Rediscovering Forgotten Pleasures
by Patty Fletcher
It’s been one week since I came home from The Seeing Eye® Dog Guide school with my new dog. His name is Blue. He’s a Black Labrador Golden Retriever Cross and he is wonderful.
Coming home with a new dog is much like coming home with a new baby. It’s widely believed these dogs come 100 percent ready to go out of the box and in some ways this is correct. But there are various things the handler must do to help firm up their skill once they’ve returned home.
Today, like all those over the past week, has been one of those whirlwind days that has you hitting the ground at full gallop. It began at 5:15 AM with Chief Blue snuffling his nose into my ear whispering “Mother, wake up. Mother, I must go out!”
Giving a long stretch and humongous yawn, I unashamedly begged, “Oh, can’t you give me just one more hour?”
“Snuffle! Snuffle! Mother, I must go out! Sneeze! Now! Please?”
Finally, at 5:25 I knew we could wait no longer, so up I got and out we went. Walking barefoot through the dewy grass and breathing in the thick scent of summer blooms with the sounds of night things readying for sleep and the day things coming awake washing over me I began rediscovering the joy of early morning walks. Soon, rather than grumbling about having been awakened before even the sun had peeped its brilliantly smiling face over the rim of the world, I was rejoicing in the beauty of the beginning of a summer’s day.
Had I forgotten what it was like to have this wondrous time of silence with only the song of nature and a magnificent beast with rippling muscles eager to work for me wanting to obey my every wish by my side? How, could I have ever lived without such immense pleasure?
All too soon our walk was ending, and my boys were in full cry. Decreeing, “We’re hungry mother! We’re hungry!”
Sending Blue to his place and Eddy to the top of the dishwasher, I began to fix their breakfast.
Once this was done, I put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher, folded a load of clothes out of the dryer and put another into wash.
Though I’d had a long soak in a bath of fragrant hot water, my body felt wearier than ever. The eighteen days of training along with the past week had it seemed finally caught up with me. I knew I’d have to work with him in some way later in the day, but I didn’t believe we’d leave the yard.
One of our most important daily activities is obedience drills. So, during Blue’s mid-morning relief time we had a round. Standing on the front walk with the leash in my right hand and turning my body slightly to the right, I commanded, “Blue come!”
Obediently he trotted round to my right side then, bringing the leash round behind me, passing it from one hand to the other, I commanded, “Blue Heel.” And neat as could be he circled round behind me and stood at my left ankle awaiting my next command.
Giving my hip a sharp slap, I commanded, “Blue sit.” When he sat straight and proud, I praised, “Good boy.” Then, with a swift downward motion of my hand I silently commanded him into the down position and then giving first a praise and then another sharp slap of my hip had him sitting politely again.
Once this was done, Blue and I were rewarded with a rousing game of tug and finally, it was time to get down to the business of the day.
There were phone calls to make, social media notifications to read, and text to send and answer.
Later, as morning slipped toward noon, I sat on the back deck, grooming Blue with the summer breeze bringing in the scent of freshly mown grass and the sounds of the city roaring around us and yet another forgotten pleasure was found.
With the slamming of a delivery truck door came the cheerful voice of my grocery delivery boy calling, “Good morning Miss Patty!”
Standing with a smile I answered, “How are you on this fine summer day?”
Carrying the bags onto the deck he offered, “Can I assist you with these in any way?”
I instructed him where to sit them in the kitchen and as he swiped my card to pay for my plunder, we exchanged happy tidbits about our day. I’d introduced him briefly to Blue before having him go to his crate and as the young man sat my groceries inside, he commented, “He’s very well behaved.”
Thanking him I said, “We’re brand new together. We’ve been home one week today.”
When he’d gone and I’d put everything away, Blue and I returned to the business of grooming his fur. Once again, I was moved by the joyous pleasure of standing in the morning sun, feeling the soft fur of a dog slip through my fingers and for a moment I was caught between boundless joy and bitter tears.
“Thank you, Bubba. Thank you for helping to bring this wonderful beasty into my world. I’ll never forget you. Your memory will live forever in my heart but today I’m ever grateful for this new guide by my side.”
Now, the morning is slipping toward afternoon. The heat of the day presses down upon us and we’re safe and cool inside. The quietude whispers throughout the house, Prince Edward purrs softly in his sleep and Chief Blue barks quietly in his dream as he chases through meadows of clover and tall grasses after what, only he and his doggy dreams know.
Once again, I am privileged to love, own, and handle a dog from The Seeing Eye® the oldest and largest school in the world. Again, I’m truly blessed with the pure joy of true independence, and I’m ever grateful.
About the Author
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant. To learn more, visit: https://pattysworlds.com/.