I had never even thought of teaching Flash, my second service dog, what to do in a museum. At home, though he was with me most of the time, it never even occurred to me to take him to a museum. I simply left him home those days. But when traveling, there was no place to leave him. Besides, when traveling, you don’t go to a museum and then go home – or back to the hotel. You take a walk along the Seine, stop for tea, go to a museum, go out to lunch, window shop, walk in a park and then go back to the hotel to feed the dog and rest a bit before going out to dinner.
What would Flash do in The Picasso Museum, I wondered, our first time in Paris. I was soon to find out. Without me saying anything, he padded along next to me, stopping when I did, moving again when I was ready, from painting to painting. Though there was nothing to interest him, he was interested anyway. He was interested in me, and in doing his job, being attentive so he’d know when I needed him.
When we got to the gallery where the sculpture was, oh, my. It took my breath away. And Flash took away the breath and heart of the guard. The gallery was all but empty, the guard in love with my dog, so we were able to get some wonderful pictures, fun to look at now and remember it all.
Now Sky travels with me. She has climbed a smallish mountain in Newfoundland, hiked in the shadow of Denali, visited the Louvre. Travel not only broadens the human, it makes a service dog more easy going, more flexible, faster to adjust to changes and yes, I think, even happier, especially when a trip means doing something she never gets to do at home in New York City!
As for me, though it takes planning and work and a third of my suitcase in order to have my dog with me, there’s an extra bonus besides the necessary care she takes of me. She makes everything so easy, because anywhere my dog is feels like home.