This is one of the frustrating parts of being a service dog partner – sometimes you screw up and all you can do is apologize to your dog.
Sometimes, you put something too close to the edge of a shelf, and it falls on your dog.
Sometimes, you give a nonsensical command, or forget the command you need.
Sometimes, you trip on your dog, or walk into him, or step on his paws.
Sometimes, you don’t notice that harness straps are twisted or that he’s tangled in the leash.
Sometimes, you get so exhausted, you forget to feed your pet.
Sometimes, when you are sick, someone else has to take your pet out to do his business because you can’t.
These are hard to live with, in all honesty. Why? Because that dog trusts you, and has faith in you, and relies on you.
My latest ‘I’m sorry’ moment involved a toy. Hudson has this toy that he adores, but isn’t allowed to play with much because he’s destroying it. He’s a very determined chewer, so anything but a Kong or a Galileo bone, he quickly chews to bits. I told him to get his Kong, which is a command that tells him to find and bring me the treat. He couldn’t find it because it was under a shopping bag, so I felt bad. I grabbed his favorite toy, and was going to give it to him when I spotted the Kong. I moved the bag and told him to get the Kong, which he did…and then sat and stared at the other toy. I ended up putting the other toy in a cupboard, because he was ignoring the Kong even though it had a treat in it, in favor of his favorite toy.
He spent the next 10 minutes searching for his favorite toy, and finally gave up. Instead of his normally exuberant play with the Kong, which involves dropping it and pouncing on it as well as licking and chewing, he just settled down to lick at the treat in the Kong. It seemed pretty clear to me he was sulking over the favorite toy.
Over the next two days, he occasionally searched for the favorite toy.
He’s finally given up. I feel bad, because I know how much he loves that toy, but I realized when I picked it up that it was far more destroyed than I thought and that I really needed to save it for when he deserves a big reward – for example, after he gets clipped.
But oh, it is pitiful the way a dog looks for his favorite toy. We couldn’t help but laugh a bit, as well. It was downright comical how forlorn he was over…just a toy. Mostly it’s pitiful, though, and it makes you feel like quite the bad guy to know where the toy is but not give it.