Monday, January 31, 2011

Bristol's Bad Day

It is days like today that helps to remind me that retiring Bristol is the right thing for both of us. He has had a really bad day in which he has barely been able to be a guide dog for me. Instead of relying on Bristol to get me back to the dorm safely after a class today, I had to rely on someone else. I did not feel comfortable enough allowing Bristol to do it alone. I needed the added security of another person.

Usually my lack of trust in Bristol is not this bad. But on these rare days when he can not seem to focus at all, it is better to ask others for help. Forcing him to work while he is having such a bad day can be more harmful than good. All it does is add unnecessary stress to him which does not help either one of us. If anything, it put’s us both in danger. Our day did not end here. A few hours after this occurred, I walked over to the campus cafeteria to get something to eat. Bristol had other plans for us. He took a few detours while going there and on our way back to the dorm. Even though I was alone with him, I never felt unsafe. It was just a frustrating situation for me because I could not get him to take the path that we usually take. We did make it to the cafeteria and back to the dorm, but it took a lot of patience on my part.

Being stressed is one reason why Bristol is retiring in May. Another reason is that he is becoming more skittish around some things, living and nonliving, that use to not phase him at all. His severe thunderstorm fear is another factor in the decision to retire him. At times, his fear is so strong that he can not do his job of being a guide dog for me. All he wants to do is either climb in my lap or hide under the bed.


  1. It was a heavy, overcast day when you were making that trip around the campus. His fear of the impending storm seems to have made it hard for him to concentrate enough to even get you both back to the safe place. Yikes! It is not supposed to clear out her before Wednesday. Prepare yourself for a few battles Jessica!

  2. Jessica:

    Just hooked into your blog via the Southeast Guide Dog site. Looking forward to hearing of your experiences. I am a new puppy raiser for SEGD and really want to learn more about the experience of having a dog from your perspective. Keep it up!

  3. i'm sorry jessica and bristol. so glad you are both safe.

  4. I am also a puppy raiser for SEGD and look forward to following your experiences via your blog! Keep your chin up!