In April, I was able to pull the sliding glass door open for the first time! That was worth mentioning. Another thing worth noting is that I met my first balloon in April at a park in Lynchburg (road trip)! I was hesitant to meet it at first and it seemed to be afraid of me as well; it kept bobbing up and down and towards me and then away from me. So I jumped up to catch it like a ball. There was a noise and then the balloon was gone; all that was left was a boring piece of red plastic. I was confused and a bit sad, but not frightened.
During April and May I spent quite a bit of time with puppy sitters. Towards the end of April, Stacey and Dave went on something called a vacation. They were gone for an entire week! They picked me up; I spent one, maybe two, nights at home and it was time for the great puppy swap. I went to Robin S.’s house for almost a week and HD Chester got to live with my family. At Robin’s house, like my house, there is another dog I have to share the people with. Their pet is a German shepherd and I had been told to not be a pesky puppy, as he might not be as tolerant of me as Cody is. We got along just fine. It was no vacation for me, as Miss Robin seems to have all the same rules at her house for puppies and she wanted me to learn commands as well.
As my puppy swap time ended, Robin brought me to the open house at Brookeville Animal Hospital to meet Stacey. It was fun; there were people who wanted to meet me as well as many of my fellow Hero Dogs and a baby goat! We did a short demonstration, so folks could see what service dogs can do. Actually, what we did during the open house was a way to say a big thank you to BAH and Dr. Marcie for all the loving care they give to all of us HD dogs.
The next weekend was Mother’s Day, and we took another road trip to PA to see “Grandmother” at her assisted living. They had a special Mother’s Day meal; it was a buffet. Stacey actually did two trips through the buffet; the first one to teach me what I needed to do – I had to keep my eyes on her at all times and my big nose away from the table. The second trip was the attempt to actually get her food. All in all she seemed pleased with what she got on her plate; I on the other hand did not even get a plate!
The last part of May there was a great deal of excitement and planning for something called a military retirement. What it meant is that Stacey and I went on lots of errands. Errands are when I get to practice what I learn at home in the “real world” with something called “distractions.” Stacey actually expects me to pay attention and listen to her when lots of people are around, other dogs pass by, there is food right under my nose on the ground, and plenty of other more exciting things for me to notice than her face which I see all the time! Oops, that was a tangent. It seems these things are a big deal because there were lots of visitors to the house. I liked that very much because Stacey made sure that we all went on long walks together, or if the whole group did not want to come, she always found somebody who would go with us alone. They would take Cody’s leash, which meant that Stacey had lots of attention for me. I learned how to pick up my leash and hand it to Stacey that week.
Col. Dave must love me; he asked Stacey to please not get a puppy sitter for me the day of the big retirement. He wanted me to be in all of the excitement. I did not get to go on stage, but lots of people paid lots of attention to me. Stacey was proud and pleased that I neither jumped on anybody in uniform, ate their food, nor barked at their clapping. The very next day, they left again for another vacation! As it turned out, I spent the week with an awesome puppy sitter. I got lots of undivided attention and playtime.
Puppy 2 continued with Miss Tammy on Wednesday evenings. It was a small class, so when I really knew my stuff it showed. I really nailed the whole come when called thing. Stacey is telling me not to brag on myself. She reminded me that I have an advantage over the other puppies who had not necessarily started training even before they were eight weeks old. We all know that pride comes before the fall; I did have to eat humble pie when I was unable to grasp how to “bow” or, as it’s otherwise known, the “tah dah” move!
I attended the Strawberry Festival in Olney in June; I did not get a single one by the way. There was loads of other yummy stuff for the taking on the ground: nope, did not get to eat any of that either. It was fun; lots of people to say hello to which meant lots of treats. There was music, dancing, clapping, ponies, and food smells galore! I saw hearing dog Beau with JoAnn and we acted crazy together for a few seconds before Stacey said let’s go. I think there is something strange about that red vest I wear; when I wear it I do not seem to be able to romp and roll all over the place.
The Hero Dogs Open House was lots of fun. The very best part was the rubber ducky game we played. Before that we did a demonstration in front of everybody. I did fine picking up the phone at home all week long, but I guess I got a little shy in front of all those folks. Oops, back to the rubber ducky game. There was a pool with water in it and plastic ducks floating around. We (dogs that is) had to take one duck, hold it in our mouth, and run to a bucket that was like 20 feet away and drop it in. It was the yellow dogs against the black dogs. The team that got the most ducks in the bucket wins. I “dropped” 3 or 4 in the bucket, but I took at least one back out. Also, I kind of forgot who was on my team, and I grabbed ducks from my own teammates!!
I attended my very first Monday morning “big dog class” at the end of June. Boy do I have a great deal of learning to do. Those “kennel dogs” can do some pretty amazing things, one of which is standing still while somebody walks every which way around them. They can also sit in one place for a very long time, pick up a napkin without chewing on it at all, go up and down stairs one at a time, and keep working even when surrounded by all their canine buddies. I hope I can be just like them when I am grown up.