Friday marked three years since Calvin and I began our partnership together. It honestly feels a hell of a lot longer though. Now, I don’t have enough material to have a week dedicated to Guide Dog posts this year, in fact I was even concerned I wouldn’t have enough material to write a single post, however, I should have known Calvin wouldn’t let me down.
He still makes me laugh on a regular basis, such as storing his toys on the radiator in the living room, which is ideally placed under the bay window, so at a low level for him. You often hear him clawing at the radiator, as he puts his tennis balls or other balls on there, which fit snugly in the slot, so he struggles to get them back out. After a while he will come over and put his chin on my lap and give me the saddest puppy dog face going, so I have to go and help him get them out. He never learns from his mistakes though. He also amuses me when he wants to play ball. A normal dog would drop the ball when you say give so you can throw it for them. Calvin wants you to throw it for him to, but when you try and get it off him, he teases you by moving his head at the last second, so you can’t get it or smacks your hand away playfully with his paw!
Calvin is still keeping me on my toes and our most recent incident, involved me fishing myself out of my local brook! We were walking along happily, when Calvin’s pace picked up and tail started wagging excitedly, which always means he’s spotted another dog. We came to a small side road, I think it’s actually the entrance to something, so he stopped at the curb as he should. We proceeded to cross, but so did a man with his dog, which he said was a puppy, as if I cared and Calvin lost concentration, as he insisted on greeting the other canine. I was dragging him away, as he ignored my commands to continue and found myself standing on a grass verge when we reached the other side of the road. I know there are grass verges each side of the path and since Calvin was still ignoring my commands to find the way, as he looked longingly back at the other dog, I guessed, judging by the traffic that I needed to go left to get back on track. However, I obviously guessed incorrectly, as the next thing I knew, splash, I stepped into the brook, thankfully, which wasn’t very deep, around knee height. It took a split second to register what had happened, I didn’t even know the brook began there, I thought it was further up where it is barred off. I found myself still gripping Calvin’s lead who just stood at the top staring down at me, with an expression of confusion I’m sure. I heard the man with the dog come rushing back who must have heard my yell of shock and was offering his help, but by the time he reached me, I had already hoisted myself back out. He was like I’ll help you back on to the path, I just wanted to tell him to leave me alone, as Calvin began to play with the other dog again! I was disorientated afterwards and just walked for a while not noticing where I was, trying to get over the shock. I totally saw the funny side, but was lucky not to get hurt and not lose my phone, keys or sat nav out of my pockets. Eventually I must have come back down to earth, as the sat nav announced a road leading completely in the wrong direction to my house. I’m not even sure how I got over there, as we would have definitely had to cross a few roads. I walked home in a daze, hoping my jeans didn’t look too bad, it was raining at least, so I had a reason to be a bit wet! Calvin manages to surprise me yet again!
With regards to his work in general, in September, he decided that he no longer sits at curbs and chooses to stand instead. He has tried this a few times in the past, but I have always had to make him sit again, as he would cross roads without stopping. He has managed to master the art of stopping at curbs now, most of the time, so I am letting him get away with it. You hear lots of stories about Guide Dogs getting arthritis in their back legs from having to sit all of the time hence why I am letting it go. Some dogs now are trained not to sit at curbs at all anyway.
Thanks Calvin for three thrilling years!