A Day in Don’s Life
Hi! Many people ask what I can do. So I got the chance to take over the MacBook and tell you all about a typical day as my human’s Service Dog.
But first I have a little announcement to make. On June 6th my human and I received our Service Dog Team diploma. We’re now officially qualified to work together. We had a party with drinks and cake for the people and I got lots of tennis balls! I’m a very proud boy. My human is very proud too. We’re an awesome team. Even if I do say so myself.
My day starts at about 6:45 when I go with the twofooter (My human’s housemate and caregiver) for a walk. When we are home, I get breakfast from my human before going back to bed for a while.
The human’s phone makes noise at 8:30. So I get to put my nose in her face and tell her it’s time to wake up. This is called signal work. I learned to interpret a specific ringtone on the phone as a command. If I do good, I usually get to lay with her on the big bed before we get up.
If it’s very dark, I turn on a light. Then I open a drawer to hand her socks and underwear. Each article of underwear has its own command. When she has everything, I close the draw again.
Then I help her take off pyjamas. First the pants, then the shirt. Sometimes I then jump on her bed and wait for her while she showers.
When she’s ready, it’s time to go downstairs. If the light is on, I first turn it off. We go to the stairlift and I use my paw to pull down the foot plate. I wait patiently at the top of the stairs until I’m called. After I’m called, I go downstairs and use my nose to push the foot plate up into folded position. I then open and close two doors on the way to the kitchen so that my human can go through safely and easily.
It’s time for breakfast. So I open a drawer so that the human can get a spoon. Then I close it again. I then open the door which I just closed 60 seconds ago. The human needs milk. If she would have left the door open, I wouldn’t need to open it again. Human’s are so silly sometimes.
I wait patiently in my bed until breakfast is done, then I give the human some shoes so that we can go in the yard and play with a tennis ball. I love the tennis ball. It’s difficult to stop playing, but eventually we go inside again. Sometimes my human asks me to take off her shoes. Her feet often can’t decide if they’re hot or cold.
One day a week we do laundry together. I can take clothing out of a basket and give it to her and I can also get it out of the washing machine. It’s fun putting my head in that funky hole.
After that busy morning, it’s time for a walk. One or both buddy’s come to help the human. That’s so much fun. I’m always happy to see them and sometimes we bring the tennis ball. They like to throw it for me. I’m just not so happy when they tell my human I’m getting into misschief. Who’s idea was it to give her eyes??
In the afternoon we do training together. Although we’re a qualified team, a Service Dog never stops training. It’s important for us to get new puzzles and challenges so that our brain stays activated and we are motivated to work. Our qualification means that my human has all the tools and techniques for teaching me new things. So she can teach things that she needs help with that I didn’t learn yet. We often also practice tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be done daily. There’s not always post to fetch and she doesn’t regularly fall to the ground. So she creates fun games for me to practise these commands. I usually earn cookies at training time. I’ll do anything for cookies!
Training is followed by play time, then rest time while she makes music or talks to people in the computer.
When the twofooter comes home we all go for walkies. Then it’s dinnertime! Yum yum.
The evening is usually filled with rest and cuddles before I go with the twofooter for another walk. At bed time I help with undressing. Shoes, pants, shirts and socks. I can take them all off. I have to be careful with the socks. Sometimes my human makes funny noises if I accidentally bite her toes.
Throughout the day I’m often busy picking things up off the floor. I’m sure she’s clumsy on purpose. I also open and close more doors and drawers and sometimes I hand her objects that I know the name of. Such as keys or certain assistance tools.
Because I’m eager to help and learn, I also have extra tasks. The twofooter can give me objects that I bring to my human. Sometimes the human even gives me things to bring to the twofooter.
I can bark on command, which means I can tell the twofooter that my human needs help even if they’re in separate rooms.
I’m also learning sign language. My human is teaching me 6 different signs which are used for basic obedience tasks. Sit, Down, Move, Wait, Go to bed and Finished. This means Big Sis can also help me understand my place in the house and the family when my human and I go stay with her on the farm. Recognising sign language isn’t often a task for an ADL dog. It’s usually used for hearing dogs. That’s why I’m only going to learn 6. I really enjoy this challenge a lot and I’m good at it. Within a week I already learned 2 signs!
It’s a full time job being a Service Dog. But I really enjoy all the fun challenges and I never go without cuddles and rewards. I love my human and my job very much. I guess it’s time to give back the MacBook now. My paws are getting tired. My human will resume normal column writing next month.
Big wet kisses for everyone.