This month I’ve been working really hard on being calm, riding the bus and ignoring distracting things when I’m in public. The raiser asked the very helpful PADS Volunteer Village how to fit me onto the bus, as my previous method left me taking up about 3 seats worth of space. Apparently, service dogs have to be good at “disappearing” and not taking up much space. This is challenging since I’m a pretty big boy, but after lots of practice, I’ve started to get the hangout going under the seats while still ignoring crumbs on the floor and people who want to pet me. 

Valentines Day was extra fancy with a new bandana. Aside from an extra snuggle, it was a pretty average day. 

I took my first trip to the airport, where I ran into another PADS raiser! I was SO excited that I forgot all the greeting protocol. Even after that less positive experience, I walked into the airport on my best behaviour and impressed many of the staff and travellers. A few people tried to pet me, and one man even barked at me (SO DISTRACTING!), but I kept my focus on the raiser. She was so proud!

 Two things that I’ve been trying to learn to love are being brushed and being bathed. Like most labs, I shed a lot, and my floof gets everywhere. It turns out that being open to being brushed leads to treats! Pretty decent deal. But sometimes, the raiser puts my floof back on my head like a hat (see photo), and that seems unnecessary… Although I don’t mind water, during a quick rinse bath, we discovered that I must be half mountain goat as I figured out a way to keep my back legs out of the water! I thought that I was a genius, but apparently, this is not preferable bathing behaviour, so I guess I’ll have to get used to my feet getting wet… 

Since I’m now 11 months, we’ve been trying to practice my calm in more busy places. I’m now very familiar with our library, supermarkets and a few stores. Ignoring distractions is so hard, but when I manage to do it I get lots of treats and cuddles. We are focussing on staying calm and working on staying places longer. 

I’ve heard a rumour that I’ll be going to visit my dad’s raiser next month while he comes to stay at my house! This means that I’d get to experience his daily life – how cool is that! I will let you know next month how it goes. 

Submitted by: Fiona Mak