Friday, April 13, 2018

Sick Service Dog

Isaac has been sick for the past week and a half.  Well, sort of.  He threw up six times over a nine-day period.  Other than when he was throwing up, he appeared to feel OK. 

I've spent what feels like a lot of time cleaning up dog puke.  We've made three trips to the vet.  We finally figured out what was going on and (I think, I hope) have a handle on it.

On our second visit to the vet, an x-ray showed what appeared to be a small piece of bone in his stomach.  The piece was apparently too large for him to vomit up and too large to pass on through his intestine.  An ultrasound was scheduled for the following day to get a better look.

Well, the following day, the piece of bone was no longer in the stomach.  It had made its way at last into the small intestine.  That was yesterday.

Now we are waiting to see if it will continue making its way through Isaac's intestines and, um, on out.  The vet is hopeful.  If it doesn't, that will mean it causes a bowel obstruction which can be deadly and requires prompt surgical treatment.

He hasn't vomited in three days and he is active and pooping normally today.  No bone yet, but no symptoms of an obstruction.  Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Moving to Nebraska

I moved to Nebraska for several reasons.

I needed to move.  My landlord in Ohio was doing a number of things wrong, including calculating my rent incorrectly so that I was being charged more than I should have been.  I'll note that the landlord disputes this.  We are awaiting the court's ruling on the matter.

Anyway.  It was intolerable living where I was.  I needed to move.

Why Nebraska?  Everyone asks me that.

I had the following criteria when looking for a place to go:

1. I needed to be able to move as soon as possible.  That's a biggie when you are in subsidized housing.  Many places have waiting lists, anywhere from a year or two up to five years or more.  I couldn't wait a year.

2.  I refused to consider anyplace with an average temperature that was colder than the average temp where I lived in Ohio.  Warmer would have been nice, but I'd settle for the same.  But not colder.

3.  I had to know someone living nearby.  I wasn't moving to a far way state where I knew absolutely no one.

4.  I wanted to be out in the country.  I wanted to live in a rural area.

Those are the objective criteria.  There was a fifth thing, but it's harder to explain.  The place had to feel good to me.

I ended up settling on Nebraska because I found subsidized housing with no waiting list.  I also knew a couple people in the area and the internet told me the average temps were the same as where I'd lived in Ohio. 

The internet neglected to mention the wind in Nebraska, as did my friends in the area.  32 in Nebraska doesn't feel like 32 back in Ohio because in the winter and spring, it is windy here.  The howling wind woke me up at night for the first few weeks I lived here, it is so loud.  So it might be 32 degrees out but the wind makes it feel like it's 12.  Sure, there's windchill in Ohio, but not like this.

I asked one friend why no one mentioned the wind to me and she looked at me like I was nuts and said, "Doesn't everyone know it's windy in Nebraska?"

Well, no.  Apparently not.  About half the people I told I was moving to Nebraska didn't even know where Nebraska is.  They would ask me, "Where is Nebraska, anyway?"  If people don't even know where the state is, how would people know it's windy there?

Even with the wind, I like it.

I live in a small town, population about 1,600.  People are friendly, helpful.  I like the sky.  I like the light.  Isaac and I go for long hikes across the prairie.  I like the wildlife.  Yesterday I had to stop my car to allow a flock of wild turkeys to cross the road.

There have been a lot of challenges.  Things have not all gone as planned.  Sometimes I worry that moving was a mistake.

But I like it here.  I like my apartment.  I have big windows that Isaac and Whiskers both enjoy looking out.  I have tons of closet space and a big pantry in the kitchen.  My living room is bigger than my living room/dining room area was back in Ohio.  I am growing herbs in pots in the living room window.

It took Isaac a little while to settle in.  Whiskers felt at home immediately.  And me?  I mostly feel at home now.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Service Dog Slumber Party

A couple weeks ago, Isaac and I took a short trip to Kansas with my friend and her service dog Jake.  Jake's mom had to go to a business thing and Isaac and I went along for the drive.

Isaac and Jake are good buddies.  They love to play tug, so both myself and Jake's mom packed toys to tug with for this trip.

We got to our hotel about 9 pm.  Jake's mom and I were both tired.  Jake and Isaac were tired too, but not too tired to play. 

