With the cooler temperatures this month and the smoke from the wildfires pretty much gone, it was much more pleasant to be outside again, so we took advantage of it by exploring the trails around our new home, visiting local wineries, breweries, cideries, an old car show and the local fall fair.

We started the month with a day trip down to Castlegar to pick up a purchase and came back via the ferry across Arrow Lakes north of Nakusp. It was Birdie’s second ride on a ferry, this time on a much smaller boat and a shorter distance than the one to Victoria. There were numerous other dogs on board who were out of their vehicles milling about deck while we were crossing, including Birdie, and they were all well-behaved.

At the Salmon Arm Fair Birdie did well among the crowds of people, with all the various smells of food and animals. She checked out the animals in the barns. She rubbed noses with the sheep, who were by far the friendliest. The llamas were inquisitive, the goats were ready to jump over the barrier (so we were not allowed in) and the cows were totally indifferent. Next, we watched jousting at the grandstand, which was quite comical as the knights rode by each other, trying to knock one another off their horses. Lastly, we hung out at the beer tent and watched an Elvis impersonator. A good time was had by all.

We attended “Baby Time” at the local library twice this month with my daughter-in-law and grandson. Birdie had done this back in Kelowna, so she knew the drill and laid quietly watching while the stories were read, and songs were sung. After the formal program was socializing time and if a baby wanted to approach Birdie, I allowed it, but was careful to make it an enjoyable experience for all.

Other activities this month were: Music in the Park in Armstrong with my kids and PADS raiser Carol, watching our grandson while the kids went mountain biking at Sun Peaks followed by camping near Adam’s Lake, (where we could see the smoke from the fires in the distance), a full day in Kelowna with a visit to the chiropractor, trading in a vehicle and a stop at Mission Hills Winery, hand gliding in Lumby (see picture) and a weekend in Revelstoke at the ski resort with a hike to a lookout overseeing the town.

On September 19th there was a fundraiser at the Armstrong Co-Op Gas Bar for six local charities. The PADS location was in Vernon where every hour PADS pups and raisers took turns raising awareness at the gas bar, by answering questions and allowing puppy pats.

We had four PADS puppy classes this month where we practised our duration by lining the pups up against the wall in a sit, a down and lastly in a stand while we dropped the leashes and walked away from our dogs. They’re getting pretty good at this scenario, but once, they took the upper hand and lost their positions. Our trainer, Tamara also tempted the pups with various objects of interest while she walked past: a swinging squirrel, a squeaky toy, a stick and rolling a ball. With these objects, the pups held their positions quite well.

And lastly, on a sad note, we had to bid farewell to our fifteen-year-old cat Zeus. He has been a great mentor for my last seven service dogs in training. He never ran away from them and was always ready for a play or a cuddle, unlike our other cat Max. We will all miss Zeus terribly, including Birdie, who accompanied me to the vet the day we put Zeus down. And life goes on.

Submitted by: Chris Buitinga