Category Archives: guide dogs

#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – Trash and laundry, robo and canine

There was a discussion on Twitter recently about robotic guide dogs. There was a link, but I didn’t click it. A robotic guide dog? No thanks. The discussion was interesting though, what if it rains, what if the battery dies. I couldn’t help but think about Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan” series. Which is better, machine or beastie? It’s a brilliant series of books. You should read them if you like alternate histories and fantastical creations.

Anyway, back to the robo dog. There’s no way a robo dog could intuit when you want the trash vs. the laundry. You would have to give it a command all the time. Sure, you might have to give a dog the command too, left or right etc, but I’m pretty sure most of them begin to read your mind. Ask any guide dog handler and they’ll tell you it’s true.

What amazes me about Jayden and has for awhile now, is that when I’m dragging the laundry cart behind me, he needs no cues. He knows right where to go. As soon as the cart comes out in fact, he gets excited. He takes the “dry” out of laundry, that’s for sure. His excitement makes it less of a chore and more of an outing, until it’s time to put the clothes away that is.

We had stopped taking the trash out, leaving it to the man of the house, after Jayden took me to the neighbor’s house one day after I tossed the bag. I was stuck with my handled trash can. I never just carry a bag in case I have to set it down in a hurry. I felt terrible because the neighbor lady wanted to chat and I had laundry I had to get back to. This must have been months ago now. I don’t think I blogged about it so I can’t remember.

Anyway, doing all the cleaning required trips to the trash so I finally decided to let Jayden take me again. I did some patterning after we tossed each load, using the trash can as a kind of cane, feeling the curb and pointing us in the right direction. Eventually he took me straight home and rekindled my confidence in the route.

Here’s where my amazement really kicked in. One day I had several loads of junk and didn’t fancy taking them one by one with the trash can. So I got the laundry cart out and loaded it with two bags. Hey, at least it cut the trips in half. As usual, Jay got excited when the cart came out and I expected him to try and go to the laundry which is the opposite direction of the trash.

He knew I had trash bags!

With no verbal or physical cue from me he went right to the trash even though I was dragging the laundry cart. This might seem small, but for the proud guide dog handler, this was exhilarating. I love to see his mind working. It’s almost like you witness new paths forming in their brain. I could almost hear him thinking, “she didn’t sort all those clothes first.”

When I did laundry next, I wondered if he’d want to go to the last destination the cart had travelled to. Why did I even doubt? The boy took me right to the laundry. There were more trips to the trash, but never both on the same day. See what I’m leading up to?

Tell me, would a robo dog take you to the laundry with your cart full of clothes and sheets and then an hour later, take you right to the trash with the cart loaded with two trash bags and a box? I think not.

That’s exactly what Jayden did today. After the laundry was put away I decided to haul the last bit of trash from the cleaning adventures. Without missing a beat my boy turned in the direction of the trash with no cues from me. What a smart dog!

We spent lots of time outside today since it was beautiful out. We decided to take a walk after the clothes were put in the dryer which worked out well since the electric bill needed dropping off. We can no longer use the outgoing mail slot since people break into it. Thanks, idiot people. Then again, outgoing mail, the one thing we mail a month, is a great excuse for a trip to the office so maybe I should thank the idiot people. Until summer that is, and then the man of the house can take it down in the heat. 😉

My boy is curled up on the couch after his great work today. If I knelt in front of him, he’d give me a kiss. Robo dog? Fah!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Doggy Diaries, gratitude, guide dogs, Jayden, laundry, NaBloPoMo 2011, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

#NaBloPoMo – Another edition of Keyword Gems. Is your search query here?

I knew I had one fairly easy post for NaBloPoMo and I’m cashing it in today. I don’t have time to write something from scratch, so I’ll bring you another edition of ‘They Landed Here’, which I’ve been titling, “Keyword Gems”. These are search queries I save that made me laugh at the time of finding them on my stat counter. In case you find that you’re one of the people searching for these terms, don’t worry, I have no way of finding out who you are. Stat counters don’t work that way.

Below each query is the thought I had at the time of saving the search term. Hope you enjoy! Oh yeah, I copied this idea some time ago from VomitComet. Check out their “You are Here?” label for hours and hours of laughter!

***

Remember the rapture?

20 May www.google.com 86 year old man says the world ends tomorrow

20 May www.google.com what’s up with the world ending thing tomorrow?

21 May www.google.com.au so i heard about the end of the world, oh wait

Now back to our regularly scheduled search queries.

3 Jun www.google.ca doggy positions

*Is my mind just in the gutter? This made me LOL for real.

2 Jun www.google.com.ar describe a commercial

* A british voice speaking that is actually a little green gecko telling you you can save fifteen percent or more on car insurance

1 Jun www.google.com evan longoria’s marital status

*I get these search queries a lot. Evan, inquiring minds want to know. (Though I’m pretty sure with the media the way it is, we’ll know he’s engaged before his parents do.)

