We met my dog last night. Not only is he good looking, he is well toned and defined, his hips are straight and even, his sight is keen and he is very attentive.
His name is Monster. He knows his name and is comfortable with it. I am not going to try to change it.
Monster is very intellegent, trains quickly, is eager to please, and for being yet a puppy, very calm around people. He is not at all aggressive, and not at all an "Alpha" personality. After 20 minutes, Monster allowed me to take him into my lap and even gave me little kisses on my nose.
He has been raised in a house with other dogs and cats and does not really care about cats. As he is a puppy, if the cat runs from him, he will give chase, however, if the cat leaves him alone, he will do likewise. We'll need to train out the chasing, but that is a small thing, really.
I am sure he will work out wonderfully and I cannot wait to bring him into his new home and introduce him to his new family.
We are picking him up after work tonight. I've already arranged, with Garion, to make a run out at lunch time to get him some basics, then take him on a trip to the pet store, either later on tonight or on Saturday, to let him pick out a few things. It will teach us his preferences, reinforce car riding, and socialize him a little, before we really start in with his training. We think that by the time he is 18 months old, he will be ready for his certification exams.
No, service dog certification is not legally required by the federal government, or by the state of Florida, for that matter, but I am having him certified any way. It takes the stress and guess work out of traveling with a service animal. Service animal laws are also changing. A therapy animal will no longer meet the ADA criteria as a service animal and will no longer be entitled to the same accesses under law. Having Monster certified as a service animal will ensure him and me that we cannot be refused entry. Really, I think it is the smartest course of action for us.
We chose to adopt the dog, then have him trained as a service animal, because, believe it or not, that is the faster way to get a service animal. Going through an organization, the wait can be years. Training our own dag also allows us to very carefully define what his service tasks will be, in my case, mobility assistance. There are several good service task trainers in Florida, and especially in Tampa. Larra (my sister) is going to set us up with one who will do Monster's training in our home. The costs are reasonable at $10-$20 an hour.
Sam said he does like the idea of my being home, especially if alone, with 60-80 pounds of devoted dog who will take care of me if anything happens. I asked him how he will like sharing our bed with the same 60-80 pounds of dog, plus our 2 cats. He said we need a bigger bed.