Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today was a really busy day, as Katie had weird hair day at school, where she got to wear her haire weird if she bought a can of food in for the donation drive So here's her WILD hair:

Then for the afternoon, we had a follow up appt for Rei's ears. She had a yeast infection in her ears, so have been treating that. That's what we did last Monday= took Rei to the vet. ;) Since Dan was coming out to take us to the vet, and had to take Sue to pick up her car after that, I asked him to bring Honey out with him to let Rei and Honey play together, as well as to spend some time with her. He agreed to do that and brought her with. :)

Here's a couple of snapshots, but I'll post more tomorrow, as I'm dragging and falling asleep here in the computer chair...

Honey visiting her old buddy, Wilson from behind us:

Katie got them both to sit and stay while she threw the toy:

Honey missed Katie too:

Both my Puppies!

Ok Im off to bed, I'm wiped. Will share more pics and videos tomorrow sometime, but these were my faves! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

this week:

On Monday, Meaghan and I hung out in the house and took it easy most of the day. We had haircuts for the kids scheduled for the evening, so we went and got those in the evening at 6pm. We also went to Payless shoes and picked up a pair of black dress shoes for Katie and Alex, since they didn't have any for the fall/winter.

I did get quite a few pictures of Meaghan and Rei on Monday too:

Tuesday, Katie had two plays at the school for Thanksgiving, that was put on by her 2nd/3rd grade class. She was a narrator and did very well! :)

Rei- patiently waiting on the floor to go to the cafeteria where the play would be held:

The kids coming in:

The first play "The First Thanksgiving":


The second Play:

Katie's Class:

I also got some more pictures of Rei yesterday both inside and out:

Being all cute since she's tied down:

Here she is outside:

Something got her attn:

Seriously behind, but I do want to share some pics of Rei. :)

I know, I know, I'm over a week behind, but I promise I'm getting there!

We have a 4 day weekend coming up and I'm really looking forward to it. Time to relax, get the christmas stuff out, the Halloween stuff out of the garage and back up in the attic, do something fun with the kids and just enjoy being with my familiy. :)

Eh what the heck I'll try to go ahead and update, just do a quick and dirty version:

Last week was busy enough that it was a blur and I honestly don't remember all that we did! LOL! I do remember we had on Tuesday a meeting at the church for a disablities community group, Something was Wednesday, but for the life of me I'm blanking- other than giving the kids baths that night.

Speaking of baths- Rei wanted to join in on the fun, 'er I should say she wanted to snatch the bathrub toys!

Oh! I remember now, Jordan came over and cut my hair for me! :D Rei absolutely LOVED her. :)

Thursday Mike had something after work- I paid bills and was trying to catch up on stuff, as well as cleaning up in case we had visitors for the weekend., Friday we had Bible study fun night.

Before we took off for the fun night though, I took Rei over to Dad and Sue's to try to introduce Rei to their papillons again, since the first meeting didn't go so hot and all were not happy with the other one being in "their" territory. Rei hadn't seen them in "her" house before and the Paps had never seen Rei in Honey's house before, even though they've been here lots of times, so all was on the defense pretty quickly.

So we walked over to Dad and Sue's and Dad brought Grace out first. Grace was afraid and pretty much wanted to turn and run to the house, but Rei was able to sniff her and she was fine with her. Then Dad brought Sophie out and at first there was some growling and snarling, primarily on Sophie's part, but Dad and I both did corrections saying No! and left the leashes long and within a few minutes both dogs were sniffing each other and fine with being in close proximity of each other. Dad then walked up the house and he and Sue walked back out with both dogs and as Rei started to jump up on Sue, Sophie snarled and went after Rei a bit, but again we did corrections, got Rei to stop jumping up and within a couple of minutes, Rei was pretty oblivious to the Paps being there and was ready to go inside since it was cold out.

After going in, I let Rei walk through the house, smelling everything really good and checking everything out. When we came back to the living room, we all sat down and talked and Rei wanted do bad to go over and rough house with the Paps, and Sophie got a little ticked once for Rei being too pushy, but after that they were fine and Rei pretty quickly settled down. Grace even got to be bold an came over by my side on the couch, so with Rei sitting between my legs, she leaned her head back and they licked each other. :) So all went well and I think with time they'll eventually be fine with each other all the time.

Mike then stopped by and picked me up to head over to John & Karen's, of which the girls all went to Olive Gardens for dinner and the guys stayed at John & Karen's house and had a poker night as the kids played. It was a lot of fun, as we all enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to get out with some other adult women. :) Rei did awesome while out and about as well and was very good at the restaurant. The girls all came back to my house and we played two games of Wii bowling as Rei bounced from person to person for almost 2 hrs of playing with her toys with them.

Over the weekend, on Saturday Mike worked in the garage, trying to finish up the door for the kids playhouse and the chocolate bar shutters. Since he was out in the garage all morning, I put the kids on a Thanksgiving craft to take over to Dad and Sue's and put on the tables for everyone. So here's our flock of Turkey's - including Turkey Meaghan. :D

These are place cards and napkin rings all in one. :) The kids really enjoyed making them. :)

So we worked on those all morning and then all three kids took naps since everyone was up until almost 1am on the fun night. After naps, the kids got up and we all got ready for church. Which was my first church service with Rei (I think...). She did very well, with no problems. :) Saturday night, We let the kids stay up a little later again and then took it easy for the evening.

Sunday morning, we got up and went outside and worked in the yard to get most of the leaves cut and bagged up and so forth. Rei got a lot of time to run and play outside in the yard. :)

Rei found the foam basketball out in the yard and Katie was trying to get it from her. Rei being the stinker she is, wasn't having any part of giving the ball to Katie...

