Hi Friends –
We all woke from our naps. I had dinner while the family all got themselves dressed and ready for the evening’s events. Tonight I would get the chance to see my Aunt Carrie’s house for a family gathering. A gathering of all of us who traveled distances to attend my human cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. I thought I might get to play zoomies with my golden retriever cousin Bandit, but Dad said Carrie wanted to be sure he wasn’t too excited to have me over. With the visitors in the mix we wouldn’t have time to do an appropriate meet and greet and be able to work for Dad. I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted to play but I understood that this was a work weekend for me, and we’ll meet and play soon.
Dad talked to his sister before the party and she said we could get there early so I could check the place out and get comfortable before we meet new people. The house was really nice. I checked out every room downstairs five or six times. I can even tell you where bandit likes to lay. I covered all the entrances and exits to every room to ensure my pack would be safe from anything that may happen.
There was a level of complexity that I was not expecting. There was food being prepared by a professional chef right in her kitchen. Dad and I both wanted to stick our faces in it before anyone got there, but we were good boys and waited for everyone to arrive.
We did have to reassure Alyssa that even though Aunt Carrie was a few minutes later than she intended to be, and guests arrived before her, that all was well. (This was out of character, it is usually Lily with the anxiety, but we’re experts at defusing those situations these days – usually I can come to the rescue). Mom and Dad told her that if they don’t come home we’d be happy to move in and house sit; that didn’t really help for some reason. As soon as her cousins came in all was well again. When guests started to arrive Dad and I greeted each of them with hugs, handshakes and a sniff test. (I took the task of the sniff test so it wouldn’t seem weird.) Most of the guests, Dad had met before so he was comfortable right away, which made me more comfortable, too. We really never worry about Mom because she is very social but we did our best to introduce those she hadn’t met.
Once the precession of greetings seemed to fade we got down to business! Aunt Carrie gave Dad the first pass at the amazing food and even got him a beer and prime seating. This time, prime seating was at their kitchen table, away from the larger number of guests in what became a more confined dining room. Typically Dad doesn’t like to be away from the crowd but he knew there would be plenty of people who would make their way over to strike up conversation, and of course, to meet me. It really worked out great, we answered a bunch of questions about Service Dogs, and why we chose to move from New England to Oklahoma. All of the conversation was welcome because we like to talk about “the service” and since Dad had notably told Mom ‘that was a nice enough place to visit but we’d never live there’ the year before, I think Mom liked to hear we love our new home state.
During the evening something great happened while I hung out with Dad; Grandpa came over and asked Dad if he could take me for a walk. Of course I went, I wanted to get to know him better, and I know Mom wanted me to make a good impression, too. Grandpa and I came back awhile later, and he said nice things, but he could tell that I’m not used to being away from Dad and he let it out that I did whine a little bit. (That’s positive considering my line of work.) Dad told me that after we returned home and he talked to his parents again my Grandpa said I was “precious.” We all know that, but for a retired firefighter to say that was pretty big praise!
The evening flew by and it was time to say goodnight. (I think we were one of the last to leave.) After all, we would be back with the family the next day for the service in the morning and the party later that same night.
To Be Continued…