Trixie Feelings Stew

Last Updated on: 28th October 2012, 09:29 am

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while…but either never felt like I had the time or the mental energy to put all this stuff into words. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it justice, but I can try.

Having to go back to the cane has made me realize how many things I took for granted that Trixie did. At first, I would find myself nearly cluning trees and poles until a voice in my head said loud enough “You have no dog! You have to compensate! She’s not going to fix it at the last second!” I also started noticing just how narrow certain areas are, and how perfectly she navigated them so I had no idea. Our lovely new bus terminal comes to mind. It was annoying, but for totally different reasons. There’s this one place at around Platforms 2 and 3 ish where you go from having a really wide area to walk to holy crap you’re going to fall if you’re not careful. I’ve also nearly gone head over heels down the flight of stairs there just because I had subtlely veered off course. I also went through a phase where I would come home from an average route completely exhausted. Trix took over for the cane so seamlessly that I didn’t really think I would have trouble adjusting back. After all, I got by pretty well with the cane, right? Right? Oh lordy I have gotten rusty.

At this point, all of this is getting easier, but I still walk friggin slow. Sloooow. It’s frustrating as hell, considering I’ve gotten used to getting places within a certain timeframe, and now that’s not happening, Sunny Jim! Also, my distance judgment is all off. I expect to get somewhere at one pace, and because I haven’t covered as much ground as I used to, I’m not there yet, so think I’ve missed it. No, you haven’t gone as far because you’re sloooow.

I think it must be amusing to watch me…walk? Run? I don’t know. I’ll be trying as hard as I can to go fast, but I’ll still be getting left in people’s dust. It’s like paddling as hard as you can against the current. I’m just not used to being this slow.

But at the same time, I’m scared of starting over. I know that when I get the new dog, it will be a whole new relationship. S/he will have a whole new set of strenghts, weaknesses and quirks, both to do with working and in the house. I will be cementing behaviours that will affect our team for the rest of its life. Plus I will be dealing with second dog syndrome. I will want to compare this dog with Trix all the time, even though I know I can’t and shouldn’t. But without thinking, it will happen. I have worked so hard to get to the spot we were, and now, I feel like all too soon, I’m starting again.

Over the last little while, when I was out with the cane, I would catch myself coming up to intersections thinking “Oh god, I have to teach the new dog about the weirdness of this intersection. *cringe*” Now, of course, all of that is out the window since we’ll be moving, and I don’t have clue 1 about what I’ll have to teach the new dog, but every time I would think about that, I would feel this bit of dread, even though I know I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

It’s funny what little things get embedded in your subconscious and you don’t even know it. At the beginning when I started using the cane part-time, I would catch myself momentarily tensing up when entering a restaurant, preparing for someone to tell me I couldn’t bring the dog in here. The ridiculous part was that scenario didn’t play out very often, but I guess I had always prepared myself for the potential, and had done it so often that without thinking, I was going through the usual motions. Also, for a while, whenever I heard kids talking, my mind would insert the word “doggy” or “puppy.” Then I realized “Hey numbnut, they’re not saying that, you don’t have a dog. If they’re saying ‘doggy’ or ‘puppy’, it’s not for you.” But it was a strange experience what the brain started dreaming up.

Then there was the day I almost praised my cane. I’ve talked about telling the cane forward, but one day, when my cane found a big drop-off and I felt it and came to an abrupt halt, I almost praised the cane. Then I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Guh. That’s not a dog.

I’ve talked a lot about people asking where Trix is. I do believe I actually saw a dog ask the question. Now you really think I’m crazy. Let me explain. Some people bring their dogs to work. I was coming into work one day, and a dog came towards me, full tilt. Then, he got within a few feet of me and stopped dead, and backed up a pace or 2. I think he was expecting his buddy Trix, and when she wasn’t there, he was quite puzzled. I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry at that moment.

Speaking of not knowing If I was going to laugh or cry, that’s been my feelings about the class date. Of course I want a new dog, but getting that new dog means I have to admit for sure that Trix’s career is over, and I have to let go of her and commit to a new dog. The good thing is Trix is healthy and hopefully has several years ahead of her. But it’s still hard.

When I first got my class date, I was happy to have a date, but telling people was not the experience it was when I went for Babs or Trix. Steve still chuckles about the tone of the email he got from work with the date in it. It was something like “Well…I go to class on March 24. It’s a two-week class. Eek. I’ll be in the hotel. Ug. There it is.” He said for half a second, he wondered what the heck my problem was, this should be happy news, but it didn’t take him long to figure out that there are mixed feelings when you’re moving from a dog you’ve had for years to this brand new one, and I hadn’t reached the point of totally accepting she was retired.

