Friday, June 24, 2016

Heavy Metal

On our recent camping trip, while touring several caves, Isaac and I encountered something I never expected - metal grates.

Remember several months ago, when Isaac and I were hiking on a bike trail and came to a bridge over a creek that was a metal grate? Isaac refused to walk over it. Refused. We had to turn back.

Now, I figured how often in life to you have to walk over metal grates? But I decided to work on it with him anyway. I mostly just wanted him to be able to walk on any surface.  I wanted him to learn that there are many different surfaces on which to walk and different is not scary or dangerous.

I had to find another metal grate closer to home, and found a small bridge that was similar, and we practiced walking over it with lots of pepperoni as an incentive/reward. Then we walked on every metal surface I could find, with lots of high value rewards.

Fast forward to the first cave. We were maybe 15 minutes into the hour-long tour and we came to some steps. They were made from metal grates!

Now, Isaac and I had practiced walking on metal grates, but we'd never done any steps made of metal grates. Isaac hesitated, and I was afraid I was going to have to tell the tour guide I could not continue because my dog refused to go down those steps. I hadn't even thought to bring any treats with me.

Isaac hesitated, looked uncertain, then went down the steps with me.

Man oh man was I happy I'd spent so much time walking on metal with him!

And in the next cave? There was a bridge that was a metal grate that was much longer than the one we'd practiced on, that stretched over some sort of almost-bottomless pit. And Isaac walked across that like it was nothing. No hesitation. Didn't even have to think about it.

The final cave was the Lost River Cave, with the boat.  The boat dock was a metal grate.  Isaac walked across it and got into a boat, the first time he'd ever been in a boat, with no problem.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Muscle Spasm in my Toes

Can you see how my second toe is pressed against my big toe? And separated from the other three toes?

Muscle spasm. I don't have those as much as I used to since seeing the podiatrist and getting the shoe inserts and and increasing my potassium and stuff, but occasionally they are still bad. It was hard to take this pic because I was so busy cursing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

He Was Just a Little Tired

Isaac always gets really worn out on camping trips.  So much walking and so much fun and excitement.

He had this big foam pad he was sleeping on. But then he rolled over and mostly fell off it and apparently was just too tired to get back on.

Cave Dog on a Boat

On our recent camping trip, in addition to touring Mammoth Cave, we took a tour of Lost River Cave.  It's a cave with a river running through it and you can take a boat ride through the cave.  That sounded like fun since it would be cool and also did not involve much walking.

Isaac had never been on a boat before and I wasn't sure how he'd do.  He didn't hesitate when it came to getting on the boat, but the boat felt sort of wobbly or unsteady and he did not care for that.  I could tell he wasn't too pleased, but he still behaved well.  I'm not sure anyone else on the boat could tell he didn't like it.  Maybe the friend that was with us, who knows Isaac pretty well.

The trip was full of all kinds of new experiences for Isaac.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cave Dog

Isaac and I returned yesterday from a five-day camping trip during which we got to tour three different caves.  I was pleased that Isaac was not nervous about going into the caves.
He liked the cool air in them, I think.  So did I!  It was about 95 degrees most days on our trip.

What Are You Going to Do?

This morning I caught part of a local newscast on the radio and heard that Newark, a fairly small town in Ohio, will be adding protection against discrimination for LGBT folks to their existing laws that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and other areas. The city council voted on it last night and I heard a brief interview with a councilman in which he said the events in Orlando at least partly inspired their decision.

I do not believe that good must come from tragedy. Good begets good, you know? Tragedy begets pain, sorrow, and suffering. But it helps if we can find some meaning in a great loss, and if some good can come from this, then let it come. Let our tears of sorrow water seeds of hope. We reap what we sow, but we do not have to reap what one gunman tried to sow in Orlando. Let's sow something else. Let's sow love and peace and acceptance where he tried to plant hate.

I have decided to contact my landlord, which is actually a fairly large property management company, and ask them to develop a written policy against discrimination against LGBT tenants, because they do not currently have one. They comply with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of race, religion, disability, etc. But does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

So in addition, I plan to contact HUD and ask them why the FHA doesn't include that.

What are you going to do?  It can be something little. Like saying "Hey, that's not OK" the next time you hear a gay joke. Or it can be as big as writing President Obama telling him we need federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. It isn't so much what we do that matters, sometimes, but that we do something. 

We need to mourn for the dead. And we need to acknowledge that we fear for our own safety. But after the tears, we need to act. Action is what fights fear. And of course, it is what brings change.

So do something. This is the time to act.

And reply to let me know what you're going to do.  I really want to know.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Pees on the Toy

When Isaac and I arrived at the dog park this morning, we were both pleased to see two of his good friends were already there, Toby and Clyde. Toby is a labradoodle who loves to play chase and wrestles with Isaac. Clyde is a Saint Bernard/Rottie mix who is a bit older and doesn't like the hot weather, so he often prefers to lie in the shade and watch instead of playing. I'm not sure why Isaac likes him so much when he doesn't play much, but he does.

Also, Clyde does not like all dogs, only certain dogs, so when some dogs come to the park, his owner takes him to another area. However, Clyde and Isaac get along great.

Well, Clyde's owner told me that he likes to play tug so I have been driving around with Isaac's rope toy in my van for a week now, hoping we'd see Clyde at the dog park and they could have a game of tug. So I brought the rope in with us today. Isaac Clyde decided they were not interested in playing tug today for some reason, but Toby really really liked the rope and ran around with it for a while, then played tug and keep away with another dog named Wilbur.

Then a new dog came and he went right to the rope and lifted his leg and peed on it. It's all fun and games until someone pees on the toy, you know. Not one to be outdone (or to lose in a pissing contest), Isaac promptly peed on the rope himself.

I considered gifting the peeing dog's owner with the rope.  I considered leaving it at the dog park for whomever to play with.  I ended up bringing it home, thinking I might soak it in bleach water.  But I might just toss it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

So He Gets in a Car with Strangers

We arrived at the dog park and just as I opened the back door of my van, two sopping wet golden retrievers ran up, one carrying a frisbee.

Isaac thought they looked like very nice dogs and wanted to play with them. They looked ready to jump in the van with him, but he thought it would be more fun to play outside the van, so he hopped out.

 Then the goldens' owner showed up to load them into the back of their SUV. He opened the back gate and they jumped in. Isaac still wanted to play with them, so he jumped in, too. 

I asked the owner if he wanted an extra dog but he did not, so Isaac had to get out of their SUV. The goldens thought it was unfair that Isaac got to get out but they didn't.

Isaac was momentarily disappointed at not getting to go home with them, but then he saw a labradoodle named Toby that he likes to play with, so he took off.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Stick in the Mud

Isaac made friends with a nice dog named Sophia at the dog park and they had a good time playing with a stick.

Dinner is a Recurring Event around Here

Medicaid lady:  I'm trying to figure out if these medical expenses you've submitted are recurring expenses.  For instance, I see a lot of expenses related to your service dog.

Me:  Yes, those would be recurring expenses.  For instance, my dog eats every day.