Wednesday, March 30, 2016

At the Podiatrist

Isaac was super good at the podiatrist today. I had him in a down stay on one side of the examining table and while the medical assistant was taking my vital signs and stuff, he stretched out and went to sleep. He was snoring, which the MA thought was hilarious.

Then, while I was waiting for the doctor to come in, I was reading a book and I had the leash in one hand but accidentally dropped it. So I woke Isaac up and asked him to get it for me. Which he did.

There was another patient across the hall, and she could see into the room where I was, and she called across the hall, "Your dog is so pretty!" I said thank you and she added "Smart, too."

Later, I had Isaac pick up my shoes and socks for me and she was super impressed with that.

 Also. None of the staff asked why I had a SD. Apparently they figured it was nothing to do with my feet and they didn't need to know.

The reason I was seeing the podiatrist was because I have been having muscle spasms in my feet for the past two months or so.  I saw my primary care doctor and he ordered some labs but couldn't figure out what was causing them.  

I saw my rheumatologist for a regularly scheduled appointment and asked her about it while I was there and she kind of blew me off, just said, "Oh, fibro can cause that."  But she didn't look at my feet or ask any questions and so I don't know how she could know if it was fibro or something else causing the muscle spasms in my case.  I mean, just because fibro can cause that doesn't mean that is what's causing it.  There are about a million things that can cause muscle spasms in feet.

So the podiatrist looked at my lab report and pointed out that my potassium is at the bottom of the reference range and told me that it can sometimes cause muscle spasms in feet when it's at that level. Something it seems like my primary care doc ought to have known, though I realize doctors usually know little about nutritional deficiencies. But since that's one of those electrolytes, it seems like he probably should have known that.

The podiatrist asked if I was having any muscle twitches around my eyes, which I do have but had thought was a side effect of my gabapentin, and he told me no, low potassium can cause that too. My primary doc didn't ask me about that and I didn't mention it to him because I thought it was just a side effect of the gabapentin.

The podiatrist said he does not think my muscle spasms are related to my fibromyalgia despite what my rheumatologist said, because while fibro can cause muscle spasms they are usually in the large muscles, not the small muscles. Um, shouldn't she have known that? Except she didn't ask me any questions or pay much attention to what I was describing to her.

She also told me that exercising more would help with the muscle spasms, which I thought was an odd thing to say since she didn't bother asking how much I already exercise first. In fact, I am exercising (walking) more now than I was six months ago and the podiatrist said the increase in exercise might be causing or contributing to the muscle spasms because it causes more lactic acid to build up in the muscles. Which does not mean I should stop exercising (how awesome would it be to be told I exercise too much? but no) but it also means exercising more is not the answer, at least not by itself.

I am not at all impressed with the rheumatologist.

So the podiatrist told me to eat more potassium in my diet and he gave me these temporary arch things for my feet. I go back in a couple weeks and if the arches seem to help, he is going to try to figure out how to get my insurance to pay for some inserts for my shoes that they usually won't cover.

I think I love my podiatrist. I think I might need a new rheumatologist, though.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Control Your Dog!

Isaac and I just had our first experience with a scary, aggressive dog. My neighbor had a visitor, some guy that doesn't even live here, who apparently brought his dog with him to visit (which is not allowed here). I was getting ready to take Isaac out to potty and we stepped out our front door just as he and his dog were arriving at the neighbor's door. The dog was about the size of Isaac and was on a flexi-lead.

The dog saw Isaac and started barking and snarling. I stopped in my doorway to let him get in the neighbor's door before Isaac and continued into the hall and then, the next thing I knew, the dog was right in Isaac's face, barking and snarling. The guy was yelling at the dog but obviously had no control over it. I pulled Isaac back inside and slammed my door and waited to go out until the guy and he dog were out of the hall.

I have heard too many stories about service dogs attacked and injured, some of which were so traumatized by the experience they ended up being unable to continue working.  It scared me a lot but it also made me really angry.

When I was able to take Isaac out, I managed to catch the property manager just as he was leaving for the day.  I told him what happened and he said he would deal with it Monday, basically by telling the neighbor her visitors are not allowed to bring dogs with them.  

The rest of the night, I felt anxious about going out of my apartment with Isaac.  I opened my door slowly, looked out first, then we hurried down the hall to the elevator.  Coming in, it was the same thing.  The elevator doors opened, I looked out to make sure the coast was clear, then we hurried down the hall to our apartment.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Big Foot

The butcher was out of marrow bones today, but she offered me a knuckle bone the size of Isaac's head. Seriously. This had to be a giant cow. At least, the cow had giant feet. She cut the bone in half and it was still gigantic. Can you tell how big this thing is?
And it was free!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Off Duty Dog

A friend suggestion that I post more videos of Isaac playing and goofing off and just "being a dog."  Many people think service dogs work all the time but that's not the case.  Isaac gets to go for a long walk almost every day and often gets to run and play off leash and swim in lakes and ponds and creeks and rivers and roll in smelly stuff and chase squirrels or geese, etc.  He has lots of time off duty. 

