OK, I'd thought I'd posted this but apparently I hadnt and found it in draft mode!
Today was our first day to leave the foundation with our dogs. We got the 6am wake up call and were to be ready to go out and break at 7am. We all headed out and boys were we met with some NASTY winds and wet/damp weather. My silly boy thought it was great fun to chase the leaves in his break area spot, so he did a #2 pretty quickly but didn’t get him to go #1 at all.... He was sooooo focused on that leave at his feet that it took calling him to heel and heading inside to get his focus off of them.
So we went in and then I packed up my backpack with the stuff to take with me on the bus and then went down to breakfast. This morning’s breakfast was over easy eggs, an English muffin, and a slice of Turkey bacon. They had us get together in the gathering area at 8am and were trying to get out early to try to beat the rain coming in. We walked one at a time, working through the doors with our dogs and loading up on to the bus. Once we were all boarded, most of the dogs settled down and began to snooze, but not this big golden guy. He was up and down, up and down, and didn’t want to settle for some reason. Not sure if he was just so excited to be going out or if he was truly anticipating the work and ready to get at it.
Our first Harness walk: Kings Park bike path.
We arrived and with as windy as it was, they sat out a chair but not many, as it was damp and misting too. Boomer and I were the last team to go this morning so you’d have thought he’d have settled down after arriving, but no, he whined and circled quite a bit, wanting OUT of that bus to get moving. He’d put his head in my lap and then let out this big *sigh* and then move around some more. When it was finally our turn, he was so pumped to get off the bus he could hardly contain himself. to walk patiently beside me.
I took Barb’s arm and she sight guided me to the edge of the street and we gave Boomer a chance to break. He really did a #1 since he hadn’t gone this morning. With all the wind going, it was a little hard to hear Barb’s so we discussed tactics to get my attention on the walk, which was for her to poke me in the left shoulder to say stop and I’d halt to be able to turn and look at her. I had also changed out to my waterproof CI in case it wound up raining on us with the 3/4 mile U shaped bike path.
We took off and Boomer was ON THE MOVE!!! He wanted to go and Barb showed me how to steady him down, giving a strong pull back on the handle and saying STEADY at the same time. He steadied down and we moved along at a really good clip completely around the path passing the apprentice in blindfold and her dog. Then we unharnessed him and headed back to the bus, just in time for the skies to open up in a torrential downpour on the apprentice and the 3 other trainers on hand. They finished their route and then once loading up on the bus, we came back to the foundation to water and break the dogs, eat some hot lunch, that was a hearty tomato soup with pasta and grilled cheese sandwich, and to have a short break before heading out again at 1pm.
Our second outing was also at King's Park, and this time we reversed the route we'd taken in the morning. The weather this time was the complete opposite of this morning, with the sun shining and it warm and just a beautiful fall day. Barb had a prior commitment she had to attend, so Training Director, Anne Mercer, joined us on this trip. Again Boomer and I were the last team of our group to go (they know we walk fast, so will be done fast.) and I had to chuckle when one of the apprentices told me that Anne had commented that the prior team, had nothing on us, to be prepared to have a fast walk. The apprentice sight guided me over to the street edge and we gave Boomer the chance to have a break, which he was readily did a #1 since he hadn’t at the last break. We harnessed him up and he’s a big boy, using a size 50 harness and a 19 inch handle with him.
We took off along the street at a country walk (street with no sidewalks) to the bike path and made a left onto the path. At this point I told him forward and we just leveled out and started striding on, moving at a very fast clip. We’d gone a little bit when I saw another team come around the curve at the other end and then saw what looked to be a darker colored young deer dart out ahead of us from outside the path to inside the path and into the very high brush. I heard someone yell “Deer!” and then Boomer swung around real quick as Anne had come jogging up behind us to get my attention to let me know of the deer and that we’d soon be passing the other team coming towards us. I acknowledged these and then gave the forward command and we took off again. We got around to the other side of the path and Anne stopped me and asked if my back was feeling a little contorted. I said yeah a little. She told me to ask Barb to try a 20 inch harness on him as my arm was quite straight and the shoulder dropped a bit, being out of a normal position.
We continued on around the path and it was so liberating to be able to stretch out and MOVE again and know that I shouldn’t run into things or bonk my head on low lying branches anymore. We made it about half way around and came to the sidewalk portion that is really rough and Boomer did beautifully, slowing down through this area. So we hoofed on around back to the breaking area by the van. We unharnessed him and Anne asks what I think of him. I told her I really, really like him, just so long as he gets along with kids and the large group of kids situation, we should be fine. Anne then comments that as fast as we walk, that Boomer reminds her of the drive in a German shepherd, but laid back enough to handle and be around kids. She said too, that watching his back end as we were walking, he made her think of the little petite women that are power walking, his legs just a pumping along! LOL! Anne then guides me back to the van and with the gorgeous weather; I choose to sit outside with a couple of other classmates as the last team takes their walk. Once this team finished we packed up the chairs and headed back to the Foundation.
Arriving at the foundation, we feed, water, and break our dogs. My big goofball still was trying to chase the leaves a bit. So we got him to do a #2 and then came on in to chill for a bit before dinner. We met Chef Anne Marie, who works Fri though Sun hours here in the dining room.
Dinner was a very good chicken breast, rice pilaf, and broccoli. After dinner was the grooming lecture. We started out in the leather lobby to talk about the different reasons why you should groom your dogs and how to go about doing so. We were taught to start by running our hands backward through their fur to feel for any sores, dry spots, ticks, and possibly fleas.
Once we were done going through all this, we all made our way downstairs with our dogs and brushes and I’d brought my zoom groom and fulminator brushes, so I spent a good half hour on him, getting a lot of fur off since he’d just had a bath before they brought him to me. Of course he started being silly and wiggling around.
We finished up with brushing and headed back upstairs to my room. I figured I’d get a jump on the laundry, so I put my clothes in the washer and it was soon break time. Took the dogs out and came back in and kind of chilled and caught up on the FB news feed for a bit until the laundry had finished, since I was just too tired to concentrate on typing up this post.
Once the laundry was done, I actually fell asleep again with the laptop on my lap, waking up about 3:30am, putting stuff away and getting actually into bed.
Kacie & Boomer