Wayne, LD Mike's new handler, called me Tuesday night to let me know that their team training is progressing very well. LD Mike accompanied Wayne to work all day Tuesday (Wayne is a substitute teacher). Wayne was proud of how Mike ignored other dogs as they traveled his neighborhood. Another big day was in store for them Wednesday--a train-ride into Chicago for an appointment. I'm sure they have been very busy; today is the last day working with Mike-the-trainer from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Way to go, Wayne and LD Mike!
FLD Gus and I made it to puppy-class at Leader Dogs for the Blind Tuesday evening after missing the previous class two weeks prior due to the "Snowmageddon" storm.
"Forty-seven and a half pounds," Sandy said and turned to her clipboard to record Gus's number. (My, he's getting big! His brother, Raphael, weighed in at least a couple of pounds lighter.)
"I don't know why I can't find you on here," Sandy said, searching her list. "I know you are in class."
By the way, I brought this chase-it toy to use as a distraction tonight, I said and held up what looks like a fishing pole that caught a stuffed animal.
"We won't use that for the 'Basic' class," Sandy replied.
Wait, I said, glancing around the room full of unfamiliar puppies and raisers. Did I come to the wrong class?
Sandy flipped the sheet on her clipboard. "There you are! You are in the NEXT class!"
I felt like an idiot. Leave it to me to get the class time wrong. Six-thirty is the "Basics" class; SEVEN-THIRTY is our "Beyond Basics" class. My niece, Sofia, came with me tonight and now she was going to have to hang out an extra hour with me.
"Well, let me record Gus's weight. What was it?" Sandy asked.
Forty-seven and a half, I replied. Can I just hang out until our class?
"Sure. Observe or participate, whatever you'd like. Or, maybe you can help us out with the class."
Sofia was a real trooper, sitting with FLD Gus while I lent a hand during the "Basics" class. It was good training for Gus, having to settle with her and not be at my side. As class wound down I sat down next to Sofia and Gus.
"I think he needs to 'park,'" Sofia told me. "He didn't whine or move or anything when the puppies walked by before, but now he's whiny. And a little stinky." I smiled. She is learning to "read" dog. Here, I'll take him out.
A few minutes later and I was back inside with Sofia. Yep, that's exactly what he needed to do! Now she smiled. I still feel stupid for getting the class time wrong, I said, leaning into her.
"I did something the other day that made me feel like an idiot," she whispered back. "I had to play a solo on my horn and it was acting up and it only played about half the notes!"
Oh no, that's bad! What happened?
"I don't know, but my teacher told me it was okay, sometimes that just happens."
What a sweetheart, sharing her story to make me feel better.
It worked! Thanks, Sofia!