Posts Tagged ‘guide dog’

Living with Eva

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Everyone meet Eva.

Miss Eva

Miss Eva

Eva is the latest addition to the Davies household, weighing in at half of my weight and with more energy than all of us combined. She may not look like a puppy, but give her five minutes and she will be chasing her tail or rolling on her back attempting to bite anything (or anyone) who gets near her face. She does an impressive 4-leg-spring where her entire body is propelled straight up into the air, over and over again.

She enjoys eating leaves and licking humans when they’re half asleep or sweaty. She falls asleep in cars and snores. In the words of Sandra Dee in Grease, Eva is hopelessly devoted to Dad. She whimpers if he leaves her for over 10 minutes and will sit staring at the bathroom door waiting for Dad to finish in the shower.

She’s a messier and louder version of dog than Cali and doesn’t have the same eating etiquette as our previous guide dog in training, however she is fitting in nicely into our family and is being regularly smothered in hugs. It would appear that while I don’t like dogs, I do like Cali and Eva.

Puppy Love

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Last night it dawned on me that Sinead O’Connor is clearly singing about a guide dog that she has been training in her song Last Day of Our Acquaintance. A trainer and a dog who have a final day together before being separated forever. They will meet again when the dog graduates but when the trainer tries to say hello, the dog will be so focused on being a good guide dog that it won’t respond. And we already know this will happen.

Today my family is understanding exactly what Sinead was getting at. Tomorrow Cali is leaving our house and moving on to help a visually impaired woman live her daily life. She has made it through the training, been declared as one of the top 20 dogs EVER (of course, she’s a Davies), and is now going to spend the rest of her life providing an amazing service to someone who needs a bit of help. And while we’re ridiculously proud of her, we all want to cry.

Cali, the smartest dog in the world.

Cali, the smartest dog in the world.

My parents have just spent the last two and half years training Cali, pretending not to be getting attached while really falling in love. My brother has spent almost a year with Cali around while I have gotten to know her in the last three months. When I moved back to Perth I wasn’t all that thrilled that a dog was living in my house and stealing attention from my parents away from me. And now I rush home in order to have pats with Cali. I call her over, rub her tummy, take her for walks every evening, I have given her a soppy nickname and I will do anything she wants when she looks at me with her loveable dog eyes. When I’m sad, she cheers me up faster than chocolate ice cream.

WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED?! No one in my family quite understands how a four-legged furry creature who really is ‘just a dog’ has managed to have such a resounding impact on all of us. We have all been affected by Cali’s presence and she didn’t even do anything other than lie around on our floor. Perhaps this is what all animals manage to do, or maybe Cali is a wonder dog. Whatever the reason, we’re going to miss her and she will always be my favourite dog. I still hate dogs, but I love Cali.

A clean dog is a good dog

A clean dog is a good dog

On that note, we will learn more tomorrow evening whether or not it is possible to like more than one dog, when Dad has taken Cali to school for the last time and returns home with Eva (aka Cali II). Yes, we’re getting another one, because rebound guide dogs are always the best option.

I Don’t Like Dogs. But I Do Like Cali.

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I’m allergic to dogs which is handy as it means I have a socially acceptable reason to ask people to keep their beloved mutts away from me. I have occasionally grown to like some dogs, this being a long process involving them learning not to get too close and to never, ever cover me in their drool. The general worldly consensus appears to be that you are inhuman and an essentially horrible person if you do not ooh and ahh and kiss and throw yourself over a person’s dog. Even when I explain that I am not able to touch the thing as it will result in me breaking out in a rash, sneezing and my eyes turning into tennis balls, I still receive looks of disapproval at my lack of excitement about the animal.

I wasn’t overly thrilled to be returning home to Perth to where a dog had moved in to my house. While I was living overseas, my parents replaced me with a black labrador that they are training as part of the guide dog program. Cali was presented to me on regular occasions via Skype and I could see that even my parents weren’t impressed by my lack of interest. Cali and I were in competition for my parents’ love and I was refusing to let a dog beat me.

Over the last three weeks, Cali and I have some how rapidly progressed from me frowning at my parents childish talk and screwing up my nose every time I felt a wet nose rub against my leg, to us going for walks together and hanging out on the floor. I pat her, praise her, and tell her she’s ‘such a clever girl!‘ for sitting when told to. I look forward to her coming home from puppy school and treat her to ice cubes on hot days.

Cali guide dog

She’s rather lazy.

So I’m not sure how that happened. I have a suspicion that she has somehow become an emotional surrogate for Sir Pubert, who is now on the other side of the world and not providing me with the attention and affection that Princess Jess requires. The other day, I was having a bit of a sob moment and Cali was instantly aware of my sad mood. She immediately came over and sat on my feet and didn’t leave until I was feeling perkier. Clearly, dogs are far more in tune to human emotions than men and I suddenly saw why humans become so attached to their pets. Cali had cheered me up simply through crushing my toes and giving my legs a bit of a lick.

I still don’t like dogs (particularly not small yappy things) so please don’t bring your dogs over to meet me. But Cali is Cali. She is part of the family and has taken on family traits (easily distracted, she likes to wander off and see what’s happening on the OTHER side of the road and this evening she wanted to eat cheese) and therefore I think she’s cool.