Splash makes her debut at Sangertown Square Mall

So far, Splash has only met the public at 1) the dog park, 2) on a Greyhound Walking Club walk, 3) at the Wine Country circuit at Sampson State Park, 4) walking around the neighborhood. All of those locations have been outdoors, big spaces, distracting but not visually or aurally overwhelming.

Yesterday, I took her to Sangertown Square Mall in New Hartford for a Kindred Spirits Greyhound Adoption meet and greet. Splash is available for adoption from this group, for whom I’m fostering her, but distance and timing have kept us from participating in most group events. But this one, I could make, and I felt good, and so we set out on the 70 minute drive to New Hartford.

It was the Saturday before Halloween, kind of a damp, dingy day – so the mall was packed with shoppers, teenagers hanging out, kids in costumes traipsing between stores from Halloween party to Halloween party (after all the American purpose for this holiday is to get and then eat as much candy as possible as quickly as possible.) Splash, who hadn’t had a problem with car rides before, got carsick on the ride out. When she came out of the crate she was a little anxious and circled me over and over when I exercised her outside the mall. Then she saw a little kid, the kid petted her, and her day brightened up again. But then we went inside.

I’m a dog trainer. I should have known better. Splash did fine overall, but seriously – there were a few thousand people in the mall. We were in the most visually and aurally stimulating, active place (the food court.) People often swarmed the table and little kids came racing up to pet her. The whole time, proud of her behavior as I was, I kept asking myself “What were you thinking? You couldn’t have started her off someplace lower key, like Petsmart on a quiet Saturday!?!”

Splash did fine. She willingly stood to be petted, leaned to be petted, sat, kissed, let the other three greyhounds sniff her. Colleen and Steve, much more experienced at meet-and-greets at this mall than I, took care of the hard questions, and I served as Splash’s appointment secretary. That meant guiding her among the people who wanted to pet her, answering questions about living with her, answering questions about greyhounds, teaching little kids how to approach dogs.

And then, after about 90 minutes of working the “Star” in her name, Starz Lee Splash laid down on the cool tile and stretched out. She’d had E.N.O.U.G.H. Luckily, it was time to pack up so that I could take her outside and give her the break that she needed.

It’s tough to be a star. It’s even tough to be the star’s personal appearance manager.

Enhanced by Zemanta