Do Dogs Like to Work?

I was at the airport the other day and was lucky enough to see one of the sniffer dogs doing the rounds at the arrivals gate. I love these dogs. I love how they wear vests that make them look all official, I love their floppy ears and most of all I love how these dogs command a huge amount of respect from their human co-workers and the public in general. I just wish I could pat them!!

{Puppies in Training from Assistance Dogs Australia. Photographer: Rebecca Addison for Assistance Dogs Australia}

There are so many arenas now in which dogs do very important work. Bomb sniffing dogs, seeing eyes dogs, therapy dogs, palliative care dogs….the list is endless.

But it got me to thinking the other day…Do you think there are ever days dogs don’t feel like going to work? Do you think there are days where they just think “I wish I could call in sick and spend the day watching Oprah?”

I know for a fact that training to be any kind of assistance dog is intensive. These dogs give up a lot of their lives to help people. But do you know what? I think because dogs are so eager to please and just all-round gorgeous they don’t give this a second thought. They’re just happy to help.

Reminds me of a time years ago when I was filming inside a major metropolitan hospital. I met a young boy who suffered from a severe muscle condition that kept him confined to a wheelchair. Lets call him Trent*. Every week Trent and his parents would arrive at the hospital to participate in therapy to encourage him to walk. Week after week, month after month, even with wonderful therapy, the encouragement of treats (the yummy sugary kind that all kids love!), hugs, kind words, toys and all the things a young boy could want, all Trent could manage was a slight shuffle with one foot.

Then one day the smart physiotherapist brought in with her a bundle of fluff called Rosie*. Sitting Rosie a few paces away from Trent they encouraged him to walk to the dog. That day Trent made his first step. After further sessions he made even more. I don’t know what was more rewarding – see the tears of pure joy stream down his parents’ faces or watching Trent bury his head in Rosie’s golden fur. I think on this day Rosie was very glad to be at work.

*Names changed for privacy
Do you have any touching, funny or exciting stories to share about working dogs?

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One response to “Do Dogs Like to Work?”

  1. Carly says:

    First, those puppies are adorable!

    But I think yes, depending on the dog, they do like to work. We went to a minor league baseball game a couple weeks ago and there was a retriever ‘in charge’ of going out and bringing back the bats every time their was a hit. He just looked so happy to have his responsibility and do his job well. And he was eating up the audience cheering him on!

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