Knight News
October 27, 2012
Talk About Bullying
November 15, 2012
Knight News
October 27, 2012
Talk About Bullying
November 15, 2012

Have Dog, Will Shop

Venturing Out Report #3: Shopping

How We Did:

Sir Thomas likes to shop.

Sometimes, he gets ahead of me while we’re out on a walk.. Not so when shopping. Or, as I discovered, not so when there’s a shopping cart involved.

Considering how many times I bashed the the plastic basket into his shoulder (by mistake!) or ran over a front paw with a wheel (by mistake, again!), he sticks by the side of the cart . We’ve been to the grocery store numerous times, the fabric shop and, among other places, the pharmacy (no surprise given the cocktail of meds one takes with PD).

What I Learned:

“Leave It” is a command we need to work on. He’s good, but I want better than that when we’re passing displays of coffee cake that happen to be exactly the same height as his head. And then there are the shelves stacked with a plethora of smells. And then there are the people ahead of us in line or passing the opposite direction in those narrow aisles. Their hands, not to mention socially unacceptable body parts that are at the same level as his rather large nose. I repeat: I want his response to “Leave It” to be better than good. Will need to work on that.

What Else I Learned:

Use the cart, even when picking up only one or two items at the store.

I learned this the hard way. Standing at checkout, I’d finished paying. My feet froze in that annoying bad-timing way that this new PD symptom has. Tommy, however, had drifted behind me while a person in line petted him. After I tugged on his lead to coax him forward, he stepped onto the wrong side of me, leaned on me and pinned me against the counter. We made it out of there with a mix of persistence and communication.

From the dog’s perspective, the cart represents a known, safe place. With the stimulation of people buzzing by, unhappy toddlers, Musak interrupted by a loudspeaker announcing the Manager’s Special, bright lights, strangers reaching out to pat him, and those smells – so many smells – he can guide me better if he has the cart as his guide.

What Else I Learned:

Don’t simply carry tissues and/or wipes, always have one handy. Do drool and eye gunk checks before checking out. That way when he rests his head on the counter gazing up to the coos of the cashier, he won’t have left anything behind.

Pleasant Surprise:

Smiles, pleasant comments, and photographs. As of yet, no shop or market staff or customers have questioned me. I’m greeted with smiles, compliments, and phones set on camera mode.


  1. David Loeser says:

    I have been reading your blog with much interest. I will be visiting the farm soon. Thank you for introducing me to this organization.

    • Renee says:

      I’d be happy to meet you there at a Sunday Open House to introduce you (tho they are very welcoming w/o needing an intro). Please let me know how it works out either way – they’re a terrific group and I wish you the best.

    • Renee Le Verriwe says:

      That’s Great! I’m actually going there today (Sunday, 11/25) around 1:00pm. Or, let me know if there’s a better day for you.

  2. David Loeser says:

    Thanks Renee. My daughter, wife and I visited the Service Dog Project last Sunday. We loved the dogs! I plan to put in an application soon. I would love to meet you there at on a Sunday. Also I have been reading your blog and find it interesting.

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