6 Jun www.google.com use iphone to see blind person

*I think you can just use your eyes to see us.

7 Jun www.google.co.uk the song about carole

*Just had to save this one for Carol. I wonder if the E on the end of your name was a mistake? Maybe there is a song about Carole.

7 Jun www.google.ca what I want need to know about short story

*How I learn know to write.

8 Jun www.google.com but I asked her to put the dog away

*And she didn’t??? Dude.

20 Jun www.google.com I don’t know how to crochet and I want to crochet a blanket

*Probably need to learn how to crochet, then…

21 Jun www.google.com “can i put my laptop in the freezer”

*Is it scary?

23 Jun www.google.com.au what would happen if there was no guide dogs?

*A lot more white canes would be sold.

24 Jun www.google.com should stay in the market? 2011 june

*Huh?

25 Jun www.google.com.au how to want to write again

*If you find out, will you let me know? Update: There’s this great book: “The Artist’s Way”. Read it. It makes you want to write again. *

25 Jun www.google.com is evan longoria a jerk

*Absolutely not. I’m biased, but we’ve all got the same information on the guy.

25 Jun www.google.com sam fuld catches videos

*Sam Fuld catches everything.

27 jun www.google.com.tw “rock paper scissors” umpire test

*They appeal to first and…paper beats rock. Strike three.

30 jun www.google.com Mom did cal is that sentence rite

*Your mom did cal? As in, California? That’s a lot of doing. Or perhaps you meant calculus. I’m thinking you also meant, right or correct. (This search query landed the searcher on another keyword gems post. I thought that was kinda funny.)

4 Jul www.google.co.uk. do you agree with guide dogs

*Not all the time but usually my guide dog knows what is best for me.

15 Jul www.google.com.vc WHY DID CAT WENT ON THE ROOF?

*Maybe his litter needs changing.

29 Jul www.google.com “Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven!” movie

*”Seven” was a movie with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. This search though, sounds like a “Friends” episode.

22 Aug www.google.com “my sighted boyfriend”

*Yeah, I’ve got one too.

11 Oct www.google.com 30 year ols women laying in the sun

*Well almighty then.

7 Nov www.google.com Hear+the+sleigh+bells+jingle,+jingle,+fingers+freeze+and+then+they+tingle.

*Yeah that’s about how I felt about that song, too.

2 Comments

Filed under crochet, evan longoria, funnies, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs, Sam Fuld, They landed here, writing

Doggy Diaries – Time-out, dog distractions and handler injuries

I can’t seem to write about baseball right now so I decided to write about Jayden, since it’s been awhile.

As per usual during the desert summer, we’re stuck inside, which is getting old really fast. I try and create situations for us to work, like walking all over Saavi after I’m done working out. usually it’s fairly uneventful and done just to exercise him. Today however, we had some fun challenges and an opportunity for a good re-work.

We were just starting out walk after I worked our when Lisa’s voice was suddenly very close, informing me I was about to run into her. Jayden was about to just plow through a group of people talking in the hallway, one of whom was Dave. Dave! Jayden hasn’t seen Dave in forever so I’m guessing he was going to walk right through everyone to go say hi to him.

I was laughing but quickly composed myself so Jayden wouldn’t think the mistake was ok. I had him sit, which took him a minute. When he finally obeyed after a correction, I pointed at Lisa and said careful. The group was nice enough to stay put so I could rework it.

We walked away and back towards them and Jayden slowed down and very carefully walked around the group. I got excited and kibbled him and then we tried it from the other direction. He decided to stop and “show” me Lisa before weaving us around her haha!

After that I was talking to another friend about his decision to get a guide dog and Jayden would not stay sitting. My friend was like, “I can’t wait to get one of those,” in a joking manner. Jayden was distracted because another guide dog was in the area. Turns out we had three guide dog encounters today, great practice!

I used a new technique I learned about on another blog. Sorry, but I’m too applesauce headed to find the post and link. Anyway, it’s the time out pose. With the dog sitting, you just hold their collar with your left hand, close to your body. It calmed him down immediately. He actually wasn’t acting hyper before that, just a little distracted. We stood like that as another guide dog team passed and then I worked Jayden into the lobby.

I swear to God I could hear him thinking, “uh oh, she’s never done that before. I must have really disappointed her. I’m gonna be totally perfect now! Sorry mom, I forgot I was a guide dog for a minute!”

I wasn’t even disappointed in him. He simply had a dog moment but it wasn’t terrible. He hasn’t seen many people at all lately except for Gamma and B, because we haven’t had any visitors in awhile. Hopefully that will change when Carol gets back, and I also found out today that Kevin is in town, yay! Hopefully I’ll go swimming with him and his son next week.

