"Honey, don't get upsset. The dog got out of the house today."
"When I cam home, the back door was open and Monster was nowhere to be found. Logan swares that the back door was closed."
"Oh God! Have you tried looking for him?"
"Yes, baby, I've got him. He was playing with some of the kids in the complex. He's safe and we are going for a walk right now."
"Oh thank God! You're sure nothing happened to him? He's really ok, right?"
"Yes, baby, he's alright. He's fine. I just wanted to let you know that either Logan didn't close rthe back door, or Monster is one very smart dog."
"Ok, well, I'm glad Monster is ok. Thank you for telling, but next time, can it wait til I get home? You scared the daylights outta me."
"<chuckle> OK, honey, I'll wait til you get home next time. I love you."
"I love you too. Bye babe"
"Bye honey. See you in a couple of hours."
40 minutes later
"I went for greatest husband in the world points."
"You did? How did you do that?"
"Well, not only did I take the trash out for Logan, I ran a load of dishes AND I gave Monster a bath!"
"Yes, I did. He seemed to kind of like it. He liked my taking the blow dryer to him."
",laughing> Yeah, pitties like the blow dryer. Is he all nice and clean and smeling good now?"
"Well, he was, but then I let him outside and he layed down in the dirt."
"<laughing> Well, at least he was dry. The dirt will brush off of him. Garion and I are at my sister's house. We'll be home soon."
"OK, see you in a little bit. I love you!"
"I love you too! Bye"
After I got home, we put Monster's harness on him and went to the wholesale club. Monster has learned that while he is in his harness, he is working. When the lead is just attached to his collar, he is "just a dog." I try to take him on 1 training outing a day.
No sooner did we walk into the wholesale club when "Ma'am, is that a service dog?" "Yes he is, here's his id badge." "Oh, ok, thank you. Have a nice evening." Typical exchange. Sam asked if I wanted to share a soda and a hot pretzel. Off he went while I managed to manuver the shopping cart with my right hand, the rollator and Monster with my left. It really wasn't that difficult and I like knowing that I can do it all by myself if I have to.
About 50 feet later, we're stopped by the store manager. "Is he working for you right now?" "Yes, he is. Here's his ID." I show the man Monster's registered service dog id with his photo on it. "Oh, ok, thanks. Is he working right now, or just a companion? Can he be petted?" "No, he's woorking right now. Thanks for asking." "Ok, I'll let my staff know. Have a good evening."
Away he goes. We pick up some chicken breasts and some panko crusted talapia fillets. The butcher comes out to restock the pork and beef ribs. He drops a big slab of ribs right behind me, they are shrink wrapped in heavy plastic. Monster pushes them to toward the butcher with his nose and comes back to me right away. "Good boy!!!" I sat down on my rollator. "Paws." Monster puts his front paws in my lap and licks my nose. I give him some love and tell him "good boy some more."
"What'd he do?" Sam wanders up with a large pepsi and 2 hot pretzels, 1 with salt and 1 without." Taking the one without salt, "he pushed a rack of ribs that fell on the floor back to the butcher so I dcouldn't trip on them."
"That's a goo boy, Monster," Sam pats him on the side." "Ready to move on?"
We pick up some frozen items and head over to the pet aisle. Monster is definitely interested in hte pet food, but he doesn't leave my side. In fact, while Sam and I discuss the pros and cons of 3 different brands, Monster lays down and decides to wash his paws. We finally agree on a dog food, then pick up a 3# bag of chicken jerky treats and move on.
Other shoppers have been good about commenting on how cute Monster is, but not trying to pet him without asking and very respectful when we tell them he is working. Monster has been a very good boy the whole shopping trip.
Finally, as we are waiting for our items to be checked against our receipt at the door, the young lady assigned to that dutie asks if he is working or not and can she pet him. I switched Monster's lead from his harness to his collar and told her, "now you can." Monster got a case of the wiggles. When he is done working, he wags his tail so hard his whole back end wiggles and he wants to nose people and be loved. The girl went nuts loving on Monster for a good 10 minutes. Just as well by me. He deserved it after being perfectly well behaved on his harness the whole time we were shopping.
At home, he has his dinner. The cats have their dinner. We have our dinner. Then Sam, Monster and I curl up on the chase lounge and watch tv together, until Monster give me that look that says "I'm ready to go potty 1 more time, then go to bed." So we take him out and turn in.
Saturday, Tim and Gretchen come over while Sam is teaching his tai chi class. This is the first time they've been to the house since Monster became part of the family. He and I are napping together on the chase when they get there, but he doesn't growl when walk into the house. Probably because I reacted by welcoming them. Monster thinks Gretchen is just wonderful and is soon up on the couch with her. Tim is good too, but Monster is a lady's dog.
