I adopted Blueberry in January from the Arizona Humane Society; I was volunteering the day he came, and knew he was a special dog. I became attached, but did not leave with him right away. When I was notified that Blueberry was still there hours later, I knew I was meant to adopt him; it was fate. Ever since Blue has been my shadow. Here are some of the things he has taught me:
1. Take your time walking: The pace does not matter, the key is that I am walking.
Blue is a wonderful walker, and really enjoys his walks. Sometimes he wants to run. But he checks-in, by looking back, with me to see how I am. He is a wanderer and an explorer, and I do have to tell him to slow down because I am not feeling too good, or I cannot keep up with him. I know he knows when I am not up to par, and we walk at our own pace. But when I feel good, we breathlessly run.
2. Nap as much as needed
Odds are that Blue will be napping if he is not eating or playing. He passes out in some of the strangest positions, and occasionally snores. I am fatigued very often, especially now living in the desert in the summer, but it is something that I will need to manage. It is better that I rest than continue with errands and to-do lists because I will feel worse. And I need to not feel guilty about how much I napped, and I should be spending my time. Besides, Blue loves to cuddle.
3. Be open to new adventures
Blue loves hopping into the passenger seat for a trip around the block, to the dog store, anywhere; he is my copilot. He really does not care where we go because it is all about the ride. Before I leave my home, I always assess where I am going, what I will be doing, if I will be alone or with others, and how I am feeling. And if something is not jiving, then I will stay home creating my own adventure. Living in the moment is wonderful, but I have to listen to my body and respond accordingly. Also, for my morale, it would help if I start each day positively for whatever adventures may come.
4. Touch is the best form of comfort
Bellyrubs, back scratches, and head rubs are my dog’s favorite things. He nudges hands and arms if he is not being petted; he is an only child, so he receives all the love and he cannot get enough. It is bliss being hugged by my soon-to-be-husband. Most of the time I feel better when he holds my hand, hugs and/or kisses me. Sometimes all it takes to be centered is a familiar touch; equally gratifying is seeing how I comfort my fiance and Blue.
5. Be confident in my skin
Dachshunds are nicknamed Hot Dogs and Wiener Dogs. Some people will stare, point, and holler at the sight of Blueberry in excitement; it does not bother him since he loves people. The stride in his walk exemplifies his confidence. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable when people stare at my unbalanced walk. Yet, I am gaining more confidence and have a pep in my step. It is not always easy, but Blueberry helps me along.
6. Listening is enough
He knows. He knows when I am happy, disappointed, stressed, relieved, upset, etc. Blue will look at me as though he understands. And sometimes that is all anyone needs: to be heard. “I have Dystonia, but it certainly does not define me.”