Jayden loves people, so I’m sure that’s why he tried to say hi to that group today, especially since Dave was there.

as part of exercise for Jayden, I get him riled up at least once a day and he goes on a run around the apartment. There’s not a lot of room, so he just goes back and forth along the length, running at full force and jumping into me. I’ve started crouching down and putting my arms over my head because he bounces into me pretty hard. I laugh so hard when he does this I think it eggs him on. a couple days ago, his back nails scraped my arm and it hurt at first but hasn’t since. Apparently he left a pretty good mark because even a visually impaired person saw the contrasting colors of the bruises today hahaha! She had to laugh when I said B hadn’t noticed it. She said to make sure I tell him a visually impaired chick could see it, so why didn’t he notice? I guess it’s pretty bad, though it really doesn’t even hurt.

You know what does hurt? Dropping a Kong Wobbler on your foot. I really recommend not doing that.

Jayden will be three on Friday. Can you believe it!!! Three! Wow. I can’t wait for a day of total and absolute spoiling. Not that he isn’t already spoiled. But it’ll be more so on Friday.

Next week he’s going to smell like a hippy since I’m taking him for a bath. I’m going to the self grooming place, but I’m actually going with the full service. They won’t take him from me for an hour and a half like Petsmart would so since I’ll still be with him, I’m gonna let the professional do it. I want nails clipped and glands expressed. If you’re wondering what that is, check out this video of Evan Longoria grooming a dog. I recommend not eating anything when you click that. You’ve been forewarned.

3 Comments

Filed under birthday, desert life, Doggy Diaries, evan longoria, guide dogs, Jayden, weather, working dog, youtube

Update: Guide dog in trunk story

Click here for my first post on this story.

It turns out the cabbie’s license was revoked after he told a blind woman to put her guide dog in the trunk of his cab due to his dog allergy. Thanks Carin, for the update.

I’m glad action was taken against the cabbie for this cruel incident. However, the story does not end here. As I ranted about in my first post on this issue, the handler is equally, if not more so, to blame.

She could have turned this into a learning experience for the cabbie. We know nothing about him, except that he has K9 allergies. We don’t know if he was incredibly ignorant, as well as being cruel, or if he really just didn’t see what the big deal was. Who knows. Most of us have the first reaction of, how could you put any living thing in the trunk of a car, but we all know there are all kinds of people in this world.

Could he have learned from this situation if the handler had done what she should have, explained the laws to him, informed him about animal cruelty, went back into her home and filed a complaint after canceling or rescheduling the appointment she was late for. We’ll never know, since she allowed her dog to be placed in the trunk.

Carol and I were discussing this and when we talked about who was the one to lift the dog into the trunk, we were sickened to think that the handler must have done it if the cabbie was so allergic. Repulsive.

This cabbie might have been suspended for the suggestion had the handler not gone along with it. The cabbie might have been educated after being reprimanded. Instead, he’s lost his job and the article about it still places all the blame on him, turning the cruel handler into a victim simply because she’s blind.

There are rumors the school is investigating, but since nothing is solid I won’t name the possible school until we know more. Hopefully we will find out more.

What are your thoughts? Am I strange to feel some sympathy for this cabbie’s ignorance? Perhaps I try to find good in people and hope he isn’t really as cruel as we all think he must be. I have no empathy for the handler because she can’t possibly be that ignorant and foolish. The training we receive teaching us how to care for these dogs makes it impossible for me to believe she’s anything but incredibly selfish.

I just hope the poor dog is ok.

12 Comments

Filed under guide dogs, in the news, rant

Rant: How not to put a guide dog in a trunk

Today a story popped up on Twitter about a woman who put her dog in the trunk of a taxi cab.

Isn’t that really all I need to write?

Upon reading the story, I went and vomited on Twitter and then tuned into a radio stream done by guide dog handlers who were discussing the article. It was feeding time for Jayden and the radio broadcast played a song about K9 angels, I think it was.

Jayden got all excited for dinner as tears filled my eyes listening to the song and thinking about the article I had just read.

The woman was running late for an appointment. The cab driver told her he was allergic to dogs so the guide dog would need to ride in the back. Where in the back, you ask? The trunk.

So the woman put her guide dog in the trunk.

Good thing I don’t need to see the screen because there are tears in my eyes again. I wonder how many guide dogs and pet dogs are getting major love sessions tonight? I know I couldn’t stop touching Jayden for awhile after reading about this.

Here is what I would have done. First of all, when I call a cab, I let the dispatcher know I have a guide dog. That way the driver isn’t surprised when he arrives and if the driver is allergic, he can tell the dispatcher to send another cab.

If a cab driver showed up and told me to put Jayden in the trunk, he would get an open mouthed look of incredulity from me and a can I please have the name and number of your supervisor along with your employee number while I call for another cab.

