June 28th 2010 3:51 pm
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My person and I were attacked by a cat! Can you believe it?
We had taken the bus to the shopping center and were at the stop, waiting to catch the bus home. I was minding my own business, nosing a bit of grass where I proceeded to prepare to pee before our bus came.
And out of the bushes flew a little grey cat! I jumped back and it backed off a bit, but then it came at me again! I jumped back again and knocked my person to the ground. And then that little cat came after both me and my person!
I am embarrassed to admit that the cat made me cry a little. We escaped by backing up while I was barking at it.
I'm beginning to think that cats are dangerous creatures! Another one- a little black and white kitty-- attacked me last summer on my patio. Just walked up and smacked me across the nose. I was younger then, and ran into the house yelping.
That cat still stalks me around our apartment complex -- ugh. I don't think it respects me.
The day was supposed to be an adventure in busing. Just goes to show how fickle fate can be.
We took the bus to the Mall to visit Target first thing this morning. I didn't want to get on the bus at first because I didn't like the loud poofing of the air brakes. My person was clumsy paying for our ride and the bus driver was impatient.
But we did it and sat down for the ride. I was very comfortable on the bus. I wasn't sure I wanted to get off the bus, for the very same reason I hesitated getting on: those air brakes and the pneumonics for the bus to "kneel" are really loud and kind of scary.
While we were at Target, several employees come up to us to ask if I was a service dog. After the third time, my person asked what was up. Seemed a woman had brought in a pet dog and they were trying to locate her. Well, they weren't in the sock aisle with us...
One of my fans was at check-out register. She asked about my progress and didn't try to get my attention. My person likes this. I like it less, but am becoming resigned.
My person stopped for a coffee at Starbucks and while her Mocha was being built, a man and his small children came to see me. The man was telling the kids about working dogs. He was happy to receive a brochure about me me me.
We went next to Staples for some printer cassettes for our old printer. Then, we headed back to the bus stop.
THAT's when that cat attacked. I still can't believe the nerve of that grey kitty. It sure seemed to be defending it's territory. Maybe the nearby restaurant dumpster was its home. That would be sad. Still no reason to attack unassuming, unsuspecting dogs just looking for a little relief, though!
I boarded the bus without too much hesitation and dozed on the way home. We got off, walked back a block to the apartment management office to pay our rent for July, and then I was finally off-duty! Yay!
Since then, I've napped and lounged about in the apartment. My person has been busy on the computer and on the phone and in the kitchen.
June 27th 2010 7:08 am
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Instead of getting breakfast after playing fetch in the morning, my person dressed me in my seat-belt harness for a long drive to visit her psychiatrist.
I dozed. Car rides are so boring!
We weren't at the pdoc's when we stopped, though. My person suited me up and we went into a fast-food restaurant for some coffee. She gets sleepy in the morning and knew she was going to miss her morning nap. I was a hit, although everyone knew not to pet me.
Back in the car and a quick drive to the pdoc's. The door wasn't open yet, so we did some rally moves to keep busy. I like her pdoc a lot and it was hard not to greet him when he opened the door for us, but I managed after my person had me watch her so that I could refocus.
I did a down on the carpet and only tried twice to nibble at the fringe -- my biggest challenge in the pdoc's office. The pdoc is impressed with my continual improvement with relaxing during our appointments and grounding my person.
He mentioned he wanted a dog for the family and really liked the idea of a GSD, but his parents-in-law would be very uncomfortable with a family GSD. They survived a death-camp in Germany during WWII, and the guards used GSDs as weapons against them.
I don't really understand the concept of history, but it is very sad that dogs were set against vulnerable and defenseless people who were captives of other people who hated them.
The pdoc says that my person is making progress in healing from her last episode. They discussed the possibility of her returning to part time employment after September. This is exciting! I would love to go to work again!
My person took me for a bit of a walk when we got home and then I napped while she co-facilitated her online peer support group for people with mood disorders and other MI.
Then it was time for her nap, which lasted a lot longer than she planned. I tried to wake her up by licking her face, but she went back to sleep, so I did too.
Today, my person is planning to take the bus to Target to get me some chews. It isn't far, but she doesn't want to drive. She gets tired of being in the car and having to be alert.
