I have several jobs. My morning job is to bring in the newspaper. After Dad takes me on my first walk of the day, I gobble down my breakfast and tear upstairs. You are already having your coffee. I look longingly at you and you remember it’s time to open the front door and let me sniff the air again. I stand on the porch and smell the day. I find the paper wrapped in green plastic. I pick it up with my teeth and you hold the door for me and race me to the kitchen. If I arrive with the paper intact, I get a treat. If it is torn, sometimes I don’t get a treat. You say Good boy!and give me one of my tiny little pretend-bone treats.

My next job is the mail. Sometime before noon, Tim brings the mail. I hear his car and give you my “let me out” look. I wait at the gate. When Tim sees me, I jump as high as I can jump. I am extraordinary. Tim reaches in his mail pouch and finds my special treats. He hands you the mail and gives me a few treats. He loves me and calls me by name. I know how to work it. You pick out one special piece of mail, hand it to me, and we race to the kitchen again. If the mail is intact, I get a treat. If it’s wrinkled, I usually get a treat anyway. That’s because I keep trying to do better.

That makes four treats for the day so far, and it’s only morning.

Usually, you and I will go for another long walk during the day. You give me treats if I behave. That does not include skateboards or rollerblades. I cannot behave for them. They turn me into a very bad dog, one I don’t even recognize. I return to my primal state, a dog like my predogcessors and my antedogcents…it’s between me and the wheels. I want them to stop making the terrible noise that hurts my delicate ears. I would kill if I could.

My next job is to remind you to feed me when my dinner alarm goes off. It happens between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. It is a loud empty feeling under my ribs. It moves up to my mouth and I begin to salivate. If you aren’t home, I have to wait, but if you are home, I run to you and sit in front of you and look my best. Instead of a treat, I get dinner.

You need a lot of reminders such as the fact that I’m always up for a walk. If there’s nothing to do, I steal one of your shoes and prance around the house. You offer me a treat when I bring it to you. When nice people come to the house, you pay more attention to them than to me so I steal anything of theirs I can find– gloves, shoes, and scarves. If they put all their belongings in the closet, I take the nicest pillow in our house and prance around with that. I still get a treat if I drop it at your feet. I love this game because I am quick, sneaky and funny and I always get a treat.

Unless we have a therapy team gig, I am free for the day. I roll around, perch on the window seat, listen to you play the piano and patrol the surroundings. I do have to let you know if there are people or dogs approaching. My warnings are a low woof, a loud bark, or a rapid succession of barks, depending on the proximity and familiarity of the interloper. (I don’t think I have to remind you I have a big vocabulary because you already know that.)

Next time, readers, I’ll explain my work as a therapy dog. I have a license and  degree. When you read about what I do, you’re going to want my job, but that’s okay with me. There’s room for all of us. People need a lot of therapy.

Advice from Oliver: If you do your job, you might get at least four treats per day. It depends on how smart you are. I am very smart.

One thought on “JOBS=TREATS

  1. I finally sat down last night to read your posts, Oliver. You lead a busy life compared to Belvedere. He gets one walk per day at best, and is certainly not “treated” as generously as you are. He does enjoy his dental chew each day (I call it his dental swallow because he doesn’t seem to get chewing), and TWO meals a day. Please continue to share your stories. I will read them to Belvedere when we sit together on the sofa.


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