Sunday, August 15, 2010

Doggie diversity

Throughout Dempsey's training, we've been very careful to introduce him to all different sorts of people. We haven't been as diligent introducing him to different sorts of dogs.

This is paranoia on our part: Because we want to make sure Dempsey only has positive experiences with other dogs, we are extremely selective about who we let Dempsey associate with. That's why his playmates have all been blondes: i.e., Golden retrievers from Helping Paws.

Of course, not every dog is a service dog-in-training, and we wanted to introduce Dempsey to other breeds. We had the perfect opportunity the other night, when our friend Susan came to visit with her two dogs, Bridget and Samantha. Susan competes with Doreen for the title of "world's best doggie mommy," so we had an easy time vetting Bridget and Samantha as Good Dogs: well socialized, trained, vaccinated, free of contagious diseases -- I checked for everything except worms, mostly because I couldn't think of a discrete way to ask for a stool sample.

As I had hoped, Dempsey had no problems with different breeds. The older dogs were patient, though they didn't know quite what to make of our little whippersnapper. As mature as Dempsey seems compared to Walter and Jesse, he still has some growing up to do.

At first, Samantha and Bridget tried ignoring Dempsey and kept to themselves.

But by dinnertime, Dempsey had worked his charm on Samantha, and the two of them held hands at the table.

After dinner, when I asked Dempsey to go to his kennel, Samantha hopped in with him.

Yea!!! We're very happy that Dempsey has more diverse friends now. And we hope Bridget and Samantha can teach Dempsey more about acting like a grown-up dog. We're looking forward to more visits!

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