Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chimi the Charmer

Chimi is a social lite. He inherited a highly socially nature. His sister Chalupa (sp) is the social dog partner for a school counselor. Sophpeia (sp) is in social dog training. His whole litter is hyper friendly. Someone told me the other day that he had watched a documentary on Golden Retrievers. He said they are hard working dogs but that they would never be good guard dogs because they are to friendly! Chimi is a good judge of charcter. He alerts me to stange people and wants nothing more to greet my friends when I meet them. His tail waves and says "Hey! I know you! You are a friend!" He goes ADHD when he wants to greet people. Church is the place wher this has become a problem. During the meet and greet time, I just want to sit still not visit He wants to go across the alies and on the stage to say hello.

At home if he hears a friend drive up. He gets his leash and trots to the door, "Ready to Go!"

I have tried redirecting and correcting him but it just frustrates all of us involved.
Therfore Mechelle his trainier gave me a new behavior plan. Chimi gets to give my friends five and greet them in a way that keeps him working.

We tried it yesterday at an IEP meetting. Chimi was hyper friendily and frisky until he said hello to everone and then he laid at my feet. It worked. So when you see us working and you want to say "Hello!" hold out your hand and Chimi will give you "Five" Let me sit down or stablize first

Where ever we go he is the center of attention. He loves it and I love him. Hopefully are new meet and greet method will help both us be calmer and even more charming

Chimi at Physical Therapy


After taking a break for a few weeks, I started back at Physical therapy for my shoulder yesterday.
It has been 16 weeks and the shoulder still has pain twinges at times. The ball of my shoulder is not staying in socket. (I had trouble with that before the break.) However, it rubs against the bone I broke causing pain. Chimi loves the new exercises involving balls even if He gets frustrated because I never let go of the ball.

Thanksgiving Sleep Over

We can not all sleep on my twin bed! A former MCH youth who is now in the National Guard Youth Challenge Program spent her Thanksgiving pass with Chimi, the cats, and me. My animal family loved the roll away bed! I liked the food prepared by a friend and cooked not by me. We also watched "Air Buddy" movies. I wish I could get a picture of Chimi watching TV. His favorite show is AFV. I still do not no how to lay out pictures on this blog just scrool down.



Monday, November 3, 2008

Canine takes Communion - the Reverent and the Restless

CCC has communion the 1st Sunday of each month. As an act of demonstrating that we are the body of Christ, we all move toward the front and center and leave no open seats between one another. Communion also takes place at the end the regular service. Moving closer together so close together for such a time of reverence has been a challenge for me and Chimi. When people start moving, Chimi thinks it is time to "Go!" Then when new people sit right next to us Chimi wants to say “Hello.” I have not yet mastered the art of commanding Chimi quietly. I tend to not correct him because I do not want to disturb others. I am far too loud and noisy when I am trying so hard to be quiet. Chimi senses this and seizes opportunity.
Our first communion together, a man with Autism sat next to us. This gentleman often fixated on appearances. Chim wanted to lay his head on this man’s shoes. Many other people would have thought this adorable; but this man was appalled and stepped on Chimi. Later that week that man was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is heaven in his right mind now and he probably laughed for joy at Chim during yesterday’s communion service.
Chimi and I often sit by ourselves in the back because there are fewer distractions. This Sunday I was thankful that a friend came and sat with us. Chimi got up close and personal sniffing her for a moment but then I corrected him and he laid down and stayed quiet during the rest of the song service and sermon until the cracker plate was passed to me. Chimi stood up and sniffed at the plate and for a minute I thought he was going to leap over people and follow the plate. For the first time in my life, I put my cracker in my mouth and forgot to wait for communal direction! I could not get Chimi to lie back down. He alternated laying his head in my lap or the lap of the friend next us. He even licked her hand! I was trying hard not to laugh or cry. (I hear d giggles) We made it through the juice. Low and behold as soon as the elements were said and done Chimi lays back down!
His Halti was in my bag. I had decided not to make him wear the head collar to church because he had been so well behaved earlier. The moral of this story is that God has a sense of humor and I do not always have good sense

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dreams of Cats and Tennis Balls

Last year at this time, I had just found out that I would be attending KSDS spring training and that a golden retriever had been selected for me. I dreamed of living with a service dog. The real experience has been beyond my wildest dreams. Many days have been wonderful a few others have been a living nightmare. A couple nights ago, I even dreamed that Chimi met my deceased grandmother. That meas he is really part of the family now - even the cats think so.
Chimi is a want to be cat chaser. He knows Sissy and Buddy are off limits. Other cats, I have discovered, he considers fair game. No, he has not chased any yet; but, we have seen a few. I think if he had been off lead the chase would have been on!

He also will steel tennis balls. A friend of mine, who we occasionally ride with, plays tennis Tennis balls must have a certain smell. He noses through stuff until he finds them. So far he has found two and since he gets a mouth hold on them, my friend says "finders keepers"

Chimi does not like to give back a ball. He would rather play keep away. This past Sunday the 5th and 6th graders played keep away with Chimi at the end of class. The kids divided up on either side of the room and tossed balls from one side to the other. Chimi was in the middle. Every time Chimi caught a ball it was out. Chimi eventually caught all the balls!(Chimi and I are on the even months teaching team. We set aside play time the last Sunday of the months we teach.)Chimi like most kids likes Sunday School better than Big Church!

Chimi sleeps in his kennel. It is right beside the head of my bed. I often find comfort in listening to him sleep. I think he dreams too!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chimi at Pisgah



Yesterday, was my first Sunday to present my testimony with Chimi. He did very well. I prepared him by getting him up real early and going through his whole morning food, hygiene, and obedience sessions. I also put a Halti head collar on him. I have tried several different forms of head collars. The Halti works best Chimi was trained with a Halti and he can not rub or paw his way out of it. Have him wear the halti has enabled my broken shoulder to heal without strain. It also calms him and keeps him more focused and it keeps other people from bothering our team work. The head collar is not a muzzle but I am glad the general public thinks it might be.
Getting on stage was a little difficult because the steps had open space between wher you could see through to the floor. Chimi stayed at the bottom until I was on stage and then he leap trotted to the top and everyone clap for him/ During my talk he laid quietly at my feet. He and I both were a little anxious during the time at the close of the service were people came to hug me and thank me for coming.During lunch afterward. He laid under the table in front of me and responded well to correction. He ignored the toddlers and children who snuck under the table or stepped on his tail and he did not lick anyone's sandal feet. He did sniff to much at a few people but over all he was very well behaved and I was very proud to have him at my side. After church, Chimi and I went for a golf cart ride with Suzy and we visited the Children's Worship Center.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Clothes




Chimi's puppy raisers sent me a T- Shirt from their home town for my 34th birthday, October 8,2008

Going Places 2






Here is a few more pictures of Chimi's favorite places. Chimi is a good patient a good shopper, a good citizen, and a movie goer! He went to see Firer Proof

A skit What do you think?

