"People say I train dogs, but in many ways I train people."- Cesar Millan
Glancing at the cover of my book, and not knowing me, one might suspect I am a dog owner. Not so! But I admire the Humane Society and the many really dedicated, loving dog owners who provide good homes for their devoted pets. They walk them; they groom them; they feed them; and they play with them. But dogs do more for us than we do for them. In so many ways, dogs truly are man’s best friend. Dogs are favorite family pets, providing love, devotion and companionship. But they do much more. Depending on the breed, dogs have been trained to provide all sorts of vital services for their human companions. Consider the stereotypical Saint Bernard with the keg of life-saving liquid hanging from his neck, digging through a snow-slide to rescue some hapless skier in the Swiss Alps. There are so many others. The Husky sled dogs are true pack-animals of the north, providing essential transportation for the Inuit and their goods. Seeing Eye dogs are trained to guide poorly sighted and blind people safely wherever they choose to go. German Shepherd police dogs, assisting police officers in the line of duty, provide an invaluable service. More recently, dogs have been trained to support and assist veterans suffering from PTSD as well as patients experiencing major depression.
One of the cutest work dogs we ever encountered was in New Zealand, just as we disembarked the aircraft for an extended vacation in that country. New Zealand has a pristine landscape and relatively pest-free environment. They want to keep it that way and have trained dogs to help them. Visitors are strictly forbidden to bring certain fruit, vegetables, plants and animals into the country. The dogs sniff all luggage, alerting the customs and border patrol when they encounter any contraband. One of these cute little inspectors seemed to be very suspicious of Cecilia’s hand luggage. He kept returning, alerting the customs people of Cecilia’s vain attempts to smuggle forbidden objects into the country. Cecilia kept assuring the personnel that she had nothing to hide, and when they inspected her bag they found nothing unusual, but the little canine guard was persistent and wouldn't give up. Finally, Cecilia remembered that she had had an apple in her bag, but that she had eaten it while we were on the aircraft. The four-legged guard, detecting the odour of the ripe apple, sounded the alarm. Fortunately, the customs people knew the truth before the New Zealand police force arrived to put my good wife in the Slammer.
Gerald M. Sliva
Still Barking! Blog of