Category Archives: intelligent disobedience

Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

3 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blog carnival, cats, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, monsoons, num num food, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, therapy, weather, working dog, workouts, youtube

Doggy Diaries – A Few Fun Dog Links and Brief Clicker Story

I kept two 1-800-PET-MEDS articles up today to blog about and share because I enjoyed them both. I’ve also had a youtube saved for awhile that I wanted to share but kept forgetting, so today I give you three fun dog related links.

This first one is about Dogs for the Deaf and how they’ve expanded into training service dogs for Autism and even classroom dogs. Possibly the best part? They use shelter dogs! It was heart warming to read about these dogs who might have been destined for euthanasia but instead become service dogs. How cool is that?

This next one is about teaching your dog tricks and the effect that has on the person. It is a really adorable story about how a woman trained her dogs to love her piano playing, or, ahem, something like that. Give it a read, it’s cute!

I don’t really teach Jayden tricks but I do sometimes teach him something new to either help me or enhance obedience. Either that or just turning something into a game. I recently got out the old clicker and showed Jayden that when I pat the couch and say “up!” that I want him to get on the couch. This might seem a little silly so I’ll explain.

Jayden was raised not to get on furniture unless invited. That part of his raising was apparently incredibly hardwired because there are times when he sits and stares at his side of the couch and waits for me to invite him up. Now since that’s his spot, I haven’t required him to wait until invited pretty much since bringing him home. Most of the time he gets right up when he wants but other times he refuses, to the point where I have to actually touch him and urge him up.

These aren’t moments of wanting affection, as he’s like a foot from me and sits on the floor staring at his side of the couch, sometimes even resting his chin on it. Sometimes I’m in the middle of writing something or eating or crocheting and I just need him to let himself up on the couch haha! So I did clicker training. It was so much fun for both of us. I’d have him sit facing his side of the couch, pat and say “up!” and when he jumped up I clicked and kibbled. Then I’d tell him “off” and at first he was confused like, but is this obedience? Look, I’ll lay on the couch. Haha! Then he’d finally leap off and jump around and we’d do the whole thing over. It worked like a charm! Now I just have to pat and say “up!” and he gets up. No more having to reach over and urge him up.

Then last night I thought we’d have to do the clicker training again. He sat there looking at the couch, I felt for a cat and didn’t find one so I patted and said “up!” and he wouldn’t. I repeated this a few times and he didn’t jump up. So I went to stand up and heard Timmy’s bell. Oh! He was curled up in the very corner of the couch. No wonder Jayden disobeyed haha! I moved Timmy and Jayden jumped right up. Training him is so much fun and so rewarding. I wish we could play clicker every day.

This last link might require some tissues or perhaps that was just me. The trainers at Southeastern Guide Dogs perform Trust Me Baby. I’m guessing the images are adorable. The lyrics had me sobbing the first time I heard it and when I opened the video to get the link just now I got misty all over again. The song is a take of Call Me Maybe which always gets stuck in my head when I hear it but now I get Trust Me Baby stuck in my head instead.

Hope you enjoyed the doggy links. I sure did!

4 Comments

Filed under Autism, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, plugs, puppy raisers, Timmy, video, youtube

This that and other stuff

It’s cold out and I’m leaning back on an ice pack. I don’t remember when it was, at least a year ago, that I pulled something in my back while making the bed. I think I was still having O & M lessons with Dave because I remember him telling me that sort of injury takes awhile to heal and is easy to injure again. I don’t even think I did anything specific to it this time. I don’t remember feeling that pop like I did the day I tucked the sheet and cried out in pain. This has been a gradual thing since yesterday morning. Luckily I remembered that ice was the best thing for it the first time, so I’m doing that again. I also see my massage therapist on Thursday and I can hear him now.

“Why aren’t you stretching those hammies? Didn’t I tell you to keep stretching those hammies to prevent back injuries? Didn’t I? Huh? Huh? Huh?”

Ok, he probably won’t sound like that, but he will scold me. He’s not your typical fluff and buff massage therapist. He’s more like, a muscle health drill sergeant. Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. I guarantee he will scold me about my hammies. I get in and out of the habit of stretching them daily. It’s hard to remember to stretch on days I don’t work my legs. My bad.