I don’t care if I was late for my wedding. I don’t care if someone was dying. I would never, EVER put my guide dog in the trunk of a car.

The article quotes the woman saying something like, she had never heard her dog whine and whimper before. The dog means the world to her. She’s lost her independence now. She’s afraid to go out.

The comments to the article are lashing out at the driver. The tone of the article is negative towards the driver. The driver was wrong. The guide dog handler? What is a better word for wrong? I’m so angry I can’t even think. If you think that driver was wrong, he was a saint compared to this woman.

I can’t believe anyone would do that. Guide dog, pet, cat, alligator, whatever. It’s just wrong.

When I’m riding on paratransit, I anchor Jayden with my feet so that he’s stable. When I feel the van suddenly begin to slow, I reach down and make sure Jayden isn’t moving. Can you imagine a dog in the trunk of a vehicle?

I am disgusted. I wanted to comment on the article but I can’t use their commenting system.

I wanted to point out that the driver was only partly at fault here. The woman had a choice. Driver says, dog in trunk. What do you say? No thanks. Seriously!!!!

I’m disgusted. What are your thoughts? Let’s talk about this in the comments. Guide dog handlers, pet dog owners, puppy raisers, animal lovers or just plane human beings, go give your animals some love. Unbelievable.

Update: Cabbie’s license revoked.

15 Comments

Filed under guide dogs, in the news, Jayden, rant, twitter me this

Hi blog, remember me?

I finally decided to blog and Blogger is temporarily unavailable. So I’ll blog anyway and save it and hopefully I’ll remember to post it someday. I blame Twitter because I tend to forget I can actually write more than 140 characters. In fact I think I might have forgotten how. I’ve completely neglected any and all writing, which my future self will not be happy about. Do you ever thank your past self for doing something handy? I did that yesterday when my favorite cereal bowl was clean. Thanks, past self. So since I haven’t been documenting my life, my future self is going to be unhappy with me. It’s Twitter’s fault. I’m sticking to that. In fact Twitter just distracted me since I heard Syrinx’s little flute noise. Ah, tweets…

Where do I even start? I wonder if I can access my blog to see where I left off. Ok, I last wrote on the twenty-fourth, my six years sober, three years blind anniversary, and the day Erik arrived. I’ll start there. This post could definitely be quite long, so grab a beer or some coffee and some broccoli.

Erik and I met online thirteen years ago when I sent his roommate a message on ICQ. Remember ICQ? Uh oh! Anyway, Erik responded, since he was on his roommate’s computer for some reason, and we’ve been friends ever since. We would lose touch here and there but we always found each other again. He’s always been on the east coast and I’ve always been in Arizona. He finally made his way out west though, to go work in San Francisco. An old friend of his was getting married in southern California and Erik knew he’d be making his way here to finally hang out with me in person.

We don’t like to say things like, friends in real life, because we are friends in real life even if it was never face-to-face. We’ve been with each other through all the difficult times in our lives, even if it was just over the airwaves.

We were lucky enough that he could stay in a model apartment at my complex. I’m not sure how the visit would have gone if he’d stayed in a hotel with no transportation. The day he arrived, he texted me when he had gotten a cab from the bus station and soon after, Jayden and I set off to meet him.

I wasn’t sure exactly where the model apartment was but I knew it was near the office on the other side of the complex, so Jayden and I walked there and just hung out. It wasn’t too hot. Erik was supposed to arrive at ten that morning, but things were delayed until nearly one. Jayden and I stood there and I listened for cars. Is that one? Yeah but it’s not the cab. Oh is that a car? It went the other way. Finally a car pulled up somewhere to my right and I heard the engine idle and faint voices. “Erik?” I called.

“Hey!” he replied. He thanked the cab driver and came up to me and we were laughing as he gave me a hug. We both just kept saying things like, this is crazy! Holy sh*t! Haha!

After about five minutes of that, it was like we had been face-to-face friends forever. There was no lack of communication, in fact we chattered non stop for the next week.

It was awesome, having a friend right here in the complex. Jayden was loving all the work and his pace was so fast it was like he was a different dog. Erik and I didn’t have much cash to spend so we just cooked food in the apartment, going back to college days with the ramen noodles haha! Erik knew ahead of time that baseball games would continue and he was actually looking forward to experiencing that live, since he’s always getting chat commentary from me during games.

We used to wonder if we’d end up on our computers if we ever hung out in person and sure enough, we did a lot of that. We played favorite youtube videos for each other and he finally got to see Alex at work, typing things in his chat program that I’ve laughed about in the past, so he could hear it too.

It was an epic week, a couple days spent at the pool, though it was pretty windy while he was here which doesn’t make for great pool weather. We went to Saavi so he could see the place I talk about so much, and we went for real Mexican food, which he loved.

