Angels are everywhere!
Mine has four paws.
Over the years I’ve had several Standard Poodle Service Dogs. I’ve never trained a female standard poodle to be my Service Dog (SD), and although I wanted a male agency-trained dog, it was not to be.
In the past, my seizures have been a mixture of gran mal and partial complex. My SD would not only need to be able to alert to seizures, but also to drops in blood sugar and oxygen, help me to brace, retrieve items, and other general service tasks.
I decided I wanted a male standard poodle with a good nose, and confidence enough to handle loud sounds. When it came time to choose my new prospect, I mimicked a seizure, complete with laying on the floor, jerking, and screaming near the puppies. The males we had chosen to consider ran and hid. Jodie, her Mother, and another smaller female ran towards me.
One thing about faking a seizure for an hour is that it may trigger an aura. Jodie crawled up to my face, sniffed my mouth and nose and laid across my neck to hold me down. She was a natural alerter, and was alerting to her first aura. Her alerting skills made her a great candidate to be an SD. Jodie’s formal training immediately began.
For the first nine months, Jodie was with a trainer learning the basics. Jodie, the spunky, happy girl just wanted to please. Her joyous demeanor brought a smile to my face every time I watched her training. She is named after the Thirteenth Doctor for that reason: Jodie is the Hope Doctor.
After nine months, Jodie finally came home and it was my turn to be the trainer. We worked hard to hone her skills. Jodie has been trained to know that when she wears her vest she’s on duty. She is wicked smart.
Tuesday May 18th of 2021, was a special day. Without a vest, released from work, Jodie ran over to help me navigate the stairs and load the van. She was so proud to be able to move easily at my side, and brace me up and down the various inclines. Her eyes watched to ensure I didn’t stumble. After helping me with the stairs, she alerted to a drop in blood sugar and then relaxed. Her love for me permeates her downtime and she sees each assist as a joy. A treat in itself. Such a proud girl and momma.
Jodie takes such joy in her job, it’s almost magical to watch. She can bring positivity into any moment. Jodie lives in the now, in the moment. This is an important lesson for someone like me whose head is always in the future. She forces me to realize that now is all that matters. Medical alerts take place in the now.
The love and positive nature of her soul lifts me out of the illness. She inspires me to lift others. Each happy pitched “yes” brings her booty-wiggling positivity. We all need someone, or something to give us that kind of positivity.
Let the booty-wiggling positivity commence. Good girl, Jodie.
Further reading on Service Dogs:
Until Tuesday, by Luis Carlos Montalvan
Training Your Own Full-Potential Service Dog, by Lelah Sullivan
Sue Cook lives in Freeport, Illinois with her husband Randy and two dogs. Her passions include assistance dogs, rescue dogs, music, acting, theater, poetry, and Doctor Who. She’s been in both film and theater and is a regular cast member of the podcast Doctor Who’s Line is it….Anyway? Sue is an advocate for the use of Service Dogs to assist their disabled handlers to maintain their independence. Quigley’s Quest, her first children’s book, addresses how a dog becomes a Service Dog.