I spent the day with Talos at the Frederick New Media and Technology Conference. We had the honor of speaking about how businesses should use Twitter.
Until today, I've always had the option of leaving if Talos couldn't handle the situation. Today, however, was a pressure-cooker: I had to speak. So I couldn't leave.
Which put a lot of pressure on me. Talos didn't know about my contraints.
I packed well. I packed four peanut butter stuffed Kongs. I packed four pork rawhides. I packed three sandwich bags of diced bologna and beef-broth-soaked kibble. I packed an 8" rolled rawhide. I was ready!
Talos did well, overall. He got a little whiny, a little restless at the beginning of each session. (We had to change rooms about every hour.) I learned to ignore him and then he'd give up and he'd lay down. Just as he'd fall asleep we'd have to move.
The second session of the day was ours. I had to speak. He had to behave.
And he did.
In true Talos form, he came through when I needed him most. The picture above is from Mary Kate McKenna, the most amazing photographer I've ever met. I thought it completely captured the "Talos experience."
I was so preoccupied with my talk that I forgot to consider what Talos was thinking. Clearly, from this photo, he was quite curious about why he was at the front of the room!
In the end, all of our hard work and training paid off. Talos was able to handle a full day's work. And handled it just fine, thank you very much.
He came home and totally melted down with the other dogs. He was letting off steam. Like so many of US do at the end of a hard week. It was good to see.
Until now, I'd been confident that his temperament suited him well for service work, but I wasn't sure of his ability to settle. Now I know he can settle. In one of the talks, I had to keep prodding him because he was snoring so loudly! THAT'S a relaxed dog!
Thanks to everyone at the conference - and everyone in general - who not only puts up with, but accepts, a service dog in training with such open arms. It's not always perfect. It's not always easy.
You have no idea the training value you're providing. Many thanks to you for graciously allowing a snoring, whining, slobbering dog in your midst. The training value of the event today is not to be underestimated. His future "new person" thanks you for your help.
And to T - you did a fabulous job today, my Great Dane friend. Excellent work. My heart swells with pride. You will change someone's life.