Someone recently asked me “how exactly does Hugger help with your work?”There are many things that Hugger does that help me do my job. She may not (yet) be able to write computer code, deploy instruments in the ocean, or give a science presentation, but I’d struggle to get to the office, or to the field site, or to the meeting without her.
For example, Hugger has been guiding me around the Army Corps Field Research Facility, avoiding all the equipment and vehicles that get moved around. Without Hugger, I’d be a hazard that others would need to watch out for.
We can walk from our house to the field site along the Duck, NC boardwalk, which zigs and zags thru the marshes and along the shops. There are joggers and walkers and shoppers everywhere. Without Hugger I would want someone to drive me.
Yesterday, after I finished a phone-meeting with colleagues, Hugger guided me from our office to our beach sampling site to join the crew, which enabled everyone to keep working rather than sending someone to pick me up.I doubt I’d be able to hire a human sighted guide and driver for 3 cups of kibble and some hugs and pats each day! And my husband might get jealous, smile. Of course, Hugger does have lifetime health care, and free room and board, which might attract some applicants.
I also was asked “why do most of the photos show Hugger without a harness?” Hugger allows me to be independent, so we’re often on our own when she’s working – there’s nobody to take a photo. When we meet up with our field group, she gets to rest, play, and pose for photos!
I could change the way I do my work by sending others to the field without me, or not traveling to as many conferences or meetings. But one of the things I love about my career is the variety. And going to the beach! Hugger makes both possible.