Tag Archive | personal testimony

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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Getting You Up To Speed On How Riley Is Progressing

 

When Riley came home I thought I would post her journey as a daily post but I came down with 7 kidney stones that caused me to have a lot of Surgeries so I just couldn’t keep up. It is my intent to bring you up to speed as to where we are today.

The first step in Riley’s training was socialization. We spent a lot of time taking her out and getting used to the environments she would train in. We also had everyone she met to pet her so she would not be timid and really used to people.

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This is our local grocery store we approached the owners and ask if they would give us permission to train in the store and they were only to happy to comply. When bringing a young pup into public areas we always asked before bringing Riley in. If they said no we would just leave but our local retailers were really supporitive and we were never refused.

When we first took her out we just concentrated on getting her to say hi in a calm way. We kept our visits short and we practiced letting Riley curl up under tables so it would feel natural when she had to do it for real. 12011375_141892122823206_5663323220804007774_n

Riley did not like shiny floors in the beginning so we would take her to this lounge area and just let her sit , and move around a bit till she got used to it before we asked her to walk down the aisle.You can see in the next few photo’s she eventually got use to the floors. The trick is not to force a pup to do something we would just take it slow and let Riley get used to each new situation before trying to give her any commands. That being said we did start Rileys training at home where she was more comfortable to be more structured. They first commands we taught her was sit, down, stay and come. Again her training sessions at home were short but we would practice several times throughout the day. And we always ended a training session on a positive note. So if there was something she had not quite mastered we would always end the session with something she found easy to do.

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While I was teaching Riley basic obedience I googled the service dog laws in my area. The laws vary from the States to Canada so you need to know the rules that pertain to your area. I was able to hook up with a really great group of service dog handlers and a lot of them were owner trained service dogs and they gave me great advice and have been my cheering section when I feel a bit low. Most of them post great service dog videos on utube that show you how to train your dog. The group I belong to on Facebook is Service dog handlers safe haven. The people on this site are so nice and helpful. In Canada Trillium Service dogs site help owner trained service dogs find training and they are putting together public access tests for owner trained service dogs in training to be tested.There is no official organization that registers Service dogs in Canada or the United States. The first step is a service dog has to be prescribed by your doctor. After that if you have enough money you can apply for service dogs that are already trained if you meet there financial criteria. The other option is to train the dog yourself than take the Service dog Public Access Test.

Most of the general public does not understand the difference between emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs

Emotional support dogs and therapy dog help people by letting the person pet,play or cuddle with them and they can give the handler or person working with them emotional support as well as physical affection. Emotional Support dogs and Therapy dogs do not have complete public access.

Service dogs are trained to do specific tasks that helps their handler have a better quality of life and  to be more  independent . Service dogs are trained to concentrate on their handler and to ignore the general public. Service dogs should not be touched as it distracts the dog from his/her job. A fully trained Service Dog does have public access.

When you are socializing your service dog in training make sure you get them around things with wheels like bikes, carts, skate boards, roller skates, wheel chairs etc so they won’t be nervous of them in public areas.

Enrolling your dog in obedience class really helps your pup get used to other dogs and enrolling your dog to compete for his Canine Good  Citizen test will help to let you know if dog is well-mannered enough to be in public.

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This is my friend Nikki who helps me get my dogs used to wheel chairs

In this picture I have to remind Nik not to touch the dog you will find that your even your friends and familly who know better will forget and reach out for the dog. You just have to gently remind them that even though we were having fun the dog is still working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Greatest Need

Philippians Chp 4 vs 6-7″ Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews  Chp 4 vs  16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”

One of the reasons I created this blog was to create an outlet to talk about my health and how Christ impacts my walk with chronic disease. When you continually have health problems most people will be supportive at first but as time goes by and you don’t get better they start looking for reasons why you are not getting better. Some christians feel that I must have some sin in my life that I am not addressing, some think its because the farm work is just to hard therefore tiring me out so I never get better,some think that its my diet , Some say that I don’t have enough faith to be healed etc. Whatever the reason people start to pull away and even thought they ask how you are they really don’t want to know.

Right now in some church’s is what I call the name it and claim it philosophy of health that dictates if you believe Christ can heal you, a person asks Jesus for healing and then they give thanks for it but from that point forward the person can never talk about the illness again because that would indicate a lack of faith. And if you don’t have the faith to  believe you can’t be healed. So if anyone asks how they are doing they are forced to put on a smile and say something “like it’s all good, everything is fine etc”. I don’t know how this philosophy got started put instead of healing a person and setting them free it oppress and imprisons a person forcing them to carry the weight of their illness and all the feelings associated with it (fear, insecurity, despair, pain loneliness, failure)alone. I don’t know how this philosophy got started but it is not biblical, our Lord Jesus Christ never intended us to carry our burdens alone. He invites us to pour out our heart and to share our  pain, anguish,fear,anger our worries and insecurities with him through prayer and he will give us peace, not as the world understand the word peace but a peace that surpasses all understanding. The Lord tell us this in the two bible versus listed above.

I have not blogged for a while because I have been in the hospital with breathing problems, I was home for a few weeks than I woke up one morning in dire pain and spent the next week passing three kidney stones, after that my fibromyalgia has kicked up and I was in pain. Currently the pain from the fibro is making it hard to walk and I have an infection that is in my left leg that so far is not responding to antibiotics. If it does not improve in a day or two I will have to go to the hospital and begin IV treatment on it. I used to pour out how I feel to fellow church members because it made me feel less alone. Over the years the Lord has taught me the best place to pour my heart out is to him because he loves me unconditionally and he will always give me the support and  comfort I need. He never disapoints me.

