Maxine Weber, volunteer and guest blogger, shares her thoughtful and often humorous observations from inside the WDC.
It is 7pm and all the dogs have gone home. The boisterous daytime sounds have been replaced by the gentle hum of the vacuum cleaner. Each evening the entire Center is vacuumed, errant tuffs of dog hair quietly disappear into our trusty Miele.
As I vacuum, the gentle hum causes my mind to drift back to thoughts of college.
We could have used a good vacuum cleaner sophomore year. I was living in a small row house in West Philly that served as our sorority house. Sophomore year, one of my sorority sisters brought her dog to school, her father saying that the dog was lost without her.
The dog in question was a Norwegian Elkhound named Click. Click was the best trained dog I had ever encountered at that point in my life. We all swore that the dog was really a person inside a dog suit and as such, she was given an honorary membership to our sorority and henceforth known as “Sister Click.”
We loved Sister Click and were amazed at her endless talents and array of tricks. Sister Click could flip dog biscuits off her nose and catch them in mid air. She was the queen of the command “stay”… holding a stay for 10 minutes, even if my friend hid around the corner; sitting quietly until my friend reappeared. We came to find out that these talents were the result of hours of training on my friend’s part as she spent almost every afternoon working with Click.
As amazed as we were by Sister Click’s tricks, we were equally amazed by her constant shedding. Elkhounds shed like crazy in the Philadelphia heat and we did not have a vacuum cleaner. So my friend cleaned up the inevitable dog hair off her carpet with a sneaker. This became an activity known as “sneakering the floor.” Even with two people using two sneakers each, this operation could take 30 minutes. We all pitched in to sneaker the carpets because we loved Sister Click and we didn’t want anyone to complain about the fur. Happily, Click lived with us the entire year.
With or without a vacuum cleaner, good dog training can strengthen the bond between dog and owner. Many dogs welcome the challenge of training, finding it mentally stimulating. The Working Dog Center offers dog training classes for both puppies and adult dogs, throughout the year. The next series of classes begin Oct. 27th. Carpet sneakers are not included.
Photo of volunteer Vaugh