Category Archives: dogs

Doggy Diaries – The MS Walk and Jayden’s hidden talent

*The above image is a thumbnail of the pink spaghetti strap tank top I had specially made from L^2. She designed the shirt for me after I mentioned on Twitter that I needed a top for the MS walk. On the light pink shirt is bold black print that reads: MS blinded me and all I got was this awesome guide dog. You can find a link to L^2’s shop on the above link. thanks, L^2!*

I didn’t write on the twelfth last year, so today’s post is dedicated strictly to the MS walk Jayden and I participated in today with my good friend L. She picked us up at 8:30 this morning so we’d have plenty of time to arrive at the park and begin the walk at 9:30.

I had a backpack laden with water for Jayden and Gatorade for me, along with some peanuts in case I got to feeling weak and the usual guide dog supplies. I also limited myself to one cup of coffee that I saved from the day before to keep us from encountering mafia guy bladder halfway through the two mile walk. 😉

It was a rough start when we arrived, since many walkers were there with their pet dogs. I’m pretty sure Jayden was the only guide dog, but only because the people I was with didn’t mention any others.

Just trying to walk from the car to the registration area was next to impossible. Jayden just would not concentrate. Obedience didn’t work, so on went the Gentle Leader, which L laughed at, watching Jayden’s demeanor change haha! After that, he was whipped into shape and did great.

While we were registering, one of the people at the desk must have read my shirt because he asked when I was diagnosed. We had a brief chat and then joined L’s friends from work, who had come to walk it with us. They were really cool and totally fawned over Jayden while asking me questions about how I stay healthy and keep my balance and such. I explained that exercise has done wonders for me.

We stood and chatted for a bit and then things were getting underway. There was talking over a loud speaker, but I’m not sure what they were saying. Lots of people were cheering and a band started playing to send us off.

At first we were in quite the cluster of people, but eventually it thinned out and we were able to pick up our pace. Though there were tons of things to see, Jayden showed me every curb and step until we were on level ground. L’s friends got a kick out of watching him and I kept hearing them exclaim from behind us.

Once we really had a clear path, I put on my excited voice and slapped my leg, giving the high pitched hop up command. Jayden started literally trotting. It was so awesome! We kept having to slow up and go around people, but once we had the all clear again, Jayden began trotting happily. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt that much spring in his step, at least not for long periods of time. Thinking back on it, this is definitely the longest we’ve walked just out and about, not stopping to shop, or out on a lesson with Dave. It was so incredible. I really got to just walk with my dog.

The weather was beautiful until we hit a patch that was in direct sun with no breeze. It was probably a little over halfway through the walk. I decided we needed a water break and Jayden agreed, lapping it up and then rubbing my leg with his face. I decided to take the GL off since he’d gotten into his rhythm. It had really been awhile since we’d done anything other than our usual walks and Saavi trips, so I wasn’t angry that he had been hard to control in the beginning.

As I watered myself and Jayden, L explained to her friends about how important it is that I not get overheated or too fatigued. We set off again and I tried pushing Jayden but he disobeyed me.

One of the things I have gotten out of Jayden that wasn’t part of the deal, and something I haven’t really mentioned here, is his ability to alert me to coming fatigue. Dave noticed it a few times, where Jayden would slow down and Dave could see me starting to fade, but I haven’t noticed it without Dave until today.

Jayden will absolutely refuse to let me push him. The first time Dave noticed it, I said Jayden must be tired. Dave informed me that no, Jay could probably run a mile, but I was fading. So today, when Jay disobeyed, I obeyed him and sure enough, about five minutes later, I felt the fatigue try to set in.

I thought the two mile walk would be a breeze, since I do two miles twice a week at the gym. However it’s one thing to do two miles on a treadmill in an air conditioned room, and a completely different thing to do two miles outside in Arizona in March on non-level ground while working a guide dog and paying attention to where we needed to go. We even had a few street crossings, which I did human guide through, since the first one freaked me out haha! I didn’t think to make my friends stand and wait with me while I read traffic, and when L said to go, I couldn’t tell where the traffic was and freaked out. Because of the way we travel on a daily basis, we don’t do many street crossings, so I was out of practice.

So back to Jayden refusing to walk as fast as I wanted; it was just incredible to really see him alert to my fatigue. Wow. Are these dogs smart or what???

We heard music in the distance as we approached the finish and L and I were singing silly tunes from our old choir days. As we drew closer, people were there cheering us on, telling us we were almost done. Jayden got a little distracted right at the finish and ran me into a person, but they were good natured about it and then we walked under the arch of balloons, completing the walk. People were cheering and Jayden was panting and my legs felt like jello haha!

We said goodbye to L’s friends and found some shade to give Jay some more water. Then we loaded into the van on our way to Starbucks! Oh how I craved coffee, having not had my fill this morning.

I got an iced venti mocha no whip, my favorite, and Jayden got a cup of ice. He practically ordered me to move my leg so he could sprawl out in the front floor well at my feet haha! I gave him a piece of ice between my sips of coffee and L and I talked about trying to do a walk every other Saturday or so. I sure hope we do that. It was so awesome to be out walking with Jayden in a safe place with my buddy. And Jayden just loved it. I love that bouncy feel in the harness handle.

When we got home, Jayden enjoyed his frozen Kong while I did my stretches. I could feel the ache in my shins like I had at GDB, so I made sure to do the yoga stretch for that along with my normal quad and hamstring stretches. I called Gamma to let her know how it went. After that I filled B in and called Georgie. Both Jayden and I still had energy, but it didn’t last haha!

I got on the computer for a bit and Jay crashed on the tile and then my body ordered me to the couch where I crocheted on the first blanket for Japan.

