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Topic bridge crossing and hurdle jumping Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.03.27 00:22
When the time comes...... How often We say this, especially with young on set Parkinson's Disease. Probably with any long term incurable illness but I can only speak from my experience. When the time comes I'll face that hurdle, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! Unfortunately the time does come and the bridge needs crossing.

This bridge is, I have to retire my service dog. The time is here to replace him. It's one of the hardest things I've had to do and face in quite awhile. He's given me almost 12 years of loyal service and undying, unconditional love. His hips are bad, he has trouble rising and laying down. Standing still for more than a few minutes and his rear end starts to dip. Yet even with his problems the minute I move He's right there by me still, ready to do His best to do His job. There are so many lessons He's taught me through our time together. So many times this "dumb" animal has saved me from falls, from myself.

To tell the truth, I was thinking of not getting another. It's hard, for all these years He's been my balance, my counter weight, my cadence or rhythm, when I got walking too fast or losing control He'd step in front of me and slow me to a stop so I would start over walking correctly. If I stop He places his paw on my knee to gain my attention, breaking any freeze. The bond between Dog and Person in a service dog team runs deep, it's beyond words. You blend together so you act as one, for any "Trekers" out there it's like a Vulcan mind meld. People who meet you remark the way you talk to that dog it's like you expect him to answer. After they are around him for awhile they say you know I half expect him to answer too. Little do they realize at some unheard sub-conscious level he does. The time has come for him to really retire, to let some young sturdy, stronger dog take over my wanderings. Time for Him to lounge around the house waiting for our return. At some level I'm sure He'll give out tips to his replacement. He'll laugh at what I dragged the new dog into and tell him how to correct my stupidity. As I said I was thinking about not replacing Him but without a replacement how would I walk? How would I un-freeze by myself? A walker or wheelchair? I'll cross that bridge later, for now a service dog will work. I go to interview for Squire's replacement at the end of April ........... it's hard, damn hard.

By mylove On 2010.03.27 10:38
Because he's not really just your dog. He's a member of your family. How could you *replace* a family member?

You won't. You add to your family, just as if you were having another child. It will be a whole new adventure for you and Squire. I wish you the best!

By packerman On 2010.03.30 11:25
thank you for your eloquent description. i have forwarded this to my DH in case he would consider getting a service dog. it sounds like you and Squire have a special bond.

By lbellomy On 2010.03.31 09:34
As I was reading this I was afraid that you would have to give Squire up completely. I am so happy that he can still be a part of your family.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.05.11 19:25
Well since I've posted about going down to see about another service dog I should update. I went for the assessment or "interview" and it didn't turn out anywhere near what I expected. Since I had gotten Squire from them before I expected what happened the first time. That was discuss my needs and be in line for another dog. I had been informed that those who had a dog they were retiring were first priority. Squire and I were not quite what seemed to be needed but at the time they were not training balance dogs.

A tiny background on their balance dog program; About a year after I got Squire I received a phone call from the training center. They were starting a program to train balance dogs to aide People who had mobility problems but were not wheelchair bound. Would I take a morning and come down to meet with the trainer in charge of this new program to discuss what and how the dogs would be needed? Sure, I'd be glad to help! I knew the trainer as He worked with Us when We got our service dogs. He had all kinds of questions we discussed.

Now forward to the end of April 2010. I was informed they didn't train balance dogs to meet my needs?!?! They only trained them to commands, could I command in advance to break a freeze (before it happened?). Their dogs weren't tall enough to suit Me. They couldn't say it might take two or more years for a tall enough dog came in, even then the wouldn't be sure it would wear a harness. I needed a large dog and their service dogs would all be around Squires size (undersized and not trained for my needs). They gave Me the names of two places that trained Dog's large enough to suit me, thanked me for my loyalty to them by seeking out a replacement for Squire but they had nothing to offer. Ending with if you have no luck with the other training sites let them know and they'd try to figure out a way for a regular service dog to be of some help but to keep in mind it wouldn't be trained to suit my personal needs and would be undersized for the work.

One of the sites I know and it's about one and a half to two years for a dog, the other is about a year. So right now Squire is still going to have to try to keep up. To say the least I was somewhat stunned by this "interview". What's the old saying, things work out for the best? I guess I'll have to look toward that being true and walk away from it, trusting to the new. I meant to update this sooner but had to process it all else I'd have really written a rant here instead. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

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