Echo was my second service dog, a black-and-tan Doberman with a calm nature and a “diva” attitude. She went everywhere with me, and one evening joined me and two friends at an upscale Italian restaurant. As trained, Echo headed under the white tablecloth for a nap. She’s quick, so neither the waitress, nor a friend who arrived late, knew she was there.

When the evening wound down, the waitress came up behind my wheelchair to lay the bill on the table. In the process, she nudged Echo squarely in the butt. Startled out of a deep sleep, Echo jumped up and bonked her head on the table. The thunk rattled the dishes and shook the table with such force that my friend jumped to her feet and shrieked at what she thought was some sort of dining room poltergeist under the table. In reaction, the other diners jumped in a domino effect, staring at the bizarre situation at the corner table.

Echo emerged, and calm was quickly restored. As the waitress apologized profusely, Echo just sat wondering what the fuss was about and why her head hurt.

—Margie Marinara