After we finished up the yard completely, we all went inside and the kids laid down for naps before the girls Church Christmas program practices. I decided to take Rei for a walk, since each time we went out for break, she would tug to go down the sidewalk. It was also in the mid 40's and the sun shining, so it was warm and really nice out! :) We walked completely around the neighborhood next to us and then around the big loop in our neighborhood. She did well, though was a litle excited at the kids playing ball, but with a verbal command to leave it, she focused back in on guiding pretty quickly.

After we got back home, we got the girls up and Mike took them to the practice and then in a little bit, we headed over to Joe and Julie's for bible study, stopping and picking up John and karen's to pick them up and carpool. Bible study was good, as we all could relate so well to each other for the most part. After that we called it a night and headed home.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Costco stories...

I forgot all this last night as I was trying to remember from a week ago. ;) But anywho, When Mike and I were at Costco last weekend, we bumped into one of the coordinators for my partners class. :) It was sooo cool to chat with her and actually be able to introduce Mike to Jan, and that he could put a face with a name of the person I've talked about lately. :)

Also, being that it was a Saturday afternoon, Costco was PACKED. Seriously, there were people everywhere. It was good practice for both Rei and I, as I too am really having to learn to trust her. I do when in flat out open spaces and know I can just relax and go into "cruise" mode, but it's really hard to totally give up that control and trust her not to bump me into anyone or anything. So going through the store, while I tried to be good and relax, I'll admit, I was tense and ready to jump on her mistakes. I mentally was telling myself, calm down, let her do her thing and deal with it if it comes. the more I relaxed, the smoother things went and she did test me a few times, as she brought me right up behind Mike, but she didn't run me into him. I think there was maybe 2 inches between us and I put my handup and just placed it on his back so he knew I was that close, but Man she's good! She's done this several times now and my natural tendency is to be ready to get after her, but she's slowly showing me to trust her. :)

Another really funny thing from Costco, is that we were going through the freezer sections. we were on the outside wall of the building, at the end of the long freezer section and Mike was looking at something. I was standing with Rei, just behind the parked cart as he was grabbing what we needed. So there was a door just behind us, probably at 7 o'clock, and in order to keep the cold air from escaping so quickly there was those wide plastic flaps. There was a Costco employee several cooler doors down from Mike, putting stuff into the cooler and as Rei and I are standing there, this tall skinny guy comes flying out the door and through those flaps right behind us. Rei spins around facing him and just lets out one lone, but loud bark. The poor guy, he jumped back so fast and hard he almost went backwards back through the flaps that he'd just came through. You could tell that his heart was in his throat and he had that completely startled look but relieved look on his face. His co-worker was just busting up laughing and trying to be nice, as was most of the people around us. I was pretty intent on making sure she didn't bark again, but as Mike and I walked away, we too were laughing pretty good. :)

Friday & Saturday of Week 2 at home with Rei

We all got up bright and early, as we had a Parent Teacher conference for Katie. Mike got up and took Alex to school and we headed over for our 8am scheduled time. Rei took me quickly and efficiently through the school and back to Katie's room and through the whole conference, she laid quietly by my side.

Katie's conference went very well, as her teacher went over her Lexile scores, class averages, school district averages, and lastly nationwide averages. Katie is doing awesome, and while she's not the fastest person in class, she has consistantly turned in excellent quality work. Katie is very tenacious and insistant on doing her work right and having everything neat and organized. Her teacher was very pleased with her work and progress and we are very proud of her too. :)

After heading back home, Mike went to the bank to take care of some financial stuff there and then headed on in to work from there. The girls and I putzed around the house in picking things up and cleaning house so that we'd be able to go to Walmart that night for our big shopping trip and for all of us to get out of the house. We got to walmart and they were paving, so half of the parking lot was closed off. It also had been raining very heavily, so it was wet and slippery too. We made our way inside and put Alex and Meaghan each in a shopping cart. Rei pretty much followed Mike without the command to do so, apparently sensing that we were to stay together.

We made our way through the store, and as we got to the back of the store, the more chaotic it got; lots of stuff in the aisles for Christmas displays, people looking around instead of where they were going, and it was a Friday night. Rei did well, taking me in and out as well as around all of these things and the crazy people that liked to dart in front of us (thank goodness for that practice at the mall the day before!) We did very well in our shopping trip, having two heaping carts full, 3 kids, and it was roughly $225 in 2 hours! *whew*

Saturday morning, we all got up Mike and the kids ran me up to the church for the disabilities support group meeting. Really, it turned more into an informational session about what the group was, what the goals were, and where it was headed. We also talked about some various issues that some of us were facing within the church and brainstormed some ideas of how to work through those issues. We had a really good discussion and hope to continue to have these small groups on a regular basis!

Mike then picked me up from the church, as we made arrangements for Dad and Sue to watch the kids for us, allowing us to go to dinner and use the gift card we'd forgotten about from Amy and Paul's Wedding back in May. It was quite a blessing when I found it in the outer pocket of the laptop bag in NY. So we went up to the north side of town and each had a nice steak dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. Rei was down and under our feet and didn't make a move, so no one knew she was even there.

After we left Longhorn, we went to Costco and did another big grocery shopping trip, stocking up on meats and fruits and other things as well that we can get there for a better price than Walmart. We only had one full cart, but a big one at that and about the same price. All too soon, our time together sans kids came to an end, so we headed on home to put the groceries away and relieve Dad and Sue of their childcare duties.

We arrive home and Dad and Sue had brought thier two little papillons over, so we had an impromptu hello, which while one of the paps was fine, the other was a dominant dog and was not pleased at all with Rei being in her face. So there was some growling and snapping that happened and after a few minutes, while they were in the same room, it was very restrained. We tried to let them introduce themselves, but neither of the dogs were cooperating, so we let it go and figured we'd try again later. Dad and Sue, with thier dogs, took off for home and we quickly prepared to go to church.

