Friday, February 11, 2005

Introduction to Doggy School
Sunny at her doggy school beginner class graduationSunny was four months old when I got the idea it would be fun to take her on nursing home visitations.

Knowing almost nothing about what I was doing or how to go about doing it, I talked to the lady at the Humane Society who tests dogs for their visitation program. She told me to give her a call when Sunny was a year old and, until then, see about getting her into a puppy class to learn some basic obedience.

Through a long series of timely coincidences, I found out there was an excellent, semi-secret (doesn't advertise because she doesn't need to advertise) dog trainer only eight miles from my house.

Sunny excelled in her puppy class. In fact, she won the top-of-the-class award. This picture was taken on puppy class graduation night. Sunny was six months old and freshly spayed, which I mention because the incision shows in the picture.

We had fun with the class and practiced almost every day. The whole doggy school thing was new to me and I needed to practice just as much as Sunny.

By the end of the nine week session, it was obvious that we couldn't quit. Sunny loved going to doggy school and we were having a great time on our night out together each week. That's how we ended up in Intermediate Class.

From there, we moved up to the class we're in now, Hobby Advanced. On Monday night Sunny and I go to doggy school for two hours. The first hour is non-competition obedience. The second hour alternates weekly; agility one week, tricks and games the next week. Sunny's favorite is tricks and games.

On Thursday night Pappy and I go to doggy school for the same class. Pappy's favorite is agility.

I'll be telling more about what we do at doggy school in future posts.

For now, I want to explain why Sunny is not visiting nursing homes.

Sunny with her tail between her legs before the 2003 Christmas ParadeA picture is worth a thousand words.

This picture was taken in the staging area before the 2003 Kalamazoo Christmas Parade. There are strange people, strange loud noises, bands, floats, and lots of kids.

See Pappy in the foreground? He is loving it all, holding his tail high and wagging it as fast as he can.

See Sunny up next to my leg? She wants to go home. Her beautiful bushy tail is tucked just as tight under her butt as she can tuck it.

I never made her do another parade. Or go to a nursing home.