In other pain related news, today was probably the best I’ve felt in a long time, despite the back pain. I took the new med last night and within an hour I felt the nerve pain begin to melt away! I could actually move without staggering this morning and when I checked the weather at about ten I was shocked to find the humidity at 90%. I didn’t feel it!

Unfortunately I started to feel the waves of tension along my nerves early this afternoon while I was waiting for Carol and Georgie to come for a shopping trip. My doc wants me to take the meds at night since they may cause drowsiness, but after the holidays I’m going to experiment with taking them in the morning. If I can do that and function, they’ll work great. It doesn’t make much sense if my pain is gone while I’m sleeping and not the whole time I’m awake.

I didn’t have much energy for shopping today since we went in the afternoon, but it was still a success. I fit into a pair of designer jeans; my first ever expensive pair. I got to meet Georgie’s daughters for the first time and I told them I needed to know their voices. I called one by name and asked her to talk. She did. Then the other one. She sounded like the first. I could not tell them apart and they aren’t twins. They are super close though, and we had fun. They took off and did their own thing while the adults shopped so I didn’t get much time with them, but they were delightful kids.

I can’t hear that Christmas song, “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” now without thinking about my doc. She is the coolest doc I’ve ever known. She’s the kind of woman I’d like to go shopping with. She cracked the funniest joke during my exam on Monday but unfortunately I don’t want to write it in public. Every time I hear that song on a commercial now, I laugh inside.

I’m working on another sestina. The other one I wrote was so bad since I was just trying to get a feel for it. Today I discovered that it is supposed to be written in iambic pentameter. Wow does that make it more difficult. I love the challenge, though.

There’s a college football game being played at the Trop. It’s wrong to hear the official’s whistle and no cowbell. I miss baseball so much!

Jayden did well today but I need to remember when I go shopping to use the GL from the get go. He is so people distracted. It was easy to fix the dog distraction problem because there’s never one hundred dogs in a place but at the mall, there’s no avoiding people and the distraction is so brief it’s hard to catch and fix it with a time out or obedience. The GL fixes the problem. I’m so grateful that my GDB instructor pounded into my head to never leave home without it.

Yesterday Jayden kept me from what could have been a really bad fall. The paratransit driver pulled up next to the curb instead of the ramp for some reason when he picked me up from the Doc. I had no idea and Jayden absolutely refused to get on the van. I probed out and discovered about a six inch gap between the curb and the van steps. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if Jayden hadn’t alerted me to something I needed to be aware of before boarding. Isn’t intelligent disobedience cool???

Jay is curled up with me on the couch as I lean back on my ice. I can’t wait to go to bed soon and begin reading “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles. It was a book I had to read in high school and loved and I found it on Audible, blissfully unabridged. T minus thirty minutes.

4 Comments

Filed under Audio books, baseball, fellowship, GDB, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, random stuff, spoons, sports, treat for me, working dog, writing

#NaBloPoMo – Hazy Nothings

I am completely exhausted today so I have no real brain power left for a post. How bout a nothing stream of consciousness post? Yeah why not.

It’s almost time to feed Jayden so this will be fragmented. An Offspring song is playing. Do you ever have a day where you’re in such a daze it almost feels like the day didn’t or isn’t happening? That’s how I feel today. I’m so tired.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was in so much pain I couldn’t get back to sleep. A storm system is moving out and the constant change in the weather lately is killing me. I haven’t been able to afford a massage since I think the beginning of Octoberish so ouch. Add all the cleaning I’ve done, moving furniture and scrubbing and ugh. It’s not pretty.

Thank goodness for the bum cushion. The pain would be world’s worse if I didn’t have that. Bum cushion? Yeah, I don’t feel like finding the link right now. Maybe by the time I go to publish this, I’ll go find it.

I think Silverchair is playing now. Yep, Silverchair.

Anyway, back to the hazy day. The hours seem thin, thinking back on them. The day doesn’t seem to have any substance, like trying to remember a dream. It’s like thinking back on my past and straining to remember what happened in a blackout. Ok it’s not THAT bad; I do remember today for the most part. I’m just so tired.

I had plans to go to Gamma’s today since we skipped Sunday due to weather. Oops, it’s Jay’s feeding time.

