Category Archives: dogs

“A Dog’s Journey” by W. Bruce Cameron – narrated by George K. Wilson

“A Dog’s Journey” is the direct sequel to “A Dog’s Purpose”, which I reviewed last year. In that review I wrote:

The book ended last night and I smiled and wept. I wanted it to keep going. Just let the soul be reincarnated again! Just give him one more adventure! But I knew it wasn’t meant to be.

So imagine my elation when I read a tweet about a sequel to that book. What! Seriously? Could it be? Is the dog’s soul really back? I flew to Audible and there it was! Oh my!

If a dog’s soul being reincarnated makes no sense, click the link above and read the first review.

In this book, our dog’s soul is back to watch over someone new. This story was darker than in the first book, the human our dog is watching having a very difficult life. We follow her from adolescence to adult hood and some of the things she experiences was a little hard for me to listen to. I didn’t directly relate to her issues, but I definitely relate to what it’s like to struggle and also what it’s like to have a dog walk with you through those struggles. These books are such an incredible example of the human/K-9 bond!

I just had a big sigh remembering this book. The subject matter was so dark at times. It makes me sad to know the kinds of things young people deal with. It makes me so grateful my own young life was stable and good.

Rating: Entertaining

“A Dog’s Journey” at Audible ~“A Dog’s Journey” at Amazon

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Audio books, dogs, gratitude, twitter me this

Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, baseball, blind tips, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

Wanna see some of what I’ve read online lately? (Of course there’s dog stuff)

Because sometimes you just want to share the stuff you enjoy reading:

I got a kick out of this. Just goes to show that famous writers certainly don’t know everything about the craft.

“Write drunk; edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway

Bad Writing Advice from Famous Authors

If you know me at all, you know I love medicine and fitness, so this article was fascinating to me. How’s your gut?

The gastrointestinal tract is one of the most important systems in the body. When our stomachs aren’t happy, neither are we. In this month’s case study, Dr. Detective learns that while taking probiotics can help restore bacterial balance, sometimes it’s not enough to ensure gut health and function.

Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh

I loved this! You can listen to one of my favorite writers speak!

Defending Jacob will go on sale on now but first let’s hear what William has to say about what he thinks makes a good thriller. Over to you, William!

We Have The Perfect Thriller For You

I’m able to play the embedded video so hopefully if you’re using a screen reader, you can too. The audio is cute.

David Price is pretty talented, but the Rays ace is upstaged at times by his dog, Astro. Wednesday, Astro showed off some new tricks, including “high-fiving” Price.

Video: David Price’s dog Astro doing tricks

This totally made me misty! Anyone care to describe the photograph?

Cujo’s a jittery rat terrier with a bad hip who spends his days hanging around his house in La Porte; but, that all changed on Monday.

La Porte police officer shuts down highway to save dog

Lastly, this story is incredibly close to my heart.

Giffords suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, which left her with speech and mobility issues. In the two years since that day, she has made a remarkable recovery, which will be enhanced by Nelson, her service dog from America’s VetDogs.

Former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords Partnered with Specially Trained Service Dog from America’s VetDogs

How did we ever manage without the internet?

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Filed under dogs, in the news, misty eyes, plugs, random stuff, video, working dog, wow, writing

San Diego Recap Part One

I will be writing about our little trip while in a hungry, tired and poisonous antibiotics induced stupor. This should be fun! Last week I started feeling a pang in the same area of my abdomen as the first diverticulitis attack. I prayed it would go away and I wouldn’t feel it for a bit and then there it was again. Finally on Saturday there was no denying it. Luckily the on-call doctor for my doctor was able to call in the antibiotics I had discussed with my physician at the follow-up appointment. I decided I would start the liquid diet upon returning from San Diego and luckily the medicine wasn’t too awful on food like it is on an empty stomach. Armed with Dramamine, Immodium, Flagyl and Cipro, I set out on Monday with B and Jayden on what would surely be an adventure.

