“I Can Only Do This Once”

This entry is part 2 of 17 in the series GDB & Route 66
Portrait of a male tabby cat
Portrait of a male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I checked into my Winnemucca, NV motel last night, I asked if a service dog in training could stay for free like a working service dog, instead of me paying the pet fee. (She could.) Upon learning that I’m a professional trainer, the desk clerk realized that I obviously needed an education in what service animals do. (But if I’m a professional trainer there with a service dog in training, wouldn’t I probably already know what service animals… Never mind.) It included this exchange:

Clerk: “And there are even service cats! And do you know what they do? When a person is dying, a service cat is trained to get up on their chest and die with them.”

Me: “Um. /awkward blinky moment/ But they can only do that once.”

Clerk: “Right. But it happens.”

Um, yeah.

Now, I am reasonably sure that this woman read or saw a clip about Oscar, the nursing home therapy cat who allegedly predicts when a patient is about to die. He’s got about 50 accurate predictions to his credit, and at this point when the staff sees Oscar curling up with a patient, they call the family. However:

  1. Oscar is a therapy cat, not a service cat. And he’s a single cat, not typical of service animals.
  2. Oscar is not trained to perform this detection or service.
  3. Oscar does not actually die each time.

Honestly, I just kept thinking of a Monty Python sketch. “Now you see, Ms. Smith, we only work with the best cats for this purpose, which is why we’re pairing you with this lovely Norwegian Blue….”

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  1. wow.

  2. Sandy Della-Croce

    That’s like a really weird game of “Telephone!”

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