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.