Rei did very well in church, laying down quietly and peacefully down beside my aisle seat. She even turned her head up and under the chair in front of me and didn't do much of anything other than look up inquisitively as the guys came out onto the stage to begin the music worship. After the service, she led me nimbly through the crowds and to the line to pick up Alex. I was stopped several times by friends admiring what a beautiful dog I had and several congrats on having my new partner. :)

Once we had the kids all picked up, we headed on home for dinner and then got the kids to bed and kicked back and relaxed for the evening. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last day of Home Training.

That Thursday, Lisa came and picked me up at 11:30 to go up to Castleton Mall and work with Suzi. We got there and started off down the main corridor, Suzi in the lead. We were switching back and forth and it was interesting seeing the looks on people's faces of the two of us with the dogs.

Both of us being fast walkers, we made our way quickly down to the sears end of the mall. It was soooooo nice to be able to turn it over to Rei and not worry about clobbering someone or a little kid because of the changes in the lighting as I walked from light areas to dark areas, due to the skylights and patches of natural light to overhead lighting. For most people, this isn't something you even think about.

For those with RP, it's almost downright torture. it makes navigating a real challenge because with the death of the cells, it is what gives the eyes the ability to adjust quickly for light and darkeness changes. So for the person that has RP, it just doesn't happen quickly. Summertime is another time that is hard, going from the bright outside to inside somewhere, it's black for several minutes and even then it takes a few more minutes to adjust completely. It's frustrating to me, as natural reaction is to stop dead in my tracks, as I have no clue where anything is and if I'm in an unfamiliar place, it's even more difficult, because I haven't even had a chance to orient myself. The beauty of having Rei is that I can relax and trust her to keep me moving and I'm not plowing into things during this adjustment period. :)

We walked on down to the other end of the mall, Lisa working with both of us on stepping in front of us from different angles and such, to make sure the dogs didnt' run us into people that walked in front of us but not the dog. Rei ran me into Lisa once and after that, she made sure I was clear, even if it was just a matter of inches.

So we headed on to the Sears store to find an escalator to work. Suzi went first as I sat down a couch set for little kids. I sure was right at home. LOL! Suzi and her pup did the escalators a couple of times and then our we were up for action. Rei kind of danced a bit as we approached the escalator and Lisa explained that she wasn't fearful of them, but was winding up to leap on. It's almost as if Rei finds them as a game, as she leaps on and leaps off. She was anxious to get ready, so I had to get her to stay put and Lisa suggested that I really work on obedience with her as we were making that first ride up.

I did as Lisa had shown me, to wiggle the handrail back and forth, rocking it until we got to where it wouldn't rock, which meant we were at the end of it. We got to about 4 steps from the top and while I couldnt see her, I gave the command "Off", and she had crouched her behind down and with a great spring from the hind legs launched with a flying leap completely over and off of the belt. Lisa laughed at Rei's enthusiasm and since I was doing the rocking, it gave me a split second longer for it to register in my brain to start moving, so we exited much smoother and knew what to expect from Rei too.

We went around and found the down escalator and again she hopped on and well over the grate that the belt came out of. Lisa said again, she hunkered down and especially with coming down, she flung herself off the belt and was already getting herself ready to "fly" before I said the off command. So we have a pretty good handle on the escalator thing. :)

We left the sears and headed back to the food courts to work on food distractions, since we knew that Rei LOVES her food and that I was having a hard time getting her to lay down under the table. Lisa bought some drinks and a small bag of french fries from Mc Donald's. Lisa Set up a table with some fries hanging off the edge of the table and warned us to be prepared to correct if we needed to. Rei of course went right for them and with a strong correction and a sharp "No!" she left it alone and Suzi and I both put our dogs down at our sides. Lisa then "accidently" knocked off a couple of fries right in front of them both and both dogs wanted soooo badly to gobble up the fries. Seriously, Rei stared those fries so hard that you'd thought that through telepathy they'd jump right to her! After a few minutes, she settled down and even with them a mere few inches from her nose, she closed her eyes and settled and was relaxed.

We chatted for several minutes and then Lisa took Suzi and her pup home. I went back through the mall and the Sears to thier back lot to let Rei have a potty break and then came back and had my own break. It wasn't too long that Lisa was back and we headed back towards home. Since Meaghan was at the neighbors house and Katie was going there after school, since I wasn't sure I'd be home on time, I had a little bit of quiet time before I had to run over and pick them up.

So all in all, we had a really good day. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For all of you Puppy Raisers/Walkers out there...

I'm really behind posting here, but was cleaning out my inbox and wanted to post this to all of you, especially Erin, who I know is feeling it the hardest right now. Hugs to you!

Seeing Through My Heart
Linda Almond

I'm standing here before you, no longer just a dog,
For I've climbed the height of Heaven, and I've reached the height of God.
I understand my purpose, and the gift I have to give,
And I'll gladly take the challenge,
So that you may freely live.

I'll be the eyes that guide you, in night time and in day,
And when you close your eyes in rest, beside you I will lay.
I will never forsake you; I'll never go astray
And I will always love you, until my dying day.
I won't ask for fields of clover to romp and roam and play.
I'll go wherever you lead me, and I'll do whatever you say.
For I've climbed the height of Heaven, and I've reached the height of God.
And now I'm standing here before you, no longer just a dog.

So many hands did guide me, and love me along my way.
And they bowed their heads in tears, and slowly walked away.
For they understood their purpose, and the gift they had to give.
And they loved enough to let me go
So that you could freely live.

