I picked Serena up on Monday November 9th, 2009. We joined Linda's puppy class so I could learn how to tell Serena what to do and so that we could get to know each other before I brought her home. It was great getting to meet everyone at the class including other puppy raisers! Serena and I made it home around 9pm that night. She was very scared of entering the house but after telling her how wonderful she was she finally decided we weren't going to hurt her. I showed her around the house, took her outside one more time then put her in her crate for the night.
For lunch my Dad and I went to Potbelly's with Serena. She waited patiently in line and was not phased by the giant lunch crowd they had in there. We got many "awwwwws" and a couple people asked questions. Serena lay at my side while we ate our meal and acted like a wonderful puppy!
After Potbelly's, Serena and I headed up to the barn so I could take care of Reggie. Serena's car manners are impeccable. She either sits or sleeps in the back seat and doesn't bother me when I drive. While I worked with Reggie, Serena slept in the car; she was a very tired puppy! She also liked watched all the activity of the barn and didn't bark or whine at the horses. Today I might let her meet Reggie since he loves dogs!
After the barn we relaxed at home for a little bit and then went to pick up dinner at Chipotle. This was the first time I got questioned for bringing a puppy into a store. As we were leaving the guy said "next time can you please not bring a dog into here." After I explained that she was a service dog he was very understanding and said she was welcome anytime. Phew! I didn't want to argue! Serena slept at my feet while I watched TV and finished up some stuff. We went for an evening walk and then bedtime once again.
This morning I slept in a little bit longer (6:50 versus 6:00) and Serena didn't have any accidents again! We went for a nice morning walk and practiced walking on a loose leash at my side. She is getting so good at that!! Our morning consisted of doing some chores around the house then errands. I went to the bank and since there is a Starbucks next door I had to go there too! Starbucks was very busy but Serena took it all in stride. The employees there were very excited to see her and one said "I was so happy to see that she had a vest because that means she can come inside and say hi!!" Serena makes so many people smile. She also met 2 little girls who wanted to know all about her and what service dogs do. They helped me practice "Make a Friend." That is the command Serena has to know when she meets someone. She is supposed to sit and lift a paw. She has the sitting part down but we just started lifting the paw. The little girls were very happy to help and did it a few times. We also had a man talk to us and ask questions. I am finding everything that used to take me 10 minutes is now taking me 20 or more with Serena because people want to ask questions and tell me about their dogs. I love it! It is really fun to talk to and educate people about what Serena is going to do.
We also went to Walgreens and the lady questioned me bringing her into the store but I explained that Service dogs in training have the same laws as Service dogs. She looked at me like I was crazy but didn't stop me. When I went to check out she asked a few questions about Serena and then seemed more open to why I brought her into the store. It feels good making people more aware of the service dog training program.
Our last stop in my list of errands was Lowes. Serena was so well behaved it amazed me. She walked right next to the cart on a loose leash and didn't get scared of all the activity. She even figured out that while I am stopped she can sit or lie down. This was very cute while I walked back and forth up the light aisle trying to decide which light to buy. I would walk to one end and stare at something and Serena would go to sleep then I would decide I liked one at the other so she would get up follow me then go back to sleep while I stared some more. She wasn't bothered by people walking by or by the employee that came to assist me. At the check out there was a very angry man. While we were talking to a woman, he proceeded to get very mad, throw everything he was going to buy to the ground and stomp out of the store. Serena didn't care and continued to pay attention to me and stay in a sit position. After that a ton of employees came over to clean up the mess and see what just happened so then all of them wanted to say hi to Serena. It was great! She is a little shy around people but continued to sit by me while everyone surrounded her and petted her and told her how cute she was. They couldn't believe how well behaved for 4 months she was and a couple of them wanted to take her home. It was a great experience!
I can't believe all that has happened in only two days! I can't wait to see what will happen in the next year. Stayed tuned for many many puppy updates!