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Hospital Days 18 September 11

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Dog, Exercise, Illness.
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Total Knee replacement : Lateral view (Xray).

Image via Wikipedia

Well, the day finally came – my right knee required replacement. RA often does that to people. It eats up joints, makes them hurt and go “krackel-krunch” off and on. So, the time came, and I was ready to have it done. It was a little scary.

When a service dog is involved, especially one as sensitive and bonded as Emmy is, plans have to include her. Well, I couldn’t take care of her by myself in the hospital. Himself and I worked out the plan. He would bring Emmy to see me on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Since he is still not recovered from his heart attack of July 14, he could not stay all day and all night with me. I asked him to come in about 10am and leave about 3pm – to avoid traffic and to keep him from getting too tired out. Well, the traffic part worked, but he did get much too tired.

Another part of “the plan” was for Emmy to adjust to me using a walker and not balancing well. That part did work on Friday and Saturday. Thursday I was too groggy to function well.

Emmy, of course, bonded a bit more strongly with Himself. But we aren’t worried about it. She and I will bond again, just as strongly, as she works with me on my rehab.

Everyone in the hospital who saw her fell in love with her. Since it is the same hospital Himself was in for his MI in July, there were many people who recognized her. She obeyed pretty well – EXCEPT – when she first came into my room in the mornings. She would come to my bed, and just go into ecstasy sniffing and licking my hand, dancing beside the bed with a goofy “Lab grin” on her face. I have to admit, I didn’t interfere. I let her do it for about 5 minutes, then cued her to “Settle!” It took a couple of times of telling her, but she did settle down. The rest of the day was great.

Total Knee Replacement. Hurts a good bit but the pain gets better each day. Percocets work.

The PT and OT people loved her, but thought she did too much for me. {WHAAAA??} Finally I told them that this was necessary for me – and had been for over 3 years. I don’t think they ever really understood, but I do know whereof I was speaking!

So – Emmy arrived each day, greeted me rather too boisterously (but I liked it!), and then lay on a pillowcase (as a “place”) over by Himself. When I was gotten up out of bed (twice a day), Himself kept her from greeting me too much (again). Then we went for a short walk – about 100 feet, and then back to bed. Emmy was the best, most obedient and helpful little service dog that ever was! She picked up what I dropped (except pills, of course),

Well, we are home, now, and Emmy is still very confused about what’s going on, but she comes to me for everything, wants me to feed her and let her out. I thought it would take a few days, but it hasn’t! Of course, one of the grandsons have to take her out and play with her, but I can feed her. I’m watching lots of TV and DVDs, reading a lot, but I can’t think very well, so it’s the mindless stuff that I need. I need lots of mindless stuff until my brain engages again!

And Emmy, of course. I need her desperately. She helps me exercise. I have to walk for 15 minutes every 2 hours. Emmy helps me walk. Tomorrow I’ll take her out on the patio and see how we do.

Thanks be to God for PAALS – and for Emmy!


30 Things You May Not Know About My Illness: Fibromyalgia 15 September 09

Posted by turtlemom3 in 1.
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Please check out my other blog: Morningside Drive, for my post about my invisible illness – Fibromyalgia.

It is posted for Invisible Illness Awareness Week.

2009 Invisible Illness Awareness Week

2009 Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Join Me!! 2 October 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Emmy!!, Service Dogs.
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I am letting this blog lapse – no longer posting on it – and have already started a NEW blog here on WordPress about Living With the Woof.

Join us there, and hear how Emmy, my service dog, and I are getting along! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.


Turtlemom3 AKA Elizabeth

Getting Ready to Go!! 4 September 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADI, PAALS, Service Dogs, Training.

I received several documents from PAALS yesterday. Instructions about getting ready to go and our schedule there!  I will need to “bring any poop scoopers, ADL devices, and items that dog will regularly retrieve, educational tools (ADA cards), and anything else that will regularly be used with dogs (ball throwers, etc).” OOPS! Didn’t know about the ADA cards!! Will have to print out and laminate ASAP!!) On top of everything else, I have lost my camera, and will have to borrow my oldest son’s camera to take pictures of the process! And that schedule! Talk about grueling!

Planned schedule (which will change as needed with added sessions if required – YIKES!)

