A Service Dog has many tasks. Some things are a little more tricky to learn and do well. To be honest, there are a few things I have yet to master.
While learning to open the refrigerator door, I got hit in the face with the door when it suddenly opened – SMACK! That hurt! Tugging the towel (tied to the handle) gently yet hard enough to open the door, while moving out of the way is a skill I am still working on. After getting hit in the muzzle a few times a dog is ready for her “favorite beverage.”A difficult task for me is “Light On.” I am pretty good at “Light Off” but I have a long way to go to master “Light On.”
My mom says in a way, turning the light off reminds her of some people she knows. She says some people are really good at turning the “light off.” They are skilled finding the negative in almost every situation. They will stomp out the flickers of hope. Bad news travels fast. How many people would watch the news if it was good news? Some people tend to be pulled to the darkness and dwell there. They love to talk about the bad things rather than the good things in life.
I am good at turning the light off- hitting the wall switch with my paw. I need to practice turning it on. It is a lot harder. I ask my mom why can’t we just leave the light on. (Don’t want to leave the light off because it is dark).
Literally, leaving the light on all the time will run up the electric bill. But my mom says we should leave the light on in our hearts, thinking and being positive, and encouraging – no matter what the day brings. It doesn’t take any more energy for us to be positive (let your light shine) then it does to be negative (dwell in the darkness). Even in the daylight, shine on! One little light will disperse a room full of darkness. Life is too short to stay (negative) in the dark.
Prevailing HOPE is my story, and my heart - to give you hope in the midst of all we go through on this earth. It’s my journey, and how the Lord has shown me how I can be okay, even when life is not okay. My prayer is that all who read this, will draw closer to the Source of All Hope - the Lord Jesus Christ.
Life Lessons From a Service Dog
We hope my short tales brings a smile to your heart. As a Service dog I am always learning new stuff and sometimes I even get in trouble. But I love every minute. I am sharing what I’ve learned in a book to encourage you that in the midst of life, there are more lessons to learn. Life is a blast, with many challenges (opportunities!).
Just ask me “the Shadow” - I know!
My mom was in the kitchen and I was laying in the hallway. I heard her say, “Shadow, bring me…” Like Superman transition in action I flew into the living room and picked up the first thing I came to and brought it to my mom. My tail was wagging with the delight of serving as I ran up to her and sat down with a sparkle in my eyes and the slipper in my mouth to give to her. My mom about busted a gut laughing. I was supposed to get my Kong and bring it to her. I didn’t listen too well but so wanted to please her.
My mom had just gone to the eye doctor. She told me she tried to remember
the letters on the chart (cheating) rather than actually seeing the letters. However, she said now they got a computerized eye chart that changes the letters. No longer would her memory help her. So in her quest to get the letters right she asked permission to squint–hard in order to focus. Permission denied. This too was the wrong way to be right.
There are at least two wrong ways of attempting to do right. In my mom’s
case she was wrong in the ways she attempted to get the letters on the chart right. However, my mom said even though my action was wrong- my heart was right. I thought I was doing what my Master wanted. Sometimes you can put your whole heart in doing what you believe is right, but find out it was wrong. Be not dismayed, perhaps you have a Master like mine, who looks at the motive of your heart.
OUCH! Suddenly a deep, electrifying pain shoots through my little tail. I bolt from my mom almost causing her to lose balance. I look back at my tail that has betrayed me, checking it out. The little stub curls over like it is trying to play dead. The pain is sudden and agonizing for those seconds. My mom calls me over to make sure I am okay. For now, I am. But I don’t know for how long before it hits again—it could be months or it could be days. The unexpected, writhing pain is almost too much to bear.
Who’d think a little tail could cause such big pain! Someone had my tail cropped when I was a pup and that choice brings me great agony at unexpected times. I wish I could have my whole tail back! Only a little bit of the stub remains. If only they had left my tail alone! Nothing can be done to undo the damage. Nothing can stop those agonizing moments. This is my short, sad tale of my short tail.
No regrets. Don’t look back.
Have you done things that later caused great grief? No matter what caused us to not do what we wish we did, there are those times in life we wish we could re-do. But we can’t. At night or at unexpected times our minds may flood with the “IF ONLYS.” If only my tail didn’t hurt, if only I wasn’t so whiny that day, if only I didn’t chase that cat, if only I could do it over again…IF ONLY!