At one point I got up and Jayden took my spot. When I came back I had him move to the other side which he did, but then promptly put his head on the pillow where I was about to lean back. I didn’t have the heart to move him, so I just stretched out beside him and leaned back on the arm of the couch. He was so passed out that he didn’t even realize it was dinner time. B and I said “food” a few times and Jay just looked at us. Finally I got him to get up long enough to eat and relieve, and now he’s back on the couch as I write this.

It was an incredible day and it wore me out more than I had expected. I felt even more satisfied than I do even when I kill in the gym at Saavi. Not only did I get to walk with my dog and my friend in the beautiful fresh air, but I got to walk for my disease. I didn’t really chat with anyone other than that first guy, but we were all there for the same reason. Not everyone there had MS, but those who were there care enough about it to come and raise money for it. If I find out how many turned out, I’ll update with the number. It definitely felt and sounded like loads of people.

Now I’m off to finish my coffee and crochet some more. My body still feels rather tired, but it’s such a good tired feeling. It’s good to give up some spoons for the cause of finding the cure for the spoon thief.

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Filed under accomplishment, coffeeholic, crochet, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, GDB, gratitude, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, spoons, weather, working dog, wow, yoga

Doggy Diaries – Year ago recap 17 – Final week and today’s vet visit

Today was a fun day. But first, one of the posts from last year answered some questions I had been getting about training at GDB. The second post is about winding down and doing fine tuning work in the last week, so really focusing more on what kinds of things I’d actually encounter back home. I had taken most of the day off since the class was going to San Fran again, and I was conserving spoons for that night’s redemption route.

Now on to today. It was time for Jay’s year check-up at the vet. Crazy how time flies! It was at 9am this morning so yesterday I scheduled a cab for 8:30. I had opted not to use paratransit since they’d pick me up incredibly early and I didn’t know how long the appointment would last. I was going to go with the cab company Gamma uses but I looked them up and the phone number I called led to a different company. Not sure if the name just changed, because both numbers I called had incredibly rude people. So I went with Yellow Cab.

I asked for a van this morning since those are more comfortable and he showed up about 8:40. He was much friendlier than the last guy haha. Though, he still didn’t let me know he was there. I think he called my cell, but I didn’t hear it in my backpack.

We got to the vet and Jayden was all wiggly happy. He tried to say hi to the vet cat by trying to jump on the counter. A no and a sit put a stop to that. Just too fun though, with all the animal smells and sounds.

The receptionist asked me some questions and then looked through my GDB booklet for me to find the health check form GDB likes to get from grads. They said only about fifty percent of grads actually send in these forms, and I vowed I’d be one of them.

We sat briefly and the vet cat came and curled up in my lap. He was so sweet! Then another person and her dog came out of the exam room and I had to get firm with Jayden, so the cat bolted.

We were led into the exam room where the tech asked if I had any questions for the vet and I said I just wanted to make sure Jay’s body was conditioned well and at a healthy weight. I was concerned because he weighed in at 71 pounds, same as he had at Petsmart, but I had believed their scales to be wrong. He just didn’t feel all that different from the 64 pounds he had been when I brought him home.

They took him to do his nails and it was so weird, having him gone. I sat waiting, afraid I’d hear a yelp or something but none came. When the tech brought him back, I thought he’d be all excited to see me.

He wasn’t. He was all about the tech. I’d been replaced. *sob*

We sat a little while longer and the vet came in and I helped him get Jayden on the table. It’s one of those that raises, but Jay was hesitant to climb up the three inches till I told him it was ok.

Sure enough, the vet said Jay could lose a few pounds. I was crestfallen. I swore I wouldn’t have a guide dog who gained weight. I watch his food so closely and feel the BMI all the time like they taught us. The vet assured me Jayden is by no means overweight and looks absolutely fine, he’d just like to see a few pounds come off so there’s more of a ridge between the last rib and the belly. I had noticed a little thickening there, but couldn’t remember if that was the way it was supposed to be. So now I know. It won’t take too much of a decrease. I’ve been giving him a heaping cup, twice a day so now I’ll just level it out. We’ve been getting out a lot more too, so I’m still proud of his weight even though he’s a few pounds over.

Everything else checked out perfect. Ears, eyes, nodes, coat, feet, teeth, everything is perfect. Yay!

The vet followed the info from GDB to a T, giving him parvo and distemper and not telling me I needed all kinds of extra stuff. I had brought in the empty heart worm and flea boxes since I couldn’t remember exactly what GDB had given me. Talk about a gulp when they told me how much the meeds are. WOW! The check-up and nail clipping and shot was nothing in comparison. Crazy.

Jayden didn’t squeal at all over the shot, but he sure hated having his temp checked. I felt so bad. But the vet was like, I’ll make all that go away with these low cal high fiber treats. Jayden went nuts over them as the vet gave him a few and handed me one to give Jay. Sure enough, all thoughts of the thermometer were gone.

And guess who else got a treat? Yep, me! I got a box of Girl Scout cookies! I don’t know why they are giving those away, but I snatched a box of Simoas. If that’s how they’re spelled. Yummm!

They checked me out while we sat in the exam room because some more dogs were in the lobby and it was crazy, so they kept us where it was calm. I called the cab and the dispatcher asked if the driver should come in for me. Yes please. I didn’t ask for a van, because you have to wait longer for those.

After we paid, I used the restroom and Jayden had fun guiding me through the maze. He did great even with all the animal sounds and a mean dog in a cage. There was even a bird squaking. But he guided me like a champ.

He lay quietly at my feet and I chatted with a lady who had come in to buy treats. She said my dog was beautiful and her sister has a yellow lab guide from GDB. The lady commented on how beautiful Jay’s coat is and what do I feed him and I explained about switching from Science Diet after Jay was scratching a lot. She said her sister has the same problem, so she’d tell her about Blue Buffalo.

This lady is a substitute braille teacher at the school for the deaf and blind.

