by Jessica Woods
Have you ever thought of bringing your best friend to class with you? I have the great joy of bringing mine with me everyday. Mine, however, is a four-legged friend. He is my faithful guide dog Bristol. Since I have introduced myself, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my dog. I am going to do it in little stories about some of the things he has done over the years. That is the best way to describe his personality.
Bristol has been my companion for the last three years. It hasn’t always been easy; but I wouldn’t change any moment of it. From the first moment that he landed in my lap at Southeastern Guide Dog, the school where I got him from, my life has not been the same.
From the first time I walked with Bristol on harness, I knew that getting him was the best thing I could have done. We had our problems in the beginning. But those problems were soon resolved. For instance, when I first started working with him on harness, he wanted to walk really fast. As a result, I had to run to keep up with him. The trainers and I had a good time laughing about it. Well, the trainers more than me; but I can laugh about it now.
As the days and weeks went by, Bristol and I gained more confidence in each other. We have had many memorable experiences since that first walk together. Many of the incidents I find myself in are a result of Bristol’s fun and loving personality.
Southeastern exposes the guide dog teams to many different situations. One of those exposures was walking through a department store. Well, Bristol thought it would be a great idea to go shopping. He decided that we needed to look at makeup and hats. As we were walking by the cosmetics counter, he decided to stop and sniff around. I guess he liked the smell. After the makeup incident, he decided he needed a hat. He walked over to them and proceeded to look at them. By this time the trainer and I were laughing hysterically. Luckily, he has, for the most part, gotten past his shopping obsession.
Bristol has many more traits other than his desire to have a good time. He can be so mellow at times. If you’ve seen him around, this is probably the side of him that you have seen. He has a compassionate side that not many people can resist. He has been my comforter so many times in the last three years. If I am sad, Bristol will come over to me and start to nudge me. He is telling me in his own little way that it will be okay. I can’t even count the times that I’ve buried my face in his fur and cried. He will let me hold him as long as I need too. If I still seem sad after a while, Bristol will do something funny to make me laugh. He has always been good at making people laugh.
Bristol exhibits many traits that make him a great guide dog and companion. In the three years I’ve had him, he has never let me down. He is always up to the challenge of learning something new. I hope that these stories have given you a general idea of who Bristol really is. There will be many more stories about Bristol and my life with him in many of the entries to come.