Dog Eases Stress, Rats Out Kids

The Lady just read me this lovely New York Times “Well” post in which Michele Hollow describes how one of my fellow canines, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Cali, sniffs out little humans’ anxiety at a New Jersey school and then helps them talk about their troubles until they feel better.

It’s all very heartwarming, even for a tough fellow like me.  (Yes, I know I don’t look very tough, but I am.  Size means nothing.)

But lo and behold, just a few paragraphs later, we learn whose side Cali, a/k/a “Benedict Furnold,” is really on.

Cali can also detect when a student is faking. “I’ve had students come into my office saying they don’t feel well,” Ms. Butler said. “It’s not uncommon for a student to want to miss a class or a test. If Cali doesn’t signal when she sniffs them, I send them back to the classroom.”

I promised my People I would never rat them out like this, even in the extremely unlikely event they would take a sick day.  I know where my loyalty lies.*

Despite its aspects of espionage, Cali’s work is nonetheless inspiring.  I asked the Lady whether she thought I might make a career of being a service dog (I would so like to give back to the world in some way other than simply being Myself) when she brought my attention to this line from the article:

Like most service dogs, Cali is extremely quiet and unassuming.

Oh, well.

Incidentally, this story is just another example of the essential work we dogs contribute to the world (see Mr. Malcolm Gladwell’s recent comments on our contributions to national security) while cats do nothing but sun themselves and cough up hairballs.

*My loyalty lies with whoever can give me the most food at the moment.