Sat 9/13 and 9/14 start at 2 and end at 5pm at (training location)

Mon-Fri (15th – 19th) 9:30-4:30

*9/15 Lunch provided at (training location) by PAALS

*9/16 Dinner together at (training location) provided by PAALS from 5-6pm

* 9/18 Meet the Clients Event 5-7pm at (another location)

9/20 Sat Meet out in town – Publix (large grocery store) in downtown Columbia Time TBD

Individual sessions as needed 2-5pm (training location)

9/21 Sun Meet at (training location) at 2pm and travel to (another location) by 2:45-5pm . . . across bridge from Publix.

Mon-Fri (22nd – 26th) 9:30-4:30

*9/25 Lunch with Advisory Board member and PAALS at (another location) in Columbia

*9/27 Lunch with PAALS after ADI test


We will be scrutinized at each session. I feel like I used to going to new clinical locations when I was a “basic” student nurse!

Please keep us in your prayers! We leave on Friday, 9/12, and return on Monday 9/29. We are taking a day to recover before driving back.

Looking at that schedule, you can see that even if I have wi-fi, I probably won’t have the time (or energy!) to post blogs. So look for a 2-week gap in there. In addition, I will be letting this blog lapse and have already started a NEW blog here on WordPress about Living With the Woof. I’ll probably blog one or two last posts here after returning, and give the link to the new blog site again.

I know I will need to let Woof become acclimated to us at home for about a week before introducing her to other people – a FEW at a time. I had hoped to have her with me when I go to the Greek Festival on Oct 4th with my Red Hat buddies, but this will not be possible this year. I’ll have to leave her with the Ol’ Curmudgeon and go. I’ve been looking forward to going to the annual Greek Festival at the Cathedral of the Annunciation for 2 years, and don’t want to miss it – again!

[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join us at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

The Time Has Come!!! 27 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, Training.

I received an e-mail from PAALS. My Training Camp will be Sept 13 – 28!! Obviously I probably won’t be posting to this blog – or any of the other blogs – during that time. But I’ll be taking notes and will post after I get back. We will leave the afternoon of Sept 12, and return on Monday Sept 29. Our son and daughter-in-law and their kids will be house-sitting for us so Magnus the Magnifi-cat won’t be too lonely. The Ol’ Curmudgeon will be going with me to help me as necessary. Fortunately he has wi-fi on his work laptop, so he’ll be able to work throughout. Also, his work cellphone will go with us, so he’ll be working as usual, only from SC and not from home.

Am I excited? Excited isn’t the word! There are NO descriptors in the English language to express this mixture of anticipation, elation, ecstasy, anxiety, and, yes, terror I am feeling.

We have the book that we must read before getting there: Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. When I saw the author’s name, I said, I KNOW that name! Turns out she authored one of the primary books about breastfeeding and I used it as a textbook for my nursing students as well as using it as my major reference when teaching Public Health Nurses how to counsel nursing women in their local clinics in GA! So she already has a good recommendation to me. As I’m getting into it, I would say this should become the primary training manual for anyone who wants to train an animal. It’s simple without being simplistic.

I’ve ordered my GoDogGo so I can take it to practice with my Woof. Fun exercise is absolutely necessary, and I’m too immobile to do decent walking. I hope that will change somewhat with the assistance of my Woof, but as I sit here with my knees red and swollen and barely able to weight bear, I’m a little discouraged about that aspect. However, I have a wheelchair, and Woof will learn to pull it for me. On level ground only. That will certainly give him exercise, but not the “off-duty” play he will need. I just regret that Woof won’t get the running and rougher playing with me that Labs and Lab mixes enjoy so much. But I have grandsons who will be delighted to do that in my place. I’m also going to train him to walk on our treadmill. In seriously hot and humid weather (which we have here in GA!) and in seriously cold weather (infrequent) and in rainy weather (frequent), he’ll be able to exercise there without either of us getting overheated, overly chilled or soaked!

Hmmmm – I wonder if I can train the Woof to retrieve Magnus when he gets out of the house, as he does infrequently, but which scares the pants off me. Labs are not herding dogs, but maybe I can train him to herd Magnus… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Also – I need people and organizations to contribute to PAALS for me! {When you go to this page, scroll down to “Windy” – that’s my nickname, and that’s my picture!} I still don’t have my full amount in hand. And that will be due over the next 3 – 4 months. Please mention PAALS to your friends and acquaintances. Fund-raising ideas also will be gratefully accepted!

