Wyoming Trip: Blind Man’s Chicken

Friday was a good day.

Soleil came down and woke me up around 6:30 by jumping on the bed and giving me tons of kisses. It is so funny to see how excited she is about life.

after breakfast we got ready to do some solo work.

Robin explained the route and then I offered to go first. We were going to set off at 5 minute intervals, so the dogs would have a chance to work without help.

Rogue and I did really well. we found our curbs, we made our turns when they came and we figured out any confusing spots. at the second crossing, we accidentally went up someone’s driveway instead of the sidewalk, so once I felt the brick wall in front of me, I asked Rogue to turn around and then we made our way back to the curb, so we could try again. The next area we had some trouble was when we walked down a road that has a number of really defined driveways, it felt as though we were stopping at curbs each time we crossed one, so when we stopped at the first down-curb of the driveway, I was confused, so I had Rogue turn around and then we walked back to the last crossing to figure out what went wrong. When I got close to the crossing, I heard roxy and Soleil, so I had Rogue move over and we let them pass us and then I waited a couple of minutes before proceeding on. We had actually been doing okay, I just didn’t realize how defined the driveways were going to be. Once we passed all four, I began asking Rogue to “find the chair”. she walked right to the curb at the next road, so I had her turn around and then decided to try asking her to “find the bus” and she did. It was a really cool experience to be working solo with Rogue and succeeding in our mission to find the meeting spot.

Once we got back to Robin’s driveway, we all decided to trade dogs and see how it feels to walk a short block. I tried walking with Sherman, the male standard poodle, first. Sherman walks a lot slower than Rogue and is a lot taller and longer, so it was a really interesting experience. I think Sherman would be an awesome dog to go window shopping with.

After I got back to the driveway, I took soleil for a spin. walking with her was similar to walking with Rogue, but she is a bit shorter and Roxy is shorter than me, so the guide handle is short. I had a bit of trouble finding my groove with her and we missed the down-curb, but we survived and I think Roxy and I are going to try switching dogs tomorrow.

Both Roxy and Robin say Rogue is a really good dog and that her work is superb. robin says that once I refine my precision, Rogue’s work will shine. they say Rogue is stubborn and manipulative, so I need to wait her out and be more firm in my requests. This is something Huib has also been trying to work on with me, so hopefully with practice, I’ll finally master it.

Robin wants me to try talking less and to stop fidgeting when we’re stopped because she didn’t find Rogue as bad as I told her she was about standing straight and not moving at curb edges.

I’ve got some work to do. It’s really nice though to hear that my dog will work amazingly well with someone who has more precise movements and requests. It makes me even more motivated to work on being still and quiet.

In the afternoon we did some traffic checks, or “blind man’s chicken” as Roxy likes to call it.

Robin and Sherman went out first. Bill was driving their van and their daughter-in-law was driving her car. We had to walk around their cal neighbourhood while bill and april tried to block our path and run us down. Sherman did amazingly well, which wasn’t a surprise.

When it was our turn, I asked Rogue to take me to the curb at the end of the driveway and then to turn right. When we were walking down the block, we came upon a car parked across the sidewalk in their driveway, so after rogue showed me, I asked her to ‘forward’ and she…turned left…stopped at the curb and then proceeded to walk along the back of the car…and then went back up onto the sidewalk and continued our route. Shortly after that, we had another vehicle parked too close to the sidewalk, so Rogue took me as close to the road as needed and walked around it before returning to the path. At the next street, we crossed over diagonally, which was not supposed to happen. they live in an oddly shaped neighbourhood, so when Rogue showed me the curb, we were at a curve in the sidewalk and not quite at the actual crossing spot. So, even though we didn’t do the crossing correctly, we did go curb to curb the way we were lined up, so maybe that’s a sort of win??

After bill came over and directed me back to where robin and Sherman were waiting, I proceeded along the route and came across a car that turned in front of us, a few more vehicles blocking sidewalk access and a car honking it’s horn as it raced behind us. I probably missed describing some of the tests we went through, but in all cases rogue was an absolute super hero!! She did everything smoothly and when we were cut off or whatever, I often didn’t even notice, I either wondered if I was imagining things or it was done so easily that we didn’t even break stride. I really think we’re going to be okay with anything we encounter at home.

Last to go was Roxy and Soleil. roxy encounters a lot of aggressive driving and people using their horns a lot, so she asked bill and April to be a little more scary looking and sounding.