I also chatted with the receptionist about a few of their patients being career changed dogs. She said she can see why one of them didn’t make it. She said it seems like he has ADD or something haha!

We weren’t waiting long when a man came in and said, taxi! We went out to the car and I played around until I found the best way to get us in the back seat. Works best if I get in first and scoot over for him. We got home after a pleasant conversation with the cabbie about Labrador, Canada where he used to live.

When we got home I gave Jay a Wobbler with the rest of the kibble from the treat pouch and midway through he practically yelled at me letting me know that he needed to go outside. All the excitement of the morning made things move haha!

After he finished the Wobbler he was all hyper so I got out the Wubba and he tore all over the house squeaking like mad. Then he passed out on the floor. I changed into sweats and when I made my way to the computer, I stopped to smooth out the towel on Jay’s couch and he proceeded to jump on it and fall instantly to sleep, breathing heavy.

The vet was way too much fun haha! That staff really makes it more like a party and you can tell they love animals. He got tons of compliments and pets and gave lots of kisses and wiggles. As it was wrapping up I was getting sooooo sleepy.

After Jay crashed I made some calls then collapsed on the couch to crochet for awhile. Afternoon coffee and girl scout cookies after lunch was perfect.

It was a great day!

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Filed under cats, coffeeholic, crochet, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, GDB, Jayden, num num food, on this date, spoons, vet visit, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Year ago recap 3 and it’s spring already *edited*

As I write this, it’s about 2:45pm and thinking back, I think I had just taken off from Phoenix finally, on the way to San Fran. Today was the travel day, a Monday. You’ll notice the post’s date is on a Sunday, and that’s because when I first arrived at GDB, I couldn’t get connected to the internet, so I was journaling in text documents. I got everything caught up that first Sunday when we had down time.

*Edit* I forgot about the post I wrote that morning before leaving. Oops!

The travel day was exhausting and quite eventful, as you’ll see when you read the post from a year ago.

In that post I mention just needing to cry in my room before the class meeting, but I had left out nearly falling asleep on the couch while a student kept asking question after question after question. I remember being so frustrated, just wanting to eat dinner and go to my room and be alone and unwind. Man am I grateful I’m not traveling today!

Jayden and I had our first spring fever walk today, that’s for sure. After a vacuum adventure which I won’t post here, I only wanted to mention it for my own memory, Jay and I set out to the office to pick up a bag of stuff Georgie dropped off for me yesterday while I wasn’t home.

It was about 1:30 or so and it was almost too hot. Already??? Ugh. Everything was going fine until someone felt the need to introduce themselves. I said a pleasant hello but didn’t want to stop and the man actually put his hand on my arm to shake my hand. He didn’t sound like he was all there or I would have gone off. Maybe I still should have.

It’s crazy how you learn to tell when someone is bending towards your dog. I heard his voice move down and I said, “please don’t pet him, he’s working.”

Why do people suddenly just walk away when you say that? Geez. After that I could tell Jay’s focus was off and there was a yip yip dog barking in an apartment nearby so I stopped and ran through obedience to get his focus back. He was definitely more sniffy than usual and by the time we were almost back and had stopped at the mail, he was panting. It can’t be warm already. Noooo!

Oh well, it’s actually really perfect right now. Doors and windows open, fresh air, birds singing. It won’t last long though, that’s for sure.

Definitely a much nicer day today than the traveling of last year haha!

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Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, GDB, Jayden, no no sightie, on this date, weather, working dog

What happens when @Evan3Longoria learns to groom a dog

Wow, so what do you suppose a baseball player’s reaction to anal glands would be?

Evan Longoria finds out when he learns to groom a dog.

This. Was. Fabulous!!! I was in here cracking up quietly as possible since B is sleeping. Jayden wondered where the puppy was who was barking. So so funny!

Thanks to RaysIndex for telling me what to search on youtube.

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Filed under dogs, evan longoria, Jayden, plugs, youtube

Doggy Diaries – Food switch Day 6 – More mystery and some improvements

I know I slacked in writing about the fifth day of the food switch yesterday, but we didn’t do anything. I gave us both a day off since things had been rather frustrating. We got the mail and that was it. There weren’t any issues all day; I just got chores done.

Today was the last day of a half cup of Blue. Tomorrow he goes up to three quarters of a cup. Relieving is all normal, oh except yesterday he didn’t poop in the morning, which was really odd. I got him all riles up in the afternoon and he went. Maybe he’s already got less waste eating only a cup twice a day of the SD, who knows.

This morning all was normal. Fascinating, I know haha! We started the laundry and after I put the load in the washer, I thought I’d try the route to the office that he refused to walk on Wednesday. Same problem. He gets me across the parking lot, shows me the curb, gets on the sidewalk, and won’t budge. I wonder if it’s because the last time he tried to alert me that he had to go but I misunderstood, so he went in harness. Shame for a guide dog? I didn’t force it after some leash action didn’t work. He was all too eager to go back home.

When I switched from washer to dryer, I took my cane with me. He got me to the sidewalk and once again wouldn’t budge. So I got out the cane and had him heel. He didn’t drag in the heel position at all. A few times he tried to pull me off the sidewalk but I knew he didn’t have to go. I told him no. After about twenty feet I put the cane away and he worked it fine. Odd.

On the way back, he stopped. I probed out and nothing was there and we weren’t at our rocks. I told him to hop up and he did. I noticed that we walked into shade. It got sunny again, then he stopped at more shade. Shadows? Could it be shadows on the way there causing him to refuse it? This just makes no sense. We’ve walked that sidewalk countless times.

I picked nothing up with the cane. Nothing. I can’t wait for Dave to come on Tuesday. Watch, it’ll be like taking your car to the mechanic; when Dave’s here, Jayden will probably walk it perfectly.

I didn’t push it, I didn’t get angry with him. If it’s leftover shame from harness relieving, I don’t want to add to it. I might try a different way to bypass that area just until whatever this is passes.

