101 Service Soldier
They were contemplating their options when a friend of Mrs. Logans called saying she knew a man whose wife had died suddenly. It was too painful for him to care for her exceptional service dog so he was looking for a home for it. A solution had fallen into their laps! They tried not to get their hopes up. There were a couple of obstacles. This service dog was a female AND a small breed.
Lizzie was an adorable Pomeranian, but she needed to be more than adorable to fill the army booties of Ranger. Would Hefner tolerate Lizzie and visa versa? Would Lizzie bond with Patrick? More importantly would the Sgt. adjust to a 5.5-pound ball of fluff after being supported by a 75-pound muscle dog? Even though they didn’t want to waste more time on cultivating a rapport with another canine, they decided to give Lizzie a try. They certainly didn’t want her to stay at the other home where she wasn’t wanted.
Mrs. Logan picked up Lizzie and all her accessories but was not ready to be mesmerized by her demeanor. Lizzie looked poised and eager for the next mission. She reminded Mrs. Logan of a little soldier. The instant Lizzie paraded into the house, the mood shifted. She commanded everyone’s attention. Jumping into Patrick’s lap, she gave him the once-over critical eye, evaluating his worthiness of her skills. Everyone held their breath. They saw the furry mouth open to a smile. Lizzie approved. Now it was her turn to pass scrutiny.
Two hours after her arrival and moments before Patrick started to have one of his mild episodes, Lizzie’s gentle but decisive paw-tap on his face immediately roused him back to awareness. Small breed dogs do have an advantage. The ability to climb up close and personal allowed Lizzie the insight of imperceptible changes in breathing patterns more efficiently. The Logans were awed.
Lizzie was also a theatrical trick dog. She would balance cookies on her nose and catch them in her mouth while turning a 360. She amused Patrick by catching treats he would randomly throw in her direction.
Mrs. Logan was more amazed by the organizational skills Lizzie could only have learned from her previous charge. It was a sight one had to see to believe. On day two, Lizzie stood on her hind legs and put her front paws on her hips and looked around, appraising the family room. First she marched to the curtains, spiraled the string around one paw and pulled, allowing sunlight to fill the room. The magazines were batted into a perfect fan effect on the coffee table. She scuttled to a cloth wall hanging. When she realized it was beyond her reach she enlisted Hefner to act as her step stool. She jumped on his back and guided him into position, grabbed the edge with her teeth and pulled the tattered décor down with all her might. (The Logans did not spend much time on interior decorating). Curled up dead flowers were cast to the floor along with their empty vase. Mrs. Logan got the cue and followed Lizzie around picking up the disheveled debris. Lizzie’s skills did not stop there. She attacked all the rooms of the house with fervor. Shoes were paired in the bedroom and food bowls rearranged in the kitchen. The Logans were a joyful, orderly unit once again. Even the walls of the house expelled a sigh of relief.
As Lizzie enmeshed herself into the daily routine, Hefner watched and asserted himself where he was best utilized. With Lizzie as the family pack leader, she and Hef provided tandem therapy, service, and entertainment. Sometimes one dog can teach another new tricks. It took two dogs to replace one in their heroic roles to aid a veteran. The soldier service treatment team was a victory.