Monday, August 8, 2011

Is Annie REALLY a Service Dog?

The mere physicality of having MS is so exhausting.  To do the simplest thing is beyond frustrating because of:
  1. Dropping things  (omg do I drop EVERYTHING)  (and thing it rolls underneath something that I can't reach)  (makes me sooo mad)  (and I fall over soo damn easy if my head goes below... head level)

  2. Running into things  (I am constantly running into the stove knobs and turning on burners.  Yesterday I burned the bananas, and the decorative burner cover.  I thought the burning smell was coming from my open window, from the apartment downstairs, so I ignored it for too long.

  3. Catching my clothing on things, which causes all sorts of cognitive problems  (like, what the hell is wrong?  why am I stuck?  what is stopping me?   how do I get out of this?)

  4. Tripping

  5. Falling

  6. Weakness  

Annie picks things up for me.  She likes to try to get things out from under things too.  I swear she uses her paws as hands just like people do.  The problem is that I always forget that she's capable of doing this for me, until after I've tried several times and failed, beyond frustrated.

I am looking into how to train her for fire alert stuff.

She can't really help me when I'm trapped in shirt I'm trying to get off my head.  If I bent down to her level so she could pull it off, I'd fall over, which then turns into 2 problems to solve.  

She does help me with tripping.  When walking with her, I have to pay attention.  She walks a fine line between pulling just enough to keep a counter balance going between us, and pulling too much, or not at all.  If there isn't some tension on the leash, I trip more.  It's usually my fault when she's pulling too much, cause I'm not giving her the proper feedback.  Don't cuss out the dog because I'm failing her by not giving her the right instructions at the right time.

She definitely helps me when I fall.  She can't prevent it, and I wouldn't want her too, for fear of injuring her.  But if she's off leash when I fall, she makes a beeline for me and waits for me to tell her where and/or how to brace herself, so I can get back up.  When I fall in public, people always comment on how she is so tuned in to me. There are stairs here in the park that have no railing to hold on to.  I can't do them without Annie, period. 

The weakness.  She can be the extra "umph" to get up the hill, by pulling me.  She can be the brace to keep me from falling, if I catch it soon enough. 

She can bark for help.  I'm in the process of teaching her to go find help.

There are so many ways that she helps me that it's almost as if she's my right hand, and I forget she's there because she's so much a part of me.

Sometimes we argue or fight!  We get sick of each other, I swear we do.  Loyal smoyal. 


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