May 18th 2010 7:13 am
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Thank you for choosing my diary to feature among the others!
Monday was action packed. Our morning started as usual, except my person exercised me longer that is typical. She rushed around and put together a traveling bag for me that contained food, treats, extra water, my rain coat, my service dog-in-training harness and a towel.
We were late, so we ran out to the car and were away to meet our service dog (SD) friends in Grass Valley to visit Empire Mine State Park.
My person was in such a hurry that she forgot to let me pee before we took off, so she stopped as soon as possible to take care of that. Whew! She took the opportunity to get a coffee, too, because she was already feeling a bit sleepy.
It was a long drive and I was wearing a different canine seat belt harness. I don't like the Pet Buckle. Even when it's snug, it pulls around uncomfortably when I'm trying to get comfortable for a nap. I kept sighing and moving around.
Did I mention that it was a really long drive? We were a bit late. Many of our friends were already assembled in the parking lot! Zeus and his person, and Dakota and her person, Rethy and her person, Polar and her person... and a couple of new folks with a service puppy candidate named Chloe.
Soon, our friend Ollie and his people arrived and after a round of greetings, we headed into the park entrance. The park is pet-dog friendly-- one of the few States parks that is -- so we didn't have to be on duty in the park. Hooray! Good thing, because I was not in any mood to be on duty inside a park. I was running to and fro and in circles. It was such an exciting place with exciting smells and lots going on.
There were three busloads of ninth graders there for a field trip and so many of them wanted to pet me. I loved the attention! My person was delighted to have the chance to socialize me with so many young people.
Soon everyone headed back to the parking lot to have lunch. And our other SD friends were there! Yay! Jolanda and Josephine with their person and her friend visiting from out of town.
Everyone sat down to eat the sandwiches that Rethy's mom brought. Dakota's mom brought chocolate, and my person was so tempted!
We did some heeling exercises in the parking lot because my person thought perhaps I had forgotten, given my performance inside the park.
It started to rain, so I had to wear my rain coat. Ugh. I love the rain and puddles and I can't enjoy them all bundled up. We all went back into the park and went through the small museum, then went back outside to walk through the mining area of the park. We even went down stairs into a mining shaft! I had no fear. I was eager to get down there to explore.
Afterwards, we all ambled around the yard that held large pieces of equipment that had been used during mining operations. There was a photo op and my person lured me into a ... thing, and someone took my picture with my friend Ollie while I was inside the... thing.
When it was time to get out, my person picked me up and set me down. The people laughed at the look on my face. My person doesn't pick me up very often. I'm nearly 65 lbs., you know.
Our people led us into more buildings. One had some narrow, steep stairs that were fun to climb up and down. Everyone rested on a porch while Ollie and I took another photo op sitting on the short wall surrounding the building.
My person was tired and was happy to hear that it was time to go to the cafe that was next on our agenda.
The bookstore cafe:
My person had to stand out in the rain when we got to the cafe because she had misplaced her car keys. She knew they were somewhere nearby, because the car would start. When she finally found them between the seats, she suited me up in my SDiT harness and we trotted inside the bookstore.
My person indulged with a large latte. I know this only because she had trouble ordering it, not being an experienced coffee orderer.
There was a nice, large conversation area that we took over so that all of our people and us dogs would fit and still be close enough for the talk talk talking that people do. We dogs mostly dozed.
Zeus had a scary dream and startled awake and surprised the people in a table next to us. You might hear a rumor that I bit his tail, but that is NOT what happened. Zeus was just embarrassed and wanted a more dramatic cause for his actions. I was getting loves from Jolanda's mom and she can vouch for me that my mouth was nowhere near his tail.
After the people had finished talking and drinking and eating things they would not share with us dogs, we said good-bye and hopped into the car once more for the ride home. My person would call the drive uneventful. I didn't notice. I was snoring.
I woke up when we stopped at a favorite neighborhood park to stretch our legs before we went home. After my light dinner, I got comfortable in my crate for a nap before bedtime while my person talked with our friend on the phone. We were both wiped out and happy to have seen our friends.
May 16th 2010 8:25 pm
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I had to wake my person up last night from a nightmare. It's been a while since she's had one, but I still know what to do. I licked her face to wake her up and then rested my back against her so that she could stroke my fur to calm herself.
