Woof Woof Wednesday
Life With A Service Dog
Lord, there is a lot of darkness in this world and sometimes it settles too deep in the atmosphere. This brings a negative energy into the body-language and voice of our world. I am asking you today, to please release everybody I love of any negative thoughts, feelings, and give them the light they need to see a brighter side and feel better about their world. I ask this in God’s name.
Thinking About Dogs
My husband and I began to understand the impact my CrazyAlphabetDisorder was having on our environment sometime in September 2012. We began to “think” about a service dog for me so that I could get out of the house more. By “think,” I mean, I would see a commercial about service dogs and do online research about getting one and periodically tell my husband that it might be beneficial. He would listen, and tell me that the reason a dog licks a person’s face is because he knows he was just licking his own butt. He DIDN’T want a dog. I clearly understood. I didn’t want one either, not one that wasn’t ready for life with me. I’ve already had them. I loved my dogs and tried to take great care of mine when I had them, and knew I did NOT want the frustration of starting with a puppy like raising a child again.
I wanted a dog that was housebroken. He should already know the commands I need for walking with me, going to the gym, groceries, laundry, etc. My service dog would know he has a job and was ready for work when we got him. The dog I need would know that “COME” means, “No matter where we are, if Momma says ‘COME’ – I come and be next to her, on her lap if I can; if not, as close and gentle and loving as possible. ‘COME’ means come & comfort Momma because she’s in a moment.” I know that the best place for me doesn’t have more than I can manage, and NO, I couldn’t manage a dog that was not already trained and ready for work. Research showed me that a dog like that would cost thousands of dollars we didn’t have. So we continued to “think” about it.
Then, along came BigBlue. He came from the country and actually didn’t belong to the people he lived with. Imagine waking up and going outside and there’s a huge Blue Nose Pitt Bull sitting on your porch. To me, he looked to be about 100-120 lbs, but my husband only gives him 80 lbs; still huge. He has the goofiest grin and a nearly vibrating ass because he shakes his tail so hard. He always seemed to show up at just the right time, and would be there a few days then go away. We’d miss him because we knew he was being locked up at home and not allowed to run off in country like he does, but he’d escape often and come back just in time again. There was something about him that just “knew,” and it became obvious he “knew” when I got there.
I don’t do well with chaos, conflict, or any kind of changes to my routine or environment that I’m not mentally prepared for. Being in the country like that was something almost too different for me. I can’t say anything really bad about it. There were good friends who supported me in my mess, loving children to distract me from my mental turmoil, and lots of adventures to write about. I appreciate everything about it more than I can explain here. The thing I am most grateful for is that when BigBlue knew we needed him, he came, and he made sure my husband knew a dog like him was handy when he knew I would be leaving soon.
A big fire had been lit out back, and everyone was having a good time. But, with little ones running around, and about four more grown-ups than the CrazyAlphabetDisoder allows me to tolerate I needed to be in my corner of the living room sofa. The little ones and I would talk a bit every time they went through and everybody came in to ask if I was ok and why didn’t I come and hang out. I know my limits and that sofa was just about as far as I could go that night. If I had to explain to one more person that I was just fine and might get out later I might have just screamed. It wasn’t their fault. I tried to explain my limits before I got there, but it really is difficult for most people to get. So, I would rather people think I am unsocial and pouting on the sofa than know I was there because too many people, a little bit more chaos than I’m accustomed too, or too much whatever was causing anxiety I’d give ANYTHING not to feel or show to ANYONE. But BigBlue “knew.”
My husband was next to me, trying to coax me outside when it happened. Thank you, BigBlue for choosing just the right moment. He came in and wedged himself between a 3’X3’ coffee table storage. He pushed it enough out of the way with his big ol’ body so he could squeeze in and sit. When he did sit, it was so he could lean his full weight against the front of my legs. As I felt his body relax with a long sigh, he leaned against me. I can’t explain exactly what happened, but I was breathing ok again and not on the verge of panic.
My husband also recognized what he saw, having only seen it a few times before. It’s a physical relaxation that changes my whole body, demeanor, and stance. It only comes when I’m in a place where I can be ok with whatever is around me. When he saw how this dog knew when I needed him and exactly what to do he didn’t “think” about it much longer. We have since moved on from there and I miss BigBlue and talk about him often. He is such a good boy, and I know he still visits when they need him because he’s just like that. He “knows.”
My husband thought about it for about four months after we left from there. Then, I got a text from him one afternoon before he got off work. The text had a picture of a mom and some pups, and the words, “thinking about the brindle one.” I asked how big and boy or girl and the most PreciousGirl in the world was delivered the next day at 5am.
And Her Name Is Precious
She really is a PreciousGirl. With her coloring I thought of Tiger as a name, and that conversation went:
Me: Look at you, aren’t you precious, you look kinda like a li’l tiger with your stripes I think I’m gonna call you Tiger.
Precious: Momma, momma, no no no Tiger is not my name, you already said my name, do I really really have to tell ya’ – c’mon, Momma look look, watch me, Imma make the Precius face.
With just the cutest, most precious expression and one little ear cocked just so.
Precious: See, Momma, look look look how Precious I can be.
Me: Oh my goodness that face, just so Precious – ok then, I understand, your name is going to be Precious.
Precious: Yeah yeah yeah – I’m so glad you listened, now take me outside so I can pee because after that I’m curling up next to you in that bed and you just gonna love me and hug me and love me so so so much because I’m a beautiful Precious Girl.
That was August. We are now in October. Yes, she is the most amazing PreciousGirl in the world. Showed how smart she was right off from the start. She already knows Sit, Shake, and Heel really well. She has the best prance when she wants to be cute as we walk together. We’re working on Stay and Come. Training with a group that works with service dogs begins next Monday. I really can’t wait. I can’t wait because our talks are beginning to become more like this:
Precious: Momma Momma Momma, c’mon c’mon c’mon, take me outside I need to go, right now Momma, I said take me out right NOW!!!
Me: Ok, lets get on the leash, wait Precious, gim’me a sec’, no, girl. I said wait!
She pulls me down the steps with the full force and weight of her body.
Precious: Yeah yeah yeah, I’m so glad we outside, Momma. Look, Momma look look, is that a frog, I wanna sniff it and, oh now wait, where did it go, oh yeah, I wanna smell everything and eat everything, yeah yeah, this is so cool.
Me: C’mon, Precious, we came out to potty, I got’ta write, are you gonna potty for me, C’mon, give me some poop, or whatever, just go potty for me
Precious: I will I will, just wait, we got’ta go over here, yeah, over here, oh wait, maybe over there, no no no, ok yeah this is the spot.
Me: Good girl, you’re such a good girl for going potty outside, c’mon, now, let’s go in, time for me to write
Precious lays down on the ground with all four legs spread eagle. I really have to get a picture to post soon.
Precious: Wait wait wait, Mommy, look, see what I doing, oh that feels so good with my belly on the cool ground, no, Mommy, I’m not ready to go in.
And then I have to drag her across the ground until she decides to walk again. Those kinds of walks end with me fussing Precious as we go back inside.
Me: Your name is Precious, not Obnoxious, stop it and come inside with me. C’mon now I HAVE TO WRITE.
We go in and play toss the rock a little. I usually get to settle into writing about a half hour later when she lays down with her rock, or bear, or rope. This time, she let me write the whole post. I was able to write for almost 2 ½ hours before PreciousGirl started telling me it was time to go back outside. As if she knew her best buddy besides Daddy was home and it was time for some fetch.
I am so happy training begins Monday.