Skit for My Testimony Introduction

I am giving my testimony at a church in my area. I wrote this skit as an introduction to my speech. This will be my first testimony with Chimi. I added his name to the skit. It is sort of like Whose on First Tell me what you think

What the Name?

Winky: Hi, I am glad you came to visit today can I help you?

Anne: Yes, can you tell me what is the Name?

Winky: My name is Hansel Ruben Wilson

Anne: Wow, that is an ancestral name if I ever heard one. But what is the Name?

Winky: I was named after my grandfather? What is your name?

Anne: Donna Suzanne Isbell. It’s a family name too. But what is the Name?

Winky: My nick name is Winky

Anne: Cute, That sounds like one of the Seven Dwarfs But with a name like Hansel Ruben Wilson, I would think a nickname would be a necessity.

Winky: Do you have a nick name?

Anne: I am called Anne

Winky: Is that Anne with an E or just plain Ann?

Anne: It is Anne with e but this isn’t about me. What’s the Name?

Winky: What’s your service dog’s name?

Anne: Chimi Chunga

Winky: That sounds Mexican. Is that legal?

Anne: His litter was theme named. I do not want this conversation to go to the dog. What is the Name?

Winky: My wife’s name is Susan. My friends call her Gretel.

Anne: Sweet, But, What is the NAME - the name that saves?

Winky: O, that Name The Name that is above any other name?

Anne Yes, Yes, Yes!

Winky: He has been called by many names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Those are some l----ong nicknames.

Anne: Those names describe His character; but, what name was he given at birth?

Winky: O’ that is the sweetest name I have ever heard – the name of Jesus.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Going Places



I am still trying to figure out how to take and use digital pictures. This is Chimi at the public library. The kids could not keep quite about it. Chimi watches Clifford on TV






Chimi has also been to tutoring and today he assisted with a middle school class presentation The night before such a big performance He had a bath!
He met people too but I do not have permission to post their pictures I took more picture but they did not take well

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Playing in the Yard at 5 Months


Finding safe ways for Chimi to play hard has been difficult. Because Chimi is a Big dog and I can out throw the length of even the Giant Flexi leash. (We broke the smaller leashes playing outside!) Throwing a ball with Chimi on a Giant flexi lead of 26 ft is like yard sleading. Being yanked from your motorized wheelchair scooter and flying through the air is fun until you hit the ground face first. I did not know Chimi and I had an audience until I heard this group of Middle school boys who were playing football say, "Do you think she will ever get up again!" That was the day the Dr. said I could take the sling off my arm! Chimi helped me up and I introduced the boys to Chimi. Chimi just wanted to play football!
Today one of the guys from church and his son drove a stake in the ground that I can slide the flexi lead on. Now I can throw balls and Chimi can retrieve without the high flying danger. I need a stronger longer leash. But the gaint flexi lead will work for now. It is not as fun as the MCH playground where Chimi can run free but at least he can play harder outside than he can in the house!
Chimi and I have our first school presentation for the fall this Friday!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Working Together Again!

I chipped a bone in my right shoulder shaft on August 6th. I was chasing the mailman to retrieve a package without Chimi and fell into the slats of a glider rocker. This wacky fall end my 3o year falling streak of no broken bones! Chimi and I spent 4 weeks in a rotator cuff sling and wheelchair. Chimi still worked for me but not in harness.
I have physical therapy twice a week. My range of motion is good if I go slow but my strength is poor. My arm and shoulder are to weak to walk with Chimi in harness much. He has been to church and to school and to seminary class with me several times but I am not up to all day every day yet.
Chimi is helping with therapy at home though. One of the elders at my church offered to get in the dunking booth and let me throw at him at the Fall Fling the last Sunday of October as motivation for physical therapy. I have been practicing with Chimi. The practice is also helping with Chimi's obedience and my voice control. Chimi can not retrieve the ball until I give the okay and he has to stay in a sit position at my right until I say okay. The hard part is getting him to bring and give the ball once he has it. This target practice has become a mind game for him and he seems to prefer playing it. Right now my arm is so weak even the cats will not move when I throw.

The cats seem to have accepted Chimi more in the past month or so. They give him noes to noes greeting and they no longer run and hide when he is bark talking because he is holding something.

I am back in the swing of fall volunteering at MCH and CCC but I have to rest more often than I like and I miss having Chimi at my side most of the day. Next week will be five months! My life is a whole new animal with Chimi!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Three Months!

As of today Chimi and I have been a team for three months! July has been a month of highs and lows. Chimi has made new friends and met my old ones The temperature has been so high that Chimi and I are no longer visiting MCH in the afternoon. Chimi had to have another allergy shot for the heat this past Wednesday
When I first came home with Chimi, I was concerned that Chimi might be drawn to the more natural dog people in my life and that that my lack of dog sense might hinder our bonding. I am glad to say that I am not so worried about that now Chimi has made medical check up rounds with me . My counselor has dub Chimi my "Golden Guardian." He has not been aggressively protective but has been physically possessive of me. In the case of my new neurologists, I think Chimi was not so much being protective of me as much as he wanted to hold the anvil the doctor was using to check my reflexes. I think he thought it was a human grooming tool! For the visit to my primary physician, who verbalized a fear of dogs as he was completing the medical portion of my KSDS application, I put Chimi in a head collar. The next day at physical therapy Chimi behaved perfectly. I think he remembered the head collar. My physical therapist made adjustments to Chimi's newer more stable harness with a longer stiffer handle. Chimi is wearing it now without much resistance and it is easier for me to manage.
Chimi loves the kids and commotion with the 5th and 6th grade on Sunday morning. The biggest behavior problem I am having with Chim is wanting to lick the girl's sandal feet and play ball with the boys.
I am learning that dog toys do not last very long. I am also learning read Chimi's body language and to understand his verbalizations. A high pitch nasal sound means "I need to go and take care of business." Whimpering means, "I sense other dogs around; and I wish I could play with them." A stray chow puppy followed Chimi on our walk the other day. I felt so sorry for both of them that I let Chimi greet and groom the puppy. A miniature bulldog lives in the next complex. Each time I take Chimi out to relieve he watches the neighbor's door longing for the dog to come out. Chimi also wants to play chase with Buddy my male cat; but, I have said, "NO!" I have got to make some play dates for Chimi!
Wal-Mart has become my impromptu site for service dog awareness. Chimi is a great conversation starter. I get frequent complements on his beauty and behavior. The other day this older gentleman walked up and said, "I just wanted to tell you that you have a beautiful..." I was anticipating "dog" and was surprised by "smile!" Watching people admire Chimi make me smile.
My mood has been "low" in the "summer blues" kind of way; but, Chimi keeps me doing and moving. I am looking forward to the fall. We will have more people to see, places to go, and things to do. The Bike riding is great; but, it is to hot!
I order some new othopedict wider shoes that hopefully will feet my braces better and improve my gait. I will also have botox injections in my ankles soon.
I bought a digital camera but I keep forgetting to take pictures!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chimi's First Bike Ride!

