Today’s Lesson from the Dog *

* My service dog is dying from T-cell lymphoma. He’s teaching me how to say that in dog-speak: My service dog is living in the moment.

Do Work that You Love

The Service Dog in Brycen typically lies down once I’m safely seated. These days, he dog lingers, leans against my shoulder, rest his head on my lap, a warm mass the weight of a bowling ball.

The Service Dog handler in me would insist that he lie down. Instead, I slide his vest off and run my hand down his long, bony back to comfort him. I smooth the bristly fur in the shaved-for-biopsy spots and murmur soft “Good boy”s until he’s ready to settle. He seems to tire more easily, and I fluff his blankets to encourage him to get comfortable on his bed.

While my dying dog sleeps, I gaze at the vest on the floor and wonder how long I should continue to use it. Even if retirement is premature age-wise, he’s sick. Shouldn’t he get to stop working?

 He wakes and I reach for the vest and consider finding a peg in the garage for it. But Bryce rises, saunters over to me and pokes his muzzle through the opening in the vest. His tail is wagging and he gazes up at me, his eyes asking, Where to?

So, for the moment, wherever I go, he still comes along. I have started going solo into to some of the busier places such as grocery stores and coffee shops to avoid overtiring him. He waits on his bed in the back of my van with his vest on.

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