As mentioned in my earlier News and Updates message I am going to do a few Maisie Mondays. And rather than go back and repeat Maisie’s story and how we came to be a team, you can follow these links to get the backstory: GOTCHA Day – Something Very Cool Happened Yesterday!
I plan to use each Monday to answer one of the questions I am often asked, and today I will start with what our typical day is like. Most days are similar.
In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun rises, Pete is up and at ’em. Maisie takes over his spot in the bed, then when I wake up – usually late in the morning – Pete brings me a cup of coffee and Maisie, without any prompting, brings me the pillows that I pack around my spine so that I can sit up and drink my coffee.
I don’t always get dressed; since we have to take our laundry to the laundromat in the winter I don’t bother making more work if we’re not going anywhere or expecting company that day. But on the days I do get dressed, Maisie helps me get my nightgown off by pulling it off my arms and over my head, brings me whatever I have set out to wear, and patiently picks up the things that I drop – I drop a lot! – and hands them to me. If I can reach one shoe or boot or whatever but not the other, I can show it to her and ask her to “get the other one” and she will bring that also.
Most days now I relocate to my spot in the living room. Until recently I spent the day on my bed with pillows packed around me but now I have a 2nd spot in the motorhome that I can use (thanks to help from Leelan!) so I’m not stuck in one place anymore. I bring my essentials such as my phone, water bottle, neck pillow, and so forth with me, and if I have a lot to carry Maisie is more than happy to carry the extra. When I forget something (it happens more often than I like to admit!) she will run back after it and bring it out to me at my request. She especially loves to carry pillows, and gives them a little shake which I like to think is fluffing them up but more than likely it’s a play thing for her.
In the living room I sit sideways with my spine in pillows at the end of the davenport and my legs extended in front of me. Maisie will either lay nearby, her eyes on me constantly, or, when requested, lay along my legs, head on my stomach, tail at my feet. Her 80# of body weight plus higher body temperature is helpful in easing pain. If she isn’t on my legs but feels a need to be near me (I’m not sure how she decides when to do this) she will lay alongside my legs at the back of the davenport. At other times she folds herself into Pete’s chair if he’s not in it – usually in his “ham shack” (travel trailer) – or else on our bed. We have 3 mirrored closet doors outside the bedroom and she watches me in those when she’s on the bed.
In the winter I don’t go out too often.
Throughout the day if I need something out of reach she gets it for me; when I drop things she picks them up. She can take my slippers or hat off when my feet or head are hot (on windy days it does get chilly in here so I wear a stocking hat), and bring them to me on request when I want to put them back on. When I need to lean forward she will sit in front of me so I can clasp my hands behind her shoulders and get a boost. Any or all of these things are in a day’s work for Maisie.
At bedtime if I have been dressed she will remove my socks and hand them to me and pick up my jeans that I’ve let slide to the floor, putting them on my lap. She will pull the end of my sleeves so I can slide my arms out, then pull my shirts over my head when asked. It takes me a while to get comfortable on the bed for the evening, and she will sit quietly at the foot of the bed until I’m settled and raise my arms at which time she comes up and gets into her position on my legs. And she’s available to find the “‘mote” or my cell phone in the covers several times every evening and return them to me – I can almost see her eyes roll knowing it will only be a few minutes before she has to do it again!
Usually at about 11:00 she decides to go to bed on the davenport, and I tell her, “Good night, Maisie, I love you!” There have been times I’ve been too lazy to do something after she’s gone, such as reach for the remote. I will call her and say, “Find the ‘mote!” and she totally ignores me. Other times, like if I drop it my mouse on the floor and couldn’t retrieve it without getting up, she will come back to get it for me (though her look is intended, I’m sure, to remind me that she’s off the clock and I should be more careful!). I am asleep usually by 3 a.m. or so and I’m sure she breathes a sigh of relief!
This is a typical day with Maisie in the winter when we’re indoors most of the time. She is an amazing help to me, and does things she hasn’t been taught to do, continually. As I posted elsewhere this morning,
When I mention that Maisie (my service dog) does things that she wasn’t necessarily trained to do and people ask for examples I can’t always think of one as they’re just part of life. But she JUST did something that I decided to share before it blends into the background with all the others.
Last night I lost my tweezers. Pete and I looked everywhere (except wherever they were obviously) and couldn’t find them so we gave up. Since Maisie doesn’t know the word I didn’t bother to ask her to find them. However as I sit here having my coffee she came proudly up to me doing her butt-wiggle, tweezers in her mouth and ready to drop into my hand.
Yeah, it’s stuff like that. Her training is extensive and targeted to my needs, but these are the things that, to me, show her true intelligence.
In the following weeks I will share how I trained her, the commands she knows, the other things she does for me, and some of the more interesting and surprising things she’s done that have earned her the nickname Amazing Maisie!