A big thank you to everyone for your comments and suggestions about Dempsey's energy! Dempsey is our very first dog, so it's very reassuring to us that other people have been down this road before.
On Friday, we started babysitting Dempsey's sister Nala. It's a little surreal having two dogs in the house that aren't "ours," but it's been a lot of fun. We've been paying a lot more attention to their personalities, and it's interesting to see the differences: Sawyer is easy going, and Nala is sassier, to put it very broadly. I hadn't really thought very much about the matching process for service dogs, but now I can see how two very different dogs can both be great service dogs. Off duty, Nala and Sawyer are pretty different, but in uniform and on duty, they both perform quite well.
But the most interesting personality difference, to me anyway, is how they like to get affection. Sawyer prefers to sit in my lap, while Nala likes to "hold hands" (i.e., put her paw on my arm).
It's impossible not to love dogs like these!
In other, sadder news, Bailey has been diagnosed with chronic renal failure. It's progressive and terminal, but if it's caught early like Bailey's was, it can sometimes be managed for months or years. We're looking forward to getting Dempsey back tonight, but he and Nala may have more quiet kennel time than they would like as we research low-phosphorous cat foods and learn how to take care of Bailey's condition.