This morning I went to the grocery store. I hate to go on Fridays, but we were out of a few things that I couldn’t wait for at a later date. I went first thing in the morning, anxious to avoid the crowds that hit the grocery store on Friday afternoon.
Chloe was in rare form and a bit too playful. The autumn weather was gorgeous, so I chalked her good mood up to that, and decided this trip would be productive as she was also anxious to work.
Once we entered the store, Chloe decided I needed everything she came across on the floor. As this is a new skill for her (point and say “fetch object” to different items), I gave her some leeway. I hope to eventually have her cued to specifics like “fetch water bottle”. She already recognizes the specifics “fetch keys” and “fetch phone”. A recent skill she learned was picking up a piece of paper. This can be tricky, as paper tears easily. She needs to make sure she doesn’t put a foot on it during the process of lifting it off the floor with her teeth.
The picture above is her fetching my shopping list. To Chloe, this is a very grand game; she doesn’t realize that on days my balance is bad that the last thing I want to do is to reach clear to the floor for something flat. So if it is a game to her and HELP to me, we are both happy.
At the check out, I walked into one of the “self-check” out lines. These things use to scare me to death, and I actually blogged about a particularly funny “first encounter” here. Now that I have a cochlear implant, I actually like these lines as I can hear the computer very well, and it also chirps and dings. The conveyor belt even “whirs”! All of these “noises” are wonderful little reminders of the blessing of “hearing again”, so I probably take more time than I should.
After completing the scan of all of my items, I pressed “finish and pay” just like the “self check-out” veteran I am. Unfortunately, my Amex card wouldn’t scan. I caught the eye of a nearby front-line manager, and she came over to see what the problem was. Evidently it wouldn’t take credit cards “today”, so she printed out a receipt and asked me to follow her to HER cash register where I could scan my card.
I quickly zipped my Amex card through, and promptly dropped it on the floor. Chloe, still in a great “I’m fetching everything today” mood, did exactly what a hearing assistance dog is suppose to do. They are trained to do automatic retrieves, as HoH and deaf people often do not HEAR what they’ve dropped. So before I could interfere, she was in a “bow” trying to pick up my credit card.
Dropped credit cards are “ornery little pieces of plastic” when laying on a hard surface. She tried for about 20 seconds and then kind of smacked at it and “woofed” softly. I heard laughter from several different locations, and so lifted my head to see who was watching. I became aware of 4 or 5 employees standing there watching. Chloe, a trifle exasperated, started lifting my shoe by the shoe strings in order to retrieve SOMETHING. I whispered WRONG, as this can set me on my behind fairly quickly! She spied a dropped receipt and quickly retrieved THAT and laid it in my hand. I pointed once more to the card, and she finally was able to flip it enough with a toenail that she could pick it up.
Applause and cheers erupted around us, and I bemusedly grinned at my working dog. She sat there sweetly with tail flopping 90 mph, very VERY proud of herself. Several standing around asked her name, and I told them. In hindsight, that actually wasn’t very smart. When they see her now and call her name, she’ll want to see who knows her. Sigh. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. It’s there on my horizon most certainly, as I never go to any grocery store but this one!
© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal