Archives for May 2012

The Rogue Kitty

Doesn’t she make a cute kitty?

Canyon The Baby

About two weeks ago the black flies and mosquitoes started coming out. I tried spraying the dogs with deet-free repellent each time they went outside, but after about a week of this, I found it almost futile. The dogs see the sun and immediately want to go outside, so we’ve started to allow them, hoping that sooner than later, they will become immune to the numerous bug bites they’re getting.

Canyon seems to be having a lot of difficulty dealing with the resulting itchiness. He scratches, and scratches almost constantly from the time he wakes up, until the time he goes to bed. We have been giving him Benadryl for the itchiness, but he still seems to be scratching enough to start de-furring his armpit area.

Since we want to show him in the August new Liskeard show, we had to put a stop to this obsessive behaviour. With it being so warm, we decided putting a shirt on him was not a suitable option, so we decided to break out the all-season Muttluks and have him wear them during the day. At night, we give him a Gravol to make him sleepy and allow him to settle before getting a chance to remember the itchiness. We don’t want him wearing the boots 24/7 because that may lead to additional issues, so we hope the boots during the day and Gravol at night will do the trick.

Normally Canyon is an easy going guy, but for some reason he seems to be the biggest baby about any little discomfort.

Together Seven Years

Boy, does time fly…

Seven years ago, I was partnered with an 18 month old spunky, little female black lab.

From the first moment I met Cessna, I knew she wasn’t like every other guide dog.

Over the years, we’ve learned to work together and respect one another for our differences.

I no longer try to change Cessna and mold her into the “perfect” working dog.

Cessna no longer worries about upsetting me.

I respect her decisions and together we navigate the ups and downs of life.

It’s hard to believe that seven years have already gone by.

Cessna is still a little firecracker and loves to chase squirrels.

I am still struggling to find my place in the world.

Cessna no longer wakes me up at 5am.

I no longer believe in compulsion based training.

Cessna is a little more silver around the muzzle and chest areas.

I am a little more willing to just sit back and relax.

Time has changed us both, but neither one of us has had to become someone different.

Happy 7th Anniversary My Little Cessnaroo!

Let’s see if we can make it another seven years together.

Forest Fire

Yesterday, around noon, a fire broke out just north of Kirkland Lake. Within a short period of time, the fire grew, and the Ministry of Natural Resources called in their water bombers.

Northeastern Ontario has seen very little rain over the past few weeks, so the forests are quite dry. As a result, there are currently around two dozen active forest fires.

Huib was working when the Kirkland Lake fire began, so had an opportunity to take some pictures from the windows of the ICU.

**I apologize for the lack of description with these pictures, but I wasn’t sure how to describe them. If anyone can do this, please leave a comment and I’ll transfer your descriptions into the image captions.**

As of the last update I heard two hours ago, the fire has consumed about 3000 hectares of the forest and is still not under control. Three areas on the northern borders of Kirkland lake are still under an evacuation order, and as long as the winds continue to cooperate the town itself is safe. The fire is about 3km outside of town boundaries, but residents have been told to pack and be ready for an evacuation order if the winds do change direction. The water bombers had to stop working on the fire early this afternoon because of a big storm, but will return in the morning to continue dropping water on the area.

We live about 30 minutes drive from Kirkland Lake so unless another fire starts near us, we’re all safe, but I still worry about the fire because Huib works literally beside it – as you can see from the pictures above.

Liebster Blog award


You’ll never guess…

Rogue and I, Canyon, the stud of the pack, were given AN AWARD!!

We didn’t even know we had fans!

So, here’s the scoop.

Cadbury, of A Chocolate World, thought Rogue and I were some pretty adventurous doggies, so gave us THIS AWARD!


So, Mommy says Rogue and I now have to post the rules, and then pick our five favourite blogs.

This is going to be SO HARD!


The award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and deserve recognition.

The rules are as follows:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter(s) on your blog
2. Link back to the blogger (s) who awarded you
3. Give your top 5 picks for the award in a post with a copy of the rules
4. Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog
5. Post the award on your blog

So, here are the five bloggers we’ve decided should receive this award:

1 Glacier of At A Glacial Pace

2 Finn of Finn Howard

3 Ace of Life With Fur

4 Jack of Dog’s Eye View

5 Sam and Pippen of The Hobbit Habitat

Last Week In Pictures

Sunday Is For Swimming

Monday Is For Malls

Tuesday Is For Trains

Wednesday Is For Watching

Thursday Is For Training

Friday Is For Fools

Saturday Is For Snuggling

Drafting Workshop: Rock Star

Yesterday was the drafting workshop in Barrie. There were about 11 or 12 dogs in attendance. There were about 5 or 6 Bernese Mountain Dogs, 1 Great Dane, 1 Leonberger, 1 mixed breed dog, 1 Swiss Mountain Dog and then Canyon.

