Archives for November 2011

All Healed

Eleven days ago, Rogue was spayed. With Canyon still being intact, it was really important for us to have her spayed as soon as possible. Huib’s work schedule was a little on the busy side in October though, so we had to wait until she was 7 months.

Huib and I dropped her off at the vet around 7:45am on Tuesday the 15th and left her with a baby blue fleece blanket and small stuffed duck. We felt horrible about leaving her, but we knew she would be well taken care of and that we would be able to pick her up in the early evening. After I met briefly with my course instructor, we set off to do some errands. I received a call around 10:30am to let us know that her spay had gone well and that she was slowly waking up. I asked them to call me once she was ready to come home. Just an hour and a half later, my cell phone rang and I was surprised to hear the vet’s receptionist on the other end. She called to inform me that Rogue was crying and screaming in the back, letting them know how she felt about being in pain and alone. She told me that the vet had given her a homeopathic remedy for anxiety and that she seemed to be calming down now that the co-op student had gone to sit with her. She said that it was not a rush, but that if we were ready, we could come pick her up – this was over four hours before they had originally said we’d be able to get her. Huib and I both laughed at the thought of our little caramel monster telling the vet and her staff what she thought about the whole situation.

We picked Rogue up 20 minutes after I had received the call and she was so happy to see us. Once we settled her in the truck on a soft blanket, she fell asleep almost immediately. She woke up a few times during our drive home, but it seemed as though she just wanted to know we were still with her because as soon as I touched her head, she fell back asleep.

The vet gave us some Meticam to give her for the first few days we were home, but she really didn’t seem to need it so we only gave her a bit the first day. She was pretty much ready to get back to her normal routine of running and jumping the next morning, but was a really good sport about having to wear the e-collar and staying calm until the weekend. We wanted to make sure her incision had the best chance of healing well, so made her wear the e-collar for the first four days since she tends to be a bit of an obsessive licker and cleaner.

I’ll end this post with a couple of pictures from her first hours home after the long trip home.

Just A Little Snow

So far we have only had a tiny bit of snow. It’s quite unusual for this to happen.

Huib decided to take the four dogs out and try to pose them in the snow. Here’s how it went.

Canyon never has an issue with posing for the camera, as long as you don’t mind him bringing a toy along.

Cessna is so used to posing for the camera, so could care less.

Aspen doesn’t mind posing either, but she just can’t seem to look happy about it.

Rogue isn’t as good about posing for pictures…

She just can’t seem to stay still.

Hopefully he’ll have better luck when we get some more snow lol!

City Adventure

On the Saturday (12th) of our trip “down south”, we took Cessna, Rogue and my friend Kelly’s Autism Dog Services foster, Willow, into Toronto on the GO Train. Rogue and Willow were awesome on the train ride, easily settling after just a few minutes.

After a couple of hours of walking around the city, riding the subway, street cars and meeting up with Taz and Caleb for lunch, Huib and I took the girls to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, to meet up with some LFC foster puppies.

Cessna really impressed me at the Royal. She only had to wear her newtrix for the first 20 minutes and she guided like a pro. She barked at a goat and some sheep, but in her defense, they also made noise at her lol!

Rogue on the other hand, was a monster! She pulled like crazy and sniffed everything! Poor Huib was happy when we were ready to return to the city for dinner with his sister.

Escalators Are Fun!

Rogue wanted me to share some pictures from her first escalator trip.

She was such a brave little monster!

Independent Woman

I’ve never taken part in the Disability Blog Carnival, but after reading this round’s topic, I was inspired.

I lost my sight in the summer of 1993. I had just finished grade 8 and was excited to begin grade 9 at a new school. It was a total shock. My parents weren’t sure where to turn. I spent my summer indoors, trying to adapt to a life without 20/20 vision.

September arrived and students returned to school. My mom didn’t know what to do with me. She kept me home the first day, and called our region’s Board of Education. She talked to a woman in charge of organizing special services and was relieved to learn that there was a department of sorts designed to help visually impaired and blind students.

That afternoon, I met a woman who would forever change my life.

Stephanie Sommer arrived around noon. She sat with my mom and I, at the kitchen table and asked questions. She had come to assess whether I truly required her assistance. The phone rang at some point during our meeting and after watching me reach past the phone, she took my hand and placed it onto the receiver with a smile.

After mom was finished with the call, Stephanie told us she would start working with me the following day.

Over the next five years, Stephanie would teach me not only the usual lessons of Braille and getting around safely with a cane, but she would inspire me to be an independent woman.

Stephanie never once treated me like I had a disability.

She expected me to act appropriately and study just as hard as every other student in my high school.

She always expected me to give eye contact.

She wouldn’t help me unless I said please or thank you.

