I live near a small hamlet called Ardrossan. It's mostly a rural area that was once farms but is now commuter acreages for the city. The hamlet consists of schools, a state of the art recreation facility, a small store, gas station, fire station, post office and houses. It also has a senior (55+) group that my dad is quite active in. He gets great joy out of the community parade. Me? Well, I tend to avoid the whole situation.
My plan for today was to hunker down with my laptop and work on report cards. There I was sitting in my pjs, minding my own business when my mom pulls up. (I live about 2 miles from the hamlet.) She needs binder twine. So I fetch her binder twine. Then she tells me she wants to bring Ryder to the parade. She wanted to bring him to show him to all her buddies. I get them situated with chain (mom isn't very strong so I wanted more than a collar - just in case), leash, ball, and treats. Off they go. What this means for type A, control freak me is that off I also go. So hair in pony tail and public appropriate clothes on I follow. Initially mom thought Diva should also go. That idea I didn't support. It would be easier for me to concentrate on one animal.
When I arrived mom and Ryder were sitting in the senior complex visiting. Ryder was happily playing with his ball much to the delight of those around him. As I suspected would happen the novelty of carting around the dog wore off leaving me to cart around the dog. She took off with her friends and I sat at the senior's with the dog. When she came back Ryder and I trotted around with her. Mom was in her glory. She seemed to take great delight in watching others play with him. And Ryder, Ryder was straight awesome! He handled people of all ages and sizes, dogs, and all kinds of noises and spectacles. He let out one large woof when a black lab went past in the parade. Otherwise he did an excellent job of ignoring all the dogs. Even the rude ones. I've discovered the ball (one of those larger holey ones) acts a bit like a soother for him. He's able to relax quicker and takes things in stride when he has it with him.
I was very proud of how he handled the strangeness of everything around him. He's turning into a dog that is a joy to own. One I can confidently take places without worrying something will happen. I'm sure it helps his sister was left at home, but he needs to develop confidence without her. Today has cemented my thought of taking him into some old folks homes. He's such a gentle soul I think he'd make a great therapy dog.