Monday night I went to a concert with a friend.
I did not take Isaac because I thought it might be too loud for him and I wasn't sure how he'd do in that type of environment. I don't take Isaac somewhere new and different unless I am prepared to focus on him and to leave if he isn't handling it well for some reason. We haven't had a situation like that in a long time; he's been with me for more than two years now and he's gone to all the places I typically go and I seldom go anywhere that is significantly different.
I mean, eating in a restaurant is pretty similar regardless of the restaurant. No, Isaac and I have never gone to a Cajun restaurant or a Thai restaurant or a French restaurant, but he can handle any type of restaurant. And since he's accustomed to lying under a table in a restaurant, he would do fine in any other setting that involved lying under a table. Several months ago I took him to a support group meeting, where everyone sat around a table and talked. He did fine. I imagine lying under a table where people are just talking is probably easier for him than lying under a table with yummy-smelling food on it, but lying under a table is pretty similar no matter where that table is and no matter what the people are doing at the table.
But a concert is very different than anything we've ever done together before. And I was worried it would be really loud and bother his sensitive ears. They actually make ear protection for dogs, which some service dog handlers use when taking their dogs to things like concerts, but I wasn't sure Isaac would like wearing ear plugs and didn't really want to spend money on doggie ear plugs when I certainly don't plan on going to loud events like concerts often.
So I didn't take Isaac. My friend promised he'd help me if I needed anything and basically take Isaac's place. I assured him I'd be fine without Isaac for the evening.
And as it turned out, I was glad I hadn't brought him because it was super loud.
Also, it was in this weird auditorium. I hadn't realized the setting would be like this, because I've never been to any type of music show like this before. But there was almost no seating. There was some box seats, but we did not have tickets for those. So it was all just standing, no seats. Which I think is weird and not very enjoyable. Who wants to stand through a whole concert? The show was supposed to start at 6:30 and we got there almost an hour early and it turned out they didn't even open the doors until 6:30, so we spent almost an hour standing in line outside. Then we got in and the show didn't actually start for a really long time. I think it was about 7:30 when it finally started. So by then we'd been standing for almost two hours already.
And it was very crowded. And when the lights went down and the show finally started, it occurred to me that people would not have been able to see Isaac because it was dark, but people were moving around some and they would have stepped on or tripped over him. There really wasn't any out-of-the-way place to put him, like there would have been in a normal concert hall with seats.
And the floor was concrete and very hard. My legs and feet hurt after standing on it for over an hour. Isaac would have wanted to lie down but would not have liked lying on that floor. There is a Chipotle restaurant we eat at sometimes with a very hard concrete floor that he doesn't like and I know he doesn't like it, so I take a towel for him to lie on. But even if it had occurred to me to take a towel to the concert, there wasn't a good place to put it. At Chipotle, I put the towel under the table, which is where Isaac goes. But there was no good, out-of-the-way place at the concert that would have been good for him.
So it was good I hadn't taken him.
It was hard being without him, though. It felt really weird. I almost never go anywhere without him these days and I kept feeling like I'd forgotten something, thinking, "Where is my dog?"
And I had a really hard time at the concert. It was so loud, and so crowded, neither of which are good things for me. And after standing on such a hard floor for so long, my legs and back and everything ached. I ended up having to leave early, because my anxiety was just going through the roof.