In the morning, the elementary school is a very social place. After the moms and dads drop off their kids, they don't leave right away. With their coffee, their dogs and their toddlers in tow, they usually stop and chat for awhile.
They laugh, the kids play, and it's a very nice, relaxed atmosphere. Today it was even sweeter, because today I met Ashton.
I saw Ashton - a tiny, 13-week-old spaniel/poodle mix - as I was hurrying back to my car. He was sniffing about on the end of his leash, and he was adorable, as most puppies are. But what caught my eye was the red vest he was wearing. On one side it said "Service Dog." On the other side, it said, "Please Pet Me."
Well, I had to ask.
His owner told me she's started bringing him to the school to interact with the kids because it's part of his training to become very socialized, very at ease around children.
Ashton will have a very special job: He'll be visiting terminally ill children in hospitals. "The children love it when the dogs visit," Ashton's owner told me. "It's amazing."
I learned two things this morning:
1. You can meet wonderful people doing spirit-lifting things just about anywhere.
2. I should never leave the house without my camera