This morning Trooper leaped up against me and led me to the apartment front door. Someone knocking, I thought, and my shaggy little service dog's just doing his job.
But when I peeked through the spyhole, nobody was there. Instead, the condo building's fire alarm strobes were flashing up and down the hallway. (The system was being tested today and there was nothing to worry about.)
But Trooper's act impressed me. He hadn't forgotten the early training in alerting to fire alarms that Laura Burke had given him at Dogs for the Deaf in Central Point, Oregon. I had not continued that training, but had occasionally thought about refreshing it with some kind of device that mimicked the sound of such alarms. I hadn't got around to it yet.
Somehow Trooper has kept it together in his little doggy mind for more than a year without practicing: If there's an alarm in the hall, his job is to let me know about it.
(Jan. 18. In order to maintain Trooper's fire-alarm training, I bought a $6.95 Kidde mini-smoke alarm at the hardware store, loaded the battery and mashed the button. Trooper immediately ran to my office, leaped up on me and led me to the front door of our condo. Perfect. We'll run the exercise once a day or so.)