For they too have climbed to Heaven, and they've reached the heart of God.
And they understand that I'm here today,
No longer just a dog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 3 of training- Wednesday

Wednesday morning we got up and things were kind of crazy. First off I got up and let Rei off the tie down to go feed her. Then took he outside and she didn't pee, which was completely unlike her. Mike hadn't gotten the trash out or gathered, so after coming back in from Rei's break, I left her on the tie down as Katie and I collected the trash and unloaced/re-loaded the dishwasher.

John was coming to pick me up and take me to my dr to have my hand looked at since the pain was still coming and going often. So we left for the dr's appt and Rei rode nicely in the floorboard at my feet. We went in and Rei was very good staying out of the way and went down and under the chair and out of the way in the actual exam room too. The Dr. examined my hand and said she doesn't think it's broken, but that I've bruised it good. I still have full range of motion and a strong grip, which I wouldn't have it something were broken. So she gave me some Naproxin to take twice a day for 2 weeks and see if the inflammation and pain is gone by then. If not, then we'll need to look at it again and go forward from there.

John brought Meaghan and I home and we ate lunch. Then I had the hearing aid company coming out since the t coil in my left hearing aid wasn't working right. He took a look at things and the actual body casing of the hearing aid was cracked and the ear peice that goes between the ear mold and the body of the aid, was also cracked, but that whole stem was wobbling back and forth. Not sure if it's still under warranty, since I've had them about 2 1/2 yrs now. So we'll see what this brings. He also worked on the ear mold to the other ear, that was a little big yet a nd hurting before I left for NY. He filed this down to fit better into my ear and no problems so far! Yay!

Uncle Mike and Lisa both arrived pretty close to 2pm. Lisa, Rei, and I loaded up on the car and went downtown to work around the main streetlight interesection in town. And it was raining, though thankfully not too hard. So we parked in the Walgreens parking lot and worked our way completely around the intersection and Rei did well. She was a little nervous with the heavy traffic and wasnt real keen on staying at the curb with me, so not sure what was up with that. She was wanting to take off on down the sidewalk away from the intersection. But we made it all around and then headed on into the Walgreens. We walked back and picked up my script and then worked around the store for a bit too. We took a look at the doggy goodies and picked up a couple of sterilized bones for Rei to have too.

We left there and went up to the church and Lisa was amazed at how big it was. LOL! We went in and going in I made quite a fool of myself and walked into a trashcan, as Rei had tried to take me around it, but we were going through the doors and it was in front of where the doorway was since some painters were there. They had everything scooted out from the walls and Lisa said she wondered if I'd see it or not, and I didn't. I think it was about as loud as when I hit the wet floor sign with Honey, but at least this time there wasn't anyone around except the painters. LOL!

We walked back to the room where the support group meeting is held and back to the sanctuary, which was pitch dark. So we came on out and went up the stiars and around the top floor and back down and out to the car again. Rei refused to get in and it'd been a while since she'd had a break so said I'd tray to let her break. Sure enough, she had to go real bad, so then she was more than willing to get in the car and lay at my feet. :)

from the church we came back into town and went to the pet store and walked around there for a while. After I asked to go I was thinking oh man, here I've asked to take my dog that LOVES food into a pet store with bones at low level and food and toys and everything else! But we'd need to do it at some point so off we went! We went in and took a look at the toys and picked up a couple of toys for Rei to play with, letting her pick out her own. :) We paid there and she did really well considering all of the distractions that were there.

We left from the pet store and headed back to the house. We then talked about training Rei to respond to my alarm clock, so that she can alert me to that when Mike is away from home. (which is coming for a week in December). We have a plan where I will start by setting off the alarm and then give her a treat. do this over and over until she's 100% on that. Then I'll get to where she's a little bit away from me and responding to the alarm. Then we'll do where I go n the bedroom she's wandering around the room and distracted and the alarm goes off and she reponds for a treat. then I'll do it where I sit real still and she has to nudge me hard to get the treat. After that I'll move to laying down on the bed and get her to nudge me to get the treat. Then if she does that I start setting the alarm longer and longer and see that she's reliable to wake me up to the alarm. Once she's reliably waking me up for all of these things, then we'll wean off the treats and the training should stick.

So lisa headed on back to her hotel and Mike and the kids got home and we ate dinner and took it eady, the kids putting away the basket of laundry we had. Through most of this, we had Rei off the tie down but dragging the 6 foot nylon lead around so it was easier to catch and correct her if need by. We rubbed and played with Rei- as in the kids and I, by doing a game of fetch it with the new toy I'd gotten for her. She was thoroughly in love with retriving it after someone threw it down the hallway and then released her to get it by telling her to fetch it! :)

We all retired and reste for the rest of the evening until morning! :)

Day 2 continued.

So after Lisa left, Mike and the kids were all soon home and we got ready to go to the Great Banquet Gathering for November. So we took off for the church early since we were expecting a lot of people to stop us to talk about Rei.

We arrived and Rei guided me into the church and the chapel quickly and effortlessly. Rei met several new friends this night and she was a little confused as we all lined up for communion. She was wanting to take me around people and keep right on going, but I kept telling her steady, but she was such a good girl and did it as I asked. :)

After the service was over, a friend of mine named Janet asked to talk about some things, so we moved out to the foyer area where there wasn't quite as much noise. Ryan and Shannon's little girl toddled up and I made Rei sit. The little girl stretched her cute little fingers out and Rei was just dying to lick her face, but was a good girl and sat still. the little girl watched her and Rei's tail was swinging back and forth in happiness too. :)

It wasnt long though after they left, that another little girl, about 5 or 6 yrs old came running up to us wanting to pet Rei. In the exitement, Rei jumped up on her and I immediately corrected her to stay down. I was worried, but the little girl didn't seem phased by it, as she waited patiently until I got Rei to sit quietly and then petted her. We took off not too long after that and went home for the night, getting kids to bed and crashing hard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 2 of Home training- Tuesday

Tuesday morning came and as I let Rei off the tie down by the bed, and she was bouncing off the walls and tromping through the house, I was just thinking to my self, gosh, I don't know if this dog will ever earn her freedom in the house! She romped to the laundry room to be fed and was literally bouncing off the walls in excitement and tongue lolling out and ears perked in such a way to make you just smile. So I fed her as she impatiently waited and drooled all over the kitchen floor in anticipation. LOL!

