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A recent trial here in Canada has caught my attention. That’s because it involves a ‘custody battle’ over a dog — a golden retriever, to be precise. In a nutshell, a woman agreed to train the puppy for use as a Service Dog. After a year, she agreed she would return the dog to the National Service Dogs society to be assigned to a needy human. But when the time came, she refused to give the dog back, arguing that it has physical issues of its own that would render it useless as a service dog. They took her to court to get custody of the dog.

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s really going on here. This woman, a woman not unlike myself with a love of Goldens (or any dog) got so attached to the dog that she couldn’t, emotionally, surrender it. Which is why I’d never be able to ‘foster’ dogs. I’d do anything, up to and including kidnapping, disguising it with pink dye so it could travel incognito, smuggling it to Mexico — whatever it took to keep the dog. I do think that the woman could have been a bit more creative when coming up with a malady critical enough to make it a flunk-out as a service dog. She claimed ‘urinary incontinence’ was the issue.

Come on, if I turfed out every dog I had because it peed randomly, there’d be a herd of homeless dogs walking the streets. Or, for that matter, humans wearing Depends…it happens. The Pig is an excellent case in point. Why just this week, she had three ‘accidents’ on my carpet…those are the ones I discovered. Suffice it to say, my wellies come in very handy around here…never go anywhere in the house without them. And I remember Poochie’s indiscretions as a young dog. Every time Crazy D came home, she was so excited to see her ‘alpha’ that she literally ‘peed her pants’ the entire length of the front hall.

The vet in the case claimed that this dog also suffered from ‘anxiety issues’. He was asked if the dog was able to mask these anxiety issues. His reply was that no, Goldens are the drama queens of the canine world. Whereas other dogs may have a sore leg, they are capable of entering the vet’s office with nary a limp. Goldens can be heard complaining from the parking lot. They love making a fuss for attention.

Well, I couldn’t wait to inform The Pig that she has been officially dethroned from her reign as Diva Extraordinaire or Drama Queen of The Year. I chose a moment when her snoring, from her perch on the silk cushions of my couch, head draped morosely over the arm, big brown eyes presumably pleading for love, reached my ears upstairs. The more attention she craves, the louder the snores. She even sneaks in the occasional theatrical sigh…again, loud enough and of suitable duration to be heard on the second level. The Pig was not impressed with this new information. Instead, she looked at me with an expression that said:”Really? You’re kidding, no? I’ll put this sad sack face up against any wimpy Golden any day. No contest. I reign supreme.”

I had to admit, she put up a pretty convincing argument.

A dog-walking friend of mine had encouraged me to put my name on the list for a puppy to train shortly after Poochie died. I resisted for precisely this reason. I’d end up as the woman in court.

When I told Gill of his suggestion, she jumped on me immediately. “Ma, that’s such a bad idea on so many levels! You giving away a puppy after a year of training it would be like you giving away one of your children…Oops, on second thought, I seem to remember the odd threat when we were young and throwing temper tantrums in the grocery store..or car…or at the skating rink. I realize now that we were much closer to being shown the door than a furry creature in your care ever would be. Sad, but there it is.”

“Precisely. Now you appreciate just how fortunate you all are that I’m willing to take you in during your current times of crisis. It SO could have gone the other way…”