Archives for February 2011

Awesome Blog Award

Hi There. It’s Cessna here! Mommy said that I could take over the blog today because she’s busy trying to keep Canyon out of trouble – he seems to think it is necessary to chew the noses and ears off all our toys!!

So guess what? This morning Mommy was reading through the various blogs she follows and saw that our friends, L^ and Jack gave us this awesome blog award. Thanks guys, we think you are stellar too!!

The rules for accepting this award are:
• Link to the person who gave you the award.
• Share 7 things about yourself.
• Then pass the award on to 15 other blogs.

Well, let’s start with 7 things you might not know about me:
1. I was trained in Quebec. Even though Mommy got me from the Lions Foundation of Canada in Oakville, my trainer lived in Quebec and I spent about six months with him there.
2. I am not only Mommy’s 3rd dog guide, but I am also her smallest. Gryphon was an approximately 25 inch tall, slim, male who weighed 81lbs, Phoenix is a 23 inch tall, small male weighing 66lbs when he was working and I’m a mere 21.5 inches tall and weigh less than Phoenix (a woman never tells her true size you know…)
3. I am a very picky eater. I will turn up a meal or treat if I don’t think it’s worth the calories. Mommy once tried to see how long I would hold out for something better and gave in after 50 hours…she should have known that I always win!!
4. My nicknames are Beau (my mom’s name is Belle), Dobby (Daddy thinks I’m cute and loyal like the house elf), Cessnaroo (I love squirrels and will jump around like a kangaroo in harness when I see one), and Torpedo (our old neighbor used to call me that because I’d dive bomb her when she came over).

5. I take my name to heart. I make Mommy walk so fast, she sometimes loses her breath. I also swim faster than every dog I know, so they often don’t want to play with me .But, as a result of my speed, my tail gets swollen and I end up crying whenever I sit or lie down later…Mommy says it’s called Rudder Tail.

6. When I was six months old I caught a bunny and chipmunk before my foster mom could stop me. I didn’t mean to, but I guess I scared them and they both died before I could give them to her.

7. I don’t trust chocolate labs (Mommy says Jack is probably a nice boy though). I’ve had two chocolate service dogs attack me and made friends with a puppy who ended up attacking me when she got older. I don’t get aggressive towards them, but I refuse to interact and wouldn’t even trust Reece, who lived with us from the age of 8 weeks.

Now, here are 15 blogs we think are awesome:
1. At a Glacial Pace By Jess and her Leader Dog Glacier

2. The World As I See It, My Life As It Happens by Lynette and her guide dog DeeDee

3. Paws For Thought by Jen and her guide dog O.J

4. The CRPS Girl by Ashley, as she prepares to receive her new service dog from CARES

5. Pedigree Dogs Exposed a great blog that discusses the myths and problems of purebred dogs

6. Raise A Green Dog an informative blog on eco-friendly products, recipes, and other fun dog related stuff

7. Caring For Your Older Dog a great place to read senior dog product reviews, learn about available therapies and find other useful information

8. Rolling Around In My Head by Dave Hingsburger, “a prolific author and public speaker who has worked in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 30 years”

9. Doggy Zen Den a great blog on the holistic approach to caring for your dog

10. K9-Crazy a blog written by someone who has fostered puppies for both National Service Dogs and The Lions Foundation of Canada, but is now focusing on competing with their own dogs

11. Vomit Comet by Carin and her partner Steve, a place to discuss everything and anything

12. After Gadget by Sharon and her service dog in training, Barnum

13. By My Side by Katrin, as she waits for her future Guide Dog Foundation partner

14. From Puppy To Public Access by Linda, her service dog Laurel and service dog in training, hardy

15. Dawg Business: It’s Your Dog’s Health by Jana Rade, in an effort to bring dog health issues to the forefront

I’m sure we’ve chosen blogs that have already been awarded, but Mommy is still new to the whole following thing so if you have a blog out there and we haven’t come to check it out then please leave the address in our comments section.

