Over the weekend I had the opportunity to puppy sit for our chapter’s president. We had set this weekend as the perfect date as it was just a few weeks before the arrival of my girl. The entire week leading up to 5:15 on Friday was filled with nerves, excitement and anxiousness. This had been the first time in over four years that I would have a puppy in training with me and it’s the perfect opportunity to stretch my puppy raising legs and refresh this memory of mine. Needless to say, it was an awesome experience and confirmed my true love for puppy raising.
The puppy who I spent the weekend adventuring with is named Tillman. He is the sweetest Lab/Golden cross that I think I have ever met. He just turned 1 on January 29th, but he was calm and collected and seemed wise beyond his year.
See? Doesn’t he just LOOK sweet? This was around 9:30 PM our first night together. I needed a few things from Walmart and I usually do not venture into that store before 8 PM, but this had been our second Walmart adventure that day. Tillman was absolutely wonderful both times. We didn’t do much, just strolled around the store. I practiced some commands, not necessarily for him but more for me so I know what they should look like for when Helaine comes along in a couple of weeks. I ran into a lady during our early evening stop and we spoke about CCI for a good 20-25 minutes. I love taking the opportunity to just talk about the organization I am so deeply in love with. We talked about everything from puppy raising, to the healing properties of a dogs love. It was in that moment that I truly remembered why I loved puppy raising so much. It’s not about the cute puppy, or the fun socialization but it’s about advocacy. Advocacy for disabilities, access rights, and a program that does some of the best work I have ever seen or been a part of. And I absolutely love being an advocate for all of these things.
Saturday was quite a busy day for us. I planned the whole day around random experiences for Tillman, and one of my best friends was up for the weekend from Renton. We started by having breakfast at our favorite restaurant in LaConner. It was particularly funny when our waitress walked up to our table to take our order and she jumped! She then apologized. She didn’t see us come in so she had no idea we had a puppy with us. That is always the goal! These dogs should be invisible to the public, so he was doing his job! We then went to a couple of different malls, and Pier 1 Imports, which is absolutely the scariest place to take a dog. How do they fit so much into such a tiny store? We didn’t stay long. We cruised around the store once and then we made the escape without buying any broken merchandise. Tillman was absolutely perfect. He wasn’t bothered by anything. Here he is, ready to go home for the day. It’s safe to say, he had enough!
He slept the entire ride home and didn’t move an inch. When we got home, he crashed on the rug in our living room in a tiny ball and slept peacefully next to the fireplace while we watched some television to unwind. It was absolutely relaxing and well needed after our adventure.
Sunday brought one final hoorah before he went back to his raiser. I have the great honor of officiating the wedding of my dear friends Kristen and Robert in June, and we had a dress appointment at David’s Bridal. I was originally nervous that he wouldn’t be well recieved since there are hundreds of *WHITE* wedding dresses and a million Canadians crammed into one tiny store. But every single person was welcoming and most didn’t even realize there was a dog with us. Again, he was doing his job! I am really picky, and at 6’0” dress shopping isn’t the easiest thing to do. Tillman passed out after the first dress. Seven dresses later and I found the one, but Tillman wasn’t even awake to notice it. He slept well, and didn’t even move a muscle. He was absolutely perfect.
See what I mean? He was out like a light.
I learned a lot over the weekend and I was reminded of things I had previously forgotten. Like how everything takes longer with a dog in tow. How people are always curious and always wanting to pet him. How fleece is off limits with a yellow dog. How people are “sneaky” in their walk by petting. But most importantly, I was reminded that I am exactly where I should be. God has put this back into my life for all the right reasons and I am so thankful He did. My heart is overflowing with love, respect and admiration of this program and it was the perfect trial run for what’s to come.