Bobcats, alligators, elk—these are just some of the animals that SSD Irwin saw when his puppy raisers took him to Zoo America. He also saw lynx, ocelots, marten, and lots of birds. He was especially interested in the wolves and watched them from across the park for a long time.
During our annual Zoo America outing, we used to take the dogs down to the wolves’ viewing area. However, the wolves had begun to get very agitated when they saw the dogs, even though most of the dogs simply looked at them. We try to be mindful of our own dogs and the other animals, and if either one get too worked up, we leave the area.
Every Tuesday, Irwin goes to the bowling alley in Elizabethtown, where he gets to experience the bowling alley itself and the attached restaurant. He also went to a Hershey Bears hockey game and did a great job handling the noise, crowds and food distractions.
Irwin recently had his 12-month evaluation. During evals, he stayed in the kennel for two nights so that our training staff could see how he handled kennel life. Twelve month evaluations are one of the mile markers in a service dog in training’s life. Most of our dogs in training enter advanced training when they’re 18-24 months old, which means that Irwin is about halfway through his journey to becoming a service dog.