Sunday, July 1, 2012

No conversation Please! Life with the Service Dog During the Migraine for H*

     For Goodee the Service Dog -- The most popular question (aside from “May I pet the dog?”) is: “What does she do for you?” I try to have her resume on my tongue but my brain doesn’t always engage. This question often comes from shopkeepers or friends who think somehow they can stand in place of the dog and give her time off.

     It is nice to have the offer of help.  However, humans never take the place of a Service Dog--.  A human is seldom able to prevent a fall and almost never correctly predicts, a seizure, migraine headache. or the presence of allergians  in trace amounts.

“Yep and sometimes humans just get in the way.” Hello Goodee the Service Dog welcome to the blog. I know I can count on your opinion.”

“You mean my expertise mom.” “Expertise?” “Goodee, you mean you’re an expert on something?”

“Yes mom I may look like just a dog people call a pet but actually I am an expert.”

“An expert on what Goodee?” “Mom you are the one who goes to school but you are clueless sometimes."

“Well educate me Goodee” On what subjects are you an expert?”

“Mom do you always know when your hips are so tight you need to sit?”

“Well yes I know that Goodee because you take my wrist and lead me to a chair.”

 “Do you know when a migraine is close at hand due to stress, pollen, or food allergy?”

“Well I do Goodee because you tell me by putting you head on my knee”

“OK I get it Goodee.” “Do you consider yourself an expert on me and my needs”?

“Yes, mom I do.” 

“I think you are right Goodee.” “You know what I need before I do.”

  “Well that’s why it’s important for people to remember a Service Dog is always working.  The  human and the Service Dog need their own private space.”--- About 6 ft whenever possible and silence is sometimes nice.

“Ok Goodee let’s give our friends a few examples so they will understand exactly what we mean.”

“Let’s see mom there was one time we were shopping…

Just Trying to Get Through the Day

       It was early spring and the pollen swirled around us. Team Goodee was making one last stop for the day. Goodee the service dog ran ahead to activate the doors. We entered the Mega shopping establishment with our mission in mind:  cat food,-- don’t come home without it!  The noise of the door seemed exceptionally loud, the cool air hit my face. Goodee the Service Dog stopped and put her head against my knee her signal to me that she knows I am experiencing a migraine headache.   Pain hit my head and it became apparent that I needed to find cool water and change my head position soon. “No problem,” I thought, we both know what we need to do. Goodee headed to the water fountain as if on autopilot we stop here weekly so she has an internal GPS for sources of help.

“Mom don’t forget to tell them what happened on the way."

 “Do you mean what happened before we were able to get to the water?”

“Yes mom, this kind couple wanted to stop and chat they asked you about my resume--- my name, my date of birth, what I did and how long I had done it.”

 “Well Goodee I think they were just being friendly. I think they thought their conversation helped us. “

 “They probably didn’t mean to cause us a problem but it did.”

“My job is to keep you from harm when you are sick. When people stand in front of us continually talking they become an obstacle and I will try to get around them. “

“Then there was another time we were at the chiropractor…”

Just Trying to Get Help To Be Pain Free

     My MBA Thesis deadline was just hours away. Final revisions required  “all nighters.” I got two-hours sleep I awoke from a night terror with the feeling of a tight band around my head. “Oh well", I thought, "good thing I have time to get to the chiropractor today before my paper is due.”

     Goodee the Service Dog stayed close by me, her head on my knee.  Again, this is her signal that a migraine headache is coming soon. I tried to disregard her urging --A" migraine just didn’t fit into the schedule today," I thought  --I was sure the pain I had was just muscle strain. However, I did put on sunglasses just in case.

     Team Goodee arrived at the chiropractor’s office. As we sat down a total stranger smiled our direction. We tried to smile back. The stranger stared continually first at the human then at the Service Dog portion of “Team Goodee.”

