This week’s innerview was at The Park, which is fun cuz there’s usually lotsa pooches an their humans leash-walking, an most everybody’s frenly.
Emma an Granger Johansen are sibling Golden Doodles. Emma’s gonna be 2 in JAN-you-wary, an her liddle brother Granger’s just 10 months but they look like twins (’cept Granger has a darker gold/tan coat): tall, long-leggedy, poodle-y curls snoot-to-tail, pawsome poss-chur.
We met in a liddle building called a guh-ZEE-bo: Emma an Granger sat side by side, their leashes held by a nice lady.
“Good afternoon,” I said. “I’m Bonzo. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Hi, Mr. Bonzo, I’m Emma, this is my liddle brother Granger an this is our Mom Cassie.”
After Wag-an-Sniffs, an a liddle preliminary boinging around by Emma an Granger (who are, after all, still preddy much puppers), we settled in an I opened my notebook. Cuzza Emma an Granger bein’ In Training, my assistant didn’t have Yummy Snacks in The Satchel as usual.
(Pre-innerview, Emma had woof-mailed me that her an Granger’s education involved motivational treat-reinforced training, so no random snacks.)
“So, tell me about your special training.”
“Our Mom trains pooches to be Service Dogs for humans, puh-SIFF-ickly to help people with mobility (that means movin’ around) an PTSD (that’s when humans keep thinkin’ about truh-MADDIC stuff that happened to ’em so much that they can’t do regular stuff). Also to help humans who are on what’s called the Awe-tism Spectrum, which we’re still learnin’ about.”
“Woof, Miss Emma, I can see how important an SEERY-us that is! How did you get picked?”
“Mom in-VESS-tigated and found out that Golden Doodles have great doganalities for that kinda job. See, us Doodles are gentle, frenly, intelligent, loyal, uh-FECK-shuh-nut and Really Social (even with cats, cuz you never know, you know?).
“I totally do,” I replied, having made several close feline frens over the years.
“Sometimes, tho, us Doodles can be a little (or a lot) excitable and barky an ex-ZOO-buh-runt, so, to qualify for the training, we also haff to be CAHM an CON-fuh-dent. She wanted a breeder where the pooches stayed in their HOME, an not inna kennel. Mom found the BEST Breeder she could (it was in a whole ’nother state, called George, I think. I don’t know the last name).
Anyway, she picked ME first, an then Granger. (We had the same pooch mom an dad, but different litters. I went up to Georgia with Mom to meet Granger, to be sure we’d get along.
Which we totally did!)”
“Got it!” I said, making a note.
“Our training’s in-TENSE. In one part, Mom’s assistant lays on the ground an pretends to have a Major TAN-trum, so we can learn how to not freak out an help the person instead.”
“Woof! That IS intense,” I exclaimed.
“Yep. Mom starts all of our training soon as we get all settled: at only 8-9 weeks old!”
“I had No Idea! I didn’t know my nose from my caboose when I was that liddle!”
“I KNOW, right? But it works. However, Mr. Bonzo, Mom decided I’d have a spesh-ull job:
Instead of going to another human as their com-PAN-yun an Assistant, I would stay with Mom an be an Am-BASS-ador, to teach humans about our program, an to help get the new pooch recruits all settled in. Isn’t that so Cool Kibbles?”
“Abso-woofin’-lutely, Miss Emma. You have the perfect doganality for that!”
“Thank you, Mr Bonzo!” she said with a smile. “I often feel like a Puppy Mama, showing liddle puppers how to socialize with fellow pooches without getting all bouncy an yappy an jump-uppy.
Granger piped up, “It’s true, Mr. Bonzo. My big sister’s The Best. She helped me get use to stuff right away, so I wasn’t NER-vuss or anything. An, if I forget a lesson, she reminds me an gives me Helpful Hints an Examples.”
“Pawsome!” I said. “Tell me a liddle more about the training.”
“WE haff to get what humans call de-sensitized to unexpected, distractin’, sometimes scary things. We hafta take all that in STRIDE,” Emma explained.
“Like,” interjected Granger, “we can’t be over-ex-ZOO-berent with fellow pooches. We can’t go zooming off after a squirrel. Or stop an get all waggy an woofy when a stranger comes up. We hafta buh-have in stores, an resist tem-TAY-shuns like duh-li-shus smells, or random foodstuffs. Or distract-shuns like opening doors, squeaky floor, loud noises, stuff like that.”
“Basically,” said Emma, “we have to just Do Our Job No Matter What!”
“Yep. No Matter What!” echoed Granger. “Guess what, Mr. Bonzo. I started learning how to buh-have out in public, like in stores an (pooch frenly) rest-runts when I was just 6 months old. But, at home, I still get The Zoomies sometimes.”
“Woof, DOES he EVER!” agreed Emma. “My silly liddle brother flies all over the place: jumpin’ an runnin’ laps through the lanai an up an down the hallway. He’s SUCH a goofball. Me, I’m pretty much Meh about all that.”
“That’s cuz you’re OLD,” said Granger with a large smile. “Anyway, Mr. Bonzo, I already learned how to press 911 on the fone, which is Very Important when humans get in Dire Straights.”
“That is impressive, Granger!” I told him. “So, whaddya do when you’re not in training?”
“We’re outdoorsy,” Granger continued. “We like hikes. An SWIMMIN’ in our fren Maxie’s pool.
He’s a lab, so, of course, he’s Totally into Swimmin’. An, we like going to Mom’s fren Maggie’s barn. That’s where our fren Skippy lives. He’s a horse.”
“One time I got to fly in the SKY, inside this Big sorta BIRD with Mom to visit Gramma Sherry in I-O-WAH. I was just a tiny pupper, but I wasn’t scared cuz I got to sit with Mom,” said Emma.
Heading home, I was thinking about Emma an Granger an all you pooches who dedicate your lives to helping humans in need, who maybe couldn’t make it without you by their side. All you fellow pooches are Totally Pawsome!
Till next time,