I was having a problem with my service dog, Sky, and it was causing me a lot of grief. Though she was working well, better than ever, in fact, away from home, she had begun pestering me at home, pawing for attention, interfering with what I was trying to do, behaving in a way that was bratty. Or so I thought. She’s ten now. Perhaps the work is too much for her, I began to think. I even began thinking about getting another dog, a pup I could train who would start easing into the job so that she could ease out of it.
I was sad. I was disappointed. I was grieving.
And then one day, on the way to the gym, seemingly out of the blue, I got it. The “it” had happened before. I remembered one time in the movies when Flash was “pestering” me and I was angry at him, wanting him to lie down, not wanting people to think I’d brought an untrained dog to the movies. And then I “remembered.” He’s my service dog. If he’s “pestering” me, he’s trying to help, to get his head on my lap to help me release those good chemicals that lower pain. And then I noticed (clever me) my posture, how I was crushed into myself with pain, but ignoring it, watching the damn movie. Because if you have a chronic illness and you don’t get really good at ignoring the side effects, you will not be living a life. You will be lying on the floor moaning and feeling sorry for yourself. You will not be one of those brave/foolish humans who thinks, something wrong with me, you say. Hah. Not a chance.
So on the way to swim, a little slow on the uptake, but finally seeing the light, I realized that (a) I had fallen into a hole and (b) my good little girl was trying to help me climb out. Without specifics about the nature of this particular hole I had fallen into, because I am not in the whining mood, I am in the how great dogs are mood, the moment I realized what was OMG wrong with my dog, the problem was solved. I no longer was thinking she was too old for her job or too poorly trained to be a service dog. Instead, I saw the heroic nature that all good service dogs possess. Stay calm and carry on.
Thanks for keeping an eye on me, Sky. I’m only a dim witted human, but I finally got it.