Friday, July 31, 2015

My New Favorite Pic

I think this is my  new favorite pic of Isaac.
He'd just gotten out of a creek, and a quick dip always leaves him feeling frisky.  I just love how this really captures the motion of running.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Service Bird" Not Allowed in Grocery Store

A woman in Ohio is upset because Kroger won't allow her to take her pet bird into the grocery store

The woman says her bird is a "nationally registered service bird," but there's really no such thing.  She registered him with one of those online registries, that are really just a scam.  They don't mean anything.  You can register any pet you want, or a stuffed animal, or a made up creature like a dinosaur or a unicorn.  All you need is internet access and a credit card.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, only dogs (and in some instances, miniature horses) can be service animals.  Some states do recognize other animals as service animals, but Ohio doesn't.  In fact, Ohio state law only recognizes dogs as service animals.  Miniature horses are still allowed as service animals in the state because federal law says so, but Ohio state law doesn't include anything about service horses.

So the bird is not a service animal.  The bird is a pet.  Maybe the bird is an emotional support animal, I don't know.  But it's not a service animal.

The bird shouldn't be allowed in the grocery store.  It's a violation of local health codes and there is no other law that supersedes those health codes, the way the ADA does in the case of service dogs.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Problem with Whiskers' New Home

I know I just posted about how things were working out so well for Whiskers, but now they aren't.  Her new owner neglected to check with her apartment manager to make sure it was OK to have a second pet.  Now that Whiskers has been there for several days, she was found out it is not OK.

I have decided to take Whiskers in and let her stay with me.  I miss her, I liked having her here, and I feel really, really bad for her.  That poor kitty has been through so much.

Of course, that means I have to go pick her up.  Halfway across the country.

My good friend Traci (who also happens to be my accountant) set up a Go Fund Me account to allow people to contribute money for the trip.  If you'd like to donate something (even $5 would be a big help), here's the link.

Our Recent Road Trip

I mentioned driving Whiskers to Chicago and then going to Michigan to visit a friend but didn't say much about the trip.  Actually I've been very busy lately so I haven't posted much at all.  But our road trip was good

Whiskers did  much better on the drive than I had expected.  We had to leave about 2:30 am, so the first several hours we were driving in the dark.  I got a mild sedative from the vet for Whiskers and it helped a lot.  She peed in her carrier about two hours into the trip, so I got her out, cleaned the carrier, cleaned her up as best I could, gave her another pill and let her stay out of the carrier for most of the rest of the drive.  She explored the van, then slept under the back seat for a couple hours, then curled up in my lap for most of the rest of the driver.  It was really sweet.  I was sad to give her up.

Isaac got to play with my friend's service dog Jake, when we dropped Whiskers off.  He had a great time and it was good for him to get some play time and exercise before the drive to Michigan, which ended up being a super long drive because the traffic and road construction was just awful.

We stopped at dinner time and took a nice walk, then ate our dinner together in the van.  Then we drove a few more hours before stopping for the night.  We slept in the van that night and I actually slept pretty well. 

We finally made it to the home of my friend in Michigan and it turned out Isaac had learned to behave nicely around cats from Whiskers.  She has a cat named Tigger and  Tigger is blind and I was worried that Isaac would scare him by being his enthusiastic self, but no.  Isaac was more interested in sniffing everything in the house than in pestering the cat.  I guess he got used to cats from Whiskers and is no longer so fascinated by them. 

I don't think Cayenne had the same effect because she mostly just slept on the couch or sat in the window, which was right next to the couch.  It was a big event if Cayenne walked across the living room, seriously.  That probably happened once a week or less, on average.  But after seeing Whiskers roam all over the house, Isaac is no longer fascinated and excited every time a kitty moves.

I noticed this last year when we went to Detroit and I noticed it again this time.  For some reason, people up there are much less likely to pet a service dog without asking than they are where I live.  In fact, not only did no one pet him without asking the whole time we were there, I don't think anyone asked if they could pet him, either.  By contrast, today alone I had two people pet without asking and two more ask to pet.

He's Relaxing

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Poor Sick Service Dog

Isaac got sick this afternoon.

