Tag Archive | Hope

Morning Devotion

I have had the biopsy procedure done last Friday and it will be three weeks untill I get the results. Pressure that comes with my job has taken a lot of my energy away as I worry about the future. Something we are not supposed to do because our heavenly father always looks out for us and knows what we need. Still sometimes I can’t help myself and I pray he will forgive me for my lack of trust.  I will continue with my training of Riley, she has gotten so big and I will post more pictures soon.

 

Morning Prayer

Lord you know my challenges that comes with every passing day

So as I  lift my hands to worship You, give me the courage to obey

Help me to remember Your promises and open my heart to You

Let others see You, through me today ,in everything I do

 

Take away the pain and bitterness that life sometimes brings

Help me to thank You always and help my heart to sing

As my voice shouts out Your praises, fill my soul with Your love

And help me avoid the pitfalls while You guide me from above

 

If I had just one thing to leave behind when You come to take me home

I want to leave the love of Christ, that lives on in every place I roamed

Because you sent me as Your messenger so all the world could see

Your love for all the people no matter where they are or where they flee

 

They will always be Your children whether near or far

Even if they are good or bad or they don’t know who they are

And as a loving Father he does not require that we fix

The brokeness inside us from the wounds that life inflicts

 

Instead He offers mercy and a second chance to live your life renewed

As he wipes away every tear and fills your heart with love so true

With tenderness and longing He calls us all to come and be his sheep

As the great Shepherd He invites us to discover his love is all we seek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setback

I have not written for a while because I have found going back to work quite challenging while trying to balance training a service dog and cope with reoccurring illness. I had been back to work about a  month  and pain-killer free when I started having trouble with pain in my teeth. Because I have had reoccuring nerve pain throughout my whole body I just ignored it and tried to concentrate on catching up with all the system changes that have been made since I took a leave of absence from my job.

I have begun to bleed again and have been bleeding in small amounts everyday for the last three weeks. This is such a blow after having that big operation in my kidneys in Feb. tomorrow morning I have a pelvic ultrasound to rule out nasty things like cancer. Now it could also mean I have more kidney stones and either one is not appealing to me.

I really wanted to stick my head in the sand and ignore it but it was that commercial that’s on tv for cervical and bladder cancer that says have the lady balls to go do something about it. So Riley and I went to the doctors and got the x-ray booked. If it is negative than I will need another ultrasound to look for more stones. I have already passed 6 or 7 I have lossed count over the last year and a half. lol.

But for now i am trying to be optimistic and concentrate on Riley’s training and work.

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Onward Christian Soldier -With Service Dogs It’s Not All Easy Sailing

So far I have covered the fun parts of Service Dog ownership but it isn’t always easy-going. All through Riley’s training I have been enduring kidney stones that had torn up my tubes so scar tissue has started to block tubes in my kidney which cause the kidney to swell and become blocked. In February of this year I underwent surgery to correct this. They had to cut my tubes our and create new tubes by stretching up pieces of my bladder and re attach them to my kidney and bladder. I came home and was unable to work with Riley for a time.

While I was healing Riley had to be crated when I wandered down from my room for some exercise and my husband Jim was in charge of taking her for walks and caring for her until I had healed enough to start training again. ..

Now I can’t stress this enough if you have a service dog you should teach it crate training.

The reason I stress this is because if something happens and you are too sick to look after your dog or you have an operation you have already taught the dog that if it is not with you the crate is a safe spot so your dog can relax quietly while your on the mend. Service dogs that have not been crate trained can be destructive when their owners disappear to get medical procedures done because of the stress of being without its owner. This can happen even if you have someone else living and looking after the dog while you are sick.

The other reason crate training is important because we teach our dogs to open doors and open cupboards and the fridge in an effort to help us. While you are training and the pup/dog is learning these traits they don’t always know what the training is for. All the dog knows is this is a great game to play and the dog still wants to play it long after you want to stop. So take Riley for instance  her favorite game is fetch if she is on the lead she will happily pick up what ever you want and she will bring it back as long as she is on the leash. When she is loose and picks something up she will bring it to me and dash away in attempt to play her most favorite game fetch up and then chase. Untill Riley really understands the command fetch up means to give it to me and the game is over she will spend the whole day stealing things and getting into way more mischief than an ordinary dog trying  to get me to chase her.  In order to avoid this when I can’t be around to watch what she is doing I crate her so I know that she is not going to take something that might hurt her if I was not around to stop her.