After she'd been fed and out to do her business, I came in and worked on more follow up emails and such that I hadn't been able to get to for the last 3 weeks as well as making a bunch of phone calls to set up appointments with the Dr. for my hand, to get it checked out, with the hearing aid specialist since for some reason the T-Coil in my left aid isnt working, and to get a meet and greet vet appointment set up for Rei. So made those appointments and it was quickly time for Uncle Mike to come and pick up Meaghan to take her to her Preschool Express class at the library at 1pm.

Since I had an hour before Lisa was to arrive, I figured I'd go out and let Rei have a chance to go break and then work on some obedience with her. I started with the long rope out in the back yard and she showed some improvement there. Coming to me when I called most times but you could tell she was thinking about turning back away from me. Then after several times of that, I took her out front on the leash and we walked up and down the sidewalk, where I'd just turn a 180 and not give her any command and she'd correct herself for not paying attention. We did this back and forth up and down the sidewalk with some breaks and doing the "doggy push ups" to the corner and back. She was balking quite a bit at the down command, but that is a submissive position and she's quite a dominant dog. After 10 minutes or so, she was paying very close attention and didn't even bother barking at the neighbor dog since she was so intent on what we were doing. Yay! :)

I also did some long leash sit/stay, down/stay obedience with her too, which she did really well on. I walked a complete circle around her and she turned to see what I was doing, but stayed put. So she was very good and listening very well. She did great and I felt really comfortable and more at ease with her responsiveness to things. We came on in and she settle down on her blanket with a long 6 ft nylon leash dragging behind her so I could grab her quickly if I needed to.

It wasnt long until Lisa arrived and we went over the things I'd done with her and that she'd been balking at the down command. We worked on that for a few minutes and decided to head to the library and let Uncle Mike know we were headed out and away from the house as well as walk through the library a bit since it is a place I will be frequenting often. We caught up with him and unfortunately Meaghan threw a fit wanting to go with Lisa and I, so we went ahead and left the library and headed on down to Chuck E Cheese's to make sure that Rei would be ok with that environment. Going in, we get in the door and the girl stamping hands and working the entrance was obviously afraid of dogs. She jumped back and had to go ask her manager if I could bring Rei in and wasn't sure what to say to us when she came back yet. We went on in and walked about the games and lights and so forth. Lisa had me go back to the animated Big Mouse that moved to make sure Rei wasn't going to bark at it and so forth. It didn't even phase her. LOL! She was like what is the deal with all this back and forth walking? So we headed on out of there.

Next we came back to the house and since Uncle Mike & Meaghan weren't home from the library, we hung out for Katie to get home in the next few minutes. We thought we'd give Rei a chance to go outside and run some energy off and have downtime, so we let her off leash and she was running all about. It wasn't too long that Katie ran her way up to the gate and came in to chat with us in the back yard. Katie peeled off her gloves and hat and laid down the gloves. Miss Rei walked buy and snatched the hat and wouldnt give it back. She ran about tossing it in the air an stopped in this partial courch position, afraid of Rei, ears perked up, tail curved straight up and you could see the gleam in her eyes that said come try to catch me if you can.

I called her to Come! but as she's been hard with before, she ran and "laughed" at me running away in this grand game of chase. Lisa tried as hard as she could to keep from laughing, but wasn't being too successful. I called her several times, blew the whistle and she continued to make fools of the thre of us and refusing to come to any of us. This went on for a good 15 minutes and we gave up trying to get her to come to us and Lisa said ok, lets see if we can get her to come inside with us. I said "Ok Rei, come on, lets go Inside!" She dropped the hat and came running up to me. So I clipped her on the leash and Katie grabbed her wet, slobbery hat. LOL! I told Lisa, that this was my only real fear with Rei at this point, that she were to get away from me when we are out and about, that I could be in real trouble, since she won't come back to me. Lisa said she was definately getting me a better long line to work with her on the recalls.

As we went inside, Uncle Mike and Meaghan came in the door and we told them we had one more walk to do. We then walked over to the busy road outside our neighborhood that poses problems crossing, because of the complexity of the crossing and that it's a busy, busy road. We made our way there and after standing and looking for a hole to cross, we finally decided to head back to the house since I was adimant that I avoided making this crossing at this time of day due to the rush hour traffice of town and being safe instead. So we did so and wrapped things up for the day. :)

to becontinuted....

Finally figured it out! Got this posted to the web!

A good online friend of mine made this video for me of Honey when I had to retire her. Gosh I bawled and will be honest, tears welled up as I watched it tonight too. Turn up the speakers to hear the song that is playing as well.

Thank you Vickie! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home training with Lisa

Today I spent the morning sending out a ton of emails, Thank you's, and so forth to many of the people that have done some really nice things for me over the last few weeks. So that took up most of my morning, aside from spending some time with Meaghan too. :)

This afternoon, Lisa came to work with Rei and I. She had called last night and asked how things were going. I mentioned the three things that I was mainly wanting help with:

1. Barking at dogs/people

2. Not wanting to lay down when at a table with food- having made an attempt to sneak some food from my plate over the weekend.