Sam comes home and tells us we need to rent a truck for about 2 hours and go pick up the entertainment center and book shelves from his cousin Christy. So we all get into my suv and head over to the uhaul. Monster happily sits between Gretchen and me in the back seat.
The guys head off to bet the furniture and Gretchen, Monster and I head over to the grocery store to pick something for dinner. I have Monster's harness with me.
Harness on, the 3 of walk into the store. No one asks a single thing, but a couple of mothers do tell their children not to try to pet the dog. He is working right now.
We grab the necessary items to make a green salad with chicken, a small cheese cake sampler for desert, and head to check out. They always have hot, fresh bread from the bakery near the check outs. Gretchen grabs to still steamy loaves while Monster and I get into line.
A few seconds later and the store assistant manager comes over and asks if the dog is working are people able to pet him. I reply that he is working. The assistant manager tells a lady who had asked him, I guess, that the dog is working. Then he asks me what his breed is, his age, how I got a service dog, etc. He seemed really interested to know. At that point, the store manager opens up a new lane at the registers and tells us that he can take us right away, so we don't have to wait.
We pay for our items and head for the truck, then the short trip back to the house. Monster is enjoying the A/C in the back seat.
The guys return with the furniture a couple of hours later and "the great living room furniture shuffle" begins! Monster chose to lay on the chase and stay out of the way of things. I said he was smart!! That over, we feed the animals, then make dinner for the humans, and finish the evening catching up on a Showtime series that we all watch and talking. Monster makes the rounds between the sofa and the chase, soaking up the love.
Sunday, we are off to church for the first time. Monster is in harness and being beautifully bahaved. I'm always aware that he is only 4 months old and could forget himself while working, acting, instead, "like a dog." I'm always so proud of him when he does well. I let him be a dog and play on the play ground withthe kids in Sunday school during coffee hour. Monster loves children!
Later that afternoon, after Sam gets home from patients, has a bit of down time and a snack, I tell him we need to get more training treats. So we all pile into the suv and head to the petsupermarket. Monster knows the place when we park and gets all wiggley. He's "just a dog" for the trip. Everyone knows him there already, and they are always happy to see him. We get him some treats and a couple of doggie tennis balls that don't squeak. He doesn't want to play "fetch" with the ones that do. Those he just wants to chew on. Then we take Monster for a surprise trip to the dog park.
This is the first time Monster has been to a dog park. Since he is a large breed, we opted not to take him to the puppy area. All of the puppies there were way to small for Monster to play with without the danger of accidentally hurting them. We let him in with the "big dogs."
There were about 8-10 other dogs in teh "big dog" area, ranging in size from a young golden retriever to an adult great dane. All these new noses curious about who Monster is. He was a little overwhelmed and decided to camp out under my rollator while he got used to the idea of all these new dogs. After about 10 minutes, he decided he wanted to be part of the pack to and came out. Pretty soon, he was racing around with teh other dogs, jumping, running and playing. He had a great time!
All of the other dogs were well socialized and playful, without being agressive. There were a few other pitties or pitty-mixes. The other doggie parents were very welcoming and nice. It was fun to talk to new people about our dogs, sports, the news, just anything at all. They were curious about Monster being a service dog and why I used the rollator and Monster. We had a good conversation while the dogs ran around, asked everyone for love, and were just a "pack of dogs" for a few hours.
Finally, Monster decided he was tired. Poor little guy's tongue was hanging out and he was panting, but he sure was smiling! We knew he wasn't thirsty. The park has water out for the dogs, and a fountain for them to drink out of, or play in. I asked Sam to remind me to leave a towel in the suv for drying Monster off next time. He was just one tired puppy! We loaded him up in the suv and started for home when Sam noticed there was an ice cream truck parked near by. He started the car and turned up the a/c full blast for Monster, then went and got 2 cherry italian ices for me and himself, and we drove home.
While we were leaving, Ashley, the mommy of the great dane and another pitty, invited us to their Doggie Birthday Party in a couple of weeks. It will be at the dog park and a big bash for both humans and dogs with food for both, games, the works. We were very happy to accept.
I felt like Sam and I had been on a date. It was such a really great afternoon. I thanked Sam for agreeing to go to the dog park and we decided to make it our "Sunday afternoon thing." Monster ate his dinner once we got home, and slept for the rest of the night!
We had a pretty great weekend! We just have to remember to lock all the doors to keep Monster in the house! But, I think he is about ready to accompany me to the office, at least a couple of days out of the week at first.