I've been a dog person all my life. My earliest memories, apart from Hospitals, Doctors and Operations, is of the first dog I would come to know, Gus. A beautiful purebred German Sheppard. Gus was my protector and when the district nurses came to visit after my numerous operations, Gus would have to be locked away as he couldn't bare to see me in pain.
He unfortunately developed an eating disorder, most likely because of the stress and pain he saw me in. He died just after my 4th birthday.
Growing up, we have numerous other family dogs but I knew deep down that training a dog from a puppy would be hard work on my own. I'd gone on the various adoption wait lists for the Blind Foundation, Support Service Animals and many others in the hope of adopting a fully trained dog. It wasn't until this year, 2019 when I was given the opportunity to adopt a six year old fully trained ex-police dog Barney.
In the short time Barney and I have been together, we've shared some great experiences and to tell you the truth, I'd never thought I'd have a dog sleep inside but like a crying baby, Barney's howl when he is alone, just pulled at all the right heart strings. Barney and I now go pretty much everywhere together and he'll wake me up by licking my face at 6:30am every morning on the dot if I'm not up.
He knows our regular walking routes and in the heat of summer or just when he feels the need, he will lead me to one of many of his favourite swimming spots.
I had really thought that owning a dog would prove a challenge, but Barney the German Sheppard is super smart, incredible loyal and the perfect companion for someone in a wheelchair.