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Riley managed to pull in the blanket Indy laid on. When Jim crated her before he went to work he did not think she could reach the blanket and pull it in with her. I was upstairs sleeping on pain killers and did not hear a thing. she also ripped up the plastic tray that she pushed out side of the crate. This was done out of boredom. She was used to going out with me everyday before the surgery as well as regular training exercises. After this Jim made sure he took her out for an hour of play before he left to tire her out. Imagine what my house would have looked like if she was not crated. Riley had also learned to open the door by pulling on a strap and she soon learned to let herself outside the door and into the cold porch to eat the cats food. As soon as we seen this her training on opening the door was phased out for a while.

Now if I was just training the family dog you would scold or discipline them in a way they understood that they should not pick up things up or not to open that door but this is where service dog training gets hard. I want Riley to pick up things up and in order for her to be effective in training she not only has to understand the game she has to love to want to play that game so if I started scolding her I could turn her off the game and she might refuse to pick up things. I could give her a harsh command and that would stop from going out the door but it would also stop her wanting to open the door when I commanded her to. So I use the crate as a control untill Riley really understands all the commands and teach what her boundaries are.

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Riley also has a gift for looking really guilty and sorrowful at the same time but I can assure you this all goes away the second I open the door and let her out.

Another part of training a service dog is always being in the public eye. somedays when Riley is being good and doing what she is told it feels great to have a service dogs. On days when you don’t feel so good and your service dog is not listening it can be very stressful.

When in a very crowed mall where children are running wild and left unattended and the aisles are full of people not watching were they are walking it sometimes feels like your navigating your dog through a mine field. You have to constantly watch your dog to make sure they are healing and unstressed, you somehow have to keep looking ahead to see what is coming and be aware of the cart you have behind you in case they are not watching where they are going .Sometimes it can be a great day and others you just can’t wait to be out of the store as fast as possible.

I know people for the most part are fascinating with Service dogs and they don’t mean to cause you trouble when they croon her puppy puppy. Or when they barge up and start petting your dog even though you have please don’t pet all over her harness. I am always polite and I always make the effort to explain that just talking to a medic alert dog could distract him from his owner long enough to miss a signal that a epileptic seizure is going to occur and that person could be hurt. I don’t believe the majority of the people do it on purpose they just don’t realize the outcome of their actions can prove detrimental to a person with seizures.

The kind of people who drive me the most crazy are the ones that watch you and they have just seen you put the dog on a down stay and they wander over and stand right in front of the dog and try to make the dog break his stay. Suddenly their hands will become cold and they will feel the need to clap them . Or they  suddenly discover while standing in front of your dog that there leg has gone to sleep and they feel the need to stamp their foot alot lol.

But I think the actual worse person to run into is the kind of person who thinks they know it all and has a service dog of their own and they just decide that it becomes their job to police your service dog and you must prove to them that you are legit and not fake. They are usually very loud and overbearing people who will demand to see your id and scream the halls down because they just love a scene. After that they will follow you all over the store trying to make your dog break by letting their dog run up the back of you or dropping items to scare the dog.  Please know this is harassment it is not your job to convince the public that you have a legitimate service dog. If you have shown the management your paperwork than you do not have to produce it to anyone else that asks. If the person starts following you around the store I would go to management and ask management to ask them to leave because they are harassing you in a public place. These people actually post on the service board that they did these things and they feel proud of harassing an individual. I actually love it when they post it on-line and are kind enough to mention the store and where it is so people can avoid them in the future.

