Cleo, The Working Class Dog

The American Kennel Club classifies the Working Group dogs as

Dogs of the Working Group were bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues. They have been invaluable assets to man throughout the ages. The Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky and Great Dane are included in this Group, to name just a few. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families. And again, by virtue of their size alone, these dogs must be properly trained.

I was in Key West last week and I happened upon a different type of dog who, for all intents and purposes, could be considered a working girl. Her name is Cleo and she is a Golden Retriever and sports a fancy pair of athletic shorts. She doesn’t really fit into the traditional Working Group but, as you’ll see in the video below, she really does know how to earn a buck.

Key West is an interesting place. While waiting to watch the Sunset Ceremony at Mallory Square we were treated to a bevy of entertainment acts. It just so happens that the eclectic fellow playing the fancy banjo and singing Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Family Tradition”, accompanied by his spoon playing companion with strategically ripped jeans, had decided to park his act right behind me. As he set up he produced a large white bucket that had a lot of dog treats in them, opened his banjo case and started playing.

The area about him was cordoned off with some large rope on the ground and Cleo remained, for the most part, within this area. However, when the banjo was strummed and the spoons were clanked it was evident that Cleo couldn’t play an instrument. I was also pretty sure that she couldn’t dance. Instead, Cleo had her own role. She was the ‘ringer’.

I know that I could train my dogs to do this and that, theoretically, they have the potential to learn how to do it. However, it strikes me as more likely that my oldest dog, Farley, would merely be disinterested and then lay down and ignore everything, my Golden Retriever would become so co-dependent that she would stand in front of only one person and continuously paw at them and look for attention and my Berner would just wander off with a goofy expression on his face, half-eaten dollars strewn about him.

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