Last week was long, and it seemed like I would never reach the end of it. Helaine doesn’t come to work with me at this time, though I am trying very hard to get permission, and I miss her so much during the day. Every morning I sit on the floor with her and feel terrible that she can’t come along. She so willingly goes into her crate, but looks at me with her sad eyes and it makes my heart hurt. In the 20 minutes it takes me to get to my office, I contemplate turning around to get her about a dozen times. Realizing I’d have no place to keep her, I stick with my rational idea of leaving her home. I will keep fighting the battle for her to accompany me. Until then though, we’ll keep cramming as much fun and excitement into the weekends as possible to break up the monotony of the work week.
When I came home from work on Friday, we spent a good amount of time running around the back yard, playing fetch and just relaxing. I had a major interview at work for a new position/promotion and I was overstimulated and exhausted. Playing and spending time with Helaine always melts away whatever the work day threw at me. After play time came Helaines second favorite thing in the whole wide world, dinner time. She knows the drill. Every night before getting her bowl, I take part of her dinner and we practice obedience. We did a quick run down of the ones she knows well, and spent a little more time on the ones she knows but doesn’t yet execute well. After giving Helaine the “Bed” command to wait for her bowl, I decided to give something a try. I’ve been seeing pictures everywhere lately of puppy raisers practicing food refusal by spelling out words and placing kibble on their paws. I was determined to try this with my sweet 16.5 week old girl. The following pictures illustrate just what happened when she was asked to leave the food alone.
If she doesn’t look at it, it must not be there right?! I’ll just let her believe that. If you notice between her paws she has a couple of drool marks. This was NOT an easy thing for her, but she did well and handled it long enough to get a good series of pictures and pick up all the pieces before giving her the OK to devour what was left. GOOD GIRL!
Saturday started out slow. We spent some time just playing and relaxing prior to starting our adventures. My sweet friend Alicia was making the trip up to my valley from her home in the city and we were making a plan to hit the tulips once more before the festival ends. Alicia came with me the day I picked up Helaine, and I’ve been working on convincing her to puppy raise. After MONTHS of poking and proding and a few weeks of Helaine snuggling, I think I have her convinced. She is one non-puppy raising friend who understands that these adventures take a little longer, and that sometimes I will be walking with a good pace and all of a sudden I’ll need to turn around abruptly to correct a bit of forging from my girl. She understands that sometimes Helaine just doesn’t want to “hurry” even though she really, really, REALLY needs to. She’s a good adventure buddy and I look forward to being there the moment she gets her sweet puppy. She’s going to make a fabulous raiser.
We went to a different garden this time around. It was starting to rain and I knew that Tulip Town has an indoor display. From the moment we walked in it was a scensory overload for me! Too many sights, smells, sounds and people crammed into one tiny building. Helaine, she handled it well. She did a bit of forging but we worked on that and will continue to work on that as the weeks progress. It was fun to get another set of pictures in the fields, and this time I was actually able to get a picture of the two of us together. This is our first picture together since the day I brought her home and I will cherish it forever. It’s not necessarily the best picture of me, but Helaine looks beautiful and that’s all that matters.
I sure do love this girl. I waited for her for a long long time, and I am thankful every single day that I sent that initial inquiry email about puppy raising for CCI, and that I stumbled on a puppy raising blog from one of the raisers in my chapter. I still follow that blog but it’s much more fun knowing the family behind the stories and getting to watch the cutest little lab/golden cross grow up.
After tiptoeing through the tulips round two, we headed to our favorite restaurant for some fantastic comfort food and good conversation. Helaine fell asleep under the table within the first 10 minutes and slept through the meal. She started going to restaurants with me at 10 weeks old, and I am so thankful that I started her so young because she already handles restaurants so well. No one even notices her…well except for my friends who work at this restaurant. 😉
Our final destination was at Coastal Farm and Ranch. I had only been in the store once, and I knew it would provider a lot of interesting things for Helaine to experience. There were many different benches and tables for her to practice her “Up’s” and “Under’s” and it wasn’t quite as busy as our previous locations so it was quite relaxing to just meander through the aisles. They have a life sized horse in one of the drive aisles and I was surprised when Helaine didn’t even notice it. We snapped a picture just for fun.
I was most impressed by what we did next. Earlier in the week, Helaine and I showed up to class earlier than usual. I always love to sit back and admire the work of the older class and imagine the day Helaine performs all of those commands with ease. One thing they worked on, was getting their dogs to do the “Bed” command from a distance. Now, last week My Girl performed that from a good two-three feet away with no queues at all, but after seeing that class I wanted to experiment and just see what she did. I picked a bed off the shelf, and stepped back between six and seven feet give or take. From there, I calmly asked Helaine to execute “Bed”. She did it. She trotted her way over to the bed and she executed it perfectly. I was most impressed with the fact that she didn’t break that command until I released her. My oh my. What a good girl I have. The proof is in the picture!
I spent Sunday with my dad, and we went to our favorite produce stand on Fir Island called Snowgoose Produce. We’ve been going there since I was just a little girl and it’s fun to continue the tradition in my adult life. The have ice cream cones the size of your face, and loads of incredible produce, and interesting items. I love this place and I will sing it’s praises forever! There was a family ahead of us in line and they instantly started asking questions about Helaine. Of course, I was answering them left and right but my dad really talked it up. He has been my biggest puppy raising supporter for as long as I’ve been at this and he LOVES talking to the public about it. He fields my questions when I can’t necessarily do it, for example when I was trying to focus on Helaine hurrying. He’s like my personal agent. Ha. I put Helaine into a sit and I heard the mother say “See, you can have a dog like that some day.” I won’t lie, my first reaction was a secret eye roll. I was shown that I should never ever ever do that. Ever. We started talking with the mother, and she started talking about how her daughter will eventually be wheelchair bound and that they will apply for a service dog some day. From there the conversation grew. We spoke about CCI, how to get involved and how to apply for a dog. Helaine showed off a couple of her commands and even shook a few hands. What a little celebrity she was for a moment. What an incredible story it would be, if some day I’m handing the leash over to that family. I’m crying just thinking of how beautiful that would be.
One thing that happened while I was talking up CCI really kind of annoyed me. A woman comes up from behind me, and allows her dog to visit with Helaine BEFORE she asks me if it’s okay. Of course, Helaine didn’t really know what to do but she stayed in a sitting position (and I’m really proud of her for that). When she finally asked me if it was okay for her dog to meet mine, I politely told her no, and explained that I was trying to keep her focused on working and remaining calm. The look on her face was shocked, with a mix of offended with a little bit of sad thrown in. Like I had stolen her first born and sold it to gypsies. I saw her again later on and she didn’t acknowledge me. I really didn’t think I would offend her so much!
As much as I hate how often we are apart during the week, our weekend adventures make up for lost time. I certainly love this girl, and I am so thankful that we live in an area that is full of awesome experiences!