This won't happen to you if you let me watch you in the bathroom
According to the National Stroke Association, dogs can help stroke survivors in a whole bunch of ways. I SO want to be a therapy dog, so on December 31st 2010, just as the sun went down, I faithfully followed my human toward the bathroom; I like to watch and I am not ashamed of it. Unfortunately, the door closed before I could assume my usual position next to the toilet, so I waited in front of the door, like anyone would. I was sitting there next to the bathroom door thinking about cat litter treats, and decided I needed to lie down… thinking of kitty litter treats has always made me swoon. Newfs tend to lie down in doorways. I don’t know why. We just do. So I am lieing there, nearly asleep, in the doorway, minding my own business, when my owner comes out of the bathroom and steps right on me! She hit the door with her nose, and the floor with a hand and an elbow, breaking all three. Did I mention she had a stroke last June? Not my fault like the broken arms were, but if not for the hemorrhagic stroke she’d had, she probably would have caught herself, or just let out a “whoop” and chased me out of the room. But, since the stroke, she is sometimes a little unsteady. So she’s laying there on the floor in a daze wondering what happened to her, waiting for whatshisname to come and help her. I stayed with her until help came, just like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin would have. I am pretty amazing, aren’t I? She tripped over ME, and I should have been mad. But instead, I waited with her for help, just like a good, empathetic counselor-dog would. Yep. I am a therapy-dog, even if no one wants to admit it. This is a quote from an article in Stroke Smart:
“AAT [Animal Assisted Therapy, for those of you who didn’t go to abbreviation-school] can help with visual problems that might occur because of a stroke. Often a stroke survivor has difficulty visually paying attention to the left side of the body. So, having a dog sit or stand next to the left side of the body might motivate a stroke survivor to more easily work with the left side. Activities such as petting the dog, brushing the dog, reaching toward the dog or throwing a ball for the dog can be adapted for the stroke survivor to work on areas of visual deficit, such as when the survivor is neglecting one side of the body.”
How do I NOT fit the description of a therapy dog? Just to summarize the important parts of that citation, “…having a dog sit or stand blah blah yadda yadda yadda petting the dog, blah blah blah reaching toward the dog or throwing a ball for the dog” is therapeutic, and I CAN DO THAT (I left out a couple of parts of the quote that I don’t enjoy, like brushing the dog…. I hate that, so don’t even try it. And please just hand me the ball, quit throwing it over there when I am right next to you). If “therapy” is just getting petted, I am really good at this already, and I dont see why I have to pass some stupid obedience test designed by a control freak trainer. “Do this, stay there, fetch that, lie down.” Why can’t obedience tests be multiple choice?
1. To get a treat, do the following: A. Pee on the floor. B. Eat a sock. C. Roll on a dead thing. D. Eat cat litter morsels. E. All of the above. F. None of the above.”
2. What is the correct thing to do when approached by a child? A. Bite it. B. Lick it. C. Lick myself D. Knock it down. E. Nothing. F. B and C.”
3. If someone pulls your tail, what is the correct thing to do? A. Bite them until they let go. B. Bite them until they bleed. C. Bite them until they scream. D. Run away, then bite them. E. Bite them, then run away. F. Fart
Anyway, please have a look at the Stroke Smart Magazine, and be sure you can recognize the signs of stroke quickly. Delaying a call to the doctor or 911 can mean the difference between life and death. Oh, and if you happen to have a stroke, and if you happen to have a black newfoundland, and you happen to trip over me and break your arms in the dark, and then need surgery to repair the damage (see that x-ray up there?) , please don’t get mad, just let me watch you in the bathroom next time. It is far less painful.