If you suffer from anxiety training a service dog can be a daunting task but not impossible, because you are dealing with the general public who forget to be kind sometimes. If you start to feel anxious stop with your dog and do deep pressure therapy if that doesn’t help I would just call it a day and go home and give it a try some other time. If your anxiety does often overwhelm you in pubic than a dog that is already trained as a service dog might be the way to go.017

Riley riding in the back of the truck on our way to Walmart.

You will find there are days when you think you just dont have enough energy to deal with shopping and taking the dog but I always push myself  past these days. Alot of times it is just anxiety talking and I go on to have a much better day because she was there001.JPG

Being a Christian on the day that I go out it doesn’t hurt to say a prayer before we go its a way of inviting the Lord into your day. Actually I had involved the Lord to help me pick Riley out of the litter. I figured there was no one more qualified than the Lord to help me pick a pup since he made her mother and all creation was his in the beginning. And even with all the up and downs in our journey I still think she is the best dog for me.

 

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My Service Dog Riley

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I have now had the reconstructive work done to my kidneys and I have been back to work for a Month. The surgery seems to be a success and now I can concentrate on moving forward to a new life with my Service dog in Training.

I choose to train my own service dog as it is next to impossible to get funded for one if you are working and they are very expensive. Depending on the work you want them to do a service dog costs anywhere between 30,000.00 and 60,000.00. Since I could not afford this I decided to train one my self with the help of others in the Service Dog community.

Despite being involved in obedience training for the last 30 years training a service dog  has been quite challenging and very different from obedience training and the first step in this journey began when my doctor prescribed a service dog for me. After battling chronic pain from fibromyalgia, Chron’s disease,kidney stones, dizziness and asthma that is crippling in cold and humid temperatures my doctor thought a dog that was trained in mobility  would help my walking and balance, deep pressure therapy done with the dog  would help me from becoming too anxious when these symptoms occurred and we are hoping she would medically alert me when the dizziness was severe so I would not fall.

After her prescription for a service dog  was given to me the next task was to decide on a breed to train. We have always had German Shepherds and they do wonderfully as Service dogs but I had just lost our German Shepherd Bruiser to liver cancer he was one of three that we had that died young from cancer and I just could not go through that again. So I begun to research breeds of dogs that might make a good service dog. The first thing I considered when choosing a breed was the size of dog I would need. During the last three years I was on a drug called Lyrica and the drug prednisone whose main side effects were weight gain. and swelling . As time went on my weight soared to a whopping 258lbs and no amount of dieting helped the situation. Since the dog would be used to help me up if I fell I knew a small dog would not work so I was looking for a large breed dog with some weight behind him or her. The next trait that I considered was the type of temperament I would need in the dog that was going to go  everywhere with me. Since the dog I was going to work with was going to be large I wanted a dog that was known for being calm, easy to train  and friendly to both adults and kids alike and I wanted a breed that would not be scary looking to the general public. After much consideration I decided on a Saint Bernard

Now a Saint Bernard  might not be the first dog to come to your mind as a Service dog but they are a friendly breed known to be intelligent , very friendly, calm steadfast loyal dogs that are easily trained. When researching the breed I was amazed to find out that the Monks that used the dogs to save people trapped in avalanches and bad storms did not train the breed to do this. The dogs did these things all on their own. They Monks would let the dogs out to roam in packs and if only half the dogs came back they would know that the missing dogs would be with travelers who were caught in the pass and they would send out search parties to rescue them.This breed also had an uncanny knack of finding people buried under large amounts of snow after avalanches had fallen. Again the dogs did this all on their own.Since I wanted a dog to alert me to an onset of dizziness when I walked I thought their uncanny knack of sensing unpredictable weather phenomena might help with medical alert training since an intuitive nature already seemed programmed in their DNA.

After making a decision about the breed I found a good breeder that I trusted and was introduced to the future mother and father of my service dog in training.Both Sam and Mocka were big solid dogs with calm temperaments and beautiful markings. It was love at first sight and I couldn’t wait to take a pup home.

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On July 14th Riley was born and I was overjoyed to see the first pictures of the litter shortly after .

