Written by Nicole
Time to meet Wasili.
Wasi is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, bred in Slovenia and imported to the U.K. in May 2018. He is currently close to his adult size and weighs in around the 50kg mark, if not heavier. Wasili means “my guardian” in Arabic, a reference to the role he will play in my life.
Content warning: Mention of sexual abuse
Wasi is an Assistance Dog. He is fully tasked trained to mitigate my disability, as well as exposed to the world dogs aren’t usually experienced of. He has replaced my currently assistance dog (in work only) Benefsi, who needed to retire. I have complex PTSD due to long term, severe sexual abuse, so Wasi’s tasks will focus a lot on giving me the ability to live at least the semblance of a “normal” life. Some of his trained tasks include grounding for anxiety attacks, migraine alerts, waking me up from nightmares, “holding my hand,” space creation/blocking (or bubbling as I call it), trigger warnings, and deep pressure therapy. To say that Wasi was acquired with big job ahead of him is an understatement!
Wasi has proved to be an incredibly smart, willing and trainable puppy. Yet there’s more to him then the job he will eventually do. Wasi is was instantly an integral part of our family unit. He is unbelievably sweet and friendly; he loves everyone, from adults to children to babies to other dogs, horses, and cats. He is silly and dopey and rarely seems to be able to control all four of his legs at once. The fact that he is eager to please didn’t stop him from putting everything and anything in to his mouth like most puppies, and I spent a fair amount of time chasing him around trying to prevent yet another non-edible item from making its way in to his stomach. He was shockingly well behaved in public from the start, generally very brave unless he saw a giant fruit picture on the door, then he sounded the alarm 🙄, weirdo. He accompanied me to work every day at a horse racing yard in Newmarket, where he took his job as “supervisor” very seriously. Today, I depend on Wasi to give me freedom, courage, and a life outside my front door. But from the start, I depended on him for laughs, snuggles, and quiet pride that he is such a wonderful dog even without the hours of training ahead of him. Wasi lives up to his name and more, I couldn’t ask for a better future lifeline.