At Borrone's I was feeling all jangly and weird, probably because Kepler's had been so busy and in addition to all my friends working there, there were a bunch of new people too and I felt super awkward. Of his own accord, Kaline did a lap up and just stayed there until my waffle came; as soon as the waffle was gone, he was back up, and eventually started scrabbling his back feet—"Let me all the way up!" So I did, and he just leaned himself into my chest. I was so pleased with him! Not to mention, all kinds of people saw what he was doing, so their Doberman picture of the day was of a snuggler. Ambassadober!
He was awesome in the market too—by himself, he is doing extremely well. Great attention, very little sniffing around, just great. We also talked to a lady about the difference between SDs and ESAs; hopefully she'll get in contact again, because someone gave her tons of misinformation. Such as: ESAs are permitted to go on CalTrain, ESAs require special training, psychiatric service dogs are not recognized by San Mateo County, etc. I cannot stand people who give new SD people the wrong info! Starting off with a service dog is hard enough without others telling you things that are completely inaccurate. I feel so lucky that I was able to find groups where accuracy is of paramount importance and I was able to get spot-on information.
IKEA was pretty good too. We did a lot of "close" practice, because the parents were checking out all the model kitchens. It is pretty much my mom's fondest dream to remodel the kitchen, which anyone will admit was terribly set up and designed. I had a bag full of kibble, of course, so we'd go through the kitchens after Dad, and he'd have opened a bunch of drawers and cabinets at different levels. Then Kaline got to close everything! He only has trouble with low drawers, because he wants to use his feet—on a low drawer, feet are ineffective, and also I don't really want him to use his feet in the first place. High drawers were adorable, he'd push them like a seal bouncing a ball back to the trainer.
We also practiced under at different tables, settling on various interesting rugs (including one made of cowhide), sit and down stays, little recalls, etc. Kaline and I were pooped way before the parents were!
Then Monday night, Kaline got to go to his very first Major League baseball game! Normally when I go to a ballgame, I have extreme focus on the game: I get there when the gates open, I bring my scorebook, I keep score in my very detailed personal scoring system, and I basically do not leave my seat from first pitch to last pitch (unless I really have to go). So last night felt a little weird for me.
Hendrik and Sonja had invited just me, but then Sonja didn't feel well, so Dad came. We got to the park only a little while before first pitch. We introduced Kaline to our favorite ushers, Nick, Mark, Rod and Anthony, then went to the seats. Kaline was a little overwhelmed right at first. You don't think about it most of the time, but when you're with a puppy, you realize all of a sudden just how much sensory overload there can be at a ballpark. There are tons of people, food everywhere including all over the ground, it's inside but feels like you're outside (yes, I worry a lot that Kaline will have trouble with that distinction and think it's okay to eliminate in the concourse), it's loud and echoey, there's always something blaring from the speakers, etc.
But I'd brought Kaline's dinner, and that made everything okay.
He settled nicely under my seat on his cushy mat for about three or four innings. I didn't keep score, just focused on Kaline. And the Tigers game, playing on my phone, because they were about to clinch their division title. It was super hot during the day, so the night was warm and miraculously Kaline never shivered! (I brought the Cozy Horse coat for him anyway, and he wore it on the way out for visibility. ADORABLE.)
He started to get antsy after a while, so we got up and walked all over the ballpark, practicing attention and not sniffing/socializing. We did the inner ring, where we could still see the field, then did the concourse, which was louder and more crowded. Kaline was amazing. He was definitely interested in everything that was happening, but he was checking in constantly, both when I asked him to and on his own. At one point there was a huge cheer while we were in the concourse (the A's were about to clinch a playoff spot, so it was extra loud last night), and the sound was reverberating. Kaline's ears went flat against his head and he just got this look on his face like, "WHY?!" I got him to watch me, and instead of one kibble, gave him a handful. The rest of the night, when there was a big cheer, instead of wilting, Kaline would fix me with a stare: "Cheering! Where is my food?!" It didn't bother him again.
After the concourse we went to the gate where we'd come in, to see if they'd make an exception for us on the no re-entry policy. They waved us through, grinning: "You're not the only one who's needed to take a dog out tonight!" Yay. Kaline got his business done fairly quickly, and while he was out of his vest I just kind of played around with him a bit to loosen things up. Then we went back in and he was good under my seat basically the rest of the game. In the ninth I let him curl up on my lap. (He really has to curl now!)
|Watching the game (sometime before our stadium circuit).|
Obviously when the A's won and had their celebration, the whole Coliseum went apeshit. But Kaline now knew that loudness would get him treats, so he was completely unfazed by the whole thing. He was so great! He was a little pissed when I stuffed him into his coat at the end, but hey, people definitely noticed a bright blue and maize puppy trotting through the crowded concourse. I was very proud of my little guy.