Flashback Friday: Pup andPupil Learn to Play

I have often said that being blind takes longer. This principle can apply to any disability, but as usual I write about what I know. What I am learning, however, is that when you pile disability on top of disability the amount of time it takes to live in an environment created by people with a singular notion of body — that is, a simplistic definition of what it means to have an able body — the calculation compounds rather than simply adds up.

Those of you who found yourselves intrigued by the phrase “a simplistic definition of what it means to have an able body” “should check out the book I am currently reading. It’s titled A Disability of History of the United States, and it has presented some challenging ideas. The one I am currently wrestling with is that today’s definition of an able body is a remarkably narrow one, given recorded attitudes toward disability throughout human history.

The point I’m really trying to make here is far more Monday, however. As I said Earlier this week, I am having to learn to dictate all of my writing, and learning that new skill takes time. So does everything else in life. So, this will be the last week you get two posts in a single week for me for a while. It will be one flashback post from here on out until I can properly type again.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the fruits of my time consuming labor, even as I am enjoying a personal exploration of the idea of using Mindfulness meditation for Pain relief. To be clear, I am definitely in favor of people taking pain medication when they are in pain. But I am also fascinated and inspired by the wide array of alternative pain relief methodologies currently being explored. I am a serious geek, and I think the science of God‘s creation is very, very cool!

Original post date: June 12, 2009

As I have written Previously, play is a very important part of a dogs life. It is an important bonding ritual between pack members, and this holds true when the pack is a human – dog hybrid entity like a working guide team. Not only is it good for bonding, but it can let off steam after arduous work. It is both a nourishing activity and an important part of emotional recovery and maintenance.

I had tried on several previous occasions to figure out Prada’s play style, but with only limited success. Today, she took matters into her own paws. Clearly I needed to be taught her favorite game, because I wasn’t going to figure it out on my own.

While I sat at the little writing desk in my room working on some thing on my laptop, Prada picked up her Kong toy and deposited it onto my lap. This is a heavy duty rubber toy shaped like a snowman and hollow in the middle. And the one now in my lap was definitely slimy, but clearly more important than whatever i had been doing a moment before.

She had disdaind to fetch this toy previously, so I wasn’t sure what she wanted me to do with it. I picked it up, and she clamped down hard on the opposite end, her strong jaws just an inch away from my fingers. My hypothesis that she would love tug-of-war is apparently correct! Kong toys, however, are not made for this game…

But Prado was careful, and she never hurt me. We tugged ineffectually for a couple of seconds until her grip slipped. Now that she was engaged I tried tossing the toy. Because of their unusual shape Kong toys bounce erratically rather than in straight lines, and this makes them much more interesting to chase than a normal tennis ball. And Chase she did!

Sheep pounced and pounced after the toy as it ricocheted around the lower walls and bases of furniture in our room. When she finally caught it she returned it to me, but not without expectation. When I took hold of the toy again she didn’t let go, she wanted to tug again.

Tug, toss, tackle, repeat. That is Prada‘s preferred play style, apparently. I will have to get her a rope toy to make tug-of-war more convenient for both of us, but in the meantime this will do so long as I throw gently enough to keep the kkong ‘s exuberant flight from damaging any of my belongings.

At the time it never occurred to me that Prada might just not be a playful puppy, or that there was any other reasonable explanation for our slow start at play. I assumed she had a desire to play, just not with me. I imagined her feeling depressed and lonely, and wishing that I would communicate with her and feeling more and more abandoned as I failed to send some vital message of love and caregiving in a language she understood. Can anyone say “projection?

Today your favorite blindfluencer asks how many love languages you have intentionally chosen to learn. Becoming multilingual in love will enrich your life in ways you can only imagine.

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