Sometimes the Lord will allow you to go through trials in life some are health related, some are financial related etc, in order to teach you to rely  on him. I can honestly say the last seven years have been the loneliest years of my life. People I thought were true friends deserted me, relations with family members have been strained at best, and some of my church friends who I thought would be the most supportive have been the most judgemental. But having gone through all of this the Lord has taught me to lean on Him every day. On the days that I was able to read his word he always directed me to some passage that would help guide me and bring me comfort and I would find peace for that moment. On the days that I did not seek his face and did not read his word were like being on an emotional rollercoaster that was terrifying and held very little peace. Little by little moment by moment the Lord was teaching me that He was my greatest need.

I used to spend a lot of time worrying about the future. If my health was this challenging at 49 how would I cope  when I was 59. The Lord never intended us to worry about the future because if we believed in Him He tells us in Jeremiah 29 vs 11 For I know the plans  I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And this is the truth I cling to.

My Greatest Need

Your always there to hear me You know my frame of mind

Your always there to guide me, You always have the time

No matter what I am going through, You have the words that help

Always You are with me, no matter what I felt

Not once did you desert me, even though I sometimes feel alone

Your always working behind the scenes, when I am lost You guide me home

When times are at there darkest You shine a ray of hope

That keeps my head above the waters and somehow I just float

Through the raging rapids that want to sink my soul

You lift me from the waters and call me back into the foul

Cradled  into your loving embrace I will always seek Your face

For I’ve seen how You  love me when You extend me Your mercy and Your grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Qoute

I was fortunate to be able to be married in a little stone church called St George ‘s Anglican Church, Sibbald Point Ontario. It was in that court-yard on a cold winter’s night that I had my first encounter with God and several years after that I would return and be married to the love of my life there.

It is a beautiful stone church built-in the Gothic Style back in 1876 and I visit it at least once a year to thank God for reaching out to me and forever changing me. We now live on a ten-acre farm about 29 min from the church and we have rescued our fair share of animals as well as opening  up our home to a number of young adults that were between homes. We never knew a head of time who would show up but our door was always open.

One day well exploring the church I read an inscription written in the front vestibule window which was given in memory of Mazo de la Roche a Canadian Writer. The window done in stain glass depicts St Francis of Assisi representing the theme of our responsibility to protect and preserve God’s Creatures . Written underneath at the bottom of the window lies my favorite saying “He prayeth best who loveth best all things (creatures) great and small.”

Through Day and Night

I have  been out of the hospital for about a week after my lungs became inflamed with a respiratory flu. I thought I was doing pretty good but suddenly I am having a really bad day. I am having non stop hot flashes and sweats from the steroids which is unpleasant but after feeling really shaky and sick I checked my blood levels because steroids can cause you to become diabetic. I was shocked to see my blood sugar levels at 17 so I have started back on diabetes medication to see if I can bring it down. My doctor has broken her leg in whistler so I am trying to quarter back this untill she is able to fly back to Keswick and resume her practice. In times when I feel so sick I am also so grateful to have my Lord and Savior to talk to and share the load with. Just to have the privilege to pray is a joy and blessing. No matter how dark it gets Jesus will always be the light that the darkness can never put out.

John 1:5

The light shines on through the darkness

and the darkness has never put it out.

Through Day and Night

Whether it is day or night You are always there for me

Through rain or shine or stormy sea’s it’s you love that sets me free

Even if my body is in bondage and nothing is working right

You gentle hand soothes my soul and takes away my fright

Because you’re not the status quo and your power can’t be measured

By any type of man-made tool I am awed at  your mercy love and splendor

I amazed at how you love me and you seek to light my path

To drive away the darkness while holding back your wrath

Because once again I have strayed from you as soon as you bid me follow

But in a great display of forgiveness you never let me wallow

In all my despair and self-pity for all the things that I do wrong

Instead you help to stand me up and teach me to sing a new song

One that tells of your wonderous mercy  that always usher’s in the light

While putting out the darkness and transforming me with your love and might

I am very happy to report that in the time it took to write this and talk to the Lord my sweats have finally stopped for the first time today. I am always amazed how praising Jesus always makes me feel better.

Disease

Once again I have caught another respiratory flu that has inflamed my lungs. This is the second  winter in a row that a flu virus has taken hold of me despite taking the recommended precautions and flu shots. This time was a little more scary as it took almost two weeks of hospital visits to get me  and my lungs on the road to recovery.  But despite the intense fear that comes with not being able to breathe I also have the support of a great and awesome God that knew how to step in and comfort me and encourage me when I am in a very dark place. He is my faithful Shepherd that always shines His light and leads me home. I thank God that I am one of his sheep and I do hear His voice that comes calling for me.

 

 

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the nations

I will be exalted in the earth

 

Exodus 15:13

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you

have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your

holy dwelling

 

Disease

In the midst of this chaos I lose sight of You and I am afraid

That the constant pressure to conform to this world, will win the day

That I will have to give up my dreams because of poor health

Disease has come calling, with great cunning and great stealth

My fight is desperate and it takes my breath away, I feel faint

Engulfing heat rushes over me, swallowing up your soul weary saint

I hear my ragged breathing search for a taste of cool clean air

Panic wells up, as the pain punches through, it’s getting harder to bare

And for a minute I forget, I am still struggling for air

Than a whisper is heard, be still and know I am God, I am here

This too will pass  my child ,you have nothing here to fear

Focus on me so I can take away this burden

My love is constant in this you can be certain

Trust my love through the pain and my healing you’ll gain

Know I’ll never leave you and you don’t fight alone

I go before you, I’ll lead you home

No dreams have to be surrendered if your living life through me

For with God nothing is impossible, even chronic disease