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

Monday, April 21, 2008

Safety test -Trip to Town 2

Chimi and I did well entering and exiting doorways and elevators! I did well traveling on the road until we were on the hill facing the training center and the scooter began rolling into the highway the cane got caught in the controls. Michelle got behined me and I manged to get it turned off. The next test is to run errands alone up that hill. I have a greater apreciation for my scooter modifications!Farmervile highwagh has nothing on highway 36!
During the obedience session with toy distractions today, I had to leave Chimi on a down stay and go across the room using only my voice to control him while tennis balls rolled passed him. Michelle told me to think of the tennis ball as dangerousto Chimi and to use a vocie to make a believer out of him. He obeyed me until I released him from the down stay. He went after one of the tennis balls but He brought it to me on a bring it command. Both yesterday and todays sessions were exstremely frustrating but I worked through both of them and did not have a tearful melt down. For me that is a break through. I will have to continue disensitising Chimi to tennis balls when we come home. Dose anyone know were I can get some small one to attach to my keychain and things like that that Chimi will retrieve for me?
A trip to the Walmart in the next town is planned for Wednesday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I had my first evaluations today. The written rewview was not difficult for me. I am sure that does not suprise any of you. My self evaluation on obedience commands is "needs improvement. My trainer, Michele, says she would have given me higher and that she was pleased with my first week of proggress. I have to improve in areas of safety concern -crossing the street, entering and exiting door ways, and ignoring distractions. Next wek we will have indidualized training focusing on my goals. We are going back to town tommrow! We have a break tonight I will watch the halmark movie.
Today Chimi tugged my cane across the training room following me as I scooted to a place where he could safely brace me! He also dose an aswome job of balancing me as I walk but we are not ready for abig crowd like CCC yet.


Our obedience sessions have progressed to the level that distractions are being introduceded. The person has to control the dog and keep him focus when around distractions such as food other animals or people and toys. This training is important so that the service team is not in danger in public. Chimi has two main distractions other people he is attactched too and TENNIS BALLS! I have one major problem lack of voice control. During the obedience session this afternoon, the trainiers Michelle and Deb bounced and tossed a tennis ball through most of the session. this put me and Chimi in a frustrated state. Chimi can ignore the ball if I establish respect with him. I still need work but there was improvement. Chimi is smarter than me! I have not met a guy that smart yet! More latter. I had my first evaluation and Chimi and I had agreat fall!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Trip to Town

My classmates and I rode our wheelchair scooters to downtown Washington, Kansas today as the dogs trotted by our left sides. The town reminds me of Eldarado, Ark. We went into the dollar store-tight quarters with lots of distractions. The dogs have been trained very well. Chimi new what to do and to not do better than I did. I dropped my keys and he picked them up! I still have to work on my vocal leadership. Chimi will not come when on a down stay when we are alone. Pray for my scooter driving and my sense of direction. The weather was beautiful today and my sinus are better. Chimi likes to walk around holding things, like a tennis ball or his grooming rake. He also likes to retrieve. This morning he picked up all my dirty cloths.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chimi's Skills

Skills that Chimi will use as he serves me are now being introduced, such as retrieval and tugging. Chimi is an eager retriver! I learnedd the hard way not to have him retrieve anything farther than his lead. He has also began bracing and balancing me. This is awsome. He lays in my lap during nap time this has helped our bounding. Puting the harnnes on is still dificult. My sinuses have been bothering me and the weather has been bad. Our first trip to town is tomrrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Better Day

last night was our first overnight together. The time away from the familar was good for our bonding. I did not get pulled over today. the heel command is improving. I got the harness on by myself this afternoon. Chimi also got to retrieve for me this afternoon! I drop stuff alot but the comand was not introduceduntil today Waiting for me to learn what he already new has been hard for him. He wants to help retrieve anything anyone drops. He can even pick up a dropped credit card!
We had our training lecture today and a daily grooming leture rder . I have got to work on voice inflection and control. I will have a written test and a skills test.
I also have abetter understanding of my training process today. I understand the reason for the pace and the order of progession. I need to practice now more later

Monday, April 14, 2008

It is BOY!