Ok so yeah, Gamma’s today. Gamma invited Aunt B too, so she picked me up. This morning I walked around like a zombie getting ready. I remember talking to Georgie on the phone, and discovering a product on Amazon didn’t have free shipping anymore. Sad making. If it doesn’t have free shipping, I don’t buy it. I remember almost falling over in the shower, on the curtain side not the wall side. That would have been bad.

Once we got to Gamma’s I was ok, just felt tired. Then Jayden kept me from running into a wall and he wasn’t even working. I had him on leash after taking him outside. I love it when he leash works.

After we ate and chatted Aunt B and I headed out. It was nice not to have to take paratransit as originally planned. Jayden kept me from falling off the steps of the front porch. Geez, I was so incredibly out of it.

Luckily I had prepared coffee before I left, sensing I’d practically need a coffee IV upon arriving home. I brewed it and then the afternoon gets really hazy. I don’t even really remember what I read online. I know I tested a site for someone on the accessibility list which I shouldn’t have done in such a state. Then ‘American Pie’ started playing and I remembered audio I promised for a Twitter friend. I don’t know how I even managed to do that. I suppose things you do on a regular basis can be done on auto pilot. I’ve literally felt stoned today and I absolutely despise that feeling.

It’s kinda funny if you saw me walk right now, all herby jerky, kinda like buffering audio. Funny when I’m not stuck on the scary. Times like these make me wonder if the MS is waking but I really think it’s just the perfect combo of ever changing weather, not sleeping well last night and built up pain from no massages in awhile. I think the gym will help tomorrow, if I don’t talk myself out of going. Don’t talk yourself out of going, tomorrow Ro.

I hear voices outside and Ozzy Osborne is singing.

Oh it’s two nights now with the veggie medley. So good, so so good. The cubed cheddar really adds just the perfect amount of flavor. It’s yummy. Tomorrow’s a weigh-in day though I really don’t expect two nights of eating veggies to make much of a difference. We shall see. I was 156 at the last weigh-in. Target of 150. So close, so so close.

A jet is flying over. I love that sound. Oh it’s rumbling! I can feel it in my stomach. Love it!

No more tears, sings Ozzy.

It’s 4:46 pm. Can I go to bed yet? Not for a few hours. I’m listening to a collection of short stories by Stephen King. Fun stuff. One of them referred to a thirty two year old woman is being in early middle age. Early middle age? Ouch. I’m thirty-two. Early middle age? Oh well, at least I’ll always picture myself at twenty-nine. I think I will get relevant links for this post. It’s the least I can do. I’m not THAT hazy. I really do feel like I’m trying to recount a dream, thinking about my day today. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands.

Just added the two links. Now the sentences about not finding the links don’t make sense. But they shall stay since it’s my blog and I’ll leave them if I want to. Stone Temple Pilots are singing now. I need to do another audio blog. Got lots of good response to that. I didn’t get any comments on the, oh great we need another link, playing with Jayden audio I did yesterday.

Who’s this singing now, I can’t tell. Siri? Siri where are you? Oh right, I don’t have you. Alex, check iTunes please, who’s this? Aerosmith? Wow, this is very early Aerosmith. Doesn’t sound like them.

I’m gonna go listen for typos and see if anything else comes to mind.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alex, Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, family, Gamma, humor as coping skill, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, spoons, The Nothing, twitter me this, weather, working dog, youtube

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.

6 Comments

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

Doggy Diaries – Intelligent Disobedience

Last Sunday at Gamma’s, when I took Jayden out to relieve him, I tried going forward from her back door instead of to the right, because to the right there’s shade and forward was sun. During the summer, we obviously went where the shade was, but it’s cold now so I wanted sun.

Jayden brought me to the edge of the patio but when I told him forward, he wouldn’t budge. Gamma is always warning me about that spot because some briks have come loose, but I figured Jayden would get me around them. Well, he decided that wasn’t smart, and refused. When I gave in and told him right, he obeyed.

Gamma was happy that Jayden had the same opinion as she. It was either that, or he just wanted to go to his normal spot. We’ll never know.

Then today as we headed to the laundry to switch the loads, Jayden began pulling. I thought he saw a dog or something and was telling him to steady. He didn’t listen. In fact he sped up. Then I heard the car.

