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It’s just dog nature

Holy mother of dog. Please tell me
that’s not what you’re wearing to
the dinner,
says Micron. Don’t make
me call your mom.

Are we doing anything Saturday night? I glance up to see The Husband holding his iPhone to his chest.

I dunno, I say, Just a sec. I fire up my Droid for a quick look at the social calendar.

Nope, looks clear, I say. That task completed, I go back to my laptop and refocus on pinning vintage dog photos on Pinterest (Dogs of Yore board).

Huh. Well, this will be interesting, he says.

Whazzat? I look up in alarm. Did I just agree to something? Darn it, Pinterest.

Looks like the boss can’t attend a dinner to accept an award on behalf of the business, says The Husband. So he asked us to go in his place.

It’s a semi-formal dinner, he continues. For the 445th Airlift Wing of the Air Force. I guess we won a community partner award. Yeah so apparently this dinner is a pretty big deal and we’ll be seated at the front table. Supposed to be a senator there and …

Oh, do stop, I say. You had me a semi-formal.

Lookit, I’m not a fancy girl.

Never a slave to fashion, instead I’m the chick who walks into a one o’clock meeting at work with a poppy seed between two front teeth and a diet Coke stain on my blouse. Honestly, it doesn’t even occur to me to take a quick look in a mirror until after I start pontificating budgets with my colleagues.

So now I’m expected to eat food in front of important and powerful people. Ok, I think, I can do this thing. And then a brief moment of panic as I realize that all of my food has to make it to my mouth. No retrieving mixed veggies from the cleavage whilst in the presence of these fine folk.

That’s right, people. The dog has
more fashion sense than I do.

Wait, lemme think – when was the last time I even wore a dress?

Right, the Favorite Kid’s college graduation. In 2012. And before that?

I think it was his high school graduation.

True story.

So I suppose my style could be described as comfortable. And by comfortable, I mean clothes that don’t hurt when I sit down. I’m totally ok with jeans and dirt on the heels of my boots. You can take the girl away from the farm, but you can’t take the farm gear away from … well, you know it goes.  This chick likes her denim.

Ugh. So nothing to do about this fancy affair but fake being sick. No, I mean buy a dress, of course. A nice dress, too. Which requires the embellishments of pantyhose, tortuous shoes and that modern version of the corset – Spanx. This free dinner is getting rather expensive. I force myself to not think about pajamas and pizza and the season premiere of Game of Thrones.

At the department store, The Husband serves as moral support as I select yet another kind of support in the manner of feminine shapewear.

That looks uncomfortable, says he, wincing a little.

Yeppers, I say. Being arm candy comes at a steep price.

But later, as I get ready for the evening, a pleasant surprise. I find the chastigious* body armor isn’t that bad. I can breathe. I can sit. I can do both at the same time. This goes against everything I’ve heard about Spanx wear.

I do a sanity check with some friends.

Oh my. Such stories of the relocation of vital organs, a singular ability to exhale without the pleasure of inhaling, fits of claustrophobia and dire warnings to plan well ahead for any bathroom breaks. I’m to heed the first inkling of a tinkling. Or else.

It becomes obvious I’m doing this all wrong. You see, being such a weenie about pain, I chose the Medium torture level of this retro-medieval product when I’m clearly in need of Extreme. It would seem I have a case of  Spanxiety.

I’ll just pause here until the groans subside. Oh hey, I think I’ll grab some cheesecake. Be right back.

Yeah so anyway.

The harder I try to be at my best, the clumsier I get. I do so hate that, too.  It’s oh so easy to allow a increased sense of self-consciousness to feel like the spotlight is on my every misstep.

But I suppose that’s just human nature, isn’t it?

It’s just dog nature

We should take a cue from our canine friends. Dogs don’t know when they’re put on the spot. No test anxiety gripping the neurons in those dog noggins to skew results. And they couldn’t care less about their physical appearance. Proof?  How many times have you removed an unsightly eye booger from your dog, then leaned back and said, there ya go. Gotcha all prettified again, Euka. And they look at you with an expression that says Cookie?

Anyway, you know what I mean.

Last week, along with fellow volunteer puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence, we had the chance to put our young charges through some training challenges.

The professional trainers would instruct and observe as we performed the tasks before us. So how did our pups handle this high level scrutiny?

Like they’re at any other training session with us, that’s how. The pups simply want to know what will get a Good Dog from their handler. And what doesn’t.

Euka and her littermate, Everett, were all over this thing, taking on each training station as if they were ready to step right into the Advanced Training program.

C’mon, people. Try to give me something hard to do, says Euka, ignoring the dog cookie on the carpet.

As Euka’s puppy raiser, I didn’t worry much about the pool noodle touching the noggin. Our little honey badger isn’t bothered by too much of this kind of thing.

Yeah, mostly I worried that she’d try to grab and eat it.

Everett one upped his sister with wearing no less than two pool noodles. While in a Down.

And remote control cars buzzing about? No sweat off my nose pad, says Euka.

Y’all should know the little guy on the right did a stellar job as well.

Novel surfaces can be a problem for some pups. Sidewalk grates, gravel and non-carpeted areas might encourage a pup to attempt a side step to keep their tender toes on familiar territory.

Which helps to explain the concept behind this next station. Colorful plastic balls in a wading pool come close to the top of the Novel Object list.

Everett accepts this experience with nary a negative thought. He shows off this casual attitude with another Down.

Well done, our young pups.

Oh, but not so young anymore, are they? Eighteen months old now, our extraordinary E litter. What do you think – are they ready? We have only a few weeks left with these amazing creatures.

Almost time for the matriculation ceremony, a formal affair scheduled for May 16, which is included with the Graduation celebration of new assistance dog teams.

Make no mistake, folks. This is big deal stuff now.

I might even wear a dress.

*Chastigious. An adjective meaning something to do with chastity. As in “when wearing Spanx, all business is closed until further notice”.  And I made up the word, so there’s that.

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

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