I'll have her update my diary with any adventures we have today.
We have discovered that the local buses don't run on Sundays, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow for that adventure.
I'm sure we'll think of something else to do...
June 27th 2010 6:47 am
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Friday morning, we played fetch a bit longer than usual. I loved it! My person wanted me to use up as much energy as possible before our trip to the city.
It was my first time to SF! My person found parking, but I had to wear my vest to get out of the garage because the exit was through the Hilton Hotel Lobby.
Can you believe that there are pigeons and sea gulls that do not respect dogs? A couple of times, I tried to remind them that they should make way for carnivores, but they didn't really get the point. Sheesh.
Ollie was in the city, too! Imagine that! And he was with another SD I'd never met: Oliver, who was visiting for a few days.
My person kept some distance between me and the new dog because I have a bad habit of trying to entice play. Even if it wasn't rude, Oliver is an Italian Greyhound and sort of fragile. I could tell that he would be fun dog to get to know, though.
We went into a huge room with all kinds of antique arcade games and animatronics. It was a little overwhelming at first, especially with hanging out with a new dog, so we walked off on our own for a while.
We got a lot of attention and many people left with brochures. Ollie entertained a crowd with some of his cool moves, finishing up with picking up his leash and handing it to his Mom.
My person gave me breaks by walking outside and letting me look off the pier into the water far below. I'm fascinated by bodies of water. Maybe this is because I grew up in Arizona.
Next, some of our people needed to use the restroom. There was a class of kids hanging out near the building and they needed to make my acquaintance. I love getting new fans, and I love kids!
It was a long line for the restroom, and I surprised a few people just by being there, but no one ran away screaming.
Lunch for the people:
Then we were all off-duty and walked in search of a grassy place for us dogs to relieve ourselves. We got suited up again and went into a Thai restaurant, where we pups got comfortable while the people ate lunch.
We had another brief walk off-duty with a potty break, and then suited up again for our biggest adventure of the day. I rode a bus!
Riding the buses to Golden Gate Park:
I've seen buses before, but have never gone inside. I followed the other teams on the bus and we tramped down the aisle to the back, where there was lots of space to get comfortable.
Then the bus started to move! I wasn't sure at first that I approved of this, but eventually got used to the swaying, stops and bumps and went into a down. I made the people laugh at how I slid to and fro as the bus turned, started and stopped.
The bus started to fill up by the time we got off to wait for the next one. There were more of those pesky, disrespectful pigeons! I tried not to respond, but one got really close and I leapt toward it. My person was not pleased, but understood just how distracting being in a city for the first time could be for a dog.
The next bus we got on was crowded. Lucky for us, there were many friendly people who didn't mind us doing a bit of leaning on their legs when the bus swayed.
I think I like bus rides, because at the end was another new adventure: Golden Gate Park.
Golden Gate Park:
Green, cool, new scents and sounds. I had trouble keeping the leash loose on our walk on the paths among the trees. The people relaxed and enjoyed our stroll. We came into an open area where there were lots of people and buildings and dogs. We took some tunnels -- another new experience, but which failed to make much of an impression on me -- and then suited up again to go into the Art Museum lobby so that the people to go to the bathroom again.
Another bus ride:
We went off-duty for the walk to the bus stop and then suited up again. This bus was really crowded. There was hardly a place for a dog to stand. Eventually, our people got to sit in the seats for disabled folks, which made room for people getting on and off.
I was admired by many people and a few got pamphlets about me. One lady was really nice and didn't mind it when I did a down and put my chin on her foot. We were all pretty tired by our long day.
We changed buses and then ended up back where we started.
The Lobby of Oliver's Hotel.
The people needed to relax, so we went into the lobby of the hotel where Oliver and his people were staying. The Manager smiled so big when he saw us. He would have been a nice fan to add to my collection, but my person had kept me on-duty and wasn't up to chatting.
The other pups went off duty. Oliver gets really fun and wriggly when he gets to take off his vest. He was rolling around on the carpet, having a great time when I started barking at him!
Yikes! GSD barks are big! I hope Oliver wasn't startled. My person told me that Oliver had every right to be enjoying himself and that we are going to be working on staying calm when other dogs are being wriggly and bouncy.
