Today was errand day. Talos loves errand day. It's the day when he gets to greet his public. When he holds court. When he's the center of attention. Oh, how T loves errand day.
It's not nearly as much fun for me, of course. Because I'm the one doing all the work: hauling the groceries, making the deposits, loading the car, spending the money. And, of course, holding the leash for Sir Talos. Who I really think believes errand day is Talos Day.
You can't really be in a hurry and take a service dog in public. Because if you're in a hurry, you'll get grumpy really quickly. And that's not fun. Not fun for the people who are curious about the big, blue-eyed dog, for Talos, or for me. I add an extra hour for every two hours I think the errands should take. So if I could go out — by myself — and get the errands done in an hour, I know with T it'll take at least an hour and a half. Today's errands took four hours. And I've still not unloaded the car.
What's it like to take a dog into stores? It's…different. I'm so used to it now, though, that it's relatively normal to me. If I have friends with me, though, they always ask "Isn't it weird that everyone stares at you?" I gotta say that I don't really notice that anymore.
Taking a dog into a store is only difficult when the dog is a puppy — still learning about the world. When they're pups, I'm in training mode. I carry treats with me, I'm on the lookout for learning opportunities — or for potential scary situations. I'm always looking ahead, thinking ahead, trying to stay one step ahead of the pup, both literally and figuratively!
I have to pace myself so I don't tire the pup out. I have to time my errands around feeding schedules (because feeding schedules predict bathroom schedules). I have to be ready to head home if the pup is overwhelmed or wiped out.
But with a veteran like Talos, errand day is a breeze. He still learns a lot about the world – I don't think we've had an outing where he didn't learn something or wasn't exposed to something new. But he also enjoys seeing the sights, meeting the people (especially the kids!) and investigating his surroundings.
He's not a big fan, though, of errand days that involve Costco. He loves going in to Costco, he simply doesn't like the end result which is a crowded car. When I pile all the groceries in the back, he wants to sit in the front. Which wouldn't be a problem except he doesn't fit. He hasn't fit in the front seat since he was five months old! Here's a video of one of the last times he was in the front seat. We'd had a full morning of errands:
Errand days are good for him because he's continually exposed to all things related to life in public. When he's paired with his new person, he'll likely be in public every day, so these experiences are very important to his education. And it's kinda fun to run errands with my four-legged best friend!
Amanda Changuris says
I love the look on T’s face in the photo — so happy! I also love what I think may be drool on the floor in the video clip.. gonna miss that big lug!
I sure hope the big boy or his brother don’t mind dr’s offices or school and or hospital or chruch b/c right now they are a daily occurance.
Laurie Luck says
Amanda: Yeah, he’s usually a happy boy. You can see how small he is in that picture – it was taken nine months (!!) ago in Charlottesville, VA. We had three Danes out that day – Talos, his brother Gryphon, and their half-brother a working Dane! It was a fun day.
Laurie Luck says
He likes going anywhere anytime. He’s the kind of dog who needs to get out and go somewhere at least once a day. He’s a couch potato, yes, but LOVES his public and needs to see them once a day, at least! 🙂