Paws on the Street Part Eighteen – Snow, the Makings of a Solid Team and Human Self-Care
By Patty L. Fletcher
Moon Phase Waxing Crescent
“The coffee’s hot and the weather is not and that’s just the way I like it.”
Patty L. Fletcher Kingsport, Tennessee USA – Lady MoonWalker
Photo taken 07/24/2021 at The Seeing Eye® in Morristown New Jersey.
Miles and Wheels, wheels and miles have passed since Blue and I came home together, began a routine. Moved, started over, began a new routine, learned a bit about each other and finally, began to fit.
“Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and tomorrow’s another day.”
You’ve seen that written by me before.
I first read it on Cherokee Billy’s blog. Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t know whether she or someone else wrote it. It is the truest statement I’ve ever read. For me, its import is right up there with Drew Gibbon’s insistence of, “Take a chance, there’s a 50 percent chance you’ll be right.”
I believed these things when first exposed to them and believe them still. So, when I woke at just before 8 this morning suffering mightily from a head cold, feeling more ragged than I’ve done in many a moon, and knowing work and community calls would be there when I felt better, I had no problem deciding a day of Self-Care was in order.
I took my time waking up and getting out of bed.
I took an even longer time to do my morning’s routine of washing face and brushing teeth and hair, drinking my 12 ounces of water and taking morning medication.
Once I was finally washed up and dressed, I set about the business of dealing with the boys. First, they had to be petted in equal measure. Even though Blue slept with me, and I’d seen Prince Edward when I’d been up in the night, their enthusiastic behavior suggested they’d been without me for days.
Once each had been sufficiently scratched in all the right places, I sat about the task of gathering bowls and food.
Grabbing Eddy’s water and canned food bowls from the table, I turned on the hot water, squirted a bit of soap into the dishes and gave them a good scrubbing.
Once they’d been dried and lined up onto the counter, I popped the top of a can of food, broke Eddy’s pills up into it and scooped it into one of the bowls. After stirring it a bit I sat it on the table and Eddy began to eat. Then, I refilled his water bowl and sat it back onto the table next to the automatic kibble feeder.
While this was going on, Blue rested quietly in his place, where he’d gone after their morning pets without being told.
Saying nothing to him, I knelt, reached underneath the sink and pulled out the large plastic tote of dogfood, opened the lid and scooped a cup into his bowl.
Snapping the lid back onto the tote, then sitting the bowl of kibble onto the floor I said, “OK. Blue. Take It!”
With that, he leapt up, scampered across the floor and loud crunching ensued.
While Blue was busy inhaling his food, I found and put on my shoes and jacket then, walked about the apartment gathering all the life necessities of the day including phone, door key, and a couple plastic grocery bags for picking up Blue’s leavings. By the time Blue had finished his food, I was standing by the door, leash and cane in hand, ready to go.
Leaning forward I clipped Blue’s leash to his collar, unfolded my cane and as we stepped out into sun and winter birdsong I said, “OK Blue, let’s see if our work will pay off.”
Giving a mighty snort and jingly jangly shake, Blue stepped neatly into heel beside my left ankle, and we made our way cautiously down the gently sloping walk which had been cleared of snow and ice where at the bottom Blue anticipated my next command and stepped to the left into the frozen grass and began circling to relieve.
With each turn I stated, “OK. Good boy. Park Time!” in an upbeat and slightly firm voice.
Finally, he’d relieved a kidney, circled a couple more times than indicated he had nothing else to report. On our return, not wanting to miss some winter’s fun, Blue crunched several mouthfuls of snow.
Opening the door sweeping in on the chill of the winter’s breeze with Blue bouncing in by my side, I said, “Blue, Good Boy! Excellent job!”
During the warmth of the past autumn months, Blue and I worked tirelessly on leash obedience. Though many would feel it would’ve been better for me to have had him in his harness and working to go to relieve, the distance between our door and the relief area makes it so that putting on and removing the harness, to relieve then putting the harness back on to walk the few feet back to the door seems more trouble than necessary.
After I’d removed his leash and reclipped his bell to his collar, Blue bounded off returning moments later with a slightly tattered plush puppy doughnut ring clamped firmly in his jaws. Wiggling all over, he proclaimed, “See what I have?” dancing round as he spoke.
“Blue, what do you have? Show Momma.” I crooned. “Come on? Let me, see?”
He danced, twirled, and bounced up and down back and forth in front of me. Finally, after a long time of teasing, he dropped it at my feet, looking up as if to say, “OK. Toss it dummy!”
This went on until the coffee I’d turned on before leaving finished perking and I was overwhelmed by the smell.
Giving into my need, I stood saying, “OK Blue, go play. Mommas got to have coffee.”
He took off in a spin down the length of the room to the bed bounced up onto the mattress, flopped down in his spot with his toy and gave a mighty sigh.
Standing at the counter, pot in hand pouring the fragrant liquid into my cup Marveling at how well we were suddenly doing it occurred to me all Blue had really needed was for me to trust him to do what he was given.
Throughout the morning, as I read emails, made, ate and cleared up brunch, Blue hovered near.
If I sat at my desk, Blue chose to either lay behind my chair or curled on the foot of my bed.
If I got up and went to another part of the apartment and stayed longer than he felt was necessary, Chief Blue would bounce up and come to see where I’d gone.
Though I was glad to know we were joined at the hip, I also knew it was time to begin making it so Blue felt comfortable out of my line of vision. I’d been putting him into his crate while Della my caregiver cleaned each week and on Wednesday after I’d returned from lunch at the Senior Center, I left him snuggled up in his crate while I ran to the bank with my dad. I wasn’t gone more than 30 minutes and Blue was no worse for wear when I returned. Today however, Blue would not be parted.
After I’d washed and cleared away my brunch dishes, I got back into my jacket, dropped my phone into my pocket and called, “Blue. Come!”
Soon we were bouncing out the front door, down the walk and into the yard next to the swing for a poo.
When Blue finished, we went up to the dumpster and on the return trip he stopped for a long sniff and pee in the bushes.
When he was done, we took our time making our way home. The sun was warm on our backs, the winter’s breeze was crisp and even my sinuses seemed to have cleared. So, for a moment, all was right with our world.
About Patty L. Fletcher
Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six incredible grandchildren.
Patty was born one and a half months premature, and her blindness was caused by receiving too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, when she lost her sight after complications from cataract surgery.
Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm separating the disabled from the non-disabled.
To learn more, visit https://pattysworlds.com
Pathway to Freedom: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life is available on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1056347 and on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Pathway-Freedom-Broken-Healed-Retrieved-ebook/dp/B08P823TNJ/
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