my lovely guide dog

I wanna dedicate this entry to Troy. I always talk about me, myself and I, and sometimes me and Troy, but rarely Troy alone! So here we go. For one, most people tell me how cute Troy is, how lovely he looks and how fluffy he feels. So tonight I’m going to discuss how I feel about my dog. Some things may be repeated, like how I feel when I get sad, lonely, and all that, but since I’m talking about my experiences, more like, what I think of Troy and how cute he is, everything is going in here! First let’s talk about his coat.

I really, really really love his coat. His hair is longish, but really silky. When I’m sad or happy, it doesn’t matter, I can’t get enough of that hair. I may hate dog hair going all over the house, but I don’t hate patting his hair all day when it’s still on Troy. There’s a soothing thing about his hair, I just can’t get enough of it! It especially helps when I get really depressed and sad, that when I pat him, I eventually come out of it. Sometimes if I feel like killing myself, I remind myself that last year I nearly died by accident, so I don’t want to die intentionally. It’s not enough to make me feel less depressed, but it is enough to make me want to pat the dog rather than end up dead or in hospital. I’d much rather the hospital than death, but I also want neither hospitalisation or death. So I call my friend over and we sit together while I pat the hair off him for as long as I want.

Now let’s talk about his personality. Most of the time, I really love his antics. I don’t like how Troy doesn’t listen to me sometimes, like when I’m calling him and he chooses to not come to me until I make him sit on his own for a few minutes. But when he is being really good, he’s an angel! He’s great company, he’s calm when he needs to be, and hyperactive and out there when he needs to be. He loves life a lot more than I do! When I think of that, it puts me to shame, since any good being wouldn’t want harm or death to come to them. So in that sense I treat Troy as better than me. That makes me want to keep living on, knowing that throwing the baby out with the bath water isn’t good for anyone, but throwing just the bath water out and keeping the baby is just fine. At least the “baby” can be fixed if I keep it. Getting rid of it won’t fix it at all. So, while Troy is gracing my space with his presence, life is rosy, at least for that moment. Hence the fact that Troy is near me right now, lying against my leg just how he’s meant to be. When good things are happening, even if I have to force the issue by calling Troy over to cheer me up with his nice coat and beautiful personality, life isn’t all that bad. And depression breaks down enough for me to see through to the other side of it.

Now I want to talk about how I feel about having Troy as my guide dog and as my best friend. Most of the time he does really well as a guide. Most of the time he’s really good company as a dog when he’s not working. When I’ve got him in harness, I love that I don’t have to walk alone, go out alone, sit at meetings alone, do almost anything alone. I’ve got the cane there as a back-up in case I can’t take Troy with me for any particular reason. Believe me, this training course is just five weeks of my life where Troy isn’t with me, and only for five and a half hours! My only reason is because when I take Troy and the cane, I have to make sure the dog is out of the way, that people aren’t patting him, that they’re not contaminating food with his hair if someone does go near him, etc. And I have to juggle him with fresh food that I take home, and I have to put the cane in my back pack when I’ve got Troy in my left hand. It’s all too hard. So just for a few weeks from Monday to Friday, I’m leaving Troy home, and making sure he gets a workout almost every afternoon, and all day on Saturday and Sunday each weekend. Then when I go to work after my training finishes, I couldn’t give a damn what anyone thinks, feels or says, the dog is coming with me. I didn’t get one to leave home at anyone’s convenience. But yeah, when my dog is with me, he’s always there as a silent reminder that life isn’t all bad and sad.

When I take Troy out of harness, he’s my normal dog, and my best friend. I like that I don’t have to treat him like a guide dog when he’s out of harness. I like him to be able to listen to me all the time, in case I want to harness him at any time. I like to keep his rules the same just so he thinks that every instruction is important, but I also love letting him play and be himself. And I love joining him in his fun! I like that I can have a guide dog as a worker and best friend and pet dog, that’s basically my point. He’s my working guide dog first, my pet dog second. That’s how it always will be. It will be that way for every future guide dog. I can’t treat the dogs like pets first and expect them to be guide dogs. I must treat them like guides, because that’s the trained stuff. Petting is instinctive, so I don’t have to suddenly expect them to remember how to be a pet in case they forget. They can forget to be a good guide dog, but they’ll never forget how to be a good pet. So that’s why I keep Troy as my guide dog first. When he’s being just a pet, he really appreciates this because he knows that he doesn’t get free time whenever he wants free time. Unlike other dogs, if I want my dog to sit with me, I expect that from him. I don’t just ask him to come over and oh well, whatever, he’ll come later. That attitude might be acceptable for the family pet, but not for my guide dog. Yes he can be my pet, but he’s not a normal pet. He’s a pet with working status, which means even though I’m not treating him like a worker at this minute, I’m still treating him like one of those dogs who’s expected to wait hand and foot on someone. If I don’t make him wait on me at my beck and call, why should he be expected to be this way when he’s working and must absolutely do everything I want? When I do give Troy periods of the day where it’s all him, he takes it so seriously and really runs a muck because he knows that he doesn’t have that call. At any time, I could tell him that time’s up, and it’s now time to get cracking and do as I ask, even though it won’t be as a worker all day and all night, every day.

I love Troy as my best friend because when I want him to hang around me and no one else, he does exactly that. He does what I want when I want and if I want. He’s not the average family dog that it’s ok to sit with whomever he damn wants without a qualm. If he does sit with anyone else, I’ve allowed it temporarily. After that, he’s with me no matter what. He’s really a one-person dog and always will be. He may be loving and friendly to others, but he’s my dog. He’s not my family dog, he’s my, dog! He doesn’t get to decide if he sits with others, I make that call. He doesn’t get to be someone else’s dog at any time under any circumstances till he retires. He can make friends and he can play and run around. But making a friend doesn’t make his friend their owner and loyal companion. I get to pat him when I want, I get to keep him right next to me whenever I want and for as long as I want. That’s why he knows how to cheer me up so much. Troy even hates me when I’m drunk because he thinks I’m going to have a fit or die. He doesn’t go “Oh hang on, don’t be like that because you were like that when you were hit by a car last year and you needed sedation forever”. He just doesn’t like me getting intoxicated because it feels like something familiar that he doesn’t like, but doesn’t remember what it is. He just knows instinctively that whatever it was isn’t nice, so please don’t let the alcohol cause that same problem! Pl’l’l’l’lease! Luckily I’m not allowed to drink enough to hurt me seriously enough for what we know as getting taken to hospital and chucking fits and all sorts, but Troy has no idea. So he expresses his dislike of me drinking by coming over and absolutely not leaving me alone. When I tell him to fuck off, which is pretty rude to say the least, but that’s what happens – Troy goes for a minute, but then comes back hurriedly like he’s afraid I’ll die or crack a fit when he’s not there. I know that as being like last year because I can think with reasoning unlike a dog, who can’t reason. When I sober up the next day, I’m really glad that he acts normal around me again, which tells me that I’m all right and it’s just Troy freaking out. From my own reasoning, I think that because of last year, Troy probably won’t ever like it when I drink a lot, which may be a good thing! If I do drink a great deal to have fun, I know Troy will annoy the daylights out of me till I decide in my drunken state that I must be tired, and so I’ll go to bed sooner rather than later, in the hospital! So Troy is really good there. He at least doesn’t have to speak up to be heard.

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