The month of March started off with me going to the preschool where my puppy raiser teaches. Although I was bummed the kids weren’t there because it was Professional Development day, I did get to meet several teachers! Before our long day of meetings I got to go run at the tennis courts then explore Becca’s classroom and there was lots to sniff! We had two 3 hour sessions to sit through and I settled on my “place” for the duration of the presentations and activities. I also walked the halls and ran around outside on the playground during our lunch break! There are lots of different surfaces to explore – a squishy blacktop, faux grass, sand, and I went on the big climber.
We also took another trip to the outdoor town center where I walked through stores, settled in the dressing room, and did some work on the giant set of stairs there! It is important as a service dog for a future veteran to take stairs at a slow pace, even one step at a time in case my veteran needs to use me to “brace”. We practice these skills on different types of stairs – carpeted, cement, metal, tiled, etc. so that I am not unsure of any surfaces. There are so many things that we take as training opportunities that people may not realize.
In the middle of March my puppy raiser went out of town for the weekend but I got to stay with her mom. She gives me lots of love and takes me on nice long walks when Becca isn’t home. When the weekend was over I went to the train station to pick Becca up and I was so excited! I smothered her with kisses and even cried a little bit. Then she told me some more exciting news – we were expecting snow! The snow came and I ran so many laps around the yard. I even ate some of it too. During our breaks at graduate school Becca lets me run in the fenced in area off the student lounge and I did somersaults in the snow!
One night for our Hero Dogs class I got to go with a bunch of my friends to Waredaca Brewing Company for a fundraiser night support our favorite organization J I saw many humans there whom I love and dogs, including my all-time favorite, HD Ruby and HD York! I love to give them face licks because I just get so happy when I am around them, but then Becca reminds me I have a job to do! My puppy raiser and I did not win at the raffle; however, HD Boomer’s mom did and she gave us part of what she won: the Dogist book! Becca was so excited because she follows him on Instagram so of course when we got home I sat with Becca while she looked through it. I even did some browsing on a page all about therapy dogs because I know some really special Hero Dogs therapy pups! It was a wonderful night and we loved seeing how many people showed up to support Hero Dogs!
A big adventure I took this month was back down to Washington D.C. for the day. We started off by taking the metro into the city and I was a great service pup! I practiced “go through”, “turn”, and “wait” while going through the turnstiles, stood on several elevators, and settled under the seat by Becca’s feet on the few metro rides. When you are handling a service dog it makes you realize just how handicap accessible places are…or lack thereof. At one of the metro stations the elevator was not working and because it is not safe for me to go on the escalator, my puppy raiser picked me up and held me while we went down. I’m not sure why this was such a big deal because I really loved being held! The loud noises and movement on the metro didn’t bother me, although I did think the very first 2 or 3 stops were ours and got up when the doors opened. My puppy raiser told me to “settle” again and I patiently waited to get off. While we didn’t get to see the cherry blossoms in bloom we did a ton of walking around – I think it must’ve been about 6 miles! Obviously there were many crowds of people, other dogs, noises, smells, etc to be exposed to and I took it all in very well, the happy and attentive service pup that I am. We even did some “step” work on the monument stairs there. When we walked down by the water for a bit I got to take my vest off and sniff around, before putting it back on and getting into work mode again. We stopped for food (well the humans did) before I slept a lot on the metro ride back to the car and on the drive home.
One of my favorites jobs in addition to working towards being an official service dog is to help dogsit! I spent a weekend with my friend Nala at her house and boy did we have fun. There was lots of running, playing, and toy sharing that we did. Sometimes I like to be sneaky and run away with her toys, then show her what I have so that she will chase me. Nala has an awesome backyard that is huge so we got to have plenty of exercise.
My puppy raiser and I cannot believe that I turned 15 months in March – time is really flying by. I continue to work hard on my skills and go everywhere Becca does so that I will be confident and able to do my job in all places and environments…Well that’s all that my paws can type for March, but be sure to check back next month for my April adventures!