We still got up really early, so after breakfast, it was nap time for both of us: my person on the couch and me in my crate.
We both lazed about a bit after we woke up. My person printed off some more of my pamphlets. She hasn't been in the mood to educate folks lately, but tomorrow is a special day. We're meeting with our SD friends tomorrow!
The afternoon brought a long-leash walk at the Bay front park. I got to meet and play with an off-leash black lab, but only for a few minutes. My person likes to keep my interactions with strange dogs short and pleasant.
We got chased by a kite and I barked at it. The kite wielder laughed and made it dart toward us more. I didn't realize it until later that my person was not at all pleased with this, but at the time, she laughed and made me think it was all a game, and gave me enough treats to risk me having to skip dinner entirely! And you know... I think I like kites! Maybe I can convince my person to enjoy them, too.
After the park, we headed into town to a pet food store where everyone loves me. I didn't notice her getting towels before we headed toward the back of the store where the pet-wash stations are.
Sheesh. I was hoping that we would never have to repeat the whole bathing experience. I love playing in water, but am a reluctant bath taker. I voluntarily walked up the steps to the platform next to the tub, but had to be lured into the tub itself.
To my credit, I only whined once. It didn't work, anyway. She just ignored me and kept on soaking me with rinse water. Baths are miserable, but the thrill of getting toweled off was almost worth it! I. love. towels!
I needed to nap after my traumatic experience and my person puttered around the apartment while I dozed. Every so often, I'd check on her.
We did a bit of Rally off-leash this evening inside. That's fun. She likes training off-leash because coordinating the leash is too much for her to process while trying to learn something new.
Now, all we have left to do today is for my person to talk with our friend before bed. I'm chewing on my himalayan yak milk treat and thinking deep thoughts while my person updates my diary.
May 16th 2010 7:32 am
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We went a bit earlier than usual to the dog park for my daily fetch session. Afterwards, my person took me for an ambling walk to cool down. We came to the ramp up to the pedestrian overpass of the lagoon, and I decided to walk up it.
We walked almost halfway over before I decided I wanted to turn around. We ambled back down. Yay for me!
Why is this worth mentioning? Because I was previously hesitant to go over at all! We worked on this for a while many weeks ago, and then my person forgot to keep it up.
We had breakfast and then napped until about 2:00PM. My person loaded me into the car and went to a bay-side park for a long-leash walk. Most of the time, I was heeling next to my person. She encouraged me to trot around, and I did a bit.
We worked on recalls and very briefly on a couple of Rally moves. She thinks I don't notice her sneaking them in over the day. Ha! Silly person.
My person brushed me when we got back to the car, and then we were back on the freeway to go to Fry's Electronics. We had received a cold reception a Fry's in a different location and my person wanted to see if it was the same at the store closest to the park.
There was one of those huge air pressured figures flapping and dancing around at the entrance. My person thought I might be spooked so we approached slowly. No biggie for me, though. I didn't even seem to notice it.
It was really crowded! People brushed against me, even when I was very close to my person's leg. There were a couple of drive-by pets and I turned to thank my public for their affection both times. I get the feeling I'm supposed to ignore these. I'll try harder next time.
My person is trying to complete her collection of Jet Li movies and looked for any DVDs she didn't already have. There were none, so we just walked around the store a bit, and then left. We were stopped at the exit by a friendly employee who wanted to tell my person all about a guide dog that a neighbor had twenty years ago that looked just like me.
It was good practice for me to sit among the crowd going in and coming out of the store, so she listened to the entire story.
Instead of going directly home, my person stopped at a local park for a lazy walk. We did some heeling work and she thinks she snuck in a couple of Rally moves. Mostly, we just walked around and watched the people and the children on their scooters and all the dogs.
It was past time for my dinner when we got home and I ran to my crate while my person prepared my meal. I've found that my person is trained to give me food whenever I go to my crate. I love my crate!
I chewed on my Himalayan Yak Milk chew while my person talked on the phone with her manfriend. He told her to tell me "hello," which he does every conversation. He knows how fabulous I am and I'm glad he realizes it. I'm pretty fond of him, too.
May 15th 2010 7:28 am
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After Auntie Teresa left, I finally got my person to take a nap. When we woke up, it was time to get ready for our errands.