And to all those people who read our blog, thank you!!



On Monday, Huib and I were in Kirkland Lake so I could get blood taken in preparation for my lumbar puncture that is scheduled for a week today. The doctors still don’t know why my vision deteriorated so suddenly and then came back after a few weeks, so as a last ditch effort to figure it all out I’ve been scheduled for an LP. I haven’t had one since I was a teenager, they were terrible and the thought of having to endure one makes me cringe. But, we’ll leave that for another day and move on because I’m just not ready to talk about that. So, Huib and I were in town and decided to get a coffee at one of they’re two Tim Horton’s locations – yes, Kirkland Lake only has about 8,000 people, but has two Timmy’s! After ordering our coffees at the speaker, Huib moved up to the window and saw a sign for “Roll-Up The Rim”. “Roll-Up The Rim” is an approximately two week promotion Timmy’s runs, where people can win things just by buying a coffee, hot chocolate or tea. The promotional television ads last year for “Roll-Up the Rim” had a guy call his friend to inform them that it was time and instructed him to grab his toque (for those non-Canadians, it’s a winter hat) and jump on their moose so they could go grab their timmy’s double double. I used to laugh each time I heard the commercial and thought it was funny how they were able to incorporate several “Canadian things” without making it sound dumb.

This got me thinking about what other things are “Canadian things” and wondering why we take such pride in them. Last year Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and I remember Huib and I watching the closing ceremonies and laughing. The organizers had decided to showcase some of our Canadian talent and began everything by presenting a little skit of sorts to make fun of the various Canadian images – the beaver, the RCMP, and the maple leaf, among other things. I’m not sure if other countries are like this, but for some reason it seems as though Canadians find it necessary to make fun of themselves and be sure others don’t mistake us for Americans.

I think it’s wonderful to have such pride in your own country, but I’m also not sure I believe we are better than other countries. Yes, we have a wonderful public health care system where no one ends up in debt because of illness or dies because they couldn’t afford care, but what about the seniors who are struggling to survive on a less than adequate income or the Canadians suffering from mental illness who can’t afford help and end up in prison or living on the street?
I’m thankful to live in a peaceful country and know that when I wake up in the morning my neighbour’s house won’t be replaced by a bomb crater, but how can we take pride in a country that allows their veterans to live below the poverty line and when someone tries to speak up, information on his financial, medical and psychological condition is given to a cabinet minister? I’m not sure about you, but these facts sure don’t make me feel pride in my country… I will always be thankful for living in Canada and will wear the Canadian flag on my dog’s harness or my backpack with pride, but I will never see myself as better than Americans or any other country’s citizens because no matter what, they all have their “skeletons in the closet”. So, instead of trying so hard to be “un-American” maybe we should take a better look at Canada and focus on trying to solve our own shameful social problems.

And…to think, this was all started by ordering an extra large one and a half Splenda, two cream and a large black I wonder if Terri Clark was onto something when she released her song “I Think the World Needs A Drink”…

For The Love Of Coffee

Life has been a little rocky the past couple of months, so I haven’t had much to write that wasn’t on a serious or unpleasant topic. This evening though, I’ve been relaxing with a cup of butter pecan coffee after a day of cleaning and preparing food for Phoenix to eat over the weekend and thought it would be fun to write something about my love of coffee.

Huib has always been a coffee lover and used to grab one on our many trips to the Guelph mall while I had my usual hot chocolate or slushy – depending on the temperature outside. I always thought people were crazy to drink the stuff and wondered how they could stand in line for so long to get it. Around my fourth year of university though I began venturing outside my usual beverage selections and got hooked on Second Cup lattes – usually a mocha or caramel. I’d go grab one before class or even on my way to visit with Huib – he lived off campus about two blocks from a Second Cup.

