Birdie turned 3 months in October and, with age, has calmed down considerably. Her crazy jumping and biting bursts of energy have become more intermittent. She’s comfortable with her daily routine and is working on her basic commands (better go, sit, down, here, kennel).

October was a particularly sunny and warm month in the Okanagan, so we took advantage of the nice weather and started the month off with a few days of van camping with the kids and their small dog Jeff. On the way to Nakusp, we crossed Arrow Lake on a small ferry and, over the weekend, crossed the same lake at the north end a couple of times via the ferry going to and from Revelstoke. Poor Jeff had had a mishap with a bicycle, and since he was on strict bed rest for the weekend, he and Birdie had to admire each other from afar, which was good practice for a young puppy.

We had a nice paddle in the kayak with Birdie around the lake, hiked Nels Nelson Historic Ski Jump and settled at the local brewery. Birdie practiced her paddle board skills once again with Aunty Kristen and me. This time she did not fall off the board and settled nicely on Aunt Kristen’s foot as she paddled along.

Thanksgiving turned into a big road trip. First, to Salmon Arm to see our son, wife and grand pup Jeff for turkey dinner and then to North Vancouver to visit with our daughter. It was Birdie’s first trip to the big city, where she was well-behaved and took in all the city sights and smells. We stayed in a hotel, walked along Vancouver Harbour, hiked (or were carried) on the trails at the top of Mount Seymour and settled well as we went out for dinner at Deep Cove.

On the way home, we stopped in Burnaby to visit my previous foster pup from Dog Guides, Trebek, who is now a Diabetic Alert Dog. Trebek is a great mentor who showed his young apprentice Birdie what she also could do in the future: helping to change the lives of someone in need of a service dog.

Among our usual outings to the grocery store, chiropractor, Yoga by the Lake, Barn Owl Brewing, brunch and weekly Wing Wednesday dinners, we also had an appointment at the eye doctor. While picking out some new glasses, Birdie noticed another puppy that looked just like her in the mirror! Comical puppy antics followed, including a downward dog! We also participated in a community event at Parkinson Rec, picking up garbage near a stream. Just doing our civic duty.

In addition to our regular indoor PADS class, we also had a class outdoors at Polson Park in Vernon with 3 other pups AND a full-fledged service dog, PADS Tonka. There were ducks and SO MANY smells in the park, which made it difficult for Birdie to concentrate. The dogs settled nicely while we chatted, and after milling, we had a successful walk around the park.

In PADS zoom class this month, we had fun free shaping the pups to put their chins down on the ground. These puppies are so smart, and they can anticipate what we want them to do without showing or telling them!

Birdie met up with PADS Jax and ex-PADS Odie for a few walks along trails, where we practiced loose leash walking and some recalls. It’s the time of year when you see many salmon spawning in the streams. Good thing Birdie is not a water dog, yet.

We also met PADS Ace, who is also sponsored by Predator’s Ridge. Ace is ready to head off to advanced training soon, so we got together in a nearby park to practice dog distraction, settling and walking past or up to another dog.

To close the month, Halloween was really a nonissue this year. We only had 3 trick or treaters come to the house, whom Birdie greeted nicely at the door. But she sure does enjoy the dehydrated pumpkin treats that she gets afterwards!

Submitted by: Chris Buitinga