The Art of Bonding

Editor’s note: Blandina was injured 17 years ago when a tornado picked up her car and flung her into a ditch. She and Chief were part of our July Team Training Class. Their training is sponsored by the Perry and Ruby Stevens Foundation

Dear Texas Hearing and Service Dogs,

Blandina and Chief on a training outing to Tractor Supply in Hereford, Texas.

Blandina and Chief on a training outing to Tractor Supply in Hereford, Texas.

The art of bonding…I can see why it so important!

Even though I have seen it on my journey with Chief, I saw it tremendously today. About 6:00 pm this evening, I was outside in our fenced back yard playing ball with Chief.

I have an electric wheelchair that I use for playtime as it makes it easier to get around in the dirt. As I was wheeling along full speed, my right foot all of sudden slid off the footrest. By the time I realized what had happened, it was twisted toward the right and stuck real good at an angle that had me in an odd position and in a lot of pain that was so bad, I screamed.

Chief stopped chasing the ball and rushed immediately to my side. No matter how I moved the chair, it was plowed In the ground real well.

I was bent over trying to pry my foot loose. Chief even tried pulling my pant leg. He was scared because I was hurting so much. Neither of us could budge my leg, so I told him “off” so we could both regroup.

He kept whimpering and moving around me like “What do I do?”

I had my phone luckily. I called my dad and there was no answer. Then I called mom and she was in town! It took her about 3 to 5 minutes to make it over to my house.

The whole time I was out there, Chief was at my side comforting me. I dropped my phone. He picked it up right away and gave it to me.

Finally my parents showed up. When my mom tried to get close to my foot, Chief wouldn’t let her! He would just get his body in the way between her and me.

I told him gently “off” and he responded perfectly by giving her access to me. My dad lifted the heavy wheelchair and my mom was able to move the foot.

We all went inside. My daughter Cassie came over to assess it and since it was swollen and the same foot I broke before, she took me to ER. Again when my daughter got close, Chief put his body in front me denying her access. Again I said “off”. Only then was Cassie able to wrap it and get me in the car.

I sprained it with some heavy bruising and lots of soreness. The first face I saw when we returned home was Chief as I opened the door. He greeted me and seemed to say, “I’m glad you’re back and ok.”

Earlier today I gave a presentation to a 4th grade class on behaviors and Chief and your agency. I realized something — Chief doesn’t care if his bed is from the Martha Stewart collection or from Walmart, He doesn’t care if his hot dog treats are Great Value Brand or Oscar Meyer.

He takes value in people not in possessions.

I am the value that means something to him.

For someone who has lost a lot physically and emotionally in the years, it is nice to see that to him, I have lost nothing.

And you guys made that happen, your gifts and talents have touched not only mine and Chief, but others. That value, my friends, is priceless and for that…

Thank you.

Blandina & Chief