always intending to return, I think I am ready for the next go. Then I went and played with Radar. He is so handsome. I just swoon when I see him!
After the test, we drove to a skeet shooting range to meet my real mom, uncle, and sister plus my first family the Burches. The Burches gave me to Hero Dogs so I could make a big difference in someone’s life. It was weird meeting my family because I didn’t remember them and they didn’t remember me. All were very curious so after our initial greeting we danced around a little bit catching up on old times. Soon Daisy and I were playing around like sisters! A little biting and pushing and general mayhem. I hope I can see her again!
The Hero Dogs Volunteer Appreciation event was wonderful! I can’t imagine how much work goes into the event for it to run so smoothly and be so nice. I got to see all my friends and even Alison’s parents came down from New York to attend. My all time favorite friends, Jen and Jeff, were there too. They have been long time Hero Dog supporters. Best of all, Radar could say hello to them because he hadn’t seen them in so long. Oh he was so happy! He has always had a special crush on Jen.
That brings me to my BIG adventure! I went on vacation! I have never been on vacation before. It is all very new and exciting. Before we started our trip we went to Steve’s family reunion. I got to meet his sister, Trisha (aka Patti). She is so nice – the whole family is, but oddly they hugged instead of greeting one another like my family. I really think there was some sniffing going on but humans are more discreet. I played with the kids, but mostly Alison made me settle because I kept trying to say hello to people and twisting my leash around their legs.
By the time we got on the road to Georgia, I was tired! Steve made me a cozy little bed on the floor of the back seat of the truck. It is so cozy that Alison wanted to come back with me, but I was taking up all the room. It rained for a long time during our drive through Virginia and North Carolina. This made Alison nervous, but I nuzzled her arm and she felt better.
Late in the evening we stopped at a Hampton Inn for the night in Florence, SC. Everyone was tired. People at the hotel were very considerate about allowing me to stay so I was courteous as well. I finally found a suitable facility… well, let’s just say I couldn’t hold it any longer. After I did my business, I danced and jumped – I was so proud of myself for really pushing my comfort zone and so was Alison. For some reason she gets a little anxious about my business practices.
In the hotel room I was finally able to jump and dance and move! I smelled every inch of the place and couldn’t find evidence of another dog so I rolled around to make it smell more like home. Alison had a new soft toy (a special treat) for me so I threw it around the room and chased it. I made very little noise. Then we settled down for the night.
After a quick breakfast and another successful facilities break (again with a little dance), we got back on the road. I quickly fell asleep. When I next woke, I smelled something different – a little like the treats I get. We arrived at a people place where Alison and Steve unloaded all our stuff. My crate was placed in one room and my beds in others. I ran from room to room trying to figure out where we were but I didn’t smell anyone I recognized. Finally everything was unpacked and I got to go for a walk.
Things smelled so different and wild and fun! I ran on wonderful sand and leapt into the water. I leapt and spun and bounced and jumped, splashing Alison and making people on the beach laugh and smile. I ran out into the water and swam in circles than ran back. I did this again and again! There were all sorts of new and wondrous things. I was a little careful about approaching some of them, but quickly discovered that even though it smelled different, in many cases it was something I had seen before like wood or a rock. I did discover the source of the fishy smell – it’s this thing called a shell. Honestly, I didn’t want to get near it but after a few attempts and a lot of encouragement from Alison, I did sniff it.
I have been a very very good girl. I have met lots of people. I have rarely barked. When I am left alone in the people place in my crate, I didn’t make a sound. I didn’t adjust completely to my new facilities. I found a place I enjoy, but sometimes I need to get outside my comfort zone. My modesty has been compromised.
Most days Alison and I got up early and walked down the beach. I played with a golden retriever and a greyhound. This greyhound loved to play even more than Saki. Later Steve, Alison and I went swimming. I swam back and forth in the water. I met lots of people and Alison told them about Hero Dogs. One couple asked what I was being trained for because they noticed I was doing all sorts of special things while at the beach. After a long day swimming and sunning on the beach, I cuddled in my crate with my kong and promptly fell asleep. I often didn’t even eat until Alison and Steve came back!
One day I was so tired I couldn’t lift my tail. Alison was concerned that my wag was broke. She checked me all over and got a little intrusive! I could have told her I was fine, just tired from swimming. I was ready to go again, but instead we walked into St Simon village and visited some shops. I met a nice lady who owned the pet store. Alison asked about the local vets and got a recommendation for one up the road which had 24 hours emergency service. I don’t know why she worries such!
I have met many people of all shapes and sizes. I have greeted everyone when Alison tells me to “say hello.” People have been so friendly and interested in the work I am training for. At Fort Frederica, I got my own special National Bark Ranger bowl.
We went over to Jekyll Island. We stopped in the Visitors Center to get a map and find out where I could play. Jekyll is home to sea turtles and other wildlife whose natural habitats are fiercely protected through conservation efforts. Although I am a service dog and am allowed on all the beaches, I wanted to be considerate of the turtles so we stayed up on the north beaches. We went for a walk on Driftwood Beach where the oak trees have fallen down as the beach erodes.
We visited the fishing pier although Alison wouldn’t let me walk out on it! Bummer, it smelled so good. I did get to walk out on some floating docks. They were metal and weird to walk on. I wasn’t allowed to jump in the water which was very hard to resist. When we were walking back I saw two enormous birds called black vultures – they looked bigger than me. I guess they were part of the wildlife I wasn’t supposed to disturb, but they sure disturbed me when they flew off.
Alison and I became regulars at Palm Coast Coffee, Cafe and Pub again. We had lunch there after visiting the fort and she really wanted to try the carrot cake, but they had run out. While she was busy eating the carrot cake bar, the owner brought me a bowl of water with ice cubes! I was in my vest so I was a little hot.
Another day at the beach another day of swimming and rolling in the sand. I have met a lot of dogs on the beach and we have been polite to one another, but today a little white dog ran up and peed on my mat! I was beside myself. Alison made me STAY.
We had such a wonderful time! I wish I could be on vacation forever, but we did have to head home. On the way, we stopped at JRs in North Carolina. I should have figured I would be subjected to some type of shopping! After a night in the hotel, we got back on the road!
Now I am back home. Otto and Saki were so happy to see us! But no rest for the working dog… we were soon off on our next adventure.