Patty L Fletcher
January 3 2015
The day was decently warm. The sun shown bright, and there was a fresh light breeze. I’d noticed each time we’d gone out this day how turned on Campbell was by it, and how he’d dragged his feet each time park time had ended earlier in the day. Here it was park time in the afternoon, and Campbell seemed more than ready. “You can’t need to go pee that bad.” I said as I gathered our things to go out. Campbell went and stood by the door, at first I paid no mind to where he stood, then he barked, rather loudly and I turned to see what had caused such a noise to come from my usually quiet boy.
He was standing directly underneath the hook where his leash and harness hung. “What’s up?” I asked. He barked again, and added a healthy tale wagging to the mix, banging it loudly on the door as he did so.
It became clear to me what he was saying, “I need to work. I want to work. Can we not go somewhere?” His Service Animal was showing, and in a big way. I decided right then and there, any dog who could ask that way deserved to go. I was a bit buzzed. I’d had a shot or two of rum, but I was pretty sure the icy wind would sober me up. I was more than correct. First off just getting Campbell harnessed up gave me an energy level like none I’d had in a while. It was as if we were feeding off one another. His muscles quivered underneath his thick fur and he fairly pranced from one paw to another as I buckled his harness around him. Then when we stepped out in to the wind the game was on. Campbell was in a word, Rockin! I gave him his head. He took it gratefully. We walked to the first corner at the end of our block, crossed, the street as if we were going to the bus stop and then suddenly at the other side of the street, Campbell indicated, he wanted to turn right, and cross Lamont. I knowing what lie ahead there, allowed it. It was the way to our favorite convenience market. Although I had no wallet no money of any kind I decided, “What the hell!? He wants to walk I’ll let him.” The fact that he’d taken the initiative to do this made me proud. The fact that I’d followed him made me even prouder. As I went on down the walk. Campbell’s pull was quick and light. He was sure of himself and he walked with a pep in his step. He slowed for each large crack in the walk way and he made a few of them work out as if they were steps. It was all good. I praised him for each accomplishment in turn, and soon we were flying. The wind roared in my ears, and in my head. The sound was a whistling like a song I’d heard before. It was the song of freedom. I’d first heard it on April 4th 2011 with Drew Gibbon and The Seeing Eye training team assigned to mine and Campbell’s training on that leisure path at The Seeing Eye long ago, and now here it was again as it had been so many times over these awesome years.
As we walked I said, “Isn’t it neat? We can do it just because we can?” Campbell picked that moment to snort hugely and I knew he agreed.
After a while we were ready to turn around. Neither of us saw the need to walk all the way to the store. Campbell took a couple of park times along the verge of grass between the walk way and the street, and we headed back toward the house. As we crossed the street toward home I felt his feet dragging again and realized he wasn’t quite yet done. I turned us right and headed toward our bus stop route. Soon we were flying again. Going at top speed down the walk toward the bus stop located at the four-way stop on the corner nearly four blocks away, and loving it. I told him as we walked, “No bus today dude.” He didn’t care, and soon we were making the smooth left-hand turn to the stop. I had him sit, and go through a round of obedience. Had a huge praise session, said hi to a neighbor across the way, and turned us toward home. All too soon the walk was over, we were headed up our street, and then suddenly we occurred a problem. Slight though it was I took the opportunity to make an example out of it, so it wouldn’t be lost on my wayward dog. As we’d made the cross back on to our part of the street that ran along in front of our house, two dogs were in the yard across the street, and Campbell was extremely distracted by them. So I corrected, and stopped. We were directly across from the dogs now, and I had Campbell go in to a round of what we call, “Doggy Push-ups.” “Sit! Down! And Back! Up! Good, Boy!” I said, making Campbell go through this round, not once not twice, but three times in a row.
This form of discipline is designed to get the dog’s focus back on the handler.
Once I felt we had achieved this, we started off to walk again, with me giving the “Forward!” Command, and Campbell turned his head toward the barking dogs again. Again I stopped, and again put him through, “Sit! Down! And Rest, Sit! Down! Rest!” Again I gave the “Forward!” Command, and this time Campbell got the idea that if I wanted him to go forward he’d get an attitude and pass the house. I waited till I felt the walk going up in to a climb and then turned him around, scolding ever so slightly as I did. Then I began to work him back down the walk, with the house to our left. I kept on him, saying, “Hup! Hup! Leave those dogs alone!” I put his leash tightly in my hand, choking it up a bit, and correcting him with a firm, “Pfui! And Leave It!” each time he turned his head in the direction of the dogs. Soon he was behaving nicely and turning in to our drive. It had been a great work out for the two of us, had lasted about thirty minutes, and the both of us were all the better for having done it.
I’d been fighting some sort of cruddy cold crap for two days, but at that moment it seemed far away from my mind. Funny, as I am typing, I have to realize I don’t feel nearly as badly as I did before I began that walk. I’ve had a late lunch, and am now relaxing with yet another drink. Campbell and Bob Cat have been fed and all is well.
I can hear my family above, going through their afternoon, and I am simply glad to be here. It is the third day of the new year already, and good to be alive.
I hope all of you realize just how awesome your dogs are, and follow them, because in the end, they will never steer you wrong.
Until next time, this is Patty, Campbell, and Bob Cat too, saying, may harmony find you, and Blessid Be.