After fourteen years with too numerous to count misdiagnoses, this is my daily journey living with an unknown disease that has made me fully physically dependent, living by the help from my family, friends, and beloved service dog. It is how I have chosen to define myself to remain whole in spite of it.

Service Dogs—Angels? Possibly. Saints? Not Necessarily.

Service Dogs—Angels? Possibly. Saints? Not Necessarily.

You simply must love Bored Panda, and loved ones who share with you supremely funny articles. This is how I came across one article regarding stories of Arwen, a retired prison service dog and his new family. (You can read it here.)

Now, Camelot is my second service dog, and in a way it makes you a veteran of hearing stories about super smart dogs that will demonstrate their intelligence you never knew you wanted to know. 

For example when Arwen first arrived at his new family’s home, the father wondered aloud if he knew how to “jump.” Upon hearing the magic word Arwen sprang up and jumped a six foot fence from a sitting position. 

When Camelot was around a year old and we were beginning to train him to pull me forward in my wheelchair, so I didn’t have to push my wheels, he sat down and looked at both my dog trainer and mother. He knew that humans know how to push. Hard labor, apparently, was not in his contract.

Apparently Arwen isn’t a fan of having his haircut—even in a sweltering summer with no air conditioning. After hearing his people discuss this may be necessary, Arwen loudly went and pulled a hand towel hanging from the bottom freezer door and jumped into it, laying on frozen vegetables. After serenading them with pleasure, Arwen’s mom agreed to let him stay there for that day only, as a kiddies pool would be available for him the next day. Be sure to read what he did next. 

Zella, my first service dog, a German Shepherd, would open and close our sliding glass door to go outside—both when she wanted to go out and when I directed her to. Within a few weeks of having her, my cat, Tigger, realized Zella’s skill and would go up and harass Zella like a four pronged attack. With great non-chalance, Zella would get up, shake off the assailant, and open the door for the bounding Tigger. Then, she would politely close it back for me. When Tigger would scratch the door to be let in, Zella would look at me but not wait for my signal to let her in. To Tigger’s dismay, my mother started locking the door. 

One night, Arwen’s family discovered that Arwen knew how to flush the toilet, as he kept repeatedly doing it and then immediately sticking his head to drink the running water. In one by one fashion his family came to watch and stare like stupefied mummies (it was the middle of the night after all), until Mom shouted, “The water bill!” They got him a fountain water bowl after that. 

Camelot believes in knowing where his “bank” is—the bag or old peanut butter jar that contains his dry kibble as his treats— at all times. Since he was just a few months old, he would drag his little bank that was taller than he was where ever we went—room to room—if I forgot it. Once when my mom and I were on a trip seeing a highly thought of specialist, the appointment had not gone well, and my mom left us settled in the room for a necessary Starbucks reprieve. Camelot, though, classified her as AWOL and after less than ten minutes began bringing me every bank, treat bag, and his ziplock bags of dry food to me on the bed. He waited with the last bag to watch me call my mother to demand her return, or else he was going to keep it just in case. You never know. 

Looking for a Blessing

Looking for a Blessing