Did you know that September is National Service Dog Month (formerly National Guide Dog Month)? Instead of focusing on all the noble things my guide dogs have done over the last forty-two years, I’d like to tell you a funny story about the life of a service dog when the harness is off.

Sometimes people are surprised that these intelligent creatures that we’re lucky enough to be partnered with are real dogs in their off duty time. My guide dog was showing her Labrador heritage (see food, eat it) by licking plates as I put them in the dishwasher this noon. Gross if you’re not a dog owner, but they do get washed and sterilized, trust me! Somehow the bottom shelf of the dishwasher started rolling out of the dishwasher, turned a ninety degree angle and chased her from the kitchen into the dining room as she retreated in horror. Plates and silverware bounced out in all directions. She ran to the front door of the house and stood stock still in horror and apprehension. After I cleaned up as many dishes and utensils as I could find I went to talk to her. I think she expected a scolding, but I didn’t give one because the unintended consequence of being chased by a rogue dishwasher shelf had taught her far more than I could cover in a lecture. As time passes she’s walked by the evil machine but has showed no interest in pre-rinsing the supper dishes.

So celebrate National Service Dog month with us. Whether you’re a puppy raiser, a contributor to a service dog school, or an observant driver who pauses so we can safely cross a street, thank you.