Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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A Story Of Wix – Coming Out Of Retirement For A Day

I took Wix, my mobility assistance dog, to work today. She’s been retired for nearly 18 months now, but every once in a while, she tells me she wants to come to work. And so she’s come with me today, and received tons of love and attention by everyone in the office. It’s hard to take for her, she just can’t stand that attention (NOOOT – she thrives on it!).

Photo of Black labrador headshot, face on.
Wix in the morning sun.

This morning, as I was putting my shoes on, she came up to me and wagged her tail and nudged my elbow. The message was clear: "Can I go with you daddy?". Since her retirement, she’s tended to just sit in “her” couch and look outside the window when I leave in the morning. When she gets all sticky and lovey-dovey, I know what she wants. Since Skeet is recuperating from two significant surgeries and Wix has been restless, I thought I’d treat Wix and give Skeet some space, both in one go!

I pulled out her work vest, put her collar on, and out we went. After a year and a half, she still remembers that the vest means "work mode", and isn’t quite as relaxed as when she’s not wearing the vest. I am amazed. She’s so good.

And I’m gushing. I love that dog. There are moments where a great big lump of love grows out from inside my stomach and just overwhelms me. The bond I have with Wix is special. Obviously all people who have animal companions think the same way. :)

I realised recently that retiring Wix, even though *she* is quite happy to stay home with the "rest of the pack", had a significant impact on me. And not a good one. It really threw me for a bad head trip.

Anyway, we arrived at work. She wagged her tail madly. She obviously recognised where she was. We got in the office, and my team leader said "oh, puppy", so I took Wix’s vest off and told her to "go say hello". Big grin on her face (I swear there was a grin), tail wagging, she ran to him and leaned into him while he was petting her. After a while she came back and lay down behind me.

It wasn’t long before she started begging for the chew bone I’d gotten her, but once I gave it to her, she wasn’t interested in it! She crawled under my desk and curl down to have a nap. That seems to be a favourite spot of hers, right at my feet, under the desk. Lovely!

Photo of Wix sleeping under my desk.
Sound asleep under the desk.

Then she did have a go at the chew bone. Noisy beast that she is, a couple people came to see what the disgusting racket was! After the bone, she was thirsty, hence we went up to the community room to fill up her bowl. On the way there, my very politically incorrect boss said "Hey Nic! You brought your bitch in today?". Other co-workers were rather pleased to see Wix. A lot of petting ensued. As the word spread that the "Big Blak Wunder Dawg" was here, more people flocked! What an adventure!

We stopped outside for a quick wee and breath of fresh air. Also took a moment to take a photo of her laying down in the grass. Working hard, or hardly working? On call anyway :)

Photo of Wix laying down in the sun on the grass.
Wix relaxing for a moment in the grass.

I found her name badge, so put it on her vest, for kicks. When I started working here, my boss made me a name badge. They also made one for Wix! It was funny. They also had a name plate with her name on it on the door to the office, under everyone else’s name :) One of my colleague was a bit grumpy because she’d been working here for several years and still hadn’t received a name badge, as she was only part-time!

Close up photo of Wix's name badge
Wix’s Name Badge.

Soon, we’ll be going home. She’s a bit exhausted by the extra attention and sensory overload (the smell of grilled sausage & onions in the community room at lunch was STRONG). I hope she’ll be more settled tonight than she has the last few evenings. But as it turns out, Skeet has been fretting, looking around for Wix most of the day!

3 thoughts on “A Story Of Wix – Coming Out Of Retirement For A Day

  1. Thanks for this post Nic!
    Wix sure looked like she needed a day of hard labor :)

    I can’t imagine how hard it is to have a service companion in retirement. Or semi-retirement!

    Cheers to you both today!

  2. What a heart warming story about Wix and you. My idea of heaven is being able to have my dog with me 24/7.

    Thanks for sharing this poignant story. I’m sure many, like me, can relate.

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