It was anything but a typical night on the town for the 15th Annual Hearts and Heroes Gala. Miller’s prep started the night before with some grooming—a date with the bathtub and the Furminator had him smelling fresh and clean for the big night. When the day arrived, Miller brushed off his bowtie and hopped in a cab, excited to board the USS Intrepid.
Once there, Miller was flooded with opportunities to show off his skills and practice good manners. He began with polite people greetings, saying hello to attendees who wanted to learn more about the training process. When he wasn’t being fawned over, Miller settled nicely on the floor, waiting for the next command and ignoring the servers walking by with trays of delicious food. It’s always exciting to socialize at unique locations like the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The various sounds from the ship, as well as the planes and other exhibits were great experiences for Miller to add to his reference library.
The greatest challenge of the evening for puppy Miller was behaving around the other canine attendees. There were fellow Canine Companions puppies and their raisers, dogs in professional training with their Canine Companions instructors, working service dogs and their partners, as well as little puppies (the most distracting of all—for dogs and humans alike). Miller did a nice job of ignoring the distractions and staying connected with the human at the end of his leash.
Not only was it a great evening for the pups – it was also inspiring to see the Canine Companions family come together to fulfill an incredible mission. Listening to the veteran and first responder speakers tell their stories of how their assistance dogs gave them the gift of independence and in some cases, saved their lives, was a welcome reminder of why being a Canine Companions volunteer, or donor or staff member is so important and truly an honor. Being surrounded by heroes, both human and canine, certainly makes the heart beat faster at the thought of what the future could hold for a pup like Miller.