I have a very spontaneous plan tomorrow, and while Jayden refusing to work that sidewalk almost deterred me, I’m not gonna let it. I’m not gonna say what it is until after we do it, so wish us luck!

Everything else is fine. We worked for about 3 hours pretty much straight this morning, in and out. On the way back from getting the maile, the last chore, there were the yip yip dogs. Uh oh. Dog distraction. Jayden made no indication but as soon as I heard the dogs straining on their collars and gagging themselves, I told Jayden to leave it, just in case. The boy actually sped up as if to say, I’m a good boy, I’m completely ignoring them, silly dogs, let’s get away from them before I’m tempted. He got LOTS of verbal praise from me for that, especially with how people distracted he’s been. It usually takes a leash correction when dogs are around, but he didn’t need it. He also ignored the people we met along our way. So that is much improved. He got a jackpot kibble upon arriving at our door, good boy!

After we were all done I got the Wubba out and Jayden went absolutely nuts! He sure works up energy after working. Strange. He ran all over the house, running into me right as he began his tear, bumping into my hand. Ouch. Then I was trying to wrestle the Wubba to tug it and I got too close to his mouth right as he chomped. Ouch. I suppose it’s better to get hurt whilst playing with a guide dog rather than when working a guide dog haha! It was handler error, that’s for sure.

So, fall fever, puppy moments, who knows. Everything seems to be evening out now, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Hopefully I’ll have a good update for ya’ll. =D

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, num num food, relieving, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Food switch Day 1

Yesterday I got the Blue Buffalo Fish and Oatmeal formula I wrote about switching to here. I’ve been following the recalls of some of the Blue Buffalo foods and thank you to those of you who have e-mailed me. The Fish and Oatmeal that was recommended to me was never mentioned in the recall talk and since I had plenty of time to think about all this, I still think it was the right decision to switch. It helped that I had just bought a big bag of Science Diet when I started hearing about Blue Buffalo haha! No snap decisions when it comes to my guide dog, that’s for sure.

I couldn’t wait to start this switch, especially lately because Jayden has been having some horrendous flatulants haha!!! They are totally of the silent but deadly variety and always seem to happen when he’s on the couch next to me. Wow. That, along with the itching and shaking of his head just kept telling me to try something new. I checked the blogs about Blue Buffalo that I’ve been having Google alert me to and read the latest yesterday before getting a bag, and in one of the links about allergies, it mentioned the licking of paws, which Jayden has been doing also.

I recently talked with the new owner of two rescue labs and she had her labs on Blue until she found out that one has severe food allergies and so they’ve switched to a very hypoallergenic food. Her dog had much, much worse symptoms than Jayden, so much so that they had to do allergy tests. She said the only reason she doesn’t keep the other dog on Blue is because it’s just easier to feed them both the same. She recommended it though and it’s all she’s fed her dogs even before the rescue dogs.

As soon as B walked in with the bag, Jayden started sniffing air haha!! He had to wait, as it wasn’t feeding time. I put the remaining Science Diet from the forty pound bag into my Vittles Vault and then poured some Blue into a large Rubbermaid. We only got the fifteen pound bag to start, so there’s room to store the rest of it.

When it came time for Jayden’s dinner, I scooped a cup and a quarter of the SD and then added a quarter cup of the Blue. The lady on the phone said to mix it in gradually and watch the stool. She said the stool will get soft at first, so increase Blue when it’s solid again.

Jayden has been on a cup and a half twice a day and that’s because on a cup and three quarters, he gained some weight. Eventually he should only be on two cups of Blue a day, according to the lady, though he might need a little more since he’s a working dog. I’ll monitor closely in the coming weeks.

So to the fun part. I set the mixed bowl down and told Jayden ok and he sniffed it and went to town. Normally he’ll lick the bowl clean for a few seconds. This time? He licked that bowl for a full minute after he had eaten all the food. And that was with only a quarter cup of it. Same thing this morning. Wow! I’m not noticing a difference in stool but I’m gonna do a quarter cup of Blue for at least three days before increasing.

So here’s where I’m gonna sound crazy. I swear to God he feels softer. I’m crazy, right? He’s only had a total of a half a cup of Blue after dinner last night and breakfast this morning, but I swear he feels softer and I touch him a lot obviously. Am I just really crazy??? Hahaha!!! And his morning number two had less than normal, already.

I’m probably just crazy since I’ve never done this before. I was nervous yesterday and emailed Carin before the switch haha!

I’m so excited to see how he’s gonna feel and smell over the next few weeks, and I’m so happy he liked it. I guess some dogs will leave the LifeSource bits but he sure didn’t.

Oh and the food smells good! It’s got a fish smell but not gross and a sweet smell. Wow. Ok, enough now, really hehe. I’ll keep ya’ll updated, plus this is a great way for me to keep track of the switch since I’m not taking any chances. If the itching doesn’t stop, it’s to the vet we go.

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, num num food, silly girl, working dog

Doggy Diaries – He’s in love

Jayden has a new best friend. I have been replaced. Yep. I should just turn over the harness. 😉

Wednesday night, B’s dad arrived from West Virginia. B’s birthday is today, so his dad came out for the occasion. He stopped by on his way to the hotel from the airport at around 9pm or so Wednesday night. I have never seen Jayden go so absolutely nuts!

Usually he gets excited when people come over but pretty quickly he goes back to his calm self. Not with B’s dad. Jayden was just sniffing and wagging and wiggling and getting all excited. He gave B’s dad tons of kisses. When he left that night, Jayden stood by the door as if to say, where’d he go? Can’t we keep him?

