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Jimmy and his military working dog Spike in Afghanistan

Every day, I think about Spike. I think about his strength and his poise and his relentless spirit.  In my book he is mentioned many times, and this bit is a good reminder for me: 

“As our shoes sank a bit in the soft earth, Spike, who was lighter on his feet, moved ahead, toward something that was nestled near the building, at the base of some thin rushes. Spike had a good nose for explosives, but I knew that whatever he was sniffing, it wasn’t our 500-pounders. And therefore it wasn’t the priority. The building itself was. So I discouraged him, wanting him to focus.
What he’d found was two grenades. I didn’t know it at the time. And because I refused to acknowledge his body language, we were in a position where those grenades could have hurt us.
We kept approaching the building, and I was giving Spike commands to drop his little side project and keep moving. But he wouldn’t. We got very close to those grenades before I realized what he was telling me. Spike pointed at them with his snout, without touching them, and basically forced me to see.
He’d been right. What he did was dead-on. And he retaught me the lesson of the Vietnam-veteran instructor. There are just too many variables. The worst thing you can do is think you’ve considered them all. I thought I knew all the parameters in my mind, and Spike’s info did not fit those parameters, so I almost missed it. I’d been unable to stay alert to the possibilities I wasn’t expecting. I was concerned about enemies and 500-pound bombs, which were a real threat, yes, but not the only threat.”

In my life now, I don't need to rely on my Dog to find bombs, thank goodness, but I do need to remind myself that I shouldn't purport to know everything. There are times where I get a little cocky, thinking I understand the circumstances, and I have it wrong. 

Spike is still teaching me, still reminding me that I am, on my best day, just human. Just like the K9 trainers taught me: "On his {Spike's} best day, he's just a Dog."