And if I got frustrated and attempted to give up, she’d walk away and wait for me to get over it.

Stephanie and I developed more than just a student-teacher bond, we became friends. She told me about her own vision problems and told me how she embarked on an educational journey that led her to working with students like me.

I remember the feeling of comfort that would come over me each time I smelled her perfume, and the smile that would sprout on my face, no matter how bad the day, when I heard her voice. Stephanie was my navigator, guiding me through a world I now found scary and full of unknowns.

She taught me how to read Braille and how to fully utilize the vision I still had.

She showed me how to travel safely throughout my community with a cane, and then when I told her I wanted to apply for a guide dog, she challenged me to first move outside of my comfort zone. I learned how to take the bus to a neighbouring town to attend movies and shop alone in their mall. Then, she gave me the biggest test of all, she asked me to learn how to take the bus to Toronto and then learn to take the subway to the largest mall of all (at the time) – the Eatons Centre.

Once I entered my final year of high school, Stephanie was there to help me reach my goal of attending university. She read through university brochures and program descriptions. Then she helped me fill out application, after application because I couldn’t decide on which one to attend. She was there when I received each of my letters of acceptance and then took it upon herself to arrange campus tours so that I could better decide upon the school for me.

After I began university, Stephanie and I talked a couple times a year, but after she attended my wedding in 2006, we sadly lost touch.

I still think about the lessons she taught me. She inspired me how to be the woman I am today, because when no one else did, she believed I could be better.

Beautiful Girl

This picture was taken on Johnston Green, at the University of Guelph. I like it because it shows one of the most historic buildings on the campus – Johnston Hall.

Levels Progress

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I had decided to start seriously working through Sue Ailsby’s Levels with Rogue.

Today, I thought I’d give everyone a progress report, and let everyone know where Canyon is, since we also started Level 1 recently.

Rogue has COMPLETELY passed Level 1!

Since implementing the training suggestions I received from the woman in Wyoming, Rogue quickly learned the “touch” command and her recall is improving daily.

Rogue now not only touches my palm, she literally nose-butts it lol!

We have now moved on to Level 2:
Come (from 40 feet, 2 cues)
Crate (enter, open/close door with 2 cues) – Passed
Distance (goes around a pole 2 feet away with 2 cues)
Down (from sit with 1 cue) – Passed
Down Stay (while I walk 20 feet away/back with extra cues)
Go To Mat (from 5 feet away with 2 cues)
Handling (tail, ears, feet) – Passed
Leash (loose for 1 minute with 1 distraction)
Sit (from stand with 1 cue) – Passed
Sit Stay (while I walk 20 feet away/back with extra cues)
Stand (from sit or down with 2 cues)
Stand Stay (without moving feet for 10 seconds)
Target/Touch (nose to marked end of stick with 1 cue)
Trick (can be a very simple one)
Watch (eye contact for 10 seconds with 2 voice cues)
Zen/Leave It (5 seconds in hand & 10 seconds on chair with 2 cues) – Passed

Rogue and I are still doing the short washroom training sessions to learn new things, in addition to short ones in other places to practice her Level 1 behaviours. Since I do not feel comfortable teaching her the “look” command, I have assigned that one to Huib, but have been working on: stand, sit-stay, down-stay and come.

I haven’t started the touch stick targeting yet because I’m trying to decide on a more accurate, blind-friendly way of teaching this one. I’m thinking I might use the bell we have hanging from the outside door for this because she really likes going outside and it would be useful to have her learn to touch the bell when she wants out.

I have also purchased a cheap lime green yoga mat for teaching her and later Canyon to go on to it when asked. Cessna knows this one pretty well, and has generalized it to mean going onto whatever I point to (bed, mat, chair, etc.).

As I mentioned, Canyon and I have also started to move through Level 1 together. He is really interested in having his “special” time with me, so I decided to re-start teaching him “touch”. We’ve only been working on it for two days so far, and he is already able to “touch” my right palm with one cue. He can still only do it when I have my palm right in front of him, but I think its only a matter of time before he can do it as well (maybe not as hard) as Rogue.

Once he is through Level 1, I’m thinking I might try teaching Aspen, but we’ll see what happens. Aspen is a lot more stubborn and sensitive, than the others, so I find it a little more frustrating to teach her new things.

I’ll write another Levels update when I have more to report.

We Can Pose Anywhere!

These are the sorts of things that happen around here when Huib has too many days off work in a row lol!

The $10 Puppy

Hiya,
Roagie here. Mommy wanted me to share this picture for her. Her and Daddy thought it was pretty funny to have me pose under this $10 sale sign at our local Walmart.

I didn’t think it was that funny…

Do you guys think I’m only worth $10?