This is a typical hike for us - except it lasts for an hour to an hour and a half.
He also gets to chase geese a lot at this time of year, which he loves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Isaac Meets the Easter Bunny

Last weekend we were at Walmart.  They had someone dressed in an Easter bunny costume and kids could have their pictures taken with the bunny.  Parents just took the pictures with their camera phones.

The bunny was standing at the front of the store, near the registers.  I was in a short but very slow line.  A customer was trying to pay by check and the sales associate was having trouble scanning it in or something.

At one point, there were no kids around the Easter bunny.  So I left my cart in line and walked over (it was maybe 10 feet away) and asked if I could take a picture of my service dog with the Easter bunny.  The Walmart employee (the one in normal clothes) that was assisting the bunny said yes, so I did.
Isaac didn't seem particularly interested in the Easter bunny until we got very close and he realized I wanted him to sit by the bunny.  He was interested in sniffing the bunny's hand but he was a bit uncertain about what that strange-looking creature was.  He did not want to cuddle or kiss the Easter bunny.  He did, however, offer to cuddle and kiss the employee in normal clothing.

I think this was the first time Isaac was around someone in this sort of costume.  He did see people wearing masks and all sorts of really strange displays at the Halloween store.  None of that concerned him at all.  But he wasn't sure what to think of the Easter bunny.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Don't Eat the Steak

A couple months ago, Isaac and I went to Chipotle and Isaac kept trying to eat shredded cheese off the floor. I can't remember if I wrote about that or not.

He and I did a LOT of practice on Leave It after that and we've been back to Chipotle and to other restaurants since then without a problem. Well, tonight we went to Chipotle and there was a bite of steak on the floor near our table. I saw it and I saw Isaac see it. He could not reach it from under the table and he stayed under nicely until near the end of the meal, when he tried to slither a bit closer to the steak on his belly, as if hoping I wouldn't notice. I did notice, though, and reminded him to leave it. 

As we were leaving the restaurant, another customer commented that she was impressed that Isaac hadn't tried to eat that steak on the floor. She said he was so good. I told her he had been eyeing that steak, but he knows he's not supposed to eat food on the floor. I was really happy with how well he did.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dog on a Log

It might be kind of hard to tell from the picture, but he has all four feet on the log.  He's looking at the lake, which he would like to get in, instead of at me.

There's a reason for having my dog get on a log.  It's a training exercise.  It helps him learn body awareness, including back end awareness.  A friend of mine likes to say that dogs tend to be "front wheel drive."  They need to know where their behind is.  It also helps with balance and core strengthening.

Isaac hops up on lots of logs and tree stumps and rocks, at my direction.  We are working on smaller surface areas, and uneven surface areas, and higher objects, gradually making it more challenging.  Isaac is OK with it because he gets treats for it, although sometimes he'd really rather be sniffing something or playing in a lake.
Here he is on a rock, a while back.  The rock was kind of high and the surface was tilted a bit, so it was a challenge for him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Last week, I called the office of  my acupuncturist to make an appointment.  I told the woman that answered the phone my  name, who I wanted an appointment with, and what for.  She told me what times were available and I told her which appointment slot I wanted.

She said, "OK, I've got Kelly-and-Isaac down for Monday at 3:00."

I don't know what she actually wrote in the appointment book but she made it sound like she wrote "Kelly and Isaac."

When I showed up for my appointment yesterday, when it was my turn, the assistant opened the door to the waiting room and called, "Kelly-and-Isaac." 

They all love Isaac there. My acupuncturist is allowed to greet Isaac, or maybe I should say he is allowed to greet her, when she first comes into the treatment room.  Yesterday, he actually rolled over and solicited a belly rub from her.  No one else pets him, except on rare occasions when they ask if they can, and then I let them.

Once there was a new employee there who was being trained, and the woman training her explained, "This is Kelly-and-Isaac.  You can't pet Isaac unless she says you can.  Don't touch him."

Yesterday as we were leaving, one of the employees called out, "Bye, Kelly-and-Isaac!"

Apparently we are a team there,  I rarely hear our names said separately.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Here, Hold My Leash

Isaac and I were getting laundry out of the dryer. I dropped the leash because it can be difficult to hold the leash and manage the laundry and we were just standing in the laundry room and he wasn't going anywhere.

So then I told him to "get it," meaning clothes in the dryer, and instead he picked up the leash and handed it to me. Apparently he thinks I am supposed to be holding that leash.

A Cute Kitty Video

Whiskers playing in the water in the bathroom sink.  She's obsessed with it. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Change in Comment Policy

I've received a very large number of very rude, inappropriate comments lately.  They are always posted anonymously.  I delete them, they don't get posted, but I am just tired of dealing with them.  So I have change the comment policy. 