The first half hour or so was spent learning about the importance of equipment and gaining the respect of your dog. Then we were given a short demonstration using an older female Bernie named Merlot.

Then we got our chance to start trying things out.

First, they had us walk our dogs around wearing a harness.

Then they had us attach the tracers to the harness and walk around the room.

Next, we placed the spacer between the tracers and had our dogs become comfortable with something dragging behind them. At this point they only used a hockey stick sized spacer.

When the dogs were comfortable, they attached a jug filled with water to the spacer.

Because Canyon had no issues with having the spacer and jug of water following him around the room, the instructor replaced his hockey stick spacer with a larger 4 by 4 sized spacer and a jug filled with rocks.

We then took a break for lunch, which consisted of a sandwich, soup, a cinnamon bun and coffee or a cold beverage. Canyon chilled out in his crate, playing with his new pink squeaky ball he had gotten from the workshop hosts while Huib and I ate lunch.

When the workshop re-commenced, the instructor had us all try out new harnesses with our dogs. The first harness we had used with Canyon in the morning was a red nylon harness, but in the afternoon we used a less stroppy dark leather harness. Once we had the harness secured, the instructor told us that Canyon was such a rock star that she felt he was ready for his first “training wheels”.

Canyon wasn’t too much of a fan of this first “cart” because it was not overly sturdy. He slowly became tolerant of it though, I think because we were comfortable with it.

The final stage of the workshop was with Canyon having an actual cart hooked up to him. This cart is called a training cart and will be similar to the one we purchase for him to use in his initial drafting lessons.

All throughout the workshop we had people come up to us complimenting Canyon on his quick progression through the various stages. I think the main thing which contributed to his success, was that he trusted us and as long as we were comfortable with stuff, then Canyon was also comfortable. Seeing how well Canyon did with his initial introduction to carting, we definitely think drafting will be our next adventure with the golden boy. It costs about $500 to get all of the necessary carting equipment – harness, tracers and training cart – so with a few over time shifts, we’re hoping to have things by the end of the summer.

The Questions

May 1st is Blogging Against Disablism Day. Please check out the submissions here.

About two years ago, Huib and I decided to embark upon the journey towards adopting a child through our local Child & Family Services. We called our local CAS office and an intake worker came to our home for a preliminary interview. She took down all of our basic information and told us that given our backgrounds in nursing (my husband is a registered nurse) and social work (I am a licensed social worker), she didn’t see any reason for the agency to refuse our application. She then told us that in the spring they would be holding a 10 week class for all potential fostering and adoption families to attend if we were interested. Huib and I attended the classes and then began our wait for the home study to begin.

Fast forward two years…

Huib and I had pretty much given up on our efforts to adopt a child. We had not heard anything from our local CAS since our initial worker had left the agency. I had called her supervisor a few months after we completed the 10 week course, but nothing happened.

Then we got a call.

The agency had assigned a worker to perform home studies and they were wondering if we were still interested. Both Huib and I weren’t sure what to say, but decided to start the process.

The worker came out and we discussed the home study process. She told us about the background checks that would be done and the interviews that would take place. She told us about the things that we would need to decide – whether we wanted to foster, foster to adopt or just adopt.

Then the questions about my disability began.

How are you going to handle having an infant or toddler around the house?
Are there organizations you can contact to help you?
How will you keep track of the child?
How will you feed them?
What if they get sick?
What if they get injured?
Do you have a specialist who might write a letter to say that your disability will not affect your ability to be a parent?

The questions went on and on.

All I could think of while our worker asked these questions was:

Do you ask sighted people these questions?
What would you do if your child was sick?
How do you feed your children?
How will my eye doctor know what kind of parent I will be?
Do you really think I am that stupid?

The expression on my face must have given my thoughts away because before I could open my mouth to answer, the worker explained that she needed to ask these questions because I was the first visually impaired person they had ever had experience with.

Before actually getting to the answers she wanted, I made my feelings clear. I was offended by the questions. I didn’t see how such questions could still be asked in this day and age. I told her there were blind people out there having children and raising them successfully every day. I told her that I’m sure there are blind people out there that should not be raising children, but that there were probably more fully sighted people out there who shouldn’t be raising children. I told her that if I could have a child of my own then going through this discriminatory process wouldn’t be worthwhile, but that since having a child of my own doesn’t seem possible, that I guess I will just have to suck it up and answer the offensive questions.

Our worker seemed sympathetic, but said she still needed me to research how I was going to do things, and even suggested talking to friends who are blind and raising children for advice.

It has now been about a month and a half since we started the home study and even though all of our background checks came through fine, the questions regarding my disability are still present. I’m hopeful that the agency will maintain an open mind and that the process will continue to go smoothly, but I still find the questions surrounding my capabilities as a visually impaired parent to be offensive.

How can a profession such as social work, whose mission is to help vulnerable populations, be so judgmental and discriminatory?