Sunday, October 31, 2010

4 Paws Graduation!

    I was going to post as soon as we got home, but it was way too late. I should have known that it would be, but I held on to the illusion of getting the kids in bed before midnight all the way up until around 11 or so, lol! The kids were excited that Daddy was waiting up for us. I was happy to see him too after being apart for two weeks :)
    Anyway, yesterday started with our public access test! I volunteered to go first, since I still hadn't decided if we were going to stay for the graduation ceremony or had home early. We had to be at the mall at 9:30am to begin our test. Jeremy met us there and quickly reviewed the requirements with me. We had to walk through the mall, including at least one store, and incorporate all of the obedience commands that we had been working on. The dogs had to show that they would "sit," "down," and "heel" on command. At one point we were required to drop the leash and then pick it back up, to show that the dogs would stay with us. We also had to put the dogs into a "down," walk a short distance away, and call the dogs to us to show that they would come. The dogs had to be comfortable moving past people, and objects such as a stroller or shopping cart. I also had to walk Dante past another dog (Smores, who was also in our class) to show that he wouldn't be distracted.
    Dante did well during this part of the test. Then we had to go into the Food Court for the "dining" part of the test, where Dante had to go under the table and lie down, and stay there until I was ready to leave (I didn't have to actually order any food, just sit there for 30 minutes). Dante went right under, but was a bit reluctant to sit down until I was seated. Jeremy said that he might have gotten bumped with a chair sometime in the past, but since he did obey me that it was alright. He said just to make sure that we practice with really good treats when there are chairs involved :)
    Once we passed the public access test, I went back to the hotel to get Brianna and the kids. We quickly packed the rest of our stuff into the van (it only took an hour! yes, that's quick for us, lol!) and headed over to 4 Paws to complete our paperwork. Once everything was signed, Dante received his new tags and ID cards:

    Then we took the kids outside to play and have some lunch. 4 Paws has an awesome outdoor area for the kids and dogs to play. It is completely fenced in, so we were able to let Dante off leash for some play time.

    Once all the other families had completed (and passed!) their public access tests, and completed their paperwork, we all took turns signing the 4 Paws Graduates canvas:


    Then it was time for the graduation ceremony! Here is the class of October 2010:
Tristen and Dante!
Kameryn and Nestle!
Henna and Leo!
Andrew and Carina!
Emily and Cammy!
Alyssa and Cassidy!
Adeline and Smores!

    After the ceremony, we enjoyed cake and chips. Then most of the kids went outside to play together one last time. Some of us were leaving for home, some going back to the hotel, but I think all of us felt a little bittersweet about saying goodbye. It was an amazing experience, and we made some wonderful new friends :)

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