Oh boy. I have a small, funny story to tell about Trixie because I just like telling Trixie stories.
Last week, I went to get my Level C first-aid certification. I figured I should have it, something else to put on my resume. Plus, I just thought it would be good to do, since I hadn’t done anything to do with CPR since 1998, and things have changed since then. So off I went, I got registered, and all that.
But as the class drew nearer, I got worried. I realized that first-aid training involves a lot of practice of various things that you would need to do in an emergency. Those things probably look pretty scary to a dog. She wouldn’t know I was practicing. She’d think it was the real thing. I wondered what to do. I decided to play it by ear. I brought a small tie-down, and a bed so I could fasten her to something heavy if I had to, and the class instructor said there was always the option of taking her downstairs to the receptionist and having her watch her. I wasn’t really happy with that option, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on what I was learning because I’d constantly be wondering if Trixie was being any trouble. The two evenings I’ve had to leave her with my downstairs neighbour when Steve and I were going to loud concerts, it took me a long long time to relax and Steve had to tell me to refrain from phoning to check all the time. Once, he even threatened to hang onto my phone to prevent me from calling! I was good though, I resisted.
Anyway, off I went to class, thinking I had all the tools I needed. Hmmm. Notice the word thinking. I got there, and quickly realized there was nothing heavy enough in the room to tie her to. There was the table, but I thought if she got scared enough, she might be able to pull it, endangering everyone at it. It was too much risk. I thought, gulp, well, I’m just going to have to pray that she stays in a down-stay. Anybody see where this is going?
At first, everything was cool. We were all sitting around the table, and she was being the good as gold guide dog she can be. Laying there, snoring, it was perfect.
Then I got up to be the guinea pig used to demonstrate how to put someone in the recovery position. I told her to stay, and she did. She stayed as I walked to the front of the room, she stayed as the teacher told me to lie down, she stayed until I was lying down…and the person rolled me onto my side, and what is that? Feet coming towards me and a cold nose at my ear? So much for stay! The whole class laughed, and I was mortified.
Eventually, she realized that I was a willing participant in these bizarre exercises and did stay. That is, she stayed until I had to drag someone else on a blanket! This was too much for her. Over she came, and that was not all! She licked my poor unsuspecting victem, er, injured person that I was trying to drag, right on the back of the head! Again, I was mortified, even if the girl on the blanket was giggling. I told Trixie to stop, and asked the lickee if she likes dogs. Thank the sweet lord the answer was yes.
Trixie soon learned that the people I dragged and rolled and manipulated were not in fact toys for her, and stay still meant goddamn stay! This worked…until it was CPR time.
For a while, she showed amazing restraint. She stayed, until everyone was on the floor, doing compressions on mannequins. Then she couldn’t take it, and over she came. I told her “down”, and continued compressions. She was good…until I breathed into the mannequin’s mouth. Then she tried to give Resuscitation Annie a bath too! Who knew my way of counting compressions would be “1, 2, 3, 4, stop! 6, 7, 8, no! 10, …?”
Finally, on the second day, I could go up to the front of the room, have my arms and legs splinted and bandaged, and she wouldn’t move a muscle. But what a first day. I think the poor thing was unbelievably confused. She couldn’t have been too traumatized, because she happily led me back into the same room the next day as if it was the best place ever. All I can say is as happy as I am to have completed the course, hopefully I never have to do CPR on someone for real, not only because that would be scary as hell, but because a dog head might get in the way. Trixie, when I say down stay, I mean it!