He is from the Mexican Food theme litter. His name is Chimi short for chimicanga. He will be three years old in May He is a golden retrevier. His golden hair is feathery. He retreved my cane today when I fell. I hand feed him today so that I become the leader. He has eyes only for the trainer today. Today's lecture was dog phsy. I need work on almost every thing at the momement. I am really having trouble with my confidence. I am also having trouble driving the scooter they have here. I have already broke something and ran over my trainer. I have been restricted to turtle speed. The hand controls work different than mine. I know it will get easer and I will get better but at this point I will be amased if I graduate. I do alot better when nobody is watching but my test is observation more later I need to go write in my journal. that is one thing I can do well.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Role Play

I Role played feeding watering toileting and going through doors today. There are 2 other students carol and AJ in the service dog class and one guide artdog student. The two other service dog stdents are returning for their second dog from KSDS.
I like my apartment I have a opwasher & dryer! I browed a cell plug but I can not get a signal This a lap t op I can not type well. I am nervous about meeting the dog tommorow I also had a tuor today The dogs are beautiful I am tired

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Arrived

I am here had a great flight But I failed to pack the charger for the cell phone More later

Friday, April 11, 2008

Training Goals

My initial Training Goals are to:

1. Balance and step up or down with the dog independently on curbs, steps, or stairs. (This is a small task that is a big deal to me.)

2. Walk with only the dog’s assistance (I want to be confident enough with the dog that other people are not nervous about me falling and feel as if they need to help.)

3. Transport and travel with the dog. (This is important sense I can not drive a motor vehicle of my own.)

4. Learn what I need to too train the dog to assist me when I trike ride

Other goals may be added as I train! (I also brought along my bike helmet, gloves, and pads to wear during training as fall precaution and protection.

Flight plan and Training Schedule

My flight CO2102 will depart from Monroe, LA at 5:20 A.M on Saturday April 12. It should arrive in Huston, TX at 6:20 A.M. I have a 2 hour lay over before flight CO206 departs at 8:45 A.M. It should arrive in Kansans City, MO (MCI) at 10:37 A.M. (Washington Kansas is across the river from Kansas City, MO. KSDS has a copy of my flight plan) It is suppose to be snowing!

I have no fear of flying. I am a little anxious about getting around the Huston airport and connecting to my next flight. Airport personnel tend to assist and accommodate people with disabilities very well. However, if you have a disability you become a liability to the airport and in the process often loose your personal identity. You become only “Wheelchair.” (At least I do not become “Minor!”) I often have trouble communicating with the multiple persons assigned to the “Wheelchair” that I am sitting in! Between my speech impediment and their limited English, we are often challenged in the area of communication. Pray for clarity and God Speed. The last such person assigned to me in Dallas when I flew to Colorado had a “Do not worry be happy!” personality. He wheeled me through my boarding gate just as the gate was closing!

Training Schedule

Saturday April 12 – arrive and get settled into the apartment that I will be living in

Sunday April 13 – 1 P.M. Orientation, basic dog handling instruction, meet and greet classmates.

Monday April 14 – Meet and spend the day bonding with my dog

Tuesday April 15- Friday April 25 intensive skill training

Saturday April 26 – Graduation ceremony at 11:00 A.M

Sunday - Fly home. 11:15 A.M Land in Monroe LA 4:45 P.M.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Duplex Apartment

Michele, the director of service dog training, just called to confirm my ride to the KSDS campus from the airport! Steve, a transportation volunteer, will meet me at the airport Saturday April 12 around 10:30 A.M.
I will also live in one of the new duplex apartments on campus! Steve will help me get moved in and take me to the store for groceries.
Michele, also said she had just finished trimming my dogs hair. (I will not know any other details about the dog until I am paired up on Monday April 14.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For the Pet Lover's Heart

A quote by W.E. Farbstein says that dogs are mentioned in the Bible 18 times! I will have check that out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sissy and Buddy

Iwas overjoyed to learn that the KSDS program would allow me to keep my 3 year old pet cats. Even though this blog is about my service dog, Sissy and Buddy are two of my finest feline friends. Therefore, they get at least one post for now. After the dog comes home, I will probably have more stories to tell about how they get along.

