Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jewel Surprises Us All

Since E's service-dog-in-training, Jewel, is staying with us a week at a time now, she accompanied E to Easter Seals yesterday. What a treat to watch the two of them learning together. As soon as the vest goes on, Jewel knows she's working. Suddenly, she's on, watchful, attentive, and, it seems, anticipating E's needs.

During yesterday's physical therapy session, for example, Jewel surprised us all by helping E in a way she'd not yet been trained. Ever since the aneurysm rupture, E has needed a cane for extra support while walking. Even with the cane, she's easily knocked off her feet if jostled or bumped. This is one of the main reasons for employing a service dog. Jewel will wear a special vest with a handle, allowing E to hold it rather than an adult's hand while navigating crowded hallways, and hopping into and out of chairs.

Anyway, yesterday at Easter Seals, E was working in front of a full-length mirror, fighting to keep her balance as the therapist instructed her to shift her weight back and forth. During this exercise, Jewel had been instructed to lay nearby until E was done. Jewel couldn't keep still. E must have fallen one time too many times, because Jewel suddenly commando crawled to the mat beneath E's feet, draping her belly over it as if offering E her back should she need it. This is one cool dog.

E's different, too, when Jewel puts on her vest. Good different. Walking into Easter Seals with Jewel at her side, E looked taller, and her normally soft voice sounded clear and assertive when giving Jewel instructions.

The best part of all: After a group of staffers came to ooh and aaah Jewel outside the PT room, E beamed, introduced Jewel, then announced that when she takes Jewel to school this Fall, she's going to tell everyone, "I have a service dog, and I'm not afraid to use it."

You go girl!

Current read: Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton. Dark fantasy by one of the best. A quick, racy read. Recommended for mature eyes only.

Appetite for writing: eager to continue revisions on KM after my Edge of the Forest submissions are done, and a bit frantic because one of my stories fell through.

Edited to add: All's good. Thanks to former classmates, M, D, and J, I have a line-up of librarians willing to be interviewed in coming issues about what's hot with their readers.

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