Troy Fire Department Puppy-Outing
Once again, FLD Mike and I drive across town at rush hour for a Leader Dogs for the Blind puppy-outing--this time at Station #6 of the Troy Fire Department. FLD Mike and I participated in the Rochester Fire Department puppy-outing in April; tonight Andy comes with us.
Andy says, "It's the only way I can spend time with you lately." Guess I have been keeping busy--last weekend a trip with my folks to visit my brother in Ohio, Tuesday morning FLD Mike helped me give a talk about Leader Dogs to kids attending "Kamp-K9" (put on by "Teacher's Pet," a wonderful organization for rescue dogs and kids), and later took FLD Mike to his puppy-class at Leader Dogs.
We roll into the parking lot of Station #6 just a little late. Puppy-counselor Anna (with FLD Doug) and the other raisers and puppies are gathered around three firemen, two of whom are weighted down in firefighting gear, but we haven't missed too much. One fireman strides off to start the firetruck in the nearby open bay.
I grab FLD Mike's leash and snap on his jacket. It takes me a few moments more to make the short walk from the van to join the group--FLD Mike sees the other puppies and with each eager pull against his leash, we take a few steps backwards. Sometimes loose-leash heeling is a challenge!
There aren't as many puppies tonight as there were at the Rochester outing in April. "It's too hot," Andy offers. Perhaps so, but there is a nice breeze and plenty of shade.
I finally settle FLD Mike on the grass along the curb. The fireman drives the hulking yellow truck around us, blasting the horn and siren. All the puppies are more interested in each other and pay it no mind.
Another fireman, in full gear with air-tank hissing, approaches each puppy. Like FLD Mike, most of them are eager to play, and not at all intimidated. One younger puppy, FLD Friday, is nervous, but that's why we're here--to help him get over his fear.
After a few moments, Jeanette (FLD Friday's puppy-raiser) calms him down and the "scary man" can come near.
The truck is parked and one by one we pose our puppies on the front bumper for a picture.
FLD Mike takes his turn, but he wants another! He jumps up a second time as soon as we get close enough. Come on, Mike, I say, let the other dogs have a chance.
Someone suggests a group picture in front of the yellow fire engine. It is mayhem while we situate our playful puppies. FLD Mike sticks his snout under the arm of the young firefighter, looking for lovin'--or maybe he is trying to reach FLD Ranger!
We thank the Troy firemen for taking time to assist our Future Leader Dogs with an important exposure. One day, when our puppies are working Leader Dogs paired with handlers, they'll need to keep their cool in case of a fire. Of course, we hope that never happens.
Andy says to the firefighters, "I hope this is the most danger you have to face on the job tonight!"
FLD Mike falls fast asleep in the van on the now-past-rush-hour drive home.