Until today, I had not ridden my adult trike since before I brought Chimi home. Chimi has had to learn to walk beside me on foot, with the walker, and the wheelchair scooter. I did not want to add the bike to all that until I was secure with our bonding and I was sure I could manage Chimi and the bike. I do not know if I am just stronger because of my work and play with Chimi or if His extra weight gave me more stability but getting up the hills did not seem as hard as it was before I went to training in Kansas. Chimi keeps me from rolling when I am stopped. He liked that he could run but he wants to lead the bike. I think he might be able to be trained to pull the bike from the front rather than push from behind. He learned how to pull my gloves and safety gear off at training. He really wanted to help do that on the ride. I go to the doctor Friday and plan to talk about a medical recommendation for a new walker and a semi recombinant trike. Since I have given away or moved most of my furniture from my living room, I have room for a bigger safer bike.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Were Walking Side by Side!!!!

Chimi and I have struggled to learn to walk together since. The first challenge for Chimi was learning to switch to position and walk on my right instead of heeling and walking on my left. I am left handed; I am blind in my right eye and my right side is my weakest. I can not hold my cane in my right hand. Chimi was trained for both sides with left side dominate. It took him just 2 to 3 weeks to adjust to a major change.
Our next challenge was compensating and counter balancing for my poor balance. My right foot turns in and I walk on my toes as I drag my foot. This problem is worse when I wear my braces because the braces hold my foot and counter pull my heel flat to the floor. I still have yet to master balancing in my braces but without my brace the muscles in my foot tighten to the point of causing crippling pain if I walk or stand for longer than about 30 minutes. While I trained with Chimi and Kansas I wore my braces and used my walker I did not take my extra pair of non brace shoes so that I would not cheat. I learned to balance better in the braces since I was wearing them all the time but also fell too many times with Chimi. When I first got home from Kansas I fell even more. I even fell on Chimi. I got hurt and Chimi got scared and would not walk with me. So I took the braces off and searched the net for a more secure harness. The new harness had its own pros and cons therefore I went back to the old harness that Chimi was use to. I also practice walking with Chimi just a little farther each day. Today we walked all the way to the laundry mat and back without having to start and stop! I did not use my cane and I did not fall! Chimi and I have both had to focus and work together. This week I plan to start walking with Chimi in my braces. I will use my cane. I want to master walking with Chimi before we focus on learning new task.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lost and Found


In the past two weeks I have learned the hard way of how important sticking to training instructions is. Daily obedience sessions with consistence and correction are needful even when I do not feel well as is wearing the harness and being on lead. Safety however is most important. One such training instruction is a fenced in play area. I do not have such a place at my apartment. I have been using the three way alley behind my apartment It has a fence on one side and a sidewalk on the other and it L shapes back to the front of my apartment. Today as I turned my back to turn on the water faucet a little girl on a three wheeled riding toy rode past on the front sidewalk, two apartment sections, over from mine. Chimi took off before I even knew he was gone. When I turned back around he was no were in sight. I called and called in a panic prayer thinking about the phone call confession I would be making to KSDS if I could not find Chimi soon. After a few minutes he came bounding back around the corner toward me; but, I do not know where he went exactly and his favorite ball is gone. After I had Chimi on lead again I went across to the apartment where the kids were playing outside and asked if Chimi had ran that way. The mother said "No;" but, the little boy said "Yes" From now on I will stick strictly to my training even if it is diffcult for me or misunderstood by others. Unless we go to the MCH fenced in playground or have a play date in someone else's fenced in yard Chimi will only have inside playtime.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bath Dog, Wet Dog- Sweet and Silly


Chimi and I have officially been an assistance dog team for two months now. This has been a difficult week for me. I developed an infection that required a round of depressing antibiotics. I slept or read a book most of the time so Chimi had some pretty dull days. To make up for that I took him to the MCH playground three days this week. The play ground is fenced in and the youth I visit enjoy being able to interact with Chimi out of harness. Needless to say Chimi needed a bath and it was time for one anyway. One night this week I fell coming back from the bathroom. Chimi came quickly to help without being commanded. He has never done that at night before. I think that means our bond is stronger. He even seems more interested in playing fetch with me.
He also made me laugh. Since I was not feeling well and was not following the routine schedule. I had some sort of play time every day for activity. I was throwing his cuzz ball in the bedroom. (Anything breakable was broken long before Chimi came along by me or the cats) The Cuzz Ball bounced off one of those springy door stops. It spung into action and Chimi playfully attacked it! The door stop is now a spring with no stopper.
I completed Chimi's second monthly report and shared some of the obstacles Chimi and I are facing even as our bond grows stronger. The other KSDS graduates encouraged me and reminded me to stick to the basics of training. Chimi and I will get back into the routine this week. We will be teaching 5th and 6th grade Sunday School the month of July!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Strange Bed fellows


I have not felt well today. I have been in and out of the bed and the bathroom. This picture perfect moment made me feel better though. Chimi and the cats are fleeing more and more at home with one another. Chimi had his first hair trim in Louisiana yesterda.y Thanks to the kindness of one of the techs at Chimi vet. I got a little road rash because Chimi was so happy to visit the vet. He was out of harness and I fell in the parking lot. When he is in harness he wants to take one slow step at a time with me. When he is out of harness, He is in hurry like me. The next trip to the vet we will wear the harness into the office until time to take it off.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Harness


Chimi's new assistance dog harness from ldsleather.com arrived today! My friends Judy and Sarbeth helped get all the new patches and his tags attached. I took this picture with my cell phone I hope to take a better looking one with me Chimi and his new harness and stuff all together. We will both be all dressed up. This harness requires more fine motor skill from me to fasten on but it stays in place better than the velcro and I like the taller sturdier handle much better. Hopefully Chimi will not have to work so hard to balance me with this one The change will be another adjustment for Chimi. We were just learning to manage and move together with the old one. Will practice walking together with the new one at CCC tomorrow I need to groom Chimi

2 months of Team Work


As of today Chimi and I have been training/ bonding together for two months. Chimi sleeps on the bed with me now in Bubby's old spot! (Redia you won the bet!) Buddy sleeps on me now! Buddy comes to bed after Chimi gets comfortable and still. Buddy gets up when Chimi repositions himself but then Buddy jumps up and lays down next to me and goes right back to sleep. Chimi and the cats seem to take turns sharing me with each other. Buddy likes to play in Chimi's kennel. (It looks and sounds like a cat playing in a dry bathtub!) The other night the cats knocked all the supplies off the top. I am use to cat nighttime play . However, I now lock the kennel even if Chimi does not sleep in it, to cut down on the noise.

Chimi has also began to associate me with "Mama."

Chimi went for his monthly weigh in at the vet yesterday. I took him out of harness because he also got a lime disease vaccine. He had great fun greeting the staff. The clinic has high counters like at a bank. Chimi loves to stand on his hind legs and lean over to say hello!
Chimi goes back to have his nails done and his hair trimmed this Wednesday. Lisa, one of the vet tech raises and shows golden retrievers and has volunteered her skills and experience.