If you know of any charitable or religious organizations that might help, please let me know. I’m approaching all the organizations in my county that are listed on the Chamber of Commerce website. They include organizations like Lions, Kiwanas, and VFW as well as many of the larger businesses, including the one for which the Ol’ Curmudgeon works. But I need ideas for other businesses or charitable organizations. Thanks for your help.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during those last 2 weeks in September!! Only 2 weeks and 2 days to go!!

[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

PTSD Vet Get Help from Service Dog 23 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PTSD, Service Dogs, Veterans.
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This is an excellent article from KULR-8 TV in Billings MT:

BILLINGS – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause life-long struggles with depression and flash-backs. Christina Avey was unsure when someone recommended she get a service dog. Making a mistake many do by thinking the animals only assist people with physical disabilities. But Christina is now very emotional about the way her new dog Zeus has changed her life.

Christina Avey is an army veteran. She served from 19-80 to 1986 and again in 1997. Christina no longer talks about the trauma that caused her Post Traumatic stress Disorder, but she lives with the consequences every day. She says since her diagnosis 11 years ago life has changed dramatically. “It’s destroyed my life.” says Avey. She says because of PTSD, she has trouble dealing with society in general and suffers from depression, nightmares and flashbacks. Now, 11 years later, Avey finally feels like she has hope. “I met another person who had a therapy animal, and for me I needed it more because I knew where I was heading. Deeper inside where I might not come out of my house anymore.”

Soon after Avey got in touch with Deb Bouwkamp, an instructor with Service Canines of Montana. Deb has trained service dogs for 13 years; but Zeus is the first animal she trained to help a PTSD patient. “It’s a very new concept. it’s not fully accepted around the U.S.” But Bouwkamp says medical professionals are recommending it.

And Avey is getting the word out with a web-site because she thinks this can help other veterans. “He is a bridge to a life that I had been missing. There’s people talking to me, there’s people talking to me that I had pushed away and didn’t want to talk to before. You lose trust with PTSD. He’s what I call a bridge to life.” says Avey. Bouwkamp says she sees a huge change in Avey since getting Zeus. “She called me and I had to ask who it was because it wasn’t the same sown voice, her voice has lifted.” It’s still a daily struggle for Avey, but she says she now feels something she hasn’t in a long time, safe.

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

Service Dog Etiquette 12 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, ADI, Delta Society, Dept of Justice, Federal Law, Guidelines, IAADP, PAALS, Service Dogs.

I recently read some  information about service dog etiquette that makes a lot of sense.

Since not everyone knows about service dogs, not everyone knows about service dog etiquette.

First – a service dog is not a pet! A service dog has at least 2 years of intensive socialization and training behind him and is an expert in what he does. Most have been bred from working dog stock and not only thoroughly enjoy, but need to work.

A person who has a service dog has a very well-trained working dog. When you meet them, remember that the dog is working. Don’t interrupt it.

Always speak to the dog’s partner first, and always ask before beginning to interact with the dog.

Don’t pet the dog or make noises at the dog without permission of the dog’s partner.

If the partner says, “No,” then the answer is, “No,” and simply agree with it and go with it. It has nothing to do with you, it has to do with the service dog and his duties.

Never offer food to a service dog! This will distract him from his job. It can even cause injury to the disabled partner.

If you encounter a service dog in training or a puppy in training, ignore it! At this stage of training, they are easily distractible and can have a whole day’s training lost if interfered with.

It is impolite to ask the partner about his disability. If you are intrusive enough to ask such an invasive question, do not be surprised if the partner refuses to discuss it. The partner is not being offensive – he just doesn’t want his privacy invaded any more than you would.

Business Owners

If you are a business person, you may not prevent a person from bringing his service dog in with him. Both Federal and State laws specify that service dogs are to be permitted into any business or location. Even clinics or hospitals.

If you don’t like dogs, or are afraid of them, simply put yourself on the other side of the person from the dog.

If the dog “forgets” his manners and barks or growls at something or someone, you may inquire as to what the problem is. If someone has been teasing, poking or otherwise alarming the dog, they should be reprimanded. On the other hand, some service dogs alert their partners to impending seizures or crashing blood sugars  by barking once or twice, and that may be the source of a bark or two.

You may ask the person to remove their service dog from the premises if the dog’s behavior is disruptive or destructive.

If another customer has a severe allergy to dogs, you might ask the person with the service dog  if you can help them outside or if they can wait outside until the person with the allergy is through. This problem has not been defined by law, however. Balancing the health needs of the allergic against the rights of the disabled with service animals will probably be worked out in courts of law in the future.