First, we went to the credit union. My person was still feeling sleepy, so we ambled over to the Peet's Coffee down the block.
My person felt like she was in Alice's Wonderland. The man who took her order asked if she wanted her coffee to be iced or hot. She thought she said hot, but he started to make an iced coffee for her.
When he asked whether she wanted room for cream, she thought she answered "yes," but there was no room for cream left in the cup.
We stopped near a manufactured stream so that she could get herself together after the confusion. When she felt confident about driving, we headed to the pdoc's office to complete more short/long term disability paperwork.
I was my (newly) usual, calm self. We did some Rally practice in the waiting room while we waited for the excellent office admin to fax the completed forms to the provider. My person finds it much easier to teach me to return to heel from the right by dropping the leash. She hopes that by doing it this way, I'll be more likely to do it without being lured by a treat by our next class.
It was a long drive home in commuter traffic. I was happy to see that we stopped at the local park for a walk before going home. We walked for about an hour. Part of the time we practiced heeling. The rest of the time, I was free to roam as long as the leash was loose.
We sat in the shade a while and watched people pass. One little girl drove her tricycle past me several times. My person was happy with this because it is yet another positive experience with a child and child-type activity.
After we returned home, I had my dinner and spent time with my chews. Even though chewing sends me into a zen sort of state, I still like variety.
May 14th 2010 10:25 am
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Auntie Teresa has left to drive home. My person and I are so happy she visited us. She knows how to appreciate dog kisses in the early morning and is very accepting of GSD behavior quirks. Maybe someday she'll visit with her pup! That would be so cool!
We're both feeling a bit down now, though. Soon it will be time to run our errands, including completing more disability paperwork at the pdoc's and taking the car to the body shop to repair the damage from yesterday's collision with an unknown object.
I think a nap is in order for us both. I just have to figure out how to get my person off the computer and stretched out on the couch.
May 13th 2010 7:46 pm
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We had a full day today and it isn't over yet!
First, we went to Baja Fresh for lunch. We sat outside and I was magnificent. I'm getting really good at restaurants! A quick stop for gas and then we were off to visit Sunol Park over in the East Bay.
We were still on the San Mateo bridge when something slammed off the windshield and bounced off the car top. My person thought it was a seagull. Auntie Teresa had a better look and thought it looked like a spool, the sort for computer network cables.
Whatever it was made the people pretty excited. I hardly cared to begin with and returned to my nap.
We drove a long time and I woke up to watch out the open window as we drove into the park lands. I was in a hurry to start one of my favorite things: sniffing around. My person was busy taking cell phone pictures of the gash in the roof of the car.
She finally remembered that I am the center of her universe and we started our walk. My favorite time was when I inched into the stream and then galloped around in the water. Well, my favorite two times, I should say, because we returned to the creek on our way back to the car.
I had the people laughing and laughing as they watched me leap out of the water again and again, and while I bit at the water and watched the ripples, and while I raced through the shallows up stream and then back down.
My person cannot multi-task and she is incapable of worrying about her car AND appreciating my antics simultaneously. She chose to appreciate my antics. Of course!!
It was a hot day and the people sat at a picnic table in the shade and talked. I did a down and just watched the world. There were cyclists, and cranky children and squirrels, and birds, and ... so much to watch and listen to and smell.
My person was getting drowsy from the heat and the walking they'd done and declared she needed coffee. After one last exclamation about the gash in the roof, she loaded and strapped me in and we were off to find coffee.
It was serendipity that led them into Pleasanton to a shopping mall. They saw a Coffee Co. and Auntie Teresa could not believe her eyes when she saw Mountain Mike's Pizza next door.
She had JUST been thinking about the Mountain Mike's Pizza that used to be in Pismo Beach and how sad she had been years ago when it closed.
And now she had a chance to have a Mountain Mike's Pizza again!! Fabulous!
My person suited me up and Auntie Teresa ordered two small pizzas. There were some children who wanted to meet me, but they mother wouldn't let them unless they asked. My person was just too tired to deal with my public and didn't look at the kids who were hovering around me. They didn't ask to pet me after all.
While the pizzas baked, we headed over to the Peet's Coffee in Raley's so they could get coffee. There was a customer who was staring at me, but my person didn't offer her energy to answer any questions or to hand out a brochure. She acted as if no one but Auntie Teresa existed. And me, of course.
