Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Life With Dogs

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So, it’s been months since I’ve entered a posting but I have a few good reasons, the first and foremost being LIFE. It’s been wonderful living with my guide dog, Verona (Ro for short), and Neeka, our pet dog.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream when we got back from training, though, but since then we’ve all adjusted quite well. If I knew how hard it would be to manage both my dogs after guide dog school, I might have prepared better for it. As it happened, I had a hard time seperating from Neeka. I missed her while I was away and even after bonding with Ro in school, I worried if she was pining for me. She was, after all, a rescue and I was her primary caregiver. Mommy was away and she didn’t know why.

My husband told me that Neeka slept by the front door waiting for me. That broke my heart when I heard it I wished there was some way I could tell her why I was gone and that she wasn’t being abandoned. But I couldn’t and just had to let it go.

I had to let go of many thingsduring my journey into blindness and have since learned to try to do my best to know when to release whatever was out of my control. Giving up my role as primary caregiver of Neeka was just another role I had to find a way to revamp. Luckily my daughter took over while I was gone and she and Neeka have since bonded.

My fear of the dark has relaxed, too, One day I went out to a meeting and returned after 8 p.m. We got off the bus and I realized this was the first night trip Ro and I were going on since the one we did in training. Ugh, I thought, this will be interesting. But I stepped out with her and we did great. My confidence is slowly being restored, thanks to Ro and her excellent guide work. She keeps me safe and every day she does something that causes me to feel grateful I have her.

One night last week we were walking down our apartment hallway and a man came out the stairway just as we were passing. He swung the door open so fast I didn’t have time to react. But Ro heard him and pushed us out of the way just in time. The man barely missed us with the door and his own momentum. It was like a traffic check and I praised her as we resumed our way out of the building. If she hadn’t done that, we would have both been hurt, perhaps seriously.

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