Friday, August 16, 2013


Our plans for our family-fun-day today didn't get us as far North as we had originally thought it would. My husband had an important, impromptu meeting at work that he had to manage, so a late start meant a farther trip down the road was not going to happen.
But no worries, we were all on the same page and changed our destination for the big city. We woke to Sunshine and everyone was in a cheerful mood. We talked about today's National Graduation Day for Canine Companions with a positive heart, and we were cheering on our friends near and far who were Turning In their dogs today, or celebrating in other's Graduation.
It was the best, perfect, non-Haddie-Graduation Day!
There is a restaurant in the city that has two different levels of dinning. The indoor, fancy side has a large selection of seafood and a great, full view of the water. The outdoor seating has a walk-up counter that you can order a very select variety of seafood and take your tray to a picnic style seating outside on the Pier. Still with a great view, but with the perk of Seagulls.

And when I mean Seagulls, I don't just mean one to five, I am talking about a volume of fifty or more. It is "the place" to go if you were a Tourist in this city. We played tourist today.

There is a sign that reads, "Please do not worry about over feeding the Seagulls. They eat lightly. Just don't feed the Pigeons." HA!  And everyone on the Pier were feeding the Seagulls their French Fries (the fish on everyone's order I guess was deemed "not worthy" because I didn't see anyone offering the flying frenzied crew a piece of fish).
I wish I had a video camera on Kolby when we walked up to the top of the staircase, looking down at all the Seagulls sitting on the railing and in the water waiting for the sitters at the picnic tables to offer up their goods. Kolby walked to the top of the stairs, no big deal ... and the noises of the Seagulls were very load, hard to miss, annoying. He didn't notice them as they were about eight steps lower than we were on the Pier. He was just playing it cool looking farther out across the water, I guess.
And then, one flew beside his head and to the railing in front of him ... and Kolby immediately noticed and sat and stared. He was in shock. He didn't move. He saw the fifty or more Seagulls all squawking, flying, and moving about. It was adorable and funny all at once.
I was waiting for him to charge, lunge, bark, anything ... it was a true test of patience and good manners on Kolby's part to do nothing but look at the Seagulls and not move. I called his name, and when he immediately looked at me, I knew we were good.
I stayed for a little bit letting him get the grasp of the chaos, while my kids grabbed a table with partial shade for Kolby. And then we walked down the stairs, next to all the gulls on the railing, and to our bench along the side of the restaurant. Kolby immediately went into a Down and stayed while we ate our lunch. Minus him moving his nose rather quickly at a passing feather at his feet, Kolby paid no attention to any of the crazy noise and movement of the birds.
I was more fidgety than he was! I didn't trust the birds not to come after my plate of food, but in reality, the Gulls did stay away from all the tables. As if they had been trained.
We walked the Piers, went into some shops, took photos and had a lot of fun just meandering through the waterfront area of our city. Kolby passed other dogs (thankfully all on leash) and Kolby did not pay attention to them (even though one cute little scruffy dog didn't want to follow his owner down the street once he say Kolby. It was one of those tug and pull situations trying to get little doggie away from Kolby, but as far as I was concerned, my pup was doing great and it was good training for Kolby).
Kolby met his first horse. He was invited to smell the front leg of this large horse while the owner/worker held the reins of the horse to make sure that both animals stayed confident. Kolby was very interested in the horses leg, but after a little while he turned to look at me, as if to say, "Okay, I'm done. Check it off my list."
We had so much fun! A perfect get-away as we text'd, off and on throughout the day, my sweet friend in California who was on the Santa Rosa Canine Companions campus in support of everyone. She lives close enough where she tries to attend every Graduation throughout the year(s). She is super awesome. It was fun to get photos of random happenings, made us feel like we were still part of the celebration. It meant a lot. Thanks, M!!!
As I cradled Kolby after his grooming session tonight, and as his eyes got heavier and heavier as I rubbed all four of his paws in a spa-like-manner, it occurred to me how much Trust Kolby had in me today. This was his first time on the streets of the city. It is a very different experience than any outing we have been to so far in his young life.
There were crowds of people we had to weave in and out of, stopping sometimes to look both ways in foot traffic, to cut over to a store. He had to Trust me that I would give him time to Hurry (and to find an appropriate place to do such), and I would know when he would need to do that. He had to Trust me that I would not let other dogs get in his face, and that I knew when to back away of other dogs, and put him on the opposite side of me. Kolby had to Trust that the Gulls were not going to attack him as I made him walk passed them and sit by my feet, and he had to Trust that not licking the wooden Pier was the right thing to do too. Kolby had to Trust that smelling that large, black, furry leg of a horse was okay and that although the horse was big, it was as gentle as Kolby, so long as Kolby respected the leg. Kolby had to Trust crossing the street, getting pet from strangers, tucking his tail out of the way, and close-by Heals, were all about loving and protecting him.
Trust. Just as Kolby had Trusted me - through all the adventures that he weaved in and out of today, I too must Trust that God has our life in the palm of His hand as we weave in and out of our daily adventures. When the day is over, we too can relax and feel good about the protection that He provides.
Puppy Raising is a gift ~ it is more than just 30 commands and fun adventures. There are deeper meanings and life lessons when you open your heart to see them, even when time is spent on the less glamourous side ... when you are spending time massaging the paw of your four-legged buddy.

Today was a fantastic, non-Haddie-Graduation Day!


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