Soon, we parted from all of our friends, new and old. I hope I get to see Oliver again some time. I stayed on duty as we walked back to the hotel lobby to take the elevator down to the parking lot.
It was a long and very successful day full of adventure. My person is really jazzed about my comfort with public transportation. She's going to start taking the bus locally so that she doesn't have to drive all the time.
I'm cool with that.
June 22nd 2010 7:39 am
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On Sunday, we did the two errands that my person had planned on doing Saturday after our San Jose meet-up with the other N. Cal teams, but was too tired to accomplish.
First, we went to Costco. Even though we got there close to first opening, it was crowded. We spent a little time practicing heeling with the cart in the aisles with the fewest people, then we headed into the grocery section.
I stayed in my sit/stay like a champ while my person stepped in and out of the milk refrigerator. I had some trouble paying attention in the dog food aisle. One of the bags had torn and spilled kibble that had been brushed across the aisle.
I was excellent in line at the cash register and had only one mistake while we were waiting for the exit staff to check our cart. A young man did a drive by pet and I tried to lick his hand.
I did well in the parking lot on the way to the car except at one section of curb that was so intriguing that I pulled hard enough to make us take a sudden left turn.
After loading the groceries into the car, we hopped in and drove to Target. The pavement was hot, so we ran. This was so much fun that I wanted to keep running and play tug with my leash, but my person made me do a down/stay for a few minutes in the shade on the sidewalk and I returned to work mode.
Target was more crowded than I have ever seen it! There were many smiles, but more frowns than usual from the people we passed. I did well, though there was some air-sniffing in the baking aisle.
At the line, there were several toddlers who wanted to play with me. I leaned in their direction until my person made me re-focus on her. We were almost to the cash register when an electric cart eased behind us. There was a dog in the front basket! A dusty white Westie.
I was only mildly interested at first, but that dog was staring at me, so I wanted to get closer. I pulled on my leash until my person lured me ahead of her so that she was between me and the still-staring dog.
I looked over at it a few more times, but by then, my person had finished paying for our stuff and it was time to leave.
Overall, a successful morning of shopping. We took a brief walk after returning home and then had our daily naps.
June 22nd 2010 7:00 am
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Here it is Tuesday and my person has still not updated my diary to share our Saturday adventure at the Tech Museum in San Jose.
We stopped first at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I did a great job of creating personal space for her in the crowd.
The Parking Lot:
Next, she put on my seatbelt harness (ick!) and off we went down the freeway. When we stopped, we were in downtown San Jose. Parking was easy, but paying for it was a hassle. There were many people wearing bright costumes crowding around, trying to convince other people standing in line to let them cut in because they were late.
I licked the back of the knee of one person who shoved in front of us. She jumped and my person pretended she didn't see it, though it was hard to hide her smile.
Monopoly Board at the Children's Museum Park:
We were walking toward the park when I saw my pal Ollie and his people. Yay! We all walked together to the park where we were going to wait for the others.
No one was there, so we walked around on the grass. It was hard to restrain myself from a couple of play leaps toward Ollie, but he forgave me.
Soon, a new team approached us. It was Becker! We've been waiting a long time to meet him. My person said he was beautiful, but all I saw was a new dog to meet and play with. However, the people didn't allow this. We walked up and down the park field in parallel so that we could form a pack before we walked over to the Tech Museum.
I made several play leaps at Becker, who was solid as a rock in ignoring my lapses. On the walk to the museum, I led the way to avoid feeding my habit of pulling to catch up to everyone.
The Tech Museum:
When we got to the museum, Jolanda was there! I love Jolanda! Soon, we were joined by a new dog: Hunter. My person said he's beautiful too, though (again!) all I saw was another potential playmate.
We waited for Muppet and Hambone, two other teams we haven't met before, but they didn't come, so we went into the lobby and then into the museum.
There were so many kids! I love kids!!! And Hambone was there and I couldn't resist another play leap. Hambone is a happy lab, and very politely ignored my repeated lapse in restraint.
Our people took us through lots of exhibits. One had a screen showing me in infrared. Of course, I was just as lovely in infrared as I am in daylight.
We all gathered in the lobby to wait for the Imax movie theatre to open. Finally, a chance to meet my fans. A couple of really nice girls came up to pet Ollie and talk to his Mom, and then they came over to me! They gave me loves and pets and I returned their love by licking the face closest to me.
