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Celebrating International Day of Friendship with My Guide Dog, Diamond

Guiding dog in training resting on the street

July 30th is International Day of Friendship. Even though Diamond is my working partner, we care for one another in lots of ways outside of guide work. In honor of International Day of Friendship, here are a few endearing things Diamond does that make my heart melt.

Diamond loves wearing her harness! Often, when I grab her harness in the morning, she will run laps around my living room because she’s so excited to get out and work. I keep trying to tell her that running laps is a bit counter-productive, but dogs don’t seem to understand that concept. Diamond also likes to give me a quick kiss on the cheek as I bend down to put her harness on, which is adorable, and something none of my previous guide dogs have ever done.

Diamond really loves her toys. Most large dogs can’t have plush toys because they’ll shred them and sometimes accidentally swallow the pieces. Diamond is an exception to this and takes very good care of her stuffed toys. Her very favorite toy was a stuffed German Shepherd that she got from a friend of mine. She took very good care of him for over 3 years, and insisted we take him with us whenever we travelled somewhere. As her human, I am in search of another plush GSD for Diamond to love.

Diamond loves real live dogs as well! She particularly adores puppies and will allow them to harass her for hours. Her current best dog friend is career changed yellow Lab Nellie! They play very well together, but when I need Diamond to work with me, she completely ignores Nellie in order to focus on her job.

Diamond’s favorite game is fetch. She knows her toys by name and will bring me whichever toy I ask for on command. She also enjoys playing hide and seek with her toys, which is a great way to keep her entertained on days when she can’t work very much.

Yes, it’s true that I am Diamond’s human. I know it’s supposed to be the other way around, but many German Shepherds feel this way about their chosen person. Diamond must know where I am at all times. If she notices that I’m getting ready to go somewhere, she will lie as close to me as possible in case I forget that she’s supposed to come along. I almost never leave her behind, but she seems to think I’ll forget her if she doesn’t remind me every day. She even has to know where I am when I feed her, or else she will refuse to eat.

Diamond loves classical music. If I want Diamond to relax, or if I do need to leave her home alone, she likes me to leave classical music on for her. I discovered this when she was a puppy, when she’d fall asleep while I’d listen to classical piano music. Her favorite composer is Chopin, but she enjoys Beethoven and Mozart as well.

Diamond loves to give hugs. She knows how to do this on command. If I ask her to give me a hug, she will put her front paws on my lap and give me kisses. Along those lines, she does get to sleep on the bed, mostly, and loves to snuggle with me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about Diamond’s life outside of guide work. She’s a wonderful companion, and I love her fun, expressive personality. Diamond and I would love to get to know fun things about your pets! Feel free to tell us all about your best friends in the comments!

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