As much a part of our lives as these puppies become, sometimes it's hard to remember that the holidays we spend with them are often the first and only ones we get to spend with them. Truman is ten months old, so by this time next year, he will most likely be in formal training up at GDA. The thought is always bittersweet.
We spent yesterday at my aunt's house with her and my two cousins. While Truman had had an uncharacteristically mellow few days -- I'd been sick and thus he didn't get as much exercise as we all know he desperately needs -- he was very well behaved under the restraint of a leash and some marathon down-stays. It must have been difficult. He's always excited about visiting other people's houses, he knew there were cats on the property, and everywhere he turned, there was something forbidden that looked delicious and smelled even better.
I played with him for a few minutes in the backyard so he could get some of his energy out before I asked him to lie down politely next to my chair during dinner. Aside from a few "grumpus noises" of complaint (he is less a whiner than a grumbler, vocally speaking), he was quite patient. Nevertheless, while I was on the phone with my parents, Truman decided he'd had quite enough of this self-control business and broke into a gloriously unfettered Labrador Shuffle, much to the delight of my aunt and cousin, who had never witnessed such a display (they have two very dignified cats, no dogs). The house is hardly puppy-proof, but Truman is surprisingly nimble and managed to turn his speedy circles on the carpet with only one head-smack into the coffee table. The hardwood floor proved amusing but not as shuffle-friendly, so he returned to the living room for the finale. I haven't heard my aunt laugh that hard in a while....
An after-dinner stroll around a nearby park and a brief visit to the neighbor's house -- where he was greeted with great enthusiasm by young and old alike at their family-packed celebration -- rounded out the evening nicely, and we returned home to a good night's sleep: mine, due to the turkey; Truman's, a job well done.