About a year later, Huib and I moved in together and bought a Cuisinart coffeemaker and juicer with my air Miles as one of our first “together” purchases. One day when he was making a pot, he asked if I’d like a cup and of course I refused. Before getting one for himself though, he turned and asked why I liked lattes (usually with a double shot of espresso at this point) but wouldn’t even think of having a cup of coffee. I explained that every time I’d ever tried it, I couldn’t stand the taste because it was just too bitter. He just smiled and asked if he could try making me one and see how I liked it – of course I agreed, it was only polite, right?

Well…after that day I was hooked! Huib is dutch, he moved to Canada when he was about 6 years old, so likes his coffee strong. In my first cup of coffee he added two heaping teaspoons of sugar and some milk which made it no longer taste bitter, but sweet and well…tasty!

Over the years my love of coffee has not lessened, but instead of two or three heaping teaspoons of sugar and some milk, I add some Splenda and a little cream. I still love my Second Cup lattes, but have now discovered flavoured coffee and can’t live with out it. Each time we go “down south” we pick up a pound of two different flavoured coffees from Second Cup and usually a big bag of the Kirkland brand hazelnut vanilla from Costco. Huib has never been a chocolate fan, but one of his favourite flavoured coffees is Belgian chocolate. He still makes strong coffee and I’ve actually begun to find it hard drinking anything else.

Don’t you think it’s amazing to see how easily your tastes can change when the right person makes it?

At Least Phoenix Is On the Mend

On Sunday, Huib and I piled the dogs into the truck for a short trip “down south”. We arrived in Guelph around noon and picked up some food and toys for everyone before meeting with the show handler who was interested in showing Canyon for us. The meeting went well and Peter was quite happy with Canyon’s looks, confidence and his ability to walk on a leash. We were surprised about the leash part since we had just begun his lessons, but Peter was impressed and wanted to enter him into the upcoming Sudbury show at the end of March. After the meeting we got back into the truck and headed into Kitchener.

There, we took Canyon and Cessna to a CERF clinic the Kitchener-Waterloo Kennel Club was hosting. We had originally signed up to have just canyon’s eyes tested, but when they learned Cessna was a dog guide we were told hers could be done for free. First Canyon went in and we were told he has scarring on his retinas. The ophthalmologist doesn’t think it is congenital, but he said we will need to do some research on that. He feels the scarring was most likely caused by an infection during the first few weeks of life and said that his litter mates will also have the scarring. Even though this does not officially bar Canyon from breeding, we have decided to forgo both showing and breeding because with this defect there is a very low chance another breeder would want to use him. Instead, we will work on some sporting and obedience titles while looking for our next breeding candidate.

After this disheartening news, it was Cessna’s turn. The ophthalmologist dilated her eyes and found 2 tiny cataracts on her left eye and three on her right. This particular doctor is one of the ones LFC uses to test their puppy’s at 10 months of age so he was well aware of the demands I put on Cessna. He showed Huib the cataracts and told us that they are tiny so Cessna probably doesn’t even notice them and her work will not be effected. He wants to see her in a year and thinks there is a possibility the cataracts won’t get any bigger. We saw our vet the following day and she recommended we start her on a homeopathic regiment and try to prevent them from getting worse. There’s no guarantees it will do anything, but it would bother me even more if I didn’t do it and it could have worked.

Phoenix saw the vet on Monday and was given a clean bill of health for his age. Dr B was impressed with his progress and has given him a homeopathic remedy to try and jump start his immune system and hopefully rid him of the ear issue for good. In order to check him out and watch him move she had him examined in the waiting room because he was able to walk on carpet for traction and seemed to stay quite calm and relaxed. I’m so glad she was able to tell us something good, because I’m not sure I could handle anymore bad news in a 24 hour period. After the appointment we took him to see his puppy raisers and they were also quite happy with his progress. The last time they had seen him was just before we took him to dr b for the IVD diagnosis. Huib had carried him in and I explained what had happened and what we were most afraid of learning – that we may have to say good-bye.