I am happy to report that we have all lived to see another day.

In the evening we returned to the capital building and met up with robin’s friend who has a one and a half year old blood hound named boo. I have never seen a blood hound before, so I asked Becky and she let me feel boo. he is really neat, I love his ears! they are SO big! rogue was a bit excited to see him, so before we got out of the van I put her Halti on and then took it back off a few minutes later because she calmed down. After the greetings were done, we walked back towards the big staircase at the capital building because Roxy wanted to practice them now that she had a proper stability handle. rogue did really well on the stairs. When she showed me the first step up, I moved over to the railing and asked her to show me it. she got really excited about that and even jumped up to put her paws on the top, lol! Once we reached the top, I turned around and asked her to show me the railing, which she did by jumping up again, lol! I am going to work on this cue because I am thinking it might make stairs a bit less scary because I will know Rogue is focused on showing me the railing first and not just on showing me the edge of the staircase.

after we finished with the stairs, the wind began to pick up, so we decided to do a really quick loop along the sidewalks in the area. rogue did well at avoiding all of the planters and at showing me the various grates along the way, lol! She really hates grates, it doesn’t matter how easy it is to step over, she just stops dead in her tracks. At one point along our walk, Rogue stopped and Bill came up and said he thought it was really cool to see her showing me that there was a sidewalk to my left, even though the intersection itself was a few metres further ahead. I asked him how he thought I could teach her to make more of a signal for me to understand what she’s showing me, he suggested I ask Robin about it. Once everyone had caught up, we turned and walked back towards the intersection that would take us to the van. rogue stopped to show me exactly where we had entered the capital building, which Bill also thought was neat, so we used the spot to wait for the others.

Oh, I forgot. Rogue saw a SQUIRREL along our route and was SO excited about it, but I got her to sit, target my hand, target my hip and lie down, so she quickly reigned her head.

robin came down to talk to me before bed about how Rogue and I are doing. she thinks Rogue is amazing and that Huib and I did a really good job with her training. she says that I need to work on being more black and white with her for a while before I start asking her to learn new skills like showing me places we’d already visited or paths that are branching off the sidewalk. She said that the problems we’re having seem to stem from the fact that I am not as confident since losing more sight 3 years ago and more hearing along with it. She said that we’re going to do some cane work (blah!) next week and she’ll give me some tips for recognizing useful landmarks when walking since before, I used my sight to follow the grass and pavement lines. She said that our issues are very minor and when I asked her “If I were to give you Rogue right now forever, would you feel safe working with her?”, she said absolutely! I am SO proud of my Rogie Monster, she’s been such an amazing teacher and friend.

I am going to close this entry by making a public promise to Rogue. Rogue, I promise to work hard at improving my orientation skills and I promise to work even harder at regaining my confidence. It’s the least I can do to repay you for all you’ve given me since you came into my life.

Wyoming Trip: Lots of Confusion

Everyone was dragging yesterday except for me. I woke up around 7am and other than needing a couple of coffees, I was good to go until midnight (Cheyenne time).

In the morning we visited the Wyoming capital building, which was interesting. bill parked the van and then we all walked a long block, crossed a street and then walked a bit before getting to a long set of stairs.

Rogue seems to be improving a lot on her curb approaches. Maybe it’s because I am now starting to use my left foot to probe for position, rather than my right. Or, maybe she sees what the other dogs are doing and is learning from observation. A couple of times we had to inch up to the edge of a curb because Sherman and Soleil were already there, but we really never had to inch up when it was just us.

Rogue showed me the bottom of the stairs perfectly. I want to practice having her target the railing if there is one at a staircase, so we won’t need to inch along the top or bottom to find it, but that will just take time. She is already targeting the railings at school, but I haven’t really named the behaviour, so that is probably most of my issue with getting her to generalize it to other places – WHOOPSIE!!!

At the top of the stairs, before we entered the building, there was a funky door. We had to step up, then Rogue had to back up and off the step in order for the door not to hit her paws. She did it perfectly!

In the capital building, we did a lot of just walking around. It was a bit confusing at times, so poor Bill had to either retrieve Roxy and Soleil or Rogue and myself.

Bill and Robin are an adorable couple. You can see how much Bill loves her in the way he watches her closely to make sure she is okay before he worries about the rest of us. I’m not sure, but maybe Huib’s like that too. I think it’s hard to notice things like that when it’s you and not someone you are with.

