Improvise, roll with it, go with the flow. Pretty good mottoes because, let's face it, I have yet to meet the day that turned out just as I thought it would. Case in point: Michelle had asked me to take Duckie on a bus this week for one of our walks, as his new schedule will include regular bus rides. No problem, we know the drill, so I just went online, grabbed the city bus schedule, drove downtown & parked near a bus stop where we'd be able to catch a familiar route -- a convenient loop. Of course, assistant trainers Charissa & Katharine were along just for fun.
But alas, on arriving at our stop we saw a sign that bus schedules had been cut back, and the one we'd planned on taking wasn't running til the evening. So, yeah, those online schedules aren't all they're cracked up to be! Not to be so easily deterred, we figured that as long as we were downtown, by george, we were going to ride a bus. Any bus. After all, it's not like we were actually trying to get anywhere! Here we are, 3 people and a dog who are all fond of walking, so I just decided we'd get on one, ride it as far as we were willing to go, then walk back to the car if we had to. And that's just what we did.
Duckie was bursting with eagerness to board, and once we'd found a seat he tucked in nicely. People's reactions to him were interesting. As usual he created quite a sensation, which as usual he ignored, settling in for a relaxed ride. Good dog! The guy across the aisle struck up a long, and I do mean long, conversation about service dogs and other assorted topics. Amazing how with Dakota along, I never have a shortage of people to talk to! In the end, though, I was just ready for a break so finally at an opportune stop I nodded to the kids, stood up, and we all exited.
Serendipitously, it just so happened that we got off right at Chipotle, one of our favorite places to eat. Couldn't have worked out better if we'd planned it!
Who, me, bring a dog in the restaurant? What dog?
Fortified by chicken tacos, the girls and I were ready for the long trek back to the car. Busy traffic, a construction zone, folks walking their pet dogs, and of course the random person making silly noises at him...Dakota took it all in stride. All in all, it was a very fun day, and a good exercise in improvisation.
Dakota is due to leave our home for the last time this weekend, and then it's on to official classes with his new person! He's definitely more enthusiastic about his scent work than ever. When he alerts he gets very excited and proud, more so than with anything else we've taught him. I know it'll take time to transfer over from working with scent samples to real life work, but he's ready for the transition.
And it probably doesn't take too much to figure out what the next step is for our family. Of course, another guide dog puppy! We got to meet these six adorable puppies at Dixie's Doodles for their 5-week test last Saturday (forgot my camera, can you believe it?!) Here's a link where you can see them all...which one do you think is volunteering to be the next guide dog?
We won't know for sure which one it'll be until after their 7-week test. But if all goes well, one of them should come home with us after Thanksgiving! We are so excited. I'm sure the new puppy will have potential and personality all its own for us to discover. I have a feeling we'll have plenty of new opportunities to improvise!