I’m tremendously behind on blogging, but I have a good story that seems very fitting for today.
On the Fourth of July this year, The Human Male and I took Alice to the Dog Park first thing in the morning. It was an exceptionally lovely day, so we let Alice play for a while in her beloved river. There were a ton of people and dogs playing in it, and with all the dogs running around like hooligans, it was fun to pick out which human belonged to which dog.
There was a family there that, after some watching, we discovered were owners of a yorkie and a malinois—a funny combination when you really think about it. While tough guys with tiny girly dogs aren’t totally uncommon here, we just sort of assumed that maybe one was the mom’s dog and the other was the dad’s. The yorkie enjoyed the water at first but then spent most of her time on the shoreline, and the malinois couldn’t get enough of chasing balls through the water. They left and we played with Alice in the river for a little longer.
On our way out of the park, we spotted the family getting ready to leave as well. The dad put a leash on the yorkie and a harness on the malinois.
There was writing on the harness, a very clear message: K-9 Unit.
That’s when the situation became clear: the yorkie was the family dog, and the malinois was the dad’s partner.
Living in DC, police and military bomb dogs are a fairly common sight. But it’s pretty easy to see them working and think “Aww, they’re so cute and have jobs—isn’t that precious?” But that’s where the thought ends. This instance pointed out, very clearly, that they are so deeply loved beyond their work. They are valued members of families, have favorite games to play, and love tennis balls—just like your average, everyday dog. It’s just that working dogs spend their time protecting civilians, saving soldiers in war zones, and helping people in atrocities when they’re not begging for treats and tearing apart their fuzzy toys.
It’s truly extraordinary. And very much appreciated for so many reasons.