If other customers complain about the presence of the service dog, explain that the service dog is medically necessary, and that Federal law AND State law protect the rights of the person to have their service dog with them in public places.

Many disabled people with service dogs carry pamphlets or cards that explain Federal ADA laws about service dogs. Some carry information about the training their dog has gone through and any certifications it has. You might politely ask the disabled person if they have such information with them if another customer is confused and you feel you don’t have enough information yourself to help the situation.

Places To Go For More Information

Delta Society

Assistance Dogs International

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)


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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

IAADP Emergency Call for Action – ADA 9 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Dept of Justice, Dog, Federal Law, IAADP, Service Dogs, Working Dogs.
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I just went to the IAADP website. They need support for their recommended amendments to the changes to the ADA regulations!!

Support The Assistance Dog Community –

Your Comments are Urgently Needed!

The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) represents more than 2000 disabled program graduates and owner-trainers who work with service, hearing and guide dogs to increase their independence. Seven years ago we formed a coalition with Assistance Dogs International, which represents more than 100 non profit assistance dog training programs in the USA. Other members include the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools and Guide Dog Users, Inc. Together we petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a better definition of a Service Animal as soon as the regulations for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) came up for review. All of us were very worried about the future of the assistance dog movement due to widespread misunderstandings about the service animal definition.

The good news is that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has finally proposed a new definition of a Service Animal, in an attempt to correct the problems with the old definition. Before finalizing the new Definition, its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on the ADA regulatory language is seeking comments from the public on three Questions pertaining to service animals. IAADP has also identified a fourth issue we see as critical.

This is the assistance dog community’s long awaited opportunity to try to shape a better future. Please join us! There are good things in the new definition of a Service Animal, but we also foresee serious problems and want to try to fix them before it is too late. [– MORE –].

Even if you don’t have a service dog, please look over the IAADP website and then follow their links to the ADA website for comments. When I posted mine, I simply copy and pasted the IAADP’s positions into my comments and then told them that I supported these changes. It was easy and quick.

This is really important!! Please do it!!

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

National Service Dog Week 6 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, Service Dogs, Support PAALS.
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Last update: 11:24 a.m. EDT Aug. 6, 2008
CRAWFORD, Colo., Aug 06, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — August 10-16 has been officially designated as National Assistance Dog Week to honor the more than 20,000 dogs that assist people with disabilities. Their work ranges from guide to hearing dogs: from assisting those with mobility problems to alerting for sudden onset diseases like seizures or diabetes. Literally and figuratively, assistance dogs have been opening doors for their partners since the early 1920s. With a service dog helper, people who were unable to leave their home can travel, go shopping, attend classes, or pursue employment. Federal laws assure that their dog is allowed access on public transportation and in public places. A service dog recipient is even guaranteed equal housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, it is important for anyone working in the public sector to be informed about these valuable canines and the laws regarding their use.
Three-time service dog recipient Marcie Davis of New Mexico states that, with her dog, “All of a sudden the impossible seems possible. Virtually every area in your personal and professional life can be expanded and explored … Whatever you dreamed of accomplishing can be realized with the assistance of a service dog.” The dogs are specially trained for the needs of each recipient. They perform tasks such as opening doors, picking up dropped objects, helping a person with mobility issues, retrieving keys or even taking clothes out of the dryer. Success stories of service dog recipients abound. Her dog enabled Ms. Davis to pursue a career as president of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm specializing in health and human services.
More information about these amazing canines — their work, training, laws governing their use, and where and how to apply for a service dog — can be found in “Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook” by Marcie Davis and Melissa Bunnell (Alpine Publications, 2007) at http://www.workinglikedogs.com or http://www.alpinepub.com.

Tammy Hayes, Assistant to the Publisher
Alpine Publications, Inc.
38262 Linman Rd.
Crawford, CO 81415
Fax: 970-921-5081

This is really important stuff!! It means assistance dogs are being recognized for what they do for their partners – and that they are making a needed and appreciated contribution to society at large!!

And don’t forget that the organization closest to my heart is PAALS!! Now that time is drawing close for my Woof to come to me, I’m even more excited and donations are needed even more urgently (designate for Elizabeth (or Windy) Riggs!! So please put your nickels and dimes together and see if you can help to get us to the top!!

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

Companionship 2 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Service Dogs.