Unfortunately I had quite a bit of fatigue while he was here. My body is very used to the routine I have with Jayden, long mornings to wake up and loosen up and the sudden change through me a bit. Erik was totally understanding, since he knew about the fatigues. I just wish it hadn’t happened while he was here, but what can you do?

Ding! Haha, perfect timing Erik. He just signed in to chat. We had several laughs about that noise while he was here.

After he left the following Saturday night, I completely crashed. I made it through Gamma’s on Sunday and just counted down until recovery days. That whole next week is a blur. Actually the whole week he was here and the following week are blurs. Fighting fatigue takes a lot of brain power and I was pretty much in a constant fog.

Jayden took the down time well as always but by the end of the week, I was beginning to get a little stir crazy and couldn’t wait to get back to the gym and routine.

The Saturday a week after the visit, GDB had a luncheon here at Saavi. I was looking forward to it even though I knew it would be interesting with all those other dogs at Saavi. I thought about putting the Gentle Leader on before we got there, but decided to give Jayden the benefit of the doubt. That’s foreshadowing, in case you’re wondering.

Paratransit dropped us off about eleven and the luncheon was starting at eleven-thirty. I’d forgotten there was stuff going on before hand though, for people interested in getting a guide dog. It was a really cool event. I forget what they’re calling it, but they were here doing work with local O & M instructors before the luncheon on Saturday, and Saturday morning they did Juno walks with interested people and even had some puppies in training with them so people could do live dog walks. Very, very cool.

We walked in and immediately I had to control Jayden. He listened at first as we were greeted at the door and Dave was there. But soon another dog was near and Jayden forgot he’s a service dog. I managed to get him into the restroom where we could have a time out. I felt like a mom taking her screaming child away from the public. I put on the Gentle Leader and rand through obedience, hoping to get his focus back. I made it clear I wasn’t happy. He did ok after that, as someone helped us to a seat at a table. Jayden settled down immediately at my side under the table and I was able to relax a little. I started chatting with people around me and then the luncheon started.

We all went around the room introducing ourselves and our dogs. I’m thinking there were about twelve to fifteen teams and then lots of people interested in getting a guide. The people next to me had a six month old baby and I was getting a kick out of listening to his baby talk. So cute! The mom was blind and her husband was sighted and I was intrigued listening to them talking about going out with the baby and the guide dog haha! She was saying that now that the baby is old enough to ride on her back, she can work her dog with the baby. A little later, the dad let me hold the baby and he was just bouncing bouncing bouncing and giggling as I held him. Got my baby fix; he was a dream!

GDB talked about changes and happenings at school and then opened up the floor for questions. It was a very loose and chill event and they gave us all boxed lunches of sandwiches. Even away from campus they fed us well haha!

They gave away some stuff and I got one of the little miniature stuffed guide dogs since I had a dog under three years old. Gamma was the recipient of that, since I’d wanted to get her one at school but never made it to the gift shop.

The event wrapped up forty-five minutes before the email had said it would so I called B to pick me up rather than wait on paratransit for an hour, and then as I tried to call paratransit to cancel the return ride, my phone turned itself off. It’s been doing that lately and I refuse to replace it with anything but an iPhone. That adventure will be a whole other blog post.

I turned the phone back on and it takes awhile to turn on so I was going to make my way to the restroom while it booted. Jayden lost all composure as we tried to walk through the crowd. I was trying to correct him when my field rep popped out of nowhere, just like instructors at school did.

I felt like I was back at school as a brand new team. When I get flustered and tired my first inclination is to cry. Ugh. I felt a little humiliated that I couldn’t control my dog and it brought back all those feelings from school. My field rep was awesome, giving me pointers on how to get Jayden’s focus back, tricks that didn’t even involve corrections or scolding. I wish I had been in a better frame of mind to remember what we did, but it worked like a charm and we made our way into a quiet hallway. I explained that I needed to cancel my ride, that sometimes people don’t and I think it’s inconsiderate, I babbled about my stupid phone dying and that my boyfriend was coming and then my field rep was asking someone in the hall if he knew the number for paratransit so I could use his phone but then my phone was working and I canceled the ride and then B was there and I said buy to the field rep and left. Whew.

I was so exhausted when we got home. It takes so much energy to wrangle a dog who is misbehaving. I was going out to eat with Gamma and my uncle later that night and I didn’t know how I’d manage it. I was near tears all after noon, so exhausted I just couldn’t function.

I somehow managed to get ready and be present for my family and it went great. Jayden was in full redemption mode, knowing he had let me down earlier. I hadn’t been angry at him, just disappointed and embarrassed that it had to happen that way at a GDB event. It was the first time he had ever misbehaved so badly but I can’t blame him. He’s still a young dog and he never gets to socialize with other dogs. Of course he would lose his head. Wouldn’t you? 😉

I went to Gamma’s the next day and then it was back to the gym Monday. This week has been much more like a normal week and I’m finally getting my energy and strength back.

