Your Dog Is So Well Behaved!

7th September

One of our earlier posts displayed our frustration at people thinking I am not trained because I don’t take commands from strangers. Well, this one is about stranger’s amazement at me being able to sit quietly while on the job.

It’s a common scenario, my Person and I go into a shop, I lay down on the ground and wait until she has done whatever she needs to do. There is always someone who sees me waiting quietly as people walk over the top of me and bump me with bad, and they say to my Person, “Wow! You dog is so well behaved!”

I have never understood people’s shock at me just sitting there. I mean, I’m a SERVICE DOG! What do people expect? Should I be barking at shopping carts? Rushing up to strangers? Eating food off the floor? Jumping all over my Person, knocking her off her feet?

Perhaps it’s because people have grown so used to seeing misbehaving dogs that they just assume that this is simple the way all dogs are.

Let it be known that any dog can be trained, some are easier than others, but given the time and effort on the owner’s behalf any type of dog can be taught to behave. I was a full on puppy and it took a lot of intense training from my Person and joining a local dog training club for me to learn to behave myself.

If my Person had not put in all that effort I certainly would not be the sensible (most days), mature dog I am today.

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Memory Loss

7th September

Memory loss is not just something that affects the elderly, anyone of any age can have memory impairment. My Person suffers memory loss from the Lyme disease medication. It varies in severity and changes from day to day, it is something that people have a very hard time understanding.

School is made very difficult by this medication side effect. When answering a question, the very few times my Person is able to speak up in class, she will be half way through a sentence and then completely forget what she was saying. Not just losing her train of thought, but she will forget what she has previously said and even what the original question was. And if my Person hasn’t forgotten the question she will end up repeating what she had previously said.

Remembering birthdays is also a struggle. It does not mean she doesn’t care, it simply means that birthdays are something that happens once a year and she can’t remember what she did yesterday.

Asking someone a question about their life, and then asking the same question ten minutes later does not mean my Person was not paying attention or that she doesn’t care about the answer. Do not take it personally, getting angry or annoyed at my Person only makes her feel worse.

While having to deal with a person who suffers from memory loss can be frustrating and it may seem like the person is simply not paying attention, please of the impact that this has on the sufferer. It is considerably more frustrating for them than it is for you, please have some compassion and try to understand how debilitating memory loss can be for someone.

Accidentally leaving the oven on, embarrassing yourself in front of the entire class, getting in trouble for forgetting simple instructions, and by far the worst – forgetting which pedal is the gas and which is the brake.

These are just some of the things that people with memory loss may to deal with as a result of their disability. They are not stupid, they are not crazy. And trust me, this is much harder on the sufferer than it is on anyone else. Be patient and tolerant and, above all, be thankful that you do not suffer from such a disability.

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Service Dog: equipment recommendation

While this may be old news to some my Person and I thought we should just mention it.
We have managed to find a hands free lead and it is AMAZING! To say the least.
We would definitely recommend this type of lead to anyone with a service dog (that doesn’t work alongside medical equipment like a wheelchair etc).
Thanks for reading.
Here’s a photo of me at the shops just because….

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Still Having A Bad Day – We’ve Run Out Of Pizza

While eating all the pizza in the house is far better than drinking yourself stupid it is not always the best solution when you are having a bad day. Especially when you are gluten intolerant and your liver function is startlingly low.

The best solution is to have a sleep in the sun with a dog. Or two.

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I Still Have Faith In Humanity

28th August

While humans can be frustrating, ignorant and a little annoying at times, there are certain things that people do that rekindle our faith in humanity.

When my Person walks with me and uses her crutches people will go out of their way to help her, which is wonderful – but I think they are trying to put me out of a job!

In the shops the other day, my Person was waiting for Little Sister and I was laying on the ground beside her. A man was walking past and saw that my lead was on the ground, so he stopped and picked up the lead, giving it to my Person. Obviously he thought that she had dropped the lead and, seeing the crutches, assumed she was unable to pick it up. It was very nice.

People will also pick up the crutches if she drops one, even if we’re in the middle of task training, and they will also offer to throw out the rubbish that I’m learning to carry to the bin.

While it may not seem like much, these little things that complete strangers do and offer to do for my Person really show that, despite what the media would have us believe, there is still good in the world.

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Are You My Person? No? Maybe That’s Why I Won’t Listen To You.

This has become a reoccurring problem for my Person and I when we are out in public; a stranger will come up to us and give me a pat and then they try to give me a command. The conversation goes pretty much the same way each time:

Strange: Aw! What a cute dog!

My Person: Yeah. She’s a good dog, very helpful

Me: *likes the pats but stays next to my Person*

Strange: Aw! Sit…. sit… sit…

Me: *wondering why the pats have stopped and stares at stranger for more pats*

Strange: Haha. You don’t know that one, huh?

My Person: ….yeah….

However, we have recently been coming across people who seem shocked, even offended, that I don’t sit when they tell me to. There was one lady who thought I was stupid because I wouldn’t sit and she walked away shaking her head, as if I was poorly trained! Yeah, can fetch a wheelchair but doesn’t know how to sit.

Not just that, but also when people ask to give me a pat and my Person says it’s alright they try to call me over. They seem very surprised when I don’t rush over to them and give them a big hug, they are shocked that I stay next to the handler I have been trained to help. This correct behaviour on the dog’s behalf is what makes people think we never get any time to have fun and play with people.

I have spent many, many hours training with my Person. I listen to her and her alone (unless I am super distracted), I can’t even take commands well from Mother and I live with her.

So please don’t be offended if a service dog doesn’t listen to you, please don’t assume that we never get love and affection because we don’t rush up to strangers and please don’t think they’re stupid for not knowing how to sit. It is nothing personal, it’s just we are trained to our handlers and the fact that we don’t take commands from strangers means that we are focused on our jobs.

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