Dogs are great creatures. They are companions and protectors and healers and some of them work in law enforcement. (I once saw a K-9 police officer wearing a shirt that said “Paws and Jaws enforcing the Laws.”) Dogs are incredibly loyal and they work for next to nothing. A pat on the head and a “Good Dog!” is the most reward they expect. Oh well, okay, maybe a dog biscuit, too.
I’ve been noticing a lot about dogs lately. My AOL news page had two stories this morning about dogs saving people. At church on Sunday I saw a little dog in something that looked like a stroller for a Barbie Doll. I’d seen it a couple of weeks before and thought, “why would people bring their dog to church?” I mean really — right into the service. This time I saw a notice on the side that said “Service Dog.” Um…really…?
My friend and former Dustbiter Karen, with whom I stayed after the auction preview last month, has something that seems like permanent custody of four little dogs who visit people in nursing homes. The dogs all weigh under 5 pounds. I told Karen that it would take two of them to equal one of my cats.
Dogs can be great animals — although I exempt from that statement the little yappie dogs next door who bark me awake at 5:30 every morning. Nevertheless, for the most part I like dogs. Which brings me to the point of all this …
About an hour before the end of the auction preview at Julien’s last month, a man walked in with a rather large dog. “What’s a dog doing here?” I asked George. “It’s a service dog.” Now, like you, I’ve met a few service dogs in my life. They are superbly trained and very focused. When I worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, one of the employees was hearing-impaired and had a service dog, Pumpkin, who would alert her to a ringing telephone or a fire alarm. Pumpkin was a sweet dog and did whatever she was told, including staying by Patricia’s chair even when she was tempted by a doggie treat.
SO, when this dog appeared in the midst of a crowded cocktail party, it created a bit of a stir. I’m sure this was not the kind of guest they normally admitted.
“That’s no working dog,” I overheard someone say. “Of course it is. It’s wearing a vest,” someone else replied. “You can buy those on the internet.” “What kind of service do you suppose it’s for?” somebody else asked. “Cleaning floors.”
I looked through the forest of feet and saw the dog wolfing down a meatball that had slid off someone’s plate. The dog then proceeded to check the floor in the immediate vicinity, scarfing up whatever it found.
The dog did not seem unwelcome, exactly, just supremely out-of-place. “I wonder what it’s for,” I said to Garrett. “Can’t ask,” he replied. “It’s illegal to ask.” “What? Why?” “Discrimination. It could be that the owner has some condition he doesn’t want to discuss in public and if you ask you are invading his privacy.” I downed the rest of my gin & tonic before I said, “That’s absurd.”
Just then I heard a slight gasp and muffled shriek. The dog, being a dog, had stuck its nose up some lady’s dress. The owner was trying to look shocked and mildly reprimanding his dog while people watched with varying degrees of amusement. Even the lady whose crotch was sniffed didn’t seem all that put out. “What a racket,” I thought. “He probably trains the dog to do that so he can ask the lady out for a drink by way of apology.” Actually, now that I think of it, that is a very clever ploy.
Within a few minutes they moved on to another room, probably seeking out more ladies wearing dresses. Dogs. They have their uses. So hey, maybe it was a working dog after all.
Shameless Plug: If you want to read about my adventures working for Phyllis Diller, check out my book: “Beyond the Spotlight: On the Road with Phyllis Diller.” It’s available at http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Spotlight-Road-Phyllis-Diller/dp/0985972882