Jul 242009

Here are some more friends from the animal medical center: Dakota, the German Shepherd, and Steve, his handler. These are a really proud and nice team!

dakota_steve_3Dakota guides Steve, who cannot see his way.  Dakota was in the hospital because one morning when Steve was going to work and the two of them were going up an escalator, Dakota’s paw got stuck. He too was in a lot of pain, just like I had been.  His toes were also broken, like mine had been. He too has to wear a collar, just like I did.

When they are walking together, Dakota helps Steve to walk in a straight line and around obstacles. Outside, Dakota also tells Steve where the curb is so Steve knows where to stop.

However, only Steve determines when it is time to go.

When they are stopped at a curb where there is a traffic light or a stop sign, Steve uses his sense of hearing to determine when it’s safe to cross.

Dakota and Steve are best friends but each one has his role and they work together as a team to ensure Steve’s safety and happiness.

I speak for Dakota when I say that dogs, even guide dogs, cannot understand or obey traffic signals and stop signs, and cannot make decisions about when it is safe to cross the street.

Jun 232009
We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

We're never going to tell you if it hurts or where it hurts.

A dog who gets hit by a car isn’t going to tell you if he is in pain.  And if he is in pain, he certainly is not going to tell you where it hurts.

At the fence that morning after I was hit by the car, my mom saw blood and open wounds but she had no idea how seriously I had been hurt.  Because of my silence, it had never occurred to her that I was so deeply wounded.  I didn’t tell my mom and I didn’t complain, not a whimper. I didn’t lie down; I stayed sitting up and erect.  I did everything she told me to do and I stayed where she told me to stay.  My eyes were wide open the whole time and I followed my mom’s every move. Even when she had driven the car to the back of our home and was opening the back door to the car to let me in, I tried to jump in until she said “Joey, NO” and she put the blanket around me and lifted me in and onto the car seat.

The hardest part for my parents was when the first doctor said, “He could die if you don’t get him to Angell right away.”

Since then my parents have been learning a lot about how we dogs are different from humans.  For example, today my mom found me licking my splint again.  She knows that something is irritating my foot and that this means another trip to the hospital tomorrow to try to determine the source of my irritation – and that in the meanwhile she has to put the sock back on my foot and the cone if my licking my foot continues. She knows that I’m never going to tell her that my foot is being irritated or where it’s irritated. I’m not going to complain.  She knows that I’m just going to try to get some relief in the only way I can, which is to lick my foot. And maybe try to chew at the splint.

That’s just my way. That’s our – a dog’s – way.

Ask any dog and he or she will tell you the same.

So my mom and dad are going to keep looking at me and looking at me to see what I’m up to every day, every waking hour. And they’re going to keep the phone number of the animal hospital close at hand.

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