We went back to the pizza place to retrieve the people's dinner and then it was back in the car for the drive home. It is becoming normal for me to do well in restaurants and stores and hence not something worthy of being included in my adventures.
Auntie Teresa is working out at the gym while my person updates my diary and I watch her as I chew my bully stick. My person finished all the talk talk talking on the phone with the auto insurance company earlier.
We might go far a really short walk before bed. We're all tired after our long, exciting day.
May 13th 2010 6:35 am
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Thanks Dogster for choosing my diary today among the others!
Yesterday was busy. We started our day in the usual way. Later that morning, after we dropped by a dog park to allow me a bit of a run, we headed over to a nearby town for some second-hand store shopping. There is a place downtown where three stores are moments on foot from each other.
We went to Le Boulanger for lunch and I did pretty well. On of my challenges is people who walk by on our left. I want to greet or acknowledge them and it isn't unusual for me to get drive-by pets. I had several challenges of this sort.
When my person and Auntie Teresa sat down, I wanted to stay standing. My person ignored me for a few minutes and I did a down-stay. I was restless at first, but soon got comfortable and dozed during their meal.
Their first store was the Goodwill Boutique. People in the surrounding area tend to be very wealthy and the selection at Goodwill reflects this. My person scored a pair of designer jeans for $20.00. I was fabulous at ignoring all of the hanging fabrics! When I got a bit restless after we were there quite a while, I looked at some clothes at my level, but my person cheesed me and I forgot all about them.
The staff was very pleasant and none of them tried to pet me. My person handed out several brochures. She was pleasantly surprised when a man stopped her to chat about her hummingbird tattoo and hardly paid attention to me at all!
We went next the Junior League shop. My person thought this might be a greater challenge because the clothes are hung much closer together, but I was really good. The staff was friendly and my person allowed me to visit with them.
We had one uncomfortable encounter. A man came in who wasn't interested in shopping. He focused on me and started a general conversation about how people are better than animals. My person and the woman shopping next to her didn't pay a lot of attention to him. My person thought he might be speaking tongue in cheek.
The man asked what sort of service I was being trained for. When my person told him, he laughed. He asked specifically how a dog could help with a psychiatric disability. When my person told him some of the work and tasks that a dog could do to help, he laughed some more.
He stopped laughing when he learned that I was being owner trained to mitigate my person's disability. He told my person to ask for help from God and repeated several times that she should do that rather than use a service animal. I held my down-stay, but I was leaning against my person's feet.
Auntie Teresa come out of the changing rooms and intervened without missing a beat and the man went away. Even better was the fact that she found a jacket she liked!
When we left the store, Auntie Teresa told my person that she had sweat on her brow. My person was indeed shaken by the encounter and the best way to handle it was to go have coffee. They agree that there are few situations that cannot be improved by having a cup of coffee with a friend.
They returned to Le Boulanger and took their coffees outside so that we could enjoy the mild weather. A couple of other dogs walked by, but I only raised my head to look at them and then put my chin back on the ground.
Dinner in Berkeley:
After a long and relaxing conversation, we headed home to pick up more treats for me and rest a few moments before heading over to Berkeley. They wanted to pick up dinner before Rally class and stopped at The Bread Factory on University Ave. I did a long air sniff when we walked by the room where the baking is done. It's open to the sidewalk and very tempting!
I did much better inside while the people ordered and waited for their food. We were running late, so they didn't have time to eat there. They had their meal boxed to go and we were off to Rally class!
We trotted in a couple of minutes late and had to dash across the room to take a spot next to Ollie and Auntie Veronica! I was so happy to see Ollie that I had very little focus.
There were only seven dogs total and class was not chaotic! I settled soon and started heeling very nicely. We're starting to learn some complicated moves.
One move my person cannot coordinate is the return to heal that requires me to go around her clockwise to sit at heel position on her left. The way the trainer has us learning this move includes my person holding my leash in her right hand with a treat, luring me around behind her, and then transferring the treat to her left hand (but not the leash!) to finish luring me to heel position.
I performed well while we were practicing our moves, but when I was running the course, I got distracted by my audience of dogs lined up on our left. My person laughed a lot, which made me happy. I like it when we have fun together!
