Friday, March 18, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Service Dog

Mom?

You moved...is it time to get up yet? Food? Outside? Maybe just cuddles?

Oh, wait, you walked away...okay, I'll just wait here and watch for you.

You're back! You look like you're getting ready to leave again, do I get to come now? Please?

Yes! Yes! Yes! What are we doing? Food time maybe? Or we could go outside and run around? Or...or you could get on your bike...yep, that's okay, too. I'll just lay down here so I can keep my eye on you.

Did you hear that? I think someone downstairs is moving around! Is it outside time yet? No, oh, okay. I'll come back and...DINOSAUR! Yes, I think it is time to remove some more of his innards. I might even decorate the floor with said innards. Look, Mom! Do you see my decorating skills?

Nom nom nom. Okay, I better stop now or there will be no dino innards for tomorrow. Bone time! Which one? What do you think, Mom? Antler or rubber bone? So hard...maybe I'll take both, yes, I think that is the perfect solution. I'll just curl up here on the couch with both my bones and watch you finish biking.

What? Did you call me? Maybe I'll just look at you first and make sure you're actually calling me. After all, I don't want to get up from my comfy spot if you don't really need me. Oh, you mean it.

What was that? Pick up your phone? Okay, here you go. Oops, dropped it, sorry, Mom, but you should have grabbed it before I let go. What? Now you're making me pick it up AGAIN? You're the one that let go...but I'll do it for you because I am a good service dog. Do you see my tail wagging, I love helping.

Can I eat now?

BONK! AND DADDY! Yay! Mom, Mom, guess what, it's morning! Food time and play time and work time and YAY! Hi Daddy! So excited to see you this morning! Good morning Bonky! Do you want to play now? Here's Dinosaur! Or we can play with turtle! Or hedgehog! Oh wait, time to go outside! YAY!

Outside, so nice, yay, freedom! Oh wait, bathroom time. Yes, and even better than outside time, FOOD TIME! Okay, done with outside. I'm ready to come in. Upstairs, Bonk, I'll race you! I'm gonna win! Hurry up, Mom! I'm hungry!

What's that you're saying, oh, sit...what's that? I know stand-here-and-look- at-you-since-you-said-something-but-my-brain-is-functioning-too-fast-to-process-what-you-said. Is that not what you said? Oh...I'm not sure I know this sit that you speak of...can I just eat please? No, okay how about this, I know down! No that's no it either...Mom, please, I'm going to starve! Oh right, sit is this weird only my butt is down and I am still standing on my front legs...where do you humans come up with this stuff? Do we do this every food time? We do? Oh, okay, then, but hear my displeasure in my "ahroo-ing." Okay, Mom, I'm looking at you and waiting so patiently. Can I eat now, please please please? Okay? Did you just say okay?

Nom nom nom.

Mom? Mom? Where'd you go? Not in bed, not on your bike...hmm, oh good, I found you! Why do you always close the door to this room? It's like you want some privacy or something. Good thing I'm smart and can open doors. I can't be a good service dog if you won't let me join you. Poodles are water dogs, you know. If you let me join you, I can keep you safe. No, okay, I'll just lie here so I can keep my eye on you.

I have to leave now? What if something happens after you tell me to leave? Okay, if you insist, but I'm not going far, I'll be just outside the door in case you need something to trip over on your way out of the bathroom.

I see you grabbing your stuff for work, does that mean we get to go out? Does it, does it? You know I love to be with you! You're grabbing my vest! Do you see my tail wag so hard when my leash comes out of the basket? Work is my favorite! Can I bring dinosaur today? No, okay. How about hedgehog? Are you sure? Okay.

Ready to go down the stairs? I'm hear if you need to hold on. These stairs are kinda steep. Oh look, Stuey! Maybe he wants to play! Hi Stuey! Want to play chase?

Hey! What was that for? Oh right, sorry, Mom, I forgot you were holding onto my vest and when I run after Stuey it throws you off balance. Are you ready, now? I can walk good across the kitchen and out to the car. See, I know how to service dog like I'm supposed to.

Hey, my BONE! How do I always forget I have a bone in the car? This is the best ever! Look, Mom! Do you see? Do you see I have a bone here? Oh, did I just scratch your ear with my bone? So sorry, here, let me kiss it and make it better.

