Saturday, March 23, 2019
SLICE #23- Hanging out with Ruedi
Ruedi is an almost three-year-old black lab. He belongs to Canine Assistance Partners of the Rockies. All of the CaPR dogs are named after places in Colorado, Ruedi is named after the Ruedi Reservoir, up by Aspen. Next week, Ruedi will go to live with his forever partner, a young woman who was paralyzed after a diving accident.
Ruedi's puppy mom is a woman named Kate. She has been working with him for almost two years. About a year ago, I started thinking about things I might like to do after I retired. A friend of mine was volunteering for CaPR and thought I might enjoy it too. So far, I'm just a puppy sitter, meaning I babysit if someone has to go out of town, but sometime, in the not too distant future, I'm really hoping to raise a puppy. Ruedi has stayed with me about once a month since last summer. Sometimes, like this time, it's only for a couple of days. Earlier this year, he stayed with me for almost two weeks, while Kate was on a cruise. The kids at school loved him.
Training a service dog is kind of like having a young child. The idea is that you take them with you as much as you possibly can, basically pretty much everywhere, to socialize them and familiarize them with as many different experiences as you possible can. Today, Ruedi and I started our day at dog training class. The group goes on a field trip once a month, and today we were at Chuck and Don's, a kind of specialty pet supply store.
From there, we went to the Botanic Gardens, to meet my book club. Ruedi slept under the table as we ate lunch, walked over a wooden bridge, practiced using the automatic door opener, and did "ups" and "go-on's" on a slate bench. He "made friends" with several people, mostly little kids who can't read his vest, that says "Please don't pet."
After that, we went to Pet Smart, to pick up a couple of things I needed. And then we came home, and have been hanging out with Star. Tomorrow, Ruedi will go with me to see my mom in Colorado Springs. He's always a huge hit at my mom's retirement facility. On Monday, I will take him to class, and then he will go back to Kate until the end of the week, when he will be permanently placed.
This will probably be the last time I get to hang out with Ruedi before he goes to his permanent placement. And I am more than a little sad about it. I will miss hanging out with Ruedi. He's a good, good guy.