Bathroom Break!!!

By: Joel Allen

Hello, folks! Happy New Year to everyone! I hope your new year is better than your last.

Years ago when Zues walked the Earth with me and worked as my service dog, we were in Walmart. We had been running errands all day and I did a neglectful thing; I forgot that Zues was like anyone else and needed a “potty break.” He tried to tell me in his own way but I did not pay attention. And because of that, the unthinkable, for those of us with a service dog, happened. Right in the middle of the aisle, Zues had an accident. I was so embarrassed, and I stayed around, found the janitor and cleaned up his mess because I was the responsible party. After that, I ensured that I remembered Zues should get potty breaks too. Now sometimes our service dogs can become sickly, whether it is a virus or just an upset tummy. But whatever the cause, we are still responsible and should always clean up after our service dogs.

Case in point, my wife, Pamela, and I were in the local Hometown and I had Houston, my service dog. He was acting a little off, and then it happened. He had diarrhea right in the frozen food section. I rushed him quickly out and my wife cleaned it up. After I ensured Houston was all right, I put him in the vehicle and let him rest and returned to assist my wife in cleaning up the mess. Things like this do happen, folks.

So, what does a person with a service dog do to ensure accidents like this do not happen? Honestly and realistically, they cannot all be prevented. There are steps one could take to prevent most if not all accidents like this. What I always try and do is ensure that Houston gets a potty break at least 4 hours into anything we might be out doing. My boy gives off hints when he has to go…besides gassing me out, LOL. He will begin to pant when he is not hot, and when he does that, I know he is trying to hold it until we stop. And believe me I stop! Another precaution I take is I will ask him if he has to go, and I depend on his demeanor to determine if he does. Believe me, I have learned those looks he can give. Those of us with service dogs should learn our dog’s expressions because they will tell through their body language and those faces they can make. Another sign I notice some dogs give is they will start to shiver for no reason. My Zoey, when I work her, has done this when she needed to go pee really bad but would hold it until we got out of the store.

So, accidents do happen, and we have to be responsible service dog owners so that people who see us don’t see a bad example being set. Now, I have seen where people with regular pets visit a store that is pet friendly and allow, yes I said allow, their dogs to pee wherever they wish. I shake my head when I see this. Sometimes, I will be walking Houston in these stores, and he will stop to smell the “pee mail” an irresponsible pet owner has allowed to happen. Sorry about that tirade but I just had to share that observation.

Okay, now everyone with a service dog try to not make the mistakes I have, and learn from mine. But, if an accident were to transpire, be responsible enough to set a good example by cleaning the mess. Take preventive measures like breaks and such. Also, it would not hurt to keep something in the pouches your service dog carries for a “just in case” deal to assist in clean up.

Well, folks that’s all for now. I hope everyone is safe and has the strength and determination to succeed in their New Year’s resolution. My Prayer Warriors remember me in your prayers.

By: Joel Allen