Out of Retirement for the Day

January 12, 2010 · Posted in Aging Dogs, Doggie Healthcare, Service Dogs 

We took an adventurous trip to the vet today to introduce our new kitty to our vet and to get Morgan checked. Morgan has been exhibiting some issues with his anal area and we thought he might need his anal glands expelled. As we packed up the kitties, I called Morgan to put on his harness in preparation for the 30 minute drive to the vet’s office. I use his harness to seat belt him safely into my van. He was thrilled that I was calling his name as I was going through my ritual preparing to leave the house.

It was as if he was having flashbacks to his working days. Whistle, on the other hand, was noticing my departure rituals and he got into place to accompany me. He seemed confused and disappointed that I did not dress him. Morgan followed me to the door as he does many mornings. He paused as if I would be saying good-bye and leaving him behind once again. Instead, I held the door open for him and called him to come. He sprinted through the door and into the open door of my van with a huge smile on his face. I clicked his seatbelt and closed the van door. He seemed to realize that Whistle was staying behind. His chest swelled with pride and he perched himself on the backseat of my van.

Morgan has horrific allergies that cause him to lick himself insatiably. As a result, he has to wear an Elizabethan collar 24 hours a day. For those of you who have seen the movie, Up, you know this collar is referred to as “the cone of shame”. Morgan is such a good sport about wearing it, but I can only imagine how uncomfortable and frustrating it is for him. Unfortunately, he has to wear it or he would cause serious harm to himself.

However, today Franz removed the collar when he put the harness on Morgan. Morgan was perched on my seat with his harness and seatbelt, cone free. He was a service dog again if only for a little while and he was behaving like a service dog. No licking, no thoughts to illnesses or retirement. He was working and it felt really good.

Morgan went with us to the vet and he performed as a perfect service dog. He proudly waltzed into the vet’s clinic and conducted himself with the utmost professionalism as his kitty brothers received their check-ups and as he endured his check-up and gland expulsion. It was so heartwarming to see my retired guy feel so good about himself. The ultimate thrill was to see him without the Elizabethan collar.

I wish being dressed and being in public was the answer. Unfortunately, this phenomenon will be short lived. I know Morgan will once again begin uncontrollable licking and he will have to put the collar back on.

But for today, for this moment, he was young again. He was working and he was my service dog. I am thankful for today and for having the opportunity to see Morgan by my side. When we got home, Whistle was waiting at the door. His entire body was wiggling with excitement that we were home and things went back to normal. Morgan is resting on the couch again, but I can still see a twinkle in his eyes as if he is remembering that he got to go to work today. He was the working service dog and Whistle had to take the day off.


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