Good morning everyone.
The following is a slightly edited version of a letter I sent to The Seeing Eye Training Department not long ago.
I share this, because so many of you are following mine and Campbell’s progress, and I do want to keep you in the loop and ask for your continued prayers concerning this transitional phase in our lives.
LETTER TO THE TRAINING DEPARTMENT AT THE SEEING EYE
MAY 1, 2019
I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to talk with me the other day.
Next, I’d like to say that I’ve given some of what you said to me some thought.
I’m a better writer than talker when it comes to expressing my thoughts and so I’m going to write a few things here, and you may, at your leisure/convenience read and write me back with your thoughts. Of course you’re welcome to call too but honestly there’s no real need unless you just prefer speaking to a quick email.
I thought about what you said about my at times putting Campbell into harness and his helping me still being working even though it is not consistent. I have decided to put in the rest of my paperwork and that way you all have all my info and can begin the hunt for a dog because as I say Campbell doesn’t work consistently.
However, I want to add that I think that what I’ve been doing where our walking physical therapy is concerned may be having a very positive effect on Campbell.
As you can see from my record, Campbell was very sick in the fall and over winter.
He had some serious stomach issues which we have determined were a combination of several small things morphing into one large problem. He also had some miner surgery and a UTI as well.
That’s quite a lot to happen to a 10-year-old dog thus my starting his heeling on leash, and my using my cane protocol.
Now, he’s regaining his strength, and after having taken a couple trips to the vet and having to make extra stops while coming home he’s starting to regain his nerve too. In fact, it never dawned on me that he could lose his nerve. What a dunderhead you must think me. Of course he could.
This morning we accomplished our walking goal.
In fact we went a tad over.
With me heeling him and using my cane we walked 1.4 miles today and how proud of us I was.
Now, to go further.
Now that he’s getting back in shape something else is happening.
Yesterday when it was time for me to go to the store I’d just taken him out. He caught sight of the van and when I tried to leave without him he threw a major fit. Up until this time he’s not cared one way or the other whether he went or not, but it was nice out, he’d had his arthritis and stomach medications, and a nice walk, so was feeling quite well.
He got between me and the cane standing in the corner and you’d have thought it was a beast the way he was fiercely protecting me from it.
He barked, and stood on his toes. He’d have stood on his hind legs if I’d allow such.
I tried to go out the door, telling him soothingly I’d be back but he would not have it, so I dug his harness out of the closet, slipped it on and you’d have thought it was Christmas and he had an entire ham all of his own.
He wagged, and wiggled, and fairly bounced to the van. When we got their he got up into it as if he were a spry pup.
The Driver asked me if I’d started him on new medication and I said no, and told him of our walking routine.
When we got to the store he wagged in and to the girl at the courtesy desk without one flaw, and he heeled like a perfect gentlemen all through the store.
Well, he did sniff a few loaves of bread but he insisted he must check them for me before we bought any.
When it came time to board the van to go home he did have to have just a tad bit help getting in but the van driver pointed out that when we were coming to the store that Campbell was standing on the curb and this made him higher up and gave him a natural boost.
Now, I know he’s not going to do this consistently, but I cannot see how it can hurt to let him work when he is able. I will never force him into harness but what do you think about my letting him go when he is willing and able?
I don’t necessarily feel comfortable putting us into high-traffic situations because he does move more slowly than he once did, and I also will not be able to work him every-day. Thus far the most he’s working has been about every-other week or so, sometimes once-a-week if he’s feeling especially good, and then only if he can go in a car or on the door to door van service.
He will agree to the mass transit but it must be a very short trip else he becomes uncomfortable and I believe this is due to arthritis issue and all the twisting and turning, thumping and bumping associated with riding a large bus.
Several handlers have told me this behavior is a normal part of the retirement phase and that I should still put in my paperwork and let yawl start the hunt for a dog and that when Campbell and I were ready you all will be ready. Now, I always take what handlers tell me with a small grain of salt because all experiences are different but as you said, I’m no pioneer at this and there are those who do have wisdom to impart.
I don’t want to appear as if I’m flip-flopping back and forth on decisions.
This is not a decision which should be made lightly, and I just never thought about things in this light until I spoke with you. I also didn’t expect the walking workouts we’re doing to start having such a positive effect.
My vet says it’s the same as when I was recovering in 2017. It took me nearly 6-months to get back to 60-percent and another 3 to come up to 90-percent to where I was before my illness.
I must say I was happy to have him with me yesterday and the store staff quite literally stopped working up front to come say hello.
It was quite a reunion let me tell you.
He’s sleeping the sleep of the just this morning in a huge patch of sun and in fact became a bit annoyed with me for making noise a while ago and waking his majesty up.
Please do accept my deepest thanks for all your and everyone’s support. We truly are really on our own here and this is a decision I must think through mightily so that I’m absolutely certain when the right time is to completely remove him from service and get a new dog.
First, I don’t want to stop him until he’s ready, and next it’s not like these dogs grow on trees. I mean when I was there in 2011 Mr. Kutsch said that from breeding to handout was 78,000 dollars, and I cannot imagine what it costs now. Besides, I don’t want to misjudge and have this not work as it should.
So, “Forward” we go.
I’m in the process of changing doctors and so I’ve the paperwork Angela resent me and will be sending it in shortly.
Thanks again and have a fabulous day.
Well, there you have it.
Until next time this is Patty who has decided to stop thinking so much and just go with the flow, and King Campbell Super Part-time/semi-retired Seeing Eye Dog who says It’s my harness and I’ll wear it when I want to…It’s my loveseat and I’ll sleep when I want to.
May harmony find you and blessid be.