Their visit began late last month, remember? They had fun practicing a few of my skills with me the very next afternoon after I, Louie, presented the ‘Louie Show.’ The house emptied all of its visiting small humans on April’s fourth day, which opened a wonderful opportunity for me to chew my bone upon a rather large but depleting pile of comfy bedding next in line to be washed.
But before they departed, I attended a small human’s two-year-old birthday party along with all the visiting small humans. I had never seen so many two-year-old humans gather at the same time in one house, and oh puppy! It was a sight to be seen!
I stood perfectly still while I watched them stuff themselves into a large vehicle used for time travel, and then poof! They disappeared. I glanced at my puppy raiser, stared at the road, glanced once again at my puppy raiser, and then went inside my house and waited in anticipation for my next adventure.
I saw Ruby!! It was magical! My college sister and I played together for forty-five minutes before giving an informal three hour demonstration at the Miller Library during the Howard County Veterans Resource Fair. We made a great team and had a wonderful time together. Ruby even asked me if she could share my mat. I shared very well, and loved her company as we chomped in unison on our swapped bones. Everyone we met loved us both! I adore Ruby and was honored to have had the opportunity to work with her.
Grounded!! My unique talent of flying has come to an abrupt halt! My happy feet which have a mind of their own have been told in no uncertain terms that they need to walk the earth because they officially no longer belonged to a puppy. My April 7th, ten month birthday marked my first official day of Big Boy Class. I am officially no longer a puppy – I am a Big Boy! My feet and I welcome the challenge! The only problem with this is that I will not be able to use my adorably manipulating expressions to lighten any misdeeds which may have occurred. Yes, with ten months come a stricter set of rules and responsibilities!
Thanks to my happy feet, my entrance to the first official big boy class was unforgettable. As I walked up to the entrance my excitement was audible in a soprano-like pitch which my vocal chords chose to share with everyone in ear shot. I sat at the entrance door, but once it opened my happy feet could no longer resist those alluring Hero Dogs seated on the other side of the glass door, and my happy feet lifted off. I flew into the room – likened to a malfunctioned space shuttle lift-off – an astonishing entrance for all to behold… not one of my most graceful entrances.
Soon after this most impressive entrance came my ten month reality check… the gentle leader. I am quite sure that teenage humans can relate to my happy feet dilemma; my mind was telling me one thing, my body was telling me another thing, my teacher was telling me yet another, and as all present witnessed, my happy feet had a mind of their own and did not listen to any of them!! I will master my feet just like I have mastered my many skills.
During this month I have practiced wearing my gentle leader in Walmart, Home Depot, the mall, the ‘White House Black Market,’ Starbucks, the Towson Wegmans where my puppy raisers met a Hero Dogs Kennel volunteer, and to a business meeting in an effort for my feet, brain, and body to unite. I, Louie, am the coordinator of all these body parts, after all. This is an enormous responsibility of which I welcome.
And with all that gentle leader experience… ‘Would You Believe’?? I did not fly into my second class! Rather, I followed the ‘Mission’ that my ‘Chief’ (that would be my puppy raiser) gave me which was to ‘Get Smart.’ My Happy Feet ‘KAOS’ lost out to ‘Control’! Yes, I, ‘Agent’ Louie, was in control of Happy Feet. Furthermore, I am permitted to tell you about it because I had never entered the ‘Cone of Silence.’ Some of us are familiar with the ‘Cone of Shame,’ which is a whole different animal than the ‘Cone of Silence’ and with which I hope never to become familiar.
I was reacquainted with an old puppy-hood friend, Bobby, over lunch after Big Boy class one morning. It was especially nice now that we are actually big boys and like each other. He shared his bones with me, and I shared my water with him…it was teamwork, and we both were perfect gentlemen.
I met with a lot of my buddies for the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Baltimore Arena where, at times, we each gave very brief, informal demos, and humans placed a lot of green paper into the plastic buckets we each were given. The audience was vast and varied, and the decibel level was extreme. There was a foreign black lab visiting for the night but he was not in training nor one of us Hero Dogs. His job was to keep all the humans and canines safe. I feel sure that his nose was given the job for the night. We saw each other often, at one time working across the hall from each other. He seemed like a friendly chap but we admired each other from afar since it was not the time to be social.
My puppy raiser and I quietly positioned ourselves in two strategic locations before the humans entered the building. The first was in the vicinity of the foreign black lab for the back stage invitees. The second was at another entrance. At this entrance a female human dropped green paper into my bucket. She was hurried and pensive, and dropped her keys but neither she nor my puppy raiser had noticed! Two seconds later after observing neither this female human nor my puppy raiser were bending down to retrieve the keys, I, Louie, jumped into action and picked them up off the floor and placed them into my puppy raiser’s hand. This female human was the last to talk with my puppy raiser during those seconds so we tracked her. She thanked my puppy raiser for noticing but my puppy raiser told her that she had not noticed; however, ‘he’ did. That brought a smile to this female human’s face and might have slowed her pace a bit. This act of kindness offered her happy thoughts for the night.
Another person quickly handed ME green paper not knowing how much I love its taste (my brain yelled, TREEEEAT!!)… and yes, just in case you are curious, the green paper did make it into the basket.
Later, we all settled down with our puppy raisers for water and rest. I sat with my puppy raiser next to a window where a human reached out of a hole in the glass to wave at me. She had a huge smile on her face and was laughing, so I got up and put my paws up on the counter so that she could pet me through the two holes in the glass window – one hand to each hole!
Later during the concert I met up with my buddies at a ‘pee party.’ My buddies and I also had one before we all entered the building on our arrival. The ‘pee party’ is likened to the ‘tea party’ where tea was thrown overboard.
As the night wore on, my ten-month-old eyes began to get heavy so I settled behind the Hero Dogs table on my mat and proceeded to take a much needed nap. After my power nap I felt rested so my puppy raiser and I positioned ourselves once again, this time near an exit.
Before the vast number of humans exited the concert hall, Mr. Bruce Springsteen himself spoke a bit about Hero Dogs and the Maryland Food Bank, another charity that was also represented. The bucket was quickly filled, and after I curled up and fell asleep as they exited, the bucket was stuffed to the rim. As you can imagine, this debonair big boy was rather tired. The humans thought that I was adorable and were amazed that I am only ten months old with the size of the body I coordinate, and that I was ‘so calm.’
It was a very long night, but my buddies and I were troopers and enjoyed ourselves and each other’s company. The concert goers were extremely generous, and the concert was a success.
Just two days after the Springsteen concert my puppy raisers and I were transported in an extremely long, screechy-loud dark tube, packed with so many humans that at one point we stood. I had no problem standing while being transported but this seemed to be such a primitive way to transport oneself. Humans refer to this tube as a ‘subway’ which is odd because humans also eat subways.
The first tube, which wobbled just like my Kong Wobble, dropped us off under the earth rather than at our destination. We walked off the tube only to be transported in an elevator to another tube which made absolutely no sense. If we are to be transported when doors close, would not you think that when its doors opened we would have arrived at our destination? Perhaps humans could take a lesson from Harry Potter?
My ‘under‘ skill came in mighty handy these last few days. At Mr. Springsteen’s concert I had to go under criss-crossing garage fencing to get to the transport vehicle because the transport vehicle insisted on playing hide and seek from the third to the fourth levels of the garage. On this day I used my under skill to enter and exit the tube’s station… easy enough.
By now I bet that you are wondering where my destination ushered me! This journey was to my very first baseball game – the Washington Nationals played a baseball game with Minnesota Twins, which they won 8 to 4!! I think that I, Louie, must have brought them good fortune. Humans hit balls with a stick, threw balls to each other, and caught balls in a leather mitten. The only thing they were missing was Louie! Since I am very fast I could have run after the balls and circled the bases several times before being tagged.
It was so nice to see a familiar face at my very first baseball game! The friendly chap’s nose which was working during the Springsteen concert was also working during the Nationals Baseball game. We admired each other once again from afar but knew not to communicate… at least in the way that humans observe us communicating.
The night clouds were spitting rain droplets and my puppy raisers and I wanted to avoid a sardine-packed tube so we left the baseball game early. This may have helped a wee bit. We also arrived late to the baseball game which must have helped a wee bit. On the way out I met Bill, the Washington Nationals’ mascot. He is mostly full of air and I had never seen anyone so tall. Bill was very friendly to me.
