Doctor and a service dog in the wild

Today I had a doctor’s appointment, then went to Starbucks where we met another service dog in the wild!

We started out by visiting the doctor about my headaches. I decided to use my wheelchair to practice more heeling next to it for Felix’s big test in April. He did a good job heeling into the building, waiting while I signed in, and heeling over to the waiting area. He waited nicely next to my wheelchair, even as other people entered and exited the waiting room, one an older man with a shuffling gait.

I got a couple of pictures of him in the waiting room. In one, he is standing next to my wheelchair right after we arrived. In the second, he’s lying down next to my wheelchair. You can see the chairs in the waiting room next to him and my wheelchair pouch at the top of the picture. Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin wearing a lavender vest.

When it was our turn to go back to the room, Felix again heeled very nicely next to me. While the nurse talked with me and took my vitals, Felix did a great job of staying in place on the floor and not trying to investigate the nurse like he did last time I had my vitals taken by this nurse.

I got a few pictures while waiting for the doctor to come in. The first one he is standing next to my wheel, which is where he stood when I was having my blood pressure taken. In the other two, he is lying between my wheelchair and a chair in the room, just hanging out. What a good boy!

When the doctor knocked on the door to come in, Felix got up from his down but didn’t make a peep!

I talked with the doctor about my headaches, and she prescribed me some medication, but also wants me to get a CT and follow up with neurology. Ugh, more doctor’s appointments. She remembered Felix and was happy to see how far along he has come. When it was her turn to examine me, Felix did wonderfully again! He hung out and watched intently as she listened to my heart and lungs and gave me some other physical tests.

The appointment wasn’t long, so we headed out soon after. I had gotten a coupon for a $3 Starbucks drink in my email yesterday, so I figured it would be a perfect training opportunity for Felix to go hang out there for a while. But they were all out of lavender drinks! Bummer!

I got a few pictures of Felix chilling next to my wheelchair. He only got up twice the whole time we were there. The first time was soon after we arrived—he got up and wanted to explore, but I redirected him back into his down. In the pictures, he’s lying on his rainbow mat, and in two of the pictures you can see the counter in the background. In one of the pictures, Felix is taking a little snooze it looks like!

While inside, a man stopped me and told me I was an inspiration. I told him I’m just a normal person living my normal life, and he apologized! Turns out he has a service dog, too. It was a short interaction, but as he was waiting for his drink to be ready, I asked him about his dog. He told me his service dog was in the car, but he was afraid to take her sometimes because he was afraid of public access challenges.

I did get a quick video of the man’s feet as he walked past Felix once, just to show how great Felix was doing with his down stay 🙂

Shortly after that, the man left, and when he came back inside, he had his dog with him! Felix was SO GOOD! He sat up on his mat, but stayed in place as the dog came in and walked over to the counter. The other dog, turns out her name is Gracie, was very good, too! She is a Golden Retriever. I asked the man, whose name is Don, if I could get some pictures of the dogs in the store together. At first they stayed near the counter, so I got a couple of shots of Felix in the foreground and Gracie in the background.

As Don and I talked more, we realized how much we had in common. I texted him some links of Psychiatric Service Dog Partners and my blog, and the pictures I took. While we were talking and I was doing things with my phone, I wasn’t even holding onto the leash! It is a shoulder leash, so I was still attached to Felix, but I was SO IMPRESSED with how well my boy was doing!

I was able to have a full conversation not paying any attention to Felix, and he remained in his stay like a champ.

Then Don asked if he and Gracie could come a little closer, so they did. I asked if I could get a video, and just then Felix broke his stay for the second time of the outing. So I got him back in it, and got a good video of Felix and Gracie about 3 feet apart. Both dogs were excellent!

We had a great conversation, and I was so proud of Felix. He really rocked it out of the park today! We talked for probably 15 minutes, and he didn’t break his stay other than that one time. And most of the time I wasn’t even holding onto Felix’s leash! What a solid pup!

Eventually Don had to get back on the road, and by that time I’d been there for a half hour and figured I should quit while I was ahead. So I left too. It was great to meet another service dog team out in the wild!

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