Isaac really loves tug and he hasn't had a chance to play tug for quite a while.  I think not since we last saw Jamie at our old dog park in Ohio.  For some reason, Isaac never wanted to tug with Daisy or Lulu.  Probably just because they were not particularly interested in tugging.  But Isaac and Jamie would play tug for an hour if given the chance.

And so they tugged.
We finally got them to settle down about 11 pm for bed. 

Before bed, though, I took both dogs outside to go potty.  Isaac found a nice bush to pee on and of course Jake wanted to pee there too.  While Isaac was still peeing, Jake sidled up beside him, kind of like he was parallel parking or something, and lifted his leg.  I pulled on Isaac's leash to get him to move just in time.  Otherwise, Jake would have peed right on him!

So after peeing, we went back inside and got the dogs settled down for bed.  Jake slept in bed with his mom but Isaac doesn't like to sleep with me, so I put a blanket on the floor for him.  And soon everyone was asleep.

Until 1:30 am, when Isaac woke me up insisting he had to pee.  I tried to tell him it had only been a couple hours since we went out, but he didn't care. 

You know why he had to pee already?  Because earlier he and Jake slurped up a lot of toilet water.  That's right, as soon as we got into the hotel room, Jake went right to the bathroom and helped himself to a long drink.  Isaac thought that was a fine idea so he had a good long drink when Jake was done.

So.  I got out of bed and took Isaac out to pee, as quietly as possible, because I didn't want to disturb Jake or his mom.

After Isaac peed for a really long time, we went back to the room.  I opened the door as quietly as possible, felt my way inside in the dark, and removed Isaac's leash.  I tiptoed toward my bed.

Isaac, on the other hand, ran toward the bed where Jake and his mom were sleeping.  He leapt onto the bed and pounced on Jake. 

Of course, this woke both Jake and his mom.  Isaac explained that he wanted to play and Jake thought that was a fine idea, so he jumped off the bed and chaos ensued.

We finally got them settled down again and everyone went back to sleep.

The next thing I knew, Isaac was telling me he wanted to go out.  I told him it wasn't time yet, but Jake's mom said actually it was, she had to get up and get ready to go to her business thing.   After a quick trip out to pee, the boys were back at it again.

Isaac had a very good time.  He says he loves slumber parties with his buddy Jake!

When the Service Dog Sneaks a Sniff

Yesterday while my car was at the tire repair place, Isaac and I walked over to a convenient store to get some coffee. 

While I was trying to get the lid on my coffee cup, Isaac tried to sneak a sniff of the woman standing next to me, getting her coffee. I corrected him and she said, "Oh, he probably smells my dog." I said I was sure he did, but he knows he's not supposed to sniff people in stores, he can sniff at home.

About that time, an employee approached me and asked if he was a SD. I said he was and she said "I wasn't sure since I didn't see a tag, but he is so well-behaved I thought he must be." 

I said, "he's well-behaved except for sneaking a sniff," and she laughed and said she once saw a drug dog hit on a lunch box because there was beef jerky in it. She said "That just goes to show you, they are still dogs."

I was thinking either there was something else in that lunch box with the beef jerky or else that drug dog needs retrained, but I just said "My dog would probably alert to beef jerky in a lunch box too!"

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hotels and Service Dogs

Hotels fall under Title 3 of the ADA, just like Walmart does.  That means they must allow service dogs and, just like at Walmart, hotels can only ask if a dog is a service dog and what tasks the dog is trained to do.  For some reason, people sometimes think hotels would be different and that hotels can ask for some sort of documentation, but that's not the case.

On my recent trip, I stayed in two hotels. At the first hotel, I had Isaac with me, in his vest, when I was checking in. The clerk explained to me that there was a $10 pet fee.

I explained to her that he was a SD so there is no pet fee for him.

She turned around and asked a coworker, "Do we charge a pet fee for service dogs?"

I was about to tell her that she doesn't since the Dept of Justice says she's not allowed but her coworker told her they don't, so it was fine.  I've been charged pet fees several times at hotels but they've always corrected it and removed the fee when I tell them they aren't supposed to charge a fee for a service dog.

At the second hotel, again I had Isaac with me in his vest and the clerk asked "Any pets?" I said, "No, just my service dog" and she knew not to charge a pet fee.