One lady came over and asked about us SDs. My person chatted with her briefly and gave her my pamphlet even though we were supposed to be taking a group photo. We hurried over and made it into a couple of pictures before going into the theatre.
Inside the theatre, I fit just fine in the row because no one was sitting beside my person, and everything was great fun until a series of horrible, loud noises erupted around us.
I wasn't frightened by the noises at first, but only a few minutes into the previews, my person perceived that I was beginning to feel trapped and needed to leave. So we did.
Ollie and his people left, too. Ollie had to help his Mom because she didn't like the noises either. My person's brain was a bit scrambled, so Ollie and I grounded our people until they were able to continue enjoying the museum.
We went up to the roof, where our people sat at the tables and ate while Ollie and I rested in the shade. Planes were going overhead and at first, they were really interesting to me. Eventually, I became bored with watching them and settled in for a nap.
The best part of the visit was playing with the exhibits downstairs! There were all sorts of things to do! There was a tunnel to walk through and blocks to stand on and kids everywhere! I became accustomed to some new sounds, like the shwooshing of the jet pack simulation.
One exhibit I could have done without was the earthquake simulation. One minute, I was laying comfortably on the platform and the next, there was a terrible jolt. I was ready to jump away to a safe place but my person didn't let go of me, so I had to endure the rest of the crazy shaking.
It turned out that the earthquake simulation we were on was the Loma Prieta quake, which was stronger than all the other simulated quakes. Just my luck.
We stuck around to watch other people get shook up on the platform at a safe distance and I lost my initial discomfort. I didn't want to get really close to it, though.
Becker came by and my person stopped to chat with Becker's Mom. I restrained myself and didn't leap to invite play. I was tired, and so was my person, so we said good-bye and left. The rest of the day, my person and I napped and played inside.
Overall, my person said I did very well meeting so many new dogs and braving the new noises and activity and still helping my person handle the crowd.
June 20th 2010 4:08 pm
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My person is even more forgetful than she thought. She entirely forgot that we had an adventure last Thursday!
It was time for the car to get its 40K mile check-up. To beat the traffic on our way to the dealership, she loaded me into the car only a half hour after we finished our post-fetch walk. Without breakfast! Outrageous!
We were there just when the maintenance department opened, but we were not the first ones, so we had to wait in the car. One person startled my person by tapping on the window next to me to get my attention. I just smiled at them.
The attendant who processed our paperwork said "whoa!" when he saw me. I took it as a compliment.
It turned out that there was a recall notice for a repair, so we were going to have to wait an extra two hours. We settled into the tiny waiting area that was only about three times the size of the blaring TV on the wall.
My person had a book, but she watched a congressional committee prepare to question the CEO of BP. Forty-five minutes later, the CEO had still not been asked a single question.
One of the auto mechanics asked about me and was surprised to hear that a person had to have a major disability to use a service dog. When he asked, my person told him that I was being trained as a psychiatric service dog. Like many, he had never heard of such a thing. My person gave him one of my brochures.
He was very nice and I could tell he wanted to pet me, but resisted the temptation. Few can. I admired his restraint.
The other people in the waiting area looked at my person a bit differently after that, but when she showed no signs of turning into a homicidal monster, returned to their newspapers and coffee.
We zipped out of the waiting area when she got a phone call from our friend and took a bit of a walk outside. After our friend sent his love to me (which is always the way he ends our calls), we encountered a person waiting for a bus who wanted to know all about me. She got a pamphlet, too.
My person wanted to read her book so we went to a different waiting room where some of the cars were displayed. Another person approached us because I am so very beautiful and I reminded her of her old GSD. She asked specific questions and got specific answers and a brochure to top it off.
The other people waiting had been listening in, but did not do anything other than smile and return to whatever they were doing to pass the time.
We took another short walk and returned to the waiting area where more of the staff stopped to ask about us. One of them was a woman who had diabetes and whose beagle used to make a fuss when her blood sugar changed dangerously. A PSD made perfect sense to her.
We had some time to ourselves finally, (my person was getting a bit weary with repeating herself) and I had a short nap. Another very nice lady sat down next to us and asked about me and my person chatted with her a bit before giving her a brochure.
