My Golden Snitch
© 2013 by Mark Carlson All Rights Reserved
First printed in San Diego Pets Magazine, 2013
All you Harry Potter fans out there know what a Golden Snitch is. Well I have one. Her name is Saffron. She’s a 2-year old Yellow Labrador. And like the seeker’s target in a game of Quidditch, she’s just as fast, just as elusive and when I catch her, the game is over.
But it’s not that easy. For one thing, I don’t have a Firebolt. And my eyesight is lousy. But I still have to catch my little Golden Snitch.
Saffron is a playful and energetic dog. When my older Guide Dog Musket retired, I went back to Guide Dogs for a new one. And I was given Saffron. Here’s the deal. I’ve been working with Musket for so long, I was used to his easygoing, slow pace. It was like driving a 40-year old VW Microbus and then getting a Formula One Ferrari. What a change. She’s a great Guide Dog, but that’s not the topic of this story.
Saffy loves to run, and play and fetch.
When I played fetch with Musket I’d throw the (ball, Frisbee, Kong, etc) down the lawn and he’d run for it. After about three throws it dawned on him that he was doing all the work. On the fourth throw, he’d say “Ah, you go and get it this time. I’m tired.”
So the blind guy had to go and find the (ball, Frisbee, Kong, etc). And often I never found it. They love me at Petco. “Ah, Mark. Another Frisbee, right?”
But Saffy is very different in temperament from Musket. She LOVES to run! I can’t keep up with her. She’s like a superball in a paint mixer. Jane calls her a ‘Gazelle on crack.’
Her favorite toy to fetch is a thick short rope knotted at both ends. I just throw it once and then I can sit down and have a beer. She’s off and running. And running back. And running off again. Back and forth. I’m no longer involved. She has more energy than a nuclear chain reaction. No, that’s not right. A runaway reactor eventually dies down. Saffron could provide power to the entire U.S. if I could just connect her to a grid. But I’d have to catch her first.
There must be some hunting instinct in her because she doesn’t just get the rope and run. She has to ‘kill’ it. With one end in her mouth she snaps her head from side to side as if trying to break her prey’s neck. I don’t know how she keeps from beating herself unconscious. That heavy knot bashes her on both ears like a nunchuck.
Finally I am tired from drinking a beer and say “Okay, Saffy, that’s enough. Let’s go inside.” Then I snap my fingers and she obediently comes to me.
If she’s ready. If not, I have to go get her. “Sigh, where’s my Firebolt?”
There’s another reason she is a Golden Snitch. I’m not only blind I’m a guy. So sometimes I break things. It happens. In the morning after I feed the dogs I make tea for Jane and bring it up to her. Saffy always watches me until I bring the tea upstairs and then sits on Jane’s lap.
One morning I was at the counter and opened the upper cupboard and heard a ‘clink!’ noise on the granite counter. I was sure something was broken. But I couldn’t find it on the counter or floor. I began to panic. I knew there had to be something broken (and probably valuable) on the floor. I had to find and dispose of it before Jane came down. I was on my hands and knees, feeling my way around the floor. Cold sweat broke out on the back of my neck as time ran out.
Then I heard Jane call from upstairs, “Honey did you break something?”
Damn her Vulcan hearing. “Uh, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Because Saffy just brought me a piece of broken tea bag plate.”
So my loyal little Guide Dog Saffron saw the broken plate and grabbed it, took it up to Mommy and dropped it in front of her. “Daddy broke something! What are you going to do to him?”
That’s why Saffron is my little Golden Snitch.
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