Friday, May 29, 2009

No More Mountains!

Behold! It's a bird... it's a plane... no, it's Delta Dog!
by Charlie Leck

What does a dog do when there are no more mountains to climb? That's what I asked my wife last night when she came home with our dog, Jasper, from his final examination by the Delta Society that would allow or disallow him to be a Therapy Dog.

"How did he do?" I asked the moment they were inside the door.

"He passed," my wife proudly said.

"So, he's a Delta Dog?"

"He is, indeed!"

"Magnu cum Laude?" I quizzed her.

"Not quite," she said, winking at the black dog.

I looked at the proud fellow, sitting so gallantly there on the hardwood floor, looking up at me, and waiting for all the appropriate praise and the thorough petting that comes with it.

"The world may be troubled," I shouted with some drama in my voice, "and there is evil lurking at every corner, and the ordinary people are frightened and cowering; but have no fear, for Delta Dog is here!"

My loud voice bothered him. He barked up at me, as if to say: "Pet! Pet!"

"And where's his cape?" I asked my wife. "And his skin tight muscle shirt with the big D planted on his chest?"

The black lab barked up at me again. This time he was telling me to stop being stupid and pet! Pet!

Instead, I threw a question in his direction.

"And now, with no more mountains to conquer, what will you do? What could possibly follow this night?"

He had begun in lowly level one classes at the Hennepin County Animal Humane Society -- in their instruction school -- and he had worked his way through four levels and then easily passed the Canine Good Citizenship Test. This got him a degree -- a virtual PhD in the dog world (now framed and posted near his food dish) from the American Kennel Club.

But now, this! This is like post doctoral work. There simply isn't any more. What shall he do?

I guess he should do what all great academics do. Sit back in his stuffed chair with a pipe that is perfectly tampered with fine tobacco, light up and enjoy a smoke while admirers sit as his feet and ask him both good and silly questions. That is, if he isn't too busy saving kitties who've gotten themselves caught up in the branches of tall trees, or rabbits being chased by nasty hunting dogs, or sheep tangled in wire fencing.

I will be awaiting anxiously, and checking each arriving mail delivery, for his Delta Dog cape and his tight, bright superhero suit.

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