Then a couple weeks later, as I moved a little closer to accepting Trix was retired, I got the package with my new contract and an SD card with lectures. I got the package, looked at it, went “Yea! I have my SD card!” immediately followed up by “Boohoohoohoo, my SD card is here.” It was like I reached the top of a cliff and fell off in the next second. There was happiness, immediately followed up by feelings of betrayal and guilt for moving on when Trix was still bouncing around our apartment, and sadness that this was in fact reality. I didn’t know I could feel such different things at the exact same time, but there it is.

As I passed through stages of acceptance that Trix was retiring, certain subjects would make me cry, and I really think they spoke to where I was in the process. First, all I had to say were the words “semi-retirement” or “part-time”. Next, as I was making it official that yeah, her career is coming to an end, the trigger phrase was “the new dog”. It happened so suddenly that I’m sure some people must have thought I was putting it on. By this point, I could say she was retiring, and that made me sad, but saying “new dog” would be too much.

After I decided she was retired, saying retired, past tense, seemed too hard. It was a little easier because I was pretty sure this was the right decision, but it was hard to move from retire-ing, to retire-d. Ah the importance of verb tenses.

Then, I would cry whenever I would talk to the vets about running followup tests because she would be leaving soon. Talking about the date she was going was enough.

And finally, at the end, I could talk about when she was going, but when Chuck called and talked about adoption papers, waaaaa!

There are some songs that I think will always remind me of this whole Trixie retirement thing. I figured I would mention them here. A couple of them make sense, a couple of them not so much.

I’ve already mentioned what the radio did the day Trix left.

Then there was one of those times Trix ran to the door and stood as if to say “Put the harness on. Come on!” I looked down at her and said Trix, you’re breaking my heart… I should just call you Cecilia.”

Damn I never used to cry when I heard that song…hmmm…not so much anymore.

This song, I can’t even figure out why it bothers me so much, but it does. One night I was struggling to get Trixie home in the dark. We had had a pretty good day, but she was spent and it was showing. The whole time her head was low, almost sniffing the ground. I was basically heeling her home, caneless, thankful that I knew the area like the back of my hand. I wonder now if she was trying to compensate for her low vision or if she was just spent and this was how she was showing it. Anyway, into my head popped Somebody that I used to know.
I don’t know if my mind was trying to tell me that Trix was struggling and our ability to work together wasn’t so good and the good days were something in the past, something I used to know. Inexplicably now, whenever I hear this song, I get a little teary.

And this one makes no sense, but it belongs here, so let’s go. It was a Saturday in July and Trix had just said “screw you, I ain’t workin’!” I had to head out with the cane and go to a rather complicated plaza with patio tables and poles and displays and plants and you name it, I hit it. I was not too good with the cane, and it was showing…so I had to walk slower than slow. There was this one guy I knew at school that took half an hour to get between school buildings at the school for the blind. I felt slower than him, and it was driving me insane. As I smacked tables, nearly tripped over things, and generally felt like an immense oaf, Adele – Set fire to the Rain blared over the speakers.

I didn’t understand a word, but I felt the rage and frustration and almost broke down right on the patio. Every time I’d get silly and think maybe Trix wants to work, I play this song and remember that the reason I was struggling in that plaza is because she told me “No, I’m not working today.”

And now that everyone probably thinks I’ve gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs, I’m all out of thoughts. But I have to say as hard as this whole retirement process is, the school has been trying their best to make it easy on me. Kim, the counselor, has been really awesome. It can’t be easy for her, always hearing from us when our dogs are sick or retiring or some such. After Chuck heard my great big list of problems, and saw it himself, he never made me feel like I was giving up too soon or anything, and this was before we had it confirmed that her vision was going. All the hard parts of retiring have been dealing with my own feelings, nothing to do with GDB.

Hopefully you’re not all bored, or thinking I’ve lost my marbles. If you’ve read this far, damn you’re good!

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  1. So I’m totally in tears now, thanks dude. Haha kidding. I mean not kidding about being in tears but kidding about the mock blaming with the thanks dude. This made me think about Kim and I wonder if she ever justs gets calls from grads just for no reason. maybe I’ll do a no reason call. Because you’re right, she must have a tough job.

    If you’d like, you can totally use Insert. Maybe that’ll help with the ick of saying new dog. It’s funny, I don’t want to say new dog when I think about you either. If I’m feeling that, I can’t imagine how that is for you.

