He is a handsome boy who is completing his Puppy Raising experience at the prison program of Canine Companions before heading off to Santa Rosa in May. I know his Handlers and his amazing Parole Officers are going to really miss him. This is Phantom's last Puppy Sitting Adventure and I am honored to have him with us.
I can't rave enough about the prison program that we have in our Chapter. Yes, the puppies live a prisoner's life in the sense that they are secured in living in one (large) room, however, they also have access with the prisoner's to various places in the prison that the prisoner's are expected to go ... and ... they get many, many adventures outside of prison by taking turns going home with Parole Officers, and to Puppy Sitters like us.
I know for a fact that the puppies are socialized and have the best of both worlds (the dedication and uninterrupted attention from their prisoner, and the happenings of the outside world with their Officers), because Phantom is totally confident and collected when out in public.
Granted, we only had one outing today, but an outing to the mall is nothing to snuff about. Phantom walked right alongside me with a loose leash, and turned when I turned, and stopped when I stopped. When we first started walking I felt his nose bounce into the side of my leg, but I couldn't catch him in the act to see if he was turning his head and hitting my leg on accident, or if he was checking in with me, or if it was just coincidence and it meant nothing. Regardless, it was so cute because it felt like he was saying, "Hey, new friend, just checking in."
We shopped and were stopped to talk with the public. One lady noticed immediately the military ranking on Phantom's vest and called it out to her husband. We chatted about Phantom and the prison program and Canine Companions. The next person we were stopped by was a Grandma with her tiny toddler grandson. Phantom was so cute when the boy came up to tap his head and then quickly turn to run back to his Grandma. The boy continued this routine for a few more times and Phantom just sat there watching the tiny toddler's antics.
And then this happened ...
Why not. The Bunny was right there with no kids to share his bench. But then I learned that neither could Phantom share the Bunny Bench. Sigh. The photographer was so worried about dog hair on the bunny costume that the Bunny could not even touch Phantom. They were highly interested in Canine Companions, however, and totally loved having Phantom create a spotlight on their biz (many stood watching Phantom's cuteness). I figured because Phantom did his part in being so awesome to hold a perfect stay and prove what a legit Puppy in Program is all about, that I decided to purchase a picture to commemorate.
We are hosting Easter for both sides of our family, so we also did some house prep for Sunday, in which Phantom shared time following me around the house, and time chewing his bone next to the kids who were relaxing together in the family room and getting to know our house guest. Eventually bone chewing turned to stuff toy snuggling and a nap.