ime stretched. I want my dog. Bring me my dog.
I sat on the mat where he or she would sleep, so my scent would be near. I fingered the nasty chain to attach my dog to the wall overnight, making sure I knew exactly how to release the clasp, even when barely awake. I couldn’t understand why my dog had to sleep six feet away, tied to a wall, instead of beside my bed, tied to me with her leash. Their house, their rules. And Leader Dogs had a lot of rules. No toys, no furniture, on leash at all times, even in our rooms, chained to a wall overnight and when we left the room.
After almost three hours of waiting, finally, a knock. I leaped up and sprinted to the door.
“Are you ready?” Amber asked.
“Are you kidding?”
“Want to know your dog’s name?” The gigantic smile that lit her voice and face told me how much she enjoyed what Leader Dogs calls Dog Issue Day.
I’d been waiting well over two hours and was obviously the last in my group of four to receive my dog. For the love of all things holy, BRING ME MY DOG NOW. “Yes.”
“A girl, I presume, with that name?” I got a dog with a COOL name.
“You’ll find out in a couple of minutes.”
“That’s me. Hand me your leash.”
I handed it to the trainer. Two days ago, stiff, but now, pliable. I had worked that leather in every conceivable direction until my hands hurt. Next time I held it, MY dog would be at the other end, at last.
Mom wanted me to have a blonde girl. She likes female animals better, and blonde dogs photograph better than black ones, which tend to come off like blobs in pictures. Mom used to teach photography and had won numerous contests. Photos aside, why it mattered to her, I wasn’t sure. We’re neighbors, but I don’t live in her house. Would Mom get her wish?
Thunder and Molly, my first two guide dogs, who I trained myself, were dark girls. I didn’t have a gender preference. Molly’s black coat glistened brightly. Thunder’s cattle-dog like appearance fooled people, as she was a pure-bred smooth collie with mostly black, brown, and blue merle colors. I hoped for short fur. I’m not a huge fan of goldens, so even though I didn’t tell them I wouldn’t take one, I hoped for a lab of any color or my top choice, a golden-lab cross. It would be so cool to be able to say, ”Diva is a goldador.”
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