It’s a long way from Montana to Pacific Palisades, California, but here I am, ready to serve. You can see my favorite activity is swimming, and posing. Here I am at a branding shoot for the Young Angels Canine Community Service Program. But I was told it didn’t go well, and I’m not ready to take my role seriously.
As a community service dog, Mac says my job is to start with my own family and help them relax whenever I can get their attention. Today Mac taught me my first human transferable, or HT, meaning something useful I can teach my humans. It’s called Puppy Pose. Here’s how you do step one:The photo above is about getting your human into the mind set to let go. It is good to be lying on your human’s bed or sofa when you do this as this will encourage them to relax with you. Below, Max shows an alternate pose to get into the mind set. As you can see, he is on the floor, which is more advanced and he says works well if you do it in the middle of a room while people are raising their voices and need to be reminded to tone it down.
Next, you gently do a paw-to-paw press, pushing in one paw pad with the other and grabbing your tail with end of your paw to achieve a good lower rump stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Your human may be sad or just bored and watching TV as you work your way into this pose, but Mac says that when you do this, the human may inadvertently stretch their own legs or even do a neck turn to study your pose and this can break their depression or boredom. The knowledge to transfer to your human is that the amount of joy they experience is more important than their accomplishments. Send this out through your paws.
I passed my Patriotic Pup Test! Just about did me in.
I was tested on how well I could interact with others. I was tested on how many times I could get my female to say, “Make America Puppy Again.” Note, I did not freak out, bite anyone however big or small they were, and I made a point of being nice to the people on the sidewalks. The judges were impressed with me. I saw a squadron of pups from the UCLA PAC program, which is like the Ivy League of therapy dogging. The requirements are tough, but someday, someday… I could see myself in that lineup.
Now that my humans know I can handle horses, crowds, and bagpipes without loosing it, I will begin my Level 2 training. My mama in Montana said summer was for lolling about in the grass and pond jumping. This is work. My humans keep talking about, “You’re here for a purpose.” I don’t know how to tell them, “Yeah, my purpose is to be a dog. You be human, I’ll be canine and if by chance you drop a rib my way, I’ll eat it. If not, I’ll steal it.” I have good canine character, but what I’m hearing is “No, you have to go meet other dogs, a lot of other dogs, and you can’t bark at the door, and don’t whine.” They treat me like a toddler, and man I hate toddlers. I am a certified fierce pup princess, and tomorrow I’ll prove it, when I meet the legendary pack leader, Annica Evans. And I get to see my Mac dog, who has an ear infection.
Evidently, I need to learn dog manners, so my female took me to socialize with this guru dog named Mac. He’s four, well-mannered and does therapy with his humans. He has a pool, and since swimming is my dog drug of choice, I was excited. When my webbed paws hit the water, something inside of me comes alive.
I’d been in Mac’s yard about five minutes when someone threw a ball in the pool, so I flew into the water and grabbed it. Right? Yay me, except it wasn’t the best of manners to leap into Mac’s pool and retrieve his favorite ball while he was still fussing with his swim vest and pawing at the water from the end of the ramp. And then another dog arrived.
Who names a dog Malcolm? That’s like a name for an art director. I knew the second he walked in the gate he had to poop and that I would talk to him. Guy’s lowering his backside, and I’m coming at him because I couldn’t help myself. Not because he was better than Mac, he was just there, and cute. But Malcolm was also kind of timid around the water even though his female said he loved to swim when he was little. A dog chicken. That made him a little less cute.
I wanted to tell him dude you can wait forever to be ready to go in the water, just jump. What’s the worst that can happen? So he jumped, and then he wouldn’t stop.
And bang, he was getting all the balls because I didn’t want to swim out to the middle of the pool. Not yet, and I wasn’t going to drown just to prove something. Malcolm could keep all the damn balls far as I was concerned. Whatever. I was about to go behind a plant and drip when he turned into this snappy son of a bitch. Not like Mac who is just masculine. Dude bit me, light bites, but he wasn’t playing, and he wasn’t teaching me manners, he was being mean, and I did not feel like lying on my back for him.
Then Mac stepped up and put his paw on my back like he was protecting me, and I melted. It ended well. I was exhausted, and Mac had a grooming appointment. His female told my female that Mac gets groomed once a week and maybe she would like the number, but I was like what’s to groom. I have soft, naturally blonde fur, nothing complicated, no poodle do.
Speaking of anal glands, after Malcolm went home, Mac tried to hump me. And he’s fixed. Ewwww. But feeling his big paws and his chestiness made me do the lying on my back thing. Again. It was embarrassing. I wanted to tell him leave me alone, but do I really want him to leave me alone?
His female told my female that humping wasn’t a sex thing it was a dominance thing, but the whole thing was awkward. To make it even more weird, my female washopping up and down saying he’s got his wiener out, he’s got his wiener out. Why she called it a wiener I don’t know. Mac’s humans are doctors and specifically referred to Mac’s wiener as a penis in an earlier discussion about how he tried to hump a stuffed animal and how they were worried his weiner/penis might get stuck, so they called the vet who told them that’s an actual thing. Man I’m glad I’m a female.
It was getting late, and I realized I was soaking wet. Then I went home and rested with my Mingo. Next day, Mac’s female called my female and told her Mac was tired and so depressed his male had to do distance Reiki on him from the allergy convention he was attending. This was good news for me. I’ve been invited back.
Take away: It’s okay to be submissive if you’re showing respect, but don’t do it if the other dog is being mean. If that happens, Run.
I’m told I was the pick of the littler. Or I could have been the one no one wanted. Either way, I was the last one left, and I was perfectly happy in Montana with my mom, my grandma and my cousins.
I don’t know why I was chosen to help create a service program for Young Angels, but here I am, in L.A. I might become a therapy dog, or maybe a competitive water jumper. I haven’t picked my major yet.
Right now, it seems overwhelming. I’m keeping this journal to share what I’m learning from my canine teachers and what I’m teaching my humans.