I thought I would clear some things about about my dog. This way things I’ve said before and will say later will make more sense.
My Shadow died in January, 2013. My heart died. Shadow was important because he picked me and decided I was his human forever. I was alone, feeling unloved and unlikable and this beautiful little dog full of so much life fell in love with me. A child is forced to be with his or her care takers, Shadow picked me and I never could fathom that he was mine. He was my baby. Shadow loved clothes and sauerkraut. When he wagged his tail his whole body wagged. All 22 lbs of Shadow was tough. Shadow injured a pit bull who started a fight with him. Shadow feared very few things. We used to play a game where I would poke him with the broom and he would tackle it. When we lived in my little studio apartment we had a neighbor and friend, Tim, who would go let Shadow out when I had to work long hours. When I came home to pick Shadow up from Tim’s apartment, I half expected to see the two of them swilling back a beer and watching football. Tim was Shadow’s buddy. I would have died and killed for Shadow. He was a powerful little dog. When Shadow died my mother, a conservative Christian who believed animals don’t have spirits, said that Shadow had gone to heaven. Shadow was not just a dog, he saved my life. His short life will always be honored.
I suppose my attachment to Shadow is unique and some people might think it is unhealthy or even disturbing. Anyone who didn’t love Shadow is disturbed. Cliche as it is, I didn’t think I could ever love another dog. However, in full cliche tradition, I did find another dog to hold my heart.
Comet’s name was Riley. I changed it. I was browsing dogs on craigslist and I saw his funny but cute face. Even though I longed for another dog, I did not know if I should get one, but I knew this strange and adorable dog was mine. The people I bought him from were “re-homing” him for $65 and could not keep him. A neighbor had left him “temporarily” with them and they could not handle another dog among 4 children, a cat and another dog. I consider Comet a rescue dog.
Comet’s namesake is Comet the Wonder Horse from a one-season-wonder, 90′s campy TV show called The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Good show. The people I bought him from said that he was just a year. I think he was closer to 6 months because he grew an awful lot for a little dog of a year old. Most little dogs are full size at the age of 10 to 12 months.
In honor of Shadow, a lover of traveling, I decided Comet and I would go on my epic road trip. Birch Bay Hostel was a test run and a way for him to be better socialized. The experience was filled with growth for both of us.
While we were at the hostel, I decided to train Comet to be a service animal. I have bipolar, which counts as a mental disability. To make a dog a service dog, one must have a legit, diagnosed disability and the dog must preform a specific task relating to that disability. Much of my issues with my bipolar have come from the fact that I cannot remember to take my medication. One of my medications has to be titrated up to the full dose. Therefore, I made my life easier by training him to remind me to take my medication. According to the ADA, that legally makes him a service dog and he can go basically anywhere with me. While it is true that I wanted to be able to take Comet anywhere, I really do need help remembering my meds.
For the record, Comet is a lucky little bastard. He has terrible separation anxiety. Not only do I work at home and am able to be with him most of the time, he can also go with me most of the time. However, we will be working on him staying calm while left behind in a crate.
Comet’s service status also opens up a new possibility for our road trip. We will be taking greyhound. I will pack a backpack and Comet’s crate and we shall go. This will be an epic adventure.
My next task is to find a good backpack. I was thinking a Kelty backpack like this: http://www.kelty.com/p-569-womens-rally-45.aspx?category=backpacks Any suggestions for good backpacks? It has to be water resistant, easy to carry, high quality, under $200 (I’m super poor ok?), big and girly colored. Yes, the pink or purple is a must.
I also have to take Comet to the vet and make sure he is perfectly healthy and get him microchiped. He needs blood tests and parasite protection for a year. I need decent walking shoes, a decent camera, back up money and more before I can figure out where I will go.
I will take greyhound to a hostel that will let me and Comet work there on work exchange and write to support myself as I go. When I can go, I’m not sure. Maybe next month, maybe in a few months. I’m not even sure how long this will take. Yet, it’s happening and I’m excited.