View Products |  Sign In

Emotional Support Dog Lily

June 1, 2020

Our dog, Lily, is definitely an emotional-support animal, even if she doesn’t have a diploma. Fortunately, I also have an emotional-support husband. My kids, not so much. But isn’t that why you have a dog? (And a husband?)

Like all people who have adopted a dog in its later years, you almost wish it could talk for five minutes and answer some of your most pressing questions about its behavior. But then when you think about it more, you realize it’s probably best you don’t know how this dog came to be abandoned at the pound with a mouthful of rotten teeth and an abiding fear of male persons.

Lily was 7 when she came to us as a “one week” emergency foster dog who had been rescued from the pound by a local agency. It took her exactly three days to work her way into our hearts, even though we had agreed that we would never (ever ever) have another dog after our devastation at losing our English bulldog Winston. I think the foster agency saw us for the mushballs that we were. They have great instincts that way.

Some $1,500 worth of dental work later, we bought Lily a basket of toys suitable for a 15-pound dog with three remaining teeth. But we couldn’t get her interested in any of the them. It’s like she didn’t know what they were and what she was supposed to do with them. She always just sniffed them and walked away.

Finally, I found her some small round rubber squeaky balls that did pique her interest, but not as toys. She would gather them up protectively in a group close to her chest, her paws around them, and lick them affectionately as if they were her pups. She hadn’t been spayed when we got her, and we began to wonder if this adorable bichon-poodle mix had been a breeder.

From time to time visitors to the house, not realizing that these squeaky balls were offspring and not playthings, would pick one up and throw it for her. Lily would be enraged, chasing after it but immediately returning it to the rest of her litter and glowering at the guest.

“You just threw her child,” we’d explain to them. “She’s very sensitive about it.” They were always hugely apologetic.

But over time, we would notice that Lily would place one of her squeaky “pups,” as we called them, right in the middle of a doorway, where we would invariably step on it. Seriously, it scared the bejesus out of us every time. She’d then come racing over and claim it.

But the next thing we knew, another one would be in another doorway ready to be squashed. She’d obviously had some very ambivalent experiences with mothering. I can remember a few like that myself.

But after we’d had her for two years, it was almost as if she’d lost any maternal memories whatsoever. This was a relief for us, as no one wants to step on anyone else’s kid. Never mind that our aging hearts just weren’t up to sudden stoppages.

She began dropping a pup in front of us and seemingly wanting us to throw it for her so she could retrieve it and bring it back. It was like some other dog on the bike path had clued her in on how it was supposed to be done. The game was called “fetch” and was built into the code of dogs.

Now, I have read that dogs don’t see color, but I can attest that this is not so. Lily has a full set of six squeaky pups in different colors, but her favorite child is definitely the green one. In fact, one could almost call doggie social services for the lack of attention the five other pups get these days. They’re strewn around the house, ignored. At this point, Lily refuses to come to bed at night until Green Squeaky Pup has been located and is prominently placed on her blanket on our bed.

If it is not immediately locatable, she runs around the house looking on top of — or under — sofas and beds in a frantic search to find it. Fortunately, I have one of those grabber gizmos so I can fish it out from otherwise inaccessible places, because Lily is willing to whine — and be on the alert — for hours if Green Squeaky Pup is marooned where she can’t reach it.

Attachment is attachment.

We’ve accepted that even though Lily is our emotional-support animal, we are second to Green Squeaky Pup in her feelings. Fortunately, Muttropolis keeps them in stock, as the balls eventually lose their squeak and need to be replaced by Son of Green Squeaky Pup.

Would that my children’s favorite blankets and stuffed animals had been so replaceable.

Register Your Dog

  • Recent News

    Dog Joins Fire Service Team

    July 6, 2020

    The two-year-old spaniel named Phoenix has been trained to detect the location and cause of deliberate fires over the past year. Phoenix can detect the slightest trace of ignitable liquids up to one metre below debris left by a fire, Glasgow-based firefighter and dog handler Jonathan Honeyman revealed. But the clever pup’s talents do not […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs Helping Veterans

    July 3, 2020

    A nonprofit providing service dogs to veterans and first responders at no cost in Pittsburgh is making a real difference. Their actions and local support are making us proud to be from Pittsburgh. At a Grove City park, five military veterans gathered after being paired with their newest support animals. “It’s just remarkable, I cannot […]

    Read more

    Police K9 Unit

    July 3, 2020

    From vomiting to diarrhoea, the canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads between dogs… and if untreated, it can prove deadly. In Gauteng, police service dogs are bred and trained at a specialised K9 facility that’s been overwhelmed by an outbreak of CPV and this year, over 30 state-owned puppies have […]

    Read more

    Fundraising For NEADS

    July 3, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has put a crimp in fundraising for a nationally known nonprofit agency. As a result, Bay State Savings Bank has announced a fundraising drive to support NEADS, which trains service dogs to help people who are deaf or have a physical disability. The campus is at 305 Redemption Rock Trail. The fundraiser […]

    Read more

    Bloomingdale's Service Dog

    July 3, 2020

    The Bloomingdale Police Department lost one of its own this week, a four-legged warrior named Kane. Kane, the department’s service dog, died in his sleep Tuesday at the age of 6 from unknown causes. His time as a member of the force left a remarkable impression on his handler, who said the German shepherd will […]

    Read more

    From Shelter Dogs To Service Animals

    July 3, 2020

    Matt Kleeman was a U.S. Navy Diver stationed in Connecticut when a nearly-fatal car accident left him paralyzed from the neck down and facing an uncertain future. ”I wondered how am I ever going to be independent again, what’s going to stop me, how much can I take things,” Kleeman said. His determination to move […]

    Read more

    More Then A Service Dog

    July 3, 2020

    Take one look at the fox-red Labrador retriever sprawled across the living room rug, and you might easily mistake him for an easygoing family pet. But Tom Garrett of Janesville knows the 92-pound dog, named Clifford, is so much more. Just look at what happens when Garrett brings out the harness. The hulking Lab jumps […]

    Read more

    K9 For Warriors

    July 3, 2020

    All-Elite Wrestling performers got a show of their own with visits from K9 for Warriors service dogs. Several professional wrestlers earned some new fans this week of the four-legged variety before taking action in the ring at Daily’s Place. Ponte Vedra Beach-based K9 For Warriors brought a team of seven service dogs-in-training to visit with […]

    Read more