It's really not fair that of the four puppies we're training here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp for Canine Companions for Independence, Freddy is the cutest, sweetest, fastest, handsomest and smartest...in my own completely unbiased opinion. I recently added up the CCI commands he now knows as just a 7 month old Labrador/Golden Retriever-mix puppy, and the count now stands at 30. Of course, that doesn't include a few "off the books" commands that are just for Freddy and me. There's one in particular I hope he never forgets when he leaves here: "Hug."
We begin this command with me sitting crossed legged on the floor. Then I mention to Freddy, "I need a hug." He responds by coming over to where I'm sitting, getting in my lap and curling up. Now you might say that's technically not a hug and you'd be right; but Freddy thinks it's a hug, and that's all that matters. We continue to go through this routine daily, even though he now weighs over 60 pounds and is, by any reasonable standard, too big to curl up in my lap.
There's so much not to like about prison life. At the top of the list is the lack of physical contact with another human. I've written about that before here. Sometimes I long for a simple hug or touch. Yes, I know Freddy is not human, but I'm not sure he knows that. Regardless, I'm still grateful that he likes to curl up in my lap.
We may work on "Kiss," if I can remember how that goes.