Sunday, September 12, 2010

We attend our first AKC STAR Puppy Class & go out to dinner

Hardy, Brent and I attended our first AKC STAR Puppy Class at Fortunate Fido this morning. It takes about an hour to get there but at least we aren't doing it during rush hour! The STAR program is kind of a pre-CGC (Canine Good Citizen) class developed for puppies in which you and your puppy not only have to pass a evaluation but you also have to attend all 6 classes run by the AKC evaluator. There is only one other puppy in the class, a lovely Border Collie one week younger than Hardy owned by someone I knew a long time ago (in my other life) in high school when we rode horses together. We have our instructor/evaluator, Anne and an assistant, so we have plenty of help! This week, we learned what the program would entail and worked on handling our dogs, "4 on the floor" greetings, and loose leash walking. Both puppies did a great job and we even had enough time to let them play a couple times. Although they are about the same height, Hardy definitely has the weight advantage on his side! 
We dropped my power chair off at the medical equipment place on our way home so that it could get some repairs and maintenance done this coming week while my van is in the shop getting the body work done from when it got run into in Canada. That means that other than when Brent can take us places, Laurel, Hardy and I will be home together all week. I'm thinking up things we can do that won't require Laurel to move too much while keeping Hardy busy. 
Then, this evening we headed back to the west side to have dinner with some very good friends, Don and Alice at one of our favorite restaurants. We took Hardy with us because the weather was cool enough that he could stay in his crate in the van for part of the time. Before we went in, we took him to the grass and he quickly did his business! Don and Alice had gotten there early and when we went in, we found that our table was at the very back of the restaurant right in the major traffic pattern for all the servers carrying food out from the kitchen. I had my manual chair and we had to go through all the other tables which were very close together and filled with diners. Hardy had to go behind me - something we haven't actually worked on but, he did it like a little pro. We had him go as far under the table as possible in front of Brent and he was very good; not perfect, but he's just 5 months old now. He stayed with us through our salad course and when our main dishes arrived, Brent took him out to rest in the van. We tend to take our time when we are out with our friends and I didn't want Hardy to have a bad experience. At his age and point in training, I want to make sure that when I have him out in public, the time is about him and how he is doing, not about eating dinner or running errands or spending time with friends. 
To top off a great day with our little guy, when we got home and he finished greeting Laurel, he came over to me and started alerting to the rheumatoid in the chest wall. I asked him if I should take my meds based on his alert or whether I should wait for Laurel to confirm. Just then, she joined us with her own alert so I took my medications and snuggled in bed with my two amazing Labs! And sure enough, just as they both had known, the rheumatoid "struck" about 50 minutes later but the pain meds were already on board so it wasn't too bad.

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