Today was a very hard day and made me realize how much of a routine I am in with Toki. I attended my group therapy session at the local hospital and Toki was left home with a relative. I have gone days without her before due to health precautions for her (the beach is very hot) but I have always had friends with me. Today I was alone and had to try my best to function enough to attend my group.
It all started when Toki found herself into a bag of Mini Wheats on the weekend. I don’t think anyone’s stomach could handle half a bag of fibre, let alone a dog. So yesterday was quite the adventure and if you don’t like poop stories, I suggest you stop reading now.
I was driving on the highway yesterday morning when I smelt something foul and checked the back seat where Toki was laying. Well she was not laying there any more, she was haunched over pooping right on my car seat with the nastiest case of diarrhea I have ever seen. I could not pull over because the stretch of highway had no real shoulder to stop on so I tried my best to just open the windows and get her to stay still. You can probably imagine how hard that was to do on a highway and alone. When I finally got to the gas station about five minutes later, the heat was already at 37 Celsius and the poop smell just stuck to everything. Toki then jumped into my front seat where she dragged a whole lot of poo all over the car. I managed to get it cleaned up enough to get home and made sure she was settled before making the ten minute drive back. When I finally arrived home I immediately went to cleaning everything I could manage to clean, but the smell still lingered and I was so sick to my stomach at this point. Toki stayed at home while I went to pick up my fiancée who took the car in for a professional cleaning. Needless to say, Toki took one expensive poop all over the car and ended up costing $170. After having the car cleaned we went back home to deal with Toki’s belly issues. She seems back to her normal self now and I am so happy I don’t have to clean up after a sick doggy any more. It was an expensive lesson to learn but we know now to keep all cereal away from Toki- especially Mini Wheats (which I will probably never eat again).
Moving on, the story I just mentioned was relevant because it ties into why I was alone today in group therapy. Toki spent the day resting with Nana and she seemed to have a great time unlike myself. I never really noticed how much happier and alert I am when Toki is there with me. All day today I felt like I was in a nasty haze and not paying attention at all. In group I felt like I may even have a panic attack and it was so scary knowing she was not there to help me. I am proud that I was able to get through my day alone but I am so relieved to be back with my service dog. My facilitator mentioned that she never thought about dogs having to take time off because of being sick. I don’t think many people realize that service dogs are living creatures and they will get sick just like we do. As a handler it was up to myself to decide if I wanted to go alone without her today and although I was so nervous, I am so proud I was able to do it alone. I am now back home with Toki and am at ease now with her on my lap; she is thankfully feeling like her normal self so I think a walk is in order now.
Sometimes a handler must go on without their Service Dog.