Last night was the annual HOPE Neamiaha (Sp?) Action Rally. That is a gathering where congregations across the county we live in, and across religious affiliations, gather to press our local and state civic leaders and representatives into action to benifit those in need, the young, the homeless, the sufferors of addiction, the poor, etc. Once can count on there being literally thousands of people in attendance at the annual rally.
I attend every year. I also work on the HOPE committee at my church, so I am a little more than just frindge involved. So, this was going to be a big test of Monster's abilities to maintain his tasks while out in public.
There were over 4,000 people in attendance at the Without Walls International Cathedral last night. It was a sea of humans, sights, sounds, smells, everything that would make it virtually impossible for a dog, especially a puppy of 4 months old, want to run everywhere and see everything. People were cheering, yelling, whisteling, clapping, standing, sitting, passing papers around, walking all over, hugging, laughing, talking and generally acting like a very large crowd of humans.
I am VERY happy and proud to report that Monster performed his tasks with flying colors!!!!!!!!!!
He never left my side, never pulled away, never did anything but follow his commands and sit/lay/sleep quietly at my feet. He loves children and when not working loves to play with the neighborhood kids. There were lots of kids off all ages that I'm sure he would have loved to play with running around last night. He didn't once try snif or join in, didn't bark or growl or do anything that a "normal puppy" might do in those circumstances! He was wonderful!!!!!!!
There were 2 other handles with their service dogs in attendance last night too. All 3 of our companions were better behaved than some of the human children who were in attendance. I was very proud and pleased that Monster, in his brand new service vest, was a shining example of a service dog. It makes me even more proud when people ask what breed his is and I tell them that he is a Pit Bull mix! We are trying to give Pit Bulls a more positive face for the public. Not that doing that was my intention when I teamed up with Monster. I hadn't even thought about it. But to be able to prove that I can train a Pitty as a service dog just goes 1 step further in showing the world that the breed is not dangerous, it is the human or humans who breeds, owns and handles the dogs that is dangerous, just like with any other breed! But I digress.
After the rally was over, Monster threaded me expertly through the crowd and out the main doors. I was so proud of him I think I was beaming. People did stop us to tell me that he was a beautiful dog and so well behaved. Monster simply sat down and waited for a signal from me that each conversation was over and we could be on our way again.
Outside, there were people talking, catching up with eachother, etc. and children running and playing. I found a discreet place for Monster to relieve himself if he needed to do so, he didn't, then took his vest off of him and let him be "just a puppy" and get love and attention from all the people waiting to give it to him. Yes, when not on duty, my service companion is spoiled rotton! How else do you think we create and maintain the bond that makes him happy to serve me while on duty? It really IS all about how you treat the animal.
I am so pleased with and proud of all the progress that Monster has made in hte 1.5 weeks the 2 of us has been a team! I have informed my office that I intend to have my service dog with me in the office. That has been sent to corporate HR and I intend to being Monster in starting either tomorrow or Thursday. He is simply exceeding, far and away, any expectations we had for his progress! I told Sam that God would put us together with teh right dog for my needs and our family. Every day I am with Monster, I am all the more certain that he is the dog God meant for me! We have grown to really love and be devoted to each other in a very short period of time.