Who would have thought when I picked that little puppy out of rescue nearly 14 yrs ago (she was 4 months old when I got her) she would not only become my ears and help me round the house but also help me to train up another dog!
I was fully mobile when I first got her in 2001 but had been deaf since age 16. My dad wanted me to have a dog living in a flat on my own. He was worried flashing house lights (to tell me doorbell, minicom was ringing) would make me an easy target for burglary and thought I’d be safer with a dog. So I went to local rescue with my then sister-in-law and that’s where I found Inca!
My dad helped me train her to smoke alarm, doorbell, someone knocking on door and minicom ringing. Sadly he passed away the following year and wasn’t here when I started to have problems with my back and legs. My mum had passed away years ago back in 1991 so if Inca and I were to survive together she would have to learn to help me as by that time it was becoming apparent I would end up in a wheelchair. It took just 18 months for me to go from being able to walk ‘normally’ to being issued with my first manual wheelchair by the NHS. Inca really stepped up to the plate after being a rather naughty puppy!!!
..and generally pick up whatever I dropped. She saved my life once after some oven gloves dropped onto the back ring of the electric cooker (that I’d accidently left on) and caught fire. I’d fallen asleep on the sofa watching telly, The smoke alarm in that flat was in the hall but the door was shut, also the batteries unbeknown to me the batteries were flat!..the alarm never went off but Inca woke me up and dropped into the ‘danger’ position (drop into a down and bark to signal danger) looking worriedly towards the kitchen. I sat up and looked in to see it filling with smoke!!
She coped well with moving house as the flat wasn’t exactly easy with a wheelchair and a scooter parked in the narrow hall, and was thrilled to have her own garden and a new padding pool!
She gave me many years of independence but when she was reaching 11 years old she was starting to get arthritis and I had to decide what to do, she wasn’t going to be able to help me forever, we’d both need someone else! After a 7 month search little JJ came to our lives!
It’s fair to say she was less than keen to welcome a young boisterous puppy into our quiet household! … but she coped and became his mentor showing him how to do jobs, it was much easier to teach JJ how to do something by getting him to watch Inca and then copy.
Almost everything JJ can now do, Inca taught him – he did come up a few things himself though as he’s also a very bright dog! I was particuarly proud of how she coped with and taught JJ though as being an only dog for 11 and half years before he came I knew it wasn’t easy for her and she’s had the pain to cope from arthritis and is going blind. I think now though he’s a comfort to her and without him I wouldn’t have managed to support her in her old age.
Happy Birthday my special girl!!