Rogue is doing quite well with her ‘follow’ cue, so most times it was me who caused the confusion with finding out which direction Robin went. Rogue would tell me we needed to turn or move over some direction and I would assume she was just getting bored with following and ask her to continue walking forward – WHOOPSIE!!

We did a couple of elevators and a few sets of stairs. Rogue did well at telling me there was stairs ahead, I just need to work on listening. We never tripped though, I was just really hesitant at moving towards them when I knew they were coming, or got worried some were near when Rogue would stop and I wasn’t sure what she was trying to show me.

I really don’t understand why I am so scared of stairs. I haven’t fallen down any stairs since I was in high school and working with my cane. All three of my previous guides were good at keeping me safe on stairs, so I don’t get why I am so fearful with Rogue.

Rogue needs to irk on walking over grates and metal plates because she will stop and refuse to move or she’ll jump over, making me nervous because I don’t know what we will encounter on the other side.

After finishing in the capital building we made our way back to the sidewalks that would lead us to a building with a revolving door. Poor bill was pretty exhausted yesterday, so his directions weren’t always the clearest, so at one point Rogue and I ended up walking into a corner, lol! She stopped though, I didn’t hit the corner, so that’s a good thing, right?

we didn’t end up doing a revolving door though because the building got rid of it. We were all getting kind of frustrated with the wind and stuff, so we decided to call it a session and head back for lunch.

In the evening we decided to take it easy and just took the dogs to a local feed store for some distraction work. We also had a chance to check out the numbers dog related stuff. Roxy got Soleil an elk antler and I got Rogue a new tug toy. The toy is made by Kong and consists of a blue rubber doughnut that squeaks and has a rope that leads to a handle for me to hold. I brought it down to our area when we got back to the house and Rogue wanted badly to check it out. We played tug for a few minutes and then went back upstairs. I am always looking for new and interesting tug toys for rogue since it’s her favourite game and she doesn’t really enjoy just tugging on a rope.

After dinner, Robin worked on modifying soleil’s harness so Roxy will have a counter-balance handle in addition to the guide handle. I got to check it out when it was done and I think it’s a pretty awesome idea.

Overall, I think thursday was a good day for both Rogue and I. We had some problems with navigation, but that part is my job, not hers.

Wyoming Trip: Oh…The Veering!

Welcome to boot camp.

Our first trip of the day was to a strip mall and older neighbourhood. Rogue did quite well navigating through the strip mall, but seems to have a bit of a bad habit of cuing off the other dogs, so Bill and I hung back and made Rogue work things out herself.

The sidewalks in the older neighbourhood were cracked, buckled and had various types of curb-cuts and obstacles. Rogue did well with the obstacles and was really careful on the sidewalks, slowing down to show me cracks and drops.

We had a lot of trouble with right side tendencies and veering though. It was SO frustrating!! near the end of the walk, I was so frustrated that i actually cried…SO embarrassing!

After lunch and a bit of rest, we set off for Sam’s Club because it was raining and thundering.

At Sam’s, we practiced stays with distractions, having our dogs walk around one another, walk past while the other was in a stay and a bit of recall. Rogue was awesome!! I think having the afternoon outing be such a success made my day end on a really good note, boosting my confidence.

Robin and I chatted in the evening about the issues I am having and she gave me a few suggestions to try out. She also thinks it would be neat to try out one another’s dog, so that should be really different, because Sherman is a big standard poodle and Rogue is a small female lab.

Wyoming Trip: Leaving On A Jet Plane

Don’t worry, we’ll be coming back again.

Early Tuesday morning, Huib and I woke up, took showers and got the Orlando ready to go to Pearson International Airport. Rogue and I were due to board the 8:15 flight to Denver.

At the airport, Huib and Dad walked us to terminal one, where we were met by a special services person from Air Canada. Huib and Dad were not allowed to pass through security, so after saying our goodbyes, Rogue and I followed the Air Canada person.

Rogue was awesome! She never once turned to see why Huib wasn’t joining us, she just guided me with complete confidence. We dropped our suitcase off at baggage checkin and then I had to remove various items to go through security – of course I beeped.

I was surprised that the security person didn’t ask me to take Rogue’s harness off or to have her come through the detectors alone. The lady just felt each of us lightly and then passed her wand over.