At first, the car ride was great. I relaxed back with my iPod, listening to a Michael Connelly book, Jayden curled up at my feet on his cushy mat I bought. Any thing isn’t so bad when it first starts, right? When Jayden started getting restless, the relaxing was gone. He does fine in cars, but we’ve never been in the car for too long. At the first rest stop, we were all happy to get out of the car. Our reprieve was brief however and before long we were back on the road. Jayden would not settle for a long time and when he finally did, B announced another rest stop coming up. We both agreed to skip it. I did not want to get out of the car again. We stopped one more time before hitting the hills that go into San Diego and it was so very odd to step onto soft plush grass. The air was fresh and crisp with a hint of moisture. Definitely not Arizona air. There was another dog near the ladies’ room and by the time I got Jayden’s harness on to enter, we found the only handicapped stall occupied by the woman and her dog. Luckily she had figured out outside that I was blind and when she heard me talking to Jayden, she took her dog into a normal stall. When I told B about this, he said the dog was a tiny little poodle. She had said she was in the handicapped stall because of her dog. Really? Alrighty then. At least she realized her error and vacated it for us.

By the time we made it into San Diego and found the hotel, we were all pretty tired. B had found a deal on hotels.com for this place on Shelter Island near the airport. When we checked in I asked for a ground floor room and we got upgraded to accommodate this request. The bed was huge and old. Remember those old thin mattresses? It was so low to the ground I kept sitting down hard on it haha. It also made this squishy plastic-on-plastic sound when we sat on it. Apparently all the beds did this since I could hear the one above us through the paper thin ceiling. Aside from that, the room was nice. It had a microwave and little fridge. The microwave was a huge plus for me since I brought Starbucks instant coffee haha. B decided to find a take-out place for dinner so we ate seafood on the huge bed. I had fish tacos and sushi. It was delicious! Especially the fish tacos. Yummm! I went to sleep pretty early and slept hard after the day of travel. Tuesday was going to be busy.

Getting up and moving in a strange place is exhausting. Living out of bags on the floor is physically taxing with the constant up/down motions. Jayden must have wondered what the heck was going on, why it was taking me so long to get his food ready. Finally I got him fed, watered and relieved and was able to relax with my instant coffee and work on waking up. B and I watched the local news. It’s always interesting to me to watch local news in a strange place. Everything is so unfamiliar. Eventually we got ready to head out to the San Diego Zoo. Luckily I knew Jayden could go since Carin had told me service dogs were welcome. She had been to San Diego with work and had discovered this fact. I was glad to know this because originally I had thought I would just hang out in the hotel all day while B went to the zoo. Even though I had my laptop, the thought of that was not appealing once we had arrived in our room.

I’m going to split the trip recap into two posts and finish this tomorrow. After writing about the fish tacos, I am miserably hungry and grumpy haha! I think I’ll go drink some chicken broth and lay in bed with a book.

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Filed under apple Inc, Audio books, coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, sicky sick, working dog

Pooch Ponderings – Sandy go?

Hi guys! It’s been like forever since I got a post all to myself huh? Anyway, something is going on and I don’t know what. It sounds like we’re going to a place called Sandy or something. Mom keeps saying Sandy go. So I guess we’re going somewhere. Maybe it’s just a sandy place? Does anyone know? It’s kinda sandy here though. Well not kinda, really. It’s more like dirt though. And no grass.

Today she started getting out the things she took when we left the school place and came here. She hasn’t gotten those things out since we came here. My other person has and he’s left before with those things but Mom never gets those things out and we’ve never gone with my other person. He’s not getting stuff out though. Does that mean he’s not going?

Today we went to the big place with other dogs where usually we come home and I get new things to chew on. I didn’t get anything new to chew on though! Mom touched a bunch of things and finally put one on the floor for me and asked if I wanted it. I can’t chew that. Whatever. Mom talked to a lady about my feet and clipping. Ooooh noooo I thought, leave my feet alone! They messed with my feet there once before long ago with Dude and that one lady in the big van messed with my feet not that long ago. But I guess the lady told mom something she didn’t like because we left and that’s when she asked if I wanted the flat thing. We took it when we left and then we stopped somewhere and my other person left and came back with yummy smelling things then we stopped at another place and mom got that smelly brown stuff she loves to drink so much.

We got home and Mom put the flat thing on the floor and Timmy went crazy running on it and jumping on it but I didn’t so Mom took me outside and then put the flat thing where my other flat thing is and put my chew bones on it and I lay on it and she told my other person it’ll be perfect for the hotel and even the car. Hotel?

Then she cut up one of the yummy smelling things and made noises like she was happy and she talked about Gamma a lot. Gamma? We haven’t seen Gamma in a long time. She said it was weird to be getting stuff ready to take to Gamma when we used to always bring stuff home from Gamma’s. Maybe we’re taking yummy stuff to Gamma? She used to always give me bananas and now Mom does.

