It’s been a while since I have written in here, but, no thanks to a computer not working, I wasn’t able to write until now.
But here I am!
Lately, since moving to Denver, my husband’s life has been changing all for the better. I should start the story when we first got word we were to move out here from our home in Northern Virginia…
It was March when we got word that we were to transfer to Denver, and we were all excited about the new prospects of living in Colorado. For one, we would be much closer to my side of the family, and it would give us a better chance to visit during the Holidays. Yet, prior to this, my husband had applied to get a guide dog to help him around in Washington, D.C. where was working. We had already gone through the interviews and such, and now we knew we needed to tell them about the move. We weren’t sure what was going to happen because of that, and when they knew of the change, we found out that they would wait until we were settled in Denver before making the decision of training a dog for my husband.
Now lets jump forward to July – We were just moved into our new apartment. Boxes were still piled here and there, and the living room was bare of furniture (we had to sell all our living room furniture and bedroom furniture to pay for part of the move), and we get a call that a representative of the agency was in town and would interview him again.
“Again?” I thought, but then it was explained to me that they needed to see my husband’s route to work to see if a dog would work for him. He showed the interviewer the path to the light rail (which is an above ground version of a metro system), and she was very “to-the-book” about what was expected of him and of the dog when it came to paths. Some of my husband’s path wasn’t what she thought was appropriate for a dog, which was walking through a parking lot to get to the sidewalk. When she left, we weren’t sure we would be approved.
We didn’t receive word until November from the first interviewer, who we met in Virginia, that we had been approved. She remembered us well, and was very excited for us. She even hoped she would be the one to bring the dog out to us. We were excited, yet didn’t know what to expect.
We wouldn’t know until this past week…
Just two weeks ago, we were told that the dog was selected and was to be brought out to us in a couple of weeks. Talk about a short notice! But that didn’t matter…. We were excited about having a guide dog for my husband. I was nervous, however, for my cats. I have two cats, and they both have very little exposure to dogs. It was going to be a very interesting experience.
Friday morning, just yesterday, I got up and got my kids ready for school. I was very tired, as I had been up the night before cleaning and preparing for the dog’s arrival. I had to work, and I was grateful for it, as I wasn’t sure I could deal with meeting the dog and know I couldn’t interact with it for a long time. My husband was anxious himself and acted as if he had several cups of coffee under his belt. I, for one, was working on getting those cups of coffee to keep me going through the day!
When I came home, I was pleasantly surprised to see my husband sitting by the couch with a beautiful female German Shepherd dog sitting obediently by his side. Her handler happened to be the very same woman who interviewed us the first time around! We were ecstatic to see each other again, to say the least! I just looked at the dog and talked a little bit with my husband and the handler before going to look for my cats, who I knew would be very nervous about having a dog in their domain. It took me ten minutes to find them! They were very nervous and wanted to hide, which I let them. At least, I knew where they were.
My husband and the new dog spent all day getting to know each other, and my husband had to learn to care for her – including taking her out for the bathroom and cleaning up after her. That is, obviously, his least favorite part of the whole deal.
The kids had to learn to respect the relationship between my husband and the dog. When they came home, they were allowed to greet the dog, pat her on the head, and then go to do their homework. I was really proud of them for following the rules on that.
When night came, the cats gave me a surprise. They came out of their hiding place to see who this new visitor was. I was not expecting them to do that on the first day! One was a little more brave than the other, and she, a long haired black and white cat, came within 10 feet of the dog and stared at her. The dog stared back with curiosity, but she didn’t make any moves towards the cat. We were then told that she was trained around cats, which made her a perfect match for us.
At bed time, we had to have the dog in a crate, and we put it in our bedroom. Eventually, we were told, she will be able to sleep wherever she decides, but for the time being, the crate was best. The crate, I strongly believe, provided a great way for the cats to comfortably get to know their new “roommate”. My brave one actually climbed on top of the crate to see the dog closer. She even put her little white paw into the crate to say “hello” . The dog didn’t do anything but look to see what the cat was doing. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised. My orange tabby, a very timid and anxious cat, eventually braved up to sit about four feet away from the crate and stare at the dog. Eventually, he chose to lay beside me than to check out the new resident.
As for my husband, he was exhausted from all the changes he was undergoing. “Overwhelmed” was a bit of an understatement for him.
As I am writing this, it is the end of the second day for dog and man in their bonding and learning from each other. The harness came into play more today, and my husband is learning how to read his dogs movements as he walks with her. He even mentioned that he feels he needs to re-learn how to walk fast, as with a cane, you have to walk slower to know where you’re going.
The cats are still hiding most of the time, but my brave one still peeks around to check the dog out from time to time. My other one is still undecided on how he feels of the other furry addition. It may take him longer to come around. We will see.
The training will take a week’s time, and we have hopes that by the end of the week, my husband will be more comfortable in working with his dog. I am also looking forward to learning what my role will be in all this, as I was told that I do have one.
I hope you have found this a good read, and I look forward to sharing more of our adventures!