Around 7:30, Rogue and I finally reached the gate, where we waited for another Air Canada person to come escort us onto the plane. Usually the staff take persons with disabilities from place to place on a cart, but the woman who escorted us from security to the gate told me that whoever was driving the carts said they didn’t feel it was safe for Rogue. I really didn’t mind though. It was a bit of a walk, but it was also a good walk for Rogue before she would need to lie calmly on the plane for close to 4 hours.

Once our flight was called, a woman came over and escorted Rogue and I to the plane, where a flight attendant took us to our seat. Even though I was not sitting where the attendant thought I should be, bulkhead, Rogue had a good amount of space to just relax. She slept the entire flight, only getting up when people began moving around.

Once we landed, a flight attendant came to escort us to the doors, where a guy waited to take us to baggage, where our friends were waiting.

It was so awesome to finally meet Robin, Roxy and Bill for the first time in person. Bill helped me get my suitcase off the carousel and then we walked over to where Robin and Roxy were waiting with their dogs Sherman and Soleil.

After piling into the van, we made our way to Cheyenne, which is about an hour and a half or so from Denver.

At Robin and Bill’s house, we let the dogs play and then got ready to take the dogs out on their first walk in the area.

Rogue and I had some trouble with the funky curb-cuts in the area, but otherwise we did quite well.

I think this trip is going to be awesome for both of us because we are together without Huib and because both Robin and Roxy are willing to help us work out some of the kinks.

Rogue Is Freedom

This is my submission for the 15th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival.

According to the free online dictionary, freedom is:
“1. the state of being free, or
2. exemption from external control.”

Therefore, Rogue is FREEDOM.

Rogue joined our family on June 10th, 2011 but even before her arrival she had begun to set me free.

Five months before picking up Rogue I lost most of my usable vision, and in the process, lost myself. I had always been a confident person. Even after being with Huib for over a decade, I still found it difficult to ask for help…I never wanted him to see me as dependent. When my vision changed and I no longer saw the same way, my world fell apart. I was scared. I didn’t know how I would ever learn to get around on my own again. It was easier to just go places with Huib or other people.

When we learned that Cessna was developing cataracts I knew I was going to need to seriously think about a successor. I had tossed around the idea of owner-training, but it wasn’t until this diagnosis that I really thought about it. I had less vision now than when I got Cessna, so I thought it would be better to return to Dog Guides for a successor, but Huib said he was confident in my abilities, so he convinced me to take the plunge.

This decision marked the beginning of rogue’s journey with me towards freedom.

Huib and I had raised two puppies for Autism dog Services, so knew we needed to expose our new puppy to as many people and experiences as possible from the start. We knew some of the more basic commands we needed to teach, and had an idea of the guiding skills our trainee would need to learn. We had no clue how we were going to accomplish this though. We knew lots of people who were blind and had a guide dog, but we didn’t know anyone who had raised and trained their dog themselves. So I got on the computer and started to look for service dog blogs and service dog handlers who had owner-trained. I found several people in the United States and began asking them questions.

if it weren’t for Rogue, I’m not sure I would have ever had the desire or courage to reach out to so many strangers, many of whom have now become very good friends.

Through my research and discussions, I was able to develop a preliminary training plan. I say preliminary because over the past three years I have had to make changes in order to fit our needs.

Rogue and I have had our ups and our downs. owner-training is like an addiction, even when are hitting rock-bottom, you keep pressing on because you remember the high you got when things were at their best. Unlike an addiction though, owner-training often ends on a positive note.

Rogue turned three on the 13th and is working pretty much full-time with me. Cessna comes out when she wants, but I think she’ll retire fully really soon.

Rogue has not only enriched my life by being a friend, but she has also set me free. She forces me to go outside of my comfort zone and work hard at regaining my independence. In the process, I have found myself again. I am not completely comfortable with going everywhere on my own yet, but Rogue has shown me that it’s possible because she’s by my side.

In The News: Owner-Training Service Dogs

This article isn’t perfect, but the journalist has made a very good effort at increasing public awareness of owner-trained service dogs.

As everyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows, I am raising and training Rogue to be my guide dog. She is the first guide I have ever trained myself, but she is my fourth guide dog.

Some people have the option of hiring a professional trainer or to attend weekly classes, but some do not. I do not attend classes or have a professional trainer to help me with Rogue’s training, but with the help of friends I have made online, who have trained several of their own guides, I have been able to prepare Rogue to take over from Cessna.

