Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cali can, Cali does

I am completely exhausted after a long, grueling day at school. The
last week has been hard because I've had a horrible migraine that just
would not let up, and now I've got so much catching up to do.
I thought that since I haven't been working Cali for a few days, she
would test me today. I thought I was in for a little bit of a
challenge. How wrong one can be!
When we got to school after an hour and a half of a car ride, Cali was
the perfect girl. She found the button for the elevator, and when we
heard the ping and she saw an elevator door opening, she knew that was
where we were supposed to go. Smart girl!

We got to class, and I found a good spot for her. The classroom is
actually a computer lab, and it's carpeted, which meant I had to find
a place where Cali would have enough room to lie down if she so
chose. That, she often does, to the delight of my classmates.
I sat down and settled myself, intending to tie Cali to my chair, but I
inadvertently let go of her leash. Cali walked sedately off, but
not where I thought she would go. My assuption was that she would head
for the door (and please, God, don't let it be open, I thought as I
stood up to go after her), but it turned out that Cali had no
intention of going to the door. Instead, she walked up to my professor
and lined up beside her, calm as can be. Mortified, I grabbed her
leash, and we went back to where we were supposed to be. Not exactly
inconspicuous, but how can you be with a miniature horse at your side?
Then, during our measley ten-minute break, I took Cali outside to
potty. She had never peed here before, so I wasn't sure she would,
especially since she had to stand in about four inches of snow. But no
sooner had I given her the command than she did what she was supposed
to. Talk about a wonderful horse!

When I walked back into the classroom, the professor was just handing
out more computer printouts (sigh) and asked what I had been up to. I
told her, and she congratulated Cali. A job well done.

On the way home, we stopped at a tractor supply store and bought a few
things I needed for Cali. Okay, so she insisted on stopping at the bag
of green apple treats, and okay, so I bought them for her. Every once
in a while, I can do that, right?

Cali did a beautiful job guiding in the store, as there were many
obstacles. You can imagine how a tractor supply store would be full of
horsey delights, but my girl just walked on by. There was only one
slight mishap. Someone had left a bag of feed at the edge of an aisle,
and my foot caught on it. I stopped Cali and made her backtrack. She
pointed out the bag, then carefully took me around it. Precious,
beautiful, special little girl.

Then we went back out to get into the pickup truck. Cali has learned a
new technique of getting in, as she has slipped several times, mostly
on ice. Now, what she does is gather her back legs under her, pushing
them forward beneath her, and she leaps up more than forward.
Apparently, it makes it less likely for her to slip. I'm so happy she
figured this out on her own instead of just giving up. In the morning,
when we'd left for school, she slipped twice and had to be helped up
by partially being lifted. Cali is probably the biggest of the
miniature horse guides, so giving her a lift is a challenge, and a
workout! But she wasn't afraid at all, and simply seems to have
learned what to do.

I know to many people, this doesn't seem like such an awesome Cali
day. But to me, it is a day when I reaffirmed that Cali does her job
as well as any other guide. It is a day when I woke up and felt
healthy enough to get what I needed done, and it is a day when
everything I saw made me remember why I'm grateful to be where I'm at.
Life is hard sometimes—complicated and full of challenges that we
think we might not be able to handle. But we can. Cali has shown me
that Cali CAN, and she DOES. Therefore, what more can I do but follow
her grace? If Cali can try, if Cali can persevere, it is my duty, my
privilege, to keep on keeping on as well, because I can't let my sweet
girl down.

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