3. Not coming when called & really distracted when off leash or only on leash and not in harness.

Aunt Nancy came to stay with Meaghan for me while we were working on things. We first went outside to show Lisa how she was pulling as well as where she was barking at the neighbor dog. So we headed outside and Lisa showed me several techniques to work with Rei on, in order to get her to pay attention to me, instead of watching everything going on and being focused on the environment. One was just a hard double handed correction when she pulled too hard. The second, which had a couple of uses for me in our situation, was to start walking, the leash over my right hand thumb and when she started pulling really hard, was to turn and do a 180 without saying anything, thus allowing her to give herself the correction for not paying attention since she's supposed to stay at my side all the time. Lisa said it was one of the techniques to teach the dogs to heel and she should be paying attention to me on heeling, so with time, doing this, will keep her focused on me and if she lets me out of her peripheral field, she's going to wind up with a correction.

So we gave it a couple of tries and sure enough she picked it up fast and was staying at my side well. Then we went to the end of the driveway and I explained that a couple of times while I had Rei on long leash to go potty, she would hear the dog behind diagonally behind us barking, and would take off running to the end of her leash barking and when she'd hit the end of the leash, I'd be hanging on and getting a hard yank. So Lisa was trying to figure out the lay out of our yards and where exactly the dog was so we walked down the sidewalk and she saw that the dog wasn't adjacent to our fence, since we'd left the eavesment open on our property. So she told me to try walking up and down the eavesment with her, practicing the heeling technique above, to get her to learn to ignore the neighbor dog completely and only doing that for this particular situation. So we have that to try yet.

After this, we went to go inside and get the harness to go for a walk around the neighborhood. We went to the door and I had her sit and stay like we did in sooooo many doorways at the school and when I told her inside, she did her full lunge forward into the house as she has been doing when excited to go in or out and Lisa confirmed that my hard corrections were good in working with her on this as well having her do the sit/stays. We grabbed the harness and went back out to the driveway to harness up and Rei heard the neighbor dog barking again and she barked back. Lisa then had me do what she called "Doggie Push-ups" which absolutely cracked me up. This was making her sit, then down, up sit, then down, multiple times and she had to do them right with the first command or a correction followed. I too learned that I shouldnt have been pointing down or bending over at all, except to correct her in a downward motion. So we did that for 4-5 repetitions until she'd long forgotten the neighbor dog and was paying attention to me.

So we then harnessed up and went for a walk around the large block, hoping to encounter barking dogs, but no one was out today. I did get to show Lisa where Katie's school was and the layout of our neighborhood. So it gave her some bearings around our place. We came back to the house and came into the garage and unharnessed Rei to work on some recall work. Grabbed a long nylon cord and tied it in a knot to hook her leash too and tried to let her walk about and so forth in the front yard. She really didn't do a whole lot, being that she's never been loose out there and able to roam about. So we moved to the back yard and then she started to wander and nosey about. Of course then she had to do a bathroom break, so let her do that and I asked Lisa if I could use the command that Valerie at the school had me to use when I'd been able to let her out and to run with the other dog on class, which was GO PLAY! She said that was fine and I told Rei to Go Play and she took off running in cirlces around the yard and then grabbed the rope and leash dragging behind her and tossed them into the air and was having a good ole time!

After she'd ran some energy off, we let her wander about and when she'd get out a ways, and wasn't looking at me, I'd call her to come to me and she'd come part way and then turn and run again. Lisa taught me to step on the rope as she ran past and tell her NO! Come! and with stepping on the rope, she'd hit the end of it and give her self the correction, usually about the time I was saying No! So giving a few yanks on the rope, she was quickly coming back to me when I'd call, which was NICE! So have that to work on too! :)

We then came on inside after a LOT of praise and loving to work on food things. We grabbed a piece of bread and when I started to get the bread out of the bag, she immediately jumped up to get it and a good strong two handed correction followed simultaneously with a strong NO! That definately got her attention and then we placed a piece of bread on the edge of the kids play table. I went over and sat down in one of the chairs at the end where the bread was laying and Lisa sat at the other end. Rei sat down right in front of the bread but didn't dare touch it. Lisa said she knew we were setting her up. LOL! I said she was too smart for her own good! So Lisa then tore the bread in half and set the two pieces close to her on the table top and still she didn't dare touch them. Lisa then took one of the pieces and laid it on the floor by the doorway, where we'd pretty much have to pass within inches of it to go by it and through the door to the kitchen. We made our way and she dove for it, which I gave a strong correction and NO! She immediately left it alone and was watching what I wanted her to do next. We turned around and Lisa had laid the other piece down for temptation and while she left the first piece she'd been corrected she started for the second one and when the correction came she hurried away from it. We turned around again and went back to the kitchen and she eyed them but didn't dip for them. One last time into the playroom, she didn't even look at them. So we'll work some more with this as we progress to more unresistable foods and keep on her and I have to just be diligent overall with her on all of these things. I think once we get through this adjustment period of learning each other, we are really going to be a good team. :)

Pictures of Homecoming...

Tuesday after getting home:


The weekend.

Well, this weekend we had my second Partners in Policymaking class. Seriously, if you are doing any sort of advocacy/work with an org for people with disabilities, I HIGHLY recommend that you get into your state PIP class. I've met some really knowledgeable and very influential people in this class. If anything else, it's ALL about the networking. I'm gaining so many resources here it's amazing.

So we got up there Friday afternoon and had our afternoon session. The whole weekend was geared towards Education and Inclusion for children with disabilities. For the afternoon, they had all the state gov't officials there to give a short talk and meet with each table in a round table session, which was really awesome. We had the state director of education, the people over the First Steps program, the 3-5 program, the Transition program, and lastly the Due Processes. After dinner, a really neat lady presented about how to create an IEP plan and gosh the time flew by before we knew it. We seriously didn't realize it was 8pm already. After the session, Rei and I went on up to our room and settled in for the night since I was just really tired from the whole week.

