If you live in the St. Peters area you might want to be on the look-out for a service dog that wandered away from its home.
We were talking with Mark Roberts Sunday afternoon. He's been visually impaired since birth. In 2006 he received a "guide dog" from "Guide Dogs for the Blind." PJ is a golden Labrador Retriever. Roberts went to Oregon for a month to train with PJ.
Roberts says his 2-year-old daughter, who just learned how to open doors, opened the front door of the family's house on Saturday afternoon and let PJ out. The first thing that struck me was, how did this highly-trained, intelligent dog wander off? Roberts explained that when PJ is in his harness he obeys commands. He does his job. When he's out of harness---think of it as "off the clock"--PJ is a completely different dog. He wants to run wild and free. Roberts says that's what you want in a good guide animal. This way the animal gets to unwind a bit, they're not as tense and stressed. They live longer and happier.
Also, PJ may be a bit hungry. His diet and eating times are regulated because, as a service animal, he's out in public and can't just take a bathroom break for himself when he's in the middle of a mall or store. The family has him on a diet because he was putting on a few pounds. So wanderlust may have set in along with the desire to raid a neighbor's trashcan or two.
We've posted a picture of PJ on our website and if you see him you're asked to call the family.
636-279-7045 or 636-485-0488