I wrote a little about Ceva at the end of my last post. Here is the first official post of the Ceva Series, covering her adventures with Dr. Theresa Deporter who is co-raising Ceva for Leader Dogs for the Blind.
Dr. DePorter and I met online a few years ago, but hadn’t met in real life. Since I was going to be in NYC, Dr. DePorter thought it would be a great place to finally meet and a great place to socialize 4-month old Ceva to the sights, sounds, smells and general busy-ness of a big city. And what better a city than New York?
Here is a recap of our dayCeva needs to learn how to navigate stairs safely for the human she is in charge of.
Upon graduation, a Leader Dog may be placed with anyone from an 18-year-old college student in a large city to an elderly person in the suburbs. They must be ready for anything.
We went to Times Square. No shortage of noise, lights, people, cars and distractions here.
A trip to a coffee shop was in order for Dr. DePorter and I. Ceva immediately noticed some spilled goodies on the floor, but directed her attention on Dr. DePorter. (She was rewarded for her good attention!)
Next up, something else new – people gliding by really fast! A skating rink. That was tough, but Ceva stayed on task. Things are going well.
Natural instincts came into play. Labradors are ‘bird dogs,’ and pigeons were a first for Ceva. Oh, the attractiveness! She could barely contain herself.
Smart dog that she is though, she stayed on task.
To re-enforce how important it will be to stay ‘on the job,’ as a Leader Dog, Dr. DePorter finds a bird-heavy area to do practice with Ceva.
This was followed by some celebration time and treats.
We practiced navigating busy streets (Dr. DePorter with Ceva and me with a camera) filled with people and cars.
When Ceva is working-training, she wears a blue bandana or vest. This is just like the grown-up Leader Dogs who know they are “on duty” when their guide harness is on. When the clothes come off, Ceva is not training. This also signals potty break time.
She took her own sweet time. Even in big Central Park, there were distractions. Here they were filming a movie.
And people couldn’t resist some Ceva Time either. She drew a crowd every time we slowed down.
Last stop: FAO Schwarz, a landmark NYC toy store. We weren’t sure if she would be allowed in, but this sentry ushered us in from the sidewalk – “bring the dog! bring the dog!” So in we went.
Toys of every shape and size in this 2-story store.
To our surprise, the kind people at FAO invited Ceva to be part of the show!
She did a great job.
But in this case, pictures just don’t do it justice. Here you can see and hear the talented Ceva’s big debut.