Sunday, November 29, 2009

On November 8th I was invited to Canine Companions for Independence to be matched with a service dog. It is a very long and detailed application and definitely worth it. I went to the abilities Expo in Santa Clara a couple of times and CCI had a booth, when I went to ask them about getting on the list it was several years long and as I recall they were not even taking names anymore at the time. I went online and found a private trainer. They trained the dog within e-collar and although I HATED correcting her with it it did not work anyway, by the time I got my hand on the button to correct her it was too late... I quit using the e-caller. She was about four years older than I was told and she had a lot of health problems so she just became my spoiled aggressive pet. I love her very much and lost her to bone cancer in January 2009. One afternoon I was going out to lunch with my mom, brother and his kids and a restaurant that we were going to eat at denied us entry because of my service dog. Usually I would try to stand up to the guy so that next time it won’t be so hard on another person with a service dog but since I had my family and we were hungry we went across the street to Chili’s. While we were standing in line waiting we started talking to a couple of ladies at as it turned out one or both of them belong to the Lions Club. Jan said that she would like to help me out with getting a service dog. I thanked her and said goodbye and really didn’t think that I would hear from her again, within a week I had an application for CCI. I filled out the application and within a year or two I had an appointment to the CCI campus to be matched with a service dog. The process involves filling out a very detailed application about me, my needs, where I live... after the application there is a telephone interview, a personal interview, a tour of the CCI campus and the final interview. I was extremely nervous about staying on the CCI campus for two weeks, I have really never been away from my house for longer than a weekend. I made list after list and check them several times and finally I was packed and ready to go. I had two of my caregivers picked out to go with me, one the first week and another the second week. Check-in at CCI was 5:00 PM and I didn’t want to be late so of course I was there at about 2 PM so we drove around town to see what was there. The rooms were very nice. There was three beds, a huge closet and our own very accessible bathroom. They supplied all the medical equipment that we needed, hospital bed, hoyer lift, shower chair or bench... The first night that we were there we met the caretaker and he assured us that if we need anything else all we had to do was ask him, he was true to his word and a very sweet man. I wasn’t used to the schedule but I really liked it. We had to be in the training room by 9 AM and there was usually lectures, demonstrations and hands-on experience and we were usually out of there by 4 PM. The volunteers came in and made us an excellent lunch every day at noon, these people are awesome. I started to get to know the other people in the dorm and everybody was so sweet and willing to help and just really an awesome group of people, they all became just like family. Because the trainers already knew the personalities and the capabilities of the dogs we were pre-match with a dog in three days and were responsible for taking the dogs back to the dorm and taking care of them. The dogs were already trained and we were there so that they could train us. Of course every match was perfect and these dogs are impeccably trained. Of course the two weeks flew by and before I knew it it was time to for graduation, it was an awesome experience and I’m sad to know that I was leaving my new family and going back home. We got to meet the family that raised our puppies and they were all such loving people and so proud. One of the team trainers was a war veteran wounded in Iraq. We all got a motorcycle escort from the campus to where we graduated, that was so awesome and I know it made me feel very special. it was so cool the way they were so synchronized stopping traffic and escorting us.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am leaving this morning for CCI...

On Friday Teresa, Heather and I went to see” the men who stare at goats”, it was HILARIOUS. Kind of weird and off-the-wall but absolutely funny.

Yesterday I stayed in bed but the day went by fast because it was the last day to pack everything up, I wonder what we forgot? I always make a bunch of lists and sweat at this time I will never forget anything but I always forget something, it’s not the end of the world if I do because there is a Costco six minutes away from CCI and they always have whatever I forget.

I tried to make myself go to sleep early last night so that I wouldn’t be up all night thinking about everything, even though I closed my eyes and try to shut down my mind it still went crazy. Two weeks is a really long time to be away from my house, I’m just not used to it. I am getting to the point where I can go for a cruise and not feel the urgency to get back home, I wish I knew what that was.

My goal is to leave at 10 AM and I think it takes about three hours to get there. I want to get everything unloaded and then check to see how much room I will have to store groceries in the kitchen and then go to Cosco. Teresa and Heather made some soups, stews and even some chili to freeze and they all look really KILLER. I just want to get some fruit for the mornings, a spinach salad and some bread, Heather made some really awesome chicken salad.

I’m going to bring my cell phone but I’m going to be without my computer and my TiVo, I’m pretty sure that when I get back there will be no more room on TiVo.

I’m still very excited about meeting my new best friend and I’m going to try really hard to let no one, including myself, spoil him or her rotten.

Uncle Dick said that he would come over in the morning and fill up the squirrel feeder for me So I guess I thought of everything.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Countdown, two more days...

I cannot believe that I’m leaving in two days, I have not even started packing but I do have a list so hopefully it will go smoothly. Yesterday while I was getting dressed I saw something really big out my bedroom window which is the dog run. When Teresa pulled back the curtains there was a huge raccoon eating the squirrels apples and peanuts. I talked to my uncle later on that night and he said that the night before there was two raccoons on his back porch eating dog food. Today I am going to get my fingernails/toenails painted and my eyebrows waxed and then Teresa and I are going to take Heather out for her birthday, we missed it last week. Susan came yesterday to give me a massage, that girl is wonderful. She said that she is going to be dropping off her son for camp next week in Santa Rosa and if she can she will come by Canine Companions for Independence and give me a massage, that would be awesome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Packing for my trip to Canine Companions for Independence...

Thursday night was my first night taking a bath with soft water and I can assure feel the difference already. My caregiver said that my skin is softer and my hair is shinier, I knew this was going to be a good thing. My biggest concern was that the water was not going to harm my new service dog or my Mom’s birds and the guy assured me that it would be fine. They now use potassium instead of salt and it won’t harm the animals.
I can’t believe that in two weeks I’m going to Santa Rosa for two weeks and I will be bringing back my news service dog. My caregivers, friends and family are going to really have a hard time leaving him or her alone for a month, nobody can talk to him or her or even look at him or her and I know it’s going to be really hard for everyone.
This is the second year in a row that I accidentally found the cold water classic surfers down by the light house. I went for a cruise down to the wharf and I could hear voices across the ocean and I’d see a bunch of flags so I decided to go check it out. The weather was beautiful, a little warm but the ocean breeze made it perfect. I watch the guys and gals surf for awhile and came back home to my house smelling really amazing, Heather was in the kitchen cooking.
The other day I was sitting here watching the squirrels getting peanuts out of the peanut feeder when I saw a cat jump up and she was sniffing around and all of a sudden a squirrel came running up behind him chattering and scared him away, it was the funniest thing ever.
Today Teresa is going to help me pack for my two week stay in Santa Rosa at Canine Companions for Independence to get my new service dog. I am so excited and a little nervous, this is only the second longest stay that I have had away from my home since my injury and I am furiously making lists and hoping that I don’t forget anything... I’m sure I will.
My mom and my aunt Kathy are going to go visit their brother and sister in Arizona, I know they will have a really nice trip.
My uncle and aunt have a really good friend that can make anything out of wood and he does really amazing work. He is making me a picnic table and benches for my back porch, one that is going to be tall enough so I can actually get my chair underneath it and the legs are back far enough so I can roll under the end of the table, I have NEVER been able to do that so I am so excited to see what it looks like... he's bringing it sometime this week.