It’s Monday—St. Patty’s Day—and I’m not wearing green because there’s nothing green in my wardrobe. Who cares! My classmates don’t have a clue. ?
My brain fog has lifted, after some much-needed R&R—and it shows. The morning route goes smoothly, with no directional cues from Larissa, my instructor. On our return, Wella chooses to sniff a telephone pole, rather than showing it to me. She blows past a sloped area where she typically slows down, to “show” me the change in grade, for safety’s sake. Larissa is easing up on giving me information. Today, I’m providing correction independently without prompting or cues from her. Although today’s return route feels a bit longer than normal, completion carries with it a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Tuesday’s schedule is packed! I manage to squeeze in a few minutes at the school’s gift shop between morning lesson and lunch. The gift shop is staffed by volunteers, so has very limited hours of operation.
“What’s your dog’s name?” asks the kind older gentleman behind the counter. When I answer, he goes on to say that Wella was one of the dogs he had bathed on Sunday in preparation for our Monday “Dog Day”/start of class. My heart swells with gratitude.
SO much cute dog merchandise—SO little time! The staff and my classmates prove invaluable in helping me pare-down my selections. I come out with extra supplies for Wella—including an LED light that attaches to her harness for night travel—just perfect for our one-and-only night lesson this evening. I’m looking for some sort of gift to give her puppy raisers, whom I hope to meet at graduation. I locate a cute, silver-tone picture frame with engraved paw prints and the school’s logo at the bottom. I decide to include Wella’s and my first pic together from “Dog Day.” Hope they like it.
It’s almost time for our night lesson. I don my windbreaker and florescent pink reflective armbands, then attach the LED light to Wella’s harness before guiding her head through the opening and fastening the chest strap. Along with the rest of the class, we make our way outside and into one of the SUVs waiting to transport us downtown.
The main difference I notice in this lesson is the absence of background noise—so much so that when I encounter people on the street in conversation, they sound waaaay louder than in the daytime. Wella seems a bit more cautious—not sure if it’s because of the lighting conditions, or she picks up on my mood. She appears extra focused and attentive, but still very calm.
Not far into our route, Kelly, the class supervisor pops out from behind some bushes.
“Is that that cute little Wella dog?” he says in a sort of shrill, creepy voice. Wella blows past him like he doesn’t even exist. What a good girl!
Near the end of the route, we pass a truckload of barking dogs. While initially a little curious, I feel Wella begin to tense up ever so slightly. “Good dog,” I say applaudingly, and continue to encourage both her excellent focus and desire to get past this gang of snarling, angry-sounding mutts as quickly as possible.
A safe distance away, dropping to one knee, I stop to extend some extra calming appreciation and love to my precious little companion in light of the very undeserved and unfriendly greeting she has just experienced. Larissa praises me for my attention to Wella’s needs. Our night lesson is concluded. We head back to campus and call it a day.
Copyright © 2018 Donna Mack. All rights reserved.