Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to the Post Office

Alfie in his blue jacket, lying on stone pavement in front of a white fence
Who's afraid of the Post Office?

Well, after my last two trips to the post office , I was rather dreading having to return.  But today I needed to pick up a parcel and ship something, so there was nothing for it but to take a deep breath and face my fears.  After all, I hadn't done anything wrong!

We started off at an office supply store to purchase a box, which gave me a chance to practice some obedience, finds, and straight-line work with Alfie.  He did a good job of listening and working through the store, even in fairly crowded conditions.  We've been working on his distraction around children, and today he did well -- interested in them, but still able to focus.  I paid for the box and we worked our way back out to the car, where I realized that I was short on tape as well.  Rats!  Oh well, all the more practice for Alfie. 

Back we go to the store, find the door, right, left, right again, guide around the display in the middle of the aisle, GOOD BOY!  OK, down/stay while I look for tape and answer questions from a clerk...nice job Alf!  Up-sit, let's go, find the counter, steady, watch me, GOOD boy for not licking that little kid right in front of you, sit, down, wait while I pay.  Time to go now, but first answer more questions from the nice lady behind us, then find the door, and out we go to the curb.  GOOD BOY for that automatic sit at the curb, let's go!  GOOD dog for indicating the step up, LEAVE that grackle alone, find the "bus" (my car), good dog for sitting, get in the bus, treats for the good dog.  I think Alfie was hoping I'd forget something else so we could do it all a third time, but thankfully that wasn't necessary.

With that nice warmup, we headed to the Post Office.  Leash in my left hand and giant box in my right, I walked in and joined the line. It was very busy, with clerks at each of the four stations.  As I entered, four heads snapped up...turned in my direction...and just as I cringed for the worst they all went back to work without a peep.  One of the clerks even smiled at me!  I could scarcely believe it. They were not only polite, but downright friendly...such a pleasant surprise.  It made me wonder if they had received some kind of memo about ADA law since my previous visit!  The clerk who helped me got to chatting about Alfie, and I mentioned being questioned about him before.  He said he could tell he was a service dog with his jacket, and was very welcome, but did remark that they've "had some problems lately with people bringing in their pets."   All in all, things ended on a very good note.

closeup of Alfie's chocolate-colored face as he lies in front of a stone wall; his yellow-brown eyes are looking up and he's panting
All's well that ends well.


Natalie said...

Good Job Alfie! I'm glad ya'll had a good experience at the post office - I'm always terrified of going back into places after a scuffle lol.

Erin and Co. said...

Phew! I understand your feelings going back to a place you were kicked out of! Thankfully as with you my return experiences were more pleasant than the first go round!

Ruby's Raiser said...

Glad to hear that this trip was so much better. I always say that these service pups are there to educate as well as be educated -- looks like some really valuable learning was had by all. :)

L^2 said...

Love those adorable Alfie photos! :-) Very glad you had a good trip to the post office this time.

Lauren and Don said...

Hurray!! Way to go, Alfie. It's always hard going back to a place that refused your dog before. I think Alfie really showed them how well behaved service dogs are. Wow- you teach that a LOT at Guide Dogs of Texas. It must be fun to get to teach guidework commands. Alfie sounds like such a smart boy :)

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Thanks everyone!

Lauren & Don -- yes it is fun to get to teach some of the basic commands, although we're really just laying the groundwork for their advanced training! With a pup like Alfie -- I think he'd get bored if he weren't challenged, so the GDTx program is really great for him with the work we puppyraisers get to do.

Sarah and Vance said...

huh I must have missed that post about the post office, but glad it was a good time this time. Sometimes it just "clicks" :)

CamillaBottelberghe said...

I'm glad that your experience was better last time. I read your post about the other visit. I agree that bad dog owners make it harder for good owners. I can only imagine how many times you have to explain yourself when you take Alfie places, it can't be fun. I admire you!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

YAY - way to show off Alfie!!! And good news about the USPS. We've never had a problem here - but for some reason I always tense up when we go in.