Adventures as a Recent College Grad Living with Chronic Illness and Training a Service Dog

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A New Year.... Prepare for Take-Off!

Seeing as how I have failed at updating this in over 6 weeks, this is much overdue. I've finished my first full semester at SFA, so only 3 and a summer between me and a Master's in Student Affairs and Higher Education (yay!!) 

Polly has been the ultimate rock star as far as training goes. She went to work with me for the last few weeks of the semester and has been great. Finals week got off to a kind of rough start with trying a new medication that landed me in the hospital for a few days, but I was able to still get everything done. I decided not to have Polly stay with me in the hospital though because as well behaved as she is for me, her puppy side comes out in full force with others.

For both Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks she flew home with me to Virginia. After 4 flights, I can see her confidence and she's pretty much a pro. She walks onto the plane, and follows directly to the seat row (we typically get the bulkhead row), and laws down by the window. Her small size is a definite advantage in that she easily fits into our seat space. I often get the aww's and asked questions about her, but I still think the greatest complement that people can give is when they are getting off the plane (I get off last), and they see her and comment about how they didn't even know a dog was on the plane. That's exactly how it's supposed to be- seen but never heard.


Despite her almost stealth abilities on the airplane, it was a confluence of events that included a poorly-trained wheelchair attendant, me almost falling out of the aisle chair while trying to board the plane, and Polly trying to fix everything and calm me down that led to us meeting a certain special someone. He offered to help as he saw me almost fall, but I politely declined and I thought that was just going to be the end of our encounter. Wow- I've never been so wrong in my life. 

He was on the flight from Houston to Dulles on his way home from being stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso. We went to rival high schools, I used to ride his best friend's mom's horse at shows, and he almost ended up at Virginia Tech as a student-athlete. Despite our paths having crossed many times before, it was on the airplane that we really saw each other for the first time. 

His assigned seat for the flight was directly in front of mine, and we talked the entire 3 hour flight, and really haven't stopped since then. My family and I went to Nags Head for Christmas, and he spent the time catching up with his extended family, but I will forever be thankful to my Dad for letting us come home from the beach early. We went out for New Year's Eve and the rest has been history.

In case you can't tell- Polly Approves :)
Now though, Polly and I are back in Texas and getting ready to get back to work tomorrow, and school starts again next Tuesday. He's back in El Paso, and 791 miles away (if you think I haven't looked it up, you're crazy). Yes, it's long distance but it's working very well so far, and I see more plane rides in mine and Polly's future.