The Heathen put in two pretty tough days. A day to mark the calendar, Heath and I drove all the way into Burns, two hours away, by ourselves. We spent the whole day doing things and he grew a pretty big fan club. He's a pretty special guy. The following day, TheMan drove us to Boise to pick up Thanksgiving supplies, etc. and celebrate his birthday with a dinner out. Believe it or not, the life of a service dog is hard work. Mostly mental, because they have to spend all day exercising impulse control. When Heath slides underneath the table at the Mexican restaurant where we had dinner…he lays there smelling the fajitas and all the wonderful stuff he doesn't get to have (Until after because I always save a bit for him) and he’s hungry because he missed his normal dinner time at home. He's mentally always alert to me, and how I am feeling in case he needs to help out. Anyway, day 2 we drove 4 hours into Boise, headed to the Boot Barn to get TheMan some new boots. Just as we were crossing the road to the sidewalk, a very loud !!BOOM!! occurred at the construction close by, which sent Heath into a panic. He’s very sensitive to sound. He spun around on his leash trying to decide which way to run, shaking and eyes wide. We managed him on up to the sidewalk and tried to calm him, but he was really scared. I pulled him into the boot store which had double entrance doors so we waited in the first entry to calm him down. He settled between my legs as I talked to him and when he was able to manage a treat, we went into the store. He recovered completely by then, which was surprising. After a bit, I even took him back outside. He was cautious as we stepped out, but as nothing was going on, he relaxed and just let it go. He’s going to be a great dog.
He did really well ignoring people reaching out to him and talking to him for the most part. I think that is the hardest thing for him, because he LOVES meeting people. Everyone is his friend. He received many compliments on his behavior and his looks. We had lunch at Shari’s and everyone was surprised when we left, that a dog had been there. No one was upset, they were just impressed because he was so quiet and invisible.
Next we went to visit a good friend with 2 scotties. For some reason, they intimidated Heath and he didn’t want to go in the house. We went anyway and took his vest off so he could play, but he was very subdued. The female got snappy with him and that seemed to take all the joy out of him. We had a good time though, visiting, as we had not seen her for several years. She said that everytime she has to take something to the hospital, she always checks to see if i am on one of the wards. Ha. Ha. Costco was next on the list. He did great, although they had no scooter for me so I had to tough it out on foot. I haven’t yet the stamina and strength in my legs and back to walk that much so it was a challenge. Again, he was great. I have a new phone. I should say, I have A phone. There is a phone that was somewhere in the truck that I never used, and couldn't hear anything on. So this is really the first phone I have had in 6 years. It’s an Iphone. Nothing like what I’ve ever had before and I don't know how to use it. I did manage to get a ring tone assigned to TheMan (that I really like, as it sings “It’s your hussssband” and Pharrells “Happy” for other calls. I figured I could hear and recognize those easier than most, since I am losing my hearing. They are pretty distinct. All day it would begin to sing “Happy” but I could not figure out how to answer the phone!! Before entering the store, I stopped Heath at a couple of bushes and poles to pee as he is at that age of males marking territory and I like to be sure his tanks are empty before entering any businesses. He did so and I praised him. We slowly made it through to the back of the store, shopping, avoiding the crowd, and swearing at the ringing phone that I couldn’t answer. After all, who the heck even has my number??? It’s not like I told everybody. While fidgeting with the phone I made a mistake of stopping the cart right next to a big red pillar on Heath’s side. I glanced down and recognized the look on his face and cried “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” just as he lifted his leg. Mortified, because I never yell at him, he bounced back behind me wondering just what was wrong. Luckily for us, that was where the Clorox disinfectant wipes were for sale so we grabbed some, wiped up the dribbles and carried on. I apologized to Heath because it really was my fault. At the checkout they asked if we wanted a different on since the package was open. I hated explaining that. A man came up and started this long, unwanted conversation with me about service dogs, and his aussies and yada yada ad nauseam. He finally ran out of breath and we continued. I was exhausted, Heath was burned out, TheMan was fresh as a daisy as always. We got through the register, everyone mentioning Heath and complimenting him and wanting to pet him, while I explained if I let them that he would take advantage and mug everyone he sees for attention after that. As we stepped up to the check writing spot, I could tell he remembered 3 months ago when the guy was throwing boxes at his face, and he was uncomfortable there, so we stepped around to the end and he was fine.
After dinner we headed to Harbor Freight. My head had felt like it was in a fog for a good part of the day and TheMan was laughing at me because I was having trouble talking right during dinner, messing up words and such, putting salt in my ice tea instead of sugar and just basically being…odd. I was concerned, but he didn’t seem to be, and with Heath at my side the anxiety diminished. As TheMan skipped around Harbor Freight, wishing and window shopping and envying and coveting, Heath and I just cruised around to see if there was anything worthy of attention. I suddenly felt very weak and not very good so I sank down against a wall and Heath laid down beside me. He laid across my lap and watched people go by. He was simply fascinated by all of them, but never tried to move from his spot. I was pretty much used up. We had one more store to go. Once I was able to stand again, we went out to sit in the truck.
Onward to Winco we went. I got a scooter there and for awhile, Heath sat on the floor of it between my legs and rode along. Riding or walking he was a star. He always gets noticed. One man stopped me and wanted to know what breed he was and why I choose him for a service dog. The phone kept ringing. I kept failing to figure out how to answer it. Finally, in the payout line we were standing next to a group of very cute hispanic teenage girls. Heath was dying because he LOVES kids and he especially LOVES GIRLS. The phone rang again and I completely lost control. I handed it to one of the girls and said “Please, answer this! I don’t know how!” I was surrounded by peals of laughter and at that point, Heath lost control. He leapt up and began kissing girls (I’m quite sure Donald Trump will get the blame for this) and they giggled and hugged him and failed to answer my phone, but one girl tried to explain to me how to do it and said she always has to show her grandma how to work hers. Once we were reinstalled in the pickup truck, I played with the phone enough to find that no one was calling me, but the ringtone had been accidentally assigned to incoming email. GADZOOKS!! I think I fixed it. Now I just have to give someone my phone number so they can call and I can see if I can answer it or not. It always works when TheMan calls and that’s all that really matters.
So goes another shopping day. I’m glad we only do this once every 3 months…usually.
I awoke this morning with Heath sleeping on top of me, in the chair, keeping me warm. The medication alarm had gone off at 4 am because I forgot to reset it. He brought my pills and they sat next to me as I went back to sleep. A few hours of unloading groceries, then I am planning on a long winters nap.