Our son returned to college in January, a couple of weeks before we adopted Annie. He was on the lacrosse team and this would be his first season playing college lacrosse. We were so excited and planned to travel to as many of his games as possible. After we had Annie for a couple of weeks, I realized that perhaps we would not be able to travel to his games like we originally planned. When we brought her home she was terrified of everything, even the car. Getting her out of the yard was a huge endeavor, bringing her to a game seemed impossible. As the weeks progressed and she responded well as we slowly introduced new places, I began to hope that maybe we could bring her with us to watch him play. Leaving her home wasn’t a consideration, either she came with us or we wouldn’t go at all.
When the season started we were staying home with Annie but we were able to stream the games and watch his team play. During Spring Break the team traveled to Colorado and this was my first opportunity to go to a game. My parents live there so I went out for a visit and I was able to bring my parents to the two games on his schedule. Because my parents live out of town they hadn’t seen him play very often so when he hit the field for the first time in his college uniform we were all thrilled.
The player’s parents have a tradition of putting out a meal for the team after each game. At the beginning of the season we all chose a game in which we would be in charge of the meal. The game we had volunteered for was quickly approaching and we still weren’t sure how we would do it. It would be easier if we were both there and we both wanted to watch a game in the home stadium so at the last minute we decided we would both go. We were sharing the responsibility with another family and we would only have to bring coolers with drinks and paper goods so there was room in the car for both dogs and our supplies.
We loaded everybody up and headed out very early that morning. Once we arrived I led both dogs to a really nice grassy patch near the entrance to the stadium. It was well shaded and Maisie could greet people coming and going and Annie could stay by my side and watch. Once all the spectators were settled we went in and were able to sit on a bench at the top with no one around us. Annie stood stiffly by my side for the entire game. She always chose to stand rather than sit when she was a nervous and I knew this was a lot of stimulation for her but I kept my hand by her side to comfort her and as the game went on she continued to look around and tried to relax.
After the game our son came over to greet us. Maisie was beside herself once she realized that she had found her boy in this new place. She smothered him with kisses and rolled right over for a belly rub. Annie stood behind me and watched Maisie’s reaction in an effort to figure out if this boy was someone she should know. Tom gave her a gentle pat but quickly backed off to give her some space. It was a great first meeting even though I know it was a little stressful for her. I was prepared to wait in the car with her if it seemed like it was too much but she really seemed to be OK with Maisie, Chris and I all right next to her so I considered this excursion to be a success.
We took her to 3 more games and at each of those she was much more relaxed and would lie down or sit right by me. We always chose a spot that was far away from other spectators and she was still shy around my son but I was so happy that we could bring her with us and she was learning that she would be OK in new places.