It’s Not Always Hunky-Dory

I write a great deal in these blogs extolling the virtues of my Guide dog, Opal. However, it is not always hunky-dory. Case in point? Yesterday went all wrong for us. Allow me to provide some background which might mitigate my sweet (GRRRR!) dog’s behaviour. At 3 am, I could hear a little monsoon going on outside. It was pretty much over by 5 am when Opal and I stepped out for her morning relief. But the GRASS WAS WET…and she has never liked walking on wet grass, especially to the backa-beyond area we have been relegated to since the cranky biddies upstairs complained about the “sight of that dog relieving”. I’ve already vented my feelings on THAT.  I have since encouraged Opal to enter the designated area (right in front of our window…at least Lucy doesn’t mind watching her sister poop). A battle of the minds and wills developed yesterday; Opal wanted no part of walking on wet grass. I was determined that she would walk across the lawn and relieve herself in front of our window. Sure, letting Opal relieve where she wanted to, probably would have gone unnoticed at 5 am.  My guess is that the whiny biddies are fast asleep and not parked in their windows. I was thinking about the ‘next time’. If I let Opal relieve where she wanted, there and then, she would expect (as dogs do) to repeat her performance later in the same place when the biddies WOULD be looking at her. Admittedly, my consternation over my original non-response to their crazy complaint had left me feeling cranky with the world…and Opal was my first contact of the day. We embarked on a power struggle extraordinaire. I took Opal out four times yesterday morning, knowing that she was in desperate need of relieving. Opal can be as strong-willed (IE. bullheaded and stubborn) as I am. “Opal, you’re going to explode if you don’t ‘do it’ soon”, I warned her. I sensed the thought bubble over her head….”you have no idea how long I can keep this up, mum”. And so the morning progressed as I did my four loads of laundry, interspersed with the unproductive trips outdoors. I made a tactical error by leaving a pair of sandals lying around the apartment. As I struggled through the door with my enormous sacs of clean laundry, I was greeted by Opal running around with one of my sandals. She approached me, just close enough to tease me and confirm that she had it ….and then took off. A chase ensued. Several minutes later, I collapsed on the sofa. Bits of rubber and leather littered the floor. Opal stood by and grinned. Petulantly, I tell her that they were not very comfortable sandals anyway. I should never have left them out in the first place! I had washed her soft toys and bedding. Her favourite plush puppy still needed some drying so I placed it in the open window for some sun and air. Opal did not ‘get it’. She slunk over to the window and nimbly rescued Regina…over and over. I tried putting Regina in a different window. Lucy did not approve of this. It was, after all, HER window and why should she tolerate Opal’s ‘stuff’ being in her space? She did not.  Regina ended up on the floor (to Opal’s delight). My frame of mind was not the best yesterday; I was tired, my throat was sore and the news was all bad: CBC radio told me: Two Nova Scotian  lobster fishermen drowned–Nova Scotia Power wants to increase rates by 12%–a Calgary family was wiped out in a murder/suicide–the provincial legislature closed with all parties behaving idiotically, bickering about who supports what bill. A bill to protect battered women fell because of in-fighting.

 I spent my morning calling veterinarians in Halifax. All 36 of of them. It seems the city want a ‘needs assessment’ to move forward on my service dog run proposal. One of the things they want to know is the number of service dogs in HRM. There is no central organization keeping tabs, so my reasoning was that all service dog handlers go to a vet, so they should have an idea of how many they have within their client base. The numbers continue to roll in as veterinarian practices return my calls. 

The day ended (mercifully) without fanfare at 10 pm.  The great thing about having a bad day? It makes a good day seem even better (grin).

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