Where are we? Work? Yay! I like work. It means nice snoozing with intermittent petting and maybe an alert or two. I have a bone here, too, Mom, did you know that?

Do I have to go under your desk? How about I just lie in the middle of the floor here? Does this work? No, okay, I guess I'll go lie on my bed under your desk like you told me. Can I have my bone now, please? Nom nom nom.

Where are we are going? Is it time to leave already? Oh, no just going to drop some papers off for the physical therapists. That's okay, I like that too. Can I say hi to them? They like me, I know they do. I'm the office mascot now, Mom, did you know? They always ask to pet me and ask me how you are doing. They know I take care of you and that I know better than you do what your body is doing. They listen to me more than they listen to you.

Back under your desk, really, Mom? But I just got up. How about I lie over here? No, what about here? Okay, fine, I'll go back under your desk. Oh look! A bone! This is just about the best ever!

Zzzzz...I just love napping. What's that? Mom, are you okay? Let me smell you. Nope, definitely not. This is not how you are supposed to smell. But I know what to do. Here, Mom, pay attention to me again. Do you see my paw in your lap? Time to check your sugar. Now I need my treat because I did my job. Good service dogs always get rewarded right?  Nom nom nom. Here, you can give me pets too. Now my head is in your lap instead.

Good job checking your sugar. See, I told you it was low. I see you eating candy that you don't want to share with me. Why do I not get to join you in your sugar raising when it was because of me you get to eat candy? Let me check you again and make sure you are okay now. Yep, all systems go. Okay, I'll lie back down now. Oh wait, it is time to go yet? No, okay, I'll just be tucked here under your desk.

I see you putting you things away, does that mean we are leaving soon? Nope, looks we're going back to see the physical therapists. Uh oh, I see where this is going...Mom, wait...are you sure? Down stay here? You KNOW this part of the day makes me have to work harder. Yes, I'll lie right here, but don't think I'm taking my eyes off you for a seconds. Balancing on one foot and throwing a ball against a trampoline is NOT an approved activity. Do you remember you used me for balancing coming down the stairs this morning? Now you're TRYING to stay on one foot? Sometimes I do not understand you humans?

Uh oh, do you need me Mom? I see you doing hoppy/jumpy things down a bunch of boxes on the floor. I know you put me in a down stay, but this is seriously not how this service dog thing is supposed to work. How can I help you every time I see you almost fall over when you keep telling me to stay? I think you forget that I am here to keep you safe. Here, I'll just lie with my nose and front paws in the middle of this ladder thingy. Then you have to jump over me every time! That way I get a close look at you and can make sure you're okay.

What's that? You just told you're physical therapist that you're doing okay. Didn't your mom teach you not to lie? Here, maybe this will help. I'll come over and grab your leg with my paw. No more hoppy/jumping until you check your sugar again, Mom. HA, see, you can't ignore me now! Now your physical therapist says no more PT until you check your sugar. I told you they listen to me more than you. Guess what, guess what, guess what, Mom? It's gonna be low...

TOLD YOU! Here, let me place my head in your lap for rewarding pets. Only after I get my yummy snack rewards, of course. Maybe you'll share your candy this time? No, okay...although somehow that doesn't seem fair...but I love you anyway! Do you see my tail wagging again? That's because I know I am a good service dog and taking care of you.

Down-stay AGAIN? Did you miss what just happened? Down-stays and amazing service dogs do not go together. I must be right next to you. Oh look, you're trying to stand on that squishy half-ball thing, can I join you? That looks like fun! We have one of these at home, Mom! At home I like to put dinosaur on top while I am removing his innards. It is much easier that way. Plus then he can still see the TV with me. Aren't I so thoughtful? Oh, I can't join you this time...okay, I'll just hang out over here. But don't think I'm snoozing, oh no, I got my eye on you. I'll keep you safe, don't you worry. Although, sometimes you make this a bit challenging...


Time to go? Yay! I like work, but I like new adventures even more. Hold on, I have something I need to do before we leave. SSSTTTRRREEETTTCCCHHH. Okay, I'm ready now. Oh, did I say I was ready? I meant almost ready. One more good stretch. Okay, Mom, now we can go.

