So I had a quick Drs. visit the other day and bravely/foolishly decided to bring Raven with me to the Drs. office. He and I have gone in several times before, starting when he was a small puppy to practice sitting quietly in the waiting room and ignoring all kinds of well meaning folk who would love to pet a dog, regardless of his vest. This was always a challenge for Blair (my previous service puppy) so I started early with Raven.
Often times the exam rooms are cold and scary for service puppies in training so I went back early and just sat in there with him quietly in a down (implied stay).
He relaxed very quickly, even rolling over onto a hip (no sphinx position here). Then the office visit started and I soon realized that my boy has quite a sense of humor. As soon as I stepped on the scale I realized that I had mysteriously gained 10 pounds (NOT NEEDED). I looked out and lo and behold there was Raven's nose and a PAW sneakily adding those extra 10 pounds. At least I have a good excuse, ice cream anyone?
When we went back to the exam room, I realized that he is also doing really well for 10 months old. With the support of the great staff at the Beacon Clinic we made all the clanks and squeaks and slams that an office visit would entail. The only time Raven looked nervous was at the end when they gave him a blown up latex glove to play with. I have to agree with him, that just doesn't look okay.
But this does bring up an important point. From those of us who raise service dogs in training, I would like to thank all those in our communities who help us with this important socialization and familiarization process. Think of it: You patiently wait behind us as we take forever to get thru a door (waits, through, and treats), good humoredly allow a puppy to sniff and explore a medical office and realize that you only have about 40% of our attention on good days because we are focused on the prime puppy directive. Hardest of all, you try not to distract, love on or treat these adorable puppies because you understand that they have a higher calling.
Well said, Barb! We are very fortunate for all the support we receive in our community. While puppy raisers do encounter people who will pet and distract our dogs even when we ask them not to, the majority of people we meet are incredibly supportive, interested, and respectful of the job we're doing.