Without

That would be “as opposed to with or not having”

The definition of without can be defined as a preposition, an adverb, or a conjunction. In this situation it is a preposition and used as “not having the benefit of…”. In my life today on my walk through the neighborhood near my daughter’s home, it was walking without the benefit of a real true helping canine. Ahhh, but the tears flow fast.

There are many different types of grief, many different kinds of losses. Mourning takes all kinds of shapes, sizes, and emotions. But this is not going to be one of those “this is what happened and now I’m going to shave my head” type of writings. Nor is it the “I will just go eat worms” of the century story.

Today at church our pastor shared the second sermon in his series on the life of Job. He also gave an excellent children’s message on bad-awful-terrible-days. I go to church mostly for the children’s sermon. It’s the most relatable. Sorry, pastor. We did not leave town immediately, as my husband’s folks needed a few little errands done. They experienced one of those everything-went-wrong-mornings that pastor talked about in the children’s sermon. After figuring out the keyless entry to a vehicle and completing those little “save the day” items, we headed home to pick up the dog and go for lunch with our daughter number two and her hubby, our son-in-law number two. That is no indication of our feelings for them. We love them both the same!

After our lunch together the father daughter duo went to work on their plumbing project and I made the awful decision to go for a walk with the ditzy doodle Honey. It might have been a good decision if there were not so many factors that play into our unhealthy relationship.

We made it back to the house in one piece. And my anxiety attack did not land me any worse off than previous panic experiences. But here is the gist of it all.

A few years ago, I had a rescue dog I named Seymour. For some reason, when I put the harness on him to do the guide dog work, He just GOT IT. As a person going blind, there were moments that we did a few minutes of training and Seymour amazed me. His ability to grasp what I needed was just there. Then gradually, he got lazy in the house and because of his 95 pound stature , he would take up half the floor space. I began tripping over him in the house. He worked for me outside the front door, but slept like a baby inside the house.

And rather than making the changes to accommodate him and his “allergy” inducing episodes with family or friends, we decided to re-home him. He is happy in his new family.

But today on my walk with Honey, I realized once again exactly how gifted Seymour was in guiding me. Recently, my husband saw some statistics that stated even if the bloodline of the dog has a propensity for guide dog characteristics only about a quarter to a third of the dogs actually turn out to possess the qualities of an excellent guide dog. I did not know these statistics when I decided to trade in one dog and get another.

Seymour was trained as hunting dog, and probably failed the test. He was either abandoned or a run away. In his rescue days, he spent time healing from a trap wound on his foreleg. When he entered our family, we enjoyed the fact that the puppy was all out of him. Then, the days came for him to “guide” me.

His knack for learning about trees, hitches, the names of places, people, objects and such was uncanny. But more than his ability, there was the feeling of security that he gave me. Now that I have Honey, I can really grasp what I lost by giving him away.

Going blind, and being blind are two totally different things. But going blind is being blind in a new way all along the road. Some days I am more aware of my losses than other days. Some times it hits me literally (like when I run into the doorframe or something). And some days, like today it hits me in the gut. Hard.

Honey just does not have it in her to serve my need for security or stability. When she sees things or observes changes, her first reaction is “there is someone that I want to go jump on and that should love me because I love them!” Seymour gave me signals that were completely different. Honey gives me anxiety with changes. I never know if she is going to jump, bolt, or love with doggy exuberance. Seymour would have pushed me towards the person rather than drag me. This relationship is so different. And so hard to explain.

There are things about having a “helping” canine that you can never really explain to other people. These feelings of security and anxiety reduction cannot be fully expressed in one writing. If you have ever had a relationship with a dog like this, once it is gone, feelings of grief and loss arrive at moments least expected.

Today, was one of those days.

Honey might be sweet. But she’s a little sticky once she gets all over your fingers. After awhile, I just want to wash my hands of the whole affair. I want to trade her back for Seymour. But that’s not an option.

Just like it seems our family could only have one really good family dog, and his name was Furbie. Well, that’s a whole different story of a little Shih Tzu crossed Border Terrier that even had a toy he named “the worst Christmas ever.” That dog was one of a kind. Seymour was one of a kind, too. And Honey is absolutely not any thing like Seymour.

The anxiety over my eyesight was not given any relief by having anxiety over my hyper doodle. If anyone wants a dog that loves frisbee and flying fast on all four paws, you can have her. While she has all the best qualities of a really good dog, she just has not picked up on the “service” thing yet. And if she does not “GET IT” soon, she might just get replaced.

(Here’s the deal: I can only afford to go through so many sets of underwear, before I’ll have to get some fancy ones to catch the results of all this adrenalin dump that she is creating in my life. And, I really do not want to just sit around all the time, when I once knew what it meant to have a dog named Seymour that could help me for REAL!)

So there.

I said it.

I’ll try not to cry myself to sleep tonight because I miss my dog.

Or maybe, I will anyway.

Get out the new tissue box. I might be using the whole stack up tonight.

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