So it was a strange day and I wonder what this Sandy go thing is she keeps talking about. I hope it’s fun though. Will there be other dogs? Does anyone know what Sandy go is?

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, num num food, pooch ponderings, Timmy

Doggy Diaries – How is it NaBloPoMo time already?

I can’t believe it’s November already. What? It was just Spring Training. It was just November and I was just writing daily posts for NaBloPoMo and now it’s here again. Crazy! They say time flies when you’re having fun, well I can’t say it’s been a fun year but it sure is flying.

I’m feeling so much better this week. I spent all of last week in bed recovering from that diverticulitis. I had to do a liquid diet for three days which wasn’t so bad on the first day. I remember even chuckling to myself and saying, yeah ask me again tomorrow if this isn’t so bad. Oh, it was bad the next day, that’s for sure. I couldn’t stomach the broth, so I basically lived on coffee and popsicles. That, along with the two different poisonous antibiotics and a visit from Aunt Flo and I was flat on my back in bed.

I was able to care for myself and Jayden but that was it. I was telling my massage therapist about it tonight about how I think the week in bed actually did me good. He found a lot less problem areas than he usually does and I was proud to tell him I did more stretching of my constantly tight hammies while laying in bed listening to books. I’m glad it’s all over though and I’m enjoying experimenting with different foods now as I try to prevent another horrible infection.

This week has been all about getting my strength back. I could not believe how much my body was weakened. I’ve taken a lot of pride in my physical strength even during weak low spoon times. This was a whole new ball game and one I hope I don’t have to play again for awhile. The early part of this week was rough, only being able to do things in fits and starts with periods of rest to gather strength again. Today I feel so much closer to myself again. This has been one heck of an ordeal!

This morning Jayden and I walked down to the office to drop off my absentee ballot. Our office collects our outgoing mail for safe keeping which in the heat of the summer was annoying but now it’s just nice to walk down there. I was a little concerned about my strength but it was fine. No one was in the office yet so Jayden was bummed since they always give him a treat there. He showed me the door to the clubhouse and when I tried to pull away he stayed by the door. I knew he could smell his friend S, our maintenance supervisor. He and Jayden are the best of friends and I know S hangs out in the clubhouse when he’s not tooling around the complex so I tried the door and it was open. I poked my head in and said hello and got no response but Jayden insisted we go in, it was too cute! He walked me directly past the gym where we’ve been a bunch of times and right to the door going out to the patio and pool. So I stuck my head out there but no S. Poor Jayden!

On the way back we just strolled. Jayden alerted me to the guest apartment my friend Erik stayed in a year and a half ago. It’s amazing what these dogs remember! I praised him for asking if I wanted to go there and said not this time haha. Then as we passed another apartment a dog started barking and made us both jump. I giggled and said, “he’s Mr. Vocal McVocalson huh Jayde?” As we neared home Jayden decided to pick the narrowest spot between a car and a curb haha. He cracked me up, choosing the path of most difficulty. He does that sometimes, almost like he wants to challenge himself. He paused so I wouldn’t hit the side view mirror of the car since he had to walk me practically brushing up against it. Such a silly dog! It was a perfect morning and it was so nice to be out and about with my boy. I need to come up with some sort of maintenance issue so we have an excuse for S to come by haha.

I’m very much looking forward to bed time tonight. Today felt busy for some reason even though it really wasn’t. I’m just still a bit foggy from the health ordeal I think. It will be nice to put the day to bed and stretch out to some more Harry Bosch. So, here’s to another NaBloPoMo opening post!

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Book twenty-seven in 2012 – “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron

After I finish this post I’ll be all caught up on the book list. I’m not sure if today signifies a return to blogging or not haha! It’s the last day of the All-Star break and then baseball will be back. Laundry and cleaning wore me out this morning, so catching up on the book list was the perfect thing to do this afternoon. I also really wanted to write about this last book since I finished it last night and absolutely adored it.

“A Dog’s Purpose” was the other book I bought along with the brain book for the buy one get one sale. I wouldn’t normally buy a dog book, since the movie Marley and Me broke my heart and I didn’t even read the book. But this one grabbed me.

The description mentioned the fact that a dog died and came back numerous times. Interesting. I figured it would be a different book to go along with my science book and decided it would be good to step out of my comfort zone.

