Did you ever get to personally know a service dog…or its master?
I had that privilege while attending an out-of-town conference.
Dog belonged to Extraordinary Lady confined to a motorized wheelchair. The chair could spin in circles while staying in the same place. The seat could also rise up about a foot or so. I was quite impressed. Dog wasn’t. It was too busy helping its master.
Extraordinary Lady kept Dog fastened to her chair with a special kind of leash. Dog also wore a harness clearly marked Service Dog, do not pet …very hard words to obey.
Did Dog have a name? Yes, but it remained a secret. If someone other than Extraordinary Lady called Dog by name, it could distract Dog from doing its job. Although we did find out that Dog was a girl.
During our mealtimes, Dog lay under the table and stayed close to Extraordinary Lady. Dog ate at a different time. When Extraordinary Lady told Dog to “get your food dish”, Dog hurried to their room and stood on her hind legs with front paws against the door. That was as close as Dog came to acting like a regular canine while in harness.
During the workshops Dog stayed by her master’s side, always ready to help when needed. Clearly, Dog took her job very seriously.
Extraordinary Lady and Dog quickly endeared themselves to everyone. At the end of the conference, Extraordinary Lady took Dog out of harness so everyone could pet her.
The split-second that harness came off, Service Dog transformed into Regular Dog. She ran from person to person for head pats and rolled onto her back for belly rubs. She regarded everyone as her friend and greeted us as such.
What a wonderful gift Extraordinary Lady gave everyone by letting us dote on Dog the way we wanted to all week, but couldn’t…forever a sweet memory.