Steampunk Puppy: “They call me CAPTAIN Mindy!”

This entry is part 10 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
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Laura & Captain Mindy, reporting for duty.

Fun puppy socialization outing this weekend! And some socialization opportunities are too good to pass up.

In one of my other lives, I’m a costumer, and we were presenting some costume panels this weekend at a steampunk event. Saturday my husband was going to be very busy and couldn’t keep the puppy at home, so she had to go with me in the morning. And of course that meant she had to go in costume, right?

Steampunk has a pretty broad aesthetic, but since our host was Circle City Aerodome, Mindy got some tiny puppy goggles and an aviator scarf. (I’m in an antique beaver felt hat and Victorian skirt and petticoat, with modern shirt and jacket). Best comment came from Stacy Braslau-Schneck on Facebook: “I guess she could be the captain of the Lab Zeppelin.”

Mindy did wonderfully the first half of our presentation, lying on a mat and quietly waiting for kibbles. Then she got twitchy, and I gave her a bully stick. Still, she was generally good, and she got a lot of photos.

IMAG0497In the vendors’ area she drew a lot of attention, and then a fearsome kilted pirate with dyed beard and mustache came upon us. “Ooodly wiggly puppy! I mean /cough harumph cough/ damn fine animal you have there, madam.”

While I held Mindy he cut her silhouette. How cute is that? The nice thing is, it’s dimensional, so it might be a nice memento to include for Mindy’s blind client when she is matched.

IMAG0499He also gave me a Valentine. I’m not quite positive, but I’m pretty sure this is my first Valentine from a pirate. And Bluebeard, even! (You can check out his work here.)

Mindy was really tired, which was both understandable and predicted, so I’d planned to sit in on a panel and let her nap beneath the chair. I got to the scheduled room a few minutes early and took a seat in the back, letting her settle beside me. Due to some scheduling problems, however, I had to move rooms four times! and even though I carried her for a couple of the relocations, she was repeatedly interrupted enough that when we finally joined the panel, she was past the point of being able to sleep. In fact, she was past the point of being a mouthy, bratty over-tired toddler, and she just sat and whined, exhausted and unable to sleep after so much movement and extra stimulation.

That wasn’t fair to the audience, the panelists, or Mindy, so I took her out to the car and crated her, and then I sat in the car with her. Sure, I was missing out, but by taking the puppy with me at all, I’d made her my priority.

She passed out instantly in the crate, just needed a calm place. I firmly believe dogs (and humans!) should learn to nap nearly anywhere, but four relocations for a puppy who’d been nodding off was just too much. Most human toddlers would have fussed, too.

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Mindy and Jon having a cuddle

On the whole, though, I was pleased with her outing. I knew the costumes would make for a varied socialization experience, and she never blinked at any, from over-sized hats to masks to a Dalek ballgown. She handled the elevators like she’d been doing it forever, which certainly isn’t the case. Even in our very first entrance into the prestigious Columbia Club, she walked in beside me and then promptly sat beside me in her goggles and scarf as I pressed the elevator button, drawing a chorus of “aw” from onlookers.

Sometimes, this puppy business can be quite fun.

(And okay, I do have some non-puppy posts coming. Or at least, not just puppy-story posts. Hang in there!)

About Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Laura was born at a very young age and started playing with animals immediately after. She never grew out of it, and it looks to be incurable. She is the author of the bestselling FIRED UP, FRANTIC, AND FREAKED OUT. She owns Canines In Action, Inc. in Indianapolis, speaks at workshops and seminars, and is also a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member.

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One Comment

  1. Mindy in steampunk costume: I’m dead. Congrats on the great socialization experience 🙂

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