Divine Calm: Escalating Obstacles

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Escalating Obstacles

A black retriever service dog in training quivered at the top step of an escalator. His right front paw timidly stepped on the grooved steel and then quickly lifted as if he touched hot Florida summer sand. After dancing his quick step three more times while receiving correction from his trainer, the hesitant pup finally landed his two front paws square on the middle of the step. A little surprised to find his front end heading down to the first floor with his back end staying on the marble second floor, the dog quickly glanced at his human companion as if pleaing for rescue. With another metal step pouring out of the floor and left with no other choice, the trainee allowed the rest of his body to scuttle onto the escalator.

The trainer's praise, "You are a goooood boy, goooooooood boy," echoed throughout the atrium.

I was next to step onto the modern contraption that had given the dog such fits. As I glanced down to ensure my skinny high-heeled boots didn't fall between the escalator steps, I better appreciated the dogs' jitters. Pictures of my falling head first, with my stripped away brown leather boot stuck in the escalator step, made my face flush with anxiety, and I really yearned for the black retriever to be at my side for comfort and balance. I then began to think how scary it must be for a person who has lost her sight to ride these moving steps.

As I stepped off the escalator, I looked over to see the black retriever's next obstacle: a revolving door. With newly gained confidence from his last accomplishment, the dog wagged his tail while waiting for further instruction.

"I really hope you pass with flying colors, little buddy," I silently cheered. "Soon, your presence will represent freedom for some very lucky owner."