I hope more journalists take the time to interview other owner-trainers, so that the public will understand that just because a service dog isn’t from a program doesn’t mean it is a ‘fake’.

Rogue Goes To Toronto

Huib had to go to Toronto for a meeting, so Rogue and I tagged along.

We dropped the Orlando off in Oakville and took the GO Train to Union Station. At Union we took the subway to king Street and walked a couple blocks. Since we were in a bit of a rush, I decided not to work Rogue, but had her heel beside me.

After Huib’s meeting we continued down King to Mountain Equipment Co-op, a hiking and outdoorsy store. I had rogue work the entire route. she never once brushed me up against anyone and only overstepped one up-curb. at one point Huib was busy trying to figure out where we were in relation to where we were going and forgot to warn me that there were two random steps down, rogue was perfect! She stopped with her paws an inch from the stair’s edge and waited for me to give her the okay to continue on. As soon as she stopped, Huib said “GOOD GIRL!!” in an excited voice, so I think the immediate praise helped her to understand that is what I’m looking for from her when approaching stairs. This weekend we will probably be getting together with my friend Karen and her Belgian puppy, spark, so hopefully Rogue will show me some further progress with her understanding of stairs.

At MEC, we walked around the entire store and then bought a dark purple with black rock climbing chalk bag that I will use as a treat bag. I have been looking for a new treat bag since my lime green Columbia one is starting to show some wear, but I haven’t been able to locate one I like. the rock climbing chalk bag is perfect though. It is deep, the draw-string closes at the very top and it is made of a very durable material, so I am hoping it will last a long time.

After we finished shopping at MEC, we walked back to the King Street subway station and went to St. Patrck’s station. I needed to go to Sick Children’s Hospital and ask them to send my surgical notes to my new neurosurgeon. I had rogue work the entire route from the subway station to the hospital and again she didn’t brush me up against anyone and other than wanting to avoid all grates, she was perfect.

I am going to need to do some work with grates because rogue’s reaction to them is a little too extreme.

After the hospital we went back to the subway and went to Bloor station. We were going to meet up with a friend I made over Twitter.

When shane and Yager arrived at tim Hortons, rogue decided to bark a few times. I’m not sure why she does this, but she seems to do it a lot. She wasn’t trying to get to Yager, she was sitting beside me and barking – what a weirdo!!

Shane sits with his guide dog Yager, an English type black Labrador Retriever, at Tim Hortons.

After a couple hours of chatting with Shane it was time to head back to Union to catch the GO train back to Oakville. I had Rogue work to the Bloor subway station and she overstepped a down curb and up-curb, but otherwise she worked well around Yager. While waiting for the subway train to arrive, I practiced staying away from the yellow line with her. I haven’t really needed to show her what I want, she just seems to know that she needs to stay away from the yellow line unless the train is in the station. I ask my dogs to turn right into me when we approach the yellow line and walk with the line to their left, so I stay away from the gap.

Our trip back to Oakville and then Guelph was uneventful. When we got home rogue rolled around and then went outside with Cessna and Canyon.

It is neat to see how excited Cessna gets when I come home. She doesn’t seem to want to join me these days, but when I get home, she is just as excited as Canyon.

Case of the Screaming Rabbit

My labs are SO bad!!

Last night, around midnight, I let the dogs out for their final relief. I asked everyone to sit, stuck my head out the sliding door to make sure there were no skunks, and then released everyone to go outside.

Rogue barked once. I told her to be quiet. she barked once more. I told her that was enough.

And then the screaming started.

It wasn’t the dogs. It wasn’t a person. It was like a high pitched screeching.

I immediately opened the sliding door and said “LEAVE IT!”

Huib ran over to the door and went toward the girls. As he left, he told me Canyon was hiding behind me – he’s too cute!

He said that once he was close, he saw a rabbit quickly hop away.

I guess Rogue had seen the rabbit and ran over. When she barked, she must have scared it so it froze in place. that gave Cessna enough time to join rogue and together they pinned the poor thing, probably scaring it, so it screamed. thankfully the rabbit didn’t injure the labs and they didn’t seem to injure it. when Huib got the girls back inside, he checked them over for injuries and then took a flashlight outside to see if he saw any blood. all he found was some fur, so hopefully the rabbit lived and didn’t end up having a heart attack somewhere.

