SQUIRREL!! Sorry about that, those little furry creatures get the best of me! I look at Mom, apologize with my eyes and look for a discreet place to, you know, nature calls!
Thanks Mom for cleaning that up! I wonder why Mom picks up my poop? Strange really. Hey! Shilo is here! My Golden Lab friend! We walk side by side with our owners, Shilo is always leashed and that makes me so happy that he is safe! Happy chap that Shilo! Timber! Where is your leash? My friend Timber is a huge Rottie cross, huge!
Timber's heart is as big as he is, I pray he stays out of danger.
Together, we are a team in sync. We speak the same language and flow like a calm river stream. I wish we could stay here forever today! I met a dog that looked like a bedroom slipper, all white and fluffy. What is this? 'Spike' started barking, more like a 'yip, yip'! Goodness!
Hey Mom, can we quietly just walk by this ferocious little slipper? A husky cross was training over the grassy, soggy hill. I watched with interest and remembered the early days of training with my Mom.
We were not always this natural, calm and confident! My Mom was very nervous as to our understanding each other and I really did not know Mom either! I have travelled countless miles and lived with many other people. Would I stay here, who was this person? Would she keep me safe and love me? What can I get away with? How am I going to train her? Our early days together were funny, unorganized, clumsy, scary, frustrating, heart warming and full of promising success!
Just getting out the door seemed a complex maneuver! Choke chain goes which way? Come on Mom, lets go! 'Dress', on with the cape, Mom's clumsy hands, practice, practice. We are going shopping, first time as a team!!!!!! Sharon is coming too! Mom is racking her brains thinking of commands, at the proper time, the PERFECT, RIGHT command, don't mess up, figure out what to say to people, be calm, don't run over me with the shopping buggy, she's funny! I see Mom and wish she had 5 hands..awww. Wallet, leash, money, backpack, bankcard and me are confusing tasks in my Mom's mind. Change falls, Mom pays with shaking hands and we survive! In the beginning, what the heck do ya hold on to first? It is just not natural! The cashier asks Mom the nerve racking question, "What do you have her for?!!". Amazing clerk, she really rattled my Mom! Blunt, direct, almost accusing questions, on my Mom's first day! Mom is sweating and blushing! Her brain is on automatic pause, caught off guard, stuck. Sharon to the rescue! Phew! Encounters of the service dog kind! People will shock you, laugh at you, test you, question, and most sincerely appreciate and be proud of you. I feel that most all of the people we meet are kind, interested, friendly and very curious.
Our next challenge was a bus trip. Ha, Ha! Ryan and Sharon came to help Mom and I, this time we both were VERY nervous! Where to sit, where do I put my butt and big fluffy tail, what does Mom say to the bus driver? We sat, we calmed, we rocked. Today when we get on the bus we proudly take our disable seat, excuse me people! I tuck myself away promptly and we relax for the ride. I must admit the sky train takes getting used to! I seem to slide on the slippery floor and the loud vibration is threatening! I began to shake when some threatening person hit the sky train window with an angry, loud THUMP, THUMP !!!!!!!! Mom, you were there to calm my fears and hug me. I was so very frightened.
A bus driver told Mom she was not allowed to take me on the bus. Mom took on the challenge and explained that I was a certified assistance dog. The bus driver was unbelieving and rude. He exclaimed, 'that is not even the right type of leash!'. Mom wanted to say, 'I'm not blind, you idiot!', but she kept her cool. This was one individual that did not need to know Mom's illness, I know he would have been less than understanding!
She started taking pictures of me everywhere we went and even asking other people to take pictures of us together! A very strong loving bond was formed and it grows stronger every day. A bond of trust and love from time together on many adventures. Every day is a learning experience. If you are nervous, I know you are dedicated, you take me or your service pal seriously, you care. I promise to listen, if you don't nag, and will learn with you. Every mistake we make will teach us something we need to know.
My Mom and I have tripped over each other and fallen down, lost control over a sudden appearance of a nasty pooch, become entangled in the leash, stumbled on words and which side does she walk on again? When Mom first corrected me I had no clue what she was doing! Why are you tugging, I thought? With practice Mom got it right and I know when I need to focus. I found food under a restaurant table and ate it. Mom was mortified! I have tested her patience and will continue to do so! My Mom is funny and she loves me so much, a little testing of her watchful eye is rather amusing and I like to know my boundaries.
Mom had to explain to best friends and family that she needs extra time, to get me ready, to potty me, to groom me, to be with me. They are just now starting to understand our relationship and take it seriously. If I cannot go with Mom, she will not go, period. Confidence!
I remember one JSR event when someone told my Mom, 'excuse me, your dog is walking out the door.' Mom jumped so fast off her seat I thought her butt was on fire! Funny Mom, she was so surprised!
Have you taken your service dog into a small bathroom stall yet? When even the handicap stall is small, this proves to be a wonderful new challenge! The bathroom stall door opens inward, so in we go. Now, Mom has to close the door with me directly in the way. She doesn't want to squish me so she directs me to the other side. It must be such a funny sight! Trying to maneuver with not even inches to spare! Squish, move, turn, Mom really has to go! I will tell you that Mom has done her business many times with the bathroom stall door open before we conquered the gymnastics of it all! Oh my God! She would tell me, PLEASE don't sneak under the stall to those friendly looking feet next to us. Funny Mom!
Pick up my food dish? Pick up KEYS? Those nasty metal things? I don't think so! Thank you my friend Sharon for the patience and dedication to persevere with us. Throw me something now! I will retrieve it and give it to you. I will pick up my food dish too, you need your socks?
Enjoy your mistakes and downfalls, learn from them. Me and Mom did. Laugh at yourself and realize how far you have come, be proud. I am here to lovingly serve my Mom, I trust her with all my heart. When I look at her my doggy heart smiles! I am dedicated to her because we have weathered the storms and come through it a better, stronger, connected, team. Remember who you are, be proud, never stop learning and laughing!Your hard work matters, who you are matters, tell yourself every day...
"Who I Am Makes A Difference"