Sharon & Gauge

Gauge: My Hero!


A few years ago I faced a dilemma: Do I wait for the traffic to pass so I can take my time crossing the street because I had difficulty walking and did not want to hold people up, or should I cross the street in front of the cars so that if I fell, someone would see me and possibly help me get up. “Of course you should cross when cars are present” advised my 22 year old son, Tom. There were no other choices or were there? He suggested I apply for a Service Dog. I was not happy about that idea because that meant admitting that I needed a Service Dog and indeed, I did need one.

I began my investigation and discovered Grete Krause and Puppy Love Caring Canines. I learned that I qualified for a Service dog and she had a Golden Retriever named Gauge who was just about ready for placement. As it turned out, he and I were a great match. We began our companionship in October of 2013 and have been together day and night since. He goes everywhere with me except to the Operating Room. He is a regular at my Chinese doctor’s office, Chiropractor’s office, hair and nail salons, restaurants, and too many stores to list. He is a Delta frequent flier in the bulkhead row – no, he does not earn sky-miles. He knows how to pick up my cane, get my cell phone, retrieve anything, bring me the mail, and perhaps, most importantly, he is able to help me get up if I fall. I am an experienced faller. I fall off my horse, I fall in parking lots, in stores, in my house, in the grass – well, almost everywhere. Hence, the beginning of this adventure will not be a surprise but the ending is spectacular. This is an account of what I call, “how I did NOT become the subject of a newspaper story.”

The 2013 Minnesota winter was very snowy and so cold that the snow never melted. Our landscape stayed pristine white all season. We had a string of seriously cold January days with temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees below zero with the wind chill making it much colder. Being outside for any length of time was risky. Newspapers reported people freezing – losing extremities at minimum if not dying from exposure. Knowing this, you would think I would stay inside but alas, I did not. I went out because we were expecting a foot of snow and I wanted to pick up dog droppings. I was home alone when I ventured out into our backyard where my neighbors could not see me. Fortunately, I brought Gauge out with me because a Service Dog can only help you if they are with you. He loves to roll in the snow and eat ice so he was game to go out. The snow texture was crusty but not solid enough to walk on so when I started across the yard, my foot sunk and stuck, causing me to trip and fall. The snow was too deep for me to reach down to the ground to push myself up so I called Gauge to “come” and he did immediately. Then I told him to “brace” which means to steady himself in the standing position so I can put my hands on his shoulders and his rump, then pull myself up. We did this and successfully made it into the warm house. Gauge saved my life. Had I not had him, chances are I would have frozen to death in the backyard which likely would have made the newspaper the next day. Gauge is my best friend and my HERO!

- Sharon B., Ed.D



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