The time has finally come for me to take ownership of my psychiatric service dog, Atticus (Ace). There was almost 1000 miles between he and I and since I arrived where I am now via a motor vehicle (still having trouble flying), I had a lot of time to myself. Well hell, when do I not? I used to drive a lot just to be alone with my thoughts. I don’t really do that anymore since my budder, Zeke passed. We used to take long Sunday drives, every week. Want to know what my favorite thing to do while driving when I am alone? Sing. And not just singing a long with whatever tune, I go to the extreme. Have you ever seen the film Jerry Maguire and remember the scene where Tom Cruise is belting out a great tune by Tom Petty? That’s me, no matter the tune…even if it’s not meant to turn into a screaming ballad. Zeke used to howl/growl at me. We spent 13 years together and I never figured out if he enjoyed or loathed the sound of me singing. Probably the latter.
My trip started off great and I was in a fantastic mood for the most part despite my new back pain that has seemingly resulted from me helping out my geriatric neighbor. Long story. Midway through trip the racing thoughts appeared and my mind got the best of me. From there everything became negative and the worry and questioning everything, even the smallest things, came into play. I hate it. I fight it often …daily actually. It first began when I panicked thinking I had forgot my psychiatric medication and instead of pulling over to the side of the road to check I remained in this state of anxiety and poor mood until I finally made it to my destination 11 hours later. But alas, here I am back in the East while my pup and I finish up training. I have my medication. He has grown a lot since I saw him last. My favorite thing about him is his black snout and black tipped ears. The trainers here tell me that I am not supposed to treat him like a pet but more of a psychiatric service dog. I can go ahead and tell you right now how long that will last….until we leave here. I am going to love this dog just as I would any dog. Kind of cruel not to show him love. However, I also know that I need to show him love by allowing him to do what he is trained to do to the fullest extent. It’s pretty cool seeing him in “work mode.” I’ve never knowingly met a psychiatric service dog before coming to this ranch.
He is assessing the situation post anxiety assessment of me. He sits when he senses that I have anxiety and I am to make the next move depending on if I am able or not able to move forward in the situation.
You want to know another fun fact about me? I have an affinity for snail mail. She does too. I rarely check my mailbox and it often overflows so much that my mail gets put on hold by USPS and I have to pick it up or send an email to get delivery re-instated because I have a phobia for the USPS office (long story). But since we’ve started this whole snail mail back and forth I check every single day. Do you like letter writing? My grandparents met each other after over a year of letter writing back and forth. My granny wrote to her brother who was in the military and his barrack mate happened to catch a glimpse of her handwriting and that’s how their relationship began. She still reads them and he’s been long gone for decades. Letter writing is one of the reasons for my existence. Pretty cool, yea?
Letter writing is something that I wish would return between people. There’s just something about getting a letter in the mail from someone you know/like. No matter if you saw them last week, today, or even in the moment of opening said letter. Give it a try and I promise it’ll make your day.