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Friday, October 1, 2010

Puppy Report from Beary Wood Lodge

Sign on the cabin.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Andy is taking advantage of being upnorth by visiting Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Alpena and Fairview.  He manages a distribution activity for 45 Michigan ReStores.  FLD Gus and I come along for the ride (the fall colors are turning), and a little bit of training.

Check this website for more information about the ReStores:

"Is that a 'paws' dog?"

I look up from encouraging a bandana-wearing FLD Gus around a group of men who are squatting at the end of the aisle trying to pull an old microwave oven off a shelf that is blocked by a dusty television set.  Gus isn't nervous about squeezing by, I just want to be sure he doesn't try to  leap toward the men for attention.

"No, he is a Future Leader Dog," I answer.  "For the Blind."

"He's adorable.  May I pet him?"  The woman, a thin, gravelly-voiced fifty-something, has her hands full.  An oversized white-vinyl handbag is slung over her right shoulder and she's holding a painted porcelain pitcher, several videos, and a wooden nic-nac shelf.

Well, sure, but let me get him to sit down, and please don't let him put his mouth on your hand.  Just take it away if he does.  I have to help Gus into a SIT, and even hold his mouth he is so excited when she juggles her load to bend over and dangle her fingers in front of his face.  The phrase, "please don't let him put his mouth on your hand" is my new mantra with FLD Gus.  He is a bit mouthy and I don't understand why strangers think it is okay to insert their hands into his velociraptor-chops!

"Do you know Judy Carne?"  she says as she straightens up and readjusts her purchases.  Before I can reply, she continues.  "You know, she adopted a new rescue dog.  It's only been two weeks since Chance died.  She really trained him well..."  The woman goes on like this for more than a few minutes.  I don't think she notices that my attention is on FLD Gus, who has broken his sit and is investigating bins of miscellaneous plumbing parts.

FLD Gus and I at the Alpena ReStore.

Somehow Gus and I make our break and exit the Alpena ReStore.  Andy takes our picture outside the newly painted building.  Off to the Oscoda County ReStore located in Fairview, over 50 miles away.

The ReStore in Fairview is housed in a house!  FLD Gus manages the three wooden steps up to the porch and we enter.  The staff and customers in this ReStore seem to know what to do when they meet a service-dog-in-training.  FLD Gus is warmly welcomed, but no one "dive bombs" him.

FLD Gus: mirror play!
Just to the left of the entrance is a stack of mirrors leaning against the wall.  Gus turns and is instantly taken aback.  Another puppy!  He hunches down into a "play bow," hops up, and bumps his nose against the mirror.  He entertains everyone as he entertains himself, pawing and nudging his twin.

FLD Gus and "twin."
This ReStore is great for training.  I heel Gus up a carpeted staircase to the second floor, which he handles just fine.  Going back down is another matter.  Tooooo scary!  I coax him down one step, but he isn't going any further.  I don't want to frighten him, so I pick him up (my, he's getting heavy) and carry him down.

At the front desk, I answer many thoughtful questions about Leader Dogs for the Blind and raising puppies.  I take this opportunity to work on name recognition, sit, and leave it with Gus in a new setting.

After a while, Gus decides to rest and settles into a down.  When a local customer arrives ("She raises Boston Terriers," the manager says) I tell Gus, SIT.  He pops up into a SIT.  "How old is he?" the Boston Terrier raiser asks.  Just over eight weeks, I answer.  She responds, "And you  taught him to do that already?"

I smile.  Don't you just love it when your puppy shows off for you?

Good boy, Gus!

FLD Gus and I at the Oscoda County ReStore.

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