For now, in order to comment, you must have a Google account and post under that account.  This will allow me to identify, and block, specific commenters that repeatedly leave rude and inappropriate comments.

To all those that post appropriate, friendly comments, I apologize for the inconvenience.

Accessibility at McDonald's

Today I was at McDonald's, buying iced coffee, and I noticed a sign by the register that said "Braille and Picture Menus Available." I think it's awesome that they have those available, but it occurred to me that many customers that need Braille or picture menus probably wouldn't be able to read the sign saying they are available.

But I'm not sure of what would be a better way to let customers know they are available. What are your thoughts?

Maybe the picture menus could be on the counter, in some sort of holder, so that people could just pick them up if they wanted to look at one.

But what about the Braille menus?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Frozen Marrow Bones

Today I stopped at a local butcher shop to get some marrow bones for Isaac. People kept telling me I should give him frozen marrow bones. Turns out the butcher shop gives them away for free, so yay, an affordable treat! Isaac is happily gnawing on one now and is even mostly staying on the towel I put down for him because I did not really want a raw frozen bone on my carpet. He says it is most delicious.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How I Lost a Leash and Collar

Today Isaac and I were hiking in a state forest where I am pretty sure dogs are supposed to be on leash. And he was on leash, until we got to this part of the trail that was super steep, very muddy and slippery, and had some big rocks we had to climb over. I probably should have turned back but I was closer to the end of the trail than to the beginning and didn't want to turn back.

But to get over this really difficult part of the trail, I decided to let Isaac off leash so I could have both hands free to hold on to boulders and trees to help keep my balance and so I didn't have to worry about Isaac tugging on the leash and causing me to slip (normally not a problem but on a really steep and slippery trail, the slightest tug could make me fall).

When I let Isaac off leash, I usually remove his prong collar, too. I used to leave it on, once upon a time, and he ran into some brush and I guess it got got on something and he managed to break free and lose the collar. So now I take it off.

So I stuck the collar and leash into my pocket. He was still wearing his flat collar with his tags.

Well, we got over the difficult part of the trail and I called Isaac back to me so I could put his leash back on. I reached into the pocket of my jacket for the leash and discovered it was gone. Apparently it had fallen out of my pocket.

I retraced my steps part of the way but didn't find it and I just was not up to going over the most challenging part of the trail again. So Isaac and I had to finish our hike with him off leash.

He heeled very nicely and we got back to the car and then I stopped at the first pet store we were near and bought a new leash (I left him in the car while I ran into the store, since he had no leash).

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Cat with a Bone

Isaac got a jumbo beef bone at Rural King yesterday.  Today, I noticed Whiskers licking it.  Apparently Isaac was OK with that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Can You Tell He Was Going Fast?

Differences I've Noticed When Traveling

I've been in Michigan for a few days, a bit north of Detroit.  This is the third time I've visited my friend Traci in this area and each time, I've been struck by something.

Strangers do not bother my dog here.

No one pets without asking.  Yesterday while having breakfast at a diner, our server, upon noticing as we were getting up to leave that there was actually a dog under our table, bent down and said hello to Isaac.  But most people don't even do that.  I've had a couple people ask me if they could pet him, but most don't even ask.  And they don't baby talk to him, or make kissy noises, or bark at him.

Sometimes I get asked if I am training him and once someone asked me if I was blind.  Another time I was asked what was wrong with me.

But they don't bother the service dog.

Traci says it's because there is a program that trains guide dogs in the area and they train them all over around here and people are all used to them and know you aren't supposed to bother them.  I guess that's as good an explanation as any, but surely there are service dog programs in other areas, right?

But the difference is very  noticeable.  I stopped in a McDonald's near Toledo on my way here to get a drink and use the bathroom, and both the manager of the restaurant and another customer were petting Isaac without asking. Then I hit Detroit, and no one bothers him.  I stopped at a very busy sub place for lunch and a couple customers smiled at Isaac but no one stared, no one pointed, no one tried to pet him, no one made silly noises at him, no one even asked me intrusive questions. 

It's nice.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Service Dog in Court

Today I accompanied a friend to court for a hearing.

Isaac did fantastic and to be honest, I was a little worried. Yesterday he seemed a bit "off," maybe because we are out of town. But today he was excellent.

There was another hearing in the same room before my friend's, and these two deputies brought in this guy in shackles, leg chains, the whole works. Apparently my well-socialized dog is not fazed by chains and shackles. The deputies were standing there with their hands resting on the butts of their guns and I was thinking, I really really hope Isaac doesn't bark for some reason and the deputies think someone is shooting and whip out their guns!

But Isaac just curled up at my feet and slept through the whole thing. 

Well, he almost got up when they said "all rise" and everyone stood.  Isaac thinks if all the people are standing, he should stand, too.  He did the same thing in church on Christmas Eve.  But I just signed to him lie down and stay, and he did.

Have You Ever Seen Such a Relaxed, Happy Doggie?