I had heard it in the distance, but figured we’d get to our sidewalk before the car got there. Nope. Apparently some people think it’s fine to speed in apartment complexes. The car was leaving so it would have turned before reaching us, or so I thought. It actually drove past us, but by that point, Jayden had hurried to the sidewalk to get us out of the road.

It was just like the traffic checks at school, when the hybrid comes at you and the dog has to speed up. I remember the instructors telling us to pay attention and if your dog speeds up and you’re where cars could be, you’d better follow.

I don’t think the car would have hit us. But you just never know. I love how cautious he is! If there’s a moving car anywhere in sight, he won’t move. He likes to know what the car will do before he takes a step. Such a good boy!

He also really makes laundry fun. This morning when he heard me get the laundry cart out, he came tearing into the room all excited. He definitely makes the chore much more fun. 🙂

Right before I finished writing this, I took Jayden outside for a grooming. Holy lots of fur Batman. Then I got out the Wubba and he tore around the house with it haha! I don’t know how he runs that fast without bumping in to anything.

3 Comments

Filed under Doggy Diaries, Gamma, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, laundry, traffic check, 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!

2 Comments

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

Doggy Diaries – I have the best guide dog ever

Ok my guide dog is the best and that’s all there is to it haha!

Dave and I have had to get a little creative in the route to the store because the initial way we tried things, what looked like the best way, just wasn’t the best way at all. Jayden hated it and I couldn’t figure out why until I did it with my cane. When you’re thinking about a route from a cane user’s perspective, there’s not as much space to consider. But when I did while heeling Jayden and thinking about the space on the left side of my body, I instantly knew it was a no go.

We had to make a right turn into a driveway. We had to shoreline a curb and unfortunately there was no way to not walk in the driveway. It’s a fairly narrow driveway, really only enough room for a car to leave or come in. I remember trying to go into the driveway when a car was coming out and it was a really tight fit. So right turners trying to go into that driveway are right on top of you if you’re walking it. To make matters worse, the roade there is huge with lots of traffic and when that light is green, the cars are going fast. You’ve got people avoiding backed up cars by squeezing into what will eventually be the right turn lane and people trying to drive in and out of that driveway there. It’s pretty crazy. So after I did it with the cane while heeling Jayden, there was no way I was going to risk him being on the left of me there. Sound is deafened as soon as you make the right and he can’t see behind us. Not gonna do it. Nope. Agreeing with Jayden on this one.

So Dave went and scoped it out and the only other good option was to cross that driveway and continue up to the intersection, making a moving right and coming in the other driveway on the other side of the store. It adds a good distance to the walk, but it’s much safer.

So we spent a lesson patterning it, just doing sighted guide while I heeled Jayden. As a sightie, Dave saw what he thought was the best way to tackle it from that direction, so we practiced that. What Dave saw was coming up a sidewalk then crossing the parking lot to a little island thing with a wheel chair ramp. It’s great for a wheelchair, but it’s a really narrow little path with about five inches on either side.

Today we did it and let Jayden work it. We drove down there and walked up the road back towards home then turned around. I was a little worried about this spot near the intersection that has some textured rock because when we patterned it, Jayden dragged on it. We set off and Jayden thought I’d want to make that right turn so he hesitated until he figured out I didn’t want to go that way and then he was like sweet! Haha! So we crossed the driveway and went towards the intersection. I wish I could describe this thing to do it justice. I’ll just say that when Don came from GDB he took one look at it and said, “I don’t want a guide dog in that intersection.” He was relieved when I told him it wasn’t a necessary crossing. So that might help you imagine how loud it is. If Don was like yeah no, there’s a good reason. The thing is huge and traffic moves incredibly fast. It’s LOUD.

So we get to that textured rock and Jayden did fine. He was hesitant until he knew that was what I wanted and we continued around the bend. It’s a really gradual right turn. We reached the second driveway and here there’s a sidewalk, so you’re not stuck making the right in the driveway. There’s a steep ramp after a hard right. Jayden remembered the spot from the patterning and made the right but he took it really fast and I kinda wobbled when my foot tried to fall off the sidewalk. So we reworked it after I showed him the spot and told him careful. We came up on it and he stopped and angled his body right, making sure I’d clear it. Wow.

