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Dogs Have Dreams Too

Dogs Have Dreams Too

Hi, I'’m Charger the guide dog! I live in Florida with my dad Jonathan. It'’s really cool living here, with lots of stuff to do outdoors like sailing and swimming. Dad takes me everywhere he goes and we'’d like to share our adventures with you through my blog.

There'’s something I should come clean on. I’m not really a guide dog. My fear of thunderstorms got in the way of my big dream. When I was a puppy, dad raised me as a dog for the blind. Labradors like me make great guides :) Dad and I spent a wonderful 15 months together. When it was time for me to move on, I passed my training with wagging tails.

Off I went to NYC to be trained on a hard harness. I rocked at this! Another 15 months in NYC and I was starting to look like a fully fledged guide dog! One week before my graduation, disaster struck - there was a huge scary thunderstorm with loud noise and flashing lights. I got really scared and hid under the bed until it was all over. This never happened when I was back with dad so I was given a second chance.

For the next week, I worked extra hard to impress my trainer. Then, out of the blue, another thunderstorm. I couldn’t help but hide until it finished. It was really scary. Things were looking bad for me. Scaredy dogs can’t guide the blind - a guide dog has to be calm in all situations.

So much time was invested into my training that my trainers didn'’t give up on me too easily. It was after the third thunderstorm that they realized I’'d never graduate as a guide dog for the blind. Dad was given the opportunity to adopt me permanently and Florida became my home.

Even though I was back with dad, happily going on a new adventure each week, my doggy anxiety and fear of thunder stayed. Dad tried lots of things to help me. He tried rubbing essential oils between my eyes and on my forehead, I got a Thundershirt, we played music...…nothing helped. Drugs were not an option for us.

Dad being an engineer, he decided to design a special crate for me. It’'s my favorite place to hide when the storm comes out :)

Do you have a dog with anxiety at home? I'’d love to hear from you. Even if I can't be a guide dog for the blind, I'd love to help other dogs with anxiety. Dog anxiety is a real problem and together we can beat it. Please leave a comment below sharing your experiences.

Charger

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1 comment

Jan 01, 2017 • Posted by Cynthia Goldstein

Zoie’s story: a beautiful Lhasa Apso rescue scared to death of thunderstorms, ironically she was found during a rare thunderstorm in San Diego. Fireworks, loud noises, smoke alarms upset her so much. She paces, pants, shivers with fright looking for a quiet place to hide. We’ve since retiired to Tucson, Az. Monsoon season is especially difficult for Zoie as the monsoon season is 3-4 months long, every day for at least an hour she is in a panic during the storms. We’ve tried everything, thundershirt, diffusers, essential oils, massage, music, loud fans & tv nothing works. She’s smart, very smart, she’s made the connection between lightening & thunder & she doesn’t understand that sometimes rain happens without thunder. She’s 9 years old now, I don’t want her to spend her senior years in a panic. At the same time, we can’t afford to buy her a zencrate, retirement means the money changes drastically. We keep hoping to win her a Zencrate.

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