While every other parent was taking pics of their kids going back to school (my kid is never with me for the first day of school - gotta love a parenting plan written over a decade ago and never updated) - I was teary-eyed over my puppy who is now entering her "teen years" at 6.5 months old  and 21lbs! Actually, what hit home was her spay surgery yesterday. That is serious "big girl" stuff!

My other Baby (the human one) is 16, driving, has a job, a college scholarship - and is entering her Junior year of High School. She returned from her first trip to Europe just a week ago and landed right into all the back to school insanity. She's had AP class homework all summer as well as French on VLAX and tap dancing classes, but everything was due when she got home. Seriously. I picked her up from the bus station and she had auditions (for 42nd Street) that evening.

She returned to school yesterday. I have no idea how it went, but, on Monday, when I was sure she'd be so stressed and distracted she would only growl at me... she actually asked if we could go to Montshire (the science museum in Vermont)! We've been going there since she was little and she spent a ton of time there when I was at the Center for Cartoon Studies (I worked for Montshire creating science comics and kits).

She was the only kid over 6! It's such a strange feeling... like I'm old or something? I mean, it's a SCIENCE museum, but it gets treated like a childrens' museum for some reason. Anyway. They have amazing trails through the woods and near the river and waterfall. We brought Elsa Bear for training. She and I could only stand the noise inside the building for about 10 minutes. Even in her stroller she was overwhelmed by the chaos quickly. So we rolled out to the science water park, through the echo tunnel, to the deserted forest playground.

The awesome thing about going to places where dogs aren't normally allowed... I can let Elsa Bear out of her stroller and she isn't distracted by dog scents everywhere! Plenty of other animal smells - but they aren't as problematic.

Unfortunately some kids found our secret place and one little girl started in on Elsa Bear. I asked her not to try and pet her and explained that she's training as a service dog. Her mom ignored me and her kid so we detached ourselves and disappeared deeper into the woods.

Elsa Bear followed the trail really well, stopping to check on me or Lilah, depending who was walking her, and her stroller, which we were dragging behind us. Strollers aren't good on gravel or tree roots. As I suspected, we had the trails to ourselves until we looped back around. We ran into another mom with four kids. Elsa Bear sat calmly on the path and waited for them to pass us. The mom picked up the littlest kid and told the others that the puppy was a service dog and they were probably making her nervous. She instructed them not to scare her and keep walking. They did. I love that mom and those kids - thank you!

She was pretty worn out after the hike, so we popped her back in the stroller for the walk back to our car. Elsa Bear was the one who noticed this really cool mirrored fence!

She noticed another incredibly cute puppy looking at her - and it was also in a stroller! She kept turning her head as she passed the puppy - until we realized she was watching herself in the mirror!

She's loves Montshire. I'll have to take her back when it's quieter to practice her inside skills. There is so much to look at - machines that go bing, turtles, bees, and BUBBLES!!!

On the way home, we stopped in Hanover for Boba Tea! A perfect adventure... before all hell breaks loose.

And Elsa Bear and I got in a lot of running and play time because... yesterday... she had her spay surgery. :-( And just like Lilah being trapped in a classroom, Elsa Bear was trapped in an e-collar (Elizabethan collar) for 14 days!!!? Life is cruel. How do you force a Zoomie puppy to stay still for 2 weeks?! No, I'm serious. If you know how to do that, please tell me!?!

Last night, she was so groggy and miserable she couldn't even keep her head up. And she just sat and looked at me like I'd ruined her life. That's how I know fer shure that she is in the Teenage Phase of her life!! The guilt is real.

She keeps walking in to things and getting the cone caught on stuff. But we finally figured out a few things:

• socks don't stay on her feet, so I have to stay nearby to keep her back feet from scratching the stitches.

• snacks and food can be eaten if mommy holds them inside the Cone.

• the puppy water bottles with the built in scoop-bowl are perfect for food, and water, and fit nicely within the Cone.

• If the Vet says "The stitches are water soluble. You absolutely must NOT let her get wet!" - that means 1. your puppy is actually a Gremlin (also, don't feed her after midnight) and 2. it will be POURING rain when she needs to go out to pee.

OOOOOoooo the sun is out! I must take her out for a Bio-Break and squeeze her....  my Life and Goals have become so simple.