On our way home from our trip, we stopped at a park.  Isaac ate a lot of grass, which is not so unusual for him, and he went swimming in a creek and guzzled a lot of creek water, which is very typical of him.  Thirty minutes later, as we were driving down our street, he barfed.  Luckily it mostly went on the floor of the van and not on the seat or on any of my luggage or other stuff.

I walked him around a little outside before heading in, in case he needed to throw up again.  He waited until we got inside the front door, then hurled.  And continued to puke about a dozen more times, all over the carpet.

At first I was thinking it was just from eating too much grass/drinking too much creek water too fast.  But after he threw up the tenth time or so, I wondered if maybe he managed to eat something else he shouldn't have eaten at the park.  He was not out of my sight for long at all, just a minute or two as he ran through some tall weeds and brush from the trail to the creek.  But it only takes him about 30 seconds to inhale a cup of kibble, so he could have gulped down something. 

He never eats inedible stuff, with the exception of poop and old food he finds beside the road and stuff like that.  Things he considers food.  But I mean, he doesn't eat socks or underwear or plastic or string or toys or things like that, which some dogs eat and that often cause serious intestinal blockages.  But he would eat a half-rotten burger if he found one.

He's been sleeping for a few hours now.  He did drink a small amount of water and has kept that down.  He has shown no interest in dinner, which is fine because I was not planning on serving him dinner anyway.  Maybe a midnight snack, a very small snack, if he seems hungry.

I hate it when he is sick.  Luckily it is very rare for him to be sick, but I hate it.  I'd rather be sick myself.  He looks so sad and pitiful.

If he still seems unwell in the morning, I will call the vet.  I think he will probably be OK by then, though.

I have an appointment scheduled in the morning, which I plan to reschedule because I want Isaac to stay home and rest and I don't want to leave him alone.  In the afternoon, I am supposed to tutor, and as long as Isaac seems OK, I will leave him home alone for a few hours while I go do that.  But I don't want to leave him home alone for most of the day, so I plan to reschedule my morning appointment.  Of course, if he needs to go to the vet, I'll do that at whatever time the vet can get us in, so if that means changing my tutoring session, that's what I'll do.

It's hard, deciding what to do when a service dog is sick.  Not only do I have to make sure he is being cared for, but I also have to figure out what I can do without him.  Can I go tutor without his help?  I would rather not, but I can if I have to.  It's different than dealing with a sick pet, though.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Isaac Made a New Friend

When we delivered Whiskers to my friend in Chicago, who was driving her the rest of the way to Nebraska, Isaac got to meet and play with her service dog, a lab named Jake.
They were so cute together.  Isaac needs a lab that is a lot like him to play with.  They played kind of rough, which Isaac thoroughly enjoyed.  I think Jake actually tired him out!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Look, they've become friends. Just in time for her to move on to her new home.
It's cute, though, huh?  Notice how she has Isaac's bed and he has the floor.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lovely Down Stay at McDonald's

Isaac did a lovely down stay at McDonald's today.  He did about 90 minutes, easily.
There were a bunch of kids running back and forth and they never even noticed there was a dog under the table.

Remember when Isaac had trouble doing a down stay for more than an hour?  Our work on that really paid off.  Ninety  minutes today, easily.

Saying Goodbye to Whiskers

Whiskers leaves in two days to go to her new home.  I am very happy for her because she is going to be a very spoiled, much-loved little kitty cat.

I am also a little sad, for a number of reasons.

Of course I've gotten rather attached even though I didn't really want to.  How can you  not get attached to something so cute and sweet?

And it's been nice having a cat around again.  I love cats.  I have been a cat person all my life, and while I love Isaac, I don't think he's converted me to a dog person.  I am an Isaac person.  Not a dog person.  I guess I am still a cat person.

Whiskers has been sleeping with me the last several nights.  Last night it stormed outside and it was so nice snuggled up in bed with a soft, warm kitty.  And she purrs and purrs.  Dogs do not purr.  They slobber.  It is not the same.  Not even close.

