Friday, December 11, 2015

Trooper's fourth day

This morning Trooper didn’t feel like working his sounds. Maybe he had a bug. More likely he was just weary from all the stress of adjusting to a new home and a new human.

Let’s forget the sound tasks, said Laura, Trooper's Dogs for the Deaf trainer, and just get on with the rest of the day.

Waiting on a train.
Which was a milestone: Trooper’s first foray into the big city of Chicago. We took the 10:57 a.m. Metra commuter train from Evanston Central Street into Ogilvie Transportation Center, had lunch at the Corner Bakery, and then caught the 12:35 back to Evanston.

Calming the new rider with Laura.
Trooper lived up to his name. Not knowing whether he would willingly board the great iron beast, I carried him up the vestibule steps into the car. As soon as the train started up, he began quivering from the unaccustomed noise and motion, and at Laura's suggestion I put him on my lap. Within ten minutes he had settled down, but I cradled him all the way in nonetheless.

At Ogilvie we waited until the car emptied, and I put Trooper on the floor. With utter aplomb he trotted down the aisle and off the steps onto the platform.

At the concourse we met the first ever public objection to my little service dog’s presence: a snarling Belgian Malinois on the arm of a burly Chicago cop on security duty, who was nearly pulled over when his animal partner lunged, teeth flashing, at my little dog. Trooper’s a terrier, I wanted to say, not a terrorist. We did not hang around for apologies but headed right into the station.

At lunch in the Corner Bakery we sat happily unremarked and unnoticed.

Boarding at Ogilvie Transportation Center.
On the way back Trooper trotted down the platform and onto the train easily, and lay down at my feet for the entire ride, the image of a veteran commuter bound for home. All he needed to complete the picture was a newspaper and a cocktail in a brown paper bag.

Commuters on the 12:35.
Or an iPhone, like everyone else these days.

1 comment:

  1. Henry, Who besides Laura is taking these great photos of you and Trooper. Tell them both that it adds so much to us interested readers. Also, we should promote Dogs for the Deaf as a charity for the rest of us. It looks like it takes costs a good sum per dog for all the time and effort on the training.
    Carl Morrison