Hounds are part of the Working Dog Group, Dwight. Maybe you keep running away because you need a job. Even though I grew up in a hunting culture, I don’t know of any openings for a “spoiled suburban, two bed, basket full of toys, pantry full of treats” hunting dog. As I used to hear my dad say, “That dog can’t hunt.” So, I have decided to see if you can volunteer with me in a post Rehabilitation day program in the city. It’s called Club Rec and folks come to socialize, exercise, explore recreational pursuits, and take day trips. You and I are working hard with Katie from Lucky Dogs on our Canine Good Citizen skills. We are close to achieving this goal, which means you will be ready to go to work. I want to make sure this job is a good fit for you. We are going to meet and greet. While they are observing you to see if you are suitable for the position, I’ll be observing you to see if you want the position. I hope we can make this a twice a month event Dwight, but I promise, if you don’t like it, we won’t pursue it.
The morning of the interview starts with you not wanting breakfast or a walk. Are you nervous, Dwight? Maybe its the chewable flea and tick medicine you got yesterday. It does seem odd, that this drug goes into you blood, so when a flea bites you it dies. What does that do to your body? I was trusting science to keep you safe, but the way you are acting this morning, makes me question my faith in veterinary medicine. So, with an empty belly and full protection from fleas and ticks, you transfer into the car with maximum assist from me (I lift front paws to the bumper, scoop under belly, lift and push rear) we head to the city. You sit and gaze, your back toward me. I watch you through my rear view mirror. You look like a big furry bobble head, as you sit, stoically looking out the back window ,ears and head moving as I maneuver through traffic. The city landscape is so different from suburbia. Lots of noise, buildings, graffiti, bikes, cars, stop lights. Do you notice?
We pull into the parking lot, where I find a shady spot on the back row. I open the rear hatch, grab your leash and you hop down. Your feet hit the pavement as a city bus pulls in front of the building. You startle when the air brakes hiss, but then cock your head and wag your tail as the bus announces its next stop. Your first friend in the city! I love your sense of adventure, Dwight. We walk around the parking lot while we wait for Katie and Rob to arrive. They are meeting us to offer support and expertise on visiting dogs. There is no grass here, but the median is mulched and there is a small dirt bank in front of a large privacy fence that blocks the alley. This is where you pull me, looking for a way to get over, under, or around the barrier. You sniff, nose to the ground. The city smells stale and heavy. Restaurant odors mixed with exhaust from cars, hints of oil and gas, blended with stray tobacco smoke. The pavement is gritty with crumbly bits of rock that sneak into my shoes. There’s a congestion of buildings, cars and people that hold the noises in. Horns, engines, screeching brakes, chatter, sirens. I wonder if your senses are as overloaded as mine.
You greet Katie and Rob with a wagging tail and a nudge to Rob’s hand. We walk towards the entrance. The automatic doors slide open. You don’t hesitate as you stroll in and meet a client in a power wheelchair. You walk right up and let her love on you. Katie gives the patrons a plastic knife slathered in peanut butter to lure you and keep your attention. I’m not sure a bribe is necessary. You are thriving on the ear rubs, cooing and petting as you wander from room to room, person to person, meeting folks using walkers, canes, wheelchairs and slings. Some have speech issues and make noises and pitches you aren’t familiar with. That doesn’t phase you. I ask if you want to sing and give you my rendition of a howl. You point your nose to the ceiling, and to everyone’s delight, let out a long, deep song. You are a working dog, Dwight. The job is yours. We will be welcomed back. I think you’ve found your purpose. Good for you, D Man.