You may recall the article I wrote about my niece Connie’s Dachshund, who serves in spite of never having been through service dog training.
Pets serve their human companions in so many diverse ways! Today I want to tell you about Mistchif, and the service she has rendered to Tom and Yudi.
I met Tom and Yudi the same way I meet oh so many dog lovers—walking on The Strand by the beach here in Oceanside, California It was a lovely warm May day, and there were a lot of people out.
The tide was out, so a lot of people had taken up residence on the sandy beach and The Strand was less crowded with pedestrians than it might otherwise have been. There were long spaces between the groups of walkers, affording me ample opportunity to observe approaching pedestrians before we met up.
I saw a bearded man with a pony tail and an Asian woman approaching with a stocky older female English Labrador. A warm blonde she was, and her thick, wavy pelt caught the sun’s rays just right. She walked with a marked limp, obviously suffering from hip pain.
I always observe how people treat their pets as they move along The Strand. Tom and Yudi were babying Mistchif, strolling slowly, stopping often so she could lie down for relief.
She was in the right place, for everything on The Strand moves at pretty much the same pace, except for an occasional fly-by skate boarder. That pace is SLOW. The cars all travel in one direction, poking along at 5 or 10 miles an hour. Max, 15.
Nobody hurries. It’s an ongoing parade. The people in the long row of houses sit out front or up on their balconies, beers in hand. The sport of the day is watching the parade and exchanging pleasantries with those walking, skating, bicycling, and driving by.
Dogs are wonderful conversation openers. Big and small, they almost invariably make me smile. With rare exceptions, I can’t resist bending down to greet them. Good thing I’m a good judge of canine character! Most dog people love their animals, and openly welcome admirers.
Tom and Yudi were no exception. They were eager to tell me about Mistchif and how she had saved them from drowning in grief eight eight years ago.
We met and naturally stopped to talk.
Mistchif was bred to be a show dog, they told me. Her shoulder and hip displasia had been evident as soon as she’d started to walk, they said, and so the breeder had advertised her for sale for just a hundred dollars.
“So she couldn’t be bred,” Yudi said. “We had to agree to have her spayed to avoid passing the displasia on.”
We talked a little more, and they opened up to reveal their poignant story.
“She came to us in a very special way,” Yudi related. “Our 25-year-old son had been killed in an auto accident just six months earlier. The loss left a huge hole in our lives. Mistchif was just what we needed—a new life to pour our love into.”
Tom nodded in agreement. He doesn’t talk much, but he did speak up later to say he’s one-eighth Cherokee Indian. (It’s a conversation that often comes up when I introduce myself as Chiwah. Though I’m not Native American, the name is, or so I was told when it was given to me.)
“We met the breeder in the Petco parking lot,” Yudi went on. “We expected to be introduced to the pup, and that she’d want to sniff us out. We had already decided that if we liked her and she found us acceptable, we would bring her home with us.
“But it wasn’t like that at all,” she explained. “As soon as she saw us, she got up and ran over and jumped into the back of our car! Like she knew us, like she knew she was going home with us.”
Could Mistchif have been born to help them through their grief?
“No dog could ever replace our son, of course,” Tom said. “Nothing can. But she has made it a lot easier for us. Our son has two daughters, and they’ve fallen in love with her, too.”
Mistchif has not received any formal behavioral or service dog training, but she she is truly a service dog, with or without the certification.
“We haven’t trained her to do any tricks,” Yudi said. “But on her own, she goes out to fetch the newspaper every morning. And when I have a bottle of water, she always wants to carry it in for me—for which of course she expects a treat!”
Stories like this need to be told. Perhaps a reader who hadn’t realized the healing service their pet is performing will awaken to feel gratitude because of the telling of Mistchif’s story. That would make a huge difference in their life, for gratitude changes everything.
If Tom and Yudi’s story has touched you, ask yourself, why is that? What pain have you been carrying that a pet has helped you with, or could help you with? What stories could you share that might touch into the depths of someone else’s heart and change their life?
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Chiwah Carol Slater
The Pet Story Passionista
Word Weaver Chiwah
Founder, PetWrites.com, WordWeaver4U.com