Our 4 Paws Adventure – Day 9 – First Walk of Shame

*This post is part of a series originally posted on my former blog, Stinker Babies. I’m reposting here for families who are interested in learning more about the process of being matched with a service dog for their children. This series was written during March of 2013.*

Yes.  They said it would happen.  But, seriously, after eight days of perfection, I just thought we were golden.

After practicing the commands off leash in class and an outdoor track in which I very, very nearly ate mud (the infield of a softball field after 8 inches of snow melts is turned into ankle-deep mud…you know…fyi), we headed to the mall for an obedience practice and indoor track.  We followed Jessa, the trainer, to Macy’s for a couple of indoor tracks so that I could get some practice in.  April did beautifully.  I learned some important stuff.  Probably the most important thing I learned is that when the trainer says, “She’ll probably need to go potty after a track,” it means head to the nearest exit.  Don’t try to find a convenient one that’s on your way to the next thing.  Nearest. Exit. Now.

Poor April.  She tried so hard to hold it.  We made it to JCPenney’s  before she couldn’t do it anymore.  The puddle just happened to be right in front of the customer service desk.  Awesome.  But because we were prepared, it really wasn’t a big deal.  Before anyone really noticed what was going on, I grabbed the handy dandy “clean-up pack” that we received in class earlier this week.  We had paper towels to absorb the mess and a ziplock bag to put it in until we could find a trashcan.  I was really grateful for very sweet and understanding employees at Penney’s.  They were very quick to tell us to please not worry about it and that it was no big deal at all.  If it had to happen ever (and I’m sure it does), we couldn’t have asked for a better first experience.  Of course, I was totally mortified.  Not at April but more at ourselves for not making it outside quicker.  I felt so bad for our poor pup.  This is the first accident she’s had indoors and I know she probably felt ashamed.

So that’s a lesson to remember, future class members.  Tracking gets the dogs’ adrenaline up and when it comes back down?  Potty break.  Immediately.

After we were done with all of those great lessons, we took the kids to ride the train again and during the ride, Jake sniffed out a great treat.  So, we had another big first today.  We were adventurous in our food tasting.  Chocolate-Covered Bacon.  I don’t even know how you come up with chocolate-covered bacon.  I guess someone was sitting around, probably after a big night of drinking, and thought, “Chocolate?  Good.  Bacon?  Good.  Chocolate-Covered Bacon?  Awesome.”

The verdict?  I’ll let the pics tell you…

*I’m so so sad that all my pics disappeared when my other site went down. So the spoiler is that Jake and Caleb liked it. They’re all, “Chocolate? Bacon? Both are favorites.” Grace screwed up her little face in the most adorably disgusted way and she thought they were crazy.

Some people have asked if training is tiring.  Just an example: We got back from the mall today and I sat down on the bed to take off my shoes.  2 1/2 hours later, I woke up and realized that Jake had let me sleep and the kids were fed, had dessert, and were getting ready for a bath.  That is the awesomeness of my incredible husband.  And almost feeling human again?  Bonus.

Tomorrow is our last full class day.  I’m really getting ready to be home again.  I’m definitely really ready to have my own bedroom and my own bed again.  But just as much as I’m ready to get home, I’m also that sad to be leaving.  It’s such a strange feeling.  I just wish I could bring everyone home to Florida with us.  This is definitely one of those times when I’m so happy to have social media to keep up with our new friends.  These are bonds like no other and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get to know these great families and awesome kids.

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