Rei was really good laying quietly the whole time and doing as she was supposed to. It was pretty funny, one of the speakers had talked to us, sitting up front and close to my table the whole time and when she asked me who I was and what was my background, I told her that I was deaf blind, but with loss of peripheral fields, hence the dog. She went OH! I didn't even know there was a dog here! LOL!

The only issue we did have was when we met the other service dog in the class. We were outside and Rei had finished breaking when the other gentleman and his assistance dog came out. We let the dogs meet and both began barking at each other. After a few minutes, they settled down and were pretty much ok. The gentleman said that he knew how his dog acted around new dogs and didn't want the barking and such to happen inside with all the people around. I'm glad he thought of it, because I wouldn't have, being that Honey had never had an issue with anyone or anything. So we both made our way back inside and a little bit later he came by us doing a controlled walk by and Rei was very interested, but his dog was not. At dinner they were both staring each other down on opposite sides of the buffet table but we kept a close eye on them. As the weekend went on, they both grew accostumed to each other and by the time we left Saturday, they pretty much didn't notice each other.

Saturday we had a really, really neat lady named Jill Englund from Michigan present. She brought all these toys, different things, and had everyone actively involved all day. Each table presented on short things on how to include kids and it overall was just a really good presentation.

I got home about 5:45pm and Mike came in with the kids after church. Rei sure was glad to be home and back to her favorite blanket and in familiar surroundings, though she had made several friends this weekend.

Sunday, we spent the day cleaning the house from top to bottom and the girls both had practice for the church christmas program. We were hosting bible study and only John and Karen showed, which was a little frustrating for all the work that went into it, but we had a good time with them talking and having some actuall adult time! :)

After getting the kids to bed, we settled down and let Rei off the tie down and she grabbed her blanket and settled down on the floor by us on the couch. We were watching Amazing Race and at the part where they were at the bird hospital, she jumped up barking at the screen. Which Saturday night she had done the same thing at Survivor man. LOL! We both headed to bed about 10pm and called it a night, since I had home training starting the next day and Mike had to start the new week at work.

A cute/funny story about Rei....

Mike bought her this doggy blanket before we came home (a bed at my request). So when I got home, I pulled it out of it's package and gave it to her to lay on. What does she do, she immediately starts to chew on it and rip holes in it. It didn't seem to matter what I did, she kept doing it. Not so much eating the stuffing, but just pulling out what she could get a hold of. So she's taken to the is blanket and since i have her in the playroom on tie down quite a bit, I have it there for her. Then to keep from leaving her by herself in there in the evenings, when Mike and I go into the living room, I brought her and the blanket with me. So then we go to bed and she grabs her blanket and follows me down the hallway dragging it with her and I put her down on the floor next to my side of the bed.

So the next morning, we get up and I don't think much of it, figured we'd just leave the blanket there, but noooo, she had to have her blanket and she grabbed it and drug it down the hallway with her and plopped down on it. So pretty much ever since, whenever we change rooms, Rei brings her blankie with her. LOL!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We finally made it home.

We are finally home.

We left NY yesterday morning and got to Baltimore. All was good to go, and we'd made arrangements to meet with a mutual friend that lived in the area (actually she's the exec. director of the American Assoc. Deaf Blind) and we ate lunch with her, since we had a a 3 hr layover in Baltimore.

So we come back at 3:15- to fly out at 4 and the flight is CANCELLED. No delay, it's flat out cancelled. Suzi and I were like CRAP! We made our way up to the counter and we found out we had 2 options, We could run to a different concourse, through security and try to make the plane that left in 40 mins to Chicago Midway, then do the same in Chicago with 45 mins to hit the plane there to Indy, putting us supposedly at home about 11:30pm into Indy.

Or our other option was they put us up in a hotel for the night, we come back and fly home this morning at 8:20am and be home by 10am. We opted to do that because we were both tired, the dogs were stressed and all of us in an unfamiliar place. But it took 2 hours to get to the hotel, taking forever to find our bags, getting our vouchers, the shuttle not coming and having to call them to come again, getting to our room and no free internet and then finding out all local calls were 1.50 the first minute and then 10cents a minute after that. Thank goodness I had my cell phone on me. I called Mike and had him look up the local pizza place to have pizza delivered to us since they wouldn't do anything for our meals.

We got up this morning, the shuttle picked us up, we got to the airport and had someone walk us through security and to the gate so all was good to go. We got on the flight, leaving 20 mins early and landed 20 mins early. Both of us were picked up quickly by our rides and we got home finally. :)

Now why our flight was cancelled- because they shut down the airspace over Indy since McCain was at the new airport speaking for his rally....

We were worried about this morning too since he was supposed to be back at the airport to fly out, which I think we dodged that by leaving early.

After getting home, Rei settled in nicely and Mike came home a little early so we could go vote. Worked out well, as Sue was there voting as we walked in, so she took the kids outside and watched them while we voted. We didn't have too long of a line, as we were there about 4:15 and was in line for maybe 10-15 minutes tops. :) Made me really happy, since I've been up since 4am when Rei woke me up.

We came on home and fed Rei and then after she settled down, we tried letting her off the tie down for some supervised time around the house. She did pretty good and the kids are really warming up to her. She did get a little over-excited when Alex began to run through the house and she gave chase, so had to reign her in and make her lay at my feet. We put her back on tie down and ate dinner and Katie has been working on her president report all evening. Then I put some more peanut butter in the big sterilized bone that we got and she's been happily chewing on that as I got Meaghan and Alex ready for bed and still is now. It was cute, Meaghan and Alex both asked if they could go tell Rei goodnight. :)

Alright, I know I didn't update on yesterday, but I'm sore, tired, and ready for some sleep, but Mike said we needed to talk about some stuff- a lot coming up for this week, so have to stay awake for at least that. Then I'm crashing for the night!