On Tuesday it was my turn to see the ophthalmologist and I also learned some not so happy news – my distance vision is gone. The doctor’s assistant asked me to read various lines on the eye chart and I couldn’t read even the biggest letter. The doctor isn’t sure why this has happened, but has ordered a lumbar puncture to be done in a week and is checking to make sure there is no inter cranial pressure or infection. This is yet another part of my vision saga. While we were at the hospital, Phoenix, Aspen and Canyon stayed with a friend and her daycare kids. My friend said Aspen and Canyon weren’t overly interested in them, but Phoenix wandered into the playroom at some point and when she went to check on everything she found him in the circle of little ones with a teacup and saucer between his paws. I guess the kids decided he should participate in their tea party – I sure wish my friend had gotten a picture! I guess they had tried doing the same with Canyon, but he wouldn’t stay still, so decided to let Phoenix in on the fun.

We headed home that evening and made a stop in Bradford to see my friend Heather, her fiance and her border terrier Harley. The dogs enjoyed playing with Harley’s rawhide bones and ran around in the yard, but Harley wasn’t as sure – I guess she was a little overwhelmed by the number of big dogs that came into the house. Overall our trip “down south” was crappy, but at least we got a chance to see friends and find out how Phoenix is doing.

She would Have Been 52

On Sunday (February 6th) my mom would have turned 52, but in September of 1998 diabetes decided she should forever be 39.

When Mom first passed away, I found it hard to think of Christmas, Mothers Day, her birthday, and the day she left us (September 25, 1998) without getting teary or feeling generally miserable. I would get moody or easily upset without warning weeks beforehand. I found it hard to listen to friends and other students talk about what they’d be doing with their mothers on Mothers Day or what they got them for Christmas. I felt as though the world should know Mom was gone and therefore no one should be talking about their mothers. Well, it’s been almost twelve and a half years and I’m noticing the days now sometimes pass without thought.

I still think about mom when I’m having a bad day or when something exciting happens. I think about her when I visit my sister and see my step-dad. I think about her when I’m not feeling well and wish she could be there just to offer a finger to hold – something I always did as a kid. I wonder what she would have thought about Huib and where we’d be now if she was still alive. Would we be living in Northeastern Ontario? Or would we be living closer to Aurora because that’s where her and Dad live? Would Brandi be the way she is? Would she still have that feeling of entitlement and expectation that I be there to catch her every time she fell? Or would Mom have made her grow up and make something of herself sooner than we were able to do so? All of these thoughts and questions move through my head whenever I think of Mom and what life would be like if diabetes had not decided she would forever be 39.

Even though you’re no longer with us Mom – Happy 52nd Birthday!!


On Friday (February 4th) Huib and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe it was 5 years ago that we said our vows in front of family and friends at the Waterloo Inn and spent the evening celebrating. We’re still paying off the wedding, but it was a memorable day for everyone.

Huib and I have decided to mark this anniversary and every tenth one after (15th being our next) by creating a slide show of pictures from our years together. This one will include pictures from our full ten years together, but the ones following will only include pictures from the last slide show up to the current year of the anniversary. If I can figure out how to do it, I will post the slide show here and on Facebook for everyone to view.

Being Huib’s wife has been an indescribable experience. He’s one in a million and I’m blessed to have him all to myself. I know I write about how amazing he is all the time, but you really have to know Huib to understand that I’m not exaggerating. He’s extremely caring, overly loyal and wants nothing more than for me to be happy. Whenever we’re out and he sees something I might like he’ll show me and if I even smile, he’ll say we should buy it or tell me we’ll get it when it goes on sale. When at work he e-mails if I haven’t already to see how I’m doing or calls during his breaks just to hear my voice. When his co-workers ask him to come out for a drink after shift or invite him over for a party, he’ll either tell them he has to get home or ask if he can come later with me. I’m not sure people understand our relationship at times, but from day one Huib and I have always tried to include one another in everything – not because we have to, but because we want to.

I love you Huib with all my heart and could never imagine life without you by my side. We’ve made it this far, let’s try for a lifetime!!