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Monday, December 13, 2010

"Leading Stars, Leading the Way"

FLD Gus and I stationed ourselves at the end of Aisle One on Saturday at the Pet Supplies Plus store on Harper in St. Clair Shores.  Everyone who entered the store HAD to travel down Aisle One; there was no getting around us!  We had volunteered to hang out for a couple of hours to help promote the partnership between Leader Dogs for the Blind and over 100 Pet Supplies Plus stores throughout Michigan and 14 other states.

The "Leading Stars, Leading the Way" promotion allows shoppers to make a donation to Leader Dogs for the Blind as they pass through checkouts in participating Pet Supplies Plus stores through December 31, 2010.  Donations support Leader Dogs' guide dog and technology programs for the blind and visually impaired.

On Saturday, December 11, volunteer puppy-raisers and their Future Leader Dog puppies, or working Leader Dog teams, visited Pet Supplies Plus stores to spread the word about these wonderful programs.

For more information about the "Leading Stars" partnership, and a complete list of participating stores, click on this Pet Supplies Plus "Meet a Leading Star" web page.


THE GAUNTLET OF AISLE ONE

FLD Gus was not eager to heel quickly past the squeaky, fuzzy, flavored dog toys in Aisle One when we arrived at Pet Supplies Plus on Harper.  Toys on one side of the aisle and 35-pound bags of dog food on the opposite side created a "gauntlet" of hard-to-overcome distractions for the little guy.

Somehow we made it, yet it turned out that the ENTIRE STORE proved to be a challenge!  One aisle was buried in dog beds, another was loaded with cat toys, cat food, kitty-litter, and all kinds of things "kitty."  Thank goodness for shiny-slippy floors--when FLD Gus stiffened his legs and put the brakes on, I kept him moving.  A finger poke here, a well timed LEAVE IT or GUS there and we eventually reached to front of the store to introduce ourselves to the manager.  Amid the "awwwwwes" of the staff, we were directed to the end of Aisle One.  Past the store distractions AGAIN.


PRACTICING "MAT" and "MEET AND GREETS" 

Safely back in Aisle One, I "borrowed" a rug square from a corner display and worked on MAT with FLD Gus.  He's fast becoming an expert at this game.  With one Gus. MAT, he immediately recognized that this green carpet was his new "mat," hustled over to it, twirled around and dropped into a DOWN, looking up at me with anticipation.
 
Good mat, Gus!  I didn't disappoint.  I kept half of his breakfast aside for just this purpose.  I tossed a morsel of Purina Pro Plan on the carpet.

As customers made their way toward us, I worked on keeping FLD Gus settled in a STAY on his mat.  He stayed, lifted nose busy scouting the scents.  I was pleased when every one of the customers politely asked, "Can I pet him?"  Yes, as long as he keeps "four-on-the-floor."  If he doesn't, please just step away.  A pleasant surprise--FLD Gus was, for the most part, a perfect gentleman!


DOG DISTRACTIONS 

FLD Gus spied a large Golden Retriever enter the store and sat up.  Gus.  He glanced back at me.  Stay.  I placed him back into a DOWN.  The couple with the Golden took their time, pausing now and then to inspect the squeaky toys.  Gus stood up, but stayed.  I placed him back into a DOWN.  When the Golden made the turn in front of us, Gus stood and strained at his leash, but I calmly settled him back DOWN on the mat.  Good boy, Gus.

FLD Gus intently watching a Golden Retriever and his persons.

Next, a dachshund and his owners became a new distraction.  This time FLD Gus lifted his nose but made no move to get up.  Several more dogs were not a problem for Gus; one time a small mixed-breed dog sidled up and they sniffed nose-to-nose without Gus moving.


FUN WAS HAD BY ALL

FLD GUS and I enjoyed meeting customers and talking up Leader Dogs for the Blind.  The manager told me they received many donations.  Thanks to all, and thanks to Pet Supplies Plus for supporting the mission of Leader Dogs for the Blind!

By the way, there is still time.  Consider purchasing your pet supplies at Pet Supplies Plus before December 31, and while you're there, make a donation that will help change a person's life!

Pet Supplies Plus staff pet FLD Gus, who is quite relaxed in spite of three large rabbits in the yellow cage beyond him!


The resident Vet gives FLD Gus a good belly rub.
 
FLD Gus had fun, but looks as though he'd like to go home.  He was a very tired puppy the rest of the day!
 

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