Yesterday we met and brought home my new service dog prospect, Felix! He is a 5.5-month-old sable and white Japanese Chin. He is 6.5 lbs, and will probably get to be about Hestia’s size. Unlike Hestia and Alice, he has symmetrical markings over both his eyes. He is gorgeous! He was supposed to be a show dog for Ni Kokoro and Mystike, but one of his testicles is a “yo-yo testicle”, so he can’t be shown or bred. His breeder said he is very brave and smart, so when he couldn’t be a show dog, she thought he might be an excellent service dog for me!
Alice and Felix have the same father, and Hestia is his aunt. That’s what happens when you like your breeder!
We were supposed to meet at Starbucks, which looked like it had tables outside on google maps. But when we got there, they didn’t have any! So we got coffee and headed to Jimmy John’s next door to hang out at their tables. Brad took video of the entire encounter, so I edited it down to 6 minutes which includes the interesting bits. My breeder also brought Hebi (Felix’s dad) and Jeremy (another show prospect) with her.
I left Hestia and Alice in the car in the cool weather so I could get to know Felix at first (his previous name was Frankie, so that is why we’re calling him Frankie). He immediately snuggled up to me, which I loved! He was good at being handled all over, I was able to shape him into a sit using some treats, he was food motivated, and he was very very sweet!
He has never been outside the house or yard before, so this was a very new experience for him. The road noise bothered him some, but not too much. He got in my lap for a while, and he even climbed onto Brad’s footplate the first time he met Brad! Wow!
A woman came over and pet the pups, and Felix did a good job with her. We got Hestia and Alice out, and he had no issues with them at all, either. Hestia immediately liked him, and Alice was a bit aloof, which is to be expected. Alice was more interested in being in Brad’s lap LOL!
I thought he might could be the dog for me by the end of our hangout time outside, but I wanted to see how he did in a store first. So we headed over to PetSmart like we planned. This was his first time inside any kind of store. Brad took a video of it, though unfortunately Brad isn’t pointed at Felix some of the time, and other times Brad leans in front of the camera to take pictures with his real camera. He took video on his iPhone attached to his wheelchair.
Felix did SO GOOD in PetSmart! I was incredibly impressed! He was already better in PetSmart than Alice has ever been in a store! And it was his first time! He walked up and down aisles no problem. He went in a narrow section next to a pole without issue. He saw little kids and seemed interested in them. He had zero problems with carts. And he didn’t care about other dogs. It was fantastic! That sealed the deal for me! As a bonus, even though it had been a while since he used the bathroom, he didn’t even attempt to potty in the store.
After a potty break for Felix, we started the long drive home with me in the backseat with Felix on my lap and Hestia and Alice next to me on the seat. For a while, Alice wanted to be on my lap, too! Brad drove us home and did a very good job. Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic in Charlotte! The main highway we usually take was super trafficky, so Google Maps routed us on the road around the city to bypass the straight path. But even that one had traffic! There was an overturned tractor trailer we had to pass, which took about 10 minutes out of our drive time in traffic.
Eventually we got home and got everyone out of the car and settled. Hestia had no issues with Felix in the house, but Alice was pretty stressed. She refused to eat dinner and spent the night either out with us drooling a lot, or back in the bedroom. We just comforted her and let her decompress. Felix had a great time exploring, though he did pee on the dog bed! Except for that one time, he’s been great at going out to potty. I’ve been tethering (having him leashed and connected to me) all the time, so I can catch any misadventures and training opportunities right away.
He slept great overnight in the crate next to the bed. And Alice was comfortable enough to sleep with us as normal with him in the room, so that was good. In the morning, Alice even ate about 1/3 of her breakfast! With her usual eating issues, I can be content with that for now.
I took Alice and Hestia on a 5 min walk, and then Felix on a 5 min walk. He did SO WELL! He was very brave and walked really nicely with me. He sniffed around and peed once. He’s also a natural at untangling himself from the leash, which shows how smart he is!
Brad is still working on the pictures he took, so I’ll post those in a separate blog entry. Until then, enjoy the two videos!