My first summer as a Hero Dog is winding down, but my dedication and focus on training are as strong as ever. Each day we continue practicing skills that I am quite good at, as well as learning new skills.
Early this month, Jamie and I attended the Hero Dogs 4th Annual Golf Tournament and demonstrated the skills I have mastered so far. It was an excellent opportunity to represent Hero Dogs, mingle with the golfers, and spend a day with my Hero Dog buddies.
During classes with the big dogs, Jamie and I continued working on mastering skills such as PAWS UP, PAWS OFF, RELAX, and ROLL OVER. One class focused on keeping our noses up and off the ground, and we also trained at a local park and focused on walking correctly – in other words, politely, without pulling, and paying attention to our handlers instead of distractions (such as other dogs).
As always, my outings weren’t limited to Hero Dogs events and classes. In early August, Jamie took me to Reagan National Airport where we practiced my Hero Dog skills and met many people, including speaking with TSA agents. Most importantly, we greeted Brent who had just returned from his long business trip. I heard that he was away for three weeks, but it felt like a lot longer than that. I was very excited to see Brent again!
We also continued training as a team in some familiar places including Golf Galaxy, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart. We spent an afternoon at Fort Meade, where Brent got another grooming at the Barber Shop, and we shopped and met several people at the Exchange. Afterward, Brent and Jamie ate dinner at Burger King, while I relaxed under the table and waited patiently.
One day, several workers showed up at the house to replace the driveway. I guess driveways get worn out just like dog toys, so it must be fun to get a new one! The whole experience didn’t bother me much, although there were some awfully loud noises – I believe they called it heavy machinery. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, service dogs are similar to Navy SEALs because they need to be adaptable to all types of stimuli. Heavy machinery certainly qualifies as a loud sound.
The weather is getting consistently cooler, which is great for playing outdoors without getting too hot and tired. One day we joined some of the other Hero Dogs at Jennifer’s field. I might have played a bit too hard, but sometimes I need to spend that extra pup energy, and I then drank quite a bit of water. I decided it would be wise to take a quiet break, and later that day I was back to my normal self.
Toward the end of the month, my puppy raisers dropped me off at the Hero Dogs facility and they embarked on a well-deserved vacation. I had the opportunity to stay with Jennifer and play with some of my Hero Dog buddies. Shortly afterward, I went to stay with a puppy sitter until Brent and Jamie return.
Now it’s time for me to explore the puppy sitter’s house and impress her with the service dog skills I’ve learned so far. Hopefully she knows how to give a good belly rub.