FLD Gus is improving--he leaps out of the van with abandon, no longer hesitant.
I heel him across the Sterling Heights High School visitor lot to "park." A robin alights on a low branch of a thick pine just beyond the chain line fence. Gus freezes, one front paw curled to his inflated chest, his blocky-Lab head held high. Leave it, I say. He snorts and goes back to sniffing the ice-coated grass.
I'm glad we are early to Sofia's first public concert. FLD Gus is wired and I'm forced to backwards-walk more than usual. Note to self: a 20-minute walk three hours before concert time is NOT long enough to burn-off an adolescent, testosterone-filled Lab!
The spring Carleton Area Concert includes Fillmore Elementary's fifth-grade band (Sofia plays trumpet), Carleton Middle School's sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade bands, Sterling Heights High School's band, and Cousino High School's Marching Band. This will be old hat for Sofia's sister, Elaina, who plays French horn in the eighth-grade band.
|FLD Gus sniffing passing feet.|
FLD Gus finally settles down at my feet in the gym bleachers, sniffing the air at passing feet, but the corner of the bench in front of us proves too tasty for him to resist. Several "leave its" later, he teases me by resting his lips on it (without chewing). Scary-smart.
The music holds little interest for FLD Gus. Until. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
|Cousino's drum corp entering the gym.|
Gus springs into a SIT as if startled from a deep sleep and gazes down on the bands grouped below us. The Cousino drum corp RAT-A-TAT-TATs aross the gym, stops right in front of our stection, and proceeds to thunder us so we feel like we are in the movie Drumline.
|FLD Gus likes the drum corp.|
Good boy, Gus, I say when he stays calm, watching the red and black gilded Cousino Marching Band file in behind the drum corp for the grand finale. FLD Gus remains calm, even when the spectators swarm down the bleacher aisle brushing his nose, even when Sofia and Elaina join us in the stands, even when a woman exclaims, "Hey, I have one of those at home!" just as we step onto the gym floor.
It doesn't seem to matter where we go, we always run into someone else who is raising, has raised, or knows someone who is raising a Future Leader Dog puppy! "I mean it," she says, "I'm raising a yellow Lab female for Leader Dogs! She is my first one."
Why isn't she here? I ask.
"She's only five-months-old and I didn't think she would sit through all of this."
Two hours of crowds, kids, commotion, concert songs, clapping, cheers, not to mention negotiating slick floors and bleacher seating--what a fantastic experience for a Future Leader Dog puppy!
I'll bet she'll bring her puppy next time.
|Proud aunt patti with Sofia in the stands.|