Dempsey loved his vacation on the farm. He still can't stop talking about it! I tried getting him to make a Top 10 list, but unfortunately Dempsey, like his sister Boston, can only count to 2. So here, in no particular order, are some of Dempsey's favorite things from his vacation.
The doghouse. Dempsey had his own doghouse on the farm -- specifically, the office in the barn where he slept. He loved having his own room, and he didn't mind sharing it with Bailey. It felt like a cozy home away from home. He didn't even mind the thunder when he was safe in his doghouse.
The bones. Dempsey's cousin Zoe has a habit of burying bones and food. Dempsey had an Easter egg hunt almost every day, trying to find Zoe's bones. Unfortunately, Zoe was not too fond of Dempsey's hunt, or even of Dempsey. She made it clear the farm was her territory, but Dempsey had fun being a guest anyway.
The lambs. Dempsey was dying to play with the lambs, especially the bottle lamb that seemed particularly playful. Alas, Dempsey did not get to play with the lambs, since his dad is a little afraid of the sheep due to an unfortunate incident involving a pitchfork and an angry ram.
Camping. Dempsey enjoyed exploring the tent that his cousin Shannon set up in the backyard for a sleepover. I couldn't get a good picture of Dempsey (he's still not that tall), but here's a picture of Zoe peeking out.
The trip to the groomer. Dempsey got his first professional grooming in Ohio, where they have a $10.99 special for puppies under 6 months. The groomer said he was a perfect angel! The best part, though, was the ride home, where he got to sit on a lap in the backseat. (Zoe was in the back.) Here he is, getting sleepy next to what appears to be a young Amish hitchhiker.
The trip to Niagara Falls. Dempsey and Bailey took a day trip to Niagara Falls, with a stop at Presque Isle in Erie, PA. Dempsey spent almost two hours at Niagara shaking hands and meeting people from all around the world!
The Basset Hound puppy. Dempsey met the cutest little Basset Hound puppy at Niagara Falls. Dempsey laughed when the young pup tripped over her own ears, so I had to remind Dempsey who kept crashing into the wall just a few weeks ago.
Chicago. I had wanted to see the new Renzo Piano wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and take a funhouse-mirror picture of Dempsey by Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, but I was too cheap to pay $18 for parking. Dempsey was overjoyed he missed another boring art appreciation lecture and had more time to run around the parks by Lake Shore Drive.
"Dog is my co-pilot." Dempsey enjoyed seeing all the equipment Ken has for his commercial landscaping business: tractor, spreader, skid steer, wheel loader, telehandler, dump trucks. He also had fun sitting on the Gator and the ATV and pretending to drive them.
In fact, Dempsey had so much fun, he forgot about the Helping Paws dress code. For the dogs, we have 4 levels of dress:
Au naturel - Completely naked! No collar, no tag. Only when taking a bath!
Casual - Collar and tag only.
Business casual - Collar, tag, and Gentle Leader.
Business - Collar, tag, Gentle Leader, and Helping Paws vest.
On one training field trip, Dempsey refused to put on his Helping Paws vest, and insisted on "business casual." I had to dress him, for the first time in a long time.
Helping Paws trainers also have a dress code. Whenever we're in public, we need to look clean and well groomed, because we're representing Helping Paws and service dogs. On our Niagara trip, however, someone managed to plant a big, muddy paw print on my white shirt. I asked Dempsey for an explanation, but he swore it was the cat. I think from now on, I will only wear mud-colored shirts.
I didn't pack anything to clean my shirt, as Lu, one of the Helping Paws volunteers, had suggested. So I had to walk around Niagara Falls with a soiled shirt. With all the international visitors, I was representing Helping Paws, service dogs -- and Americans. What a country!