Service Dogs are People Too

One of the first things I was told before he was placed with me was not to treat him like a person. If I did so, it would really screw him up psychologically. Sometimes he acts more like a person than a dog, though.

Buddy can be a real ham. When he rolls on his back and gets his belly scratched, his lips peel back revealing all his teeth. He’ll lie there with a slaphappy grin on his face that disappears only after I’ve finished. He also break-dances. While lying on his back, he’ll curl his body into C’s, wriggling left then right, dancing to a beat that only he hears.

Occasionally, Buddy will get a sheepish grin with a bit of a wolfish smirk to it. This is when he gets a case of room clearing gas. It’s like a combination of sulfur and rotten cantaloupes.

One night, I was watching a DVD and enjoying a bag of microwave popcorn. Before leaving for the next room, I set the bag on the floor. Next thing, I heard “THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!” I returned and saw that Buddy had his head stuck in the bag and it was covering his eyes. He was banging his head into the wall. When I finally pulled the bag off, I got a big thank-you slurp to the side of my face.

Buddy has a collection of stuffed animals. They all look like they’ve had some pretty rough treatment. His rabbit has one ear, teddy bear is minus a head, and he has a three-legged teddy dog. He likes picking them up between his teeth, throwing his head back, and letting go. Some afternoons are filled with flying rabbits, teddy bears, and teddy dogs. He loves animals that have squeakers in them. It’s as though the squeaker is the prize in a Cracker Jack box. He’ll chew off arms, legs, ears, or tails and pull out the stuffing to get at this “treasure.”


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