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At six weeks of age we went to pick out our puppy. Upon arrival I knew that looks had nothing to do with the puppy I picked it was all about how the puppy scored on temperament tests. It turns out we picked the perfect day to go because the breeder had just moved the pups away from their mother to a puppy pen that was located at his daughter’s house next store. That meant that I would be testing the puppies in an enviroment they were not used to. This was perfect for me because It would be a great opportunity to see how the puppies would act in a place they were not familiar with. That is one of the tests that helps you see what a puppies temperment is like under some stress. All of the puppies tested really good but the one thing that made Riley stand out from the others is that when I showed her the tennis ball I had brought with me she got excited and when I threw it for her she was the only one who brought it straight back to me. This test shows a pups willingness to want to work with me. So I picked her and that little bundle of fur was my hope for a more independent life and I could not wait to bring her home. Most breeders insist on waiting till the pups are eight weeks old so it would be another two weeks to wait for her arrival but it was worth it and after what seemed a lifetime we were able to go and pick her up.

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Riley at eight weeks old

(Next Blog Riley starts training)

 

 

My Father’s Eyes

My world was a strange one when I was just a lass

Full of pain and struggle and I wasn’t sure I ‘d last

But the Lord gave me a father different from the rest

He found the joy in everything making trying times events

No hospital room could contain us, the walls would fade away

Into dark mysterious jungles where we would hunt tigers through the day

With no limit to imagination, there was no place we could not go

With every story written pain was conquered and disease   laid low

At the time I didn’t know it when I looked into my father’s eyes

But he was teaching me how to dream showing me how to fly

By trusting in my father and following his lead

He was preparing me to meet my Savior he was planting an important seed

He must have known there would be trials that would take me far from him

Tough times that would make me search and leave me hanging on a limb

So far out on the cliff I would call out for my Lord

Knowing daddy couldn’t help me but through my heavenly Father I would be restored

And with all the stories written and adventures that would ease the pain

He taught me how to use my mind and words for my Lord’s good gain

Using my imagination that was cultivated with his love

I try to use all my words to point to my Savior up above

Hoping that one day my words will point the way for someone who is lost

toward perfect love and mercy that was gifted on a cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who could thank the Lord

As I mentioned in the last blog I am now off Lyrica and the Lord was with me and made this change easier for me to do because I know that he is always there and I can call upon his strength. In stead of letting panic set when at times I felt weird. I was able to talk with him in prayer and work through it. Having such a powerful Allie is such a privilege. I am nervous about going back to work but as a good friend told me this morning don’t worry the Lord goes with you and I say a big Amen to that. Right now I am putting my mind back into fighting these diseases instead of giving up. The Lord has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power love and a sound mind. This means he has already given me the tools to complete any job he brings my way. My only job is not to get distracted and focus on Him and His word and believe it.

 

 

Who could thank the Lord

Who could thank the Lord above for everything He does

The words you’d need just would not come, there would not be enough applause

To adequately thank him for all his love and care

For keeping me out of harms way in a world that is not fair

And despite my feeble attempt to follow Him, I often do get lost

Somehow I forget that I’m the sheep and the Great Shepherd is the boss

But always he calls back to me, so often ,I now know his voice

Tenderly he crones to me and makes my heart rejoice

And His hands they stand me up again ready to deploy

On any errand he would have me do, I want so much to please

Trying to trust Him honestly when I can’t see the forest from the tree’s

But still he is always faithful, no matter what my state of mind

And in this world he always hold me untill the end of time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The calm before the storm

Since I started steroids a week ago for my breathing the inflammation in my legs cleared up and I could finally move around like I used to but today brought another frank realization this would be a small calm in the midst of a bigger battle to get healthy.

Today was the first day I would start weaning off steroids which always makes me feel physically sick but the steroids also make me diabetic which caused my blood sugars to soar to 19 which made me feel worse.

I am on day three of trying to come off lyrica on to another nerve pain medicine and tonight I have to drop down another level lets hope I have a pain-free night

Oh Lord I am so happy your here with me always throughout my life

To share in all that this life brings the joy the peace the strife

Your loving hand that holds me is the only reason I still try

Knowing that your unwavering love will always get me by.