Just love today’s repost from Dr. Ryan, about LB and his relationship with Chunky Stan the Jack Russell. Although LB was indifferent to the other family pet, Bess, he had a tight bond with Stan, who could get him to do things he wouldn’t do for anyone else’s asking.
The fact that LB could bond with Stan was encouraging for me. Grenouille has been bucking for a while now for a medical alert assistance dog. I think it’s a fantastic idea, but I do have concerns. Quite apart from training, care, walks, insurance and vet bills, the huge fly in the ointment is that G is scared of dogs. Scared of any animal really, if they are within potential contact range. It’s the unpredictability of a live creature. A ladybird on the windowpane can cause a shrieking exit from the room, and a cat glimpsed from the kitchen at the far end of a friend’s hallway was enough to provoke the screaming abdabs and a panicked scramble over the table, scattering chairs, to the safety of my lap.
Animals on the telly, in books or glimpsed through the car windows, are another matter entirely. G liked the pictures of LB and Stan.
“Is Stan a service dog?” G doesn’t use the term ‘assistance dog’; the string of sibilants is too hard to produce.
“Don’t think so, but it looks like he was very helpful to Connor, making him feel safe and loved, doesn’t it?”
“I know lots of service dogs.”
“What service dogs do you know?” I say, thinking G will probably mention Choccy, the ‘anti-wandering’ Labrador who is is clipped to his partner’s waist-belt when they are out, and who is trained to sit firmly down on his substantial and muscular bottom if she tries to do a runner; or Duke the general-assistance dog, whose patient presence helps keep his partner calm and on-track with general activities.
G, it turns out, is thinking in categories.
“Oh, Guide dogs, yes. For people who…?”
“Can’t see. And hearing dogs.”
“Hearing dogs for the deaf, yes, that’s another one.”
“And die-bee-tees dogs.”
“Hypo alert dogs for people with diabetes, very good. “
“It’s a hard word to say.”
“I know. It’s difficult to say some long medical words.”
G gives me The Look. “They’re nearly ALL long.”
I choke down a crack of laughter. “They are, at that. Do you want to have a shot at this one?”
G hesitates, taking a breath. I watch the lips rehearse the word silently, then G says on a great outrush of air, “Mepilexy dogs.”
“Close enough, love.”