My experiences with my first apartment cat, Punkie, taught me many things about pet care. Therefore, after I accepted that Punkie was not coming back; I picked from a kitten litter at a friend’s house, not the Wal-Mart parking lot, and instead of bringing one kitten home, I brought home two. I also decided that simple names would be better than strange ones. So I named the solid white female “Sissy,” and I named the black and white male, “Buddy!” I had them both fixed ASAP but I did not have them de-clawed. I think I did right by them because where Punkie was very anti-social, Sissy and Buddy are super social and very affectionate.

Sissy dose not think she is human. She thinks I am a mama cat. Sissy is an attention seeker. She is very verbal. She has a different mew-ow for every need and she purrs very loud. She is my alarm clock. She starts pawing the lamp on my bedside table at 5 A.M. every morning. She does not like to eat alone and she wants her morning grooming time to be on schedule. The only time Sissy wants to be alone is when she sleeps; but, she comes looking for comfort and company as soon as she wakes up. Sissy is also a climber and an avid bird watcher. She is afraid of lawn mowers and thunder storms.

Buddy thinks he is dog. He is non verbal and he does not climb. He retrieves toys and plays fetch. He sleeps on a towel at the foot of my bed. He is aptly named, because he is often my constant company. Where Sissy wants in my lap to be petted, Buddy just wants to be in my presences. He is too big for my lap!

I love them and they love me. I hope they learn to live with the dog quickly.

Service Animals in the Bible

Adam and Eve were the keepers of a whole zoological garden before the pet snake came along. The snake was covered in dust. But Adam an Eve were clothed in animal skin. (Gen. 1-3)

Noah built the first floating Zoo. He also formed the first animal rescue and recon units. He sent a raven and a dove on a sight seeing, fact finding mission. (Gen. 6-8) Their service blazed the trail for future carrier pigeons!

A ram served as Isaac’s substitute. Before Mary had the Lamb, Abraham had a ram. (Gen.22.)

Quail flew in for their final landing while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness. (Ex. 16)

Balaam had stubborn a donkey that was smarter than him. I would rather take a trip with a dumb talking donkey than a stupid wise man any day! (Num. 22:21-35)

The shepherd boy who became King David had a flock. He learned how to fist fight with lions and bears so that he could sling stones at giants! (1Sam 17) (“Lions, tigers, and bears, O’ my!” That story is not in the Bible!)

Dogs served as the cleaning crew for old Ahab. He should have been more humane! (1Kin 21:19; 22:38) Elijah was feed by ravens. (1Kin. 17)

The prophets, like Ezekiel, were men of visions. (There were no fairies and sugar plumes dancing in their heads.) They saw animals and angels instead! Daniel was a guest in a lions den, but they did not share a meal together. (Dan.6)

The night Jesus was born creatures both great and small welcomed their creator. (Lk 2:7) Animals served as illustration in the lessons that Jesus taught. (These lessons were parables not fables.) Jesus entered Jerusalem on another donkey. This one remained silent because the disciples had enough sense to give Jesus praise. I wondered if the donkey was silent because she could sense the sorrow that was soon to come. (Lk 19:28-44) Some day soon that sorrow will be swallowed up in victory when Jesus rides again on white horse! (Rev. 19:11) He is the Lion and the Lamb. (Rev. 5) Because of His peace the lion will lay down with a lamb. (Isa. 66:25) Therefore, I have hope that cats and a dog can get along together too. Even if they have different theology!

Service Dog Application History

I became interested in service dogs a few years ago after watching a TV program about how service dogs could help children with emotional problems that needed positive social interaction. This intrigued me since I was a special education teacher. Then in 2005 because of my on physical disability (Cerebral Palsy) and other health problems I began to consider the possibility of having a service dog of my own.

Due to various symptoms I was having at that time I applied for a seizure alert dog from Heaven Scent Paws. However, further diagnosis revealed that I did not have a seizure disorder. After further treatment and changes in medication the seizure like symptoms disappeared and I no longer needed a seizure alert dog. Therefore I did not complete the application process with Heaven Scent Paws

I considered applying for a service dog with another organization because of my modality and balance issues related to CP. But I could not find a service dog organization that was the right fit for me. Then in the spring of 2007 I borrow the movie “More than Puppy Love.” from a friend. The movie was about KSDS and how their programs had changed the lives of two families. After watching the movie, I decide to contact KSDS and apply for a service dog. My application was approved! I never dreamed that training would happen so soon. I am deeply thankful to all those who made my service dog training possible.