It would have been a nice walking field trip. Bear can handle walking with a group of kids, though he pulls on the leash in the beginning with kids running around. He settles in pretty quick.
I thought the walk to school would take the edge off, settling him down. Though he is able to sleep through nearly the entire day, I learned Bear has been saving his energy. We left before eight, and returned at noon, a time that normally would be filled with a three and a half hour nap, which you could actually say about any four-hour chunk of the day for Bear. Whether from the children surrounding us, or from the destination, Bear was on high alert the entire trip.
Waiting outside the class to depart, each kid greeted Bear as they took turns going to the bathroom. Bear was settling into nice walking with the class soon after we left. However, as we neared the park he began tugging on the leash. Though I would have normally been correcting him by changing direction, crossing the street a few times, and going through some other obedience commands, I refrained since we were on a field trip. I had to make due with smaller corrections and letting him roam more in the “party” right hand walk.
To be fair to Bear, we were going to the park that he identifies with being off-leash, playing with whoever is present. We first had to walk through the park that I let him run off-leash. Then we descended to the dog-park by the river, which was the destination of the trip. Because the Sellwood Bridge is falling down, they are finally beginning to replace it, including making a detour bridge. This trip included three interactive stations around the dog park. Students learned how the old bridge was going to slide over to make the detour bridge; Engineers explained about the layers of the soil and having to drill down to rock; and they learned about challenges of directing traffic around work zones.
I began to feel a bit like the dungeon master, drinking a hot coffee on a couch while the prisoners shivered on the cold hard stone, restricting Bear to the group of non-fun, non-four-legged, non-furry animals. As much for Bear’s sake as for mine, we departed from the presentations and demonstrations to wreak havoc with some dogs.
First in the grassy part and later on the beach, Bear ran free, demonstrating so well how he can ignore me when I call him to return. He is so adept at this. He actually stops, looks at me, scans the field for something better than the treat he knows I’m holding in my hand, and sprints to the muddy spaniel retrieving a soggy tennis ball.
Even after gathering Bear back on the leash, I allowed him back off at the beach. Students learned about landslides with sandpaper, bricks, plywood, and a protractor. Bear stared out at the river, occasionally whining at the dogs running free. I felt the students were in good hands with the other four chaperones, so Bear and I went absent again.
Though there were three people with diabetes on the trip (teacher and two students), Bear did not signal any lows other than the scent samples I pulled out of my pocket occasionally.
What I learned:
- Bear has some work on behaving on the leash.
- People quickly get used to having a dog with them.
- There is always one or two dogs that begin to get aggressive with Bear and wonder if it is because he is “intact” still.
- Bear doesn’t have to sleep seven out of every eight hours.