When you live in a small, close-knit community, you say yes to things when you can. A neighbor who teaches at the elementary school asked us if Bodhi and Gracie would be part of the Reading Parade for the Kindergarten and First Grade classes to celebrate their accomplishments this year. Sounded like fun (and spoiler alert…it was!) but I had no idea what we were getting into. For Gracie, it was therapy dog training on steroids. (Spoiler alert #2 – she did great.)

It started out quietly as we waiting for all the classes to gather…along with the Hershey’s Kissmobile, a fire truck, and various other vehicles all lined up.

Little by little the place filled up. Tons of very happy, screaming children dressed in various sea costumes for the day. We followed the Octopus group, and the Whales followed up as we lined up for the parade that ran around the school campus. And the children in the Octopus class were in love with Gracie. She was absolutely mobbed, and I would have interceded but she was having a blast.

The really crazy exciting part was that all the second through fifth graders, and all the kid’s parents and grandparents were lined up along the route so there were hundreds of people, and everyone wanted to get their hands on Gracie. From the sidelines kids were screaming (full voice!) “DOGGIE!!” trying to get her attention. I went over once to let them pet, but Gracie crouched low (but she didn’t bark or growl or anything) and I could tell she was uncomfortable, so we excused ourselves and just waved at the well-wishes on the sidelines.

Just to give you an idea of the wildness organized chaos, here’s a short video of part of our route. You can hear the folks screaming “doggie” to get her attention.

On top of that Hershey Kisses were being thrown to the kids…a good opportunity to practice “leave it” especially since eating chocolate would not be wonderful for Gracie!

Along the way Gracie got the meet the Reese’s mascot, and Cocoa, the Hershey Bear’s mascot.

And she got to say hi to one of her favorite neighbors, Amy, who had invited us to walk with the school children. Gracie loves Amy…loves…and it was the only time she jumped during the parade.

Gracie did her rock star thing the whole time today. Her tail was up and wagging. She greeted anyone who wanted her attention. She was under control and not pulling me around, and she was having a blast. She did great with strange things, like costumed mascots and sirens from the fire engines and other things totally new to her. She is, as I keep saying, a little rock star.

As usual, she is now sleeping it off – a well-deserved nap after a very busy event. Tomorrow night is her CGC exam…I think she’s ready!

11 thoughts on “Gracie Chronicles: Therapy Dog Training on Steroids

    1. You bet right! She’s beat, but she had a great time. And a tired dog is a good dog, right?

      1. Bodhi did fine. He enjoys meeting people and had fun, but the situation was a little more overwhelming for him, being blind and in a place he didn’t know. But he trusts Marley completely and they did great together.

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