I haven’t mentioned companionship very much. I’ve mainly been working on presenting all the “things” an assistance dog can “do” for his partner.

Yes, companionship is a big part of the bond and the relationship. I will be under much less stress when “Woof” is here and the Ol’ Curmudgeon has to go out of town. Not because Woof would protect me. Service dogs are not trained to attack or to protect. But rather just because there will be “someone else” here with me. And Magnus the Magnifi-cat just doesn’t quite qualify in that regard. Half the time he is sleeping in a drawer or in a box somewhere. But Woof will be beside me. Yes, that’s it. Woof will be beside me. My companion, my friend, my helper, my assistant, my happy-camper, my anti-depressant – all in one.

I hope my Woof is here soon so I can put pictures of it in the Blog! I’m sure it will be gorgeous, and friendly, and have beautiful eyes and soft ears. This is going to be a wonderful thing!

There will be someone to go places with me! Someone to exercise with me, and encourage me to exercise – even on bad days. Someone to accompany me to the store and to the beauty parlor. Someone to keep my feet warm!!

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

New breed of assistance dogs hone skills, including ‘scent-abilities’ 29 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Mobility, Partnership, Seizure-alert, Service Dogs, Tasks, Training.

Posted by Kathleen Longcore | The Grand Rapids Press July 29, 2008 05:51AM

GRAND RAPIDS – Eight-year-old Cieran Boyle is about to get his first friend, a sturdy pointer assistance dog named Denver.

But Denver won’t be helping him cross streets, open doors or turn the lights off, as do many service dogs. He’ll be detecting subtle changes in Cieran’s body odor that predict he is about to have a seizure.

Denver’s training is an example of how today’s service dogs are being prepared in new ways to assist people.

Some organizations train dogs to help children who have autism. The dog can be tethered to a child, preventing the child from wandering or getting into harm’s way.

Other organizations train seizure response dogs, who get help when someone has had a seizure.

Some dogs, including some hounds and pointers, have very heightened “scent ability,” said Liz North, a master instructor at Pawsabilities Unleashed.

[– MORE –]

Actually, seizure-alert dogs are not new, but this method of training them is relatively new. There are also dogs (and cats!) which can detect when a diabetic is going into either INSULIN shock or diabetic coma (the two opposites that are so dangerous for diabetics).

It looks to me as if some of the assistance dog organizations are beginning to “specialize” in certain types of dogs – mobility, seizure-alert, hearing, seeing, autism, etc. Some lean more toward children, others toward adults. Most are still very general, however, and may offer several different kinds of assistance animals. They may offer both therapy and assistance animals, and may offer both in-home assistance animals and therapy sessions on their site with, perhaps, larger animals, such as horses or even dolphins.

There are also cancer-detection dogs which are offering a different kind of service. They are not “personal” assistance dogs, however. I perceive them eventually being in many oncologist’s (cancer specialist’s) offices, working in conjunction with them to detect cancer in it’s earliest stages.

My “Woof” will be a mobility assistance dog, and will assist me with getting up and down from chairs and the toilet, as well as helping me with balance. He will help me by picking up things (especially my cane, which I seem to drop frequently), and to carry some of the things I need to carry to my client’s offices (a few files). He will help drag the laundry basket to the laundry room, help remove laundry from the washer and then from the dryer, and then drag eht laundry basket back to the bedroom. He will be able to pick up bits of paper from the floor and put them in the trash. He will be able to use a “tug” to open doors at the store for me. This will be more and more important as I will need to move to a wheelchair more in the future. He will be able to bring me my cellphone which I am constantly leaving all over the house, and go get my beloved Ol’ Curmudgeon. Most importantly, should I fall getting in or out of the tub or fall in the house, the dog will be able to go to a special 911 phone and push a big button which will alert the 911 service in our county. They will know that I have a service dog and that he is trained to do this, so they will know where to come and how to access the house. They will know my daughter’s phone number and my son’s phone number and my husband’s phone number at work so the closest one can come over to let them in and take care of “Woof.”

So I’m looking forward to my “Woof,” and I’m very happy that Cieran Boyle is going to get his friend. Sounds like he’s a little boy who really needs one – and his family could use the relief, too! A win-win situation all the way around.

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

Service dog helps disabled vet 26 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Uncategorized.
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Yet another article about how a wonderful, well trained mobility service dog is helping his disabled partner. Check it out. Has some marvelous pictures!!

