‘The happy tale of how I met my sweet assistance dog’

Jan 22, 2021
Best friends forever. Source: Getty (please note models posed for photo)

My German shepherd left me after 15 years. I lavished loved on my cats for weeks, but I missed the love of a dog.

Opening a friend’s email to me, titled “This is your dog”, I found a photo of the saddest pooch you could possibly imagine. Named Sox, she had been brought to a house to warn off prospective customers for illegal substances. But she loved everyone! What a mismatch!

Useless to the owners, they rarely fed or watered her and she had no shelter – staying out in all weather. Subsequently, the beautiful children in the street had a roster system and would take turns feeding her, my friend revealed.

One day, at 18 months of age, Sox escaped. The ranger was called and my friend tracked her to the lost dogs home. I went to see her with my friend. She came over to where we were sitting, looked at us then laid her head on my knee. We were bonded.

After adopting Sox, a scary moment occurred when the original owners suddenly wanted her back! They were given two days in which to reclaim her but – perhaps unsurprisingly considering their past treatment – they delayed, so she was then truly mine. I renamed her Coda.

Next came brain surgery for me. The tumour was benign but fishing around in there damaged something. I had a few funny moments, as I had trouble walking straight and didn’t have a clue when I was going off-kilter.

In a cafe one day I had a little skitter that caused me to accidentally sit on a lady’s knee! She saw the funny side, particularly when I mentioned that I had been aiming for a rather nice looking young gentleman!

My vet suggested getting Coda accredited as an assistance dog. What a production to get accredited though! Letters from the GP, hospital, vet, neurologists and trainers were all required, but finally she obtained her papers.

Now, Coda reads my mind and stops me wandering. At the gym, she watches me constantly and when she stands up the ladies straighten me up, as I am skittering again. Thank goodness we found each other!


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