In the summer of 2007, I had decided to go and participate in the Global Mala project in Philadelphia. As it was held outside, I checked to see if dogs were allowed because it is a shame to spend a lovely summer day outside with no dogs. As it turned out, they were! I wasn't really sure how Maizy was going to behave as this was a different kind of outing for us, but I brought her along and hoped for the best.
Thinking back on the event now, I realize that this day should have been my first clue that Maizy is a born emotional support therapy dog. The Global Mala event is a hatha yoga practice that includes 108 full sun salutations (what I affectionately call the "yogic squat thrust" for simplicity's sake).
In the past, I had participated in Yoga Malas and completed all 108 sun salutes with much focus and little physical problem, but this time was different. I enjoyed every second, including many, many breaks where I cozied up with my best friend. Other people would come over and sit down with Maizy and she helped them enjoy their breaks. She allowed everyone to enjoy slowing down, even if it was just for a few moments.
She was a good girl the rest of that day, with one initial exception in my mind. We had all gathered around under a tree to chant the gyatri mantra, complete with accompaniment on harmonium, when a squirrel started creeping down the large tree towards our group. With a mighty "woof woof woof" (nicely disturbing the meditative atmosphere) Maizy hopped up to chase off the intruder. I had to take her away from the goup and give her time to calm down so that she wouldn't bother anyone any further. After the chanting was over, I made a sheepish comment to a friend (then more of an acquaintance that I looked up to a lot) about Maizy's interrupting the chanting, embarrassed by her "bad" behavior. Without a second thought my friend looked at Maizy and said something that quickly changed my perception of canine behavior forever, "Protecting the group. Such noble dharma."