by Stephanie Jones, Paws and Affection Summer Intern from Villanova University
Life as a Summer Intern with Paws and Affection
A wet nose nudge to the face, this is my new morning alarm. Unfortunately, this wake up system, aka Kelly the black golden-labradoodle, doesn’t come with a snooze button, so we’re up a bit earlier than need be. I suppose my new wake up and the not so sparse dog hairs spread throughout my room and house are the price to pay for puppy sleepovers.
Out of bed we go and onto a short walk, just enough time to stop and sniff the roses, among other things. We keep the morning routine abbreviated as we have so much to see and do today! One short train ride into suburban station later, we’re the picture-perfect Philly tourist couple, fanny pack, or training pouch, and all. First stop: the Schmear It food truck stationed in Love Park. Ideal spot for a little breakfast and a lot of love from everyone lined up to buy a bagel to support the training of Kelly and her friends. We stroll around Love Park bagel in hand, not in paw, much to Kelly’s chagrin. We make our way down to the art museum and the river side. Here it strikes me, while just about every other intern rushes for coffees or stresses over the next morning meeting, I just reenacted Rocky with a puppy on the art museum steps and gave nearly every person I passed a reason to grin.
We follow up our city morning with a more suburban afternoon; each of the dogs get a walk around the neighborhood. Beesly, with his particular palate, expects only peanut butter for his walks. Then there’s Cricket, who bounds through his walk with enough energy to finish three loops rather than just one. Finally, Nikki wanders through block after block glued to my side like a little blond shadow.
We come back to the house for a short training session. Susie demonstrates how to shape a behavior, today it’s using their mouths to tug open a door. Several dozen rounds of open doors, clicks, and treats later and we’ve finished training for today.
To wrap up the day I do what a lot of interns might, make a few social media posts, help brainstorm fundraising ideas, and talk about what’s going right and wrong day to day. The only difference is I have a puddle of a dog napping at my feet all the while, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.