In the last two week ends, I have taken Sophia to a movie, hosted a baby shower at my house and taken her to Chuck E. Cheese. This seems surreal. There is an interesting thing that happens when you get your service dog. Before getting the service dog, we very rarely took Sophia into public places. It was not safe and the odds were in favor of her having a sensory meltdown and ruining someones activity or event. However, part of keeping your service dog trained means that you need to bring the dog out into public often so he doesn’t loose his skills. Then add the fact that you can’t bring your service dog into public without the child it is servicing and you quickly come to the conclusion that having this dogs means you will find yourself venturing out in public more with your child!
On the weekends, I try to find one activity in public that I can take Sophia and Truman to. He doesn’t go to school with her, so he doesn’t get as much practice as other dogs that do this.
The movie: This was actually easier than I thought. The hardest part was figuring out how to walk the dog and carry popcorn, pop and tickets while keeping my kids close to me. Next biggest concern was making sure the floor under our seats was clear of food or something sticky. Truman did great and Sophia was reaching down to cuddle with him about every 5 minutes. At the end of the movie, we went to the exit door that leaves directly from the theatre to the parking lot instead of walking back through the lobby.
Chuck E. Cheese: Truman was a shining star! He was never startled by any of the sounds, lights, moving machines or kids rushing past him or stepping over him. Truman and I followed Sophia from game to game and waited for her at the bottom of the slides. After her tokens were gone, she got her prize. I asked her to show Truman where the door was to leave and she did. She never had one single meltdown or even small tantrum. It was incredible. Again, Truman helped in the transition from inside to the car and she was busy showing him her new bracelet.
I am sure with more regular practice, I will get better and Sophia will improve her social skills and interactions with the public. I am truly amazed at the effect he has on her!