Dog Day Has Arrived!

There should be a law that on Dog Day only interesting (read: distracting) things occur so that time moves at least slightly faster than a snail’s crawl.

Perhaps I am just a tiny bit excited. I can’t help it. Nearly 21 months ago I retired Dolly. It is truly thrilling to be getting a new dog! I keep imagining what Yara looks like and how she’ll behave and it just makes me even more giddy about the impending meeting.

According to what Megan told me yesterday, she should be here in about three hours. I may possibly die of anticipation between then and now.

I think back to when I trained with Dolly. It’s hard to believe I could have ever been this excited before, but I’m sure that I was just as anxious back then. I remember that Stacey, my roommate, got her call first and how jealous I felt of her as I sat there waiting for my name to be called. When she returned with her dog Faraday, I thought I’d explode from the level of envy I felt at watching her sitting on her bed, quietly talking to her new partner who seemed completely enamored with her.

Finally, finally my name came across the PA system and I had to restrain myself from dashing out of the room and running flat out to the kitchenette where I’d be meeting my new guide dog.

For her part, Dolly was possibly ten times as excited as I was! During our pre-meeting briefing we had all been instructed on what to do during this introduction: call our dogs over, greet them calmly, and clip our leashes onto their collars. We had been told that we would have a few moments to get acquainted with the dogs before retiring to our rooms for the afternoon. We had also been warned to expect them to be “very excited” because they were young dogs, we were new people, and they had all recently been bathed, but no one had prepared me for the black blur of puppy energy that bounded into the tiny room. Dolly flew into the kitchenette, nails scraping on the linoleum, and raced around the table I sat at like the floor was covered in hot coals. She immediately responded when I called her name, but rather than coming to me and sitting down like she was supposed to do, she hopped squarely into my lap and managed to thoroughly bathe my face with her slimy tongue before I could even squeak out a protest. She also graced me with the first of many frenchings and then leaped clean over my head and started up her mad dash around the table again. By now the trainers were practically yelling at me to gain control of Dolly and, frankly, I didn’t know what to do! Honestly, I was kind of scared of this little girl; she was completely insane!

Somehow I got my leash on her, though not without a bit of manhandling from the trainers, and we returned to our room. Dolly and Faraday recognized each other straight away — and we would later find out they had been kennel mates — but they gave both Stacey and I quite a shock when they immediately lunged for one another and engaged in what I can only describe as a dog embrace. My roommate was quick to put a kibosh on any antics like that and before I knew it she was back in the corner murmuring to her dog, who at least for his part didn’t look nearly as interested in that activity as he had earlier. I would have been a bit offended at the harsh reaction, but I was too distracted by Dolly who was busy sniffing every inch of the room she could get to within the extent of her two feet of leash. I was supposed to be keeping her from doing such behaviors, but before I could muster the strength to reprimand her she walked face first into the desk.

This is what they expected to lead me down the street the following day? I asked myself and then promptly burst into tears. 1 Rather than spend the afternoon softly crooning to my dog or whatever other tips I’d been given to start bonding with her, I called a bunch of friends and tried desperately not to lose my shit. Sometime during those phone calls Dolly won me over with weapons grade affection (i.e., lots of snuggling and kisses) and the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s hard to believe that was more than nine years ago. Time certainly has flown by.

Well, except this morning . . . !

  1. The fact that I was possibly given a blind dog remains a joke amongst my friends and family to this day.