Yesterday morning when B’s dad, you know I’m just gonna call him dad, came back, Jayden went nuts all over again. Oh I forgot to mention that the night before I had put Jayden on leash for a little bit until he calmed down some. Yesterday morning I didn’t, after dad had made it clear he didn’t mind. So Jayden greeted him enthusiastically again and I just kept marvelling at how much he loves dad already.

We hung around for a bit and then loaded into dad’s rental car, a nice bright red Impala. I like those cars, lots of rom. We went to Saavi so dad could see the place I write about so much.

It was fun to walk around there and say hi to people and be in clothes that aren’t gym clothes haha! I showed dad the gym where I spend so much time and then walked around the rest of the place. It was cool to work Jayden and show dad how it all works in a place I know so well. Jayden seemed a little confused that he wasn’t getting on his exercise mat haha!

After we left Saavi, we went to B’s office which was really cool because I had never been there. Just after I lost my sight, his office moved to a new location and I haven’t been able to picture it. I got to sit in his chair and feel around his desk to get a good mental image of the place.

Jayden did pretty well during all the touring, but I have got to work on his love for people. He wants to say hi to everyone. I know part of it is that they say hi to him first because it seems no one knows any better, but Jayden just can’t seem to avoid temptation. He doesn’t do it a whole lot at Saavi, because most people there are well trained when it comes to guide dogs. So, after getting a really good show of it at B’s office, I know I’m gonna have to do some work on that.

After that we came back home and the cable and internet were down. Uh oh. Not good. Call cable company. Silicone Sally says, “We recognize your address of {insert address here} is part of a service outage. We are working on the problem. Would you like a call from out automated system when the problem is corrected?” I select yes. They never give you an ETA in those recorded messages. They didn’t seem to understand that we needed the cable back by 4:30. The West Virginia football game was on then. Dad said we could use the tv at the hotel as a plan B. I showed him my computer so he could see how I do all the stuff online. Even though we couldn’t access the internet, I’d had a few webpages up that he could see and I wrote out some stuff so he could hear it. and he left to get a nap.

B played his video game and I made some popcorn and listened to a movie. It’s amazing how unconnected you feel when the internet is down. Wow. It’s such habit to check email and FB and Twitter and blogs.

I went to clean out my email because it’s just gotten insane and I’m finding that I’m missing emails, meaning I get them but amid the clutter, I’m not reading them. I never got around to cleaning it out though because suddenly emails were pouring in. The net was back, baby!

I got the automated call from the cable company about forty five minutes later. Thanks, Sally, I know it’s back.

Dad came back about 4pm much to Jayden’s delight. At halftime they went and got burgers from 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Yummmm.

After the game we sat around for a bit and talked. Jayden mostly stayed by dad. I had to beg him to curl up with me on our couch. That brat. 😉

After dad left for the night, Jayden and I went to bed. Jayden was one tired boy after all the work that morning and the excitement over dad.

I just heard a car door and thought he might be here and so did Jayden, who tore to the door. He should be here any time now. It’s sooo nice having him here. I wish it would be for longer, but he leaves Sunday morning.

Not sure what we’ll do today. It’s B’s birthday. Happy birthday my love! I got him a new desk chair, which I’ll have to write about in more detail in another post. The funny thing was, when I sat in his chair at work, I noticed that the new chair is pretty much identical to his work chair haha! He was so surprised and happy about his new chair for home, though. I gave it to him Tuesday rather than make him wait until today. Really, there wasn’t a way to hide it haha! Carol helped a great deal with getting that chair, so I’ll write a post about it soon.

Tonight we’re going to the Melting Pot for B’s birthday dinner. Yummmm.

Alrighty, there was a large gap in there since dad got here right as I finished writing about the Melting Pot. We went and did some shopping. Jayden got some new toys and the cats got some things. We checked out the cat houses, but we’re not sure we’re gonna get one yet. Jayden got a back up Kong, a Kong Wubba, a Kong Wobbler and a two sided Kong tug toy. Finally, some new toys. I don’t think that Wubba is gonna last long, though. The top part already has some fraying. Geez.

It was loads of fun when he was figuring out the Wobbler, though. We had a good time just sitting on the floor with him while he worked on it.

B and dad just stepped back out to do more shopping and I stayed home. I’m exhausted. I thought about making some phone calls but I’m too tired. Just finishing up this post. Oh yeah, there was another dog in one of the stores. That wasn’t fun. Blech. It wasn’t the pet store. It was an electronic store. I’m not even gonna write about it.

Anyway wow, I started off this post all jovial and now I’m just tired haha!

Oh PS – Jayden did great with all the shopping. 🙂

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Filed under birthday, Doggy Diaries, dogs, family, Jayden, num num food, Silicone Sally, sports, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Long time no blog

I don’t know how many times I’ve had to write a monster post because I’ve been slacking haha! This falls under the Diaries though I’m sure there will be talk of all things.

Where to start? Maybe I should look at where I last posted. Ah, ok memory jogged. I love having a blog to keep track of memories. 🙂

So yeah, the last time I really wrote about life was when I was feeling a fatigue coming on and I wasn’t sure if I’d make goalball practice. I did indeed miss practice that Saturday. The pain that Friday night was just getting increasingly worse so I cancelled my ride and called Lisa, then proceeded to crumple and dissolve into tears. I hate it when my stupid disease has to give me a big reminder that I’m sick.

Weather was definitely the cause of it all. We got hit pretty hard over the following days, but luckily it was the start of cooler weather. Yay!!!

I went to Gamma’s that Sunday for her birthday lunch and my dad and uncle went as well, which was really nice. My dad had yet to meet Jayden, wow. He’s not much of a dog guy, but my uncle sure is. Jayden had a blast with him and went for a run around the whole house, causing much laughter from the three of us. Dad had already left. My uncle also got to see Jayden jumping straight up in the air and side to side when I asked if he wanted a banana. Fun!

