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Tag Archives: disability awareness

Being Awesome (as usual)

Hi friends –

I’m sure we’ve shared this somewhere along the way, so forgive me if I repeat myself. I’m a Dane of habit and I like my routine, well…any routine. This goes for just about everything from my meals to my butt scratches and back rubs while I sit on Dad’s lap. Yes, I get lap sits just like the cats. (Formerly “basement monsters”) I AM still a Widdle and I figure I can milk the puppy thing until I’m at least five or six. (You should see what the human puppies get away with!) This routine even extends to rides in the car. Now that Dad and I are starting to figure out our new environment the DPS (Dane Positioning System) is back in effect. For all of you who don’t know what this is; well, it’s where I decide I know where the car is supposed to be going and when I see we’ve taken the wrong road I pop up and get my face as close to the windshield as possible.

The DPS was in effect earlier this week when we passed right by a turn for Lily’s school and went to a brand new building. I insisted that Dad took a wrong turn. I even left a puddle of drool on the center console. Nuthin’? Alright, I guess we’re doing something new… AGAIN! I asked what we were doing here. Dad said that we were at the dentist’s office. I didn’t think I needed to go in so I smiled big and asked if I had something in my teeth. He said I could relax; the visit was for him, not me.

We entered the office and were handed a packet of paperwork. Everyone at the office was really nice and respectful of our space. I think Momma might have tipped them off because she’d been there weeks before to get an ache fixed. Either way, good work. As we were called back we noticed Blue lady (the hygienist in her blue scrubs) looking back at us as we made our way down the hall like we may not make it under our own power, but figured it was just the fact that I make a service vest look amazing! As we entered, I noticed the chair prominently in the center of the space. The first assessment is, which side do I take to get us both around everything safely? I take the left side while Dad is busy deciding where to place my fluffy so that I can relax and be out of the way. He places my fluffy in the far right corner and is ready to ask me for a down-stay. Easy ‘nuff. While we are handling our business we can’t help but to be amused by the Blue Lady. The poor girl was so sweet, as they say in the South, Bless her heart. She was describing where the chair was in the room with relation to Dad. We quickly figured that she thought I was a sight dog and Dad has vision impairment. (Too funny to call her on and no need to embarrass our new friend, especially since she would soon have sharp things in Dad’s mouth. Pick your battles people, that’s all I’m sayin’.)

We both get settled down after a few minutes. I don’t drift off though; we are not on my couch with a stuffie. I had my eye on her. She opened up the box on the wall to pull out a robot arm (X-RAY machine). Then she put a big blanket on Dad’s lap and stuffed things in his mouth. I couldn’t help but think that Mom might like some of those to shut him up sometimes. Blue Lady then points it right at his face and repeats several times moving the mouth thing each time and talking to Dad. It seemed like some interrogation tactic to me, but Dad must have done OK because she put the robot away. Blue Lady calls in Blue Man and they both look at his mouth and Blue Man leaves. I got nervous again. She apparently didn’t know what to do. (I asked later, dad said that Blue Man was the dentist, and he said that once the deep cleaning was done Dad was in great shape otherwise. What a relief, not even a cavity.)  Blue Lady carried on, first with a needle to numb his gums and then with the tiny pressure washer, man was that annoying, it was a very high pitch. (Editor’s Note: This was a scaling so it was much more in depth than a regular cleaning.) I did get worried about him a few times, so I got up to check on him. When he could he would verbally assure me and request I return to my fluffy, which, of course, I did. There were a couple times though that he was “orally occupied” and overly reclined when I felt the need to get a closer look. When this happened dad put either his right or left hand out, depending on the side I chose for approach. Dad allowed me to gently touch his hand with my nose, so that I could make contact and really be sure he was alright. Then he would snap, point to my fluffy and then point his finger to the floor with purpose. Being a smart boy, I knew that meant for me to resume my down-stay.* (See, Miss Maria I always listen to him in public – when Mom isn’t there…) Finally we were done with the area she set out to clean. Blue Lady then asked if we wanted to continue or pick up later. Considering all the extra steps of a first visit, Dad asked if we could just go home. She agreed. I think she wanted to go home too since it was late afternoon.

We allowed those that asked early in our visit a chance to pet me in the waiting room so that I wouldn’t get confused between work and greeting time. On the drive home Dad apologized for the noise and said he didn’t know what to expect, but we’d bring my Mutt Muffs for future visits.

*Editor’s Note: This is long one so I am adding it way down here. We all know that Casper is amazing but sometimes he even amazes us. When Casper first came home with us we had an issue with down-stay at home. In public he was great, but while we ate dinner at home he wanted to get up and sniff what we had. We started emphatically pointing to the ground when we told him down and that worked. When he was being really stubborn we just added a point and Voila! Eventually we found that in public it worked to just point when we either couldn’t speak, like in this case, or are in an area where we shouldn’t speak, like church or a play. It works! Of course we still use a vocal command often because there are times when our hands are occupied. He has both down pat. 
I was worried about how he would handle Dan’s cleaning and thought he might end up having to come back home and stay with me next time. Nope. He was a pro as you can see. I was super impressed and I wasn’t even there to see it. 

