Dosas, Joann’s, and World Market with training friends

Today we had a training outing with Sabrina with Indy and Joseph with Lady! We met up at an Indian cafe in Pineville called Sri Balaji Caffe. They serve my favorite food, which are dosas! Dosas are huge flat savory crepes made out of lentil and rice flour and filled with spiced vegetables. We last went to this restaurant in 2021 when we had the PSDP convention in Pineville. So I had been itching to go back!

I showed up first and went inside to get a menu. They didn’t say a word about Felix, yay! Then I went outside to wait for Joseph and Sabrina. When Sabrina arrived, we lowered her wheelchair off the back of her car, and ran into a very large problem… The parking lot is deep gravel and Sabrina’s wheelchair could not propel itself on the gravel! So I helped Sabrina walk to a table to sit down, and Joseph put the chair in manual mode and pushed it himself across the gravel. It took a LOT of work!

When we had all decided what we wanted to eat, Joseph and I went inside to order, while Sabrina stayed outside. Unfortunately the smells of the incense and spices inside the restaurant made Lady, Joseph’s dog, feel like wriggling around on the floor! So I had to place the order and ferry food back and forth for all three of us! It’s always an adventure one way or another with us!

Eventually we got everyone’s food out and we were able to eat. My dosa was FANTASTIC!!!!! It was the best dosa I’ve had since we moved away from California. And my mango lassi (mango yogurt drink) was excellent, too! I think Joseph and Sabrina liked their food (they didn’t get dosas) pretty well, though Sabrina didn’t like the lassi.

The spices in the air made the dogs all a little spicy themselves I think! Felix would NOT settle for anything. He just kept running over to Indy and licking her eyes and face. I kept trying to stop him, but he just wouldn’t stop! So finally Indy told him to mind his manners and he did a lot better. Lady was struggling some, too. So we didn’t hang around too long after eating!

We had to get Sabrina’s chair back on her car, so Joseph managed to maneuver Sabrina’s car in backwards and sideways so that the lift on the back of her car sat down on the concrete patio. Then Sabrina was able to get her chair on without a problem! Yay!

Our next stop was Joann’s Fabric store. They are a pet-friendly store, but we didn’t see any other dogs while we were there.

First we hung out outside the store for about 10–15 minutes so that Lady could have some time to settle in and relax. We talked about the engage/disengage game, which helps dogs learn to notice things in their environment and then check back in with their handlers. And Joseph and Lady did a great job with it!

Eventually we went in and walked around for a while. Sabrina had some shopping to do, so Joseph and I followed her and trained our dogs. The pups did a really good job! Indy is an old pro at Joann’s LOL! Felix did a pretty good job, though kept getting mildly distracted by Lady and Indy and wanting to say hi to them. Lady was a little worried in the big open main aisles, so we kept to the side aisles where she was more comfortable. Lady was really happy when we found a patch of carpet in one section of the store—she really prefers being on carpet!

Lots of older women in the store remarked on how beautiful and well-behaved our dogs were!

After we’d been in the store probably 20 minutes, my hips were really starting to hurt (I had been walking), so I went out to my van and got my chair. I still wanted to train Felix more, though. The last time we worked on wheelchair heeling was about a month or month and a half ago, and Felix wasn’t doing all that great.

So I put him down on the floor expecting to not be able to move more than a couple steps worth… And he did really great! Well, so long as he wasn’t trying to catch us up to Lady LOL! If Lady was in front of us, he wanted to be with her. But if Lady was close to us, Felix did a wonderful job! I was so proud!

Joseph was able to shoot a video of Felix heeling next to my wheelchair! Near the end of the video as I am coming back towards Joseph, Sabrina with Indy came past us going the other direction, dog to dog! Felix got a little distracted wanting to sniff Indy, but recovered well. Here’s the video:

We spent a while more in the store getting all the things Sabrina needed, then went to pay. Joseph took some pictures while we were in the store, and I got a few, as well. They are below. Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin. Lady is a red English Cocker Spaniel. Indy is a Golden Retriever. Sabrina and I are in our power wheelchairs.

When we left Joann’s, Felix peed right there on the sidewalk. I guess he had to go badly! I’m just so happy he didn’t go in the store!!!!

Joseph and Lady headed home after Joann’s. But Sabrina and I wanted to shop a little more. Felix was done training on the floor, though, so I just had him in my lap.

We decided to go to World Market, which was about a 10-minute roll away from where we parked across several parking lots. It’s a pain to load our chairs up in the cars, so we just put our chairs in high gear and zipped over there!

Sabrina had never been to a World Market before and she was amazed at all the different foods from all over the world! We had a wonderful time browsing, and each found a couple treats to take home. I hadn’t been in a World Market since we lived in North Carolina (before California!), and boy did I miss it! That’s such a cool store. It really hasn’t changed much in the last 18 years.

Unfortunately I think I created a monster and Sabrina is going to be visiting World Market every time she goes to Joann’s LOL!

By the time we were done in World Market, we were pretty tired. So we zipped across the parking lots and back to our cars, and headed home. Boy it was a really fun day! And Felix did such a good job at everywhere except lunch! I think he’s really coming along!

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