I will admit that I was a
We parked in the section of the parking garage that did not have lights. As in, it was pitch black so long as another car was not coming to park with us. It was loud and eerie, to say the least, but Haddie got out of the car and did her stretches after the long (hour) car ride to get there. She acted as if we park in the dark under ground every day. First hurdle - check.
The next was going in the stairwell. I knew this had been an issue for her in late November when I had taken her with me when I escorted a family member to the doctor's office. She was not having anything to do with the stair well on that day, so I knew I had to possibly be ready with creativity to get her to not back out (the plant of the paws with the pulling backwards look).
Walking outside to the arena was not an issue, she's been on plenty of sidewalks among traffic and cold weather, and even recently on snow and ice. But the crowd was something new. While she didn't try to solicit attention, I was focused to be sure she didn't get stepped on. I don't think any of the attendee's even knew I had a dog with me. I consider that she passed that test, she blended in quickly and kept up with the pace of weaving in and out.
Our seats were smack-dab in the middle of the row. Offfff course! We scooched on by the first fourteen people with minimal stepping on their toes and bags. That was the hardest of all!! It was a very tight squeeze, but thankfully Haddie did not break focus and kept going. No stops to lick or find a pat on the head. It was awkward, nonetheless, but we finally made it to seats 15-18. The first pup I saw sitting next to us was a baby - they were holding him/her the entire time. Yes, I was jealous. They had it easy (wink).
Good for us - Haddie went into an Under with out even being asked. I am sure she was truly trying to escape the overwhelming noise and smells, and thought we were crazy for bringing her to this wild environment, but it worked. She stayed there. I kept checking in to make sure she didn't grab that piece of dried candy on the floor by my son's foot, or that she didn't find left over beer stains, or popcorn. She was certainly sniffing, but she thankfully didn't lick any surface more than twice - check!
We sat with the 4-H club too in between the periods of the game, and she just hung out like the veterans waiting for her turn to have someone show her affection. One man was taken with her and spent about five minutes petting her head, massaging her ears, and rubbing her feet. She was in heaven, but I kept my eyes on her tightly to make sure he was gentle and that she was okay with all the attention. I had to jump start my mind to "pretend" this was her new Handler. What would it be like to see her with someone else?
Also, getting attention by so many strangers is a new perspective for me. Sometimes you just want to move on, sometimes the attention is nice ... but it is all because of the dog by my side. It just brings a whole new level of social to your world. Positive and negative. Interesting. I know I've felt it before in our outings, but everything was so vivid, intense, extreme at the Hockey Game, I felt it more.
I am so grateful the weather cooperated for us to hang as a group, to share with Haddie, and to learn.