Rogue is from a hunting line and I’m pretty sure Cessna is as well, so I can’t really blame the girls for their reaction, but I definitely feel bad for the rabbit. If Huib hadn’t run over, I’m not sure it would have survived, and I guess the girls would have had breakfast.

We’re Getting There…

We’re getting there…

Rogue is doing really well with her guide work training. She is working with me about three quarters of the time now. Her guiding is pretty close to always spot on and her confidence level is rising steadily. Rogue does well with formal turns – stopping and then asking for a left or right. She struggles a bit with moving turns though, so we still need to work a bit on that. We also need to work on her distraction level because I find she misses doors, openings and stuff when I ask her to find it. I know it’s a distraction issue because if we’re in a quiet, less stimulating environment, she has no problems locating things I ask for. She is still very new to the job though, so I know she’s going to be okay.

Rogue and I standing together on the snowy brick walkway at the University of Guelph. I am wearing blue denim jeans, white with grey winter boots, a primarily white winter coat with some navy blue on it, as well as a white roots baseball cap and you can also see the hood of my navy blue Dog Guides sweatshirt and a bit of my white backpack. Rogue is standing slightly in front of me wearing her navy blue harness what has lighter blue strapping. she is also wearing a light blue limited slip collar and a black leather half braided leash.

Our main challenge is still curbs and stairs. I feel as though I’m constantly writing this, but know it will fall into place when it’s meant to.

After talking with a couple of friends, it’s been decided that I will start using Rogue’s paw targeting to teach her exactly where I want her paws to be when we come to a curb or stairway. Right now she is still stoping a bit too far back at down curbs, forgetting to stop at up curbs and often comes to a stairwell at an angle – which is a bit dangerous for me. I’m going to start by doing some paw targeting in the house, using the surface change between the carpeting in our living room and the tile in the front foyer. Then I will take the yogurt container lids I have put some coloured electrical tape on, to the university campus and practice the stairways in the University Centre and in the primary building I have classes in, McKinnon Hall. With the snow, it’s a bit difficult to do curb work, but I’ll have to figure something out for that.

My friend Karen has just gotten a puppy, a male Belgian Shepherd who is now 10 weeks, so her and I have decided to try getting together every weekend for a couple of hours to work on stuff with her puppy (he’s not yet names) and Rogue or sometimes Canyon.

Cessna is deciding more often these days to stay home and not go places with me, so I know it’s just a matter of time before I need to call Dog Guides and inform them that she’s retiring. For now, I let her choose when she wants to work and her work is still 100%, so I think this arrangement is okay.

Rogue and Cessna Take on New York: Part III

Welcome back everyone!

Rogue modelling her new harness. The back plate is camo green and has a pocket with Service Dog embroidered on it in white thread. The straps and stabilizer loops are black with small white reflective paw prints. the girth strap is just black. she's also showing her new black with white Haida pattern collar.

Now I’m going to tell you all about our final day in New York City.

Rogue's face and a bit of the chest part of her harness.

Since we had a chance to get to bed at a reasonable hour the day before, we woke up pretty early on Tuesday. Breakfast was pretty uneventful until I had to rescue Cyndy from the Honey Bug. I’m not sure why she wasn’t scared or why Mommy and daddy were laughing, but there was this Honey bug sitting beside Cyndy’s iPhone that I thankfully noticed and had to get. It was SO scary though! I tried really, really hard to be brave and get the Honey Bug for Cyndy, but it was just too much for me to handle.

***** A quick note from the humans about the “Honey bug”. Cyndy had wanted some tea, so she got a small packet of honey to put into it. she placed the packet beside her phone on the nigh stand and when Rogue got onto the bed to greet her, she noticed the packet of honey and started acting as though it would eat us all. She barked at it and backed away and moved a bit closer and then barked and backed away again. We couldn’t stop laughing and as hard as we tried, the “Honey bug” was to scary for the Rogue Hurricane. *****

Once the humans were dressed, we headed to the subway. It was pretty rainy and icky out, so we didn’t really want to walk too much. We took the subway to Battery Park to catch the ferry to Liberty Island.

view of the New York City skyline from the ferry

Cessna, Uschi and I had a lot of fun watching the propellers splash through the water at the back of the ferry. We also liked watching the mainland move away and all of the seagulls flying around.

