Hayliegh knows the difference between the different levels of relationship that we have. There are various relationships when we are in the “out shopping mode.” She knows to remain by my side until given permission to greet people. When we run into casual friends, she knows she can say hello after I’ve greeted them. On the days I am not well, she will greet them and then come right back to me.
You might be asking when you see me, “Why does she need a dog?” I am rolling into a very fit fifty, I have honey blond hair, I eat well and stay as fit as I can. Not an easy task considering this disease is 24/7. I value the benefits of working out as I have been working out since I was thirteen years of age. It has an important part of my way of life.
We also have our “gym mode.” Even though she is working for me, I allow her to say hi to everyone, as they are considered regular friends that we see all the time. Saying hello is part of her treats, so I let her enjoy herself while we’re there. She always makes me her priority, despite her outgoing personality. One day at the gym a friend said “Do you notice how she isn’t as friendly when the Fibromyalgia is flaring in your back?” I realized that was true. I also discovered that her behavior reverts to her usual friendly demeanor once my medications kick in. Another time, she refused to be social with any of our close friends at the gym. She stood near my side looking forward in a worried manner. Jennifer, a staff member ask “Kim are you feeling okay?” I told her I felt fine. She said “Either you need to go home or we’re going to have an earthquake, because I’ve never seen Hayliegh act like this.” I decided to listen to Hayliegh’s intuition and drive home. She couldn’t have walked any faster to get me to the car. She wouldn’t even take her treats that she likes before we got going. Well when I got home within forty minutes, I was doubled over with acute stomach pain and could not walk.
When we visit the doctor we are in “doctor mode.” She likes to greet the nurses, staff and the doctors; they all enjoy her and it puts a smile on all their faces. I think it helps her feel safe when they work on me. My doctors are amazed, when she reacts to them working on me. For instance, when they give me a shot, she will get up and have to watch over me.
When I have a CAT scan or any other test where she can’t see my face, she starts to whimper or make a low cry. If I end up in an ambulance the medical techs ask “Can she come with us?” and I say “Yes” and then the medical tech will say “yes too.” We had a cute moment when an ambulance came to pick me up. One tech thought she was so cute, he asked if he could take a photo of her in the ambulance; I couldn’t help but say yes. You should see when I am admitted to the ER facility. By the time I get to the area that is curtained off, the word has spread through the whole ER floor that the cutest service dog was there with me. It is funny how one person after another cruised by to say hi to Hayliegh. Can you imagine? I am at the hospital, the techs are hooking me up with needles and wires, and Hayliegh is on the floor and she is getting really upset as she cannot see my face. The nurses usually put her on the bed with me so she can calm down.
One time the doctor thought I had a ruptured appendicitis. My thoughts raced; what do I do? I have Hayliegh it is now past her dinner time, she wouldn’t have any of her food, and who would take her out? Suddenly the Chaplain shows up; she had to come and see the cute dog hanging out in the ER room. Back to the food and potty breaks. The Chaplin offered to take Hayliegh out as she would be on duty all night for patients. One of the nurses asks if they could bring Hayliegh something form the kitchen? I said “Oh she would be so happy,” so they brought her a bowl of rice with meatloaf since it was on the menu. The nurses and the kitchen agreed if I had to stay the night they would put rice and chicken in the refrigerator they keep on the floor. Wasn’t that nice?