AT YOUR SERVICE

“Who’re you?”

“Jewel.”

“The horse?”

“No, the dog.”

“I think you’re a horse.”

“My human says I’m a Great Dane.”

“I still think you’re a horse. Did you come around for apples? That’s what the Boss does with the horses down the road, she gives them apples.”

“I don’t eat apples. I don’t even eat regular dog food because I sometimes get stomachaches. Do you want to chase me?”

“Why should I want to chase a horse?”

“It’s easy to catch me because I don’t really run, more like scamper.”

“Then maybe you’re not a horse.”

“Who cares what I am? Let’s play.”

“I can’t play with you till I figure out what you are.”

“Why? I run—“

“You scamper!”

“Okay, I scamper, I chase, I sniff, I dig, I grab the other end of a stick if you hold on to one end, I love digging for bones, and I really love sniffing other dogs’ butts.”

“That last one probably means you’re not a human.”

“I’m a lot of fun!”

“Yes, but what are you? I don’t chase anything I can’t identify. Here in the back yard I chase chipmunks and squirrels. In the woods I chase deer and wild turkeys—they’re the best. Harry and I love to flush them out of the tall grass and make them squawk. Oh yes, I also chase Harry.”

“I met Harry before while you were running off somewhere. He chased me plenty; never asked for a formal introduction.”

“Harry’s young, also dumb. When we go out for walks on leash he and the Boss play tug-of-war. He pulls forward and she pulls back. Finally I tell him: ‘Dummy, don’t you feel the pressure against your neck?’ You know what he says back?”

“No, what?”

“He says: ‘It’s just life. Pressure, pressure, pressure all the time.’’”

“Sounds a little sad to me.”

“Harry’s a real comedian. Now you could run away with your human any time day or night. That must be grand.”

“I never do that.”

“With your size and weight? Why not?”

“I’m a service dog.”

“What’s that?”

“I am there to support my human.”

“Really? Let me ask you this: Who feeds you?”

“She does.”

“Who takes you for walks?”

“She does.”

“Who gives you a home?”

“She does. She also got me a giant bed.”

“Who brushes and pets you?”

“She does. Now can we play?”

“No, I have something important to do.”

“What’s that?”

“I got to find out how to be a service dog.”

“It took a lot of training.”

“I bet it did.”