Cessna on the ferry looking through the railing of the ferry toward New York City

Once we got to Liberty Island, we got into the line ups for entrance into the Statue of Liberty. Since Mommy and Cyndy aren’t able to see very well, the security people let us bypass the lines and go right to the security checks. Mommy and Daddy didn’t have too much trouble going through, they just had to remove almost everything they were wearing and Mommy was even close to losing her pants because she had to remove her belt before she went through the metal detectors – wouldn’t that have been hilarious?

Rogue and Cessna looking into the water from the deck of the ferry

Rogue sitting in front of the old Statue of Liberty flame. The flame is a metal frame with yellow glass.

Cyndy had a bit more trouble though. the security lady was not very nice to her and at one point put her hand onto her shoulder, ripped Uschi’s leash from her hand and pushed her back through the metal detectors and asked her to come back through. Cyndy was pretty shaken up by the lady’s actions and was quite vocal about it. the lady didn’t apologize and even threatened to have her sent out of the statue completely if she had a problem with the search techniques. Cyndy said she’ll be calling the people in charge to have the woman talked to about the appropriate way to treat visitors, especially ones with disabilities.

Brooke squatting with Cessna to her left in front of the old Statue of Liberty flame.

From the security checks we walked up some stairs and then took a couple of elevators up to the pedestal of the statue. Cessna and I were pretty excited to see what was below us, so we had Daddy pick us up. the barriers holding people back from the edge was too high for us to just put our paws up, so Daddy held us both and let us look around.

Brooke on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty with the New York City skyline behind

Ellis Island from the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty

After we were done on the pedestal we went back down to the museum part of the statue. Mommy got to feel some of the parts of the statue and Daddy read some of the explanations to her and Cyndy.

Rogue, Cessna and Uschi in front of a replica of Lady Liberty's face in the museum section of the Statue of Liberty.

Cessna, Uschi and I thought the Statue of Liberty was kind of boring, but we really liked walking around the island. We saw tons of birds and there was SO much water! I really wanted to go check out the water and so did Cessna, but Mommy and daddy were big bums and wouldn’t let us go in. We did get to look in though which I guess was good enough.

Brooke and Rogue at the fence that borders Liberty Island. rogue has one of her front paws on the top rail of the fence and Brooke is looking toward the water.

Cyndy and Uschi at the fence that borders Liberty Island.Uschi has her front paws up on the rails of the fence.

Uschi and Rogue looking through the fence that borders Liberty Island.

After we caught the ferry back to the mainland, we decided to head toward time Square. The humans were hungry and we were planning to go on some sort of cruise, so they thought eating in Time Square would be a good idea. The weather was still pretty icky and it took us a while to figure out where the humans wanted to eat, so by the time we were standing at the bus stop that would take us to the next ferry, we were all pretty tired again. Cessna was not in an excited mood and kept picking her paws up as though they were hurting, so that worried Mommy a bit.

Brooke and Rogue with Cyndy and Uschi waiting for the ferry back to the mainland.

The decision to forgo the cruise was made after Cyndy fell over though. It was kind of funny. Cyndy was standing to the right of Daddy and the humans were chatting. Then all of a sudden, Cyndy fell over to the right. No one knows why she fell, maybe us chi pushed her or maybe she lost her balance, it just happened so quickly.

At the hotel we all had a nap and then at 7pm we headed back to the subway to go to Brooklyn for dinner. Cyndy’s friend was meeting us there, so even though none of us were really in the mood to move again, we had to go. Cessna, uschi and I slept under the table while the humans ate cheesecake, drank milkshakes and chatted. Mommy said the cheesecake was awesome and was really glad Cyndy wanted to share with her and Daddy – the portions were big I guess…

After a few hours, the humans were finally stuffed. We headed back to our hotel and went to bed.

Early Wednesday morning we got up, ate breakfast and then began packing. We had to catch the train back to Albany at just after 10am.

The train ride was quiet. I think we were all exhausted from our trip.

Mommy, daddy, Cessna and I headed back to Canada Thursday morning. We arrived at the border around 4pm, so called our friend Della to see if we could pick canyon up. I was SO happy to see my golden brother! It had been an entire week since I’d seen him last. He was happy to see us, but also seemed happy enough to stay longer.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to New York. If you want to see more pictures from our trip you can go to Cyndy’s blog to see a complete gallery.