The Fine Art of Dog Ear Scratching

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Good Morning:

Everyone who takes the bus in San Francisco knows (wink, wink) that every dog that boards a bus in San Francisco with its pet human is a “service dog” (wink, wink), meaning that it’s quite legal for the dog to board the bus (wink, wink). One such dog, along with her pet human, took a seat next to me the other day. The medium-sized black mixed breed was in a good mood, since her faithful human servant had just fed her some bacon (it’s nice to know that humans get some things right). The dog checked me out, being the closest human to her own, and I absentmindedly began to scratch her right ear.

The young woman said, “Ooh, it’s a good day for her. First, she gets bacon, now she gets her ear scratched.”

It was also a good day for me, of course; I got to scratch a dog’s ear. After a moment I stopped and began to look for my stop. The dog leaned her left shoulder against my right leg and stuck her head between my shins. Evidently, I am a very good dog ear scratcher and she decided that I should continue to practice the fine art of dog ear scratching in order to maintain the high level of quality I bring to the fine art of dog ear scratching. So I did, until I had to disembark and walk the rest of the way to the meeting of one of my writers’ groups.

I sat to the left of the regulars of this group, a 50-ish Latina with a few physical disabilities that I won’t describe to protect her privacy. She also has a service dog, but this Collie-German Shepherd mix is such an extremely official service dog that she wears her own bright orange acrylic vest indicating that she is the real thing. I absentmindedly began to scratch her right ear, too. But then, gosh darn it, someone said something worth recording, so I stopped scratching the dog’s ear and wrote down a few notes. The dog leaned her left shoulder against my right leg and stuck her head between my shins. Evidently, I am a very good dog ear scratcher and she decided that I should continue to practice the fine art of dog ear scratching in order to maintain the high level of quality I bring to the fine art of dog ear scratching (you might have noticed that I’m also very good at copy-and-paste). I had to keep scratching that dog’s ear until the meeting ended.

And thus it is proven: the reward for doing good is the opportunity to do more good. Unless it’s scratching a dog’s ear. Then the reward for doing good is the encouragement that you continue to do more good. Nay, it is the polite insistence that you continue to do more good. Yet nay again, it is the polite yet determined insistence that you continue to do more good. Nay…

Vonn Scott Bair

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