I worked out that Monday and just didn’t have the stamina I’ve built up. It was rather disappointing, but I’m sure it’ll come back. Tuesday, we had our lesson with Dave. I just was able to keep lessons with Dave by the skin of my teeth. Due to budget constraints, many O & M services have been cut. Luckily, I fall into the “safety” category, meaning I still have things to learn to keep me safe. IE, still need to learn new routes with Jayden. The summer months really set us back because we had to do things in pieces, so most of my routes have not been done in their entirety.

Tuesday was fun because we had an O & M student come along to observe. She’s working on her masters in O & M and just moved here six weeks ago. She’s a teacher for the visually impaired, but wants to get out of the classroom and into nature. This was her first time watching a guide dog team learning a new route. She’s off to the Seeing Eye in New Jersey in a month to spend a week there. Awesome! I told her she has to do a Juno walk. She asked a lot of questions and had a good time.

It was the perfect lesson for her, since I had chosen this walking path I want to learn since it’s cooling off. This was not easy for Jayden. Just like the rules of traffic, you must stay on the right side and not cross the yellow line. Jayden wanted to shoreline on the left. It was getting quite difficult to keep him from drifting and I could not stay in good follow position. Dave usually follows my lead and lets me brainstorm, so I tried the gentle leader. Distraction wasn’t the issue so that didn’t help. So I took the GL off and told Dave to tell me the moment Jayden hit the line. Dave would give the word, I’d give a correction and ease Jayden towards the right. I had the keep the leash out the whole time. He was doing better, but still not staying on our side of the path all that well. We turned around and walked on the other side, and this seems to be the way to do it. You can start out going clockwise or counter clockwise, and Dave had suggested going counter clockwise since that’s what he does when he guide runs. However, I think clockwise is the answer since after Jayden was staying on the correct side better, we realized I was in a safer place walking that way. Going the other way, we were much closer to traffic.

So it was great for the student to see how a new route is worked on. She got to see that there is a good deal of scoping out the situation, if you will, and then letting the team work together to decide the best way to tackle it. The student had a great time and when we got back home, I deharnessed the boy so she could say hi and Dave gave Jayden a good loving too. I explained to her that it’s a personal decision for the handler to allow this, and that in our first few weeks home, I didn’t. But Jayden knows who he is bonded to now, so I let people say hi a lot more, but only when he’s naked.

Normally Jayden just eats up the attention, but he knew that after he works, he gets a frozen Kong, so he just wanted to get inside hahaha!! The student got a kick out of watching him perk up when I asked if he wanted it.

I don’t remember what day it was, but I know it was before the rain because it was hot. I had the bright idea to go get the mail. It was hot but not as hot and I’ve been itching to be able to leave the house when I feel like it, no matter the time of day. It was some time after 4pm, I remember that. Actually I think it was a Monday because Dave was here the next day. So it must have been about two weeks ago. Anyway, we went to get the mail and I guess I wasn’t paying attention on our way back. We do that route so often that Jayden knows it no problem so I must have zoned out. I was in the remaining recovery from the first goalball practice I think. Anyway, I don’t know how I figure out that we were lost, but we were majorly lost. Hmmm. Probe out. That curb feels awfully high. Hmmm. It’s hot. Jayden, find home. Walk some. Stop, probe out, a curb. I can’t relay step by step what happened, but I started getting really hot and freaked out and of course I didn’t have my phone. I told him to find home and he started taking me to doors that weren’t ours. I am lucky enough to have a “warning track”, a bump on my sidewalk. There was no bump. Eventually Jayden walked us under shade and we stopped and I called out, “is anyone there? I’m lost.” Nothing. Of course no cars came or went to help me out by sound. I couldn’t get a read on traffic. I couldn’t concentrate. Finally I just took a deep breath and listened. Ok, traffic is on the wrong side. It’s distant traffic, but an audible landmark just the same. I walked into the sun and it was on the wrong side. Ok, I know more of where we are now.

Then, the heavenly sound of the yip yip dogs!! Oh, yip yip dogs how I love thee! And my they were close, coming from inside their house. Nice! I know they live catty corner to us. Ah…thank you yip yip dogs! I turned in the right direction and told Jayden forward. Once we got over closer to home, he knew right where we were. When I felt my warning track I was so happy and when Jayden got us to the door, I collapsed on the ground and hugged him and gave him a jackpot kibble. After we got in, we both chugged water and collapsed into a heap in the foyer. What an adventure!

I told Dave about it the next day and we still don’t know what happened. It must have just been the slightest deviance from the path that I didn’t feel. It all worked out though. It was the first time I’d used the sun to help me navigate. I remember way back in the beginning of the O & M lessons when Dave tried to tell me about navigating by sun. I told him I didn’t want to rely on the sun because what if it was cloudy? Good point, but man, that sun comes in handy.

I’ve still been working on fall cleaning, and it actually feels like a hint of fall in the air. Jayden and I are doing more walks now and it’s awesome! I haven’t been spending as much time on the computer. I’m pretty much keeping up on your blogs, even if you don’t see me commenting.

I’m not gonna talk about baseball. I just can’t do it. The Rays play in about two hours. That’s all I’ll say.

I did a blind blunder on Thursday. I had to clean because baseball was upsetting me, so I did the patio doors and then went outside and swept and cleaned up the back patio. Now that it’s cooling off, we can actually go back there. Before, there just wasn’t a point to going back there. Since I hadn’t swept and stuff, I hadn’t taken Jayden back there. So I got it all cleaned up and took Jayden out on a long leash. It’s not fenced, so I can’t let him be free. He sniffed a lot and marked a spot and then he wasn’t moving so I went to reach out and see if he was hunched and that’s when it happened.

