Bob never needed a job, correction, Bob didn’t want a job.
But Ellie was constantly moving, if there wasn’t a ball around she was up to mischief. She taught Bob how to open gates and doors. Before this he presumed that was our job, to let him get from A to B, when he huffed or barked, demanding it to be done.
Ellie’s relentless energy threatened to wear me out. If she got into the utility room nothing was safe. Her favorite game as a pup was to tumble the unwashed clothes from the basket , then carefully, one by one distribute them around the garden. As it is a large old garden this did annoy me but the neighbors enjoyed watching me retrieve, bra, socks etc from trees or shrubs. Or if she got into Pat’s shed she would rearrange what ever she managed to reach from the nearest shelves and hide them around the place.
I began researching ways to wear Ellie out.
I took her to agility lessons. She loved the whole buzz about the place.
We brought Bob and he enjoyed the attention and the endless treats that were bestowed on him by his new friends while he watched her work.
To get to the center was a 45 minute car journey and it didn’t tire her out, but it did me. Bob was the added factor, he was gaining fans and weight. So I stopped the driving bought a tunnel, we made a see saw, and we use buckets and garden canes as jumps. It is not Crufts but it works.
I knew she wouldn’t make it as a service dog but I began to wonder about her ability to find her beloved ball. No matter where I hid it, she would find it and quickly. I moved up a gear and began to hide, socks and gloves about the garden. She still worked tirelessly and efficiently at finding the articles. While listening to the news one day I heard of a young woman who was missing. I remembered a friend of mine who was distressed for many years when a cousin of hers walked away from the house.
This and Ellie’s love for finding things is how we came to work with her as a search and rescue dog. She and I train everyday in some small way, but go out on searches (pretend ones) once or twice a week. It is a job she loves doing. The minute that harness is strapped on her she changes from being a crazy ball driven animal to a dog who has a serious job to do.
Bob seems to enjoy her absences as he is spoiled by everyone. Especially Louise who comes and takes him for a stroll if she knows he will be home alone. Mostly he does what Bob does best absorbs the beauty of the day and sleeps his time away.