Man’s Best Friend

It was a beatiful, warm morning first thing yesterday as it was time for my sister to return home so I drove her to the ferry terminal. Joshua was awake at 6.40 , it appeared that he was up mainly to say good bye to his Aunt, as he retired back to bed when we left and was still fast asleep when I returned 2 hours later. The morning sunshine was glorious and it turned out that was the best of the weather for us yesterday.

Other than that fond farewell first thing, we had a quiet day yesterday, spent mostly inside the cottage, just chilling and quite a lot of dozing too. It rained most of the day and so it was perfect to hunker down and stay dry, eating both lunch and tea at home. But the sun came out and the rain dried up towards the end of the afternoon and so we ventured out on a cliff path walk, with our two dogs and with Joshua in his wheelchair. Everywhere felt fresher after the rains and it was good to get some sea air in our lungs, to clear stuffy heads.

We had a ball tucked in the wheelchir pocket so when we arrived at an open stretch of grass, my husband began to throw the ball for Ruby, our 7 year old cocker spaniel and she enthsiastically chased after and retireved it. Joshua watched and enjoyed the game for a couple of throws, but he is no longer willing to just be a spectator! He stamped on his wheelchair footplates to gain attention, then he held out his hand for the ball. – there was no doubt what he wanted. Thereafter the game was his and he took turns at good overarm throws of the ball, sending a panting Ruby  running backwards and forwards around the park. Joshua delighted in this game and neither of them got bored of it, so long as I got the ball off Ruby then tossed it to Joshua. They were very companionable and both were very focussed on the game.

I know that therapy dogs exist and dogs that are trained to alert their owners to seizure activity or diabetic shock, but although Ruby has none of the speciliased training, she is very in tune with Joshua and his needs and they look out for each other in a sweet way. My husband was trying to brush Ruby later, an activity that she hates,and so she sought refuge on Joshua’s knee – it seemed that he was ‘den!’. I love the relationship that they have developed: she is my shadow and is always watching to see where I am, but she is also very caring towards Joshua and they clearly have a mutual love for each other and we would not be without her.

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