So it’s not even noon here and already I want to turn off the computer and crawl back into bed. I’m not sure why, but for the past week I haven’t been able to return to bed after Huib leaves for work. I guess it’s a good habit to get into, waking up early enough to be awake more of the day than sleeping, but it’s hard when you don’t have anything to look forward to – don’t work and live in the middle of nowhere. I think Cessna is really confused by my new routine, so instead of going back to bed herself, she’s started to join me on the couch. It’s nice to have this one-on-one time with her, but I’m sure she’d much rather have some one-on-one time with the bed instead lol!
Now, to what inspired this entry.
A friend messaged me via Facebook to ask how his friend should go about reporting a service dog handler she has witnessed numerous times mistreating their dog. After writing back to explain that she would first need to figure out where the dog is from and then contact the organization with her concerns, I hit send, but couldn’t stop thinking about the situation.
As I sit here on the couch, with Cessna on my legs and Canyon by my side happily squeaking his new ball, I try to figure out how someone could possibly think it’s okay to treat their dog like they have no feelings or emotions at all. It’s never acceptable, but to do this to an animal who has been trained to help, been taught to trust, to believe that this human being will love and care for them, an animal who does not understand the meaning of hatred, but who will love unconditionally to a fault, is just beyond my ability to wrap my head around. I will admit that I once thought it was okay to use overly harsh chain collar corrections and didn’t understand why my sister or friends would cringe in horror – it was what I had been taught . Cessna changed my perceptions forever though when she showed me the emotional scars which could be left behind. Looking back on the early days of our partnership, the days when she would tense up and shake after a correction or sink to the ground in the hopes of not being noticed when anyone raised their voice, I can’t help but get a little teary. Cessna did nothing to deserve these experiences, but was subjected to things I can only imagine terrified her, in an effort to “make” her “conform” to the expectations of what a dog guide should resemble. I remember calling friends to ask for help and some nights even crying on Huib’s shoulder because I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong or what had happened to make Cessna so afraid of me. I had never raised a hand to her, but if I reached over to pet her head too quickly she’d duck and back off. I never corrected her harder than I was taught, but she’d tense up and shake, while looking at me with fear in her eyes. After finally realizing that it wasn’t me who had caused this reaction,I understood that it was still my responsibility to help her move beyond the horrible memories which followed her. These images of my once fearful little girl circle my mind whenever I think about the service dog who’s being mistreated.
Having a service dog is not a right, but a privilege. These amazing canines will walk through hot lava to get to us if we need them, so please treat them with the same respect and dignity you’d give a friend or family member.
Thank you for listening. Think I’ll go grab a fresh Tigger mug full of hazelnut coffee and climb back under the covers on the couch with my old boy. I guess Cessna has Been called back to the bedroom for a nap by the bed lol!
Here are a couple pictures of my sleeping beauty for your enjoyment.