It’s been useful having physical representations of the main characters of “The Story.” I can bring these minifigs representing Trishna (left) and John (right) along with me to brainstorm ideas on the go and their ubiquity allows me to quickly consider in new ideas. The set with Trishna’s wheelchair also had this dog, which after some brainstorming, became a pivotal character in her back story. Let’s explore how one dog could provide such great service.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character-building, without major plot details)
Trishna’s parents got Pollyanna when they were both was young.
Trishna was born with mobility impairments, though she is not fully paralyzed. Her parents wanted to enable Trishna to be as independent as she could, so once she began doing some tasks like bathing and dressing without fully needing her mother’s help, they found a service dog training center to help them find a suitable mobility assistance dog. Trishna went to the training center one day, met Pollyanna the puppy sleeping, and they bonded instantly.
Pollyanna enables* Trishna to do daily tasks at home without a constant helper.
Since Trishna can use her legs to walk for maybe a foot or so with guardrails, she can use most restrooms independently, so Pollyanna is around to provide peace of mind to retrieve help if she falls over. Pollyanna helps fetch items just out of reach, fully open or close doors, and operate light switches. Trishna doesn’t feel comfortable using Pollyanna as a wheelchair puller and may only use her as a weight-bearer when necessary.
(First Note: *I am still researching, so please excuse any impolite inconsistencies.)
Pollyanna may primarily stay at home at the Lanchester Farm, where there will be other dogs, though their roles would be more as farm-hands [farm-paws?] than filling this specific role. Since Trishna will receive mobility accommodations at school, she may consider it less stressful for Pollyanna to go school alone. Pollyanna will also provide emotional support while she’s picked on at school, like any student, along with highlighting that no student is immune from bullying.
Pollyanna’s role shifts once John arrives to the farm.
His first day there, Trishna encourages John to introduce himself by giving Pollyanna her favorite treat. She instead goes to John’s mostly-intact hand* and politely licks it. Since eventually John is around Trishna more often as Pollyanna, the family suggest that Pollyanna should be retired from active service dog duties. The intent is so she can lounge peacefully and there won’t be as much separation anxiety when Trishna and John attend college in the fall.
(Second Note: *I’ve yet to fully explore the damage to John’s arm or Trishna’s specific mobility impairments.)
Pollyanna probably adjusts well enough to retirement, though she will probably still be as attentive as ever when she’s around Trishna, and probably also handles Trishna being away for days at a time. Since Pollyanna’s personality is partially inspired by my childhood dog Patrick, this will be mostly a heartwarming side story within “The Story.”