The Daily News

A very young Jana fetches The Jerusalem Post
A very young Jana fetches The Jerusalem Post

Jana spends considerable time on every walk catching up on the local news. She sniffs out the usual trees and bushes on our daily route. When we take a different route or an extra walk, I know to leave extra sniff time.
But that’s not enough for my newshound. Jana does her best to ensure that I, too, have a steady stream of news and information. Knowing how sadly lacking my sense of smell is — and sensing my inability to understand the dog news, should I somehow manage to gather it — she wants me to read the daily paper.
Since our recent move, we’ve had Sunday-only delivery of The New York Times. But every morning, Jana has headed to the gate with an eager expression and a spring in her step. Bringing in the paper has been her job. Forever. She fetched The Jerusalem Post as a puppy. As a secular dog, she resented the lack of a Saturday edition.
As a young adult, she fetched the Boston Globe, carrying it the length of a very long driveway. (At one point, she suffered the humiliation of having to fetch it wearing a long leash, the result of an unfortunate decision one morning to take off after a jogger, rather than bring the paper home.)
She has fetched the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the St. Petersburg Times (and, more recently, the Tampa Bay Times) and, last year, the San Francisco Chronicle. For the Chronicle, she was forced to fend off a job-stealing challenge from puppy Cali; having held on to her position, she proudly, carefully, carried her prize a great distance to our little rural cottage each morning.
So, when we moved to Petaluma, Jana simply could not understand — or accept — my decision to take Sunday-only delivery. Online news access, it seems, is an even more foreign concept to dogs than to us over-40 humans. I am fumbling along with it, but she refuses to accept this transformational technology and the havoc it wrought in her world.
I simply could not face the daily sad face, the disappointment. She’d head happily to the gate, and I would open it and show her: no paper. Her head would hang, and she’d slowly walk back to the house. Unemployment. Downsized. Made redundant by a computer. Unneeded. The worst fate for a smart, educated adult. Jana could relate. It was a terrible thing to watch.
So, I upgraded my newspaper subscription.
Now, our paper appears at the gate daily. Not rain, nor sleet, nor snow … even better than the mail, since we get seven-day-a-week service. Every morning, even before the sun comes up, Jana has a paper to retrieve. Full employment has returned. Jana’s sense of self-worth is restored.
Life is good for this thinking dog.

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