We continued on and instead of going to that island Dave thought was a good idea, Jayden went to the upcurb and stopped. Dave said that was fine, but coming back might be tricky to get the right spot.

Walking on the side of the store, there’s poles and signs and such. Jayden stopped at every one to make sure I kenw it was there. Then we made the left and he took me right to the doors.

Words cannot describe how happy I was and the kind of praise he got along with the kibble lol. We went inside briefly and then made our way back.

Dave tried to get us to walk down the island but Jayden wouldn’t have it. He literally put his body in front of me. Dave had me take his arm so we could walk it and when you get to the end, you have to veer left instead of just the nice straight shot from the curb. I didn’t like it and I know Jayden didn’t. Dave came around, realizing that if Jayden or I make a mistake, I could fall off that island and break and ankle. So we went back to the door and worked on targeting the spot on the down curb that is a straight shot across the parking lot to our sidewalk. Then we went back to the doors and let Jayden see if he knew where to go.

He freakin nailed it! Now, there’s nothing there, no landmark, nothing for me to know this is where we need to cross the parking lot. I showed him once and when I felt him veer left and I stuck out my foot, we were on the down curb and Dave said it was the perfect spot.

Again we had a big celebration haha!

So we crossed the parking lot and did our zig to the sidewalk and back to the steep decline. When we come off that it’s a hard left but Jayden wanted to keep going. Um, no honey, that’s the road. So I halted and did a left and he took me back the way we came just perfectly.

I was so incredibly impressed with him today. It was only the second time he’d seen that route and only the first time he’d worked it and he did great. He is so smart, choosing the better way, the way that niether Dave nor I would have guessed. Jayden will do something and Dave’s like, yeah that makes more sense.

He is so freakin smart and we are just clicking more and more. Will I ever stop being amazed?

I need to figure out how to contact my instructers at school. They each played a part, but my main guy, Gary, is the one I owe the most credit too. He’s the one who worked with me most, he’s the one who taught me how to handle Jayden. Gary along with Pete and Ben. Thank you!! I think I’ve got a reader from GDB, so if you can let me know how to reach those guys, I’d really appreciate it.

Ok, I think that’s about it for now, just really had to brag on my boy. We’re handling the heat pretty well. We just have to do our walks pretty early so we don’t die.

Oh and the frozen Kong is so perfect to give him when we get home. He has to work on it, so it cools him off and keeps him from running to the water. All he wants is that frozen Kong when we get back, so he ignores the water for a bit so by the time he drinks, he’s not chugging it which is good.

Ok, really done now.

7 Comments

Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, GDB, gratitude, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, white cane, working dog

Doggy Diaries – The handler is broken

It’s been an icky couple of weeks. Well really only about a week and a half. I can’t remember if I blogged about injuring my back. It was so stupid, making the bed and pulling something. That was last Saturday. I started alternating heat and ice and trying to stretch it out. I worked out the following Monday but took it really easy, then worked out Wednesday but ended up just walking on the treadmill. I talked with a massage therapist at Saavi and he gave me a stretch and it helped a ton. Did laundry and some cleaning on Thursday and screwed my back up again. Talked to a friend who does physical therapy and she said if it’s inflammation, the heat was making it worse, so I switched to ice and sure enough, that fixed it.

I decided to play it safe though, and didn’t work out yesterday. That was a good decision, as Aunt Flo arrived for her monthly visit and I must have royally pissed her off because yesterday was awful.

I got a really bad dizzy spell in the morning. B had just left for work and I almost called him to come back, but my phone was in the other room and I couldn’t stand. I was covered in sweat and just kept hanging my head between my legs. Finally my legs decided to carry me and I made it to the couch and my water and phone and just sat and let it pass. After ibuprofin and the heating pad on my belly I felt better but was seriously drained.

So Jayden and I had cuddle time on the couch while I listened to a movie. He is such a good cuddler! He was on the couch next to me with his butt near the arm and his head on my lap and there was enough room for me to turn sideways and put my legs up next to him, so he was swaddled between my legs and the back of the couch. He turned on his side and pushed into me. It was sooo nice. He makes these little content noises, little grunts as he pushes into me. It was wonderful and really helped me relax after the dizzy spell.

