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Trish Mitchell Headshot

What's Your Dog's Purpose?

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If you've heard of Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer -- let's face it, who hasn't -- you'll know that a dog needs a job in life, if he or she is not to become neurotic and anxious.

Then there's that New York Times bestseller, "A Dog's Purpose," whose author surely was a dog in a previous life.

Some dogs bark at the door -- their job is to protect the family. Some chase the cat -- their job is to make sure no cats are allowed within at least 10 miles of the family home.

Well, my very pretty 3-year-old papillon, Tequila, accidentally found her purpose this week. I had occasion last week to visit a mental health hospital ward in my hometown of Canberra, Australia. Tequila, normally quite timid and wary of even the nicest people, gently went to everyone in the ward, one by one, ears back, body slightly lowered, tail wagging hysterically in a circle.

Sad, scared, depressed and anxious faces smiled in delight. The mood in the ward was immediately lifted. Tequila was a natural! She trotted happily into rooms, where one young girl, sad-eyed and weepy, exclaimed "puppy!" and crouched grinning to pat my genius little dog. Tequila gently touched at her knee with a paw, loving the attention.

Now, of course, I'm looking at the formal process so she can begin her career as a therapy dog for hospitals and retirement homes. I can't tell you how thrilled I am with my girl.

So now, I'd really like to know -- what's your dog's purpose?

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Tequila relaxing after a big day making sad people happy.

P.S. Only 12 sleeps until I meet the great Cesar face-to-face in Sydney, while he's on his show-stopping tour of Australia. Can't wait to talk to him -- watch out for a brilliant blog coming up!

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