Another question I have been asked often recently is “Does the dog make you fall or “Do you fall more with the dog? The answer to both questions is “NO!” In the year 2007, I fell a total of 84 times. That is an average of 7 falls per month and 1.6 per week. I have failed to keep good records this year. However, past records indicate that I fall 3 times more often in private than I do in public. Most of my falls including those with Chimi are the result of my own hurried impatience and my own failure to pay attention to where I am going and how best to get there.
It may scare some of you, when you watch me fall sometimes; but falling is a fact of life for me most of the time. In order to truly live I have to live with No Fear of falling. If I was afraid, I would be down all the time.
One of the main reasons I applied for service dog training is because I realized that I could no longer get up by myself and that I needed help. Chimi is a God given gift. Chimi is an every present helper during those times that I fall and there is no one there to help me up. He is strong and steady and anxious to help me up when I fall. I do not have to scoot or crawl to pull up on something like I use to because he is right there on top of me ready and willing to help. This week he prevented 3 falls with in my apartment. Once he even left a toy and came to brace and balance me.
Before I could walk my orthopedic doctor told my grandmother that if she ever wanted me to learn to walk, she had to let me learn how to fall and get up on my own. Watching her granddaughter fall and doing nothing to help her up, was one of the most difficult things my grandmother ever had to do.
Once, when I was about four years old and just learning to walk on my own, my grandmother and I went shopping in the mall. I fell down and my grandmother followed the doctor’s orders and did not help me up. A passer by became indignant and enraged at my grandmother and began blessing her out. When I finally got up I shook my fist at the lady and put my hands on my hips. (I was born with anger issues.) I yelled with a stutter, “Stop yelling my memaw! Her help me, by letting me do it my own!”
So if you see me fall with Chimi, the greatest help you can give me is to watch and wait. If I really need help, I will ask. Chimi and I need to learn to walk and fall together. We are still practicing and polishing our six step dance. We are partners and we will get it together.
One more thing if Chimi gets the leash and starts grumbling, do not be alarmed. He has a habit of talking with his mouth full. He likes to tell you that he has got it on hold. He is communicating that his leader and the keep of the leash has fallen; and that he will help her up.