After class, Auntie Teresa got to meet Auntie Veronica and Uncle Brad properly. Auntie Veronica asked Auntie Teresa to take some cooked chicken treats and take Ollie for a short stroll around the room. Ollie is improving his skill in being handled by people other than his immediate family. He did pretty well.
The people stopped near their cars after class and my person got a cat-scented rag to use in my feline desensitization project, and I got to try on a different seat-belt harness. Uncle Brad did his magic and got me to step into this new thing and cinched me up. My person likes this harness much better than the one we're using (my current harness is not crash-tested like the one I tried on). She'll probably get one for me soon. She's been worried about my safety in case of a collision.
After all the people finished chatting, I jumped into the car and we were off for home. I was in my crate for a while to relax while the people ate the dinner they had had no time to eat before Rally.
A brief chat with our friend on the phone, and my person was ready for bed. So was I! It was a long day. My person was very pleased with me and gave me many loves before we went to sleep.
May 11th 2010 5:29 pm
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We got up early this morning as usual, but one thing was different. Auntie Teresa was sleeping in the living room. I woke her with a dog kiss and she was very appreciative. I know because she said so.
After we finished playing fetch, we went to the grocery store for more... yep, chocolate milk. The store is usually open 24 hours, but this morning, they were closed until 6am, so we heeled around the mall while we waited for the store to reopen.
I almost made it out of the dairy and meats aisle without air sniffing, but at the last second, something delectable wafted my way. My eyes glazed over with joy. My person walked us away quickly from the scrumptious something so that I could reconnect to my brain again.
That was my only real slip up.
After breakfast and a quick nap in my crate, we left again, this time to visit REI with Auntie Teresa. Can you believe that REI doesn't open until 10:00AM? Half the day was over already! While we were waiting for REI to open, we went into the neighboring Office Depot. My person found an ink cartridge for the printer she uses to print my color brochures. I was fine at the register except that my person had to tell me to lay down.
Next, we went into REI. What a trove of marvelous scents to draw in! Nonetheless, I was pretty darned good in there. Auntie Teresa was looking for a good deal on a jacket, but there was none to be had. My person was not looking for a good deal on anything, but found a fantastic backpack on super sale. It's comfortable and light and has many pockets and places to arrange equipment, such as water bowl, water, harness, treats... plus space for her wallet and other things she carries.
Two times I made half a try for a sleeve of something we were passing, but my person cheesed me (stuck cheese in front of my nose) and led me in the proper direction. But this is such an improvement. Remember that it has not been so long since my person became the reluctant owner of two super-discount baby blankets that flew into my mouth during a visit to Target.
We loaded up our bags into the car, my person strapped me into my seat and we took off for the beach at Half Moon Bay.
We all three took a nice, long walk down the beach and back again. I was off-leash for about half of the time. The rest of the time, I was on my 30 ft long lead.
We practiced recalls. Auntie Teresa laughed when she saw me gallop to my person when called. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool and there was surf to watch. What more could a dog want?
After our walk on the beach, my person toweled me well and we went to downtown Half Moon Bay for lunch. My person and Auntie Teresa found a sandwich place that used bread baked on site.
I did a down-stay below the booth table on the patio and was practically invisible as I napped. Until there was an incident.
A lady holding the leashes of three GSDs walked through the patio dining area and when they saw me, they started barking at me!
The lady stopped to ask my person if I was a search and rescue dog. Her dogs were still barking at me but she didn't seem to notice.
Suddenly, I stood up and barked back! And the lady still didn't go away. My person didn't know what to do. Finally the lady commented that my sort of GSD was used for Schutzhund and that was probably why I was barking. My person was speechless. After I stopped barking, the lady finally took her dogs away.
My person was very shaken by this experience, but I calmed down very quickly. She analyzed the incident with Auntie Teresa, and they identified different elements that lead to this lapse, such as being trapped under a booth table with no escape from three large barking dogs. My person realized that she hadn't protected me properly. She could have jumped up on the bench and placed herself between the dogs and me.
Not that this made my barking acceptable. But there was much she could have done to alleviate the stress. I obviously felt threatened.
She also wonders whether this incident was a case of a SD being interfered with while doing its job. There was no escape for us. The dogs were 8 feet away in front of our table.
