Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trooper's third day

Something’s not going as I’d expected.

After reading (on the Internet, naturally) all sorts of stories from service dog owners about having to deal with hostile ignorance in public places, I’d thought that Trooper and I would encounter that, too.

It hasn’t happened yet.

Yesterday, accompanied by his trainers Laura and Jessica, we visited Trooper’s new veterinarian, Dr. Robert Fox of Fox Animal Hospital in Evanston. After a quick once-over, Dr. Fox pronounced Trooper hale and hearty, and we discussed his medication schedule and other doggie concerns. I think Trooper liked Dr. Fox and vice versa. I did, too. Dr. Fox said a first visit was complimentary, and all I paid for were Trooper’s meds.
Dr Fox with Trooper: All's well.
(Photo by trainer Laure Burke.)

Then we shopped at the Jewel supermarket in Skokie, then the Fresh Market grocery store in Wilmette, and finally lunched at Curt’s Cafe across the street.

Nobody said a word. Not “nice doggie” or “get that beast out of here!” He was barely noticed. Shoppers and clerks strode past him without pausing. One lady did have to redirect her cart around Trooper, but did so with a smile.

At Curt's he lay quietly at my feet and partly behind a low table, quite out of sight of the rest of the customers. The servers did notice him but said nothing.

Either people are much more knowledgeable about service dogs than I’d thought, or they just didn’t see Trooper. He’s so very small and so very dark, and only his orange vest is visible when he’s in shadow.

Today comes the biggest adventure so far: we’re taking the Metra commuter train into Chicago for lunch at the bustling Ogilvie Transportation Center. Trooper will never have seen so many people in one place, and I’m wondering how he’ll handle it.

Of course, there will be time for “sound work” training at home. He’s improving on that. I hope I am, too.

The day's single downer: In the evening, Trooper threw up his supper. That wasn't overly troubling.  All dogs do that now and then. Maybe he had too many rich treats during the day. I won't be quite so generous with them today. He did wolf down his breakfast this morning and seems quite chipper.

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