It was a very warm spring here in the Okanagan with temperatures hitting 30°C some days, so walks down by the lake were very welcoming for Birdie, with the fun bonus of learning to swim! Who said you have to teach a dog to swim? Birdie loves the water and is a natural.

Our weekly PADS classes have been jammed packed with great training opportunities. Birdie had a One on One in a local park with Tamara and her German Sheppard, whom she walked around the park with to practise dog distraction. In class, we worked on our heels and sides on perches, restrained recalls, ghost handling, and jumping on or going under a table. In one class, we lined up all four dogs along the wall in a sit position to practise stay and duration. We slowly moved away from the pups in stages until we were on the opposite side of the room. They all stayed put! Then we did the same in a down position and then, the hardest of all, in a stand position. Once again, they all stayed!

Birdie got to spend some quality time with PADS Athena for a couple of nights at our house for a sleepover. They got along very well, and their house manners were excellent. We went for a few hikes with Athena: one along the Okanagan Lake with ex-PADS pup Odie, the other on the High Rim Trail. We cooled down at Barn Owl Brewery, where there was a visiting cat in a cage. Then Birdie had an opportunity to spend one night away from home at a PADS sitter while we went to a spa to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Birdie socialized with other PADS pups, too, during the month. She had her usual weekly walks before or after class with her PADS buddy Jax and once with Jax, Gherkin and Aslan. These walks are great for sometimes they are on leash, practising loose leash walking, side by side and other times they are off-leash, and we practise recalls. Birdie also had a walk and shared a drink with PADS Toast and a playdate with PADS Phoebe at our house.

Other outings included our weekly yoga sessions at the community centre, doing our part for the community and picking up garbage along a Forest Service Road, Mother’s Day at Farmstrong Cidery in Armstrong and Marionette Winery in Salmon Arm with the kids, dinner at The Honest Butcher at Mount Boucherie Winery and a double session at the dentist that included a new filling and a cleaning. Birdie is very laid back when we are out and settles nicely on the ground beside me.

At the end of the month, PADS Bingo, Phoebe, Toast, Benny and Birdie attended a Mental Health Day for students at Mount Boucherie High School outside on their sports field. Luckily, we had a tent because it was a hot sunny day. The pups were all well-behaved as the students came to us one on one or in groups to chat, learn about PADS and give and receive precious puppy pets and snuggles.

We are gearing up for our move to Salmon Arm, but first, we must get our house ready to sell. Many changes are coming in our future together.

Submitted by: Chris Buitinga