Location: San Jose, California, United States

Friday, August 12, 2005

Minnesota, August 2005

My parents grew up in Northern Minnesota and they own a cabin there that we visit every summer. I was really excited to introduce my friends and relatives there to my new friend, Jaba. But at the same time, I was a little nervous about taking such a big trip with Jaba so soon after getting him. I shouldn't have worried. Jaba was a wonderful travel companion.
Jaba is a great traveler. He behaved perfectly on the two flights to Minnesota, wowing the flight crew and other passengers. He was a perfect gentleman in the hotel and had no problem sleeping on his fleece bed. The four-hour trip to our cabin north of Minneapolis was pretty uneventful for Jaba.
Jaba was very curious and interested when we arrived at our cabin. I put down his fleece bed and he felt right at home. He pretty much settled in easily. I think he liked the place which is great since we visit every year. He seemed very interested in the water. He always got excited on the dock, but was perfectly fine with lying next to me while I fished. He also didn't seem to mind our pontoon boat. He didn’t have any problems getting on or off. He seemed interested when one of us caught a fish. He'd watch while we took the fish off the hook and watched as we threw the fish back.
It's so fun. He is very attentive to me and is so eager to obey. At the same time, he's fine if a family member has to hold the leash temporarily. One night I called him off the boat while Mom held the leash. He came to me so quickly that Mom ended up falling and doing a summersault. Thankfully everyone was fine and we got a good laugh. He really seems to be attaching to me. He’s very alert and will pretty much pick up anything that I drop without me asking. And I’m using a little Tupperware dish for his food, which he picks up for me when he’s done eating. It’s so cute. He is so funny to watch with his toys. I had to get him a new squeaky toy because the old one got a hole in it. He is so proud of his new toy. It seems like he likes this one better.
As mellow as he is about just hanging out at the lake, he’s also happy to get out and go somewhere. We’ve been to a few malls and restaurants. He loves to work and get out with people. He’s dazzled so many people. I’ve also gotten to educate people who don’t know about service dogs.
We found a great fenced-in area for him to run. I love to watch this guy really move. He is such a happy dog. He’s enjoyed getting to meet my friends and family. And, of course, everyone loves him.
One thing I forgot to mention. Jaba likes the wildlife here, but not too much. We’ve got tons of birds, gophers and chipmunks. Last night he was relaxing in the middle of our lawn on his long leash while my parents and I ate. We feed the animals while here. We use sunflower seeds. There’s a stump in the middle of the yard where we dump some of the seeds. The other seeds are put on the porch. Well, Jaba was just a few feet away from the pile of seeds. He could have easily reached it if he wanted to. This one chipmunk came up to the stump and circled it a few times before settling down and picking up seeds. Jaba watched very intently and eagerly, but didn’t move until the chipmunk took off. I think that happened a few times. It was so funny to see the two animals so close to each other. Jaba was so cute, watching but not trying to attack. It was clear he was really excited and interested, but he was controlling himself. It was fun dinner entertainment for us.
Before leaving Minnesota, we made a stop at the Mall of America. It was fun, but pretty crowded. Despite this, Jaba was very attentive to me and helped me shop. He also was a great companion when I got temporarily separated from my family.
Jaba was also a comfort a few times at the cabin when I needed help. It was a relief to know that he was there and could bark for help if I needed him to, which I ended up not needing him to do. I was just grateful to have him there.
The trip home went just as well as the trip there. It was fun to see Jaba getting home and recognizing my room and the backyard and his crate. I know he'll also be happy to be back to "his" van. The rental van seemed less comfortable for him, though he never really complained. He settled back in so quickly that it's almost like we never left.
Now the next big thing is going back to school in a few weeks. I'm confident that he'll adjust to that routine without a problem.


Anonymous David McNeil said...

Hello toesquash;

My name is david. I have your puppy raiser's first puppy, "Pasha"

The transition seemed to go well and am glad to hear Jaba has a good home. He has visited in the past and played as a puppy with Pasha.

I hope to hear more of your exploits with your new charge.

I used to live on White Rock Road, S.J. CA. I'm up in the Pacific Northwest on a small Island.

My e-mail is:

I have a firewall so please enter in the sbject line: Service Dogs or Greetings from Jaba

2:17 PM  
Blogger Betsy Powell said...

Hi Noelle!
How fun to see the great photo of you and Jaba in Minnesota. Glad the trip went so well -- that's an ambitious undertaking for both of you! I've still got to send you the photo of us in Starbucks - I just have to find it!

12:33 PM  

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