     “Dog Park”---  “What”? (I thought to myself as I looked at Goodee). “We need a dog park don’t you think… I think so I was telling my friend the other day… oh by the way the friend has a dog that looks just like yours and I want one but my husband is always saying… well you know…”

     The stranger continued to go on and on.-- Her voice got louder and louder in my head. Just then another person in the office opened a magazine and the noise seem to pound me right in the middle of the eyes.

 “Oh no, I thought”  “This is really a migraine.” --- I looked at Goodee the Service Dog. She rolled her eyes at me as if to say, “I told you so.” 

     Even when I refuse to believe her I can always count on Goodee the Service Dog to take care of me during a migraine.

     The stranger who had tried to talk to us had now found someone else to chat with about the dog park.

 “WONDERFUL!” I thought… we can just close our eyes and feel better.

     A glass breaking sensation began on the inside of my head. —This is the usual paten of my migraine attacks.  It feels like someone is throwing a large crystal wine glass across the inside of my head. The glass pours down the inside of my head and feels like it produces razor sharp cuts all the way down as it falls from the top of my head to the base of my skull.

     I felt Goodee the Service Dog as her teeth clinched my wrist. She realized the room was starting  to spin for me and was attempting to get me where I could lay down.

     I slid down out of the chair. I sat on the floor next to Goodee so she could see I was level. I put my head over on  to her and put my arms around her neck. When everything else is not level for me it helps to use Goodee as a point of reference.

I kept my eyes closed focusing on Goodee and the fact that we were still.

     “Doggie’s name?” (“What?” I thought to myself keeping my eyes closed.) This time I recognized the loud voice as that of the original stranger. ---

“If only I can reply then the stranger will leave me alone, I thought.”

“Goodee,” I replied weakly.

 “What?” The stranger replied in an even louder voice.

I pushed my weight over on to Goodee and we got up off the floor.
“Goodee” I replied one last time.

     After hundreds of these stranger encounters I have learned not to try and explain why I can’t talk right now. --- Any explanation or begging to be left alone usually results in a look of entitlement from the stranger as if I have refused them a toy or ruined their day.---
     So Team Goodee just exited the building and found private space outside. The Texas sun was hot  but it was a better environment for us than having to play the endless question game.—which Team Goodee has nicknamed “Show & Tell.”

         I usually enjoy talking with people but not when I’m sick.

      I find myself wondering if the stranger would have shown me any attention without Goodee the Service Dog in the mix?

Can this person not see that I don’t feel well?

 In context, do people not realize others  in a doctor’s office are usually in pain and therefore don’t want to talk to strangers?

Is there an unwritten rule some place that says all Service Dog people have to be “on” and in “happy mode” 24/7?

“Well mom let’s leave our friends with some ideas of what they can do to help Service Dogs and their handlers.”

“Good idea Goodee our Facebook friend MO says if people want to ask a question they should consider leaving their email address and asking her to write sometime. That way the Service Dog Team can reply when they have time. That's a great idea.

“ Now, Let’s list more resources Goodee in case our friends need information about Service Dogs.”


Allergy Alert- “peanut dog”
Autism Service Dog
Service Dog 411
Service Dog Information for persons looking for a Service Dog and resources for Service Dog owners.

Service Dogs  & Invisible Disabilities

Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities
Mitigation of mental impairments through the use of a Service Dog

Things people say to Service Dog Handlers

We list these resources to educate.  We welcome feedback by email. When you see us out and about we often must say “Not Now We Are Working!”
GoodeeWorks Productions

DD & GOODEE the Service Dog wish to remind everyone our friend Teddy (age 9) suffers from life-threatening tree nut allergies. Lucy the labradoodle is currently in training to keep Teddy away from harm and carry his needed medical supplies.
Service Dog training is expensive. Your support is appreciated:
Donations can be made directly to Angel Service Dogs:
Mark your payment “Training for Lucy”__________________________
Visit Facebook
For the love of Lucy/ Teddy’s Service Dog

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