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.