Pransky was bored. She’d pretend sleep, eyes closed, ears open, listening for any sound of an activity that might include her. It was pretty clear to me that she needed a job. But what? The original labradoodle was a seeing eye dog; Pransky, at six, was too old for that, and anyhow, I wasn’t willing to give her over to someone else. There are all sorts of service dogs: search-and-rescue dogs, cancer-sniffing dogs, paratrooper dogs, mobility dogs, seizure-alert dogs, hearing dogs, but most of these are full-time occupations not suitable for a family pet. Even so, I read all the descriptions like an unemployed person studying the classifieds. “Pranny,” I’d ask my reclining canine, stretched out on the couch, “would you like to be a bomb-sniffer dog?” She thumped her tail. “Pranny, do you want to be a Navy Seal dog and jump out of airplanes?” More thumps. “Are you sure? You’d have to eat MREs.” Extra thumps—“eat” was one of her words.
The therapy dog description was different. It was like reading a classified that had our names on it, one that said: “wanted, irresistibly cute blonde dog with a black olive nose and distinctive eyebrows who is friendly to all, kind, enthusiastic, well-behaved, smart and willing to spend time with people who could use some love and affection. Jumpers and barkers need not apply. Must have a loyal human partner who need not be anywhere near as attractive.” It was perfect! We were there!