At first I wasn’t sure about it. It’s written in the first person from the dog’s point of view and at first I thought it was going to be a silly book you might read to a child. Was I wrong.

This book illustrates the bond between human and canine in a way I never imagined. Those of us with dogs know this bond exists but have we ever found the way to express that knowledge? We’ve all expressed it in some way, but I’m not sure there’s been another fictional book that did it like this.

We get to follow the spirit of one canine through several lives. I call it the spirit of a canine because the spirit is reincarnated into different dogs, but the spirit remains the same, growing and maturing with every experience and bringing those experiences into the next life of the next dog. I went into it knowing that the dog’s spirit takes several forms, and the tension that builds as you follow each life, wondering how this one will end, is incredible. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, I laughed while I cried, I got on the floor and cried on Jayden while he slept.

This book is cute but also very serious. The dog faces numerous terrible situations that beg the question, will he prevail in this life?

The book ended last night and I smiled and wept. I wanted it to keep going. Just let the soul be reincarnated again! Just give him one more adventure! But I knew it wasn’t meant to be.

It made me understand Jayden more. It made me understand our bond more. It was fitting since it’s his birthday this month, Sunday to be exact. He’ll be four. Four? How did that happen?

I would highly recommend this book to any dog person. Prepare yourself for a roller coaster, and have the tissues handy! Oh and tell your dog he or she is gonna get cried on!

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Doggy Diaries – Jayden’s clean bill of health and perfect teeth

We saw the vet today for Jayden’s second wellness check since we’ve been together. I’m still having a difficult time believing we are in our third year together already!

Jay was given a clean bill of health and the vet asked if he can use me as an example. An example of what, you might ask? An example for how to keep a dog’s teeth in perfect condition. Why yes, you may.

I explained that GDB pounded into our heads about good grooming habits, not only because our dogs go into public, but also for the health of the dog. I have no desire to have to have Jayden put under for a teeth cleaning, and he enjoys getting his teeth brushed haha! Really it’s just the fact that the toothpaste tastes good and not the brushing itself.

I also explained that Jayden has a variety of Nylabones he chews constantly and his favorite toy, the Kong Wubba with the burlap type material, makes for great teeth scrapings in between brushes.

Jayden weighed a perfect 65 pounds which is right where he was when we left school and the vet had no complaints about his belly like last year. Jayden had indeed gained some weight at our visit last year, and the vet taught me that his belly should be right in line with his last rib, so that really has helped me make sure he felt at the right weight.

His years looked great, eyes, feet, everything. He’s in perfect health!

Thank God. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been at least a little worried about today’s visit with how this year has gone so far. Once again, Jayden is the one concrete and constant thing in my life. I don’t think I’d be as ok as I am without him.

Oh, while waiting for my ride, a girl with her little puppy complimented Jayden’s behavior and I gave credit to the puppy raisers. I always do when I get compliments on how Jayden behaves. Sure, I have to keep that up, but his puppy raiser is who trained him. I told the vet as well, when he commented on how good Jayden was about having his nails clipped. I explained that the people Jayden grew up with made sure to touch him everywhere, knowing that his blind handler would need to go by touch to make sure to find anything abnormal.

Another woman exclaimed, “what a beautiful animal!” when we walked out of the exam room. Jayden really is the lady killer, I gotta tell ya.

I also had a brief discussion with the handler of a German Shepherd who was there when Jay and I arrived. The dog was originally trained to be his wife’s wheelchair service dog but retired after becoming way too aggressive in wanting to protect her. The man said his dog was surprisingly calm around Jayden, even though jayden was staring him down. This dog was a hundred pounds, compared to Jayden’s sixty-five haha!

Going to the vet is just so much fun when we’re there for check-ups. Jayden forgets all about me when we’re in the exam room. He hangs out by the door waiting for the doc and his techs to come in hehe!

This post is all over the place. What else, oh, GDB grads? Are you remembering to have your vet fill out the wellness report we got in our binders? Remember the vet at school telling us only fifty percent of grads do this? Remember how these reports go into making our dogs great by tracking the health of the breeding lines?

I told my vet this poor stat and he was surprised. He said it doesn’t take any time at all to fill it out and they are more than happy to help the school. I always take my binder with me when going to the vet. Are you doing that too? I feel it’s my duty to have this little form filled out for GDB after all they have done for me.

