May 24, 2006


Women swoon at the sight of a puppy. Men will stop their cars and let you cross the street in front of them if you have a puppy.

If you have a puppy, everyone is your friend.

I wish I’d learned this years ago. For one thing, I’d have been much more popular in college. I’d have had more girlfriends (anything more than zero is “more”). I could’ve made people do anything I wanted, because if you show people a puppy, they’re putty in your hands. Puppies make everybody happier; I think that you can make anybody smile if you show them your puppy. No puppy is not cute, and people are drawn to cute, ergo when you have a puppy, people are drawn to you.

Puppies are power.

This has been my experience with our puppy, Wisdom, so far. Today we took her into the city via train for her first time, and wherever we went, heads turned in our direction. We went to the Melbourne Central Library today to get cards, and nearly everyone in the fiction section stopped to say hi and try to pet the puppy (who we had to then turn away because she’s not supposed to be petted when she’s in her training coat).

Then we went into Starbucks to take a break and re-caffeinate. Upon entering, every woman’s head turned in our direction, and that look of “awwww” came over their faces. After ordering our drinks, we took a seat. Wisdom promptly crashed on the floor under our table and went to sleep (apparently all the attention makes a pup tired). I’m pretty sure she was the talk of the cafĂ©, and if she wasn’t, we were.

On the way home, we received several compliments (through several conversations started because we had a puppy) – “good on you for doing this” – because we were raising a seeing-eye dog. I think people realize how much work it is, even if they’ve never done it themselves. It’s amazing how time-consuming Wisdom is; she’s always getting into something; chewing on wires, peeing on the carpet (which, by the way, looks like it has seen previous puppies), and generally making a nuisance of herself. That’s just the way a puppy is. But she’s also a joy; I love the (exhausted) smile on Liz’s face after Wisdom does something right (“sit Wisdom. Good girl!!”).

My profound thought for the day occurred to me on the way to the city. Like us, Wisdom has been called to a life of service. This means giving up some things that she enjoys (chasing toys, chewing on live electrical wires, hiding between the couch and the window) and adopting certain disciplines that are hard and sometimes seem pointless. But it is for what is good. She can be eyes for someone that cannot see, a guide for those less fortunate. Her service is freedom.

But in order to get there, we have to get her to listen to us first (“sit … good girl, Wisdom, wait, NO, BAD dog, we do that OUTSIDE!”).

I’ll keep you posted.


Priscilla said...

How long will you have her? When do they take over training a seeing eye dog?

Chris said...

We'll have her up until just before we head home in March. She'll be about 12 months old and hopefully will be ready for full-on training, which is another 6-12 months with a professional, and then she'll go on to be a companion with a blind person. It's quite cool, and you can do it in the US as well as Australia.

Priscilla said...

Yes, I know. There's that seeing eye dog place in Bloomfield. Quite often they are walking by the house training dogs.

I figure if we tried taking a puppy and raising it, s/he would be ruined by picking up all sorts of bad habbits from Sherman.