Lessons from the Dog House: The Adventures of Ansel

Submitted by Timothy Burdick
(Written by Guide Dog Ansel)

My name is Ansel, and I would like to introduce my partner, Timothy. Timothy is a hospital Chaplain, who is blind, and I am his Guide Dog and Chaplain’s assistant. I am really underpaid, because aside from these two jobs, I do much more. In fact, I do most of the work. Let me explain...

While Timothy can’t see, he doesn’t like to dwell on that fact. Rather, he tries to find ways, both figuratively and literally, around obstacles in his path. From going on emergencies in the hospital, to routine visits, I help Timothy make his way by guiding him around the hospital's twelve floors.

Timothy and I live within walking distance of the hospital, so we can get there any time in a matter of minutes. I have learned, however, that when he gets a sudden call and has to get to the hospital real early, that I am not a fan of early mornings. Despite this I try and do my best.

All Timothy has to do is say is "find the heart," when we get off the elevator, and I will guide him from the medical center to the heart hospital. But when I think about it, my favorite place to go is the cafeteria. While I can’t eat there, the food sure smells good, and sometimes Timothy will give me the ice from his cup.

More than just trying to be a great guide though, I am also a therapy dog, and as such, wear my badge from the hospital proudly. I love to cheer up patients, helping them see the brighter side of life, using my own brand of psychology. I go to each person, wag my tail, and offer cheer. Timothy says that I bring more comfort to the patients than he ever could on his own.

Sometimes Timothy likes to kid me when we come back from doing his rounds, saying, “instead of having a girl in every port, you have one in every nurse’s station.” But he has to admit that I really shine as a public relations guru, for when my harness is off, my job is to encourage the hospital staff.

While I want to remain modest, you have probably figured out by now that I am indispensable, and while my work makes for a long day, I do have time to sleep in meetings. As for you Timothy, “what do you do?" I ask. Then he usually answers, as he shrugs sarcastically, “I guess I just tag along.”


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