Please join me in celebrating my Service Dog, Zotia’s 10th Birthday this month! I’m offering 20% off all items in my Shop in honor of my special girl!
On or around July 13, 2008, I met an adorable puppy called Zoe. She was my son Daniel’s new dog. She was incredibly shy and hid under a chair the entire time we visited. Until I dropped something! Out flew this little ball of fur directly to my pack of cigarettes that had dropped. Far bigger than her tiny mouth, she picked it up and gently placed it in my hand. Remember my tagline, “Seven Fingers Zero Toes”? She placed the pack in the hand with three fingers missing and I dropped it again! Hinting at the patience she was going to show throughout life, she kindly picked it up again and put it back in my hand, and held it there until she knew I had a firm grip on it. We all cheered for her! She had just performed a task that relieved me of having to ask for assistance from a human. Since I have a rod fused to my spine, I cannot bend over. Things on the floor may as well be 10 feet above me. We tested her on a few more things: tv remote, pen, eyeglasses, coins, paperclips – she picked up everything and gave them to me! I turned to my son and said, “I think you just lost your dog.” Somewhat reluctantly he replied, “I think I did.”
I renamed her Zotia. It turned out Zotia had quite a few more surprises in store for me. One day I was lying in bed in pain when Zotia jumped up to join me. But instead of cuddling with me, she carefully positioned her body over the area that was hurting and lay in what looked like an uncomfortable angle for her. Her body heat and puppy love helped alleviate the pain substantially. She continues to do this to this day.
Because we spend our entire day together, Zotia developed a vocabulary of some 900 words. I would catch desired behaviors and name them. Then when I would say them again, she would do them. That became our training. She devised an “Exercise Walk” for herself with no sniffing, to get “untangled” from her leash, to stay “in the curb” and many other commands that she developed and I named. And of course the normal “sit,” “stay,” “come,” etc. commands.
Zotia’s other gift is her incredible sense of empathy. She can sense my mood from another room! I have to laugh when she catches me getting frustrated with the computer and insists I take a break. She’ll crawl under the table, between my wheelchair and the computer and talks to me about it until I leave the table. I usually sit on the couch with her and let her calm me down.
Another area where her empathy comes in to play is when someone has lost a loved one. One day Zotia began dragging me across the grocery store, ignoring all commands I gave her. She attached herself, without touching them, to a man and wife. Complete strangers to me. They welcomed her with open arms and revealed that they had just put their dog down two days before. I didn’t think anything of it until she did it again in the mall about a month later. This happened seven times!
The most recent time was last month in Big Lots. Zotia stopped listening to my commands, would not move forward, and attached herself to a lady near us. Never touching her, Zotia would move when the lady moved. Finally, sensing Zotia had a mission, I told the lady my dog was empathetic and asked if she’d lost an animal. She teared up, and said, “No, but my father passed away three days ago. Your dog knows this?!” she cried. I asked if Zotia could give her “Love” and she crumbled to the floor hugging Zotia!
There have been many other miracles my girl has done. Both for me and others. Please celebrate my incredible Service Dog and Angel with me by accepting 20% off all items in my Shop! Shop HERE!