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SDP, Again! (Finally)

Hi Friends –

I have to take a few minutes and tell you all about yesterday. Mom & Dad got up and Dad asked what Mom wanted to do for the day. Mom said we could stay home since Dad’s back has been a bit stiff and she doesn’t like the way he’d been moving. Dad grinned and said: I’m fine. (Mom says Dad is the King of Fine.) Mom asked about the weather forecast; Dad said, mostly clear but only in the low 30’s. It only took a couple of minutes to decide that we were going to see our SDP family. I don’t know how long it has been since our last trip up. I do know that the last time we were there my friend Tony was probably weeks old and behind the puppy gates, now he is doing overnights as part of his social training. (…and it feels like forever.) I can tell you this for sure, nothing lights a fire under the human puppies like yelling, “Hey kids, come up and get dressed, we’re going to see the dogs!” Before we hit the highway we did stop and try to get the girls some foul weather boots because Dad says they are growing like a Dane and they seem to outgrow things weekly, especially the eldest. (She can fit in some of Momma’s shoes now!) We didn’t have any luck so we asked that they not aim for the puddles. I don’t know why. I think that is the best part! (huuhmf… humans).

We hit the road with the required stop at Dunkin’ for coffee. (Have I mentioned Dad runs on Dunkin’?) With the typical traffic caused by the questionable merging skills of most drivers, Dad getting frustrated, Mom pointing it out, and then calming him with a look (she has that effect on him, it’s kinda funny), we were off. The trip up was rather uneventful except for the fact that Dad unknowingly missed his exit and landing us in Boston for a trip past Fenway Park, through a couple of tunnels and over an amazing cable stayed bridge (the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge). Mom turned on the GPS to get us the fastest route and Dad took his mistake in stride and when questioned by the human puppies he told them that doing the same thing all the time was boring. (I was proud; what in the past would have turned him to ranting, he had fun with and enjoyed the detour.) Mom also mentioned that we should come back later in the spring and check out the Freedom Trail. Dad and I thought that this sounds like fun! Long walks outside and history, what’s not to like for a pack like mine?  Ghahh, geeks, whaddya gonna do?

We finally made it Ipswich and Dad rolled down my window so could throw my head out and sniff the way. Once we got to the farm I could hardly contain myself. I always feel like a puppy when I’m surrounded by my extended pack and can run free. It really was a chilly day so we found the humans all in the main house. Dad knew that there could be all sorts inside so we entered cautiously by asking if we could all come in. (There is always a possibility of conflict so Dad and I would have gladly stayed outside and played.) As it turned out, when Mom asked “Can Casper come in?” everyone was so happy to see me that I got so many pets and kind comments that I felt like a star.Carlene lit up and even gave me a hug! That was great! I’m sure my tail wagged for an hour straight. Dad went over and talked to Miss Carlene, and when she complimented both of us I could tell he was proud. Dad thinks very highly of her and her approval is important to him. (He told Mom on the way home that those two minutes made the entire drive worth it for him.) I knew he was doing just fine so I went on to play with my young brothers and sisters.  I didn’t know this, but we also got to celebrate Miss Maria’s Birthday! Of course, I gave my piece of cake to Dad; it was a fudge chocolate layer cake so I couldn’t have any but he did give me a sniff. (He’s cool like that.) Happy Birthday, Miss Maria!

When we felt like we had enough of the house we headed outside and down to the barn. I had to say hello to Clementine and meet Tangerine, the resident donkeys. Mom and Dad fed them apples and gave out pets. I was preoccupied with the training that was going on in the arena, so I was locked out until Dad could pay attention to me. We watched for a break in the session and I asked Dad if we could join. I felt like a couple of examples may help them. Dad said we could, but I needed to be on lead. I was happy to, so we leashed up and kept our distance by trying some of the agility setups. That was easy kibble. Soon after we approached the training group and I showed them some smooth moves like how not to pull on lead and how to stay attached to my handler on a slow walk. I also showed them how to stay still during moments when it is easier to be distracted and play. Dad made a joke and said I was so good I should be a service dog.

Not too long after this I went with Mom back up to the house to say our farewells while Dad visited the wash room and moved the truck up to the top of the hill. I was off lead and really listened well to Mom. If I saw someone I wanted to see she said to stay and I did! (Sometimes I don’t listen to her as well as I do to Dad.) As we came around the house I saw our truck and wanted to run down to see Dad, but he was still parking and someone else was in the driveway so I stayed with Mom until she told me to go get ‘em. I happily ran down the hill straight to him, gave him a once over to sure he was in good shape and we loaded up for the trip home. We did stop for some dinner at a local restaurant. As our server came to the table she told us how happy she was to be serving my family; she thought I was handsome.  Dad quickly shared our card and we told her how she could volunteer at SDP. She seemed real excited about the whole subject so I hope she does gift some of her time to the pups. I know the future recipients will appreciate it just the same as we do. After the family ate Dad fed me in the truck, holding my bowls of course. We hit the road soon after and everyone napped on the way home. (Except for Dad, I hope, since he drove) It was such a good day that the human puppies took their baths and asked to go to bed early! I don’t think there is a pack leader in the universe that would deny that request.