We have now been at Far Shore, our little log cabin on the beach of Lake Superior in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for 24 hours. We have learned two things.
First, we had wondered how the restaurants and sole supermarket in the town called Porcupine City in my mystery novels would receive Trooper, my little hearing service dog. Would he get the stink eye from people who didn’t think he should be allowed in places where food is handled? Would I have to spend a lot of time educating dyed-in-the-wool conservative Yoopers about service dogs and the Americans with Disabilities Act?
When she laid eyes on Trooper, a waitress at Syl’s, the country cafe called Merle’s in the novels, said it for everybody: “Oh, what a precious darling!”
Her smile lit up the room.
At Pat’s IGA Supermarket, the checkers and stock people turned and grinned just as widely. So did the hangers-on at Connie’s, my coffee shop of choice.
Even the town Nazi, a white supremacist who contributes anti-Semitic screeds to the Internet, beamed when he arrived at Connie’s just as we were leaving.
I needn’t have worried. The people of this small town in the middle of nowhere seem to know all about service dogs. They even asked if they could pet him, or if he was working and they shouldn’t.
“Pet him,” I said.
The second thing: Never assume the cabin has been completely scoured of rat poison. This morning Debby lifted up a pillow on the sofa and found a handful of D-Con underneath. Trooper had been lounging there.
Our caretakers had placed the poison after our departure ast fall, months before we learned Trooper was coming to live with us. They had simply forgotten about it during the spring cleanup.
We doubted Trooper had gotten into the poison, but we couldn’t be sure.
We called the vet, knowing what he would say, because we’d gone through the same thing just two months ago: “Take no chances. Put him on a regimen of Vitamin K-1 for thirty days and get a blood test afterward.”
And so we did. Lesson learned. Again.