Service dog helps disabled vet

By Laura Forbes
Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 8:20 p.m.

Eight years after he was injured in a military training exercise, a Colorado Springs man is gaining some of his independence back, thanks to one loyal dog, and the program that paired them up.

It is called “Canine Companions for Independence.” It costs about $50,000 to train each dog, but through donations, owners get them for free.

Jay Huston was in an airborne exercise when his parachute malfunctioned. The impact fractured his spine in two places. On top of that, tests revealed he had a spine disorder he had lived with all his life, making many movements difficult and painful.

“Some days you just don’t feel like getting out of bed,” said Huston.

That’s how he felt for eight years, through 10 surgeries that fused together nearly all of his spine. “From C3 all the way down to my pelvis, I’m solid rods and plates.”

It made him dependent on others for the most simple of tasks, until a black Labrador-golden retriever mix named Timo came along. [– MORE –]

I can hardly wait for my Woof to get here and help me become more independent!! It’s really strange to be in limbo, working to raise money, waiting for my Woof, and reading of others who have theirs!

Despite being an “old fat grandmother,”  I’m  convinced I will be appealing enough to enough people that they will contribute to my cause. Have to get my hair done more attractively and get my daughter to do my make up for some pictures. Wear some of my less casual clothing. All those other kinds of things that make you look better. But I also need to look needy! What a weird balance to have to strike!

Well, time to get my dear daughter involved with that part of it, and the head of my neighborhood association involved, too. She’s a go-getter, and if I  can get her involved, I’m sure some things will Happen!

So I’m off to get some more things rolling! Never give up! Never surrender!

By Grabthar’s Hammer … by the Sons of Warvan … I SHALL prevail!

And if you recognize those quotes, you need to stop watching old movies and get a life! WAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

A Bit of a Whine 22 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Uncategorized.

I need to raise money for my service dog. So far, I had a good start, but seem to have stalled.

The local business and charities are not very interested. One of them said, bluntly, that if I were a “cute kid” instead of a “fat grandma,” it would be easier to get people interested. Great! Well, I can’t can’t shave off years, wrinkles or pounds at this point.

My church is struggling with a major building fund problem, and can’t divert funds to me at this point. Other churches in the area are focused their members’ needs. In this time of great financial problems, each charitable organization is really looking at their own constituents rather than at a “stranger.”

I attempted a web-based fundraiser, but when I didn’t meet my goal in the 1-month provided, all funds were returned to the donors and the fundraiser collapsed. {{sigh}}

I wrote to my city council asking for time at a council meeting to talk about service dogs and have had no response. {{double sigh}} I feel stymied at every turn at the moment.

My faith in God is not shaken, however. His timing is not ours, and I’m sure my Woof will be coming to me  soon. I’ll just have to figure out and develop new tool, tactics and strategies. But at the moment my mind is a blank and I’m feeling a bit hopeless.

If anyone has any ideas, I surely could use some!! Woof is waiting, and I am just turning around and around in place trying to think of some way to get there!

Me on my stairlift

Me on my stairlift

In the meantime, please don’t forget PAALS! If you to to the link and scroll down, you will see the above picture of me! My bio page is coming soon, but you can support me directly, now, by clicking on the PayPal link under my picture on the PAALS support page!

As always, thank you for your support – not just of me, but of PAALS! They are a fabulous organization. Eventually they want to add other, well-trained, animals to their repertoire of assistants. Equine therapy, Simian assistants, Therapy dogs and cats. But they must grow and prosper.

Who Can Service Dogs Help?? 15 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Partnership, Service Dogs, Tasks.

For months now, I’ve been blithely writing about service dogs and how my Woof will help me when it gets here. But a friend asked me (in person, rather than commenting on this site) what service dogs really can do for people.

Wow! I was stumped for a minute – not to explain to her what a service dog CAN do, but to not “over do” my enthusiasm!

According to the Delta Society “Service dogs are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”

We tend to think in terms of service dogs doing specific tasks – in my case, picking up my cane when I drop it, providing balance, dragging the laundry basket through the house. But there is this to consider, also – will taking care of the service dog use up too much of my all-too-minimal energy stores? OR, will the service dog actually help conserve my energy by performing some of the tasks that take a lot of my energy to do?