Chimi has gained 12 ounces. We have started walking to MCH 4 days a week to read with one of my former students and He has play time every afternoon. But it looks like he may need even more activity to keep his weight good.

Chimi attended a retirement party with me and visited TBC library with me this week I hope tp add a few pictures to the blog soon.
Please pray for the people suffering storm damage up north in Kansas and Iowa. Knowing people in the area now makes me more aware.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Family and Friends and Food

It is been awhile since I posted because I have been busy the last week or so visiting family and friends. My sister Tammy and my nieces Channon and Hannah visited me and Chimi last week. They are the first in my family to meet him. Channon spent the week and Hannah slept over Thursday night. Their presence lived up Chimi's play time! He even went to the MCH play ground for the first time Friday. Chimi and Channon hit it off fast. Channon said she is glad she does not live close enough to Chimi to see him regularly because it is hard to ignore him. I saw first hand, how quickly Chimi could connect with someone else even just during out of harness time. I will have to be stricter with the rules during Channon's next extended visit, even when Chimi is out of harness. I also saw how strong an animals bond becomes with their person by watching both Chimi and the cats interact with me and Channon. Someday, Chimi will have as strong a bond to me as Sissy and Buddy do.
Chimi also went to his first Vacation Bible School. This past Wednesday I was the guest story teller for the story in Luke 5 of the Healing of the Paralytic. It was a great way to introduce the CCC kids to Chimi. The second graders got a demonstration of how I "dress" and "undress" Chimi. The fifth and six grader's asked great questions about Chimi.
Chimi and Channon and I also went for a snow cone ride with my friend Lucy and he boys Lucas, Jonah, and Eric. Jonah is 3yrs old and is afraid of dogs so Chimi scrunched in the floor at my feet. Chimi did well and Jonah did not panic.
This past Saturday Chimi went to his first formal luncheon. He was very well behaved and more relaxed than me. I used the wrong spoon!
Today Chimi meet my friend Stacey from Alexandria and he went to Chilli's for the first time.
Yesterday, Chimi and I had playtime in the rain! Today I even saw a rainbow! It has been very hot and dry lately.
Channon and I took Chimi pictures during her visit. I hope these pictures develop well. The flash on the roll I took at KSDS did not work right so the pictures are too dark to see.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Birds and New Skill Training

Two mocking birds came after Chimi yesterday as he was relieving outside the children's home. I guess their nest was near by and they felt threatened by the presence of a dog . They kept diving at him and chattering about him. We had to travel around the corner before they left him alone.
I think the first new daily living skill that Chimi will master, to help me around the house, is picking up his toys and putting them back in the toy box when play time is over. Picking up laundry and putting it in the dirty clothes basket is a similar task. I started with the laundry but I was having trouble getting him to "give" items into the basket "Drop it" is a Safety / Correction command. So I just observed him at play time and praised him and reinforce the commands. It is funny but he will "give" a toy faster than a sock. In another future post I will break down the teaching of a new skills.
Chimi had company during play time yesterday. My friend Sue He loved the extra attention. This afternoon I talked to his Puppy Raiser in Iowa. I am delighte to stay in touch with her.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sweet Home Lousiana

As of today, Chimi and I have been home from KSDS for a month. We took our second shopping trip to Wal-Mart. The second trip was much easier than the first. Mike, a new friend from a near by town, transported us in his van. I am amazed by how quickly Chimi learns a new setting and behaves as if he has worked it all his life.
I am still trying to rearrange and organize the apartment to maximize a small space with a big dog. But tomorrow. U have got to work in my flower bed. The flowers are fading fast.

Monday, May 26, 2008

1st Bath, Lunch and a Movie

In honor of Chimi's working service dog status I want to pay tribute on this Memorial Day to all the Service men and women who have worked are working until death or peace in the fight for freedom all around the world.

I gave Chimi his first bath in his new home today I would wash and rinse one section of his body and all was wet and well, until I heard what sounded like a cat fight at the front door. Buddy had sneaked out when I took Chimi out for relief. So I told Chimi to stay and went to the door as fast as my crippled legs would go. As I let Buddy in, out went Sissy. I made the mistake of calling Sissy to come in. 1st all Sissy knows very well that she is a cat. She comes only when she wants to. Second, Chimi heard "Come!" He came barreling out of the bathtub through the bedroom and the kitchen into the living room shaking wet. We will have to wait for bath #2 to try the cream rinse!

Chimi visited a local barbecue place with me at lunch time today. Everyone was a little nervous at first and a little surprised that he did not even seem to notice the food. By the time we were leaving he was getting good behavior complements. We went to see Indiana Jones. Chimi alerted to the loud noises at first but then stretch out under me and settled down. He also maneuvered steps for me today without any problem. Sunday we struggled with steps. I was very proud to have Chimi with me today. He worked hard out on the town so when we came home we played hard too! He is resting beside the chair now.
What can I say about Indiana Jones, If you have seen one temple crumble you have seen them all Artifacts and aliens that is what you get when you combine the creative minds of Seven Spielberg and George Lucas. I also think Harrison Ford ages well!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Falling with Chimi

Another question I have been asked often recently is “Does the dog make you fall or “Do you fall more with the dog? The answer to both questions is “NO!” In the year 2007, I fell a total of 84 times. That is an average of 7 falls per month and 1.6 per week. I have failed to keep good records this year. However, past records indicate that I fall 3 times more often in private than I do in public. Most of my falls including those with Chimi are the result of my own hurried impatience and my own failure to pay attention to where I am going and how best to get there.

It may scare some of you, when you watch me fall sometimes; but falling is a fact of life for me most of the time. In order to truly live I have to live with No Fear of falling. If I was afraid, I would be down all the time.

One of the main reasons I applied for service dog training is because I realized that I could no longer get up by myself and that I needed help. Chimi is a God given gift. Chimi is an every present helper during those times that I fall and there is no one there to help me up. He is strong and steady and anxious to help me up when I fall. I do not have to scoot or crawl to pull up on something like I use to because he is right there on top of me ready and willing to help. This week he prevented 3 falls with in my apartment. Once he even left a toy and came to brace and balance me.

Before I could walk my orthopedic doctor told my grandmother that if she ever wanted me to learn to walk, she had to let me learn how to fall and get up on my own. Watching her granddaughter fall and doing nothing to help her up, was one of the most difficult things my grandmother ever had to do.

Once, when I was about four years old and just learning to walk on my own, my grandmother and I went shopping in the mall. I fell down and my grandmother followed the doctor’s orders and did not help me up. A passer by became indignant and enraged at my grandmother and began blessing her out. When I finally got up I shook my fist at the lady and put my hands on my hips. (I was born with anger issues.) I yelled with a stutter, “Stop yelling my memaw! Her help me, by letting me do it my own!”

So if you see me fall with Chimi, the greatest help you can give me is to watch and wait. If I really need help, I will ask. Chimi and I need to learn to walk and fall together. We are still practicing and polishing our six step dance. We are partners and we will get it together.