I wish I could RE-DO a Monday. I agonized over that day. I feel like I missed an opportunity of a lifetime. But I cannot redo it. No one can fix the past. Regrets will haunt us like the squirrel that got away…unless we choose to move on. We may have moments of falling back into the agony of IF ONLY. If only’s are usually sad tales. But we have hope; we can be more determined and not miss another opportunity if it knocks.
Happy tails to you!
Some gnawed at the wire cage until their mouths bled. Many were barking incessantly while others curled up in the corner of their kennel, trembling with fear. The nice lady led me by all different sizes and breeds of my fellow canines in a long line of kennels. I didn’t understand why I was here. The only “human” dad I knew had just dropped me off at this No Kill Shelter.
We could no longer stay with our “humans” for various reasons. Some “humans” just got tired of us like one gets tired of a new toy and decides to throw it (and us) away. A few of us were dropped off because we were unwanted in the first place. Parents gave into their children who promised to take care of their new pup—but didn’t—so back to the shelter we went.
A few canines had behavior issues the humans couldn’t deal with, and a few of us were rescued from those who abused us. Every canine at the Shelter had a story.
Though The No Kill Shelter was not our choice of places to be, it was much better than where many of us were before—or where we could have ended up. The “humans” at the Shelter were so kind and patient with us. Most of us knew how fortunate, loved and cared for we were. Many of my fellow canines would be adopted by a loving forever homes. A few like me, would be trained and placed as a Service Dog, while a few would spend their whole lives at the No Kill Shelter.
All of the canines at the No Kill Shelter had one thing in common—we just wanted the chance to be a part of somebody’s life. We wanted to have somebody to love and have them love us back. Commitment is a four letter word called LOVE. Yes, even with us canines, love means commitment, dedication and work. But the benefits are great. The joy and love a human gets in return for their commitment is beyond measure. One thing we canines know how to do is bring value to a human’s life by loving unconditionally. We will never abandon our human. We will bring our humans joy, laughter and lots of sloppy slurps.
On behalf of all my fellow canines—Thank You to all the No Kill Shelters and the people who work there and all the wonderful volunteers who love us enough to give us a second chance. You Rock! Thank You for your commitment. Thank you for your love.
Well, my mom just told me I am 35 years old in human years! Boy that is a lot different than the 5 years my vet records say that I am. I don’t understand why we canines age 7 years to humans 1 year.
I look forward to each day. My mom has me on a routine which varies sometimes when we get to go out to run errands, doctor appointments and of course, the veterinarian. But most of the time my routine is the same. I am not bored by any means! I have work or harness time, Kong time, break time, kennel time and bed time. Since my life is short compared to a human’s, I pack each day with all the wonders it can possibly hold.
Time goes by too swiftly. When I hear people say, “I wish it were tomorrow,” the weekend, or some other future time—a part of me whines out “Noooo…..” Don’t wish your life away! Live it!
The last few days the squirrels have been driving me nuts. I don’t understand why they get off without a hitch running around, chasing each other (in front of MY door) and stealing bird seed!
I know I am not supposed to react to these little punks teasing me. As soon as I move one muscle towards being disobedient or when I slap a paw on the glass; my mom’s voice rings out, “KENNEL!” I have been spending more time behind bars than anywhere else lately.
I know squirrels will be squirrels and I am a dog. This is where I must not respond like…who I am…for the Greater Good of my mom’s safety. If I react with my canine instincts when I am working—helping my mom with balance—my response could leave her on the ground! That’s why I must be disciplined and not react the way my instincts urge me too. My life as a Service dog isn’t about me.
The squirrels will always drive me nuts but I don’t want to do anything to hurt my mom. She needs me to be the Service Dog I am trained to be. And who wants to do Kennel time? No squirrel is worth losing my job - my calling to serve. Besides I don’t like time behind bars. I love my freedom.
There will always be things to chase…I have friends with tails long enough to chase. Not only are they surprised if they catch it, they are disappointed. Such is life on the endless treadmill of chasing what we think we want. There is freedom and joy in service and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. It is in dying to self-will that we live; it is in giving that we really receive - a life full of purpose and passion.