Mom took me to the big mall in our area this week. I am now 13 months old and this is the mall my family is most likely to visit. It wasn't very crowded on Thursday and I walked the whole mall. Coffee shops don't faze me, but the scent of sesame chicken near the door caused me to lose focus, so we practiced going in and out the door several times until I sat politely while mom took her coat off at the entrance. She notices I feel anxious until I see the whole space when I go somewhere new. This is a big mall with an upstairs and downstairs. We rode the elevator twice and went up and down glass-sided staircases. Since it was my first visit here we only stayed long enough to walk the mall and then she took me to a park to play. 
On Saturday, she and little girl took me there again. Mom knew I would be much more comfortable after getting to know the mall ahead of time. Little sis was super excited since she doesn't go to a mall very often. She held onto her short leash while mom guided us along. Mom walks on the left of me and little sis, who is left handed, walks on the right. It was very busy with shoppers. I was comfortable and happily ate a treat every time mom asked me sit. The aroma of sesame chicken caused me to turn my head, but I mostly paid attention to mom and little sis.
Half-way up the glass-sided staircase, little sis got scared and started yelling. Mom quickly realized I needed to be on the glass side so little sis could be in the middle. There was a steady stream of people and mom was behind us, but she got us re-arranged and kept us moving. As soon as we got to the top little sis stopped yelling and felt better. We walked around the top level and then went to find the elevator. Little sis started yelling that she was scared as soon as she got in and mom said "look at your dog, that is why he is here". Another family in the elevator with a baby stroller looked shocked, but mom is used to autistic outbursts and calmly talked little sis through the situation without worrying about what other people think. I looked right at little sis and within seconds the ride was done. Little sis  got off the elevator and soon calmed down, knowing our next stop was a Jamba Juice bar. Little sis was so excited! We had to wait in line for about 10 people and little sis complained loudly about the wait. I, however, did a fantastic job. I sat politely and mom treated me frequently.  A guy behind us asked mom if he could pet me, but mom explained no eye contact was best to help me keep focus.  He looked confused but she stayed firm. She often allows elders to pet me but this guy was 30 something and should understand service dogs are there to work. 
We went to a quiet place under the escalator so little sis could have her smoothie. I laid down without being asked and watched all the people go by. Mom tried several times to get me to park under the table, but since it was my first time doing this she decide it was good enough.  She fed me lots of treats while little sis enjoyed her drink. Mom noticed I got more relaxed as I absorbed all the sounds and people going by. Then we walked around some more and even took the elevator again. Little sis said she wasn't as scared this time. I guess she is a lot like me - she needs to try things more than once to feel comfortable. She asked mom if we could come back again soon. I'm game! 
Rocky at the mall.
Lynnda L
12/17/2011 10:58:19 am

How exciting that Rocky able to help Little Girl when they go places. She was doing a good job of holding on to his leash in the picture. More of life's small victories....

9/11/2012 05:21:15 am

Your blog template was so nice I decided to make a Weebly account too.


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