September is National Service Dog Month, and Canine Companions® puppy Wes has been celebrating at some of his favorite hangouts with his puppy raisers Christa and Steve. Wes is growing up, working on his basic obedience commands to help him on his way to becoming a future assistance dog.
His favorite hangout is the local farmers market. Wes is a social guy and loves to watch the goings on at the market, practice appropriate greetings and enjoy the sights and smells. Speaking of people watching–Wes’ new favorite hobby—trips to the airport have been especially intriguing! Wes loves to watch the baggage claim carousel, even though he has yet to find his bag! With his bright eyes, Wes delights in riding the light rail under the seats where he can get the best vantage point of people entering and exiting the train. Some days are extra warm and the pavement gets hot so Wes wears protective boots to keep his paws safe. They took a little getting used to but with a little practice he’s mastered them quickly!
Meeting new “people”
“Recently Wes visited a department store where he encountered a mannequin for the first time,” puppy raiser Christa laughs. “Wes immediately went into a sit in anticipation of being greeted! After a few moments, he cocked his head and looked suspiciously at the mannequin. Then he tried a down. Since there was still no response, Wes stood up and gave the mannequin’s hand a little nudge with his nose. We walked away and Wes looked back one last time, hoping for a glimmer of acknowledgement but there was none!”
As a future service dog, Wes needs lots of socialization, and has been to a variety of outings that Canine Companions assistance dogs might experience including an audiology appointment, a corn farm, the library and restaurants. As we celebrate National Service Dog Month, it’s important to recognize just how much goes into each Canine Companions puppy.
“Being a volunteer puppy raiser has been very rewarding and a wonderful opportunity to give back,” says Christa. “I have talked to many graduates and seen how an assistance dog changes their lives. It’s truly remarkable, and this is why I raise puppies.”