One more thing if Chimi gets the leash and starts grumbling, do not be alarmed. He has a habit of talking with his mouth full. He likes to tell you that he has got it on hold. He is communicating that his leader and the keep of the leash has fallen; and that he will help her up.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chimi Reminds me off....

This may sound lame to some but I figure out who Chimi reminds me of. I went to see Prince Caspian today and I connected to the mental image that my mind has been trying to recall since the first time Chimi interacted with me in a cuddly, lovable, playful, hugable way. Being with Chimi reminds me of the sense were Aslan is affectionately talking with Lucy. I know Chimi is a dog and Aslan is a lion but that does not matter in my mind. Chimi has been a great comfort for my need to be hugged.
Several people have comment that committing to a service dog partnership sounds a lot like getting married or having a toddler. Their comment reminds me of some sticky notes an old LC friend of mine use to have that said, "I do not need a man, I have a dog!" My partnership with Chimi is practice for future relationships.
I know that animals do not go to heaven when they die. But when Jesus returns from heaven to rule on earth, I hope animals can talk. I also hope that I have all kinds of animal friends .
I did not take Chimi to the movie because supervising a MCH youth requires my undivided attention. The youth however did an excellent job of ignoring Chimi while we hung out at the apartment before the movie.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Living, Laughing and Working together

I rejoiced earlier this week when I realize that Chimi, the cats, and myself are adjusting to living together. I was relieved to hear myself laugh out loud. Chimi and the cats are sharing space well enough for the cats to play. So I decided to see if Buddy would play fetch because I wanted to see how Chimi would react. I found Buddy's favorite toy mouse and I directed Chimi to a controlled position down under the table and told him to stay. Then I threw the mouse and told Buddy to get it. Buddy gave me this look that seem to say "The dog is watching and I an'nt moving!" So I turned my back and watched Chimi out of the corner of my eye. He crept out from under the table remaining in a downward position until he was out of my line of sight and then he bolted for the cat toy and came back to me grinning! I looked back at Buddy, his looks seem to say, "If he wants it that bad he can have it!" So cat toys have become an area for distraction work.
In order to have more space I donated my love seat and the table that was built for my first classroom to the local thrift store. Having space for the my adult trike and scooter chair and space for me to work with Chimi is more important.

Chimi and I are working out how to do my routine house chores as a team. This week also starts a much slower paced summer schedule. We will not be coming and going to as many activities; but, I think the one on one time at home will strengthen our partnership. I have got to write out a summer schedule for his routine and complete my first monthly report for KSDS. I also need to give Chimi his first bath in his new home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Chimi do for you?

Chimi is my mobility assistant.

1. He serves as an extra stable counter balance when I am walking.

2. He braces against me to prevent falls when I am walking.

3. He provides stable support for me to brace on when getting up from the floor after a fall.

4. He picks up my cane, laundry, and other things that I drop

5. He carries things for me.

6. He gives me support and stability to mange steps and curbs

7. He braces my transition in and out of the bathtub

8. Braces for transition from sitting to standing when in a chair

8. He provides extra support when I vacuum.

What other new skills will he learn with continued training?

1. Retrieving my walker

2. Tapping my emergency button

3. Retrieving the phone and the remote

4. Tugging open the refrigerator; closing the front door.

5. Turning on and of lights

6. Finding my keys and things

7. Pushing my Trike

How should I act around Chimi?

Don’ts

1. Do not distract Chimi.

2. Do not interact with Chimi

3. Do not make eye contact with Chimi

4. Do not talk to Chimi – do not greet him, do not call out to him by name, and do not puppy talk..

5. Do not give Chimi commands, correction, or praise.

6. Do not touch him – Do not ask to touch him. The answer is “No”

7. Do not help me with him unless I ask you to.

8. When I fall, remain calm and quite and do not move.

9. Turn to the side away from him when he attempts to sniff and greet you or get your attention.

10. Do not be alarmed when I correct him in public.

11. Do not give him food or treats.

12. Do not tease him with toys, food, or other objects.


Do

  1. Ignore Chimi
  2. Watch Chimi work.
  3. Talk to me about Chimi.
  4. Hug me.
  5. Offer to provide Chimi and me transportation

Why can’t other people interact with him?

Chimi is a working dog. He is my mobility assistant and I am his person and his leader. He was trained specifically to brace and balance me when I am walking. He is a living, breathing, certified, four legged cane. He also helps me get up when I fall. Interacting with other people causes him to take his focus off me. Distractions are dangerous because I fall and get hurt when Chimi is distracted. If Chimi interacts too much with other people, he looses interest in working for me. If he stops working he is retire or returned to KSDS.

What is Chimi not allowed to do in public?

  1. Scratch
  2. Sniff
  3. Shake
  4. Bark
  5. Lick
  6. Eat people food
  7. Greet people
  8. Interact with other dogs in public

Why are Chimi’s, dog like, behaviors so restricted?

Chimi and I have been trained and certified by KSDS Inc. an accredited assistance dog training facility. Chimi has legal access to public facilities such as restaurants where dog like behavior is inappropriate and disruptive. Chimi was breed, born, raised, and trained to be a service dog. He has had these boundaries all his life. For Chimi these guidelines are not restrictive because they provided him with structure and security.

Why must Chimi be corrected? Because Chimi works in public places were inappropriate behavior is disruptive and not tolerated. He can be denied access if his behavior is not controlled. Dogs do not generalize. Chimi needs structured, consistent training, commands, and correction from one new setting to the next, in order to maintain the skills he learned in training. Chimi is an intelligent dog who challenges my leadership. As our bond grows stronger and as we establish routine there will be less need for correction. I must be a firm leader and make work fun so that Chimi stays focused. He is wants to obey when he knows who is in charge and what to expect.

How do I exercise Chimi? He trots beside my scooter chair as I ride.

When does Chimi get to act like a dog?Chimi has a very structured daily schedule with activities designed to relieve work stress.

Play time –Chimi has a toy box full of balls, bones and stuff animals to chew on, tug at, and run and roll around with. He is learning to pick up his toys and put them in his toy box when play time is over. We have even begun outside play time!

Grooming – His hair care and health care is out of harness time. He loves to hold the grooming tools in his mouth.

Cuddle time – He lies in my lap and I lavish affection on him.

Puppy Massage – I massage his muscles and work his joints.

