In the beginning…. I was thinking about getting myself a service dog. I’m not in need of one everyday at this point, but I do know that with the progressiveness nature of MS there will be a point in time when one would be useful in my everyday life. Due to my vanity I can’t see myself with a cane or a walker, but I can see myself with a fancy poodle as a mobility assistance device.
I quickly found out that service dogs are expensive! In my research I found that you can train your own service dog, and they don’t have to come from the costly programs.
Now, I am good with dogs, and enjoy Gabby’s obedience school. It’s always amazing to me at how far she has come from when we first got her. Don’t get me wrong…. She is still a Kuvasz down to the bone and there are personality traits to her breed that we will never be able to change, and she would NEVER be a good service dog. But she has come a long way in the past year that she has been in obedience training. Savanna has taken over the responsibility of Gabby’s obedience training which says that Gabby has made miles of improvement, and that Savanna has a gift with dogs.
How in the world did I end up with a poodle puppy? It wasn’t really a part of my plan to get a puppy. I had contacted the Enchantment Poodle Rescue group in Albuquerque, I told them I was looking for a Standard Poodle with a temperament that would make for a good service dog. I filled out all the forms for adoption and was ready to sit back and wait for my perfect poodle (one that was house broken). A few days later I received a call from the rescue group to tell me that there was a 10 week old male standard that needed a home right away. TEN WEEKS? Really? The lady that had just gotten him to go along with her other 2 poodles found out the hard way that her neighborhood association would not allow her to have more then two dogs.
When I had visited with the Kuvasz breeder to ask her about introducing another dog into our home, she recommended a young male dog for Gabby’s sake. So this 10 week old male might be the dog I was waiting for.
We went the next day to meet the poodle and his owner. I fell in love as soon as we pulled into the driveway and I saw him in her arms. His strawberry blond hair, long wavy ears and eyes that would melt your heart. He was my Poodle! I did pay the owner some money to help her recoup the cost she had just paid for him. As we left with my new puppy she stood in the driveway and cried. My heart broke for her, but was filled with joy at the same time.
It took a lot of time and constant supervision to help Gabby welcome a new dog into our home. But now they love each other and play together (a little rough) all day long.
Raleigh, that’s the name that stuck to him, is 6 weeks into his puppy obedience school. He walks well on his leash, sits (most of the time) and is learning “down”. For the most part he is house broken, but of course now that I’ve said that he will undoubtedly potty on the floor later today. He sleeps all night in his kennel next to my side of the bed, and is loosing a puppy tooth almost every day.
I’m not 100% sold on him as a service dog…. But only time will tell I guess he‘s still just a baby.
The first week I had him we were outside early one morning feeding the birds. I stumbled and fell (like I often do) and Raleigh ran to me, grabbed my slipper that had fallen off and ran into the yard with it and began to chew it up. Stupid Service Dog!
It’s going to be a LONG road ahead of us.
Below are some pictures of life with Raleigh