This morning we went out with Dave and before we set out anywhere, I told him what had happened. He asked if I take a vitamin and I admitted I don’t, and I’m pretty sure I’m anemic. I need to start taking One-A-Day for women. Between the having to rest my stupid back and Aunt Flo, I’m in bad shape. He said I could work out tomorrow, but just walk and stretch, no lifting. Bah. I know that the way I’m feeling is because I haven’t been able to work out as hard as I’ve been, but Dave said while my back is feeling better, it’s probably not totally healed. So it’s either be careful now or be down even longer. I don’t know how to care for an athlete’s body haha!

In Jayden news, he’s doing great. I have been doing daily obedience with him, but switching it up. He never knows when I’ll do it or what I’ll ask for. He gets all excited when I put on the treat pouch haha. Also, the frozen Kong is like crack. I freeze one every night. I’ve started craming kibble down in there and wetting it, then carefully adding some more with some water and laying it on it’s side, so it ends up with frozen kibble shoved down in there and then some frozen kibble on the side. All I have to say is, “do you want a frozen Kong?” and he goes nuts. He starts jumping up and down and runs into the kitchen. I get it out and he’s panting and going nuts and I have him run through obedience and then give it to him. He takes it and runs around the house and then settles in to eat. It’s so fun haha!

This morning on our walk, we got to a curb and I had to sit down. Then I got dizzy when I stood, so we chose an easier route back home where Jayden can just shoreline a long curb. I heard a car behind us and it’s just a driveway in the complex. So we’d be on the left of the car as it drove passed. Jayden stopped dead until it passed. He’s such a good boy. He takes absolutely no chances.

That’s really about it as far as Jayden goes. He continues to be perfect. He sleeps free now right next to my bed and our new thing at night is I hang over the side of the bed and he gives me kisses before we settle in. I love him!

In other news, I did a Safari update and now it sucks. Right after I did the update last week, I had written a long blog post and Safari died. It had never done that. And now, the text edit fields aren’t behaving the same way. It used to be I could interact with text and then arrow down line by line to edit. It won’t let me do that now. If I want to edit I have to go word by word. I can’t just easily find a mistake. So now I’m composing blogs in a text document. Gonna have to memorize the code for links. Pain in the butt. This takes me back to hating to install Windows updates. I haven’t had the energy to go check out Mac Visionaries and see if anyone else is having the problem.

In baseball news, the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees last night, putting the Rays and Red Sox only a half game out of first. We didn’t play last night. Tonight we’re back at home to take on the San Diego Padres, who lead the National League West. We have a three game series with them and then the D-backs come to the Trop. I hope they keep beating the Yankees here in AZ but then stop winning when they go to the Trop.

There’s lots of turmoil over the Rays moving. The owner says if they won’t move to Tampa he might sell or move the Rays out of Florida. I’m only getting snippets of all this on Twitter for the time being.

I move that the Rays come to Arizona. We need an American league team. So we have the Arizona Diamondbacks, how bout the Mesa Rays? Phoenix Rays? Scottsdale Rays? Eh, none of them have a good ring.

I was in baseball withdrawl last night, but they’re back tonight.

Ok, I think that’s about it. I should blog more often so I don’t need to write such monsters.

Alrighty then, just tried to publish, and the same thing happened. When I clicked show all for the labels, Safari died. Crapolla. Let’s try this again.

Ok, every time I click “show all” Safari dies. Sent a report to Apple explaining that. Grrr. Guess I’ll enter labels from memory.

10 Comments

Filed under apple Inc, baseball, Doggy Diaries, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, spoons, workouts

Doggy Diaries – Soap, treats and the hill, oh my!

This will be long, so fill your beverage and grab a snack haha!

I gotta start off by saying that I won a drawing on a blog! Here is the link to the post about me winning. Toby’s raiser makes soap from goat’s milk, and not just any goats, her very own goats. So I won two bars of goat’s milk soap, but not just any bars of soap, they’ve got carvings on them! I didn’t feel one of them yet, but the one I took out of it’s pretty wrapping has a dog laying down with a bone nearby and I can actually feel the texture of the hair on the dog’s body. Very cool! Toby’s raiser didn’t carve them herself, but she made the soap, and it’s so soft and silky with a really light pretty scent. She also included a bag of dog treats for Jayden, little paw shaped treats that are a little chewy. Jayden gobbled one last night and then wanted more haha! So that was so cool to win that and B read me the card that Toby’s raiser included, which was very sweet, with descriptions of the soap. I thought maybe the treats would come in handy for high value rewards.

