Of Hands, plans and hot days

Hi again,

Well I’m happy to report that my hand is not broken. I got a phone call from my doctor’s office last Friday morning and they told me that my finger wasn’t fractured and that I could take the splint off. I was so relieved and I did just that, being happy to type and doing everything else, freely with my hand again.

     I never got around to teaching Seamus object indication last weekend, but it can always wait as that isn’t his main goal as my service dog. I will get to it however, and I know I’ll be writing about it here.

     This week at work has been very busy, what the new semester starting in about 10 days or so and me struggling to find out which chapters in a Calculus book are necessary for class. i’m going along all right, thanks to my assistant at work and a sence of humor about the whole thing. I hope it does get better though, I don’t want this book to burry me.

     Adam and I met with our deacon at the church we’ll be married in and it was a lovely time. He is very nice and was very incouraging for both of us. The more we meet with him, and the more I make wedding plans, the more I am excited to get married. Not because of the wedding day, but because of the marriage itself. I want to help make a home with him, to someday have kids and to just have a nice life with my husband. I can’t wait until that day comes.

     As the title says, yeah, it’s been hot. right now, I’m sitting in my livingroom, grateful to be in a basement apartment and relishing the fact of having an air conditioner. We’re supposed to begin a heatwave tomorrow and it’s supposed to last through Wensday, so I’ll have to be very careful of Seamus and make sure he has plenty of water and to watch for hot pavement on his feet. I was running around today outside and it was very hot and humid this afternoon. They say it’ll be even worse tomorrow… ew! Tonight, I’m planning on making home-made chicken nachos and having some hard sider. Adam is coming over and I think we’ll have a great time. We always do.

     Well, that’sall I can think to write for now, but I’m glad I got thisblog post in and I’ll be here again next week.

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Love Hurts

Hi all,

well, this is going to prove to be an interesting blog post, especially since I can hardly type this entry. I fell yesterday and as a precausion, the doctor’s have put my finger in a splint. I’m waiting for them to call me back, letting me know if I actually broke the finger, but for now, I don’t think it’s a good idea to take the splint off, even though I’d like to. I’m still able to work the dog, to a certain degree. It’s harder right now, to hold the harness handle because it’s the middle finger of my left hand that’s been wounded, but my other three digits can manage. Seamus is taking this all in stride though, patient dog that he is and I’m just hoping it isn’t broken so this splint can come off. Having a hand injury is very debilitating.

    Why did I put love in the title? Because of two reasons. My Fiance is gone visiting his family in Georgia this week and I miss him very much. He flies home at 9 on Sunday and I’m very excited to see him again. Our wedding plans are going well and I’m excited to get married at the end of the year. I finally found my bride’s maids dresses, with the help of my girls, my wedding party. They have been fantastic in helping me find a very pretty dress that they will all enjoy wearing and will all look great in. I was scared we wouldn’t find anything, but we did and now, it’s one less thing for me to worry about.

     Seamus did it again this morning. I dropped a spoon on the floor and the wonderful dog walked right over and put his head down, holding the position until I’d found the object. I have to continue the pattern of teaching him that this is a great thing and should be repeated when ever I drop something. i’m going to start doing that and will let you all know how it’s going in later posts. For now though, I’m going to sign off from here because it is becoming painful to keep typing. I hope I can type better next week and I hope I have something more interesting to say. 🙂

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In The Clear

Hello all,

So, for the past month or so I’ve been sick. In fact, I think two thirds of my posts have been about that fact, but I am happy to report that I am, finally, better. As I told you last time, I was going to cancel my upcoming doctor’s appointment. I didn’t do that, because the nasty cough just wouldn’t go away and so I went in. My doctor didn’t know what was exactly wrong with me, but he said they would treat it like pneumonia and so he put me on very strong steroids and very strong antibiotics. For the rest of the week I laid in bed, coughed and felt miserable because of all the drugs, but they did the trick and my lungs are at last clear.

     Seamus was very patient with me, spending time where ever I was and not complaining that we weren’t doing much in the way of working or playing. Some of my favorite time was lying there while he rested beside me, both of us enjoying the breeze from the fan in the corner of my room and me enjoying a good book. I love that my dog is so adaptable. Of course the steroids made me a complete emotional mess all last week, but they’re out of my system now and I am relieved to be my calm, happy self once more.

     Now, my other reason for writing this post. it all started because I read an article about some New York city citizens who are buying service dog tags for their pet dogs and then taking them into public settings. I’ve written and discussed this topic on lots of doggy forums online before, and while I don’t have a problem with any nice dog out in public, I have a problem with the attitude of the people quoted in this article. They are so oblivious to the problems they are causing and what is more, they don’t care. They just want to bring their dog where ever they want to go and who cares about the consequences.

