October 28, 2008

Day 1 and 2 of our trip

I spent last night unloading the horse show stuff and packing the stuff we needed for the trip to NY. Our trip this morning started with a visit to the big Minges Pumpkin Festival in Harrison. I practiced his heel position (which is really strong now) while we walked through the crowds, large tents, around lots of people and strange noises, etc. He saw and heard lots of new things- he met people of all types/ages, a donkey (nose to nose), some curious piglets (through a fence), a goat, two officers in full uniform who really loved him, balloons tied to kids wrists, kids with painted faces, strollers, steam engine powered corn shuckers (making hissing and popping noises) and even cannon fire! They fire a few different civil war cannons on the hour in the mock civil war encampment. He lifted his head and looked, but otherwise had no reaction to it.

He did great relaxing and stretching out on the cool grass as I stopped to talk to various people or he would greet them briefly and then go right back to heel position.

I had to stop by the bank/store, so Dazzle went in with me. He tried to eat the shopping cart wheels as they were moving, but was easily distracted away from them and stopped trying to do that. He tried to go out the entry door as we passed by it, but I was on my way to the checkout. I should have listened to him because he had a wet accident by the registers. I had clean-up supplies with me and one of the employees gave me more paper towels with an understanding smile on her face.

Then we got on the road to Cleveland. He slept 90% of the way as I had hoped the long morning of walking would do (of course I was stiff as a board when I got out of the van thanks to all that walking.) When we arrived, he greeted everyone with tail going and body wiggling- even for my 91 yr old grandmother who thought he was adorable. He's always done well with greeting by keeping his paws on the floor and if anyone encourages him to put his feet up, I tell them he has to keep his paws on the floor.

After dinner, we went for a walk around the neighborhood by street light. He barked at some people (dark shapes) in the distance but was otherwise happy to tug on the leash and carry it as we went around the block. He found a large pile of shredded leaves and had a great time playing in it!

The next morning he went out on the frost covered grass but didn't show any signs of noticing that it had gotten stiff overnight :-) He really likes the cold, so I'm curious what he will do with the first snow (not that I want to see THAT anytime soon!)

After breakfast and a bit of play we hit the road for a 7 hour drive to Albany NY. He did GREAT! He slept in his seatbelt most of the way and when he was awake, he played quietly with his toys or chewed on a bully stick. We made several potty stops and he was quick with these.

After getting checked into the hotel, we went across the street to a large upscale mall. He was a bit spooked at first by the environment (high cielings, echos, noise, etc.) but quickly relaxed and was doing great heeling with eye contact. I ate dinner in the food court and he sat under the table while I ate and while 2 young kids screamed and yelled as they ran around the food court near us. He would wag his tail and look at them when they got close, but didn't move from his spot under the table where he was getting treats from me. When we were walking around the mall, he was facinated by the view from the second floor and kept stopping to look down at the activity below.

We played again back at the hotel till he was ready to sleep.