When we are out in public, my mom is often asked if I get to play. They see me focused and working. And wonder if I work all of the time. Or if I get to relax and play when I’m not actively working.
People are curious. For many, I am the only working dog they have ever seen in real life. Or at least, the only one they’ve seen that is so well behaved.
My job as a service dog is filled with lots of detailed tasks. Ones where I have to focus and perform accurately. Both at home and in public. And when we are out, I must be on my best behavior.
But my job isn’t the only thing that fills my time. I also get to relax and snuggle with my mom. Play with my sisters, Buffy and Roo. And play fun games, both with my mom and my sister, Roo!
As you know, Buffy is retired. And, being older now, she spends much of her time relaxing on the couch. Although she sometimes enjoys chasing me and Roo when we are outside playing!
My ears are wrinkly!
My favorite toy or object to play with is my ball. I love to catch it when my mom tosses it. And chase it when she throws it. But we also play other games.
For one, my mom rolls the ball toward me and I use my nose to push it back to her. It is fun and makes her laugh because I’m so cute when I push it toward her. And wait expectantly for her to push it back to me!
Another game we play is hide-and-seek. Although it is kind of hard for my mom to hide because her chair is so big. But I humor her and play along. When it is time, I race around and look for her. And get super excited when I find her!
Sometimes we change this into a form of peek-a-boo. We play this game in the kitchen since the layout makes for a natural barrier that we each can hide behind. And peek out at each other!
Do you like to play games? What are some of your favorite ones? Games are fun and relaxing. And for me, a way to do something fun with my mom.
Sometimes Roo and I practice our tricks together!
My mom has also taught me a whole bunch of tricks! Tricks are cute and fun. But they can also be a way to take some pressure off. That sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? Let me explain…
Sometimes I have to focus and put forth a lot of effort when I’m doing a more complicated task. And work extra hard to get it right.
Or if I’m working on something new, I have to concentrate as I’m learning each piece. And sometimes repeat things a few times for practice.
So if I need a little break, my mom will have me do a trick or two. And then I’m ready to get right back to work.
Have you ever had a difficult paper to write for school? Or a challenging project that requires all of your attention? It is helpful to take little breaks as you work. The same is true for me!
Sometimes I want to play but my mom is busy. So I play with my sister, Roo. We like to wrestle. Play tug with our toys. And even chase each other through the house.
Although my mom does have to stop us sometimes. Because our rough-housing gets out of control. And we scatter toys all over the place!
Even though I don’t always want to, I need to do things other than just work for my mom. Having a well-balanced life helps to ensure I will have a long working career as a service dog.
Although I do have to say that I love my job. And my favorite things to do are tasks that help my mom. For me, the work is fun. And I don’t think of it as a job. But the games, tricks, and playing do add some extra fun that I enjoy.