She had to set a good example. She is “in training” to be a Service Animal. Her black and tan face, with those big and gold and intelligent eyes, seemed to welcome the extra attention her mama and I were giving her. And she does not seem to mind the getup: a SWAT-team-like canvas vest, thick collar, and heavy-duty leash attached to her collar.
She is a big girl. Almost 70 lbs. Not even 10 months old.
A big girl that fills up the back end of our Volkswagon Tiguan. And, oh, how she rides in the vehicle is a blessing. Mostly, she stays sprawled out on the bench seat. Other times, she has her head held up high, sniffing at the wind coming through the cracked windows, wagging her tail at whatever mystery she is detecting with her whiffs.
Tara and I returned to Ashville, NC, to get some paperwork done, have a good time, and surprise/celebrate my Mother-in-Law’s birthday.
Winnie-Winnie-Winnie is now our Service Dog. That was how we justified taking her along on the trip. Yes. Yes. We had to get her an outfit, and some papers needed to be signed – all of it worth every second of every inconvenience to make it happen.
She was a highlight of the trip. A good girl, she was. When Tara and I ate at a restaurant, Winnie-Winnie-Winnie was right there with us, usually under the table, with her nose sticking up in the air, smelling the great aromas and various smells of a restaurant.
Tara bought special treats for her. When she was well-behaved, Winnie-Winnie-Winnie got a soft, delectable, bone-shaped treat. When she was about to be not so good, Winnie-Winnie-Winne got some more treats. It was a trip of treats.
The only problem we encountered was the first night. The three of us were in a cafe, meeting a couple to have the paperwork signed, and some other dogs were in the building. Winnie-Winnie-Winnie’s back hair raised two inches when she saw them. She would growl and bark her warning at them.
Winnie-Winnie-Winnie is VERY protective of her mama.
Maybe she is a little protective of me, as well.
What I do know is that she is ahead of the curve. But, after that first night, Winnie-Winnie-Winnie got over her over-protective postures and noises.
She stayed a good girl.
I woke up in the hotel bed, my wonderful wife to the right of me; Winnie-Winnie-Winnie had squeezed herself between the two of us.
It was a perfect way to wake up.
And, no, I do not live a perfect life… mornings like that, though, are as close to heaven as I’ll probably ever know.