This week I yapped with a super pretty Chocolate Lab, MOJO Kouns, who has a very intresting job: She’s a sorta Big Sister/Teacher for puppies in training at Dogs for Life to be service dogs for disabled veterans.
MOJO was right at the door, waggin’ am jumpin’ (up, NOT on), like she was on springs. She came right over for the Wag-an-Sniff. Her coat was like chocolate velvet an she had big golden eyes.
“Good morning! Miss MOJO. It’s a pleasure,” I said in my suave pooch-of-the-world voice.
“Likewise, Mr. Bonzo,” she replied. “This is my Mom, Linda. My Dad (I call him Colonel Sam), is elsewhere.” She led the way to the sunny paddy-o.
“I’m excited to learn about your Very Important Job, but first, I’m curious about your unusual name.”
MOJO laughed. “Lotsa humans an pooches think I’m a boy, cuzza my name. Ackshully, I was named after golf balls.”
“Wait. Wha-at? Did you say you were named after golf balls?”
“It’s true,” she said. “See, my Mom’s a golfer: they’re humans who like to tromp around long, funny fields with fellow humans. They carry bags fulla long sticks, or get other humans to carry ’em. They whop a liddle bitty ball with one of the sticks an then they walk (or ride in special carts) to wherever it lands, and whop the ball again. An keep whoppin’ it till they get to the end. There’s ditches full of sand and liddle ponds scattered around, and sometimes they hit the ball into one of them and get all mad. Also, one of my pooch frens told me humans definitely DON’T like you to retrieve those liddle balls. Weird, right?”
I shook my head. “Humans! Go figure.”
“I KNOW, right? Anyway Mom’s golf balls all had the same name, MOJO, an she always thought it’d be a Cool Kibbles name for her next dog. Which was ME.”
“Good story! So, how’d ya find your Forever Famly?”
“Almost seven years ago, when I was only 8 weeks old, Mom was Dog Shoppin’ on The Net an saw my pickshur. Needles to say, I was an irresistible chocolate fluffball. I was living on an Amish farm in Pencil- VANE-yuh and they hadda ship me inna PLANE to here. When Mom an Colonel Sam came to pick me up at the airport, the humans in charge told ’em they’d never seen a happier puppy than me. Most pooches get all concerned and nervous, but I thought it was a Crispy Dog Biscuits ad-VEN-shure!
“I’ve always been a cheerful grrrl, never chewed shoes or anything. I did have a bit of Separation Anxiety, tho. When Mom and Colonel Sam were going out for the first time after they got me, they put me in my nice crate. WELL, I Totally Freaked OUT. Was I going back to Pencil-VANE-yuh? Were they going away forever? What if I had to Do My Doody?
“Colonel Sam said, ‘Let’s let her outta the crate and see how she does.’
“Mom said, ‘OK, but if she tears stuff up, ITS ON YOU!’
“Well, I was positively, absolutely NEVER goin’ back in that crate, so I decided I’d be the Best-Behaved Dog EVER. Now I have the run of the house, an there’s NO WAY I’m gonna mess THAT up.”
“Wise move. So, tell me about your job, an your off-work time.”
“Mom’s a volunteer with Dogs for Life, and Colonel Sam’s a director of the Veterans Council. Cuzza my cheerful, easy-going personality, they thought I’d be great at helpin’ new trainee puppies learn the ropes (I don’t know why they call it that. There weren’t any ackshul ropes), and learn how to get along with each other, before startin’ official Service Dog training.”
“What does that In Tail, EXACTLY?”
“Well the puppy trainees come stay with me here, usually for about 10 days. I’m kinda like a Big Sister. We play, I show ’em about swimmin’ so they won’t be scared of it, an I explain about gettin’ along with humans an fellow pooches, which is real important. Not every dog makes it. If you snap at stuff or get nervous and distracted, you won’t pass. Bein’ a Service Dog is a Great Honor, anna Great Responsibility.
“So, I have a buncha liddle fluffballs runnin’ all over, nibblin’ my ears, tumblin’ around. I love ’em but it’s eck-ZAWST-ing. An those pointy liddle puppy teeth are SHARP. My first puppy trainees were Golden Retrievers, Big Sis an Liddle Sis. An Savannah, a white Lab. Now they’re with their own veteran partners. I like knowin’ I helped make ’em successful Service Dogs.”
“An when you’re off work …?”
“I love going for rides with Mom in her convertible, the wind in my fur, ears flappin’. It’s ex-ZILLA-rating! Travelin’s cool, too. Once we drove up to Savannah an stayed inna Very Fancy, Dog Frenly place. Mom says it was GORE-jus. There was a place for pooches to play, an dog biscuits for us, anna Happy Hour for us an our humans. The rest-runts are pooch-frenly too.
“An I have tons of pooch pals: My pooch posse is Kelli, a mini-Golden Retriever; Chico, a Bichon Frise from across the street; Maggie’s a Standard Poo; an Annie’s a Chihuahua. I like to watch the birds an squirrels. Once I saw this big ol’ turtle. An there’s GADORS in the water, so we hafta be CAREFUL. Specially my smaller, Snack-Size frens. “
“Speakin’ of snacks, any favrites?”
“If I eat my dinner all up I get a Frosty Paws. Soon as my dish is empty, I run to the Fridge and stare. I also enjoy the occasional marrow bone.”
Woof, did the time go by fast! Headin’ home, I was thinkin’ about MOJO’s Very Important job helpin’ turn silly, eager pupsters into Service Dogs, standin’ by their veteran partners no matter what. I was also thinkin’ about Frosty Paws. I’m sure there’d be room in our freezer.
Till next time,