This lady returned later to give my person a brochure about a religious event at the Cow Palace in a few weeks. The nice lady thought it might be a relatively calm place to train in a very large crowd. "Thank you so much for inviting me," said my human.
I'm all for it if there is the possibility of picking up more fans!
Finally, when our car was ready, we drove home. It was only a three and a half hour wait, but we were both tired and napped well upon our return.
Next chapter is our adventure at the Tech Museum in San Jose on Saturday. Coming soon!
June 19th 2010 6:33 am
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Are the two related somehow?
Friday morning was chocolate milk day after we played fetch. We heeled around in the courtyard of the the shopping center to get me into work mode before we went into the grocery store.
At first, I was going okay although I did some air sniffing in the baking aisle. I sat when my person stopped walking. I sat politely while she grabbed the carton from the refrigerator.
But I was rotten at checkout. A new fan was there. While my person was trying to pay for the milk, my new fan stood nearby and talked to me. I jumped up from my down-stay and tried to say hello to my new fan. Twice.
We did a lot of heeling practice after we left the store with many automatic sits and some long down-stays before we got in the car to go home.
After a breakfast and a nice, long nap, we hopped in the car and went to the pet food store. Everyone there loves me and give me treats if I do something silly, like sitting.
Instead of going to the aisle where my kibble waits for me, we stepped into the bathing room!
I got into the tub without too much encouragement, but I don't like baths. I gave my person the mournful eye the entire time.
When we were finally done, it was towel time. I love getting toweled off!
One the way home, though, I had time to think. It's been a long time since I've been a true brat. And then I get a bath.
June 14th 2010 12:31 pm
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We haven't been to the library for a long time. It had new carpeting and furniture and I wanted to sniff it all. We heeled around the furniture islands and up and down aisles before my person slowed down to look for something to read.
I was in a sit/stay behind her while she browsed New Fiction, so she didn't see the toddler that tottered over to greet me. By the time she noticed the child, we were face to face and I was touching my nose to her chin, getting ready to give her a big, slurpy lick.
The teeny girl screwed up her face and stepped backwards, and then giggled. We couldn't see her people, but a voice shouted for her from the other side of the library, and she toddled off.
My person was very pleased with my gentleness and the fact that I didn't approach the child when she stepped back, but stayed in my spot.
She wasn't thrilled that I had touched the toddler at all while on duty, though--that's a situation fraught with potential for misunderstanding.
Overall, my person was very pleased with me and proud of my performance in the library. My focus has improved a great deal and it showed.
Next, we went to Target for a little training and shopping. We got a package of five large pressed rawhide bones for me to chew for an excellent price. We'll be buying them from Target from now on.
I did great heeling through the aisles while she shopped. The thing that kept me from being a model service dog in training (SDiT) was that I became progressively unable to ignore a 9 year old boy whom we kept meeting up with as we strolled up and down the aisles.
The last time we saw him, he ran by and I strained against my leash to see where he went. That was a fun kid and probably would appreciate playing with a dog like myself.
I was very good as we waited in line. I entertained the baby in the cart ahead of us simply by being a dog. Our checker was marvelous and didn't try to get my attention or even look at me. Well, my person thinks this is marvelous, but it is making me start to ponder the possibility that I am not the center of everyone's reality.
Nah. Not possible.
June 13th 2010 6:50 am
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Wednesday: Rally class
Wednesday night brought back our Rally class. Yay! There are only four or five dogs this class, which will be a lot easier to manage. Ollie was there, and Appletini and a new dog: a miniature Australian Shepard.
My person has trouble navigating left and right. When she's focusing on the sign that tells us what movement to perform, she can't focus on me.
Hee hee hee...This essentially gives me free rein to goof off and not pay attention to her until she refocuses on me (shhhh! Don't tell her!)
There were stacks of bagged dog food, cat food and cat litter in the practice area. These things practically demanded a great deal of sniffing, but I wasn't allowed even one! At first, I had trouble concentrating at that side of the room, but I got better as the class went on.
I started goofing off about ten minutes before class ended. I didn't want to just pass the signs on the floor. I wanted to take them with us! My person said "ack!" That was fun.
