Woof

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Every morning of the year, 365 times in a row, my first thought when I wake up is: what should I write about? Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes I’ve got plenty of posts in the hopper and I don’t even need to bother. But this morning, facing the ninety-second day in a row of everything up a tenth of percent, I seriously can’t squeeze anything out to say about this confounded boring market we’re in. So, screw it, I’ll talk about something that happened yesterday that has nothing to do with this idiotic “market” we’ve been given.

Here’s the topic:

Yep. Dawgs.

Specifically, I was sitting in a chair at a fencing tournament. These big tournaments are all the same: housed in a massive convention center, with shouts and clanks bouncing against the walls, they are noisy, rambunctious, and saturated with hurry-up-and-wait mode.

What was unusual, indeed unprecedented, was that there was a yellow lab laying down next to my chair. She had one of those “service dog in training” vests on, so I didn’t bother her, but for a dog person like me, that’s very difficult. I will pick up a puppy without hesitation if it’s just a regular dog, but when they have that vest on, I do a decent job controlling my urge to pet them.

The woman sitting on the floor with the dog, however, seemed nice enough, and she probably sensed my dog-person frustration, so she said, “you can pet her if you like.” So I went into my professional-level ear scratching and belly rubbing and paid for the service with some conversation, because I’ve always been interested in these service dog trainers.

I learned some interesting things about her experiences:

  • She raised labrador pups, one at at time, until they were about a year and a half old, at which time they were given to a new owner who needed them.
  • The “need” varied, but typically was people in wheelchairs for whom the dog could perform basic tasks like picking up objects and placing them on the person’s lap, or veterans with PTSD for whom the dog could enter their house, turn on the lights, and, if someone was there for a visit, bark in a certain way to let their presence be known.
  • She had raised no fewer than 17 of these pups, one by one, so she was obviously dedicated to the cause, and although she had a lab of her own at one point, after he died at sixteen years of age, just she focused on her pup-in-training.

I asked her if it was hard to say good-bye to each one, since I assumed it would be. Yes, she said, she cried every time (I would too). But then, a few weeks later, the organization would provide her another puppy, and her heart would be mended.

I just thought it was sweet to hear, and it broke the monotony of a relatively dull day. Plus it at least gave me a comment cleaner. So thank you, dogs, for all you do!

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