Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rib Fest 2010

When Rib Fest came around this year Beks and I went, with Coco, of course. We parked and took a shuttle. A big yellow, noisy school bus. Coco's first time on one. She was wonderful. She backed into an area to sit and laid down. No fear, no hesitation. She was a great help for me, getting into the bus and back down the steps again.

Here are some pictures of Coco. We walked around and then got sandwiches and some gatorade. Coco had plenty of water. And we found some shade. When I was finished with my sandwich I left some for Coco that didn't have any BBQ sauce on it. I set it down in front of me and left it there for about ten minutes while Beks finished eating and we relaxed. She didn't try to stretch out and reach for it or beg. She saw it but didn't pay attention to it. She was amazing - again!! Normally, she doesn't get people food. But I have used this technique while training her to keep her focus on me during a down stay, even when I left the room. Leaving a special fish treat on a plate near her on the table and telling her to stay was a greater distraction to her impulse to follow me. I used the same technique for teaching her to leave it, though when we worked on leave its she never got the treat. I gave her something different that she really loved. These abilities came in so handy at the Rib Fest. There were so many BBQ Rib bones everywhere. I told her head up and gently put my hand under her collar just to make sure. She did great.
Coco on the bus to the festival as the bus made it's way through the stops and starts of the local traffic.

We had been at the festival for awhile, sitting in the shade and listening to music when Coco started to get up and walk in circles around me. She stepped over me and walked behind me and laid down right next to me again. A few minutes later my head started to hurt.

When we got up to leave the heat must have hit me. I felt real woozy. It was hard to know how far down the ground was. Coco stayed close to me. Going as slow as I needed to go without being told. As I write this I remember that this was one of the first things Angel, my first akita did. She always seemed to know when this was going to happen to me and she'd walk in these tight circles around me until I put my hands on her back. Then she would walk me to a chair or the couch. Some times she decided all on her own to take me to bed. Bear, my second akita, used to put his face close to mine and put his paw on me and cup his paw on my shoulder or knee before I started feeling this way.

Coco and Beks got me back to the bus and we got home safe and sound. It was a wonderful day.

Rib Fest was a great event. Naperville did a fantastic job making people feel welcomed to their town. The train station parking and other areas were open for people to park their cars - for free. People were then shuttled on a bus to the festival grounds - for free. There was a $12 admission fee that was donated to various charities that helped women and children who were victims of domestic violence get counseling and other assistance which was way cool. And there was great music and lots of people milling around and having a good time with their families.

Good job Naperville!

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