I don’t know why we didn’t see it sooner. I’ve been watching Fate gingerly make her way into Jon’s lap for a long time.
She eases her way in. First climbing up on the ottoman then pretending to be interested in what’s out the window. Then, step by step she inches her way closer to him till she just kinda slowly falls into his lap.
And she loves people. Probably too much.
That was the thing that made us both not think she would be a good therapy dog. She gets really excited whenever she sees someone. Any person, anywhere. By the way she acts around people, you’d think they were her long lost friend.
This afternoon Jon asked me if I minded if he took Fate.
She was, as usual, keeping me company in my studio. He was taking her to The Mansion, her second visit there as a therapy dog.
“Go on then” I said shooing her away, happy that she would have this new work to do. Glad for Jon to have her to work with, as Red gets older and not able to the do therapy work the way he used to.
When Jon was training Fate, as a puppy, to herd sheep and it wasn’t working, he heard a voice say to him “I’m not Red”. That’s when he gave up training her to be a herder.
Now I’m thinking he didn’t hear the next sentence.
That sentence came in actions, not words.
It’s there whenever someone comes to the house and Fate’s whole body wags with joy, no matter who they are. It comes when we’re driving in the car and Fate sees a person walking by on the side-walk and her tail starts going, like they’re her best friend.
I think since Fate told Jon she wasn’t Red, she’s also been trying to tell us that people, not sheep, are her work.
Jon heard her before I did. But now I’m seeing it clearly, in the photos and stories Jon brings back from The Mansion.
And it’s good for their relationship too.
Up till now Fate’s been mostly my dog. But the next time Jon takes her to The Mansion, I’ll invite Red into my studio. I’ll offer him a soft bed and something tasty to chew on.
Jon and I will switch dogs for a little while and it will be good for everyone.
(You can see photos of Fate and read about Fate’s Therapy work at The Mansion here,on Jon’s blog.)