Thursday morning: Safeway during rush hour
Thursday morning, we went to Safeway in the very late morning. It was our first time going when it was super-busy. I did better than she expected. My greatest challenge was while we were in a long, slow line and there was a group of small children I just knew wanted to pet me and play with me. I didn't get up from my down/stay, though I gazed at them longingly until my person sang my name.
I did a great job of keeping the man behind us from standing too close. He seemed to think I was taking up too much space, but for once, my person didn't care. I was taking up exactly the amount of space necessary.
We had given our checker a pamphlet earlier in the week, and it was obvious that she had read the SD etiquette portion. She asked about me without leaning over to look at me. My person was so pleased that she gave me a scratch behind the ear. Gooooood.
Saturday afternoon: Freestyle
Saturday afternoon brought our first freestyle class. Ollie was there and his sissy Sabrina. Sabrina and I aren't friends yet, so we stayed on opposite sides of the room. My human adores Sabrina and she was sad that she couldn't greet her, but we all need discipline, don't we?
Ollie was the star. His rear work is amazing, the way he can pivot even though he is such a big dog. I made some progress.
It was really hot and I needed to drink a lot of water. When there were 10 minutes left for class, I stuck my paws in the water dish and spilled water everywhere! This made me very happy and my person was also excited about it. She called me a little monster, which I am sure is a term of endearment.
At one point, the people put up a circle of fence, one for each of us. My person walked into this fence and closed it so that I could not follow! I was having NONE of that and I found a way inside.
She put me right back out! Can you believe it? Then we practiced circles with her inside and me outside the fence. I got a lot of treats for that, so I forgot to try to get back inside. We were seeking the best rhythm for each of our natural paces. There was a lot of noise that people call music, but I wasn't paying attention to that.
I was exhausted at the end of class and slept all the way home. We took a nap together when we got home. Our apartment was much cooler than outside.
Sunday morning: Safeway before 6:00AM
After a long, slow walk to cool down after playing fetch this morning, we headed over to Safeway for chocolate milk. We heeled around outside first to get me into work mode. That was tail-waggingly fun! She made happy noises because I was right where I belonged no matter which way she turned.
I was in a very happy mood and we had to walk slowly down the aisle to the milk refrigerator so that I could slow down and pay attention.
I did a marvelous sit/stay while she opened the fridge to choose a carton. I heeled like a princess on parade to the check-out stand.
It was a welcome surprise for my person to get another checker who had read my pamphlet and who pretended I wasn't even there. I really like attention from my fans and was just a bit miffed that there was none, so I focused on my person, who gave me a treat for being so good. That made up for it!
It's supposed to be a hot day, so my person plans on taking for a late morning walk before hunkering down in our apartment to wait out the worst of the heat.
We have lots of new moves to practice for freestyle. I'm sure we'll have fun inside. I don't like to brag, but it really isn't possible to not have fun when I'm around. It's one of my natural talents.
June 9th 2010 11:29 am
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This morning we went to Costco.
I. So. Totally. Rule. I know because my person told me so.
I was fabulous! She didn't know how I would be, because I was extra frisky this morning. Well, I put all of my friskiness into my job.
I focused on my human. I heeled like a champ behind the cart. We did right turns and left turns and inside U turns and outside U turns. I held a sit/stay when she climbed into the milk refrigerator.
I kept pace while she slowly browsed the coffee aisle. While we were waiting in line, I did my down/stays very close. I was focused while she was paying for the stuff, and I heeled like the princess I am all the way back to the car.
Plus, I held a sit/stay while she loaded our groceries into the car AND I heeled properly with my tail wagging when she returned the cart.
Success sure tastes good. I got an extra treat when we got home.
Yesterday, even though my person didn't want to face the world, she needed to go vote.
I was occasionally unfocused in the hallway of the Community Center where the ballots were being cast. One of the volunteers would not stop staring at me while he asked my person a lot of questions about me (he didn't want a brochure). I still have trouble ignoring my fans at times, but I remained in my down/stay. Yay me!
My person had a hard time attending to his questions, making sure I didn't break my down/stay, and signing in to vote, but she did it.
When we left, one of the volunteers who gave us the whale eye when we came in commented on how well behaved I was, so I couldn't have done too badly, right?
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