Friday, May 12, 2006
Penny Lane's Purpose (Service Dog)
Penny Lane came to us from Heartland Weimaraner Rescue. It would have been easy for them to pass over her because she had major infections in her ears which required four surgeries and left her substantially deaf. In effect she is a special needs dog.
According to the foster parent for Heartland, Fred Linn, most folks who called about her were not interested because of her hearing loss. Then a friend of ours saw her on a Weimaraner group. It mentioned her friendliness and potential as a therapy dog. We received the forwarded email from our friend on the same our then service dog was deteriorating rapidly and could no longer make it up our stairs.
Penny Lane (named for the Beattles song by her foster parent) came to us in June 2004. She was a bit aloof at first – not unfriendly but bonding took some time. Now she grunts like a cat purrs when we pet or scratch her and is quite loving.
I could go on and on about problems with that dog (smile) and how difficult training is. What is important is that she is exactly what we need for this time in Billy Ray’s life. The most important things she does are not something I could not have trained her to do.
She seems uninvolved at times but is constantly aware of what is going on. Here’s an example: The other night Larry was in the living room with Billy Ray who was occasionally falling asleep in the recliner and Penny Lane was asleep on the couch. I was in my office. When I came out Larry said "you better keep this dog" (not that I have ever considered getting rid of her). He explained that he observed Billy Ray (who has bronchial problems and pancreatitis in addition to all his other difficulties right now) who would be breathing fine and then miss a breath or two. He said each time he did that Penny Lane would raise her head from being sound to sleep and then when Billy Ray would take a big gasp breath she would return to sleep until he did that again.We don't know how she knows because it is a big room and seems too far apart for her to smell and her hearing has deteriorated even more than when we got her. We have seen her jump down off our bed in the night (clear in the other part of the house) and go check on him and come get me. She just knows that is all there is to it.
She is such a comfort to him as he experiences the physical issues right now. She will go sleep on the couch and take a break from him but comes back very often to check on him. When things are particularly hard for him she never leaves his side.
Truly this dog was meant to be available for just such a time as this. Thanks Heartland for rescuing the perfect dog for my son!!
Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan