28 January 2012

What it Means to be Five

Happy fifth Woofday baby boy! My lil' redhead Man is five today. It is so hard to believe in many ways- from how could this much time have already passed, to how we actually pulled off Lyme survival.

I thought I would focus this post on what five means to me. See for me, five has some history and very deep meaning.

When Met first began having seizures, with his breed mix and the fact that the storm rose fiercely a couple months after the meds began again, the vets were candid with me. His life expectancy with his breeds and seizure picture was not good. The life expectancy presented to me was five years of age- forget about working career duration. Most reading know how we proved them wrong. I found the K9epilepsy forum and learned alternative ways to work in tandem with his meds. He not only lived more than double that expectancy, but he was working up until he passed.

With my history, it's no doubt how much impact turning five has on me. Its not a negative impact, but one where perseverance can change the world so to speak.

I never expected to be found in the fight for Thane's life and yet this past summer that is exactly where I found myself. I never thought too much about the fact that he was not even five years old when this all came to a head until recently. I began to think about everything we had conquered or learned together as a team, but also about what we would have missed out on in the future had my good friend Sharon at AfterGadget blog not encouraged me to pursue testing Thane for TBDs.

Rather than focus on the heartbreaking journey through Lyme, I thought I would share some of the highlights- some of those special things that we as a team managed to do over the past five years. Some of these accomplishments required letting go both of Met and of the cover of *in training* to trust in the new dog at my side.

Moving on was hard- sometimes harder than I imagined, but putting Met behind us and letting Thane blossom in his work was the best thing I ever could have let happen.

Accomplishments that have special meaning:

December 2007 at less than a year old, Thane stops for car I did not notice
January 2008 figured our way around a road tripod when I couldn't figure the way using my guide cane
January 2008 first short distance timer alert (pre tick bite)
February 2008 first instance of intelligent disobedience
April 2008 Thane Shines!  public access began
June 2008 Thane regularly alerts to my mailbox in a string of 22 boxes
July 2008 Thane works crowds with great precision
July 2008 Thane becomes my guide dog
Sept 2008 We rode Max!
Dec 2008 Thane guides in snow and ice
March 2009 Guide brace gives us more freedom and ease as a team
June 2009 Thane is retrieving
July 2009 Thane woke me when alarm went off
August 2009 Mr Bold and Courageous walked me across freeway overpass in pedestrian walkway
Sept 2009 Manager tells me: *You have done a great job training him*
Oct 2009 first night work
Nov 2009 Thane has learned to tug
Dec 2009 Thane is tugging indoor doors open or closed while homebound in manual chair
Dec 2009 Thane is nudging indoor doors open or closed while homebound in manual chair
Sept 2010 When MCS attack left me almost completely blind, Thane stepped up to plate guiding me in dark to get medical care
Oct 2010 turned off my pain from severe MCS attack in wee morning hours by laying his body right up against mine without any direction from me
March 2011 first distance timer alert
April 2011 Thane closes the fridge with *smack it* command
May 2011 Thane does hard block traffic check saving us both from being hit in middle of crosswalk
Dec 2011 first door knock alert
Jan 2011 first doorbell alert Needs more training for door alert accuracy still

When I look at just a sampling of our accomplishments together, see Lyme receding knowing that we are getting our life back, I wonder just how much more Thane has to do in how ever many years of work he has ahead.

Thane is a great dog who has taught me valuable lessons both as a person, as part of a partnership, medically, and in life in general. The lessons of Lyme and just how it can ravage a body, I could have done without, but every lesson be it in life, in partnership, in health makes us stronger as a team. I guess for that, I am grateful for the lessons and strength that we have endured and built over the past four years together, but most especially over the past seven months

So you see what it means to be five or to make it to five is all about perseverance and ones ability to turn a situation that seems so bleak into one that is not only survivable, but full of life, service, and happiness as well

Now there's a tongue waiting my raw-fed boy for his special woofday meal and oh the day wouldn't be complete without some new toys either grin

1 comment:

  1. Happy 5th Birthday Thane!

    All of the ruled by paws gang hope this year brings you perfect health and further working wisdom.