September was terrific! The month started with my usual daily training and lots of “public access” trips in my yellow service dog vest. Public access means that when I’m wearing my special vest, I get to go places other dogs are not allowed. Places like restaurants, buses, concerts (I’m not a fan), office buildings and hospitals.

The downside is that when I’m wearing my vest, people smile at Cathy or Chris, and often stop to chat with them… but they usually completely ignore me! They don’t even try to pet me – no matter how I look at them with my big brown eyes. Chris says that they are not supposed to pet me, call me over, or make kissy-noises to get my attention. That’s because I’m supposed to focus all my attention on whoever is holding my leash – and ignore everything else going on around me. I think I’m doing amazingly well staying laser focused around all kinds of distractions but Cathy says that…SQUIRREL! Ok, she has a point. (Sheesh, I’m a dog not a robot!).

This month, in addition to learning to focus, and basic obedience skills (like not rushing to greet someone at the door and then barking with wild abandon), Cathy is teaching me how to chill out and rest quietly on my bed when she’s visiting friends, watching TV, or working quietly at her desk. That one skill will be very important if my service dog job requires me to rest under a desk for long periods when my person is at work. Apparently, with lots patience and training, even high-energy puppies like me can learn to chill on command! But who knew that learning to relax was such hard work?

The big highlight of the month was that Cathy and Chris went on a 16-day vacation on their 23-foot boat. They said that I couldn’t come…or they’d have to get a bigger boat! So, Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) arranged for some nice people (PADS puppy sitters) to have me in their home for a few days. What a hoot! I got to spend time around other dogs, kids and…cats! Ooooo….cats! Sorry I don’t have any photos, but take my word for it – the cats were very cool. They didn’t warm up to me though so it was paws-off.

The month wrapped up with a camping trip to a lake and this time Cathy and Chris took me along. It was a great opportunity to practice minding my manners around other dogs (my canine friends Maggy and Hunter were there too) …but since I’m almost 11 months old, I’m a very big boy for my breed (75 lbs and still growing!) and in full-on adolescence well, let’s just say I’m a work in progress. I’m smart but I get very, very excited at times and completely forget I’m a service-puppy in training. Cathy says my adolescence can’t be over soon enough for her. But, there’s nothing like a lot of fresh air, swimming and walks in the woods to wear out even the most active teenager.

Cathy has some amazing things planned for me for October. I’ll get her to send a pupdate. Until then…stay happy and healthy!

Submitted by: Cathy Demers and Chris Wright