Pain. The weirdest pain. Kinda like when an ice cube hits an exposed nerve in your mouth. What had I done? Wait, it’s wet. My hand is wet. Oh no. What happened. The top of my hand was bleeding. I had felt something ram into my hand. I stuck my hand on my pants leg and got Jayden inside. I rinsed my hand and there was this knot forming on the top of my left hand, towards the outside, just under the pinky knuckle. I forced myself to stay calm and got out the ice pack. I sat with my hand on the ice pack and texted B clumsily with my right hand, letting him know what had happened but I thought I was ok.

I had explored the area off my porch with my cane before taking Jayden back there. It had been just dirt. What I failed to remember was that there is an agave plant between my patio and the tree. My cane must have just swept right under the jagged protruding leafs. When I had reached out, the thing had stabbed my hand.

When the game was over I called Carol and she looked up agave to see if they’re poisonous. I wasn’t having any strange symptoms, but just wanted to make sure. Turns out if you get pricked by an agave, it causes the blood capillaries to rupture. I had figured that was what had happened, because I had seen that back when I was a phlebotomist, and the knot that formed looked just like when I had grazed a vein. It seemed like ice and pressure was doing the trick though. Yesterday it was pretty sore but today it’s pretty much fine, though there’s still a little knot there. Carol came over yesterday and noticed a blood spatter on my pink Croc. I can’t believe how much it bled from just a tiny little prick haha!!

Carol spent the whole day here yesterday which was awesome. She had come over in the morning for coffee and we actually got to sit out on my patio. Before we knew it, it was noon! We just didn’t feel like stopping conversation so I just made more coffee and we stayed outside. It was brilliant to be outside for so long and Jayden was just lounging out there with us. As the sun moved, Jayden scooted into it and had a sun bath. It was the nicest day!!

She’s coming back on Monday so I can go get B’s birthday present. His birthday is Friday. His dad is coming for a visit from West Virginia! I can’t wait!

I think that’s about it.

I’m really looking forward to the blog carnival. I’ve decided what I’ll write for it and it’s a story I don’t think I’ve shared here before, so I’m excited to get to work on it.

Oh yeah! Congrats to L^2 and her new guide dog, Mr. J!

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Filed under baseball, birthday, blind blunders, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, family, Gamma, Jayden, Orientation and Mobility, weather, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Random musings

I woke up this morning to the barking of the new neighbor’s dog. I didn’t know they have a dog. Coming out of the funk of sleep I couldn’t comprehend where it was coming from. My first thought was, why is Jayden outside? He never barks, but a sleep haze does strange things to the mind. I reached over on the floor and there he was, always by my side.

I couldn’t get back to sleep with the constant barking so I just got up. I can’t hear it out here in the living room. Were the neighbors home? How could you just ignore that barking? It sounded like a very lonely bark. It didn’t sound distressful, or I would be trying to see if I could find the neighbor’s door. I sure hope that’s not going to be a normal thing.

I caught up on my normal reading and thought I’d sit and write about Jayden.

Yesterday we did laundry and when we left the apartment, I felt a right turn way too soon, before our veering left. I knew where we were but turned us around and had Jayden find home and start again. A few times recently when I take him out for his nightly business, B has come out and I’ve let Jayden kind of leash guide me where he wants to go to just sniff and be a dog. I had let him take this other sidewalk, and that was what he did yesterday while I was pulling the laundry cart. Oops. Gotta break that now lol. No other sidewalk while in harness, babe. So when I felt him pause at the turn I told him to hop up and he went the correct way.

Once we got down by the parking lot, he had some fun challenges. Cars were parked where they normally aren’t, directly in our path. He had to show them to me after I said forward and he didn’t move. Oh! Gotcha. Good boy, figure it out. I love telling him to figure it out and then wait patiently while I feel his body move ever so slightly while he works it out. He found a path between two cars. I did a moving right which probably wasn’t necessary because he knows the curb to the right is my landmark and he knows he gets praise and the surprise kibble here and there when he shows me that curb. After he found the curb I heard, “He’s such a good boy.”

“Yeah, he’s amazing,” I replied.

“So are you,” declared the female neighbor.

“Awww, thank you,” I said through a smile.

We continued on and Jayden found the laundry room. Coming back I don’t have to drag the cart. We approached where the cars were and I swear I could feel his excitement at the challenge. He gets this different pant. I can’t explain it. I swear I can feel him thinking. He found the wide enough path and gently guided me between the two cars. I could feel that they were close, but I touched nothing, not even a rear view mirror.

Laundry just goes off without a hitch these days and it doesn’t wear me out like it did when we first started. Jayden takes so much of the burden of travel off of me. He’s just incredible.

It’s getting to eh point where it’s still incredibly hot in the afternoons, but by evening the sting of heat has been alleviated a bit. So after B got home and made out our checks for rent and electric, I said Jayden and I would walk with him to drop them off. It was nice to actually be able to go for a walk at a normal time, and not the very beginning of the day.

When we were coming back, B told me a dog was coming. I’ve been a little shell shocked since the day of the obnoxious barking dog and the ignorant handler, but I was prepared as I heard the tags approaching. Jayden pulled a tad but as soon as I said, steady and leave it, he stopped. The other dog handler veered away so as not to get in our way and I kicked myself later for not thanking him. Some day I’ll get the hang out of handling my dog and commenting to passerby.

Jayden’s crochet mat is almost done. We start goalball two weeks from today I think. Dave and I have to get back to walk the route once more before practice starts. We don’t have Friday lessons now. You could say Jayden and I have graduated to once a week. 🙂

I can taste the days of cool weather. I can anticipate the long walks we’ll be able to take soon, to start the next chapter of our first year together. I can’t wait. I’m tossing a sweater in with laundry now, so they’ll be ready to go when needed. I can feel that soon I will get to come out of my shell, crawl out of my hibernation cave.

