Mu and I were basically done, because the weather was warming up. Also, I was pretty certain what had happened to the calico. The cat’s owner wanted to check a particular garage, and a neighbor said she would help her try to rouse the homeowner, who is hard of hearing. While they were checking, Mu and I sat on the lawn, and Mu attracted a bit of a crowd. People had heard about the search dog, and wanted to meet him. I warned people that they could pet him, but that he sometimes would bark without warning and without an apparent cause, at perfectly nice people, so they shouldn’t be alarmed or frightened if he were to suddenly bark right in their faces. The woman who found the femur was very found of Mu, and he leaned into her an licked her face. I was going to say, I don’t let him lick my face because he has been known to eat cat poop, but he had already started licking, so I didn’t say anything. She probably won’t die.
A man came from across the street to see Mu. He said he had lost his Lab mix in November and Mu reminded him of that dog. I also warned him that Mu might bark inappropriately. He took that to mean that I didn’t want him to pet Mu. I told him, he could pet Mu, but just to be forewarned about the inexplicable barking. He was fine with that, and he petted Mu, getting his face pretty close to Mu’s. I thought for sure Mu was going to bark, because intense, direct eye contact can be a trigger, but Mu didn’t bark. I noticed the man was crying, moved to tears about the memory of the dog he’d lost. When he stopped petting, Mu asked for more, and he seemed to understand that the man was sad. Mu comforted him. Mu has done this for many people over the years, comforting them after a search with a sad ending. He doesn’t always. Sometimes he barks, and sometimes he lets people hug him, and he licks their faces. I think Mu understands that these people have suffered a loss, as he lost his Kelsy, the light of his life. Mu has found the remains of cats over a hundred times, so he has been around more than his share of sadness. Some people, who don’t know Mu, have been nervous and frightened by his muscular build and strong jaw. People who get to know Mu realize that he is very tender and sweet. If Mu wasn’t a search dog, he would probably make a good therapy dog, comforting people in hard times.