I have a new buddy…that’s him to the left. His name is Tango and he is a six-year-old Australian Shepherd. He came into my life in the most unexpected way. He’s a service dog and his primary job is to make me walk. I have two medical conditions that can benefit from vigorous walking therapy hypercoaguable blood–I can develop clots easily–and herniated and bulging spinal discs. When I asked my doctor if it might be good to have a service animal she was enthusiastic and agreed to authorize it.
So, the next question was: what kind of dog? Ideally I should walk 3-5 miles a day. So Yorkies were out of the running as were most other small dogs. I was drawn to Aussies and talked it over with a friend who has bred and shown dogs. She thought an Aussie — the right Aussie — would be great. She found a breeder in Orlando who was expecting a litter in the spring with summer placement of the puppies. That sounded ideal (I was thinking I wanted a puppy…not the smartest thought but that’s where I was). It was then that I began to learn about the world of breeding dogs. In this case the female dog was going to be inseminated with sperm from a top-notch Aussie who lives in California. I quickly realized we were talking about royalty and I can’t afford royalty.
But wait! Turns out this same breeder has a 6-year old Aussie, an obedience champion, fully trained and certified as a service dog–Tango! According to the breeder, Tango is “over it” when it comes to competition. He goes through the paces and does it all very well but … he’s tired of it. She had been looking “to place” him in a good home, a place where he could leave behind the pressures of competition. In a sense, retire. Well, I’m retired and looking for a service dog. A perfect match?
Well, yes, it is. Tango and I have a great time together and we are walking a lot. Each of us has lost weight since he arrived (which is a good thing) and there are times when I’ll take him out and say, “Okay, just a short walk.” but we end up walking much more than I expected. It is absolutely more fun to walk with a dog than it is to walk alone.
And he a great help with other things. My spinal problems can cause instability, especially upon bending. Tango gives a good assist in those situations. And he can pickup any item I tell him to.
When I learned last December that I had this hypercoaguable blood disorder I was a little low but life is funny. There’s that saying about a door shutting but a window will open. There is also the lovely expression, “When life hands you lemons make lemonade.” I love lemonade…and I really love Tango.☙