I just finished washing my hair. Patterson helped me, even though he can’t physically assist with things like that. A little bit of the huge change of Before Pat and After Pat, the marvel of his presence and the energy he saves me throughout the day, is still inside every day and every task, and I am hit with a new rush of love.
Everything hurts less. I can get in and out of my chair more easily. I still need medications, but I was able to discontinue two of them. My spasms have decreased to almost none.
And this little task, getting down on my knees and washing my hair over the side of the tub, was excrutiating a few months ago. I did it myself, in just a few minutes, because I knew that I could, independently and safely.
It was special because of the newness and the ease, but also because my boy and I had been apart. Despite my best efforts, he sneakily chewed and swallowed pieces of a plastic pool toy. He began showing signs of discomfort two days later and ended up staying at the vet overnight. He is back in fine spirits. I look at him and feel the newness, and remember the terrible worry and heartbreak when he was at the vet. It is still so fresh, just one day after our reunion.
When I applied to Canine Companions for Independence in 2012, I knew almost nothing about service dogs. I definitely didn’t know that Team Training, the two-week class in which I was matched with Patterson and learned to be his handler, would be so indescribable or result in making more friends–both in the CCI community and even wonderful encounters with strangers when we’re out and about (not all the encounters are wonderful, but most of them are). It was bigger and better and challenging-ier than I ever could have imagined, because I only expected to get a dog.