The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

26 August 2012

Palo Alto Craft Fair

The work on walking nicely and being attentive continues—Kaline was really good today! Our first order of business was the Farmer's Market, which is difficult because I have to work him and Juno together. It's always crowded, so it's hard to make your way through when you're walking three abreast; plus two dogs attract exponentially more attention than one, so you get stopped more often.

Nonetheless, it was quite productive! We worked on Kaline's stand/block with all those people around, as well as his attention. I spotted two cops, and they were happy to say hi to Kaline. I want him to be totally comfortable with people in uniform, and he quite liked these two. When we went to get our berries, Mikey (the guy who runs the stand) obliged me by doing his funky whistle repeatedly while I rewarded Kaline for ignoring it and watching me.

Then as we were walking through we ended up talking to a woman who had recently lost her dog, who she called her life companion. I did my usual recommendation of Peninsula Humane Society, and the woman said she was wary of going to a shelter because so many of the dogs might have "pit bull blood" and she didn't want a dog who was so "unpredictable."

I can't hear that kind of nonsense without trying to educate, so I went into my spiel about the true, wonderful nature of pit bulls. How cuddly and sweet and smart they are, and what great friends they make. I of course mentioned my various friends who have pit bulls or pit mixes as service dogs, and recommended exploring the website, StubbyDog. I think I at least made something of an impression. Gotta try. She was definitely surprised and impressed to learn that Stubby was a pit bull and a war hero, and that pit bulls used to be nicknamed the Nanny Dog. People used to think those stupid things about Dobermans; they're just as stupid when applied to pit bulls.

After the market we went to Borrone's for our Sunday breakfast; once I set up Kaline's mat properly (this took a little bit of experimenting) he did a fantastic under and stayed there, all curled up and adorable. The bustling cafe with all its people and dogs and food is becoming old hat to him.

We came home for a bit, had naps and all. We had a lot of cleaning up to do, since the house basically got taken apart yesterday for the rug cleaning. Once everyone was sufficiently recharged, we headed out to the Palo Alto Craft Fair.

The fair was way more dog friendly than the Menlo Park one simply because of its location and today's weather. University Avenue is very shaded, and is fine for walking dogs on all but the very hottest of days. Plus, today was pleasantly cool. No hot pavement to burn dogs' feet, and no scorching sun to heat them up and make them pant unhappily.

Dad took Juno and I worked Kaline, totally focused on attention and walking with a loose leash. Obviously this will be a work in progress for some time, but we definitely had stretches where Kaline was brilliant, walking along at exactly my pace and looking up at my face very attentively. There were tons of dogs and he did as good a job at ignoring them as you can expect from a baby; Juno also did very well at ignoring other dogs, and we ran into a bunch of shepherds, which she tends not to like.

We also ended up talking to a lot of different people about service dogs, including a woman who, like me, has fibromyalgia. She also has diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis (major drag!). So we definitely had a lot to talk about when it came to how a service dog might be able to help her. That stuff was fun.

Less fun: People who insisted that Juno and Kaline must both be part Rottweiler, which is ridiculous. Juno is 26 inches tall and weighs only 60-65 pounds, there's no way she's part Rottie. And Kaline is a Doberman, end of story. His ears confuse people so much. But I wouldn't have them any other way, because they're beautiful.

There were also people who would say something nice about Kaline's behavior and then go, "And, he's a Doberman!" As if you wouldn't ever expect to see a Doberman be focused and calm. I don't think I'd even say that to a poodle-mix owner (at least, not to their face!). All these people kept telling me how Dobermans are ADD, how they're crazy, etc. I was kind of like, How many Dobermans have you met? I could understand if they said something referencing his age, but not his breed. Oh yeah, one person asked if Kaline was nine months old, because he's big. Ha! (Side note: Kaline's brother Montgomery is 45 pounds already! Way bigger than Kaline.)

Back to good stuff. There was a guy playing an accordion at one of the intersections, and he was in a full body suit! Even covered his face. It was bright pink and black, with little puffballs attached at various places and just crazily designed. He was kind enough to let me bring Kaline up to sniff his hand; the pup didn't seem all that impressed by the getup. I thought it might at least give him a bit of pause or something. When I first saw him, I jumped, not gonna lie. But no, apparently Kaline got that it was a person and no big deal.

Kaline also had to deal with golf carts passing really close by, and of course smothering crowds when we'd hit one of the many bottlenecks. The only issues we had were nearly running into lots of different people, because we were both working on eye contact, haha.

Just measured him tonight—as best I could, using a miniature flag as a ruler on his back with him wriggling in a stand next to the wall—and he is approximately 21 inches tall already! Woohoo!

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