Ever use WD-40 on something and even though you know it’s gonna be awesome, it’s so awesome you wish you had something else squeaky or sticky?

I got a little high using my nose to find the WD-40. I sprayed an aerosol can on a paper towel and sniffed. Nope, that’s Raid. Sprayed another paper towel, yep, that’s WD-40. Note to self: it’s the smaller can.

That was just some randomness as I’m waiting for laundry to dry before continuing this post, which is turning in to something epic. Blogger is still down, and Twitter keeps going over capacity. Coincidence? Ah! Can’t blog! Must type! Twenty tweets later, the thought is out there for the world to see. And yawn.

It’s now Saturday morning. I started this yesterday but got distracted by shiny things. I’m not sure there’s anything left to post in this one anyway. I’ve been playing around on youtube again and yesterday I recorded a demo about how I tweet since I’m blind. Roll the clip. Right at the beginning, I say, “ok” and you can hear Jayden’s tags jingle. He tends to think that word means food when I say it like that haha!

I’m in the processing of uploading two more youtube audio clips of me being a complete dork. I’ll post that later today.

I hope to not neglect the blog for this long again. There’s lots of baseball stuff I want to get down too, but decided to separate that from life updates for people who find my baseball talk boring haha! I check my stat counter and you guys are still coming, looking for new posts, so I’m sorry it’s been so long. Like I said, distracted by shiny things. Carol will know what that’s about.

3 Comments

Filed under anniversary, baseball, family, fellowship, Gamma, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, proud geek, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, youtube

Doggy Diaries – Year ago recap 11 – Video and possibly sick

Glad I got some stuff done yesterday because I’m feeling bad again today. This time I think I might be getting sick though. Or it could just be the coming rain, which is days away, but I tend to feel it early.

It looks like this day last year was pretty chill because of rain. We took the dogs to the play area and did obedience. We also had our one on ones with the instructors, though I don’t talk about that. I link to a video of Jayden sleeping. I sure haven’t done any more videoing. Oops.

Today we went to Saavi a little early to sit in on a meeting. They wanted a kind of spokes person for adjustment to blindness so it was another lady and me, who are there often and since I work out on Wednesdays, they asked me to sit in. I was going to stay to work out, but just getting ready to go wore me out and by the time the meeting was over, I was done. So they gave me a ride home. It was different for Jayden though, since he had to work me in an unfamiliar part of the building and he also made another guide dog misbehave. 😉 They tried to say hi but were quickly corrected. We ran into Dave too, which was nice since I never see him anymore.

I spent the afternoon talking to Carol and now I’m heading back to the couch. Glad there wasn’t much to write on from last year lol.

Oh, and it’s looking like I’m finally gonna meet my internet friend of fourteen years! I’ve mentioned him here before, my friend Erik. He’ll be doing some work in San Fran and is gonna take a long weekend to drive down and meet me! Tres exciting!

Oh PS – I’m having a weird issue with youtube. The player is black, according to B. I noticed a few days ago that videos weren’t playing. I think it must be a Flash issue, but other auto play videos are working on other sites. I think the Jayden video has me talking, but I can’t remember and I’m too fried to find the video on the accessible youtube site.

1 Comment

Filed under Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, Jayden, on this date, spoons, video, weather, working dog, youtube

Conceptualizing a redesigned guide dog harness

Through the ether, a university student has found my blog and has asked for help with her school project. I think it’s an awesome idea for a project, and volunteered to help pass the word and help her gather information. Here’s what she wrote when I asked her why she was asking the questions she asked, I will post after her description:

“The reason why I need the feedback from the users is that I am a Industrial Design Student at U of I and I am working on an International Housewares Student Design Competition. I picked Pets category at first and found out that most of the pet products are overpriced and unnecessary after volunteered to help at a pet show in Taiwan . Then I saw the flyer of a Guide Dog Organization and I realized how meaningful guide dogs are yet not many people have noticed it. So after some research, I decided to redesign the Guide Dog harness. Users feedback are one of the most important part in a design process. I need to know how the users feel and think to be able to put myself into their shoe. Beth has been helping me a lot through this process. However, I need more of a variety of users experience that is why I made this survey.”

Isn’t that cool???
The Beth referred to is Beth fink who had contacted me before about Eva’s project, and gave Eva the link to a post I wrote about a day Jayden and I had.

If I’m not being very coherant, my apologies. I’ve been fighting a migraine since yesterday.

Anyway, Eva needs our help gathering information for her project, due at the end of the year. She’s sent me some of her concepts, which I have to say are pretty darned cool.

Here’s her survey, copied from her comment

“1. How long have you been having a Guide Dog? How many harnesses have you used before?

2. Do you have an offset handle or straight one? Do you like it the way it is? Why?

3. Do you clean the harness? Why or why not?

4. Would you like to have different material and/or shape for the handle part for more comfort? Would you prefer to hold the handle vertically?

