December was a busy month with Christmas preparations. Decorations were installed at home and a live tree was erected in the living room, which didn’t seem to phase Birdie at all. The highs during the day went down to -20C for a few days around Christmas, so walks were kept very short.

We went for a second instalment at Mount Boucherie Secondary School with PADS Ky and PADS Athena. Once again, we were led from classroom to classroom by two Leadership Class students, visiting the students and uplifting their spirits.

We also went to a giant Christmas Craft Show at Prospera Place, where Birdie wandered through the rows and rows of booths, taking in all the people and smells. A great place to practice people distraction, even though some wanted to say hello to the cute puppy.

Birdie was very gentle with 3-month-old PADS Phoebe who came over for a short playdate in the cold and snow. Phoebe is part of the 6 new puppies in the Okanagan and will be moving to another raiser soon.

Birdie had her first overnight with a PADS sitter for 3 nights, while we attended a family wedding. She learned the hard way not to get into another dog’s face. Charlie, the sitter’s Boston Terrier put Birdie in her place a couple of times, but by the end of her stay, Charlie tolerated Birdie more and they even played and cuddled a little bit.

We attended two PADS in-person classes this month, the third was cancelled due to the cold weather. We practised weaving around basketballs and approaching other pups while loose leash walking. Our trainer Tamara brought her own dog, Lilly, to one class, and we practised one-by-one approaches with her. Our dogs are used to working with other Labradors, so it was good to mix it up a bit with a different breed.

Christmas Eve/Day became very busy at our house with 7 additional guests, plus 3 more cats and 1 dog, Jeff. The pups displayed good house manners as they played quietly and shared an array of chew toys lined up on the dog bed that they both shared together.

After Christmas, we had a nice birthday dinner out with our daughter at The Keg. Birdie has no problem settling at a restaurant, she’s quite used to it.

We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, enjoying our daughter’s company as we ushered in 2023.

Submitted by: Chris Buitinga