I spend most Wednesday mornings volunteering at the Camano Animal Shelter Association (CASA), walking dogs. When I signed up for the task, I didn’t think about the fact that my dog (a toy poodle) grew up avoiding my wheelchair.
After being crushed twice, she recognizes the sounds of my chair and makes the appropriate adjustments-such as staying far away from the wheels. Other dogs, aren’t so familiar with crazy wheelchair women taking them for walks.
Each dog I walk from the shelter requires training the first few minutes out. Some get it, some don’t. The ones that don’t, usually end up with a leash wrapped around their legs or tied up in my chair at least once during the walk. I’ve even had to flag down a passing driver to help untangle my chair from the poor little Jack Russell’s leash. Does that stop me from walking dogs? Of course not. It’s far too rewarding.
The most recent adventure was a result of the record rainfall we’ve been having. I walked a frisky, six-month-old, black lab through my usual route. Including a large, grassy park (their favorite spot). We went into the park as I’d done many times before- even in the rain. This time, the grass was basically a swamp. That’s right. I was stuck in the mud, in the rain, by myself, with a goofy lab jumping on me, around me, and behind me. Thank goodness for cell phones and the three CASA staff members that eventually pushed me out of my predicament.
That wasn’t the first time I’ve been stuck, and it won’t be the last I’m sure. But I did bring the girls at CASA a bunch of cupcakes the next day to thank them for their assistance and the friendly way they always help me. And… to make sure they’d continue to let me walk the dogs.