A Girl and Her Clicker

It's gone.  I have hundreds of them, all different sizes, shapes and colors.  Some are loud and some are soft.  Some are attached to colorful wrist coils, others to lanyards.  Some are plain, some are imprinted with Pup 'N Iron.  But this one was special.  It had history and was well seasoned.  The moment I arrived in LA to tape Greatest American Dog, they came and took away most of our personal effects - laptops, cell phones, cameras, books, magazines, photographs, keys, and any training materials such as books, dvd's, etc.  We were allowed to keep our clothes and toiletries, of course, and then, just like Survivor, they let us keep a couple more luxury items.  I chose a clicker.  This clicker.  I'd used it when introducing scent discrimination to my Dalmatian Tucker who I lost almost exactly a year ago.  It was a key part of my memories of how happy and enthusiastically he played with those funny looking metal and leather toys while he searched for the one that smelled like me - and was slathered with squeeze cheese.  That was the last game Tucker and I would ever play together.

  That made this the perfect one to take along with Andrew and me on our wild and wacky adventure.  And it did its job well.  With its help, I was able to teach Andrew some very unlikely and strange things.  He jumped through hoops covered with vines, fur and boas, navigated across beams suspended over mud, tolerated cold, wet, sticky paint on his feet, and even became comfortable around an elephant!  Not understanding its purpose, the crew, my competitors, and even the judges began to view it as some sort of secret weapon.  And that it was!  I'll never forget how my opponents tried to lure Andrew out of his stay by clicking at him!  The baffled, helpless look on their faces when he completely ignored their useless, purposeless clicks was priceless!

  But now, it's gone.  I had dinner out with a friend and I think, no, I know I left it at the restaurant.  Even though I perfectly described the little plastic blue thing that sort of looked like a keychain, they said it wasn't there.  Gone.  Whoever bussed that table probably never even noticed it.  He or she couldn't have possibly known how special it was.  So it was likely swept away with crumpled napkins, bread crusts, and other leftovers into the trash bin where nothing so special should ever go, and I feel a loss.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye.  While I do take comfort in knowing my dogs view one clicker just like any other, I can't help but wonder if I'll ever be able to load another with the magic and memories this one held for me.