Next, we headed to Church. We have two services, and we took Ace to the first one. My son asked to be in charge of Ace and before my son could get the command "Under" spoken, Ace had found the underneath side of the pew and settled in. Ace was silent and steady.
His popularity grew exponentially when we were in the foyer after the service. While our Church is very familiar with our puppies attending church, Ace does not look like Kolby, so everyone had to come say Hello. It was a great learning experience for Ace to have strangers greet him one after another, and for the human greeters to learn more about the Puppy Program at the prison through Canine Companions. Ace was a terrific spokesdog - he was fabulous at maintaining his Sit and not licking.
During second service my son and I stayed in the Fireside Room (a social room with coffee, chairs, sofas, and a fireplace) where more people visited with Ace, and then as the second service attenders entered the service, my son walked the various hallways, rooms, and outdoors with Ace working commands (while I stayed in the Fireside Room with friends). I know my son enjoyed his one on one time with Ace; both work great as a team.
Cora needed to be out and about after our being away at Church, so I introduced Ace to Cora. It was rather uneventful. The story is Ace held his Down, while Cora got to beg and beg and beg for the treats that were in my pocket. Cora is highly food motivated, so it works in my favor. She held her antsy pants just long enough for me to snap a few photos before I had to succumb to giving her her treats. Ace was a touch excited to see her zoom through the house (because Cora rarely walks when she is let free from her crate after we've been gone), but when I commanded a Don't to Ace, he immediately would back off and stop his excitement of a chase. Oh, the absolute perks of a well-trained dog is a very happy handler.
Because Ace had been in a human-environment all morning, and the weather was gorgeous today with low-60's temperatures, I came home for a quick lunch and Ace and I hit the sidewalk for a leisurely, long stroll in the neighborhood. It was so peaceful and beautiful!! Ace got to pass a pressure washer in action on a driveway, a man washing his car, a moving truck backing up, other walkers, a cat running behind a truck, other dogs on leashes on the opposite side of the sidewalk, and ... a dog off leash.
A dog off leash is my biggest concern and frustration whenever I am walking; with or without a puppy in tow. I knew this little one was not a huge threat, as it was only about 12 inches tall, but I didn't know if it would be a pester. Luckily, I saw that the owners were out too, so I quickly gathered that I had back-up should something go haywire.
As soon as the dog saw Ace and started to enter the street to cross towards us, I had Ace sit. And he did. And Ace stayed. The. Entire. Time. The owner was calling the dogs name, but the dog was perfectly ignoring the owner. Eventually the owner caught up to the dog and picked up Fluffy, apologized, complimented Ace, and that was that. I was so glad nothing happened, but very happy that Ace Sat and didn't find Fluffy more interesting than my command.
Ace was tired from his morning's outing and his afternoon walk, so he eagerly greeted nap time upon return home.
Before we closed the day and welcomed evening, my daughter grabbed the camera and enjoyed a photo shoot with Ace. He is natural model because his command work is so spot-on. She was able to get some fantastic photos, and I am sure Ace's Handlers will be happy to have all of them to keep. Here are just 3 out of 280 snapped. More will be showcased throughout the week (wink).
Ace - thank you for being such an easy-going, well-rounded, happy and loving puppy. Thank you for being a good ambassador for Canine Companions and the prison program who are raising you. You are definitely making all of them so proud after all of the dedication and hard work they have put toward raising you. It is great to see they have really found the best in you, and have made you shine.