Kennel time – This is quite time away from it all – Just him, his travel bed and his bone in his kennel.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Living with Two Cats and a Service Dog

Several friends have asked me how the cats are adjusting. For about the first week Sissy and Buddy either climb high or hid low. They were quick to learn that kennel time is cat time. Chimi has good house manners. He was quick to learn his boundaries. The cat climbing corner in the living room, the cat toy box in the bed room the cat feeding tray in the kitchen and the litter closet are "Leave it" areas. Chimi respects the cats space and they respect his. He does not move when in a down position at my feet and the cat are curious enough to sniff his tail or feet. Chimi keeps all four on the floor most of the time. This gives the cats high advantage. Buddy's blanket is still on the bed and Sissy's rocking chair is still at the foot of the bed. The kennel is to the left side of the head of the bed. We all sleep peacefully in the same room. All three of them and me were happier when I finally quit moving the bedroom furniture. Rearranging furniture gave them some common ground. I am the middle woman. Each animal has one on one time and space with me. Wherever I am, a cat or cats is on one side with the dog on the other There is very little face to face interaction. This eliminates the need for catty hissy fit behaviors. For the most part the cats are just glad I am home again and they have accepted that the dog is here to stay. They are still eating and purring and seeking my attention and affection. Sissy still thinks I am Queen Mother and she is Princess and 1st pet. She eats first and is petted first and groomed first. Grooming is how she first got the courage up to get close to Chimi. They both loved to be groomed. She playfully tries to get Chimi's attention but he pays her no mind. Buddy is still my first Buddy. He still sleeps with me and watches over me in all his usual spots except the bathroom. (I think in time he will come in there too. He is already watching Chimi from the door way.) This week the cats have even begin play behaviors again. Although, Buddy and I have not played fetch. Oddly enough, Chimi will retrieve anything when he is working but he resist playing fetch at playtime. He prefers to victory parade with his toy as if it were a trophy. He loves to "get" but hates to "give" Alerting barking is our only problem. (The sudden sound scares the cats.) The barking has decreased with time, bonding and leadership.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Minding Our Business - Shopping Schooling Banking

Chimi and I went on our first duo shopping trip to Waly World this past Monday. He did well; but, it was a new experience for me! Chimi's counter balance weight to the side of the buggy made pushing a loaded buggy harder and heavier. We went early in the morning to avoid a crowd. I thought this was a good idea until it was time to checkout. The self check and express lanes were open; but, when it comes to self check I am a snail and a klutz's especially when I am exhausted. My monthly buggy load obviously exceeded the 20 item limit for express lane. There was only one other checker open, A kind graying lady with an obsessive compulsive disorder- she has a logical but crazy making order for bagging groceries - heavy items first and double bagged and tied with all other like items grouped to follow. That sounds orderly and helpful unless you shop like me. The heavy stuff is in the very bottom of the buggy and everything else is thrown on top . To complicate matters further the checker was terrified of dogs and I was in line behind a women who shops weekly for a daycare! I think even the self check would have been less stressful. Then, as I am swiping my card to pay this lady who Chimi and I had seen shopping throughout the store snuk up behind me, knelt down and started petting Chimi! As I caught my fall in her direction, I heard my self say, "I said, Please do not Pet my Dog!" She hurried away with an "I am sorry" that really meant. "What is the big deal!" I should have fell on her but then she would have blamed Chimi. But the trip was not over yet. I still had to get a months worth of groceries and Chimi in the car. I had not thought of that but he just snuched down in the floor board of the passenger seat between my feet. I came home and got on the internet and ordered the biggest brightest "Do not Pet" warning patches I could find!
Several people have ask me if I have problems with children petting the dog. Adults are a bigger problem.
The next day Chimi and I went to another school for another IEP meeting. I do well in schools and so does Chimi. Today He went into his first Ruston bank! His puppy raiser worked in a bank. He did wag the tail well and even got his picture taken!
We have been working on "position" a right sided command opposite "heel. I have just been positioning myself in such away to block his moves to the left so that correction is not needed and I have been praising him for right moves! I am pleased at the progress. He is "positioning" much quicker now with less confusion. My being left handed and right eyed has been hard on him. All of his like he has been asked to go to the left for most everything and now I am "switching" not just sometime but most of the time. But we are hanging in there and moving forward.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1 Month Anniversary

One month ago today, Chimi and I began our partnership! Our song at graduation was Kenny Chesney's "You Had Me From Hello!" Chimi did. When he came bounding toward me, waving a happy tail with his mouth open wide as if he were smiling, I laughed and cried tears of joy. The thought that this golden creature was chosen for me made me feel blessed beyond measure. Hearing that song at graduation made me sob because not bonding with him was my greatest fear. I have an ambivalent attachment disorder that works well with cats but not dogs and people. Trusting love is hard for me. I am encouraged that Chimi is bonding with me more and more each day and I am learning and choosing to love him more and more each day too.
I have been asked the following questions since returning from training, "Is it harder than you thought?" "Is it what you expected?" "Do you regret receiving the dog?" My answers are, "Yes, no, and No!" The only analogy that seems close is, a new service dog is to a partner what a newborn is to a parent. The responsibilities and lifestyle changes are challenging and at times exhausting but the partnership is a commitment and the relationship reaps rewards.
I did not expect what would be required of me. Like a lot of people, I thought "No Assembly" or "Programing" would be required. I thought Chimi would just be able to do it all just because I told him to. I am learning that obedience is a trust built on time together. Obedience is also a relationship (a love language) that requires an unshakable bond. I also understand now that training is a circle that never ends. I have to work with Chimi to build on his foundational skills in order for him to be able to perform daily living skills for me. Right now Chimi does the following things for me: braces me when I transition from sitting to standing and braces me stair climbing, Counterbalances me when I walk and provides braced support for getting myself up of the floor when I fall. He also retrieves dropped items such as my cane. These skills in themselves are invaluable. With further time, training, adaptations. and modifications Chimi will retrieve specific household items for me such as the phone and my walker. He will also tug open doors and close doors for me like the refrigerator.
Yes, I still fall; but, Chimi is not the reason I fall; I am. I go fast and I tend to speed up when I am falling. Chimi has been taught to go slow and to stop when I become off balance not walk faster. My having to learn to slow down is a test of my patience. I am also insecure which Chimi can sense and my insecurity adds to his stress. His recent behavior of laying down while I am walking is not oppositional on his part. It is his calming "easy" signal He senses my unsteadiness and uneasiness so he takes a break from it to ease our stress. I purchased a more stable assistance dog harness from http://www.ldsleather.com/supportharnesses.html I think this will help alleviate the balance / falling anxiety problem.
The things I do for Chimi feeding, watering, grooming, exercising, providing stress relief, and health care are to be done with structure and consistency. This provide security for him and communicate love to him. What I do for him is nothing compared to what he does for me. Creating a knew "our " schedule certainly has changed and challenged "my" schedule. My little world has changed a lot but it is changing for the better!
My partnership with Chimi is training me for a better relationship with Christ in areas such as trust, obedience, patience, faithfulness and walking with the Lord at His side.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday to Chimi

