Sunday, February 7, 2016

Trooper goes to the movies

This morning Debby and I decided to catch the 10:45 a.m. screening of “Spotlight” at the downtown Century Theater in Evanston, of course taking Trooper along.

We wanted to see if his behavior would be as professional as it was in church yesterday: he had spent most of the time lying peacefully at my feet in a pew, as a trained service dog should.

We chose the early screening because we figured it would be lightly attended and there would be fewer chances for someone to stumble over Trooper in the dark theater. (Fewer than a dozen people came.)

But this time he was quite restless, lying for just a few minutes before he stood and pulled at his leash. He couldn’t stay down for long and wanted constant attention, especially after the movie started.

Debby and I both think the trigger for the behavior may have been the high decibel level in the theater.

When I left for a few minutes to visit the men’s, I gave Trooper’s leash to Debby. He was quite upset and tried to follow me, forcing Debby to hold him in her lap while I was gone. Whether this is a sign of separation anxiety we don’t know. (When I briefly leave our condo without him, he lies quietly on the mat by the door but does not show signs of distress.) The behavior also may have been affected by the theater’s powerful sound system.

Afterward, we lunched at a Panera Bread down the street, and Trooper returned to normal, lying quietly at my feet.

We’ll try the movies again soon. Possibly the problem was a startling and brand-new experience and he’ll do fine next time. Trooper was frightened during his first plane flight and his first train trip, but aced the subsequent rides with aplomb.

The learning process goes on—for both Trooper and me.

P.S. "Spotlight" was terrific. It truly showed how a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative sausage is made, and the performances were uniformly excellent.

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