A service dog may help a person who is quite immobile to get more physical exercise and thereby increase their stamina. For some people, the service dog would provide a distraction from focusing on their pain and disability – they may find it easier to be more social. The service dog also can reduce the concerns of his partner’s family members and close friends in terms of worrying about safety issues and the well-being of his partner. After all, his partner may be eating better because the service dog is carrying the food from the refrigerator for him!

So it isn’t “just” the business of leading a visually impaired person around objects, or alerting someone with hearing deficits to the sounds of the telephone ringing or the doorbell ringing, or someone coming up behind her or calling her name. It isn’t “just” pulling a laundry basket from room to room or picking up objects and putting them in drawers or in the trash. It is a relationship, companionship, friendship.

Any person with a physical or mention problem that limits their life activities in a major way might be a candidate for a service dog. But some people might not be candidates. If caring for the service dog will be too strenuous, and there is no one to help, then a service dog may not be a good choice. A pet cat or other small animal that requires less grooming for maintaining command proficiency and for going out into the community may be a better choice.

For me, a service dog is the best answer, and I’m working very hard to find ways to raise funds without wiping out my stamina!

So that’s what I told my friend. And now I’ve told you! Any questions??

LETTER FROM AUBREY, PAALS Service Dog in Training 13 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Uncategorized.
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Dear Friends of PAALS,

Well I think I know what it’s like to be a rock star, as you humans say!  I went to visit a boy who might be my forever friend and service human partner.  His nickname is Smith and his family hosted a swimathon to help raise money for PAALS.  I took a long car ride with some of my other PAALS to Charleston this month so I could show my support.

There were fun kids everywhere at the Hobcaw Yacht Club pool and they all knew my name!  I love the water so my trainers helped me by having me practice staying on a mat that we call “place” near the pool.  I did GREAT if I do say so myself.  Seems like all my hard work is paying off.  Except I don’t know why they wouldn’t let me eat all the great food that people dropped around the buffet table.  It was all going to waste!  Bread is my favorite, but I wanted to show everyone how good I could be so I laid under the dinner table while my new friend Smith sat to eat.

I got to stay overnight at my old fosters’ house, Mike and Peggy, and to see my puppy foster, Leanne.  I played with my old friend, Gus, and even went for a run in my old neighborhood.  Then, I met another dog I might live with at Smith’s house, Harry.  He’s small and cute!  I jumped on the trampoline with Smith’s mom – wow, that was wild!  Then I got to practice my training in Smith’s playroom.  I “hugged” him and let him lay on my belly.  I think we are going to be great friends, but first I need to get ready for, DogGone Days of Summer Camp from July 21st-August 8th.

Guess what?  I was on TV.  See I told you I am a rock star as ABC in Charleston interviewed us for a feature story.  I hope this will help raise the rest of my training costs as we still have about  $15,000 left.  But, I figure if a group of kids I had never met before could raise $8,000 maybe someone reading this will come up with another great way to help!  Can’t wait to get back to Charleston and get to work!

Yours in Service,


Still Waiting . . . 1 July 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Uncategorized.
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And time is running out on my little fund raising effort. I think I set my goal too high. Should have set it much, much lower. So I will end up with ***NOTHING***. That’s the way Fundable works. If you don’t meet your goal, you don’t get anything. I’d have to dump in all the matching funds myself, then pay myself back before sending the remainder on to PAALS. And I obviously don’t have the spare cash to do that! I should have set it about $1200 lower. Everyone’s payments will be refunded.

This is very frustrating. Only 5 days to go on it. I’ll have to send out more e-mails – and I hate begging people for money!! Yuck! Well, gotta do it. Just hope enough comes in that I can make up the remainder myself.

Goodbye to a service dog whose help will be missed 28 June 08

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HeraldNet – Snohomish County’s online news source

She hated thunder and lightning. She loved airline flights and grocery shopping. She was everything to Tony DiGuardi.

“Mary was my world. I never felt alone,” the 61-year-old Everett man said.

Now DiGuardi is alone, and grieving. An eavesdropper hearing him talk about his beloved Mary Jane might guess he just lost his wife.

Mary Jane was DiGuardi’s service dog. A beautiful black dog, in pictures she looks like a Labrador retriever. Her owner called her a “Chinese greyhound” and said she was a Shar Pei-greyhound mix.

[– MORE –]

It is so terribly sad that we outlive our canine partners. I’m not sure what is harder – to ourlive our partners or for our partners to outlive us. They grieve forever, too.

May God bless Mr. DiGuardi and take care of him, and bring him solace and comfort. His grief is real.