Later Gators!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Last full day at the foundation!

We got up this morning at a lovely 6am (cough-cough, 7am) and I got a nice 8 hrs of sleep last night! Whoo hoooo! So feeling better with the cold since I'm taking meds and got a good night of rest! :)

We went down for breakfast and the basket that was bought for the trainers was given to them in appreciation for their hard work, long days, and patience with all of us doing some sometimes downright silly things. We ate breakfast and then the trainers told us we were going to ride the train! :)

We all loaded up in the bus and headed to the train station (sorry, didn't catch the name of the town) but we unloaded and breaked our dogs and then walked in a single file line up to the ticket office and inside. It was pretty funny, it felt like I was in grade school again, but it was indeed pretty cool as we all sat there on the long pew like bench along the wall with our dogs, waiting for time to board the train. The looks on people's faces never cease to amaze me. One little boy stood and watched the dogs and pointed at each and everyone of them, ooohhhing and aaahhhing at how pretty they were and such. I have to say, we looked pretty awesome with 12 dogs all lined up in a row, thier heads sticking out from between our legs and not a peep out of them. :)

So the train arrived and it was a hurried rush of getting everyone up, on the platform, and into the car as we were trying not to hold up the train from it's departure time. We all made it and enjoyed the 7 minute ride to the next stop, where Valerie met us with the bus. We hurriedly unloaded and it was quite a rush as we all stood there lined up and the train pulled away. After it left, Jodi took each of us up to the edge of the platform and we were to tell our dogs forward, just as a test, of which all of them looked at us like we were nuts for saying forward while overlooking the 15 feet drop to the ground. Then we turned and walked our way down to the down stairs and onto the bus to come back to the foundation.

After getting back to the foundation, they took everyone's individual pictures and the class picture as well. Then we all came in for lunch and ate, as one classmate was loading her stuff into her family car to head home, being the first of us combo training people to head home. She came to the dining room and said her goodbyes, and then it was starting to sink in that my time here is about done. I'm ready to go home, but I'll admit, it's been nice being in an environment that totally caters to the dogs, which isn't the case in the real world. I know too I'm really going to miss this class, which has become quite close in the last 2 weeks.

After lunch, I came back to the room and have started the packing process. I have most of the stuff put away, gathered up and ready to go in the suitcase. Just waiting for the washer and dryer to free up and will then go wash mine and finish up packing all my stuff up.

I'd just sat down on the bed to look through the Grad pack when it was Valerie that knocked on the door and asked if I'd be interested in free running my dog, which is taking them out to play. Of course I was interested, as Rei has been cooped up int his room for 2 wks now other than walks and here and there where we've walked. So I took off outside and breaked her and we went with another classmate and her dog to a fenced area and had them sit and then turned them loose. They ran and ran and chased each other around. We then called them back, using our whistles and some treats to re-inforce the Come command, and then had them sit and then released them again. That way they don't get to where if we call them, that means play time is definately over, then they avoid you so they don't loose play time. So we did this several times until both dogs were panting with lolling, happy tongues and tired out. So we called them back one last time and came back inside, which Rei is now chewing on the big sterilized bone that Lisa brought me earlier for her and I'm here finishing up some things while killing time. Lisa has asked Suzi and I to meet her at 3:30 to do the going home lecture, and that should be about it.

We fly out of Islip tomorrow around 11:30 to Baltimore, and will be meeting a mutual deaf blind friend of ours there for lunch. Then we fly out of Baltimore to arrive back in Indy around 6pm and then home! Yay! :)

Second Saturday at GDF- continued...

We had arranged to meet with Bernie, Marie, Marilyn and her guide, and Riki. Bernie and Marilyn were doing a tour, Bernie having a 9wk old lab/golden cross guide pup in training. Marie had her poodle pup in traning. :) Both dogs were just adorable and amazing in that they were very well behaved, you didn't know they were there when we ate and so forth! The pups did get a little playful with each other, but they were really awesome. I got a few pictures of them and Bernie's pup was just sooooooo cute!

Marie's Poodle Pup in training:

Marilyn coming up the walk with her guide:

Bernie doing what I hear that he does best- Tours and promoting GDF. :)

The PUPPY!!! :D

Who can resist that face! Suzi couldn't! :)

The two pups getting playful, which was quickly stopped since they are to learn to be good pups so they can some day grow up to be awesome guides. :)

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

We all loaded up in vehicles and drove to the Smithhaven mall area and ate lunch at the John Harvard's Brewery. It was delicious. :) It was really cool to get to talk with and meet so many faces that I've talked to on the GDF email list for so long now. :) We all ate a hearty lunch and all too quickly it was time to say our goodbyes. Bernie and Marilyn took off with thier dogs and Ricki said goodbye in the parking lot. We rode back to the foundation with Marie and her sweet daughter. :)

When we got back, Jodi came around and asked everyone what they thought thier dog's weight was. Honey was in the mid sixties, so I guessed 57lbs for Rei. Apparently I was dead on for her weight! :D They asked because they were going to see who was the closest and supposedly a prize of some sort. We took our ID picture and then Lisa came and got Suzi and I for the big moment. We filled out our graduation packs and contracts and were both offered full ownership of our dogs :) So Rei is officially my dog now. YAY!!!!

After this, we fed the dogs and had dinner, then I came back to the room until evening break. I took it easy in the room and set up an online photo album to share pictures with the rest of the class. Then we had evening break and I set my clocks back an hour and went to bed at 9:30pm for a good night of rest, which was badly needed. :)