Monday, September 8, 2008

A Day in the Moonlighting Life of a Guide Dog Puppy

April 28, 2008: Ross' first day at the office. In anticipation, I had already prepared my tiny office with a dog bed, tie down, water bowl, and basket of supplies including Febreeze, a brush, towels, wash cloths, poop bags, kibble bag, and toys. 

At just 5 1/2 months old, Ross was a perfect office dog from Day 1. He started his day off on the dog bed, where he laid for about 8 or more hours, occasionally getting up to stretch out on the carpet or say "hi" to a visitor stopped by. He never made a peep, had an accident, or bothered anyone. People had to stop by and look around my file cabinet to know he was there.

Now, at 9 1/2 months, his days don't look much different. We arrive in the office, I take his leash off, and he goes directly to his bed, where he sleeps for the next 8+ hours. I wake him to visit kids, and visitors wake him to say "hi" in the office. Sometimes he opens his eyes for them. When visitors come in for appointments, he sometimes gives them a sniff and flops at their feet, not minding the fact that they can't move their chair or get up without having to step over him. He doesn't care. From 9-5 it's sleep time. It's a good thing he works for free - or he would definitely get fired for sleeping on the job!

Recently, Ross has decided that the work day ends at 5:00pm sharp. I'm not sure why - it has never ended at 5:00. Sometimes 6:00 if we're lucky, often closer to 7:00, even 8:00, 9:00, or later. That's the joy of a salary middle management job in a non-profit organization. The work day ends when the work is done, which it never is. If you're human, you eventually give up and go home, hoping you'll have time to finish it tomorrow. If you're a Guide Dog puppy, you have brothers to go home and play with, and it's important! After all, no one is paying either of you to stick around past 5:00!

And so, 5:00 is met with a nudge, a dance, and more frequently these days - a "talk." All of this is met with a tie-down. Which, in turn, receives a glare, or terribly sad puppy eyes that actually appear to have tears coming from them (the glare is for me, the sad puppy eyes are for any sap that might stop by), but shortly thereafter - a snooze. More than once Ross' sleep time has been made evident by the loud snoring apparently coming from the file cabinet.

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