     I think this pisses me off for three primary reasons. Firstly, their dog could be ill behaived and potentially cause a danger to me and my actual service dog. This is a real worry because if my dog were to be attacked and be traumatized, he could retire and there goes thousands of dollars and hours in training and oh yeah, there goes my eyes, time off work to train with a new dog and most importantly, grief at the loss of my friend and partner. Secondly, if the dog is dirty, disrupts people by barking or growling, not only can the dog be kicked out of what ever establishment it is in, and bye the way, this goes for service dogs as well, but it gives a bad impression of service dogs and their handlers and it may be even harder for me with my guide dog, to go into that place next time because some idiot ruined it for the rest of us. Finally, it’s the attitude of those who do this which makes me the most upset. They don’t care how it might effect those of us who use service dogs every day. To them, it’s just an opportunity to take their dog with them and it’s just fun. At bottom, it’s offensive for me because I need my dog. I need my dog because I can’t see. Do they realize what it would be like to travel without their sight? Do they know what a comfort and a confidence boost my dog traveling beside me is? No, they don’t. I’ve heard so many times from people who say, “Oh that’s so great to have your dog with you. I wish I could do that.” It’s this sentiment that could lead to them purchasing a service dog tag or vest and taking Rover out with them to get a loaf of bread and a quart of milk. It’s this disconnect between what they think a service dog does or is and what my dog actually does. I think it would help them understand if I blind folded them and put my dog’s harness handle in their hand and told them to trust that dog. Perhaps we wouldn’t have so many instances of this kind of thing if everybody got a chance to experience that.

     It felt good to rant about that, and I’ve shared the article all over my facebook page so people are seeing it. I’m glad to be healthy and so glad to have my wonderful dog beside me. I’ll update you all next week as to how we’re doing and let you know if we have a handle on anything else. 🙂

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Of Health and meetings

Hi all,

I’m back again and this time, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better. I had made a doctor’s appointment for this afternoon, but I’m going to call and cancel it because I know my cough is going away and there isn’t really anything he can do at this point. I’ll just be diligent with my steroid inhailor and I know that will help.

     As this post hints at, I had several good meetings over the past few days. On Saturday, I went up to the north shore with my friends. It was beautiful up there and the breeze off the lake was so invigorating. Each time it would blow I would catch the fresh scent of the water and feel the cool, damp air. I loved breathing it in. We rode the train and got to look at the gorgeous scenery. It did rain later in the afternoon, but none of us really minded. After all, what could we do?

     I met several new friends up there and we talked, laughed and had a great time, not leaving for the cities until 9 that night. The drive back would’ve been uneventful, except for the fact that I fell off a curb at a rest stop and scraped up my left knee pretty good. It’s always the left side of my body that gets hurt and I suppose it’s because it’s my dominant side, but the experience made me realize that I forgot one thing in all the moving of the past month… medical supplies. I came home, cleaned the wound on my knee, only to realize I had no bandages or ointment of any kind. thank God the abrasion wasn’t bleeding… anymore and so I was able to go to bed without needing a bandage. It still hurts, but it’s already starting to heal and it’ll get better soon.

     The other meeting I had this weekend, well, technically, last week, was the inspiration for this post. My unit at work has a meeting each Friday afternoon. I always bring Seamus and normally, he just streches out on his side and falls asleep. He was doing just that last Friday, when abruptly, he flipped over onto his stomach and began grooming. I looked down at him, alerted by the rather loud chewing and licking noises and realized, he was grooming, rather intimate areas, right in front of all of my coworkers. Yeah… I tried so hard not to laugh. He’s a dog and doesn’t know how to use toilet-paper. That’s one of the things though, that I love about having a dog. He makes me laugh.

     I’m glad to end this entry on a happy note and I’ll see you all again in August. :9) 

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The Sandwich and the evil disease

“HI EVERYBODY!”
And if you don’t respond with “Hi Dr. Nick.” you have no idea what I’m talking about. Doctors seem appropriate for this post, considering I’m still sick. I still have it, yup, evil bronchidis and it sucks. I hate coughing and I hate feeling so tired all of the time. My sister has been great with me though, coming over to help take care of me. Last night she made me peanutbutter toast and chicken soup while we watched Star Treck, TNG. Seamus has been a good dog, mostly, bbut as the title notes, he was very naughty on Sunday.
I had gone out to let my Fiance, Adam, into the building and had left his dinner, a tuna sandwich, sitting out on the kitchen table. I let him in and then went back into my apartment. This had only taken me about a minute to do and the sandwich was entirely gone. Not only was it gone, but there stood my dog, with his upper-half brazenly up on the kitchen table, his head in the bowl of soup I’d also set out for Adam. needless to say, I was not happy and he has been much more closely monatered since then.
I called the doctor back yesterday and was able to get more medicine for this crud I have. We’ll see if it works and hopefully, come my next update, I’ll be feeling better.

