Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dog School

Riding on the WheelTrans system I get to meet a lot of different people. Well, maybe meet is a little strong as most people are closed in on themselves like transit riders all over the world. Some chat but most say hello and then look out the window. I understand that, I feel unsociable sometimes too. I happen to be a morning person though and would much rather chat then, on the way in, than out, on the way home. But besides people, I get to meet service dogs. Lots of them. They are amazing creatures. Wonderful loving and helping beings.

One of the transit riders really needs assistance from her dog. He does all sorts of things for her. He is constantly on alert should she want something. He opens the door for her to come out to the bus, when she parks on the bus, before being strapped in he gets her notebook out of her bag, sometimes on the trip she drops things and he will either give them back to her or put them back in her bag. I'm always nervous that the dog moves around in a moving vehicle, but he's very sure footed and never seems to be surprised when the vehicle brakes.

On the last trip after she got off, he waited for her. She then headed for the door of the building she had arrived at. She called for him to come. He looked at her, stopped, then turned around and sat down. He had his back to her. She called again and he did nothing. You could see him mentally taking out a sippy cup and having a coffee break. His companion broke into a grin and said, 'You deserve a break today!' We all laughed. A few seconds later he got up and went happily over to her.

I thought about that a lot. About the importance to take a break from care providing. To just have a moment or two for yourself. Forget the family, forget the dishes, forget the kids, just sit down and take a break. A moment for yourself. A moment where nothing is required but breathing. A moment that refreshes on one hand and re-establishes independence on the other. I'm your mom, I'm your care provider, but for this moment, this moment right here, I'm just me having a coffee.

I think one of most important skills that adults need to learn is when to just stop. Turn your back on demands and take a breath. The demands will wait for you, the needs will still be there, your hole in the world will not be filled by another. It's just nice to clear your mind, to free your heart and be completely unburdened.

I want to hire the dog for staff training.

11 comments:

Kristin said...

What a smart dog. I know as a mom, I have only recently started to make a concerted effort to take time for me. I am a much more relaxed person now that I do that.

FridaWrites said...

Wise advice. I remember someone telling me that when I was a young mother and thought I had to give 100% of my time to my baby. But I did need short breaks to keep going.

gina said...

Dave:

Could I use this post in my staff training? I like to spend time talking about the need for them to take care of themselves both on and off the job. It is not unusual for direct care staff to work 12 hours or more in some of our contract settings. Sometimes they are scheduled for long shifts and sometimes they end up working a double if their relief staff doesn't show up and no one will come in the take the shift. I like to help them focus on skills they can use immediately at work to take care of their stress and this is a great story to illustrate that point.

Thanks,

Gina

L. said...

Great point, Dave. I'm a mom and I keep on needing to hear this recently.

Nan said...

That post just made me cry. Guess I need a sit down break today! Thanks Dave.

rickismom said...

Important point.

Lene Andersen said...

Maybe we could get the dog to do workshops? I'd sign up. Like, immediately.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anyone wanting to use anything in training can but I need to be credited as author and this blog as the source. Glad you got out of this what I did!

Mary N said...

My dog is one of my best teachers - her ability to both attend to surroundings and manage to conserve her own energy, and to go from 'alert and on the job' to 'relaxed and resting' is a great, daily lesson to me that you can do both.

CJ said...

I just adore dogs. They are one of G-d's greatest creatures.

My sons are getting older now. One is 20 and one 13. The 13 year old was off at camp w/ his dad and what a wonderful time it was!

I only had to think about me....what I wanted to eat for dinner, what I wanted to read, what I wanted to do with my evening. It hasn't been like that for a long time.

theknapper said...

I'm sitting here taking a much needed breather from a hectic day.....great story.....especially the owner who got that her dog needed a break.