Last night, a friend suggested that I catch a lift to Eastern Johannesburg with a mutual friend. We could go to Carnival City, watch a show or a movie or something. I could sleep over and head back to work the next day where the House bus would fetch me like usual.
This would be quite easy for the average person. Not much thought to it except to check that you have a change of clothes and off you go. There is a little more thought required for me.
First, I need to plan to take the manual wheelchair with me to work, as the motorized chair does not fit in the average car. Then, I would have to arrange with someone at the office to look after the chair overnight. Most likely someone on the security team who would also have to ensure the chair’s batteries were charged.
And then there is Yanky. He is not just a normal pet. He is a trained working dog, with me to help me be more independent. He is a Service Dog, trained by the South African Guide-dog Association (SAGA) and can assist by picking things up, closing my bedroom door, and alerting people if I am in distress by barking.
I cannot just leave him behind, at the house. It is not that simple. Sure, it is easy enough to leave him locked in my room with someone listening out for a problem while I go shopping for an hour. With his current problems traveling in the bus, I like to give him a break on the weekends and don’t take him to Cresta. It’s only a couple hours and helps him remember that even if I do leave him, I always come back.
But to leave him overnight is just impossible. He does not listen to anyone else and he cannot stay in my room the entire time. If he were to figure out that I was nowhere to be found, it would be a disaster. Andre told me how anxious he got the one evening when he could not find me at dinner time. He likes Andre, but not a chance was he going to give him time to explain that I was in the dining room. He was all over the place looking for me.
I had a similar problem with my previous dog, Fayth, in Port Elizabeth. When my mother and I tried to go out without her, she would scratch herself until she bled. She had to have someone doggy-sit while we were out. Thankfully, she loved visiting Tracy and Larne` down the road and they loved looking after her. Here in Johannesburg, I do not know anyone where I could make a similar arrangement.
I know Yanky limits me in some ways, with regard to destination choices, but right now, I am honestly not bothered. No offense, but I am not in a space right now where I really want to do the entertainment scene and go to shows and what not. Crowds and noise are too much. And I really prefer to avoid using the manual wheelchair where possible. It limits and frustrates me.
Don’t get me wrong. I do have a couple outings lined up. There is an evening out planned, where Yanky will be staying at home. But I will be returning home afterwards, not sleeping out. And then SAGA have their Open Day coming up in October and you will definitely see both of us there.