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

15 January 2013

Fun, and why you really shouldn't touch a service dog

In case I haven't made it obvious, this being a dog-centric blog, I am an atheist. I read atheist blogs all the time, and follow issues of separation of church and state really closely. There is a pretty good atheist community in San Francisco, and I don't do enough active community type stuff.

This past weekend, one of my favorite atheist bloggers, Greta Christina, was giving a talk hosted by the Atheist Advocates of San Francisco. I totally had to go. I got Dad to drive so we wouldn't have to take BART.

Since the talk was scheduled to be two hours, followed by dinner at a local Chinese place, I took Juno. The foregoing parts of that sentence, in dog, translate to: Long down stay with limited distraction. Short walk, then almost as long down stay with food all around. So you can see why it wasn't a great fit for Kaline at this point!

Juno spent the talk lying quietly next to my chair, and absolutely no one bothered us. The talk was fantastic, because Greta is awesome! But then the talk ended, and boy, that was just no good.

Everyone got up at the same time, changing the calm, tranquil room into a seriously crowded, noisy space. Dad went ahead of me and Juno so she would have a target to follow out quickly. But it was like the end of the talk signaled a free-for-all on that cute dog. Hands were coming at Juno from everywhere, and people kept getting in her way. She was trying to lead me out, and these people, however well-meaning, were actively keeping her from doing her job. I don't do well at all in crowds, so I was just frozen—I couldn't even talk to say, "Keep your paws off my dog! Can't you see she is trying to do her job and you're stopping her?!"

As you can imagine, this did nothing to lower my anxiety level. It took forever for us to wiggle our way out of the room and I was hyperventilating by the time we did. Gaaah!

Right as we got out of the very gorgeous Women's Building, Juno had a little spaz-out upon getting reunited with Dad. Then she did amazing momentum pulling all the way to the restaurant, even when Dad walked behind us! She slept next to the table during dinner (there was no room for her underneath due to the table's enormous four-pronged "feet"). And dinner was incredibly delicious. Gotta find a way to go back to that place.

Juno and I are going in a rally trial this weekend. Two actually; there are three total happening but one of them was full by the time I sent in our entry. I'm hoping against hope for two legs toward her Rally Novice title, but I'll try not to have too high expectations. That never ends well.

In Kaline news, his training is going nicely. He's getting good at his leg nudge. He's getting a lot more proficient at finding heel exercises, and is learning to back up on command. We continue to work on doing long downs/settles throughout the day. I'm trying to do capturing for retrieving, and that's also kind of working! I actually get excited when he steals something forbidden, because then I can reward him for bringing it to me. We're still practicing the open-wait-close gently sequence with regular doors, and he's starting to open the fridge in a more Juno-esque (aka way more effective) style. We need to get back in the habit of practicing "legs" ... Still working on loudness desensitization. He's cool with everything except the high/shrill loud sounds.

And he got his pajamas from Cozy Coats. Woohoo!


  1. I really wish that service dog knowledge would become more common. Somebody had a service dog in training in the library, and I actually had to decline to pet her; she was wearing her cape, I don't know why the person even offered!

    Kaline is adorable (of course) in his jammies.

    1. You and me both!! Argh. Was the dog you met in training, maybe? I mean, I don't let people pet Kaline in vest but everyone has their own petting protocol. He says thank you for the lovely compliment, of course. I'm probably just seeing what I want to see, but I think he's sleeping more soundly now that he's all warm and cozy.