Ok, I think that’s it as far as the vet visit. Finally something happy making to write about. Tomorrow is the first Rays spring training game, so there should start to maybe be some happy baseball posts, though writing about baseball last year kind of broke the writer in me haha, so maybe not.

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Doggy Diaries – The Curious Case of the Bark

I had a ton of laundry to do today and everything was going great after we got passed a dog that suddenly began barking very viciously, making me jump. A woman’s voiced called out that I was fine as her dog kept barking and I told her I was just glad it was on leash. I’m sure she could tell I was shaken. Jayden kept looking in the dog’s direction until a firm, “leave it” got him straightened out again. When we got into the laundry room, Jayden kept me from running into the laundry cart someone had left in the middle of the room. That would have hurt.

When we went back to pick up the last load, I got into the room before realizing I had forgotten the laundry bag. I told Jayden I lied about this being our last trip and we went back home to grab it. We met a new neighbor on our way back out and I let Jayden say hi after the neighbor asked if he could say hello to Jayden. I love it when people ask! We chatted for a minute and then Jay and I made our way back to the laundry room.

When we walked in I thought another dog was in the room. I knew a person was in there because as I unlocked the door I could hear movement inside. The reason I thought there was another dog in the room was because I heard a loud bark. My dog doesn’t bark, therefore it must be another. I froze and tightened my hold on Jayden’s leash and I heard a woman call him Jason and tell him it was ok. I asked if there was another dog in the room and she said no. I couldn’t believe Jayden had barked! I’ve only heard him full on bark once before and that was when I first brought him home and was outside chatting with a neighbor and my friend. The neighbor had his dogs with him and Jayden barked through the security door.

This time was bizarre. I knelt down beside him after realizing it was he who had barked and his tail was clamped down firmly. What on earth? The woman kept saying it’s ok it’s ok and was he surprised someone was in here etc etc. I know who she is, after she said her name and I wish I had asked if it was she who had been with the barking dog earlier.

Right after I had stood back up Jayden gave a tiny whimper. I knelt back down, goofily asking him if he was ok. I try to keep concern out of my voice whenever possible. His tail was still clamped firmly. Nothing seemed to be hurting him after a quick physical so I grabbed my towels and chatted with the woman about dogs and their odd behavior sometimes.

Normally when we’re walking home from the laundry room, we stroll, especially when the weather is nice. On the previous trips, we strolled home at a slow pace, just enjoying being out. This time, Jayden booked it home. I have no idea what it was, the only thing I can think is that the neighbor had been the same one with the barking dog and he was spooked. Do you think that could have been what it was? He’s met her before and never reacted to her. So strange!

When we got home and I removed the harness I asked if he wanted a banana. That would be the test to see if he was hurting since he always hops like Tigger when you ask him that question. He hopped like normal and got excited and finally his tail was up. He’s been fine ever since, though he seems a bit more clingy than usual.

Do you think that dog just really spooked him? When it happened I didn’t scream or anything, just jumped a bit and we never stopped walking. That was only the second time in two years I’ve ever heard him full on bark. So weird! And the timid way he was until we left the laundry room? Wow.

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Doggy Diaries – Video/Audio: Jayden’s First Play Date with Rudy

Georgie moved into a new house a few months ago and got a puppy too! I’ve been dying to get over there and check out the house and meet Rudy, but we were waiting for him to get bigger before bringing Jayden over. Finally we made plans to get together for a play date yesterday and thanks to Carin, I brought my iPod and got several videos.

First I want to mention how excellent Jayden’s work was before we got around to the playing. Rudy was in his kennel when we arrived, but he was barking and Jayden lost his focus a little. A quick obedience session got him focused on me again so Georgie could give the tour of the huge house. Jayden did great, even remembering where the bathroom was when I needed it later haha!

We let the dogs sniff each other while Rudy was still in the kennel and Rudy was growling. I was a little freaked out by that, but Georgie said it just looked like he was anxious to play. She got him out and carried him outside as Jayden had to guide me in the back yard to take him where he could go relieve. He did fantastic on the rough terrain of the backyard, taking me over loose stones and showing me a pretty big step, even though he really had to pee and there was another dog there.

We let them sniff each other while still on their leashes and then brought them into the enclosed patio. I really like that feature of the house. The large patio is completely fenced in since they have a pool, so we were able to let the dogs free but they couldn’t get far. It’s the perfect dog run.

