Fall Colors

      The Story of Kokopelli ~ Part Two

      The store owner told me that he had just gotten in two other Yorkies, and they were much younger than KoKo. He had decided to drop the price on KoKo - cutting the asking price IN HALF. Without a moments hesitation, I grabbed my wallet and got out my Visa card. He was going to go home with me.

       
      I was stunned to say the least. KoKo had waited for me all this time. I am not a believer in fate, per say, but how can we refute the likely hood that the stars were aligned just right and the universe had somehow intended to bring us together. KoKo was incredible. He had waited for me!

       
      The first 24 hours went fine. He learned that "potty" was outside, and believe it or not, he was house-broken before the end of the first day. I did it based on the reward theory; go outside and do his thing; get a treat. Have an accident; no treat. He caught on immediately and was telling me when he had to go. I was amazed.

       
      He went off to school, and upon returning home, he understood most of the simple commands - sit, stand, down, stay. We then started working on his real training. With the help of the school, we started working on my blood sugar. I would raise it, by eating a candy bar (wow did that ever taste good), and let KoKo lick my hand. When he reacted, we gave him a treat. Then, when my blood sugar went back to normal, I'd let him lick my hand again. I would not give him a treat.

       
      It took less than a week, and KoKo seemed to understand his job. When he'd lick me, and start getting excited, I'd test my blood sugar level, and sure enough it was high. We'd make a big deal out of it, and gave him a treat. If he got it wrong, and my sugar level was not high, I didn't do anything - no treat - no attention. It didn't take long for me to start trusting KoKo's reaction to licking me. He got it right every time. I'm not sure if it's the licking - or maybe it's the smell he gets from when once he gets my hand wet, but there's no doubt about it - he knows!

       
      But, one thing I do know. KoKo does understand the job he does for me, and I can lead a normal life because of him.

       
      I do not debate the fact that Koko has saved several of my fingers over the past few years, for I know without a doubt, that had I been still sticking myself and continuing the infections, one or more of my fingers would not be here today.

       
      KoKo and I travel quite a bit because of my job. Yes, I get the same old conflict when I go to a department store, "You can't bring that dog in here..." and there are those restaurants that tell me it's against state health codes to bring in a animal. I tell them, as nicely as I can that he is a service dog, and some laugh. He can't be a service animal - he's too small!

       
      Creating United Service Animal Registry, and developing a card that says KoKo is a registered service animal has made a world of difference. I show it to whomever is questioning me, and everyone has let me in to their place of business, sometimes with a little pushing. KoKo is well behaved, understands that he is to sit in the store carriage, and does so with grace and style. He has never caused a scene, and has always been easy to manage.

       
      If you are thinking it's easy - please don't misunderstand your animal. It's not easy at all. You have to deal with people that don't know - or don't care to know. Little training is done on behalf of the store, and owners as well as employees abuse your right to privacy. They want to know what the animal does - and usually give you a look that could stop a bus. I have had arguments, been denied from entering a "flea market" as well as several restaurants. But, I do know my rights. I do know that KoKo is there to help me - to tell me when I need to get a shot - or take another pill, and so far he's done all these things I've asked without a moment hesitation. The true love we share - that unconditional love he gives me - chokes me up inside. I know he's there for me - and will remain my guardian angel.

       
      I believe in my heart that I would not be here, today, writing this letter, if KoKo had not waited for me those many years ago, and somehow GOD put us together to help me live a longer and more healthy life. I thank GOD for that gift.

       
      Always,

      David

       



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