All the work Lacey did over the previous two days led to the third day. The day of the memorial. I didn’t know if she would be able to handle it… 100 people were present. The sadness and heartache was both palpable, and, in its way, tangible. For Lacey’s sake, I tried to stay calm and not allow my own emotions to overwhelm me. But I failed. Lacey was on her own; either she would become vocal and restless and I would have to remove her, or she would do the job she’s been training for her entire life.
She did her job. In fact, she exceeded my hopes and expectations so far that she even helped me when I couldn’t give her the calmness and guidance she needed. I became overwhelmed and had to leave the building. Without being asked, Lacey gave me physical and emotional support and comfort by pushing her body into me, laying her head on my shoulder, using her nose to nudge my hand towards her back to pet her… She was amazing.
Several minutes later, when I felt I had myself under control again, we went back inside. Lacey was very calm the entire time and she stayed close to me. The service finished, people got up and started to walk around and talk to each other. I gathered my things and prepared to get Lacey outside so she could potty. But Lacey didn’t want to do that. Instead, she started pulling on the leash to get to people she had not yet met. This happened several times before I realized that Lacey was actually targeting people who were radiating more intense energy than others. She was trying to get to them to comfort them.
Downstairs, refreshments and food were laid out on several long tables placed near the walls. Dining tables and chairs were arranged in the rest of the space. It was a bit confining, but Lacey handled it all like a pro. She maintained a down-stay position at the table I went to sit at, and though she was sorely tempted, she did not attempt to even sniff at the food laid out on the buffet tables. This was extraordinary, because one of her worst behaviors at her home is to take food off the table or off of plates that are within her reach.
Lacey did a phenomenal job all across the board. She remained calm and relaxed the entire time, she did not vocalize even once, and when people came to us to meet her, she offered them calm energy and comfort. She did bark repeatedly whenever someone came to the door of our hotel suite – and I will be working on door conditioning with her to stop that behavior. But, overall, she did an incredible job dealing with new and very challenging situations and I could not have been more proud of her.
Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay calm and lead on…