I was really drawing a blank as to what to write for the 13th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. Lessons? How to narrow that down, especially since Jayden and I have been a team for quite some time now. February will be four years! Wow! Our work is just routine now for the most part. I was having such a hard time coming up with a lesson I’ve learned about Jayden and myself as a team.
today however, something very small happened. Something so small that no one else would notice. Something not even related to Jayden as a guide dog, but Jayden as my partner and best friend.
Jayden and I are very routine based. I never realized just how routine based my life had gotten until I was talking to my friend Ricardo one day and he said I am the most regimented non-military person he knows. That is such a true statement! I have found that sticking pretty closely to a routine helps me manage life with MS. I won’t go into specifics on that since that is another post. The point is, Jayden has gotten very used to certain things happening at certain times during the day. These certain things namely being when he gets to eat something and when he gets to um, lighten his load.
After his afternoon outside session, I always give him a Kong Wobbler with a handful of kibble from his morning meal. For some reason I have turned French when I ask him if he wants his Wobbler. It’s true, just ask Carol. She’s been on the phone with me when it’s Wobbler time. “Wooblah? Se wooblah?” It doesn’t translate well to text.
Anyway, after Jayden has finished with his Wobbler he comes to find me and I ask him where it is and he shows me. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the floor, sometimes it’s wedged underneath the couch or the bed. When he shows me I get all excited and praise him and he gets a cookie (dog biscuit). This happens every single day. He gets his afternoon snack and a game and high praise from me.
Here is where the lesson comes in. I’m under the weather today. I think it’s a cold or something. It doesn’t have me flat but it’s not pleasant. This afternoon I forced myself to shower which completely wore me out. It was time to take Jayden outside and I just wanted to sit down afterwards and relax after the shower exhausted me. So I split a banana with Jayden.
Jayden loves bananas! We split one in the mornings after his second outside session. You ask if he wants one and he literally bucks into the kitchen, not running or jumping, bucking like a bronco. So I thought a banana in the afternoon would distract him from the Wobbler. We shared our banana and I sat on the couch, happy to relax with my feet on the ottoman.
Not long after I picked up my keyboard, I felt Jayden’s chin on my leg. I immediately knew why.
What lesson did I learn today? Never ever try to fool a dog as smart as Jayden. That banana did not make him forget about his Wobbler and praise and cookie for a second. Jayden is now curled up beside me on the couch, his belly temporarily satisfied with his afternoon snack and extra banana.