FLD Mike and I pull into Rochester Hills Fire Station #1, running late as we seem to do these days trying to avoid Michigan's spring roadside sprouts (orange barrels). Gathered around the open bay doors of the station is a huge pack of Future Leader Dogs and their puppy-raisers. Mike senses the excitement in the air. He sits up from his place on the passenger-side floorboard, straining to sneak a peek out the window.
We've come to another FLD puppy outing; this time to expose our pups to the imposing sights and sounds of fully geared firefighters and their rigs. Because our FLDs must be comfortable on any type of stairs, we'll also walk up the open-grate steps in the fire-training tower.
As we mingle, I am once again impressed with the demeanor of these specially chosen dogs, even as their distinct personalities are expressed through varying degrees of self-control. None of these puppies are particularly distressed when the fire truck sirens, bells, horns, and whistles blast. Each of them sniffs the garbed firemen with interest, not fear. The steel stairs intimidate some of the puppies, but their raisers help them manage. The FLDs are more distracted by each other than the staged hullabaloo around them!
No one rushes off at the end of the outing. We linger, taking pictures of our Future Leader Dogs with the brave firefighters of Rochester Station #1, whose smiles we could finally enjoy.