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From Pet Dog to ESA to Service Dog - my journey

PAT - the start of my SD journey

August 17th 2012 11:08 pm
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My mom took me out for my first intense Public Access Training today. It was storming outside and that worried me a little. I wasn't scared of any of the people or things I saw, or even those carts with the wheels I used to be afraid of but I'm still not sure what I'm doing in this new life. Whenever I have my vest and headcollar on, I'm not allowed to sniff or look at other dogs or anything. Mom tried to reward me with treats but I was just too stressed out. I could see the worry on her face. I know she loves me and is afraid I hate this new life and while I do miss being a dog all the time, I love my mom more than anything. She tells me I won't have to come out with her all the time, she's just doing PAT with me so I'll be prepared if she needs me to accompany her, so that makes me feel better but I know that for the next few months (one outing a week minimum), to make the most of my training, I'll be going pretty much everywhere with her besides class and we'll be doing a lot of training at home. I hope I get used to this strange privilege and begin to enjoy all our time together.

A fellow Dogster pup recommended starting over with me so I'll take treats from her in public. I LOVE treats but I just can't focus on them with so many other new things going on. I gobble them up at home while we're practicing tasks though. Even though she says she's proud of me for behaving myself perfectly, even though I'm stressed, I can tell she's worried I may not make a good service dog out in public. She says I won't have to go out with her all the time and that in a couple of years when she's had time to train a bigger dog, I can retire from the public sector altogether if I want to but I haven't decided yet.

I liked the people I met today. The associates, particularly in Bed, Bath, & Beyond were very nice to me and I even heard a mother educating her little one about what I was doing when we walked into Target. We didn't have any access problems since I was wearing my vest and I know my mom was really relieved about that, though she is still getting used to being the center of attention. She tells me she's never been comfortable with that, even as a kid, but when you bring a dog into the grocery store, you're going to get noticed!

She also tells me we'll be going to see Melody around Christmas time to teach me some more tasks. I LOVE Melody! She's one of my favorite people and she always has some "puppy crack" waiting for me. Mom says I'm going to learn how to wake her up when her alarm goes off and make sure she gets out of bed so her hypothyroidism and insomnia won't keep her from making it to class this semester like it did last year. She also hopes I can learn to bring her her medicine at a certain time everyday since she forgets a lot and gets really sad and upset all the time when she doesn't take them. She's also started working with me at home on teaching me to search rooms for her. She has other things on her list too, I just hope I'll be able to learn them all and make her proud.

I can tell she's worried about what other people will say and the questions they'll ask, that's why she never takes me into the Petsmart where she works with my vest on. She tells me she's afraid of being judged by her friends and classmates and people at church, especially since we live in such a small town and they aren't used to my SD status, plus she has what I've heard her call an "invisible disability". I wish I could do something to reassure her that everything is going to be okay and I'll do my best.

Lots of changes in my life right now and I'm not sure what to make of them. What I do know is I love my mom and I know she loves me. I've always tried to do everything I can for her and don't intend to change that anytime soon.

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