Friday, July 20, 2012

Holly's Half Dozen aka My New Favorite Reality Show...

There are days when I seriously think about packing up all my sh*t and moving to some semi small town down the coast or in Texas or South Carolina or somewhere and just running a dog daycare or sanctuary or training service. These days usually pop up about once a month, when I get so frustrated with people or traffic or the expense of living in L.A. that I just want to trade it all in for a simpler existence. But these days, these days (heh) have been strung together for the better half of this past week. Because this week I found Holly's Half Dozen, a 24/7 live feed of six Golden Retriever puppies bred and soon-to-be-trained to be service dogs for veterans.


Let's be honest, if I wanted to watch a dog walk from one corner of a room to another, just to lay down in a new position, I could just stare at my own dog all day. And there are many times throughout the day when I do just that. But these dogs are different because they are not even a month old, and still trying to find their legs, and did I mention there are six of their squishy little faces!?

They don't do much. They step on each other trying to sleep in one big pile from time to time. They chew on each other's ears or feet or faces to exert dominance or simply out of curiosity. They slip and slide on what looks to be linoleum and paw at the edges of the carpet square. At least one has been trying to figure out what the slide in the corner is and how to get up it. At least one has found a way to wedge itself between the side of the pen and banner advertising the organization so that it's shrouded by a makeshift fort for a little privacy. Mostly they sleep in a pile, their toys strewn about around them. And that is more than enough to make this my new favorite reality show because it tugs at the heart, rather than grates on the soul (and ears).

Every now and then their mother is in the enclosed pen with them, so they can eat and cuddle and learn how to be a dog. Fewer and farther between does a volunteer from the organization, Warrior Canine Connection, step in the pen to play with them or give them other kinds of food or remove a spoiled pad. I have to admit, as I've had the feed on for a good portion of the last few days, I have found myself "backseat training" these dogs because it doesn't seem like the organization has started on that process yet. 

A month old might be young to teach a dog to sit when they can barely keep their hind legs in check, let alone teach them the service tricks they need to be certified. However, there is something to be said for teaching them not to pee or poop in their pen. There is something to be said for keeping an eye on them so that if and when they do pee or poop (every dog has accidents when getting used to a new environment, and these are babies), there is someone there to clean it up to keep things sanitary. I literally watched the puppies drink from their mother tonight and clucked at my own dog that they would have to go to the bathroom soon. It's common sense. A dog eats and then has to go a few minutes later. Basic biology. But no one stepped in to tend to that. So I watched three of the dogs just randomly squat wherever in the pen. And you know who stepped in to clean up the mess? Their mama. The dog. She leaned over each puddle and lapped it up as if she wasn't getting the proper food or water she needed or because she wanted to protect them from getting in trouble for their accidents or because that's what true love looks like or because dogs are weird and sometimes do gross things. 

The bottom line is, though, if I can sit on my couch in Los Angeles and watch these dogs all day, why isn't someone from the organization keeping as close an eye on them? The organization is doing a fantastic thing by training these dogs to help deserving veterans, and I am not trying to belittle that accomplishment or sense of selflessness. But I can't help but worry about these cute little guys (and girls) now. With such a tough and important task ahead of them of taking care of veterans, they need to be taken extra special care of now.

Like I said, it makes me want to switch careers. Or at least get another puppy.

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