Well I have just returned from another roller blade excursion with Judah and as we were buzzing down the road I realized something. In that moment, on rural route 153, I felt good. I know that seems like it shouldn’t be noteworthy but these days I think it is. I felt great in fact. Judah and I were enjoying each other, just moving together. We used to do things like this all the time. I was always being complimented by people we would meet out on the hiking trails we used to frequent about how good he was and how we were clearly on the same wave length. From the beginning Judah and I built a very trusting relationship. I trust him and he trusts me, no questions asked.
I have come upon some pretty awesome obstacles in our adventures through the woods and no matter what I ask of him Judah is always ready to stick with me and continue our adventure. I’ve thrown him over my shoulder to climb up and down ledges and ladders, put him between my legs to cross a river on a log, we’ve swam across rivers, climbed cliffs, timed and crossed an incoming tide at the ocean and a slew of other things that have proven to me over and over that we are a perfect pair. Judah is not the first dog I’ve ever had, we always had at least 1 dog in our house growing up along with a slew of other animals. Judah is the first dog however that I have ever been this intimately in tune with. Today, out on the road I finally remembered that.
Of course through all of this diabetes garbage Judah has proven himself to me over and over, he is definitely devoted and loyal. I have lost a lot of myself over the past year and have been struggling to pin point what it even was. Today out on the road I think I found some. I really can’t explain it, there wasn’t anything different about our trip out today then any of the others (except we went farther then ever!) it just felt right. I wasn’t thinking about whether I should be sucking on a juice, how much my back hurts, how I wish I was working, or how I wish things weren’t so hard right now, I was just there- with my dog. It is the first time in a long time where I felt like a girl with my dog and it was a great feeling. I think somewhere along the way I forgot what our relationship used to be, I forgot what it was like to be strong, confident and stable. Forgot about how important it was to give him a strong pack leader so he felt secure. As I sit here thinking about it I can’t help but feel guilty, how has it felt for him? What was it like for Judah to watch me wither into an emotional mess?
I know that I was (and have been) projecting a deep seated weakness, something that wasn’t ever a part of the real me. Even in my worst times I knew where I would be when it was over. After being hospitalized and diagnosed I didn’t know where I would be or if I would be. Today was the first day in a long time that I have really felt anything beyond frustration and disappointment. Judah knew it too, we were in sync today. I knew it was different when he let me skate a little to take the pressure off his vest while going up hill. Normally when I do this he speeds up to continue to work, today he let me take the pressure off the pulling lead and we worked as a team. Now thinking about it I think I am beginning to understand. Through this whole process Judah has been taking care of me, I knew that but I don’t think I understood how deep it went. He has been taking care of me in every way he could, beyond what anyone could see- even me. I am completely beside myself realizing what I’ve put this dog through this past year. I always knew that he was connected to me, that he was totally in tune to what I was doing and feeling but I forgot to think about how it was impacting him. I feel selfish… again.
This dog has saved my life in so many ways. He brought me back from heartbreak, helped me fall in love again, stayed by my side through unknown sickness, diagnosis, and the emotional roller coaster that followed. To someone who has never had that kind of relationship with an animal I probably seem like a total nut but Judah has brought me back to earth so many times. Now he saves my life a little every day as a Service Dog who keeps me healthy and safe- who would have thought that something as simple as a good nose would keep me free. In fact, that’s what he has done, he’s given me freedom so many times. Today he did it again, Good Boy.