Every time I turn around these days, there is some new “miracle” or modern wonder designed to make life easier. Often it is related to computer technology, but not always. One thing that amazes me in particular is the progress being made with various types of service animals, for the blind and disabled, and I am sure I am not even aware of all the useful options that are available. But I am still in awe. For instance, these dogs can be trained to detect the aura of an oncoming seizure in epileptics, or sense a change in blood sugar in diabetics. And, of course we all know about seeing eye dogs.
For a long time now, I and some of my baby boomer friends have joked about getting a twelve year old to go with us to social events, shopping outings, plays, movies, even on vacation with us. It could be someone’s neighbor kid(s) or some child one knows from church or temple, a bright kid with computer skills and reasonable savvy who would like to earn a bit of money and would not roll his or her eyes or get all twitchy hanging out with “older adults.” Who knows, maybe there could even be a merit badge in it for a scout. Their task, should they choose to accept it, would be to remember where we parked the car, where we left our keys, where we put our glasses or sun glasses (on top of our head no doubt), remind us not to leave our umbrellas on the floor next to the table in the restroom, etc. Don’t laugh. If you aren’t to this point yet, you will be at some future date. Then you will think this is a good idea.
But now I’m thinking that an equally good idea – maybe even a better idea — might be a service dog. Trained to do the same things as one might pay a twelve year old to help with: find your keys, find your misplaced cell phone, misplaced TV remote, misplaced garage door remote, misplaced checkbook, half of a missing pair of earrings, guide you to your car at the mall when you forget what level you parked on, etc. Oh – you didn’t know what CRAFT stands for? It is an acronym – Can’t Remember A Freakin’ Thing.
I can picture it now. I have a service dog named Max. I’m getting ready to go to work or to the store and I can’t find my keys. I turn to trusty Max: “Max, car keys!” Max trundles off to find my keys, which he has been trained to do, and he comes back with them in his teeth. Or, he goes to the refrigerator and paws at the door. I open the door, and there next to the left over pizza from last night are my keys which I had absent-mindedly put there when the phone rang and interrupted my train of thought. Or Max returns dragging a pair of jeans, and the car keys are in the pocket. Or, I’m at the mall and I can’t remember where I parked. “Max, find the car!” And Max arfs knowingly and trots off, looks back to see if I’m following, and leads me to middle of level four, Green, 4H. There’s my Highlander. Wow, is he smart of what? And he even carries one of my plastic bags as he goes along. Continue reading