What's that? Take what? I see you pointing to my leash, but I know it is attached to my neck so I am not sure why I would need to take it. Okay, okay, I hear you...This seems pointless...I'm picking up something that is already on me...sometimes I don't understand you, Mom. But I still love to work for you! Do you see my tail wagging so happily because I get to do things for you? Okay, let's go now.

Are we actually leaving, Mom? Because sometimes you do a fake-out and we walk down the hall like we are leaving but we actually turn the other way to the bathroom. You don't seem to want your privacy from me in this bathroom. Those stalls are cramped. But yay! We are turning toward the outside!

Look, Mom! The wind is blowing! Do you see my ears flapping? Do you? I just love sunny days and breezes! I love rain and puddles too, but you don't let me play outside when there are puddles. I don't know why, splashing is just so fun. I try to get you to join in, but you don't seem to be as eager to go splooshing with me.

Hey, Mom, LOOK! I have a bone in here! Did you know I had a bone in the car? This is practically the best day ever! I know I just had a bone to chew all day at work, but THIS bone here, now this one is special.

So, are we going anywhere fun today? I'm up for exploring if you are! No, okay, home is good too. Home means Bonky and Stuey and dinosaur and hedgehog. Yep, home definitely sounds good.

LOOK, IT'S STUEY!! He's in the yard. He must have been waiting for me to get home! Can I play with him, Mom, please? Quick, quick, turn the car off, open my door! Hi Stuey! Oh wait, I can't play yet, Mom says no playing until my vest comes off. I'm listening, Mom! Kind of...can I play, please, please? I did good today, can I play, please?

Yes yes! I heard the snap on my vest. It's coming off! Just a minute Stuey, just a minute! Okay, vest is off, just waiting for my release words. Come on, Mom, come on...Yes, yes, yes, I will most certainly "take a break!" Thanks Mom! Let's go Stuey!

BONKY! Yay! Are you here to play, too? Let's run! Or let's chase a ball! Or let's sniff around! Oh, so nice to be free!

Wait, Mom, where are you going? Why are you going inside without me? I like to play, but I can't do my job if I'm not near you. Come, Stuey, we can play inside. That way I can keep my eye on my Mom at the same time.

Whew! What fun! Thanks, Mom. I just love playing and working and snuggling with you. So please can I come snuggle right now. I see you watching House on TV. You're just sitting on the couch looking lonely with no dog on top of you. That looks like a very sad place to be. Here is my head in your lap. Can I come up? I will snuggle so close to you because I love you.

Oh yes, very nice. Thank you for letting me come up with you. But wait, is that dinosaur I see all alone on the floor? I think he needs to come up on the couch too. I'll go get him. Don't worry, Mom, I'll be right back. See, I'm here just like I promised. And look, dinosaur is not lonely anymore. Can I bring him up too? I can?!?! Oh thank you! Don't worry, I won't remove any of his insides right now. I save that for during your biking in the morning.

Hey, Mom. You're smelling off again. I know my whole front half is in your lap right now, but let me sit up and put just my paw in your lap. Are you paying attention? You're body is about to start not playing nice again. This time it's not your sugar. I see you checking that right now, but you'll see that it's fine right now. No, this time it's your nasty masties as you and Daddy call them. Better go take your sleepy meds that make you write songs for Daddy and fall alseep super early. Do you need me to get them for you? Because I know where they are. I can "go get meds" if you want, then you don't even have to get up. Stay, Mom.

Here you go. It took some time, but now I can "go get meds" like a good service dog. Aren't you so proud of me? Look at my tail wagging! Oh, now you need water. Okay, this one is a bit harder. I know I have to "open fridge" and "take it." But then I get confused. I think I bring the water to you, now, right? Oops, looks like I left the door open on the fridge again. Sorry =( But I still brought you water to take your meds with. And now I'm going to snuggle up with you again. Are you feeling better? No? I'm sorry, Mom. Here, I'll share dinosaur, he always makes me feel better.

Look, Mom, Daddy is home! Are you feeling better yet? Yes! Looks like your meds are working! Did I do a good job? Daddy, daddy, daddy! Guess what we did today? Actually, I don't really remember, but I know that I love you and I'm super excited to see you, and LOOK, I brought you dinosaur! I'm feeling very sharing to share him with both Mom and you all in one day.

