Yesterday was Kaline's first Gotcha Day—I've had him a whole year, which is pretty unbelievable—and we went to a Rally trial for Juno with friends Mary, Marissa, and Kristin. I brought the big purple pop-up crate for Kaline to chill in, along with his breakfast and a Bento ball with an actual cookie in it. (Usually Kaline finds the Bento ball so fascinating on its own that I don't bother with the cookie.)
As you might have guessed, Kaline was absolutely not interested in the diversionary things and whined a lot in the crate. Juno was her usual excellent self. It was fantastic getting to meet Mary in real life, and both the dogs quite liked her also. Juno even favored her with a kiss, which is big coming from her. It was really nice to have a friend there that one dog could stay with while I did things with the other. And Mary took a bunch of fantastic photos of both dogs, but mostly the gorgeous Juno.
I tried to do things better than last time, given it was the same venue. We got a much better course, full of things that Juno is fairly good at, and sans broad jump. (YAY!) It was overcast, so I could warm Juno up in a figurative sense without really doing it in a literal sense. And for actual SD work, I had Kaline there, so Juno didn't have to worry about that.
Well, we again had jump issues, since on the first pass Juno decided to cut around the jump rather than go over it. Not knowing that you're not supposed to repeat a jump (I learn new things at every Rally trial, and always because I've done something incorrectly, haha), I got her back and had her take it properly. We lost ten points right there, but only one point on the entire rest of the course! So I was really happy with that. All four of the dogs who got ribbons for Advanced B got scores of 100, how insane! First through fourth was decided based on speed. An awesome toy poodle got second. All of us sitting together were commenting on how nice it is to see a little dog that's treated like an actual dog. All of us with dogs competing in Advanced (me, Kristin and Marissa) got legs! WOOHOO!!!
Anyway, we had just spotted our Doberman friend, Sue Korp, and her lovely bitch who has All The Obedience Titles. As we went to say hi and chat a bit, a woman with an Airedale came up to yell at me about Kaline's prong collar. I didn't even let her finish her little diatribe, continually cutting her off with, “He is a service dog. He is not competing. The prong collar is part of his normal working gear.” (I wasn't going to get into the nuances of SD vs. SDIT with her, considering that in California, it doesn't really matter.) I was getting pretty worked up but not too badly, because I had expected someone, at some point, to do exactly what she was doing and had prepared for it. Kaline was doing really well, standing in a block in front of me, between me and the yelling woman.
So I reached down to stroke him reassuringly and tell him he was a good boy. The Airedale woman gave him a disdainful look and said, “Can't be much of a good dog if he's in a prong.” That hurt, big time. I'm proud that I didn't cuss her out, or say something stupid, instead responding that my tools are my business, not hers. But you don't hear from a stranger that basically you have a terrible puppy and not feel totally like crap.
We immediately came back to the area with our friends, where Kaline parked himself on my lap/against my chest for most of the next half hour or so. He'd get off momentarily but then he'd be right back up. Such a good boy. And later, Sue came over to chat and say that the Airedale woman was over the top. She said that nationals for Rally are in Pomona this year—bad half of California, but still, West Coast! Maybe we'll figure out a way to go. It's in October, so we have time, and it'd be fun to see Sue's wonderful bitch strut her stuff (somehow at Rally I never end up finding time to go watch regular obedience).
During Rally Novice, a nice woman and her elderly mom came over to us to talk SDs—the mother is training her next mobility dog, a pretty smooth collie. She asked about Kaline's Petjoy harness vest, probably my favorite piece of gear besides our BLD, and I got to evangelize about all its wonderful qualities and how nice the company is to work with in general. It was such a nice, friendly, happy note to end on, rather than Airedale woman.
After crashing away the whole afternoon with the pups, Kaline and I accompanied Mom to Stanford for a quick outing (Nordstrom and Macy's near closing time). Kaline's fear of elevators is all gone and he's blocking properly again in them. He was really accurate with all the buttons, and is mostly using his nose now instead of his feet because he is SO DELIGHTFULLY TALL. TALL, I TELL YOU. He (mostly) ignored three other dogs at the outdoor cafe where I got some tea, and was just a lovely boy all around. Everyone upstairs at Macy's gathered around him to fawn over him and his beautiful silky ears. They were super nice and asked all the un-intrusive, fun questions.
Let's see, other highlights from my undocumented week. At our last session with the tdoc, Kaline was fast asleep until I started to talk about the access challenge we had in Pennsylvania. Then he woke up and laid his head in my lap for a while. Win. We've been practicing retrieves, and he's done pretty well with different materials including metal.
Last Thursday, Juno and I got to go with Sonja and Chief to the JCC in Palo Alto to talk to a class of preschoolers about service dogs. That was super fun!! Normally I'm very afraid of small children, but the teachers had prepared them extensively for the visit, and of course Sonja took the lead in talking to them and doing demos. They were really well behaved and just fascinated by the dogs. Chief demonstrated opening a cabinet and retrieving Sonja's medicine pouch, as well as going to a target with people around it (foundation for going to get help). Both dogs did regular retrieves, and then we showed the kids how the dogs can “undress” us. Then we let each kid put one of our gloves on their hand (their tiny hands were swimming in our gloves!) and one or the other of the dogs would come and tug it off! They were totally enchanted. I hope we get to do something like that again soon! I can't wait to take Kaline and see how he does. He will definitely have fun—Juno tolerates and is very quiet with children, but Kaline just loves them.
Juno's other big outing was going to the Giants game against the Padres (extra innings, of course) with me and Dad for Dad's birthday/Father's Day. Mom and I chipped in for really good tickets on the club level. Junebug was excellent, natch. Our usher was so proactive in looking out for her—anytime someone wandered near our row, she'd jump in and go, “Find another way in, there's a dog here.” We were right below the broadcast booths (TV and radio) and got to wave to the broadcasters during the seventh inning stretch. Lots of fun. Unfortunately we had to leave before the game ended; with a SD, my general policy is not to stay past the end of the 11th inning at Giants' games. (A's games, I can leave the scorebook with Dad and get my dog out for a pee break if I have to, so we can stay later.) The game went thirteen innings and we lost, but hey, a fun night anyhow!
We're planning to go to the Pride Parade in SF this weekend. Juno will be in charge of that, and then Kaline will be on-duty for Dad's birthday dinner that night.