Today, marked Chimi's 3rd birthday! He received a Pet Smart gift card from his puppy raiser family plus graduation pictures. In honor of Chimi's birthday I put the graduation pictures in his scrapbook. His puppy raisers made a scrapbook of his puppy days as a gift for me. It is a gift I will treasure and add too. I enjoy scrapbooking and Chimi does not seem to mind the scraps that fall on him beneath the table as I cut and paste. I purchased Chimi two more durable supposablely indestructible dog toy balls with the gift card. In honor of his birthday I also purchased some reading material recommended by my KSDS Trainer - The Dog Listener not The Dog Whisperer. I have a lot to learn about dogs. This material will reinforce my KSDS lectures and training. Reading is my favorite way to learn. After church I also gave Chimi an out of harness rest of the day rest. I think are bond is strengthening. His tail is high and waging more and his eyes have a light. He still gives me that "Lady, you are really confusing me!" look but not as often
We are working on fake, funny falls to get us both over the fear of falling together. It seems to be helping. I fell on him about a week or so ago and scared the snot out of both of us. I was afraid I had failed all our training already. My KSDS trainer a sured me I had not all I had to do was make falling exciting again so it would not be so scary. For those of you who have ever seen, heard, or read "The Fall of Anne" you know how ironic those instructions were!
Another wise friend, exhorted me to give Chimi as much focused attention as I expected from him and to stop worrying about what other people are thinking. Chimi and I do not have to be on stage for those around us. The more we are focused on each other the less we will be distracted by what other people see, say, do and think. And the more I focus on Chimi the more he will focus on me. With that noted I am signing out to spend some bonding time with Chimi. The cats are almost back to normal. Chimi and I have been making ourselves at home together for two weeks now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Harness hassles and Hard Tests of Leadership

Chimi felt better today enough to test my leadership. Handling the harness did not help maters much. During training I was afraid that I would not be certified because I almost never got Chimi's harness on without twisting it, or having it to loose or to tight. The first time I tried to put the training harness on by my self, I pulled all the straps apart and could not put them back together So today when I tried to put Chimi's new harness on (It arrived in the mail yesterday.) I cried tears of frustration because I good not get it to fit right. I called my KSDS instructor for help. She told me how to ajdust it and make it larger. She told me to do one strap at a time so that I would not get it all undone and fall apart because I could not put back together. Chimi seems to pick and choose which commands to obey. He will "sit", "down" and "stay" but he will not "stand," "Let's go," "Come" or " here up" After talking to my instructor today who encouraged me to keep bonding with Chimi and establishing leadership, I felt better. So tonight when he began barking at outside noise and lunging for the door. I roared "NO!" and praised him and petted him for quite behavior. I did that several times but by the time it was time for his last relief of the night he was quite at my side looking up and making more and more eye contact. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Not Feeling Well

Chimi was not suppose to go to the vet until Friday but I took him today because he would not let me put his harness on and he just laid down and would only move to retrieve a ball and then he just laid down instead of doing his victory lap and cheer. (He talks with stuff in his mouth!) I laid down with him and he and I slept most of the day until time for his appointment. The vet said he had a reaction to the heat that caused a skin rash and an ear infection. He got two allergy shots. He seems to be feeling much better. He is retrieving the cane and the leash again and bracing. We played tug. He won!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

First Sunday A day of rest and bonding

Chimi went to church with me this morning. He carried my bag as we walked from the sanctuary to the nursery. People think he was trained to do that. The do not know that carrying something in his mouth is in his blood. Last Wednesday, I had difficulty getting him to lay in the corner behind my chair. Today he went and laid down in that area without being told. I noticed similar situations in vehicles. Show Chimi were to get one time and he goes there without being told the next time!
After Church we had another bedroom ball bouncing playtime. After reading the online encyclopedia information about Golden Retrievers and learning more about their personality, I went for a ride in my scooter as he walked along side. Then I came home and rearranged the furniture in the bedroom so that none of my animals have to sleep in a separate room. Chimi and the cats all seem comfortable with the new arrangements. I spent time loving on Chimi as I watched extreme home makeovers. I have discovered that Chimi is very playful. I am even beginning to think that his reluctance to "come" or "give" is playfulness

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Stressful Day

This afternoon I took Chimi to my church's spring picnic. We were not ready for that. He was overwhelmed by the multiple distractions plus the flies. I got fed up with people telling me how I aught to handle the dog even my one of my best friends does not understand that sniffing and such things can not be allowed in any setting outside of home when Chimi is in harness even if people are not offended or afraid of it. People want to see the "Super Dog" but then they think you are being cruel when you do not let him "just be a dog."And if he acts like just a dog they give you advice on how to train his behavior. I think it is a double slandered. Then there are people who go the other extreme and either talk to the dog and not to you or they avoid you all together to keep from distracting the dog.
When we got home we both needed a playtime. I have tried a play date and the flexi lead. I think our bond needs to be stronger before I involve other dogs, other people, or new environments in Chimi's playtime. So tonight I closed of my bedroom and tossed a rubber ball off the back wall. Chimi and I distressed playing fetch! I liked trowing and Chimi liked retrieving

Friday, May 2, 2008

First School Day, Distraction Practice, Dinning Out

Chimi and I attended our first Individualized Education Plan meeting today as a team. (I serve as a surrogate parent in my school district behalf of special education students who are in Office of Children's Service custody.) While we were at the meeting, the 5th grade Language Arts teacher shared that her class just finished reading a story about an assistance dog and asked if Chimi and I would be willing to visit her class after the meeting. I told her that we were not prepared for a program but we would gladly visit. We took a picture with the class and promised to come back in the fall to present a program.
Chimi and I also helped out at a garage sale. The sale was great distraction practice - sites, sounds, and smells - barking dogs in neighboring yards kids with toys and an impromptu fundamentals of baseball lesson. The baseball activity was the seemed to be the hardest for Chimi to ignore. A few times he tried to get involved but with persistent correction, redirection, and praise for the most part Chimi remained in a controlled down position as a spectator. I was a little surprised by a child that seemed to be teasing him with a toy. I could not see it but Chimi did and so did the child's mother. The little girl asked me why Chimi would not sit still and about that time the mother noticed the toy the child had and told her to leave the dog alone. I feel like some people either expect too much out of Chimi or treat him like a plain dog. They do not understand that it takes time for Chimi to trust and to transfer his training from his trainer to his partner.
After the garage sale we went to New Orleans themed restaurant for fish and fries. I picked the restaurant because I felt like we would not draw too much attention in it but then I fell coming in the door! Chimi had a busy day!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ladies , Babies, Vets and Visitors

Today was our first day out and about. Chimi and I attended Bible study this morning. It took us three or four attempts before we worked out "get in and scrunch" on the floor board of the car but we did it. (A car ride is to a dog what a roller coaster is to a kid.) I think Chimi could work as a social dog when he retires from being a service dog. He likes greeting people! He went down and under the table well. (The classroom setting was familiar to him) After Bible Study Tisdale took us to the New Creations vet clinic were Chimi could just be a plain dog for awhile. He met Betty, Ronda, Lisa and Dr. Ken Sanderson. We made an appointment for a wellness check up next Friday and Chimi got a flee prevention treatment and some shampoo. (I gave the cats their treatment too I think the common medicine smell is helping them adjust.) This afternoon we tried out the Flexi lead leash for supervised play time. I once again through a ball farther than the lead! ( I felt as if I had had a chiropractic adjustment!) Tonight Chimi wemt to the CCC nursery with me. I could not get him to down and under the baby bed but he did go down behind the rocking chair well until he heard me tell one of the children to "get the ball" He was then at my side looking for the ball. I feel bad because I have to tell him to do things more than once. He is not a bad dog I am just still learning to be a good handler. My voice still lacking in authority and I end up nagging. Today has had its ups and downs with distractions and reactions; but when I fall down Chimi is there to help me up, and that is "up lifting to me"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quiet day