Is it time for dinner? Bonk seems very excited and that usually happens at dinner time. I like dinner too, can we eat now? Oh yay, food! You're going to make me sit again aren't you...are you sure I have to? Maybe just down? Okay, okay, look, I'm sitting now. Please can I eat now? Do you see my puppy dog eyes asking so politely? I can? I can! Oh, thank you! Thank you! Nom nom nom.

I'm done now. So what's next? Oh is it time to go downstairs for your evening food? Can we come? Stuey is down there, you know. He might be eagerly waiting for me to play with. I should be polite because you taught me to be a good friend. I think now might be a good time to make sure Stuey is not lonely. He does not have a Bonky like I do to keep him company.

Yay! Downstairs time is my favorite! Stuey, where are you! Do you want to play? I do! Bonk might too, but not as much as I do! We can play here in the kitchen or in the living room or under the table. Wherever is fine, but not too far from my Mom. I have a job to do you know. I can play lots, but I have to keep my eye on her.

Okay, I think I'm tired now. Mom, can I rest my head in your lap? Sometimes it just feels so heavy. Thank you for giving me pets while I recover enough to hold my own head again. I think I'll just lie down right here. Look, Mom! There is even a service dog head rest here. Whoever designed this house must have known I would live here. I can lie anywhere along this step and have an automatic headrest. Yes, good plan.

I see you and Daddy getting ready to go upstairs, is it bed-snuggle time? That's my favorite! Okay, let's go! Bonky, I'll race you up the stairs again! Watch Mom! Watch Dad! Look at how far I can jump! I can jump all the way from the doorway onto your bed! Here, I'll go ahead and choose my snuggle time spot while you guys have to go change clothes. Wouldn't it be nice to be a dog right now?

Wait, Mom, I can't see you anymore...I'd get up, but I saw you walk into that privacy room where you always close the door. Maybe I'll just watch from here. I'll see when you come out. Plus, if I get up now I'll lose my snuggle spot.

MOVE?? That is definitely not fair. Mom, didn't you see, I was on the bed first. Why are you making me move? Besides, I had the foot of the bed last night, too! I don't think I can remember the last time you had the foot of the bed...that doesn't seem fair...But okay, I'll move, because I love you. Can we compromise? I'll let you have the pillows, but then I can come snuggle with you? I do love to snuggle you know.


I CAN! Oh Mom, thank you! This is about the best ever! I'll just flop myself right here. Oh, did I bump Herman? I'm so sorry, Mom! I didn't mean to, but you know, he is a bit intrusive on our snuggling...But here, what if I put my head here? Yes, good. Oh I love you so much! And Daddy, I can reach you with my nose, look. I love you too! And Bonky, don't worry, I didn't forget you. You're my bestest buddy, too.

SIGH, Another day over. It was good, wasn't it Mom? We did lots, and I kept you safe and...why did you stop petting? Don't you know that you can't have snuggle time without pets? Please? Thank you, Mom. I just love having a job.

Oh look, hedgehog! I missed him ALL day. Can he come up, Mom? Please? Yes! Thank you Thank you Thank you! Don't you move, I'll be right back. He is after all, looking so lonely. Hedgehog definitely needs some bed-snuggle time, too.


Mom, psst, Mom, open your eyes. Dad is telling me I have to get off the bed now. Do I have to? Can't I sleep with you tonight? Just this once? No? Okay...but I'm taking hedgehog with me. At least I have a nice blanket bed here right by you. Me and hedgehog, we'll just be right over here. If you need me at all tonight, you let me know. I see your eyes closing again.

Oh no! Dinsoaur! Mom, mom, I left dinosaur all alone in the other room. Can I go get him? He might be lonely. Here, I'll stick my nose on the bed and smush it into your back. Do you know I'm here? Please, Mom? Can I go get dinosaur? No...but...no...okay, guess I'll just lie back down and...HEDGEHOG! Mom, look! I'm sure dinosaur will be fine, and LOOK hedgehog is here. Yes, life is good. I see your eyes closing again, Mom. I love you! Good night.


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