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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!


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!!

= = = = =

[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.]

Two Families Battle Over Service Dog In School 20 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Allergy, Autism, Dog, Responsibility, Service Dogs.
1 comment so far

WASHINGTON, PA (KDKA) – A service dog is at the heart of some tough decisions for the Trinity School District in Washington County and two local families who only want what’s best for their sons.

Michael and Misty Plants attended the school board meeting because they fear the Dallatores will be allowed to have a service dog accompany their son to Trinity West Elementary School.

The boy has autism.

The Plants’ son, Michael, also goes to the same school and is highly allergic to dogs.


{Please let me know when the link “goes away”}

This is where those of us with service dogs must be very much aware of the needs of others. We have our needs, yes, and many times those needs are very acute, but our needs do not include endangering others!I Thus, I must take exception with the mother of this autistic child. Prior to getting the dog, she would go in and get her child. Why can she not continue doing that? The 20 or 30 yards involved are not going to make a difference – either in the child’s life or in the dogs’s life. The dog waiting in the car will not endanger other children, and the autistic  child will learn to look forward to his dog in the car.

I say this as the grandmother of an autistic child, and, as a result, having naturally studied a great deal about autism. Twenty or thirty yards (from the office to the car) will not make a big difference to the autistic child, and can make a huge difference to the child with allergies to dogs.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t go anywhere with our “Woofs” for fear of causing a life-threatening allergic response in someone. It does mean, however, that if we are told about a person with severe allergies to dogs we should be as courteous as possible. If I can, I’ll go someplace on a different day, or a different time. I can see to it that my “Woof” is freshly groomed with an anti-dander shampoo, put a tee-shirt on him under his service vest, etc. These things will help him to not shed dander and reduce his chances of causing an allergic attack.

I am very aware of allergies. A friend of mine is confined to home most of the time because she is allergic to scents and to chemicals. She can’t even go to Church because of the thoughtless people who, despite being warned by the priest, continue to wear perfumes and strongly scented products to service. There has been more than one one occasion in which she has had a close to fatal allergic attack because of people insisting upon wearing perfume at Church. I have some allergies, myself – to antibiotics – and my daughter nearly died from her first attack of penicillin allergy. A friend’s twins are allergic to peanuts – even being in the same area with peanut products can lead to an allergic response. They are barely school age, but they already know how to use their epi-pens, bless their hearts! So I’m very aware of allergies as well as autism.

Of the two, allergies are more acute and need more immediate attention. So as the partner of a service dog, I will need to be just as considerate of my allergic companions in my journey through God’s world as I should be of my family members.

So many things to think about!

Magnus the Magnifi-cat is Up to Something! 8 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Cats, Dog, Magnus, Mobility, Partnership.

Something has his tail in a wad. he is running from room to room, yowrling loudly, messing up the blinds in order to look outside. He’s following us around and pestering us – singly and together.

It isn’t his bladder – I’ve felt for it, it’s nice and empty, and it’s not tender. His kidneys are not enlarged. He’s making urine and feces as usual – no blood, no weird odors. Not spraying around the house. Hust going into his “crazy cat” routine!

I don’t know whether having a Woof in the house will be better or worse for poor ol’ Magnus. Will it help calm him down when he goes into “crazy cat,” or will they heterodyne off each other? Yellow labs, in particular, are what the Ol’ Curmudgeon calls, “enthusiastic, bullet-proof dogs made of mostly plastic materials.” I can just see Magnus and an enthusiastic yellow lab Woof not in vest bouncing all over the house together!! We’ve been that route before – before we had Magnus. We had a yellow lab bitch named Zoar. She used to enthusiastically run around the house with the cat we had at the time – Pirate. They eventually came to an uneasy truce, and actually played with each other.

So, maybe Magnus will help exercise the Woof, and the Woof will help exercise Magnus (who is getting a bit out of shape, but don’t tell him that).

Maybe having to exercise and groom the Woof will help me become more active, too! And maybe I will even lose a little weight, too! That would be soooooo good for preserving the joints in my hips, knees, ankles and feet! Won’t stop the arthritis or the fibro, but it will help me function with them better.

Woof, we will be “up to something,” when you get here! I can hardly wait!!

Crisis and Medical Assistance Tasks 22 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in Crisis, Disability, Dog, Emergency, Medical Assistance, Service Dogs.
1 comment so far

Some of the very important tasks a service dog performs are in crisis situations. By the very fact that a person needs an assistance dog, the disabled partner can die in a crisis situation! A fire, a medical emergency is even more of an emergency for the disabled than for the “abled. ”


  • Bark for help on command – I will need this.  The way our house is constructed, if the Ol’ Curmudgeon is at one end of the house and I’m at the other end, there is no way we can hear each other! A bark is more piercing and louder than I can shout.
  • Find the care-giver on command, lead back to location of disabled partner. Again, this is going to be important – especially when the Ol’ Curmudgeon is at work. My son and daughter-in-law live next door. We will train Woof to go next door to get my daughter-in-law or one of the grandsons if I need help. It may not be a 9-1-1 kind of emergency that I need them, but it will be very good to know that Woof can go get them in crisis or emergency situations.
  • Put forepaws in lap of wheelchair user, hold that upright position so wheelchair user can access medication or cell phone or other items in the backpack. This is not a particular task I will need, but it can be a very important task for those who do.
  • Wake up partner if smoke alarm or fire alarm goes off, assist to nearest exit. This is one that will make my children rest  more easily! So we will definitely train Woof to do this! There are three exits that are close, and Woof will have to decide which will be the best one given the circumstances. That judgement cannot be trained – it has to come from within.


  • Operate push button device to call 911, an ambulance service or another person to help in a crisis; let emergency personnel into home and lead to partner’s location. This is a definite YES on the list of medical assistance tasks! In an earlier post, I showed a picture of the special crisis telephone made for assistance dogs to use and gave the link to the company that makes them. This task was among the top 5 tasks we listed for Woof to learn to do.  As it is not something he will have to do on a reglar basis, I will have to train him to do this on a regular basis so he will not lose the skill.
  • Fetch insulin kit, respiratory assist device or medication from customary place during a medical crisis – not a task for us!! For some one with respiratory problems or with diabetes, this is a major task, however. For me, the major task is going to be finding and retrieving my cane, or the “Golden Retriever” – my reacher device without which I cannot function.
  • Lie down on partner’s chest to produce a cough, enabling patient to breath, when suction machine and/or care-giver unavailable – nope, not a need for me! But, again, for someone with paralysis or breathing problems, this is a biggie. Isn’t it amazing what dogs can be trained to do?!

All of these things are among the amazing – yet basic – things that a service dog can do for a person. Why is it that they are so “unknown?!”