It's made me feel a little sad that Isaac does not like to sleep with me at night.  I think I've slept better having a cat cuddled up all warm and purring.  Almost makes me want one just to sleep with.

And it makes me miss Cayenne and miss my previous cat, Eileen.  And just makes me sad for things that are gone.  For things that I once had and will not have again.

Whiskers needs to go to her new home.  I am not reconsidering rehoming her.  I can't afford a cat right now, I don't need the extra work, I want to do more traveling and can't take a cat on road trips, etc.  Keeping her would not be best for me or for Whiskers.

But I'm going to miss her.

I mean, look how cute she is.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Disability and Disasters

Here's some scary reading. Many cities, including really large cities like New York City, have essentially failed, and in many instances outright refused, to provide emergency services for people with disabilities, even though the ADA requires them to do so. If you have a disability and a disaster like a hurricane strikes, you may be left to die.

Retrieving Meds

One of Isaac's tasks is retrieving meds for me.  I have a pouch that I have certain "as  need" meds in, like anxiety and pain meds.
The meds are in plastic bottles inside the pouch.  The reason they are in the pouch is because it's easier to find than a small bottle and because it makes it harder for a dog to chew through (Isaac never chews stuff like medication bottles but you never know with dogs).

Isaac is trained to bring the  pouch when I tell him to "get the meds" and he is also trained to bring it if he sees signs that I am getting anxious.  For instance, I start to rock back and forth when I am anxious, and Isaac knows that means to bring the meds.

I know I've posted about this task before but I just wanted to post about it again, including a pic of the med pouch, because it's a question I get asked from time to time, like what I keep the meds in that Isaac brings to me.

Pics of a Dog Having Fun

This is at Delaware State Park in Ohio. He got to swim, roll in a dead fish, and play with a nice collie.  The dead fish was probably his favorite part of the day.
And this is at East Harbor State Park, up on Lake Erie.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I rarely feel jealous.

I'm not sure why.  I think mostly, most of the time, there aren't things other people have that I want, plus, I don't see other people having things as meaning I don't have those things.  I don't look at life that way.  I don't think there is a great scarcity of resources.  I tend to operate more from a model of abundance.  I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but there it is.

And when I do feel jealous, it's usually not over things.  I'm not very into material things.  I'm more likely to feel jealous of, say, someone that has a great, caring, loving, supportive family than of someone that has money or material stuff.

Also, I don't think jealousy is a very useful or productive emotion, at least not most of the time.  Of course, emotions aren't always productive and they don't have to be and the fact that an emotion isn't useful or helpful doesn't mean I never feel it.  But maybe that is part of why I don't feel jealous very often.

But a few days ago, I felt intense jealousy over something.  And it was such a strong feeling that it seemed interesting and note-worthy to me.

I have a friend who has a friend that is trying to raise money to get a service dog for a family member.  She started a Go Fund Me account to raise money.  I did that, too, when I was fundraising for Isaac.

In 11 days, she has raised over $4,000.

It took me a year to raise about half that amount.

I don't quite get why I feel jealous about that.  I mean, I already have a service dog.  Yeah, it was really hard for me to raise the money and she's not having nearly the trouble raising money that I did.  But I already have a service dog.  So what difference does it make, at this point, how long it took me to raise the money?  I did it.  I have my dog.

Also, the program I think she has decided to go with is charging her more than four times what Isaac's program charged me.  So she's raised over $4,000 but that's only about 20 percent of what she has to raise.  So.... well, I'm not sure what difference that makes, either.  Except that it's not like she's almost to her goal in 11 days.  Although she's almost to the amount that my goal was.

But it's not like she's getting something I want but can't get.  It's not like people giving her money for a service dog is keeping me from getting a service dog.  I already have a service dog.  Maybe she feels jealous of that.

I don't know.  I think maybe it's about the fact that she has friends and family members that are so supportive.  Maybe I'm really jealous of that, not the money or how fast she's getting it.  But that doesn't even seem right to me, rationally speaking.  I mean, larger donations does not necessarily equal caring more.  I remember one friend sending me $5 and saying she wished she could send more, and I know that $5 was a stretch for her financially at that time, and I don't think she cared less about me just because she couldn't donate $100 or $1,000.