We took the stairs any time we could rather than an elevator while under the earth, in part because the elevators either insulted our noses or held a puddle. The other part is because we liked the exercise.
While in the tube, I practiced ‘back‘ into our seat area. It was easier to do this on the way to the game. On the way home, in the second tube, it took a couple of tries. Once there, my body squirmed even though I had my clean, familiar mat, and oozed under the seat in front of us, and then it squirmed again and left my backside in the aisle. My puppy raisers corrected my body parts; however, being its coordinator, I would have preferred a little more leg room. I am a big boy, after all.
I enjoyed watching the baseball game, and very much enjoyed observing the foreign black Lab’s nose at work. It was an exciting journey, and the foreign Lab worked hard to keep everyone safe once again.
Jinkies!! I walked peacefully with my puppy raisers into an appliance store when, out of the blue, a tiny leash-less, roaming Yapper came flying around a large appliance. His teeth seemed larger than his head and he challenged me to a duel! Yapper was tiny, and was obviously cursed with the ‘small dog syndrome,’ but I, Louie, did not react – not even a peep! I was wearing my new gentle leader which had gotten rather snug for that moment because my puppy raiser, who was stunned at Yapper’s ridiculously rude greeting, wanted to keep me safe. Even though I was surprised, I remained a gentleman, and turned to get away from Yapper’s nasty behavior. Yapper must still be learning how to coordinate all of his body parts. Would you believe that Yapper followed me aggressively? That is when my Billy jumped in and sternly spoke from his diaphragm, ‘that is enough!’ Only then did Yapper’s owner come to snatch him up. After snatching Yapper up, its owner spent a lot of time with me because he was impressed with my behavior and wanted to make sure that I and my puppy raiser were not frightened. Both of my puppy raisers praised me immensely for my mature behavior.
I am Louie, Louie I am, and a part of life is about how you handle the curveballs. During one April week I learned the difference between ‘push‘ and ‘paw‘ because there are times when cabinets absolutely should not be pawed. This skill is not one hundred percent just yet, but have no worries, it will be one hundred percent very soon! I already know the difference between ‘hup‘ and ‘paws up‘ so I began to practice paws up on a closet door while simultaneously pressing the easy button. The challenge-of-the-month is ‘leave it.’ I never cared for this one. Remember? One of my nicknames was Leave it Louie. I love a challenge, and I love to challenge… I am a teenager after all.
My very first dental visit: The office was modern, very clean, and had multi-colored, shiny hand-held tools on a tray next to the reclined chair that held my puppy raiser. I settled at the foot of the chair the entire visit alongside my other puppy raiser, and never once was I tempted to take those multi-color-coded tools. The dentist and the staff, whom I met that day, told my puppy raisers that they liked me and thought that I was very well behaved – and very handsome… but of course; I am Louie! I was so very well behaved that my puppy raiser asked the other if he thought I felt well… hmmmm. That question was answered the moment we returned home! My wit swayed my puppy raiser to throw my new ball! I was just acting mature while wearing my vest.
I, Louie, met four wonderful schools of human students during the John Poole Middle School Career Day. I gave four demonstrations, back to back, to four groups of human teenagers who had an interest in animals, in the gym of their beautiful building. I demonstrated one of my new skills: paws up while simultaneously pushing the easy button, along with sit, stand, down, pick up keys, and I even pulled on a rope which is a new skill on which I have been working. Performing these skills under pressure seems to reinforce them. I shared this animal-interested career day portion with an Animal Control officer and a rather young, modern Farmer. The middle school students’ raisers made a wonderful breakfast and lunch for all their guest speakers, which my puppy raisers very much appreciated.
April closed with my puppy raiser’s Columbia Flute Choir Hero Dogs Benefit Concert, which I had announced to you last month, remember? The choir’s colors are the same as Hero Dogs! I was at Starbucks since I could not attend this one. I was told that the concert program consisted of all original music written by Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda, who is a choir member herself, and that our very own Barbara gave a wonderful Hero Dogs presentation… which had a photograph of me, Louie, at the very end! The concert was a great success! Thank you to all who attended and or made a donation, and to the Dulin church for hosting our Hero Dogs benefit concert!
Whew! My tenth month was Astounding! I hope you all are enjoying life as much as I! I am Louie, Louie I am, and I cannot wait to see what May brings!