This was Jayden’s first play date since becoming a guide dog and I had no idea what to expect. At first he didn’t even seem interested in Rudy which surprised me until I thought about all the work we’ve done on dog distractions. I still need to blog about how well he’s done at Saavi with all the new guide dogs.

Anyway, eventually he figured out that he was allowed to play. I was giving Rudy some love while Jayden sniffed around the patio and Georgie went inside to get coffee. Rudy broke free of me and the dogs were off! Rudy started making this sound like he was hurt or scared and I freaked since Georgie was in the house and I called Jayden and couldn’t figure out what had happened and then Georgie came out and laughed. Rudy would entice Jayden but then run scared, making this whimper that wasn’t a painful whimper, just an oh crap I picked on the big dog and now I better un, noise.

Georgie had just set the coffee on the table between us when the dogs went on their second run. Bye bye coffee! Rudy realized he could fit under the table and Jayden couldn’t.

I finally remembered to get the camera out and I ended up with four videos. I think the audio is pretty good. You can tell which dog is which because Jayden’s panting is louder and Rudy’s footsteps are smaller. You can even tell them apart when they drink water. Eventually they shared the water dish together. It was so much fun!

Rudy is a lab/shepherd mix and is around six months old and about half the size of Jayden. Georgie says his lab looks really come out next to Jayden but he’s got shepherd coloring. He is such a sweet dog! And Georgie has a knack for training. She had him in a sit stay on the outdoor couch at one point when I took Jay into the yard to relieve and that six month old puppy obeyed. It’s cool for me to be around a puppy and think about how Jayden was at that age, eager to please but loves to play. He’s still that way. Ok, on to the videos, yeah?

Ok, this starts off with Rudy barking like mad, trying to get Jayden to play. They had already been on two runs at this point. The only barking you’ll hear in all these is Rudy. You hear Jayden growl in a later video, but Jayden never vocalizes at all except for that.

You hear me and my friend Georgie laughing and shrieking a lot hehe!

Direct link to Video One

In this second one, I was trying to get Jayden to sound vicious again, since I had never heard him sound that way. Georgie said his entire face changed when he was growling at Rudy, teeth bared and everything, snout all wrinkled up, wow! Georgie takes the boys into the yard and I end the video.

Direct link to video two


The third one is really short, but I think it has a good closeup of Jayden.

Direct link to video three

The fourth video is the longest. At one point Jayden chews on a mesquite pod and I’ve got my fingers in his mouth. At another point he’s making gagging sounds and you get an idea of how hovering I can be when Jayden is making odd sounds haha! Carol knows what a worrier I am. I don’t play with rope toys anymore because they always made Jayden gag. Rudy had one with a ball attached and Jayden destroyed the ball on it immediately. I think he was gagging because he had still been playing with the remainder of the rope toy. Unfortunately I wasn’t videoing later when they were playing tug with it.

We finally get Jayden sounding all vicious. I think it’s after one of the times Rudy entices him and then hides and Jayden’s like, come on dude! He didn’t do it as long as the first time though, bullocks.

Oh yeah, I had been paranoid the other videos didn’t record so I asked Georgie if this one is. The joys of blind videotaping haha!

Direct link to video four

Yesterday was the most fun we’ve had in awhile. We were there for a good three hours. A few times, Georgie took Rudy inside to give us all a break and so we could sit and talk and drink coffee. Jayden passed out and then Rudy would be back and they were off again. Rudy had only gotten to play with one other dog, but Georgie said he was much older and huge and didn’t really play, more just tolerated Rudy. It was a great match for the two dogs I think.

When we got home, we both crashed out on the couch Jayden told you about yesterday. I had gotten the videos off the iPod and was listening to them and at first Jayden didn’t seem to register Rudy’s barking, but he woke up eventually and acted as though Rudy were in the house hehe! We are going to have to do that more often. It’s the perfect safe location for my paranoia about Jayden’s safety and great company with Georgie. Best day in a long time!

Unrelated thoughts while uploading: Now that I’m hardwired, uploading to youtube is soooo much faster. I can’t believe I wasted so much time being wireless.

Today is Mom’s birthday. I miss you, Mom!

I wonder if I could blog every day until November? NaBloPoMo kickstarted the regular blogging again. I decided to do it every day in December. Maybe I’ll just take it one month at a time.

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