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Of Moving and sickness

I know it’s been a bit of time, but I promised a once weekly update and so here it is. I know, I know, I didn’t update last week, but you all got two updates the week before and I was moving so it works out.

     The move went well and was quite easy as moves go. The movers came and moved all of my furnature into my apartment and were done in a couple of hours. I spent the rest of the day unpacking and moving boxes in from outside. The heat didn’t help, as it was very humid with a temperature of 90 or so outside. I can only thank God I got an air conditioner and that it was up and working by the time we moved in.

     Seamus got a new bed, as his crate wouldn’t fit into my smaller bedroom and I think he likes it better than his crate. he’s more willing to go to it for naps and he curls up on it whenever he wants to. He wasn’t very used to the place on the first day. There was a lot of nervous whining at the sounds of people moving around in the apartment above ours, and he kept wanting to explore the hallways and upper levels, but by Sunday, he was clearly settling in, making the apartment his own by leaving his toys everywhere and spending time curled up asleep on the couch.

     As the title hints at, I’ve been sick. I was sick with some kind of cold last week and I was beginning to feel better by Wensday, but then, I worked very hard at moving and the illness returned with avengence. I went to the doctor on Monday and was told what I had suspected. I have bronchidis and have been taking a strong antibiotic for it, but I still feel lousy. I stayed home yesterday, puttering around the apartment and waiting for the maintinence guy to show up, which he didn’t do. A nap felt amazing yesterday afternoon and  Seamus came in, settled down on his bed and napped beside me. I liked it, as I could reach over and pet him. All in all, a good week with moving and I’m just hoping I get to feeling better soon. Hopefully, my next update will be a healthier one.

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WARNING… WARNING… LINT SIGHTING!

     It was a lovely day in San Francisco and my class and I had just finished up at the air port for our morning workout with the dogs. All of them had done well going through security and they had taken the various noises of the airport in stride.

    Seamus and I were heading out towards the van which would take us back to campus. The students lined up to get aboard and I waited my turn. I was waiting, idly thinking about the rest of my day when suddenly Seamus spun to the left and stared at something, stared hard. I asked him to heel and he did, but his neck was still craned around to the left, his ears pricked intensely forward.

    An instructor came over to me and in that calm, confident voice they always seem to have she asked me to put him into a sit. I did. Seamus obediently sat, and yet his head was still pulled to the left as if by some magical tractor beam. The instructor asked me, “He sat, but do you feel like you have his focus?” I said no and she said that I should give him a high collar.

    I paused for a second. I wasn’t upset about giving the correction itself. I’d done it many times before with my first guide, a gentle, happy yellow lab who went bonkers around other dogs.

“Guide work…? What the hell is guide work? Mom, don’t you see that other dog? Play play play!”

     I was fine with giving the correction, but I didn’t know if this dog could take it. We’d only known each other for 10 days or so and I didn’t know how sensitive he would be. My previous guide, a sweet, willful dog named Torpedo often times did what he wanted, but he could never take a high collar very well. He’d bare it well enough, but whenever I’d needed to do it, I could tell his feelings were hurt.

     My other worry was the different training between my previous dog Torpedo and Seamus, the new dog sitting beside me, still staring off into the distance. Seamus had been clicker trained, a more positive form of training than my last two guides had been given and I didn’t know how a correction that severe would effect him.

     I looked up at my instructor and asked if it was ok. She said yes and so I pulled the martingail collar up under his ears and chin, the highest point on his neck and gave a quick, pull and release on the collar.

     The correction worked. Seamus’s head turned and his focus went back to me. He didn’t seem the worse for wear from it either. To him, it seemed like just another day and in this day, he happened to get a correction. I picked up the harness handle and prepared to move forward towards the van. The instructor told me, with a laugh in her voice, “Do you know what had his attention? A floating piece of fuzz, or lint, about an inch long.”

     I still laugh at that incident, and yesterday, it happened again.

     I was walking out of the grocery store and seamus led me off a slight curb without stopping. I dropped the harness handle and asked him to heel so we could rework the mistake. He didn’t. He backed up and eventually made it back onto the side walk, but he wasn’t focused on me. Again, I high collared him and his focus returned. I asked my father who was with me, what had Seamus been looking at? Again, it was a piece of fuzz, or lint, blowing around in the wind.

     I wish I could ask my dog, what is so facenating about floating, fuzzy things? So far, he isn’t talking. I have a feeling a few more Lint sightings will cross our path throughout our working life together and I’ll be sure to let you all know if they capture his attention. 🙂

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