5. How do you buckle up the harness? Where do you hold the leash when buckle up the harness? Do you use both hand to buckle up?

6. Do you have a trekker GPA navigation system? If not, why? If yes, how do you like it?

7. Lastly, do you have any problem with the harness you are using? (left arm does not feel comfortable after holding the harness after a while? Hand gets sweaty from holding the handle? Dog developed lumps from wearing the harness?….etc)

Thank you so much for taking time doing this survey.
Much appreciate your help.”

If you are so inclined to answer her questions, you can leave your answers in a comment here, or email her at: eva617 at gmail dot com

She gave me her email with permission and I’ve spaced it out here so she doesn’t get spam bombed. Please feel free to link to this post if you think others might want to participate on this project. Ok, here are my answers:

1. How long have you been having a Guide Dog? How many harnesses have you used before?

I’ve had my first guide dog for about nine months and have used one harness.

2. Do you have an offset handle or straight one? Do you like it the way it is? Why?

I have an offset handle. When I first began training with Jayden, I used a straight handle and didn’t know the difference. Then one day the school asked if I’d like to try the offset and I did and it was instantly much more comfortable. My arm seems to be in a more natural position, with my palm angling more towards my body. With the straight handle, my palm faced straight out behind me. This position was quite unnatural and caused pain. The offset is just much more comfortable for me, and also helps me walk closer to Jayden without stepping on him, since I can hold my arm closer to my body.

3. Do you clean the harness? Why or why not?

*Sheepish grin* I have not cleaned the harness yet. I think it’s mainly because I haven’t felt that it’s dirty. Since I do everything by touch, I can usually feel when something is grimy and I can’t stand it, so I clean. But the harness just hasn’t felt icky, so I haven’t cleaned it.

4. Would you like to have different material and/or shape for the handle part for more comfort? Would you prefer to hold the handle vertically?

Vertically, I’ve never thought about that. I’m not really sure how that would work, but it might be fun to try it. I think having some variety in how you could position the handle might come in handy, since we all naturally change positions. It might help to be able to move the wrist or the arm during long periods of work. I haven’t really thought about the material and using a different kind.

5. How do you buckle up the harness? Where do you hold the leash when buckle up the harness? Do you use both hand to buckle up?

If we are inside, and I don’t need to control Jayden, I put on the harness before his leash is attached. If we’re out and I take the harness on or off, I was trained to step on his leash to control his movement and keep him from walking off. I use both hands, since I use my hands to see and guide the pieces together. I don’t think it would be possible to buckle it with one hand. Maybe, but I need both hands to do just about anything, since one hand acts as “eyes” and guides the other hand.

6. Do you have a trekker GPA navigation system? If not, why? If yes, how do you like it?

Nope, too expensive. I just use a good old fashioned braille compass.

7. Lastly, do you have any problem with the harness you are using? (left arm does not feel comfortable after holding the harness after a while? Hand gets sweaty from holding the handle? Dog developed lumps from wearing the harness?….etc)

I haven’t noticed any problems with Jayden developing any problems. One of my biggest complaints is adjusting the belly strap. There’s a buckle along with the quick release clip. The buckle is for adjusting the looseness or tightness around Jay’s belly. It’s rather difficult to do, but I’ve only had to do it wonce and really the dog’s weight shouldn’t fluctuate much, so it’s not a gigantic deal. Jayden just filled out a bit after we got home.

My palm does get a little sweaty, and my arm gets sore, but that all depends on what kind of day it is. If Jayden is working beautifully in a place I’m familiar with, there’s no discomfort. If Jayden is working a little off, or we’re in a place I’m a little uncomfortable, there’s more pain because I’m tense.

I used to drive, so I can make the steering wheel analogy. You know when you’re in terrible traffic, you’re on high alert and you grip your steering wheel a little tighter maybe. You might “white knuckle it” when driving is stressful. I find I do that with jayden sometimes too. I have to remember to shake out my arm a bit here and there. Other than that, I don’t have any complaints, because frankly, I don’t know any different. 🙂

***

I’ll paste the survey without my comments at the bottom of this post, so it’ll be a little easier to answer. Plese take the time to answer if you can. It’s nice to think that someone out there is thinking about us, and I can’t wait to see what grade she gets! 😉

Again, you can answer in the comments here, she’ll be checking, or email Eva at the address provided above. Please feel free to link to this post on your blog as well.

Here’s the empty survey:

1. How long have you been having a Guide Dog? How many harnesses have you used before?

2. Do you have an offset handle or straight one? Do you like it the way it is? Why?

3. Do you clean the harness? Why or why not?

4. Would you like to have different material and/or shape for the handle part for more comfort? Would you prefer to hold the handle vertically?