Some Firms “Get It” 26 June 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Disability, Funding, Independence, Need Funds, PAALS, Raising, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, Training.
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Volpe and Koenig Lets the Dogs Out

— Einstein may be the cutest dog on the planet, but don’t let his good looks fool you. This two-month-old Yellow Lab is putting his namesake to the test, channeling his intellect to become a certified service dog. Today, he visited the intellectual property law firm, Volpe and Koenig, to receive a $10,000 check, the second of two grants which will be used by the non-profit organization — Canine Partners for Life — training the dog to perform a multitude of tasks such as answering the phone, opening and closing doors, and putting clothes in the wash. After nearly a year of training, dogs like Einstein will be placed in permanent homes of people with physical disabilities.

“We are so grateful for the $20,000, because it takes so many resources to train 25 service dogs a year like Einstein,” said Jennifer Kriesel, director of development for Canine Partners for Life. “These dogs really do provide our clients with specialized tasks that they cannot do because of their physical limitations. And, they also provide comfort and love to people who often find themselves isolated and alone.”

[– MORE –]

Raising and training service dogs is a lengthy and expensive process. Those of us waiting for one are well aware of that! and are deeply grateful to the people who help us and others by contributing to the organizations that raise and train. People like those at Volpe and Koenig.

On a smaller level there are other organizations and places of business that will allow a collection jar, or will pledge the profits of one day or evening of business to a service dog organization. And there are the individuals who will donate small amounts – and those small amounts will combine to become a much larger amount.

Somehow, teeteringly, with workers donating much of their time, and with the salaries much less than they should be, the organizations which raise and train these dogs continue to provide the canine partners for disabled people all over the country. We who wait, and those who live with their canine partners are everlastingly grateful to the people who work so hard to provide us with the means for us be more independent. For many, it is the opportunity to become completely independent. For others, it means our caregivers can take some time to rest.

For me and my family, it will mean I will be able to be more independent longer and my darlin’ Ol’ Curmudgeon will not wear himself out trying to take care of me so much. The adult children will not have to worry about “what do we do about Mother” if something happens to the Ol’ Curmudgeon.

Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services

All of this brings me to the main point of this post – supporting PAALS, the service dog organization that we are working with. It is very important!! Not just for me, but for all of the people who are waiting for service dogs through PAALS.

Life with a service dog to be: Hello, goodbye 22 June 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Puppy-Raisers, Service Dogs, Training.
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Life with a service dog to be: Hello, goodbye


From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail

June 17, 2008 at 8:28 AM EDT

Imagine adopting a sweet puppy, all floppy ears and pink belly. You survive the tribulations of puppyhood, the chewed-up shoes and housetraining accidents, and manage to teach basic concepts such as “sit,” “stay” and “the postman is not a mortal enemy.”

Then after a year, at a time when most dog owners can relax and enjoy the fruits of their training labours, you have to give your puppy back.

It sounds heartbreaking, but Kari-Lynn Ferreira has done it – 10 times.

She’s one of 200 foster parents who care for puppies in training to become service dogs for the Lions Foundation of Canada. Their mission: Turn eight-week-old puppies into good canine citizens. In addition to running regular obedience classes, foster parents take their puppies everywhere a service dog might need to go: crowded shopping malls, mass transit, restaurants, offices, public washrooms and so on.

Ms. Ferreira’s current charge is Jay, a Labrador-golden retriever cross who behaves, for now, like a typical five-month-old. Tail whipping back and forth, tongue lolling out of his mouth, he alternates between gnawing loudly on a bone and trying to wriggle into my lap and lick my face when I visit his Oakville foster home.

“He’s just like any other puppy,” Ms. Ferreira says. Except, of course, that Jay has a grander destiny in store. In about seven months, he’ll return to the Lions Foundation facility in Oakville for six to eight months of training to become a seeing-eye, hearing-ear, seizure-response or “special skills” dog guide for a disabled person.

Even after 10 dogs, saying goodbye doesn’t get any easier. [–MORE–]

And we who have or who WILL have service dogs cannot express our gratitude enough!


Vote Now! Vote Often! 15 June 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Bond, Going Places, Partnership, Service Dogs.

Suzan, of A Service Dog’s Journey. wants to take Logan for a Doggie Spa adventure!!

Vote HERE for Logan to win the contest!!

And maybe, just maybe, when my Woof comes, I can take him for a doggie spa adventure, too!