This is Leah, Lorraine’s black lab service dog.
My mommy has had this blog for a few years now, and lately, she has been having various people guest post on it. I asked her if I could take a turn because I wanted to tell you what our life together is really like.
Mommy and I have been together for seven years now. Her first full day together with me by herself was her first day in her new house and it was also her 40th birthday. That was a big day for both of us. I was just shy of a year old at the time.
I came from a dog service training school named CARES in Concordia Kansas and I was bred to be a service dog to help people with disabilities.
After spending my first eight weeks at CARES I was moved to a prison in Colorado with some of my siblings. I was raised by an inmate there and he and I spent the better part of my first year together. I was taught basic commands and how to socialize with both other dogs and people. Prisoners only get to train puppies if they are model prisoners, as part of a reward program. The prisoner that trained me had to earn the right to do so.
When mommy went to visit the prison where I was trained, she asked one of the prisoners in the program why he trained dogs when he knew that he would eventually have to give them away. His answer stuck with her. He said, “Lorraine I am in here because I was selfish, I train dogs for people with disabilities because I want to give back to society and make life better for a few people in the process.” Tears welled up in mommy’s eyes when he said that. I thought it was pretty cool myself, although I don’t cry if I can help it. Instead, I sighed with contentment at the sweetness of the sentiment.
I am from the Harry Potter littler. All the litters of service dogs are named according to a theme, so the school can keep track of health concerns that run in families of puppies and that kind of thing. My real name is Luna, after Luna Lovegood, but mommy didn’t like that character in the story of Harry Potter because she was kind of spacey. So she asked Sarah, the owner of the school if she could change my name. Sarah told mommy that I needed the L at the beginning of my name and the A at the end in order for us to be consistent with training, so on the second day we were together mommy changed my name to Leah and we have never looked back.
We were in training together for two full weeks. We walked in a circle about a million times around a gym, so I could get used to mommy’s wheelchair and always being on her left side. I can’t be on the right because when we are at Target or Walmart and we go to check out all the candy treats and the things I am not supposed to have are on the right.
We don’t want me to be tempted unnecessarily. That could be bad news for everyone.
It was also during training that mommy and I bonded and she told me she would always take care of me. I liked hearing that, but I take good care of mommy too. I can pick up pretty quickly when mommy is upset or frustrated and I do a really good job of calming her down. I can do that better than almost anybody else.
I am not braggin’ or nothin’. It’s just true.
When she is having a bad day, I hop up by her wheelchair and put my two front paws in her lap. That is my “It’s time to hug me” pose. I wait for her to snuggle with me and if I don’t think one hug did the trick, I rest for a second and then put my two front paws on her lap again. I make sure she keeps hugging me until she feels better. Then I usually go back to sleep until the next time she needs me.
Lots of times I pick things up when mommy drops them. That’s one of the things I was trained to do. Some days I am just not feeling it though. On certain rare days , if mommy drops something and she asks me to go get it, I usually do. But then I think it’s mine. That is logical, right? Don’t the “finders keepers” and “possession is 90% of the law” rules apply here? Thought so.
Don’t worry, I usually give whatever it is back after a while. Mommy’s old cell phone had lots of my teeth marks in it, though. I had a hard time giving that up whenever I got a hold of it.
The last time that we went to our vet, Dr. Tom told us that I gained a little weight. So mommy bought a hands-free leash that she wraps around her belly and for the last few weeks she has taken me for a long walk every day on the bike trail in her power chair.
Yesterday, right after we had started out, we had a big black lab follow us. He was really into me. Just sayin’. We were a little intimidated at first, so we tried to go in front of him. He wasn’t going to have it. Every time we tried, he would run to catch up. After a few minutes, mommy noticed that he had a collar with a tag on, so we realized that he must just be lost. So he finished our walk with us, He kept trying to sniff my butt. I., on the other hand, was playing hard to get. I needed him to know that I am just not that kind of girl.
After the walk, he looked kind of hot so we invited him in for a drink. (No. Not that kind of hot and not that kind of drink!) He was growing on me and I didn’t even protest when he drank from my water bowl.
Mommy thought that was very hospitable of me. It even translated into an extra milk bone. Score!
While our new doggy friend rested, mommy looked at his tag and found the number for his daddy. We ran around and played while we waited for his daddy to pick him up. Right before he left he peed all over the living room floor, but overall we had a nice afternoon together.
After he was gone I reminded mommy that he was the one who peed on the floor (just in case she was confused) and asked when I could see him again. I’m starting to have a little crush. BOW WOW WOW! Is this what they call puppy love?
Anyway, I like being mommy’s partner. We both do better when we are together. I am fiercely protective of her and I make sure she knows that even though lots of caregivers who are college students come and go in our lives, I am the one who will never leave. We are a family. She often tells me that I love her differently than most people. I’m not quite sure what she means by that, but I know I’ve always seen her abilities and not much else. Mommy also appreciates that I am a “bitch” in description only. 🙂 She gives good belly rubs and she understands when I tell her my four biggest priorities in life.
For me, wiggling my whole body is second nature when it is time fill my tummy. I like that kibble!
I think I’ll stop typing now. My paws are getting kinda tired. If you see us out in public, please remember to ask mommy if you can pet me first, before you do so. When I have my harness on, I am working. Thanks for reading my guest post.
For now woof, and have a doggone good day! Much love!