5. How do you buckle up the harness? Where do you hold the leash when buckle up the harness? Do you use both hand to buckle up?

6. Do you have a trekker GPA navigation system? If not, why? If yes, how do you like it?

7. Lastly, do you have any problem with the harness you are using? (left arm does not feel comfortable after holding the harness after a while? Hand gets sweaty from holding the handle? Dog developed lumps from wearing the harness?….etc)

Yes, I posted the survey three times. Blame the migraine lol!

11 Comments

Filed under cool blinky stuff, gratitude, guide dogs, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2010, plugs, survey says

Doggy Diaries – Food switch Day 4 – Bad timing? Help

I have no idea if this is coincidence or not. I know there have been quite a few changes for Jayden, what with the visit from B’s dad where we always had company and did a lot of different things, to suddenly going back to the mundane and then the weather changes making me ill. I mean really I’ve been kind of out of sorts since that one Goalball practice back in late September. I’m just now this week able to work out more to my old strength. So there’s all these slight differences and then I go and do a food switch. Bad timing?

He’s just being a bit of a brat. He’s much more distracted by people. We’re working on that. Then there’s the refusing to work the road yesterday. Today at Saavi he did ok except when we first got there he tried to take me to the people smoking instead of inside, which is silly since we get dropped off right at the door. He did ok while we were there and when he tried to say hi to people I was quick to correct.

Another guide dog handler came into the gym while I was on the treadmill and Jayden was on his mat. I heard the handler and guide dog come in and asked Glenn what Jayden was doing but Jayden was completely ignoring the dog. I told him good boy while I was on the treadmil. Not long after, Jayden stood up so I told him down, again still on the treadmill. Glenn was telling me what Jayden was doing. He lay back down just fine.

He did fine after I worked out, waiting for the ride and what not. We got home and I relieved him and gave him his frozen Kong. I had a message from the office that B had a package, did I want to come get it or he could bring it up. I was gonna wait for Jay to finish his Kong and go down so I tried calling to find out how big but no one answered. Jayden finished his Kong and we headed down.

He did fine getting me to the mail and then when we were on the sidewalk, he tried to turn back. He refused to go. I probed out and nothing was there so I gave him some leash action and he walked a few steps, went to the left and put his paws up on the curb as if to show me. This was just bizarre. We never do that once we’re on the sidewalk. It’s a long straight shot. I kept getting him back on the sidewalk and finally he picked up his pace, then stopped and pooped. Ugh. He had been trying to tell me he had to go. He’s done that before, getting off the sidewalk, but he has never alerted to a curb before when he has to go so that through me. He also rarely poops in the afternoons. So I picked it up and went back home to get rid of it then we started to head back.

While I was locking my door he actually turned and faced the door instead of facing outside like he always does. He wouldn’t get into working position. He refused. So I took him back in and gave him water. That seemed to do it. When we left the house, he was eager to go like always.

It was fine until after the mail. Same thing. Only he wasn’t getting off the sidewalk. He just absolutely refused to go forward. I ran through obedience. Nothing. By this point I was just done. I needed to eat. So we turned around and came home where he promptly sprawled out and took a nap. I called the office and the manager walked the package up to us.

Jayden has seemed himself inside the rest of the day. It was just feeding time and he got all excited, jumping up and down and such. I’ve kept the water down after all that in case maybe he hasn’t been getting enough, but I don’t think that’s it.

He’s up to a half cup of Blue today, just had his second helping.

I don’t know if this is the food switch or not. I don’t know if this is normal during a food switch. One theory I have is that maybe fall here is like spring in cold country. The weather doesn’t suck. Maybe he’s got fall fever like so many dogs have spring fever. I spoke with the guide dog handler at Saavi today and his dog has been off too. So maybe that’s it?

I almost called GDB but I’m gonna give it a few days. We may or may not work tomorrow, I’ll have to see how much energy I have. It’s amazing how much it takes out of me when he’s less than stellar.

Any thoughts? I need some experience, strength and hope on this. Thanks.

13 Comments

Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, num num food, spoons, weather, working dog

Torie starts training today!

Torie is off to the hotel for two weeks to train with Ushi!! Way to go, Torie!

She’s in Ireland, if you remember me mentioning her before.

She was already matched with her dog on a few walks with the guide dog mobility instructors from her school. Now she’s off to train for two weeks at a hotel, where she just had orientation. After the two weeks, the training continues at home, where she’ll learn routes with her instructors and then qualify. Once she qualifies, she and Ushi will be a certified team. Really cool to see how it’s done!

She’ll be updating as much as she can while in class, so be sure to check out her blog. You can find her on my blog roll. It’s called, “The average blog by an average blogger” though I think she’s anything but average.

Go Torie!! Have lots of good craig and give that girl lots of hugs from Jayden and me!

10 Comments

Filed under guide dogs, plugs