Monday, May 27, 2013

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The Girl Crazies

Saturday night we were given free tickets to see the Storm play at the St. Pete Times Forum because Southeastern Guide Dogs had won the Charity vote ($3500!).  It was going to be a fun, but loud event, so only the big puppies were asked to come for a photo shoot and to meet and greet people.  Coach said sure! We also invited our friend Dana who agreed to take photos for us.

Coach and Dana on the ride over to the Forum.
Dana is also the band director at my school, so she is pretty familiar with Coach, but this would be her first experience at a puppy event for Southeastern.

Joining us in the care were Stephanie and Coastie (a yellow lab).  They are neighbors. 
Stephanie and Coastie came with us.  Coastie goes in for training in a couple of weeks.  Stephanie is the new Central Area Coordinator for our group.

Puppy raising, in  many ways, is a lot like raising children. Or at least to my mind, it is.  That may be because, having never had children, I just see it that way.  It seems like the puppies are perpetual 2 year olds and you just never know what kind of behavior to expect.

Generally, Coach is a calm sweet boy.  We can take him to restaurants and stores and have a lovely time.  But sometimes, at puppy meetings, he can be a handful, but that was usually when he was still intact.  When he got fixed, his calm docile nature seemed to come back.  The girl crazies went away.

Until Saturday night.

It started out just fine.  We walked up to the group and Coach was great.  We started talking with a nice young lady whose mom worked at the forum about guide dogs and Coach was being very well behaved.

As we talked, more and more puppy raisers came and more puppies arrived.  More girls arrived.  There was Brittany, Cindy, Zelda, Bernie, Liberty, Ava, Song, and the Queen Bee herself: Carly.

Carly looking prim and proper in her blue coat.

This is Carly.  She is what I would call the Marilyn Monroe of puppies. She exudes doggy sensuality. At least I think she does, because all the boys seem to go wild over her when she flips over and shows her belly.

They don't seem to do that for the other girls.  It must be the long blonde hair....

Liberty (a yellow lab) in her blue coat, lying down,  looking sweet and cute.

Well, she did that last night and Coach loved it. And it didn't stop with Carly. He thought Zelda hung the moon and Liberty was pretty awesome as well. In fact, I don't think there was a lady dog there that he wasn't fond of, well, there was Song.  And that was just because Song decide she didn't like him much.  I think he would have been ok with her, but she put the kibosh on that.

Caleb is kneeling behind Cindy, his
yellow lab puppy, who is adorable!

  A friend of mine is having problems with her 2 year old getting upset and biting.  She's trying to figure out ways to teach her daughter how to manage her frustration that don't include automatically going for the bite.  As a former biter, I can tell her, she is in for more biting incidents.  It's a hard habit to break, but her daughter will grow up to have friends and be relatively normal. Now, Coach's problem on Saturday night was, like biting, one involving boundaries.  He was definitely overstepping his boundaries and entering into the personal space of the female dogs.  That's where I stepped in.  It's a tricky line.  You have to let them make the choice to misbehave.  I mean, didn't I just read that article on the Huffington Post about letting your kids take risks? About how American parents have it all backwards?  Didn't our trainers say that we need to say the command and let the dog make the decision?

Coach was being very tricksy.  He would lie down, be a good boy and then when Zelda or Carly would get close, he would SPRING at them and invade their "personal space."  Because he would do this from a down stay and  a calm sit, it took me by surprise.  The first two times.  Then I realized what was going on and this was the event where every female puppy had RSVP'd.  His only competition was Coastie and Theo.  Theo had bad elbows and was on a short leash and Coastie was perfectly controlled.  Therefore, the field was cleared for takeoff!

That's when the photographer showed up and asked for us all to get a group photo outside.  Oh CRAP.

That's never going to happen.  I was thinking about the circle of acceptance.  Coach is never going to be in the circle tonight.  He can't get near the ladies.  He is INDECENT! And the photographer wants a photo.  So we gingerly walk up to the group.  Coach tries for a rush at one of the girls.  We do not make it into the photo.

Then we move inside the Forum.  The event logistics are explained to us.  Three dogs are going to be on the photo stand for people to take photos with.  Then we will switch out dogs as they become tired.  I keep Coach on the periphery.

There is another call for a group shot.  Carolyn asks for Coach and I to get in this shot this time.  Here is Dana's photo capture of my trying to wrestle Coach off of Song and into a semblance of a respectable photo position.  I can guarantee you that we didn't make it into the photo.  The poor photo lady keep given me a look, like please take him off the stage.  I should have left.  I should have left.

The group on the stage.  I am front row right with Coach.  Coach is facing
left and looking at Song.  Song sees Coach and isn't pleased.

I think I am asking for help or guidance or maybe looking for the light.
See how Coach is gazing deeply into Song's eyes?

Coach is invading Song's personal space.  I am trying to yank him away and
am clearly in a not very ladylike position.  Thankfully, I have pants on.

Success!  I hold Coach in my arms and have him facing right, away from the other dogs.
By this time, all photos have stopped and I don't care.
But there was plenty of good times.  When Coach was outside the circle of acceptance, he was a great boy.

Jennifer Bement and I Looking at something while Coach is in a down stay being good.

Here he is lying down and being calm.  We met several families and had some nice chats with kids.

Coach meets the Storm mascot and isn't afraid.  He liked his fuzzy coat!

We even met the Storm's mascot and Coach was not afraid in the least!

Arena football is very loud and has lots of graphics and lights.

Caleb, Mike, and Leslie with puppy Cindy and Mike's guide dog
Brittany receiving the check from the Storm's manager.

We also got to see Mike Jernigan receive the check for $3500 from the Storm for Southeastern Guide Dogs.  I wonder if they will name the puppy Storm?

Photo of the backs of Stephanie and I and Coach and Coastie leaving the Forum.
But in the end, we left the Forum a few minutes after kickoff.  There was no way he could have behaved himself in close proximity to all those females.

Photo of Coach asleep on the tile floor on top and Coastie asleep on the bottom.
Instead we went to dinner and the boys went to sleep, dreaming of all the pretty girls they didn't get to kiss that evening. And dinner was so, so relaxing.

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