Monday, February 28, 2011

Massage Monday: Fifteen Fun Facts About The Human Body

Since massage is all about the betterment of a person's physical health, and in turn the human well-being, I thought today would be a good day to focus on a few fun facts about these lovely things we call bodies. Some of these facts surprised me when I first learned them. I hope you enjoy. :)

1. There are 206 bones in one human body.
2. The number of muscle cells you are born with are the number of muscle cells you die with. No other cell-nervous, bone-are like this. Basically, when you work out you are "growing" your muscle's size. You are not increasing the number of muscle cells.
3. Thumbs are counted as the first digit, but they are not counted as fingers.
4. Walking barefoot in the sand is one of the best core workouts you will get. Not to mention, it is one of the best way to strengthen your leg and feet muscles. Doing this on a regular basis could decrease your chance of needing corrective foot wear.
5. The femur bone-AKA your thigh bone-is the longest bone in the human body.
6. There is a muscle that runs from the under side of your tongue to the back of your neck/top of shoulders, which often causes headaches.
7. Trigger points in muscles-AKA knots-can sometimes cause pain that can be confused with organ pain. (You don't need the appendix removed. You need a massage. LOL).
8. There is a sheet of tissue that is connected from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. If this tissue is restricted at your feet it can cause low back pain or even headaches.
9. Hydrated and dehydrated tissue feels very different to trained professionals-even some untrained people can feel the difference. So, if your therapist asks you if you are drinking enough water, answer truthfully because they probably already know the answer. :)
10. If you are a migraine sufferer, heat on your feet is your new best friend. If you feel a migraine coming on, or even a bad headache, putting your feet in a warm bowl of water or placing a heating pad on your feet This may decrease your pain. The heat makes the blood vessels in your feet expand and draws the blood down towards your feet; thus, relieving some of the pressure in your head.
11. There is only one bone in your body that does not have muscles attached to it. It is a part of your ankle joint.
12. Walking is the best preventative measure for Ostioporosis. (Sorry, about the spelling). When you walk muscles put stress-good stress-on your bones by pulling on them. This stress causes your bones to produce more cells in order to be stronger for the muscle attachments. Walking is one of the only exercises that uses all muscle groups.
13. If you are someone with joint problems and you want to workout, swimming is probably one of the best forms of exercise for you-this goes for older and/or dogs with joint problems. Swimming does not cause pounding on the joints and the water cushions them.
14. The lobe responsible for processing your sight sense, is the furthest lobe of the brain away from the eyes: it is at the back of your head. Images have to travel a complicated and long path in order for your brain to sort them out and tell you what you are seeing.
15. If you get little muscle twitches-in your eyes, legs, arms, pretty much anyway-eating bananas and drinking a lot of milk, or taking a calcium supplement, should help with this. Your body uses a lot of calcium and potassium for its every day activities and its supply can become quickly depleted. These little muscle twitches can be indicative of calcium and potassium levels being too low.

As you can see, I am full of some useful and some not so useful Body Facts. Have a great Monday, everyone. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Moving Day 1.0

It is Balloo again. Mama says I can type on the 'puter thingy this morning, but I have to be speedeeeee because we are moving today. And we're moving tomorrow too. It takes two days to do this moving thing? Maybe I should help more so it only takes one day.
I was helping Mama last night. I got in the paper smelling crate thingy and super vised. Super vising is a very impawtant job right? I climbed on to a higher paper smelling crate thingy this morning to make sure she was making the coffee right. Mama is stressed and she needs to be super vised. I am super, so I am thinking that I should be the one to super vise.
I know Mama is stressed because she dumped the coffee stuffs on the floor last night and she used words with a lot of F's in them. Mama never uses that word...not that many times. I am thinking that she needs a vacation. Aria showed me a "spa" on the inter knot...wait no, the inter met...hmmmm, inter neck. Um, the inter thingy and I think Mama should go there, but not for too long because I will miss her too much.
Okay, I am thinking it is time for me to go for now. Mama wants to pack up the 'puter thingy. So I am thinking no more typing for me for a while.
Thank you to everyone who liked my typing yesterday.
Balloo the baby

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is Wrong With My House?

I am Balloo. I have never got to use Mama's 'puter thingy before. She said I could. I asked her. Big sister Aria just steals it because she is sneakieeee like that. She is so sneakieee, her paws have built in sneakers...wait, what are sneakers? Oh well. I am typing to you today to tell you that there is something very wrong with my house.
There are those big huge paper smelling thingies filled with our stuff, and Mama's and Daddy's stuff too. What's up with that? Where is all of our stuff and Mama's and Daddy's stuff going? Mama even starting putting our toys in one of those big paper smelling thingies. Maybe it's a stuff crate. We have to go in crates sometimes when Mama and Daddy leave. Hmmmm...I have been thinking very hard, but my puppy brain cannot figure it out.
Mama says we're moving tomorrow. She is very happy about it. I think her tail is wagging, but I haven't found her tail yet. I have been thinking very hard about this too.
Anyway, I am confused. Have any of you guys had to move before? Do you know what it is?
Oh sorry. Aria came by with a bone...I got distracted and walked over the keyboard and I don't know how to fix it.
Everyone have a food day...wait, I mean, good day.
Signing off for now,
Balloo the Baby

Drum Roll Please...!!!!!

