Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Big Weekend for Hardy!

After spending the last couple weeks dealing with Brent's parents' affairs in St. Louis and getting ready for a van full of stuff to arrive from there, we took Laurel and Hardy on an enforced relaxation trip to Saratoga Springs, NY, to see our son, Devin and his boyfriend, Anthony, dance with the New York City Ballet at the outdoor performing arts center there (SPAC). Saratoga Springs is in upstate NY (the finger lakes region) and is just beautiful! SPAC is in a national park -  an amphitheater with a balcony in a gorgeous setting! We love going there each summer and really missed being there last summer when I was up in Canada. Laurel has already gotten to attend many performances there so this trip was Hardy's opportunity to practice his public access skills while watching (and/or sleeping through) some of the best ballet performances anywhere! 
We left early Friday morning since it's about a 9 hour drive. Unfortunately, the fan for our A/C failed when we passing through Erie, PA, so we had our windows open for most of the trip! Fortunately, both Labs love to travel so they were settled in their crates but we had to watch Hardy because his crate is on the floor of the van next to my chair. Since he's brown, he tends to get warmer than Laurel and we were worried that there wasn't a lot of circulation down there. Laurel's crate's on top of his and she had a great view (and smell) with the wind blowing through her crate. Normally, she just sleeps but she was up and sniffing the air instead. We arrived at the Adirondack Inn about 3:30. We decided to stay there because they are reasonably priced, located very close to SPAC (as a matter of fact, many dancers stay there) and is very dog friendly. Behind each unit is a back yard and it was just perfect for us. We had a unit at the end of one section and my mom & stepdad were right next door to us. 
Hardy sleeping through the NYC Ballet performance

Still sleeping
A big storm came through Friday evening when we were heading for SPAC so Hardy got to experience a sea of umbrellas. He took it all in stride and since we had arrived after the performance began, we had to wait at the top of the hill until the first piece was done. There is a lawn section with big projection screens so Hardy lay down and watched the screens. When we were able to head down to our seats, we found that they were at the back of the area under the roof in the center (thanks for the comp tickets, Devin & Anthony & NYC Ballet). When we first got to our seats, Hardy was pretty sure he should pick up our umbrellas, the usher's umbrellas and her pen that was on the ground. It was a good chance to remind him that just because something is on the ground doesn't mean I want him to pick it up - I remember Laurel going through this same phase. Now she asks me if I want her to pick up something that is randomly on the floor. Hardy immediately settled in and since it was dark, he slept through the dancing, applause, thunder and people moving around during the intermissions! At the end, we woke him up and headed to the side of the stage to pick up Devin and Anthony. On the way, we told Hardy we were going to get them and when he heard their names, he perked up and while we were waiting, he was obviously looking for them. When they came out the stage door, it was clear he recognized them! 
My Aunt and Uncle from upstate New York drove down Saturday morning to see the matinee performance. We mostly relaxed and chatted in our rooms until we headed to SPAC again. Laurel was very happy to spend time in her crate in our room and Hardy was thrilled to be dressed and heading out again. When we arrived at SPAC, he clearly knew what his job was and headed right down to the pavilion to find our seats. This time, we were seated close to the stage on the far right side (by the stage door). The bad thing was that we had an obstructed view but what we could see was very close. Hardy settled right down again and stayed awake for a bit watching the other people. When Devin & Anthony came onstage for the first time though, he was sound asleep again. However, the last piece was The Magic Flute and Hardy was awake for that. He sat and watched the stage and when Devin came on, he got very interested. I actually think he would have gone on stage if I had allowed it (and yes, we were that close to the stage). At the end of the performance, when I told him we were going to get Devin and Anthony, he headed right to the stage door. (We have been working on having him find the van for me when I forget where it is). 
Patiently waiting for Devin and Anthony to come on stage!

Still waiting! Do you know where they are?

Oh bummer, sound asleep again!
Devin gets a bit overwhelmed by Laurel and Anthony, who was afraid of dogs, just adores her. However, Devin determined that Hardy was "boring" since he was dressed and "doing his job" so he was ignoring Devin. Apparently, a Lab just can't win with him! 
We left both Labs home for dinner since we were going to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant (one place I won't take a service dog since there are no places under a table for them and there is open fire when the chefs are doing their tricks). 
Sunday, we met for breakfast and left the Labs in the room (Hardy still isn't a fan of being left in his crate instead of being able to come with us so he needs more practice) and then we just hung out and relaxed for the rest of the day. 
Monday morning, we headed home - thankfully, an uneventful trip. Tuesday, the moving truck arrived so we are back in the land of unpacking and rearranging ... not the Labs' favorite place to be. If the weather would cooperate, we could go for walks but it's either been raining and/or oppressively hot. Since I don't do well with heat, we avoid it whenever possible!
Overall, I'm very proud of my chocolate boy! At this point, I am sure that he would pass a public access test and am about ready to take his "in training" status away. I'll talk to our service dog trainer before we do that but I think he would easily qualify as a full public access service dog at this point. Having two working dogs is really a privilege and blessing for me!

No comments:

Post a Comment