    I know it sucks to hear it now, but you’re now gonna have this stupid xperience to be able to help oehters in the future. Cough cough me. Maybe that’s whey I’m in tears, sad for you and knowing this will be sometime too. How’s that for selfish?

    So for some reson sometimes Safari doesn’t give me keyboard echo so I have no idea what typos are going to be in this monster comment.

    Love you and hot cocoa.

    1. Does it say “group editable”? I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s a trick keystroke to make those sons of bitches work better at work. Google is being like 0 help.

      Insert’s a good idea. I thought that was so cute when you were going off to get Jayden. And I hope you don’t have to go through this for years and years and years. I hope Jayden’s one of those dogs who works until he’s 9 or 10.

      Hehehehe about the error error error thing. Well it did publish. Silly thing.

  2. So I realized I forgot to subscribe to comments but the checkbox says you can subscribe without commenting so I checked it and then was like but now what so I hit the submit button and Safari goes error! Please enter a coment! And then it got stuck and kept going Error please enter a comment error error error! And then I closed the window and opened the last window and it said error again and again and then I heard set fire to the rain in my head.

  3. Hmmm, I don’t hear anything about group editable, just, you don’t have to comment to subscribe.

    Yeah Kim is awesome. I talked to her quite a bit while I was at school. I should give her a ring. Set fire…to the rain…set fire…set…lol!

    1. I’m not sure why it says you can subscribe without commenting. I don’t know that you can. Need to try it on a random old Carin post that hasn’t been commented on in the WordPress era. Fill out all the info but leave the comment spot blank and hope it doesn’t make me want to set fire to any rain.

      1. You can subscribe without commenting. Instead of using that checkbox, click on the link that says subscribe and it should do it for you as long as it knows where to send the emails.

        Way to go, Steve. You installed the plugin then forgot how to use it. Well done, you fool.

  4. I read the whole thing (both posts). Glad she’s doing so well. You will too but it’s always hard when things are not as they were.

    I was wondering if maybe it will be easier starting out with a new dog and a new place about at the same time. Or am I nuts? You wouldn’t have anything to unlearn while you’re teaching her (or him).

    Say hi to Steve for me and tell him I’m still celebrating. How about those Giants!!

      1. I got confused and left you a comment on your other post.

        “Tigers gave me a scare last night. They finally woke up. They had a great season and at least they swept the damn Yankees. I wonder if they had too much rest while we were still amped up from snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat so many times.”

    1. Hey. Hmmm…it’s a mixed bag. I need to know where I’m going so we can have successes and the dog realizes “hey, this chicky knows where she’s going and is the leader of the pack.” But maybe starting off fresh and learning a few things the cane way without the doggy shortcuts I’m used to, plus walking around without doing the doggy foot and hand signals which have inevitably become sloppy, will be good. I just need to learn enough stuff.

      And yea Giants!

      1. I can see both sides of it. I think what I was trying to say is that a new place and a new dog might make the emotional part easier. You wouldn’t be making comparisons. Or I could be all wet in which case feel free to ignore.

        Yea, Giants!! YOu should have seen Ray and me on the edges of your chairs and swinging like a pendulum from despair to joy and back to despair again. You’d think it was a do or die 7th game instead of the 4th.

        Hope you’re far enough inland to stay away from Sandy.

        1. Unfortunately we’re not. I don’t think we’re set to get hit as hard as a lot of people are, but weather warnings stretch across most of our province from what I’m hearing. We’re also on our 4th straight day of rain, which yesterday decided that wet snow should join the mix. The forecast, for what it’s worth, is calling for 5 more days of similar.

  5. I’ve been following the weather map. Yesterday I was hoping that The Giants could sew it up so they could get out of Detroit and back here (although we had a 4.0 quake this morning).

    You’re even closer to the Atlantic than Detroit and it’s supposed to push way inland. Stay safe.

    1. Wow, a quake? Geesh. They got a pretty big one out in BC yesterday too. Hope none of this is a sign of bad things to come.

      I think where Carin and I are we’ll be fairly safe. I don’t expect we’ll be losing power or anything like that (famous last words). Our biggest problem will be staying dry and out of the wind.

  6. Make sure your emergency cache is up to date just in case.

    I have an online friend in BC who is fine. I didn’t realize Vancouver is that far away from St. Rupert’s until I looked at a map. It was a huge quake. California has had more small quakes than usual; many of them around Los Angeles close to my younger son. Google does not know how to spell Los Angeles but what can you expect from someone who can’t spell its own name?

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