Play Time

Hello once again.

As I have mentioned before, play is very important for our guide dogs.  I’m sure it’s easy to imagine, when you see a guide dog out and about, working hard, with skill and precision to keep their handler safe, that these dogs couldn’t possibly be like other dogs.  But anyone who knows a guide dog will know that once that harness is taken off, these four legged marvels will act pretty much like any other dog.

Personally, I love nothing more than when Commando is at play.  Whether that’s chomping on one of his Nylobones by the fire, madly squeaking a squeak toy whilst running around the house, bringing his indestructible snake squeak toy, which I’m surprised to say is still in remarkably good condition, over to me to show it to me, give it a squeak, then furiously throw it around after I’ve sneakily squeaked on one of the other segments, to spirited games of tug with his tyre.  Or of course that doggy classic of flopping down on my feet and rolling over to get a tummy tickle.  Every single play action he engages in makes me smile, because I know that he loves his play every bit as much as he loves his work, and often he loves nothing more than to include me in it.

Commando with toys

The very first thing we do with our dogs, when they are given to us is to engage them in play.  For Commando and I this involved me getting down on the floor of our hotel room to examine the new toys that had been given to us in our pre guide dog boxes that morning.  For around 40 minutes Commando and I were down on the floor whilst Commando ran around quite happily with his Kong toy, bringing it to me at regular intervals as if to say “look how great this thing is, and it’s all mine”.  Or coming to me after hearing a squeak from the guide dog next door, who had a squeak toy, as if to say “why don’t I have one of those?” Something which regular readers will recall was quickly remedied.

At time of writing this post I have just recently handed in my final piece of University work.  Needless to say I am now quite relieved to have gotten through it all.  Although I do now have to wait for my final marks, and hope that they are good ones.  But it also occurred to me, once I had time to stop and think, that I hadn’t had nearly as much time to play with Commando over the last few months!  This realisation snuck up on me, as we were engaged in an epic round of tug.  I was hanging onto the tire for dear life when I realized just how long it had been since we had done this. 

As I’ve said before, Commando is very attuned to me.  He always seems to know when I’m doing something important, and so he will amuse himself, coming over to get my attention for a minute or two if he feels that I need a break.  So over the last few months he has for the most part amused himself.  We have of course engaged in free runs, and he’s had plenty of cuddles, and has been in no way neglected, even university work could never truly take priority over my boy, no matter how important it may be.  But we just never seemed to have the time to engage in pure uninterrupted play time for, well, however long play time could last.

Of course we have more than made up for it recently, with epic rounds of tug, squeaking and counter-squeaking of the indestructible snake, and our newest addition to the toy box, the indestructible fish.  Not to mention extra free runs with Lester.  All of which Commando has loved, and to be honest, so have I.

Seeing our dogs at play can make what they do when working seem all the more remarkable.  How they can go from running around madly squeaking a toy, or concentrating utterly on demolishing a Nylobone, to working with such diligence, care and concern for us, in as short a time as it takes to put on their harness.  No more evident was this, when Commando and I were recently out on bin day.  We had only gone a meter or so from my gate when Commando dropped to a step by step pace, moving with such care to take me between a wheelie bin and an improperly parked car.  He clearly realized that we could make it through, just. But only if he took great care in choosing his course. But make it through we did safely and soundly. All thanks to a dog who not long before had been on his back, paws in the air relishing a nice tummy tickle.

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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.

Read Craig and Commando's most recent adventures.