Believe it or not, Frankie could’ve been a service dog. Well, I don’t know that he would’ve made it all the way through training or graduated, but he was accepted. He had the right temperament and personality. Or so it was determined.
Years ago, preferring to adopt a homeless animal rather than support a breeder, I began looking for an organization that trains rescue service dogs. There aren’t many. With so specialized and special a mission, apparently it’s better to know an animal’s parents and history. After much looking, I was left with one immediate option (and not a very good one.) Train Frankie. First, he would need to be evaluated in a class.
After barging in late, Frankie leading the way, I handed over the leash to the instructor. She took Frankie around to meet the other dogs, all of whom outweighed Frankie by at least 50 pounds. After passing that test (he wasn’t timid or aggressive, but invited everyone to play,) she threw metal food bowls to land near his head. Instead of being scared or nervous about the clanging bowls, Frankie checked them all for food. She called his name to make sure he knew it, pulled his tail to make sure he wouldn’t growl and gave him treats to see how food motivated he was. (I could’ve answered that one.) In the end, he was cleared for take-off. The instructor called him happy-go-lucky. I think Mom and I were just excited to get that little “service-dog-in-training” vest.
Now I laugh to think of Frankie as an assistant to the handicapped. In fact, I’ve compiled a list (by all means not exhaustive) of the things Frankie does that a service dog would never do. A service dog would never:
…chase a cat.
…bolt through the door at the slightest opening.
…use the couch to roll about and dry off dew after a walk.
…chase a leaf.
…run across the front of a moving power wheelchair to bark at another dog.
…bark and growl at lizards like they’re dangerous intruders.
…bark and growl at his own reflection.
…eat cat poo.
…walk on top of tables and counters.
…eat birthday cake.