Big boy Schooner (who’s only just 8 months old) is off at service dog camp for a week.
The Great Dane has yet to stick one of his big toes into the water, so we were a bit worried about how he’d keep himself busy while we lived on the dock. [We really have a house to sleep in, with real beds and everything, but other than sleeping, we live on the dock. The Labradors insist.]
We came up with the perfect solution: a service dog swap!
So we get to have another Labrador, Monti — our recently turned-in girl, and whom I dearly miss — and The service dog organization gets to hang with Schooner for a week.
This is great for so many reasons, a few of them selfish.
First, it’s great for Schooner to spend some time away from us. The earlier Schooner figures out that we aren’t vital to his survival, the easier he’ll make the transition when turn-in rolls around. The word from the organization was that Schooner cried and whined as he was driven away, and that it took him a little while to find a place to sleep that night (the invitation to sleep in bed was eagely accepted).
Second, the organization gets to have access to Schooner 24/7 for almost a whole week! This kind of insight helps them evaluate his merits as a potential service dog. Eyeballling him in public, at the training center, how he interacts with all the different dog (and human) personalities, his reactions to new and/or different things — all of this is as valuable as gold when you’re looking at the suitability of a dog for service work.
Third, it’ll keep Schooner busy while we’re on vacation. As I mentioned earlier, he’s so not a water dog. He’ll spend time on the dock with us, yes, but it’s not really his thing. Sleeping on a big fluffy couch — that’s a lot closer to Schooner’s ideal day.
Fourth, we get to have the little yellow girl back for a few days. Oh, how I’ve missed this girl! She reminds me so much of Tango when he was younger. So spunky, full of life, and so very sweet. She’s a real piece of work (and I mean that in a good way). She’s into everything, up for anything, and ready to roll at all hours of the day. Did I mention she’s a great snuggler? There’s nothing like an exhausted dog flopping next to you on the couch at the end of a day filled with swimming and sunshine…
I’m looking forward to hearing all about Schooner’s adventures at his camp. As I type, Monti is fishing the shoreline with our other Labrador, Lily. Neither dog catches anything, but they love chasing and pouncing on the little minnows. Pictures and videos to come!