Today Brad and I took Alice to TJ Maxx to train on the floor. It was the hardest training session she’s had yet! Brad took a video that’s at the bottom of the page, but I’ll describe what happens in the video. Then I’ll tell you about our grocery trip.
Normally I take Alice by myself to train, so I go as soon as the store opens in the morning. Today Brad came with me, so we went in the afternoon. I did not expect the store to be so crowded!!!
Alice did a good job walking into the store and wasn’t afraid of the doors at all. Unfortunately as soon as we entered we encountered two extremely difficult groups of people.
The first was a group of parents with young children. The children were yelling and shrieking about the dog in the store, and they even started jumping and stomping their feet. It was a LOT of activity, but we needed to pass by them to continue into the store. There were some kids on the right side of the aisle, and some parents on the left side of the aisle, so Alice had to walk BETWEEN people which she’s never done in a store before! I thought we’d just be working on her walking past individuals, one at a time!
As we got closer and the running around and shrieking got more intense, I asked the kids if they could stay still so that it would help Alice to walk by them. They at least ran around and shrieked less after this request.
Pretty much as soon as we made it past the group of kids, there was a group of older women calling to, making kissing noises at, and generally being very distracting towards Alice. We had to pass them, too!
I did have to toss some treats on the ground to get Alice past these two extremely distracting groups of people, but we made it!
She perked up and was happy to walk along next to me once we were past these people.
She did an excellent job dodging a cart!
She did get a little worried about a person stacking boxes on a stocking cart, so we went down the food aisle and she didn’t even care!
We went down a back aisle and passed by another person who was alone, and Alice did better.
We walked up and down a pretty narrow aisle with no people in it, and Alice did perfectly!
Then we headed out back into the main aisle.
She did great as people walked past her—that part is much easier than her walking past other people LOL! Maybe she feels like they’re more predictable when they’re on a trajectory.
It was such a busy store and the first two groups of people were so overwhelming that we decided to only do one loop of the store and not work on dropped objects or sits or downs or anything. We were in the store 10 minutes, and that was plenty!
I think I’ll have to go back to TJ Maxx in the afternoon sometime when it’s busy and just sit in my wheelchair with her on the floor to take in the hustle and bustle of the store more. She did a good job when we weren’t walking past people, but I think she was taking a lot in.
Next we headed to Publix. I pouched Alice for this trip since we had just been to TJ Maxx and we needed to actually shop for groceries.
I knew we needed to stock up on coconut water for Brad and we needed a lot of Almond milk (we go through 3 cups of it a day with my Golden Milk, my smoothie, and Brad’s smoothie!) among a few other things. So I decided that I would push a cart instead of getting a motorized cart because the motorized cart basket is about half the size of the regular basket that you push.
Alice was PERFECT in Publix. She just hung out in the pouch and watched everything. This is her favorite way to go into stores, she really prefers being pouched!
We spent less than an hour inside of Publix, but near the end I realized that walking and pushing my own cart was a big mistake. My hips started hurting more and more and more. By the time we were heading to the check out, my pain levels were a 7 out of 10 and I had to keep stopping it was hurting so much.
I had a good conversation with the cashier, and told her how I wished Publix would do their own pickup orders and deliveries instead of contracting to Instacart which charges you more for every item in addition to all their fees and tips and everything. We talked about my pain and her father’s arthritis while the bagger interjected a few times with compliments about Alice.
I was in so much pain that I did something I’ve never done before and accepted help getting my groceries into my car.
Brad got a video of the whole TJ Maxx trip, and it is below. We didn’t get any pictures or video in Publix, though. In the video I am wearing my galaxy dress and a purple mask with a lacy black pattern. My hair is half pulled back with a purple ribbon. Alice is a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a purple service dog harness.