Last month when I did the flea and tick treatment, Jayden tried to roll around on the carpet to rub it off. So this month I was prepared. As soon as I did the treatment, I asked if he wanted to play hide and seek. I strapped the kibble pouch on and he forgot all thoughts of trying to rub the treatment off. A nice long game of hide and seek gave it time to dry and we had no problems. Nice. I followed that up with some crazy play with the Cuz. He loves that thing. And there’s no better medicine for me than a dog and an annoying squeaker toy.

Life is still hard right now, I won’t lie. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and hope is showing me the way. Every night I stroke Jayden and tell him I love him and think about how grateful I am to have him. Thank God for my guide dog!

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Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, gratitude, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, laundry, weather, working dog

Doggy Diaries – A gym, a mat and a Cuz oh my!

Oh I love my Saturday mornings when I get to catch up on my blog haha! Flooding much? Just knocking all this out before the fog sets in. I really am at my best before noon.

So anyway, Tuesday morning Dave and I set off to the university to check out the route to the gym where Goalball will be. I will have to let Jayden tell you about the route from the car where we had to park. I won’t tell him he’ll probably never see that route again except for the next and last time we go to learn the route to the gym. My ride won’t have to park and therefor we won’t have to walk that part again. He had waaaaay too much fun haha!

We couldn’t practice where I’ll need to walk from where I’ll get dropped off because they were working on the pavement so we had to go around in a way we’ll never have to go. It was only 8am but it was already hot, and since there’s grass on campus, it was really humid since it’s been so rainy this week. I had to use a restroom that’s off an outside wall and it was like a sauna in there. By the time we got to the gym, it felt so nice. Dave showed me where the water fountain is, and the long bench where people put their dogs on tie down during practice. I got on my hands and knees to feel where the tie down spot is and instantly knew I’d have to crochet Jayden a mat to lay on.

Now I know that since the beginning of time, dogs have laid on hard surfaces. But he’s my dog and I’ll spoil him if I want to haha! I remembered L^2 writing about crocheting a guide dog’s resting mat, and decided I’d try it.

I modified it a bit, since she uses an ‘M” hook I think, and I don’t have one that large. I think I’m using an “H” size, though I can’t remember. It’s the biggest one I have.

I had some yarn for a blanket I never made. It’s solid white, and a variegated with bright magenta and pinks and blues. Very very bright. Since you work with two strands of yarn, I figured it would work nicely. I also modified the starting row. I chained however many I thought I’d need and I made it pretty wide, oops. Instead of using the two strands for the foundation, I just did one row of the half double crochet in the solid white. I then started using the two strands. When it’s done, I’ll add a row of white half double crochet to the other three edges, and then slip stitch around the whole thing with the variegated.

It’s coming out rather thick, which will be comfortable for Jayden. I had to set aside the doggy pool projects to get this done by next month. It was really slow going to start, since I’ve never worked with two strands of yarn, and I’ve never used a half double crochet stitch, which requires you pulling yarn through three loops at once. It creates a short fat stitch, so it doesn’t work as fast as a double crochet, plus I’m working in every stitch. I’ve been pretty much working on it straight this whole week, since pretty much all I’ve been able to manage in the afternoons is crocheting to a movie or a game.

So, long story short, Jayden will have a comfy mat to lay on during practice.

Yesterday, Dave took us back to Petsmart. I told him I had a lame request in going there with him even though I can get there independently, but really what else were we gonna do? We’ve been stuck indoors on Fridays because of the weather and I needed dog food. I haven’t been so good at planning to get it delivered haha. I also wanted to finally find a Cuz toy for Jayden and I needed a backup Kong and tug rope. The tug rope Mimi gave him is about to meet it’s demise and Jayden just loves it so I knew I needed another.

On the way there, Dave explained to me that by getting a ride with him doesn’t mean I’m not independent. He said whatever means we use to get things done gives us independence, if that makes sense. Just because I might go with a sightie doesn’t mean I’m not doing things on my own. Basically I just used him as transportation. So that helped me feel a little better about asking to use a lesson for that. I just cringe at the thought of having to wait on paratransit for a twenty minute shopping trip, especially with my energy levels this week.

So we went to Petsmart and couldn’t find the Cuz. I finally asked an associate and she found them. They are called Good Cuz and Bad Cuz now lol. I got the bad cuz with the horns but really the horns don’t last long. Now I know guide dogs aren’t supposed to have balls and these are shaped like a ball. But they’ve also got feet so when you toss it, it goes every which way. It also squeaks and he’s not supposed to have a squeaker, but it doesn’t have a squeaker he can get. It’s the kind with the hole that lets air out all funny. I’m only doing supervised play with it and so far the horns were the only thing to show evidence of wear. The horns are just little pieces of rubber that he bit off and left on the carpet.

Anyway, he looooooooooves it!!!! Holy crap. I would toss it and he’d run after it and then run around the house with it, while it squeaked with every gallop. The thing sounds like he’s murdering a seal hahahaha!!

He loves to play keep away with me but then he’ll let me have it so I’ll toss it. Then he’ll take it into the corner and squeak it hahaha!!! It cracks me up, until I’ve had enough of the squeaking and put it away. We’ve only had two play sessions with it. I showed B last night and while he said the squeaking didn’t bother him, I still would rather play with it when Jayden and I are alone.

It’s most certainly a hit, though. I can’t wait to get it out today. I’m able to manage short burst of energy, so luckily Jayden gets the benefit of it.

Other than that, it’s life as normal. Workouts and stuff, did laundry on Thursday. Met a lady in the laundry who has a sister who is blind, so we talked a lot. She also gave me her number in case I need anything. Really nice lady.

I’ll end here and then let Jayden tell you about Tuesday morning. 🙂

Oh, I should say that Jayden did great in Petsmart with the dog distractions, even when twelve dogs peered at him through the window into the classroom haha! Dave said it was really cute.

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Filed under crochet, Doggy Diaries, dogs, goalball, Jayden, jayden quirks, plugs, spoons, working dog