If you’re not familiar with high value rewards, they are for use when a dog does a behavior you’re really pleased with. Either something new, or something you’ve had difficulty with. I had heard about jackpot rewards because the cds mentioned them before I went to school. Basically a jackpot is just more kibble or whatever you’re using. So like when Jayden targets a new thing, I give him a jackpot. I also give him a jackpot at the mail and at the front door, every time, so he’ll do anything to get me to those places.

A high value is some kind of really tasty different treat. At school when we did recalls, my instructor used broken up Iams biscuits. So these treats from Toby’s raiser were gonna be perfect. So, on to today.

Dave picked us up and asked where I wanted to go. I had an odd request, because I needed dog food. I’m not used to having dogs lol. Gotta get in the habit of planning ahead for food. I still had a few days worth, but really wanted to get it and I did not want to go to the pet store on a weekend. So we drove to Petco but they didn’t open until 10. So we went over to Petsmart. Luckily they’re close together, and they opened at 9. Sweet. Good thing I had my Gentle Leader haha! As soon as we got out of the car, Jayden was distracted by another dog and wouldn’t heel so I could get into guiding position. So he got the GL. It was definitely a great obedience lesson and Dave was impressed how just the sound of my voice snapped Jayden out of any distractions. He didn’t need any corrections, just vocal cues. Turns out the Petsmart has a clinic, one of those concierge type ones, can’t remember the name. But they have a scale you can use, so we went back so I could get Jayden’s weight. He’s right where he’s supposed to be yay! Then we went and checked out the food and Dave saw how confusing the Science Diet can be haha! It was on sale, bonus! So we went to check out and Jayden popped out of his sit twice, which earned a correction and then he sat the whole rest of the time I was checking out.

We came back home and dropped off the food and then went to tackle the hill. Don had told me to get out my cane the next time Jayden was hesitant to go down the road, so my plan was to use the cane and stop periodically and give a high value to try and make it more positive. I had my cane folded up in my pocket and we worked out to the spot. A car came and Jayden wouldn’t budge, good boy. We worked to the first curb then the second then walked down next to it and got to where he usually stops. And he didn’t stop. He kept walking. Holy crap. I’m saying YAY really loud and saying good boy and I thought about stopping to give a high value but I didn’t want to stop him so at the bottom of the hill we had a party! He got two high values and lots of love and praise. Then we crossed the road and went back up and when we got home, we had another party with more high values. Wow!! Dave and I were both shocked. Dave was wondering if maybe Jayden had gotten “warmed up” at Petsmart, but I think really what it might have been was all that obedience there. I was really firm with him there, so maybe it just reinforced that I’m the alpha? I have no idea. Thoughts?

So I was just so happy and I called Don and left him a message when I got home. Jayden proceeded to stretch out on the tile and pass out for awhile haha! It was already pretty warm by the time we got home.

My maintenence guy came over a little bit later because my sink had gotten clogged. Actually the disposal had gotten clogged, so when I ran water on that side, it backed up into the dishwasher and was leaking yesterday. So Jayden got all excited because he was actually able to say hi since he wasn’t in harness. I did put him on his leash though so he’d leave the maintenence guy alone while he worked haha. I had to run the dishwasher empty with some bleach in it because it smelled rotten, so now I’m finally running it full of dishes. I’ve been a slacker when it comes to my kitchen.

At Petsmart, I also picked up some more Kong cookies, liver flavor this time. So Jayden just enjoyed one of those. He gets that cookie out in like seven minutes, no matter how hard I cram it down in there. Now he’s curled up next to me on the couch, relaxing after a day’s hard and wonderful work!

Oh and the school had called to follow up on my experiences there, so that was really good to get that taken care of. It’s always so hard to talk negatively about anyone, but it’s so important that the person involved knows what’s up, so that things aren’t repeated. So I feel really good about that and it also just showed me even more how much GDB cares about their students, so that was another really positive thing that happened today. Now I’m tired, time for coffee 😉

4 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, num num food, plugs, traffic check, transitioning, weather, white cane, working dog