Going it alone

Commando on his new cushionHello, and welcome back.

In my last post I mentioned that as a result of Commando’s time at the animal hospital the previous day, I had been advised not to work him the following day in order to give him time to fully recover.

Naturally this was advice I would certainly follow.  Since I had to be in College that day I arranged for my mum to come and baby sit Commando whilst I was out, which would give him the chance to make full use of yet another new cushion which I bought to assist with his recovery.  After all, there’s nothing quite like a new soft fluffy cushion to make one feel better.

So, the day rolled around, and Commando was understandably quite pleased when I put his breakfast down for him that morning, after having missed out on breakfast the previous day.  Naturally he made short work of it and settled down as normal for a little snooze.  Once I had eaten I gave him his usual morning grooming, and then prepared to head out.  Naturally, Commando knows my routines, and naturally assumed that, once he realised I was ready to head out, that he would be coming with me.  Apparently Commando didn’t think that he needed any time off to recover.  Before leaving the house, I spent Commando, again just as we always do before heading out.  Then of course things started to happen a little differently.  Instead of the leader and the harness, I picked up the cane.  This didn’t stop Commando from wanting to do his job, as he followed me to the front door, assuming that perhaps his silly human had just picked up the wrong thing, and would soon realise his mistake.

My taxi arrived a few moments later, and I proceeded to head out the door, without my boy.  Our regular driver, who naturally knows Commando and I quite well by this point, observed that Commando did not look best pleased with me as I closed the door.  I can understand this completely.  As far as Commando is concerned, wherever I go then he should go too in order to ensure that I’m kept safe.  I was not at all happy to leave him at home, because I knew that he wouldn’t like it very much.  But his welfare comes first, even before his incredibly strong work ethic.  I had already taken steps to shorten my College day, moving a meeting I had with a tutor to another time, meaning that I could be home just after 12pm.  This was just a lucky co-incidence that we had tutorial meetings instead of a full lesson.  Naturally had we been on normal time table that afternoon then I would have had to stay regardless.

So I arrived at College, took out the cane and proceeded to my class room.  Usually Commando and I take a much more indirect route to the room, so that Commando can have a longer strolling time.  But this time it was straight to the room.  I have mentioned in previous posts, that even though I have no love for the cane, I have tried to maintain my cane skills, for just such a situation as this.  So I was able to get to my destination, all be it far slower than usual.  Interestingly though, it was almost as if a large part of the journey was being done on automatic.  Since I have travelled the route so many times with Commando I think some parts of it have become almost like muscle memory and are just done almost on instinct.  So it was almost as if even though he wasn’t there Commando was still helping me get around.

Of course once I entered the class room things were not so neat.  Usually a “find the way” from me will have Commando weaving around tables and chairs to get us to our seat, but this time it was the usual clumsy sweeping with the cane, clattering off chair and table legs until I found the seat.

So, having found the seat I promptly sat.  Strangely it was at this point that I became acutely aware that I didn’t have my boy with me, and so things just didn’t feel right.  There was no putting the harness over the back of the chair, no looping the lead over my knee, and no dog making himself comfortable on my feet.  It really was quite unsettling, and I found myself just counting down the time until I could get home to see my boy.  I never really like leaving Commando on his own, for any reason.  I know it’s usually the dogs which sometimes get separation anxiety but I always feel like I’m missing a part of myself without Commando nearby.  Plus, in this case I was worried that he was worried about me, since he knew I had gone somewhere where he was supposed to go with me.

So, the morning lecture came to a close, and I made my slightly less than graceful exit of the class room, headed down the stairs and waited for my taxi.  I suppose it was bound to happen at some point that day, but the taxi driver who came to pick me up asked “where’s your dog?”  I’m sure every guide dog owner has had that one if they’ve been out without their trusty companion.  I had already informed friends and lecturers that Commando wouldn’t be joining us this day, and explained why.  I did get a wonderful comment from one of my friends.  I had told her on the Tuesday that Commando wouldn’t be in on Thursday, and she asked in all seriousness “Do you not get a courtesy dog?”  This had me doubled over with laughter for a good couple of minutes.  A courtesy dog, can you imagine that folks?

So at around 12.20pm I made it home.  I came into the living room, and honestly dear readers, I have never known Commando to be so happy to see me.  He was running around my legs in circles, tail wagging furiously, paws coming up to give me a cuddle, the full works.  My mum informed me that even though he had been fine, she got the impression that he knew something just wasn’t right, and he was often glancing towards the front door.  I too was just as happy to be back with my boy, so that I could look after him, just as it should be.

After that day, we quickly fell back into our normal routine.  The following day Commando was once again in harness, if for no other reason than I don’t think he would have forgiven me if he hadn’t been allowed to get back to work.  Since, as I mentioned in the previous post, there have been no signs of discomfort or any other problems, we have had no further disruption to our partnership, and both myself and Commando wouldn’t have it any other way.


Pauline, 9:44pm Thu 24 Jul 2014:

Well done you two - glad you're back in your routine. What a team

Vicky, 8:42am Thu 24 Jul 2014:

Our two dogs get upset when the routine changes too and hate it when we go out without them. I collect grandson after school once or twice a week and am back much later after his mum comes in from work and there are dogs waiting at the back door to jump up, You are home safe! So I can only imagine how upset Commando was, knowing you need him to get around. I'm glad all is well again.

Bob, 1:07pm Wed 23 Jul 2014:

Glad to hear that Commando is ok.

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Craig And Commando

Craig is in his early thirties and he is completely blind. His blog details the day-to-day adventures he experiences with his first guide dog, Commando.

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