Paws on the Street Part Nine – 29 Days and Counting
By Patty L. Fletcher
August 19, 2021
“Has it really been 29 days?” I asked myself as my hands played tenderly over Blue’s sleeping form. Gently, I traced my fingers along his body, taking in the strong muscles, soft fur and sturdy legs splayed across the foot of my bed.
Yes, I know, I said I wasn’t going to allow him to sleep there but there’s just something truly comforting about a big dog’s presence in the deep of the night when you live alone. Besides, should a miracle happen, and I find a companion, I’m not certain I’ll ever want to necessarily share a bedroom with them. Honestly, in my imagination I see a partnership where in we would either share a home which had separate living quarters as I tried with my EX long ago, or else we would live near one another and visit often.
The truth is I enjoy my privacy and though I’ve not lost the desire for intimacy I think for me the lure would be the spontaneous coming together and then the quietly going our separate ways into the morning’s light.
Ah, but I digress.
The point is that over this past month of mine and Blue’s time of coming to know one another things have been quite different than I expected. Now, I’m not one to compare dogs too much. Dogs are like children in that they’ve their own unique personalities. But one cannot help comparing one’s experience to that which has gone before.
When Campbell came into my life, the connection was immediate. Looking back, I think both he and I were in places in our lives which caused us to need one another in a huge way. Campbell had been in the kennel for a bit of time, so he was ready for a person to enter his life to take him away from all that and I was living a hideous existence without love and bonding with him provided this in a unique way.
Blue however, had already been through three sets of handlers and was not certain he could trust me to remain in his life for more than a brief moment in time.
I’ve had to work mightily to win him over to me and as I chatted with a friend of mine yesterday, I realized we’d been doing this in stages and as I related to him the story which began the true bonding process, I found myself wondering just how strong our bond really was.
Standing at the sink making another coffee Casey’s voice coming from the speaker of my phone said, “Having had two guide dogs I understand what you’re saying but I’m sure you guys are gonna do fine.”
“Well,” I said, “I believe our first real bonding experience happened when I fell during a training trip while at the school. You know, when something upsetting happens how you have to shove it down and focus on keeping that happy voice?”
“Yeah, it can be difficult to do.”
“Well, when I fell that day, it jarred every bone in my body. The pain was so intense it made me sick to my stomach. My trainer started to take the dog from me, but I said, ‘No leave him.’ I knew what I did at that moment would make or break our relationship. I don’t know exactly how I knew; I just did. I sat there on the ground wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball and cry but instead I hugged that dog, petted his fur and speaking calmly I said, ‘Baby Blue that wasn’t your fault. It couldn’t be helped, and mommy loves her boy.’ Then, bad as it hurt, I got onto my feet, reworked the spot so we could overcome it successfully and then walked another half a block to do the clicker training we’d come out to do.
I couldn’t hang in there with that very long, but I believe that was the true beginning of our being able to trust one another.
Later after I returned from the ER and reclaimed my dog, he practically dragged my training supervisor into my room to get to me. I knew then we’d be Ok but still I’ve had to really work to win his love.”
As with all things in my life, when I hung up from that conversation, I took a moment to have a word of prayer. Kneeling by Blue as he snoozed lying sprawled half in and half out of his crate I prayed, “Mother father God, thank you for this beautiful beasty walking by my side. I’m grateful to have him. I’ve already fallen hopelessly in love with him but I’m not sure the feeling’s mutual. Sometimes, I feel a closeness to him and other times I feel his distance. I understand he has had and lost several persons before me and so I ask you help me show him our love can be forever. So Mote It Be. Blessid Be. Thank you, amen.”
As I rose to continue my afternoon activities, I felt Blue’s paw tapping my foot. Kneeling back down into the floor I asked, “What is it my Baby Blue?” As I sat waiting for him to make the next move, he slithered out on his belly and put himself into my lap. “Oh, my sweet boy.” I crooned. “Mommy does love you so much. Please allow me to love you forever. I promise, just as I did before with Bubba, I will if you let me be your human mother and you may be my son. I promise unless something unforeseen happens in our lives, you and I will be together from now until the very last breath you take on this earth.”
I’ve no real idea how long the two of us remained that way but when finally Blue rolled away to chew his bone and I stood to stretch the kinks out of my legs and go on with the rest of my day something between us had solidified. I’ve no accurate words with which to describe what I felt as the clouds parted, and sun began to shine through the windows while I stood there petting Prince Edward who had come to see if he could get in on the snuggling, but I know something changed.
Now, as I sit here at my desk on this early summer’s morning trying to relate this experience to you, I’m sure of all that went before. This morning, after Blue’s relief and feed time, rather than hang out to see what the cat might get that he didn’t, he stood for a moment having his back scratched and then headed off to find his bone. When I found him a little later after having some kitty cat snuggle time while my coffee brewed, he was lying sprawled contentedly in the middle of the office floor chewing his bone.
When I’d sat my coffee into its place on the desk and settled myself into my chair, Blue came and lay his head in my lap to enjoy his morning ear rub. He wagged his tail in large lazy circles and sighed as if he were the happiest dog on earth. Then raising his head, he stood on his hind legs, propped his big front paws onto my shoulders and began to lick my face.
Always before, I’d needed to ask before he displayed this type of affection. This morning, he’d done it with no provocation and as I held him in my arms, and I felt his heart beating in tandem with mine I sang…
Little boy Blue, come blow your horn. There’s no danger where we’re going.
Mommy is here to keep you safe, as we go along our way.
Mommy loves Blue. And Blue loves me. So, together forever we shall be.
For information about The Seeing Eye® visit: https://www.seeingeye.org
Patty and her guide dog Blue. Patty has her hair tied back in a low ponytail and rests her right hand on Blue’s head. She wears a white shirt with a pink and purple butterfly on the front and light blue shorts. Blue is a handsome black lab. He wears a brown leather harness with a handle attached to the back and is smiling at the camera as he sits in front of Patty. In the background is a brick building with white, windowed doors and a flowerpot overflowing with pink and yellow blooms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.
Broken and Healed
How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life
A garden with rocks and pebbles are surrounded by grass and trees. A bench sits below a tree with a silhouette of a dog sitting on the grass in front of it. An ethereal glow of gold and green shines through the middle of the picture with the title of the book written in fantasy style lettering in a darker shade of gold with black shadowing.
Pathway to Freedom, Book Cover
In this, the first book in her memoir trilogy, Pathway to Freedom – Broken and Healed: Book One – How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition, Patty shares how her decision to gain complete independence with the help of ‘The Seeing Eye Guide Dog’ school in Morris Town, New Jersey, reveals to her a glimpse into worlds she had never before known existed.
Once home from ‘The Seeing Eye’ she soon begins to realize all is not right in her world.
Watch your step as you journey down the pathway with Patty and Campbell, for there are many obstacles along the way. There are triumphs and tribulations, tears and fears, but through it all that forever guide by her side, King Campbell works tirelessly to keep her safe from harm.
For this and all her other work visit: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG