Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bassett Learns a Lunch Lesson

Bassett is a very good boy.

Usually, when we go out to eat, we take Bassett and Jam.  Jam being the elder and a picture perfect restaurant dog, he counsels young puppies on proper restaurant behavior: lay down and go to sleep.

It's been a routine that works.  Puppy after puppy. And our baby Bassett has been doing really well.  So, today, I took Bassett with two friends to the Olde Bay Cafe in Dunedin for lunch.  It is very dog friendly and we have been there many times before with the boys (Jam and Bassett).

As we walked up to the outside patio, I heard barking as two mutts seated at a corner table got wind of Bassett.  A big brownish fuzzy dog and a black and white small dog continued their obnoxious behavior as we proceeded past.  Now, I could use the word lunge, but it is so charged with meaning. Let's just move on to the lady who owned the dogs, who said, "Don't worry. They're friendly."

Really?  You can't tell by their behavior.

On the amazing side, all I did was the switch command to put Bassett on my right side, walk him past the miscreants (Bassett walked past them without pulling on the leash or trying to get to them - awesome loose leash walking!) and sat as far away as possible.

Yea Bassett!

Bassett close up.  He's looking down, kinda sad.
But I did notice that he was inching a bit under my chair, which was in the direction of the "bad boys." I had to pull him back.  He also got a bit restless and would stand and look mournfully over at a table not far away that had a nice black lab at it.

Bassett was really being put to the test as he had the "bad boys" and the black lab and couldn't play with anyone.  His only fussing was the mournful look, full of longing for a romp that wouldn't happen.  One of the ladies at a neighboring table smiled at Bassett, I got the sense that she thought Bassett was dealing with the situation in a grand fashion (no barking or fussing).

Close up of Bassett looking hopeful.
Then, a new group moves onto the high top table next to us and they bring with them a highly excitable boxer who begins a staring match with Bassett.  Bassett looks up at me.  "Should I look at him?"  I turn him away from the boxer.  So rude.

Not five minutes later, another couple arrives with two Pomeranians.  They put their fluff balls on the patio floor with a treat stick, food and water.  Really?  Why not set up a play pen for them too? Just take up the whole entire walkway, because honestly, your dogs are the most important ones in the entire world and as patrons of this restaurant, I enjoy having to walk my dog not only around your dogs, which isn't a problem, but now, I have to have him avoid your bones and treat rawhides that you have thrown out onto the porch.  Thankfully, as we leave, Bassett does not try to eat their food or take their treats. 

Bassett is a very good boy.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Corky's Day: Corky Is A Guide Dog!!

Cheryl, Chris with Corky and Fred at puppy raiser day.

Puppy Raiser Day:

We have now been to three puppy raiser days: one for Dewey, one for Coach and one for Corky.  But by far, Corky's puppy raiser day was the most nerve wracking. Why?

We really wanted it to go well.  

After 6 dogs, lots of different things have befallen you and you just want smooth sailing.  

So, it was a very distracted driver who drove down to Southeastern this morning.  I am very thankful that we got there intact.  The whole way there I am thinking, 

"Will he like us?"

"Will Corky remember us?"

"How am I getting all the cookies into everyone's bags?" 

"Will Corky love him?" (Which I dearly want him to do!)

"Did I just miss my exit?"

Fred, who was fairly calm about my almost missing the exit, was a bit nervous too.  But we waited for our trip into the cafeteria for the bios to be read.  I was able to quickly shove cookies into everyone's bag of goodies.

Chris.  His name is Chris.  He is a grandfather.  He lives in Georgia.

Time to watch the partner walk.  Chris and Corky are mid pack.  They come out.  Corky finds the curb.  They cross the street.  Then they are making their way down a sidewalk. All of the puppy raisers are about 20 feet off to the left hand side in a pavilion able to take photos without the dogs noticing us.  But as I stand next to the column looking out, Corky sniffs and turns and looks right at me.  

Chris and Corking walking.  Corky is looking at the camera.

He goes right back to work.

I take more photos of my working guide dog Corky and his new partner Chris.  They are great match.

Chris said they are a match made in heaven. That they had Corky wait so that he could be matched with him.  I agree.  Corky has an odd gait: fast and slow, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, which is just exactly what Chris wants.  

They say there is a guide dog match for every person who needs one.  I believe it.  Corky was waiting for Chris. Now they can lead each other on new adventures.  

We can't wait to hear about them. Because in the end, for me, the day is all about them: seeing them, meeting them and honoring their bond. It was a really lovely morning with a wonderful new team.