The winner of my first "What's This Wednesday" contest has been announced.
Check out the comments from today's earlier post for all of the guessing fun and the announcement of the winner. It was sooooo close! I thought we were going to have a tie breaker. :) Thanks to everyone who participated.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's This Wednesday? A Surprise

Here is your photo for today's guessing game, but there is a twist. We have prizes today! Well, I think it's a prize. :) I am going to bake and send out dog cookies to one of you fantastic people. Here's how it works:
Just post a comment here telling me what you see in the picture and what you think it is. Once you have done that, if you would like to participate in my cookie give away, leave a number on your post between 1 and 40. Mr. K has a number in his head and I have no idea what it is. Check back tonight or whenever you have time, and I will have announced the winning number. Think of it as my way of saying "thanks for reading." :)
If you don't want to participate, no worries. You can still leave me a comment, minus the number. Happy viewing. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doggie Breath

Dogs always have stinky breath. It's partly due to the bacteria in their mouths that we as humans do not have, but if your dog's breath is "peel paint" bad, then perhaps it's time to invest in a doggie toothbrush. According to a bunch of different studies and websites I've read, about eighty percent of dogs are suffering from some kind of oral disease. It's no wonder though, people hardly take care of their mouths properly. How can they be expected to brush their dog's teeth?
I've always been aware of a dog's oral hygiene needs, especially after going to Leader Dogs for the Blind for the first time. They really stressed that we needed to brush our dogs' teeth and even made us practice.
As a kid, I thought that I should brush our yellow labrador's, Sasha, teeth. He was a ninety pound, healthy and lean boy who let little me do whatever I wanted to, including sticking a toothbrush in his mouth on infrequent intervals. I was six when we got him: I didn't understand consistency yet. My parents told me that he didn't need his teeth brushed, but as I grew older, I realised they were very wrong.
When we brought Doc home, we took him to the vet on the first Monday we had him. He was amazingly relaxed and willingly went along with what needed to be done. He didn't even flinch when they microchipped him. We were astonished. The vet told us he was a very healthy and beautiful boy, but there was one small concern. Doc is only eight months old and already shows signs of plaque build up on his back molars. We don't know if it is hereditary, or if it is because he was so long at the breeder's without things to chew on. We reassured the vet that we would take care of his teeth and I began an oral hygiene routine with him and our other guys.
Forget the brushing for now. We all know that there a million different tooth brushing products out there and I haven't entirely figured out which one works. All I know is that the toothpaste should have an active enzyme in it that will destroy any bad mouth funk. I want to talk about the chews that are available that claim that they will freshen your dog's breath or are specially designed to remove tarter build up. That's fantastic, but until I started looking today, I never realised how many of them have unhealthy ingredients in them. I don't know why I haven't looked before now; dog nutrition is important and anything you put into your dog's mouth for them to ingest is naturally a part of their nutrition. I'm not sure what possessed me to look up the guaranteed analysis of dog chews this morning, but I did and I was so disappointed.
Mr. K and I have been giving Doc a dental chew of some sort or another every day, just to help with those back molars. I started wondering what the impact of him eating something like that every day would be, so I Googled the one we are using right now. It is the Pedigree Dentastick. The shape is pretty cool and so I could see how the X shape would get in between their teeth and clean gums, but it is a cheaper product and I started thinking that I might be getting what I paid for. I was right. There is nothing nutritious about a Pedigree Dentastick. They haven't even infused them with vitamins. The first couple of ingredients horrified me. The first thing listed was flour, which was then followed by wheat, cellulose and Glycerin. These ingredients are known to cause Diabetes, nutrients absorption issues and allergies in dogs. I wouldn't feed myself these things, I shouldn't be feeding them to my dogs. A little concerned, but not surprised, I decided to try another chew.
Next, I went to Nylabone. I love Nylabone products. Their toys are some of the only toys, besides a select few Kong products, that Glacier can't destroy. I knew they had a new edible line out so I read up on those next. I only looked at the ingredients for the Original Mini chews, but the same ingredients as the Dentasticks popped up. I was shocked. Nylabone's toys are of fantastic quality, why would they use Cellulose which has been known to have cardboard in it? Nylabone edibles are considerably more pricey than the Dentasticks even though the quality is almost the same. Now, as I said, I only read the ingredients for the Original Minis, so if you want to get these products, maybe read the labels of the ones you are looking at. Maybe they are different? Hopefully.
After that surprise, I tried Blue Buffalo. They too have a new edible line out and I wondered what that looked like. They are similarly priced to the Nylabone edibles, so I was hoping for something of a bit higher quality. I was rewarded for my efforts. Glycerin was the only low grade ingredient present that was also in the other two products. The Blue Buffalo also includes ingredients that help with joint health and has a few added vitamins to help with your dog's over all health. I am still not sure these are the best chews on the market, but I will search until I find them and let you know.
The one chew that I know is quite healthy are Bully Sticks. Dogs love them, but there are a few drawbacks to them. First of all, some people are turned off by what they actually are and their odor. Bully Sticks are dried cow penis-hence Bully "stick." If you can get past that, they are quite pricey even when bought in bulk. My dogs love them and they are much better than rawhide or, as it would appear, any of the manufactured chews. They are, obviously, all natural and are completely able to break down in your dog's system. Rawhide do not break down properly and can block the digestive tract, including throats. I am not saying not to give your dog rawhide, but if you choose to do so, make sure you are supervising them. I personally would love to get Bully Sticks to compliment my dogs' oral hygiene routine, but they are just way too expensive to be an every day thing. So, for now, I will probably have to settle for Blue Buffalo's edible chews; at least until I find something else that is comparable to the Bully Sticks, but cheaper.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Massage Monday Number Four: Hot Stone Therapy

