This is for you, Angel

There’s a little lady somewhere in the southern U.S. who raised my girl, Opal. That was a few years ago. By some incredible stroke of luck, I have managed to stay in touch with her and her family. Today, she asked for my input on a school paper she is writing  on service dogs. Question: Can I tell her 2 or 3 things about what’s it like to have one? Answer: Do you have a couple of months to listen? You’re asking a tough question, Angel. Here’s why. There are several answers, on several levels. Practically, Opal keeps me from walking into stuff, falling off curbs and tumbling down staircases…she detours around shopping carts,  garbage cans, panhandlers, parked cars, construction sites and all that. She does it WITH MY HELP. I decide when to cross the street, but if I make a bad decision, she can override it (Intelligent Disobedience). I could avoid most of that without her, given a white cane and a lot of time, stress and effort. I’m not saying that travelling with Opal is a snap. I need to be thinking about where we are, and what I need to say to her and what to do with my arms and feet. HOWEVER!!! Life with Opal is fun! I am more independent because I WANT TO BE. I have her with me 24/7 (unlike pet dogs that stay home some times). She is my best friend. I am not as lonely as I once was. She provides me with a reason to get out of bed (though I bet your dog, Snoopy doesn’t get up at 5 am every day!) I am healthier because I walk a lot and get plenty of fresh air. I don’t have too much time to worry about my own little problems because she keeps me busy. One more thing for you…when I am somewhere (like a boring meeting) and I need a break, Opal can suddenly…need to relieve…and I am OUTTA THERE! (grin). Thank you for raising my girl. She has changed my life. 

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