Last night a few bands played some live music at the local pub where we are on holiday. We joined some friends of friends – a husband, wife and daughter I recognised from my neighbourhood, but never really got to know.

The vibe was festive with holiday makers and locals enjoying the fabulous tunes and delicious beer on tap. After some great conversation, a couple of drinks and many laughs we found that these friends of friends are really cool, inclusive, kind and interesting people.

About an hour or so in, I discovered that we were joined by a furry friend wearing a red jacket labeled ‘service dog’ fast asleep under the table despite all the noise and activity around it – and was introduced to Trooper, the most beautiful black labrador.

Expecting a service dog to escort a blind person, I was surprised to find out that Trooper belonged to the woman, Colette. She explained that she has MS – she forgets where she is sometimes, in which case Trooper takes her back home. She often falls and Trooper bridges for her so that she can get back up on her feet. He can take her socks off, get the remote and keys and do all sorts of tasks that help her when she needs him to.

It is in moments like these that you do a double take. Here Colette is enjoying every moment that she feels well enough to do so – she even showed the band some love by getting onto the dance floor, with Trooper patiently waiting while his mom is having a good night out.

Colette explained that her condition may worsen over time, in which case she will come to rely on Trooper more and more, but, god willing it doesn’t, and either way, she is lucky enough to have found a best friend who is by her side every moment of the day.

I realised my ignorance in thinking that service dogs are only for the blind – these incredibly smart, loyal and intelligent beasts are able to offer love and aid on so many levels. But most importantly, I realised that I would be lucky if these friends of friends over time could become friends of mine.

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