I don't like feeling jealous.

Monday, July 6, 2015

You're Not Leaving, Are You?

Today Isaac and I went to the dog park for a while and most of the time we were the only ones there. At one point, I decided I wanted something from my car, and since no other dogs were there and my car was parked right outside the fence, I left Isaac in the fenced in area while I went to my car for a second. Poor Isaac, I think he thought I was going to leave him there. He was busy playing and having fun, but as soon as I went out the gate, he ran over to the gate and stood right by it, looking sad and worried, until I returned. It was kind of sweet but kind of sad, too. Silly doggie, like I would ever leave him anywhere.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Whiskers Playing

Look how cute she is!

That's Not How It Works

Today at Panera, Isaac and I were sitting outside on the patio when a woman walked by and stopped to talk to him. Isaac stood up and wagged his tail, and then she saw his vest.

She then apologized to me, saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize he was a working dog." Good so far, right?

But then she bent over so she could make eye contact with Isaac and proceeded to say, in a high-pitched, baby-talk voice, "I won't bother you since you're working. Oh no, I won't. I don't want to bother you when you're working, pretty baby. Oh no, I don't."

Um.... that's not how it works.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Update on Whiskers

I know, it's been a while since I posted anything.  I've had a lot going on and had several days in which I was really not feeling well at all.

First I'll update you about Whiskers the Cat.

Perhaps the biggest update is, Whiskers is a girl!  My friend had told me the cat was a boy and I just assumed he knew.  I mean, it's not hard to tell what gender a cat is, right?  But my friend was wrong.

Whiskers has been at my home for four days now.  She is going to be here until mid-July.  A friend of mine halfway across the country found a home for her with a friend of hers.  My friend is attending a professional conference in Chicago in mid-July and Whiskers can ride home with her from the conference.  That means I only have to drive Whiskers to Chicago, which is 5.5 hours away, instead of a 14 hour drive.

Meanwhile, Whiskers is staying with me where she can get her medication and hopefully recover from both her UTI and her severe constipation so that she will be in good health when she goes to her new home. 

Giving her the antibiotic pills twice a day is rough!  She is a little hellion, I tell you.  Both my hands are all clawed up and she also got me good on one eyebrow.  It's a good thing I wear glasses, I guess, or she might have put my eye out.  She does not like pills and refuses to cooperate in any way.

She is taking her fiber supplement well, though.  I mix it in a teaspoon of turkey baby food and she thinks that is quite delicious.  Isaac thinks it smells delicious and he is quite disappointed that he doesn't get any.

Whiskers is eating well.  I just bought her some Iams kibble, a special hairball formula.  She does not hack up hairballs but I think it may help with her digestion and constipation.  The vet had suggested a hairball remedy for her for just that reason, but she does not like it and it is very difficult to get her to eat it.  I've never had a cat that didn't like hairball remedies before.  They've always thought it was a yummy treat.  But not Whiskers.

The first night she was here, she woke me up at 3:00 am, pacing the house and meowing.  It woke Isaac up, too, and he was so tired he wasn't even interested in going over to see what she was doing.  He just looked at her with half-opened eyes like "What on earth are you doing? And when will you stop?"

The second night was quiet.  That evening, she seemed interested in playing and of course I had no cat toys for her.  I gave her the plastic ring from a milk jug and I also played with her with a piece of yarn for a bit.  The next day I got her some toys and today I got her some more.  Her favorite seems to be the plastic milk ring, though.  I keep finding it in my bed.

Whiskers has taken over my bedroom.  She chose it was her space.  Under the bed is her safe place and the first 24 hours she was here, she spent a lot of time under the bed.  She would come out to creep around the house, exploring, and then run back under the bed for safety.  The second day, she decided she liked lying on the bed and also that she liked sitting in the bedroom window, which I've been leaving open since the weather has been nice.  She still runs under the bed if startled or made nervous, but she hangs out on the bed or in the window.

I'm glad she's doing well and relieved to have found a good home for her.