I found this post in the drafts folder of my blog written back in 2011. I didn't even realize it was there and frankly don't recall writing it, but I think it is worth posting as it shares the stark difference between the me of before my service dogs and the me that all of you have come to know.
There are so many things I could write about with the theme of *The Difference* but rather than focus on my two wonderful dogs themselves or my abilities as a trainer for each of them, I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane and I'm not talking so much about the good memory lane, but the one of me- who I was before Chimette came into my life, before many of you even knew I existed.
Before I even considered a service dog, I had years of fighting for my life. Through these fights, I met Adam, a wonderful young man who had every reason to be bitter, but was not. We became soulmates- escaping the rigors of medical care and the changes to our abilities and physique to peaceful places together. In the end, Adam was unable to beat the disease ravaging his body- AIDS which he developed through the administration of tainted factor 8 for his Hemophilia. After his passing I felt there was truly no purpose in life. I was not the same person I had been before- I had disabilities that I could barely spell let alone accept. Everyone told me I should be grateful that I beat my disease yet, all I felt was guilt for doing so when a person so truly awesome as Adam could not beat his. I was no fun to be around. When I wrote my poetry, it was ALWAYS dark. It was not the kind of thing you read and wanted to read over and over again. Many of my friends turned away, leaving me at least for a time because frankly I was not the person they had become friends with any more. Many were concerned about me- concerned enough to call the cops.
Fast forward several years:
No one could have fathomed, least of all me, that all it would take to bring back the old me was a beautiful six month old tri-color Border Collie Shepherd cross pup coming into my life. There was something healing about the love of that thrown away puppy. Oh the aggravations were a-plenty as I tried to figure this boy out, but in the end he would draw me out of my shell- literally reviving me back into life itself.
I actually found my smile again, spent time outdoors again, and even laughed. This dog who I adopted to train as my hearing dog would become that and so much more. Though there would be much sadness in the roller-coaster ride of vaccinosis, which drew me to the internet, to learn all I could to help my seizing service dog. I would never look back to that period of survivor's guilt that took me down so low again.