Birdie had her first ferry ride to and from Victoria this month. She was unphased over the whole ferry experience, walking through the ship, and checking out the various decks, inside and outside. Birdie also stayed for the first time in a hotel while in Victoria. We had to act quickly to get her down the elevator and outside first thing in the morning, but we managed without incident. We looked at some real estate, had some nice walks along the city waterfront and mountain trails, and visited some restaurants and breweries. Nice to know that we can take Birdie to new surroundings and that her behaviour is exemplary.

Birdie also accompanied me cross-country skiing for the first time. We went out on three occasions with two different PADS raisers and with 3 other PADS dogs: Athena, Beans and released PADS Odie. The dogs enjoyed their off-leash romp, practising their excellent recall while being mindful of our extra-long “feet.” I was glad that it turned out to be a positive experience for all of us, with no mishaps.

We had 4 PADS in-person classes this month where we practised our skills with the other PADS puppies, including approaching a very large stuffed dog, back-end awareness on perch pots, side and heels with platforms, power steering and ghost handing. One class, led by our co-ordinator Brian, was quite fun. Where he had set up an obstacle course with 10 different stations to practise commands such as sit, down, leave it, bed, kennel, perch, let’s go, go in, jump on and here. We went through the course a couple of times each and then switched pups and did it all over again, handling a dog that wasn’t yours. Afterwards, five of us PADS raisers had dinner nearby with our FIVE PADS pups: Jax, Caddy, Bingo, Aslan and Birdie, where they practised settling under the table.

We had a nice walk along Mission Creek with new PADS sitter Jasmine, who was looking after PADS Jax for a week, where we practised loose leash walking and recall.

To end the month, we had a nice visit to Big White, where we walked a snowy trail among the huge evergreens, rubbed noses with the horses at Big White Sleigh Ride, rode the gondola to the upper village and practised settling at the BullWheel Pub.

Submitted by: Chris Buitinga