Life with a guide dog is almost always filled with adventure. I could sit here and write about plenty of fun times we’ve had, times when we’ve had to work through a problem, and yet other times when our day wasn’t so great. I want to have fun today and give you a collection of fun and silly memories with both of my guide dogs. So, let’s begin.
My family and I would always joke that I should become a greeter in a store because Errol would gladly take me up to anyone, and he did. We would be walking, and suddenly he’d see someone he thought might be interesting to visit. Of course, this didn’t just happen in stores. This happened at school, at church, and even at the bus stop. I call this one of my embarrassing moments. I walked into the bus shelter with Errol, and he stopped at the usual bench we sit on. However, he didn’t move far enough down, and when I backed up to sit down, I suddenly realized I was almost going to sit on someone’s lap. Talk about humiliating. I apologized and moved down the bench a little ways. I suppose that experience taught me to follow my dog’s head with my hand to make sure he is really pointing at an empty seat.
Just out of curiosity, how many of you have been embarrassed by your pet at one time? This happened to me both in Walmart and in the mall. First of all, while I was still in independent living training, a friend and I decided to go shopping at the mall for our travel class. Well, I was far enough in my training that the travel instructor said I could take my dog with me instead of my cane. That afternoon, Errol, my friend, and I arrived at the mall. While we were walking towards a store, someone stopped us. They explained that my puppy had just did his business on the floor, but she said not to worry about it because someone was cleaning it up. Well, Errol had a habit of going to the bathroom and moving at the same time, so I had no idea he had done that. The second time he did that was about a year later in Walmart. Both of these embarrassing situations are ones I look back on and laugh.
Now that we’ve talked about Errol, let’s talk about Joba. Joba is a very different working dog than Errol was. He loves to work, and he hardly ever gives me any trouble. The funny and silly stories about him usually happened when he was not working. Do you ever notice your pet acting almost exactly like a human? Joba did this on one particular evening. My sister and I were watching a movie. After the movie was over, I walked over to the couch and nearly jumped ten feet in the air. There was someone or something on the couch, and it was very soft and furry. Of course, it was my dog, but why was he on the couch? Honestly, I don’t know where he picked that habit up. I have had him for almost two years, and he had usually only jumped up there if someone was sitting on it because he wanted to sit in their lap. However, this particular evening, he was laying on his side with a blanket under his head like a pillow. I don’t know why, but it looked so funny, and I thought he looked like a person lying there. A few days later, there was a thunder storm. Joba jumped up there again, pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and folded it under his head like a pillow. I suppose it was a protecting thing. Maybe he felt safer. Either way, it was very adorable.
Another thing you should know about Joba is that he is very vocal. I like to get him riled up because he starts whining and carrying on. When it is time for his evening meal, I will ask him: “Joba, is it feed time”? He will then start jumping up and down and whimpering. My sister and I call him our little drama puppy.
Of course, we called Errol that too because of his fear of the dryer. Joba doesn’t like the vacuum, but he is perfectly fine with the dryer. Errol, on the other hand, would hear it and press his body against me, looking up at me and panting. We think the reason he didn’t like it was because it would randomly buzz, and it was a very loud buzz that could easily startle someone if they weren’t expecting it. He was fine with loud noises as long as they keep going, but if a noise erupts intermittently, it frightened him.
Both of my dogs have had different quirks, and both of them have given me different challenges. Aside from that, they both have provided me with so many wonderful days and fun memories. I know I will always keep these memories, both silly and fun, in my mind forever.