Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pet Store Day!

The photos with today's entry show firstly, most of our group (Diane and Zeke had already left the lounge area when Daniel, a caregiver to a young man in the Seizure Response Group, asked to have his picture taken with us). From left to right: Joannie with Fredy, Chris behind her son Alex with Pina's brother, Pesto, Linda with Pina, Michelle and Legend, Jerry and Lilo, and Daniel on the floor, and in the second photo -Alex with Pesto, and me with Pesto's sister, Pina (irritating Joannie and Fredy managed to mess up the background - that's nasty,Linda! Try to be more gracious!)
Well, last night marked my best night's sleep since coming to Oakville, and obviously a very much-needed one after yesterday's emotional upheaval. My alarm woke me, not Pina, for a change! I decided that since she was still sleeping (I couldn't see her and presumed that she was in her kennel), I would do my morning stretching exercises, and maybe even have time to get dressed before taking her to the "relief area". (I've gone in my pj's the last few mornings.)I did do that, taking care not to turn on any lights, and then, as I was doing up my shoes, still not believing that she was being so good.........................I discovered that she wasn't!!!! At some point during the night, that little rascal had climbed up on to the blue easy chair, shifted my purse out of the way, snuggled into the coat I had left flung there, and was happily still sleeping!!! I hadn't seen her because the room is quite dark with the blinds closed! "Perfect Pina" just dropped a few places in the ranking - she may not turn out to be scholarship material after all!I corrected her with a loud, firm "Off" which she probably inwardly laughed at - she had likely been on the chair for hours! That small regression in training was followed by my knocking the bowl of her dry food over while trying to transport it to my room to feed her - it was on the base of my scooter. These dogs are not allowed to eat from the floor, so I quickly put her in the kennel and hurried to pick up one and three-quarters cup's worth of dry chicken and rice pellets. This mishap was followed by my spilling orange juice up in the dining area. Potentially not a great start to my day, but fortunately things got better.
In our class circle discussion, several of us raised concerns with Tracy, our lead trainer, about how the physical set-up of the kitchen/dining/lounge area was so "un-friendly" to people using mobility aids! Tracy must have taken our concerns to the powers-that-be, because, by this evening, some changes had been made for the better! We are all very much aware that we are the very fortunate beneficiaries of a not-for-profit organization, but the changes we were suggesting did not involve a cost!
Our skills work this morning consisted of "Tugs" and "Fetch" to open a clothes-dryer door, and to retrieve an item from the dryer; "Fetch phone" to pick up and deliver a portable phone from a desk or counter top; (did I remember to talk about "Fetch leash" from yesterday?)and finally "Alert" to press a HelpLine button with a paw. Tracy advised me about the training I can do to have Pina
"Nudge" my LifeLine foam circle thingamajig that I am going to install under the kitchen island.
Then the afternoon outing to a Pet Store! The most special part of that trip for me was being asked if I would mind driving myself and Pina, since I am the only one here with a car. (The two accessible vans they have here wouldn't be able to accomodate all of us, our dogs and our mobility devices in one trip, and the Pet Store is some distance away.) Would I mind??!!!! The sheer joy of being a free individual again was wonderful! Pina handled the new experience quite well, and I was in heaven! I did purchase some special treats for her, and was pleasantly surprised at the sizeable discount we received because we were with DogGuides of Canada. It's nice to know that there are some advantages to being disabled! And so ends today. It is so hard to believe that in one week Pina and I will have graduated and will be on our way home! I do look forward to being in my own surroundings and with friends and family whom I have known for much longer than three weeks!

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