Schooner's starting to get into the swing of the whole "working for kibble" thing.
I admit, there for a few months, I was wondering if his brains were going to kick in at all! With some real-world experience (read: getting out in public almost every day), his brain has finally started humming. He's not in high gear, nor will he win any obedience competitions anytime soon, but at least he's a willing participant now in training sessions.
He's had several play dates with other dogs as well, including the dear, sweet Siena -- who is now very appropriately named Gracie
-- and a neighbor dog who gives Schooner a real run for his money. While Schooner's playmates are usually bigger dogs, we had the chance to watch his small-doggie social skills in action at a local AAA baseball game. He met a few really small dogs and (much to my relief) investigated them politely and appropriately.
Schooner is planning a backup career just in case the service dog gig doesn't work out. He's going to be a fashion designer. Specifically, a shoe designer. Last month he modified one of my running shoes. I now have the perfectly unmatched set of running shoes
. All the girls at the gym will be fuming when they see my trendy shoes, I'm sure.
Schooner is going to spend a week at Service Dogs of Virginia (SDV) later this month. Normally, the folks at SDV get to see him once a month, so the opportunity to have him for a whole week was too good for them to turn down. It'll be a one-for-one swap -- we'll be temporarily reunited with the sweet Monti while Schooner's visiting SDV. This is a good opportunity for Schooner in a couple ways: (1) he'll have the chance to spend some time away from us. This will help build his confidence and independence and realize that he's a big boy now and can handle himself without us. (2) It'll give SDV an up-close look at how he's working, how he behaves in public, and to see who he really is. We will miss the heck out of him while he's "away at camp," but Miss Monti will keep us occupied and laughing.