This incident has bothered her since it happened. For me, it was a short encounter. I returned to my nap within five minutes or so.
The rest of the day was very lazy. Auntie Teresa went to the apartment gym to exercise and my person dozed with me until dinner time.
I slept on my person's bed after we played a bit with my limbless lamb toy. (My person had to cut all protrusions off to keep me from tearing the entire toy to shreds. Now it is only a very fluffy ball with a an earless, squeaky head.
May 11th 2010 7:39 am
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It was a lazy Monday afternoon for me after our Costco visit. I napped and napped.
My person was very busy cleaning our apartment. This was curious to me because she hasn't done such a thing for quite a while.
We took a short walk and then my person goofed off on the computer as usual. I gathered my chews into a pile and then got down to having a nice chewing session with much to choose from.
There was a knock at the door and my person didn't put me in my kennel, but held my collar and opened the door. A new person was there! It was Auntie Teresa come to visit for the week. I didn't jump, but my person put me into my kennel because I was so curious that I was forgetting to not pull.
After a few minutes, she let me out and I had a chance to confirm what I had immediately suspected. Auntie Teresa understands me! She knows without any explanation what a fabulous dog I really am.
They did a lot that talk talk talking that humans do, and then we went out in the rain to get in the car to go get take-out for dinner.
I stayed in the car with Auntie Teresa while my person went inside the restaurant. Auntie Teresa told my person that I let out just the smallest whine when she was walking toward the door and a bit of a soft cry when she went inside.
I wanted to crawl into my person's lap when she got back, but she acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened and made me stay in the back seat of the car. When we got home, she let me give her all the love I had saved up during the 4 minutes she was out of my sight.
I slept up on the bed with my head resting on my person's feet. She likes this.
May 11th 2010 7:12 am
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My person shared with a person at the dog park that I'm being trained specifically for her psychiatric disability. No whale eye from this one! He had a lot of good questions and asked for more information. She didn't have one of my brochures on her (note to person: brochures fit in pockets. Thank you for your cooperation!) so she promised one for Tuesday.
After my breakfast, we headed off to the pdoc's office to handle more Disability paperwork. I was excellent in the office. I wanted to see the admin, because I like her a lot, but I couldn't see her from the lobby floor.
We stopped at a fast food place to get some coffee and a bit of breakfast for my person. I heeled well into the store and sat on my person's left as I am supposed to.
After my person paid, the woman at the register said she would bring our order to us outside. My person blinked and said, no. I'll wait for it in here. When the woman looked down at me, my person added. "She's a service dog. She's allowed."
The woman hesitated, but my person simply moved us over to the waiting area and smiled at her. The manager stepped in without missing a beat and handled our order.
My person put me in a down while she put cream into her coffee and noticed the woman at the register looking at me. The woman smiled and gave us a thumbs up for my performance. My person gave her a wide smile back. It's very satisfying for me person to think we might have made it just a bit easier for the next team that might pass through
We needed a lot of things from Costco, so my person took a chance with my training to do a major shopping trip. It seems to help for me to do some heeling exercises before going inside stores. Then we grabbed a cart and went inside.
We kept to the side aisles at first, but then we had to go into the center of the store where the meats and cheese are offered. Someone stopped us to comment on my beauty and to ask about me just as my person was selecting the cheeses for my high-value treats. But I did not take the opportunity to misbehave.
Not that I didn't want to. There was something on the floor just out of reach that fascinated me and I was staring at it e until my person shoved a piece of cheese in front of my face and led my eyes back up to hers. Oh yeah, I'd forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. Oops!
We finished our shopping and made it through waiting in line and then unloading everything at the register. I had to do a lot of turning and one step heeling and did fairly well, though my person almost tripped over me one time.
On our way out of the store, one of the young employees came up and started talking to me in an excited, happy voice. Another employee told him that service dogs, especially those in training, needed to not be distracted away from their job like that. Wow! Someone who knew service dog etiquette and was willing to help protect my training! My person thanked her for speaking up for us and told her how welcome it was.
I heeling pretty darned well next to the cart out to the car. I sometimes wander too far to the left, but I'm improving. My person kept me next to her while she loaded everything into the car and returned the cart to the corral.
A job well done! We went home and I got to have an unexpected Kong treat with soft dog food inside.
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