After Chimi's morning routine today. I was exhausted. I am still recouping from the training trip. So I spent most of the day reading, emailing or blogging with Chimi by my side or in the Kennel. I have been sitting on the floor in the living room parsing Chimi if he does not bark at sounds outside of the apartment.(He has only barked once today! I also moved the kennel to the middle of the apartment. The cats are beginning to cautiously move around the apartment again when Chimi is in the kennel. They have had several staring contest with Chimi. Henry Nouwen wrote that obedience is listening attentively to the voice of Love. Life with Chimi is a daily lesson in obedience, faithfulness, and love. Chimi's food and supplies arrived today. I do not know which he was more excited to see his food bowel or the jolly ball. I have to figure out the flexi lead leash before we can have outside playtime. I did find Chimi a stuffed toy to hold during grooming. It is my old beany lamb that "Punkie" my late cat tore the beans out and that a friend sewed back together . It is floppy because the beans are gone. I have named it "puppy" for Chimi even though it is a lamb. The pet hair fantastic vacuum attachment really works good on furniture!

First Days from the Chimi Journal

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chimi flew in a plane just as easy as he rides in the car. By the time we boarded our second flight he got on and in place as if he had been traveling that way all his life. I think the last flight attendant was afraid of him. I had to tell him “No Sniff,” as we board after that he minded his business. (I should have had the halty on but he had done well on the other flight.) As we were getting on the lift to depart from the plane in Monroe, Chimi grumbled at one of the ground crew. The guy grabbed at the leash trying to pull Chimi onto the lift. I corrected Chimi and told the man that I was the one holding the leash Chimi then followed me on to the lift. (I should have given clearer instructions to Chimi and the staff- They probably have a negative impression.) Otherwise Chimi was often complemented on his good behavior and good looks in the course of our travel. He picked up my cane twice and two people asked for information. I gave them a brochure. The security at the Monroe airport asked that we come back to visit so they could practice security procedures with a service dog.

I like the wonder walker better than the leather leash. I am more relaxed with the Wonder Walker. I do not sense as much tension as I did with the leather lead; therefore, I do not seem to pull and jerk on it as much. It has a soft but thick textured feel in my hand It gives Chimi a looser and a longer lead. I am not getting pulled over during relief time. However the Wonder Walker is too long. We kept getting tangled up yesterday which presents a poor image. I need to modify the leash so that it complements our team work. I think I can shorten it with one of those clips on the leather leash. The more comfortable I become with handling the leash the smoother moving together will be.

Chimi likes his, new kennel but I did not get it fastened when I closed it last night. I woke up when I heard the clatter. But just then I had a sudden urge to urinate. I did not make it to the bathroom in time. As I was trying to call Chimi and clean myself up, Chimi found the bowel of cat food in the kitchen. Tonight I will make sure that the kennel is fastened closed, that the bedroom door is closed and the cat food is put away!

My cats do not know what to think of Chimi. Sissy just keeps her distance. Buddy clawed at Chimi and he barked a little, but for the most part Chimi just ignores them. Buddy kept trying to get closer until he heard Chimi bark at door knocking an outside noise. For now kennel time is cat time. The cats eat and sleep in a separate room. Sissy seems happy with this arrangement but Buddy is not. He has stopped purring and has started grubbing it sounds like a buzzing hum.

I think the first household task skill that I will train Chimi to do is to put close in the laundry basket because he wants to take them out of the basket and bring them to me when we are in the bathroom. (He enjoyed helping me unpack the suitcase I also want to work at training him to my right side. I did not know how uncomfortable the left side would be when I first talked to Michelle. (I am left handed.)

My scooter not only has different controls, even at its fastest, it is slower than Carol’s!

Things to continue working on or out

Shortening the lead – using my voice not the leash

Training Chimi to position at my right.

Establishing boundaries and limiting distractions (Cat toys!)

Barking at door knocking and outside sounds

Cat interaction

Obedience when in a new environment with distractions

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chimi had his first play date yesterday with a female Australian Shepherd, named Boops. The Roberts have a fenced in back yard. It was the first time I had seen Chimi playing outside, doing something other than carry his ball. He was very distracted by the new environment at the Roberts and obedience was difficult.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Place like Home

Chimi and I are home! He did great flying! Chimi has been refreshed with food and water and has taken care of relieving business. He is taking a break in his new kennel in the bedroom. I put his travel bed inside the kennel to help him adjust to his knew home. As I type, Buddy my male cat is laying in the middle of the living room watching the kennel. Chimi is a sleep. Sissy my female cat is under the bed. I will write more later. I want to take a bath and sleep in my on bed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last Day

During obedience we played "My Dog can Do That! We also had one more play time The Puppy rasier dinner begins at five this will be my last post until I get home Sunday GRADUATION is at ten in the morning>

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Off Lead

Chimi did well off lead during afternoon feeing time. We still need to work on heal and come but he sits, waits, stand, and downs well. This morning we practiced working steps Weas a team again. Our lecture today was planning for the future- making plans for the placement of the dog in the event of mine or Chimi's death, injury, or retirement. I cried but it is needful to plan for such things. we also talked about legal issues.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Assistance Dog International Certified

Chimi and I did well on our evaluation at Wal-Mart. Chimi was not distracted by much of anything even on the dog food aile. He was too friendly with the test adminstrator! After the test, she explained that she was close friends with Chimi's puppy raisers and that he often visited her home as a puppy. Chimi does not greet strangers but he is an atention seeker from people he knows especially women and men in uniform. His intermediate training was located in a women's prision!
I will meet his puppy raiser family and the cordinator of the prision dog training program Friday night! (His puppy raisers are two ladies who are sisters)
Yesterday's challenge was the obstical course. This time Chimi came to me on the recall and by passed the Tennis ball! But he would not "hoop" jump over an obstical. He will do this if we are traveling outside on the scooter though.
Tomrrow we have to demonstrate obediant behavior "off lead" - the leash.
Saturday, I will have five minutes to speak at graduation! I know quite a bit about five minutes speeches!
I now know how to safely get off the floor even if all I have is Chimi and I know how to manage steps and curbs with his help.
Tommrrow we will also learn to train new skills when we return home like pushing my trike and retrieveving the phone.
Chimi is already picking up dirty laundary and puting it where directed and this morning he brought me my hair brush from the bathroom sink and he can get me my walker and open the refrigerator door.
Our next big challenge will be traveling on the airplane as a team.
Chimi can not be petted while he is working - in harness. After we have stettled in and bonded more at home, he can be petted when out of harness More later