If you are a person who likes heat, or if heat relaxes you then hot stone massage is for you. It basically is a relaxation massage performed with rocks in the therapist's hands. Sounds uncomfy? Just wait, I'll explain and you may change your mind. For those of you who have had one, you probably don't need convincing that hot stone massage is the best thing ever!
Hot stone massage is done in a massage room that is a bit warmer than normal. Your therapist will probably also cover you up with not only the sheet, but a nice fluffy blanket as well. The massage starts out as any other massage does with the therapist using various techniques with their hands only, but as the tissue becomes warmed up the therapist will begin using the stones. The room is kept warmer than a regular massage room for a couple of reasons. First of all, the stones are in the room heating up in a Crock Pot, in dishes placed on a Grittle or some other heating device. The steam coming off the stones themselves and the heat from the heating appliance makes the temperature rise. The room has to stay warmer to also ensure that the stones hold on to the heat. Cold stone massage is a type of therapy as well, but when you are expecting hot stones, a cold one would be a rude awakening. Secondly, the room is kept at a higher temperature to keep the client warm. Once the hot stones are being used, the client's core temperature could drop quickly, or you could feel cold because the stones are hot and the room is not. In order for the massage to be helpful, the client needs to be relaxed and shivering is not relaxing.
So what about these stones? They are rocks of varying sizes. Anything from a fist rock to a stone the size of your pinky finger or smaller. The various sizes of stones serve different functions. Even the different shapes have their own purposes. For example, a fist sized stone could be placed on a client's lower back for heat and weight, while a stone that is about half an inch long could be gently inserted between the toes. I know, between the toes made me squirm a bit too until I had it done. It is heavenly if done properly. Stones being placed between the toes or fingers should be done so gently and patiently. Hot stones should also be dragged from the hem of the draping onto the skin as not to surprise the client. The slow movement from the sheet's edge onto the skin allows the client to get to used to the temperature change and let the therapist know if the stone is too hot. It should not burn you.
Not only are the shapes and sizes important, but the surfaces and colours of the stones are important. The surface of each stone must be smooth without sharp or rough edges. This keeps the rock from inuring the client; makes sense right? The stones I have are a set of rocks that were shaped and smoothed naturally along lake shores. I have a set I bought, but then also picked perfectly shaped and smoothed stones from Lake Superior's shore. They are also the right colour, and yes, you can have the wrong colour. Stones that are used with heat are supposed to be dark; brown, black, grey. White should not be present on the stone. That white part would be weaker and risks exploding the rock when it is heating or if it is placed on a client's body-obviously not safe. So, when we picked the rocks from Lake Superior, I had to keep checking with my Mom that there wasn't any white on them. White rocks can be used with cold treatments, but remember, not heat.
Now that we understand the stones a bit better, let's discuss the actual massage and its impact on the human body. Hot stone massages are more expensive than regular massages. There are a couple of reasons for this. The biggest reason is because it takes more preparation for the therapist. We have to clean the rocks, heat them up, heat up the room and when we're done clean the rocks again. Getting massage oil off of stones is possible, but it takes a little more work. It also costs more for the therapist to heat up the room and keep the stones heated. And on the marketing side of things, the hot stone massage has been presented as a very special spa treatment. I'm not diminishing the wonderfulness of the hot stone massage, but it kind of has a mystical or pampering vibe attached to it. In that sense, therapists can charge more for it. That said, this type of massage definitely has some great health benefits.
You know the phrase "you get what you pay for?" That is true for the hot stone massage. It may cost more, but you get "more bang for your buck," as Mr. K likes to say. For every one stroke with a hot stone, you would have to do ten strokes manually. That is how much the heat and weight of the stone improves circulation and muscle relaxation. It is a bit easier on the therapist because we don't have to dig in as hard to get results. I had a hot stone treatment performed once by a therapist who, if I had gotten a regular massage from, wouldn't have been very good, but the hot stones made the experience worth it. I could hardly walk after due to mushy muscles and was very sleepy. I felt so good. I used to get them all of the time when I was competing because I could get a lot of relief without having an exhausting, deep, painful massage. At first I was worried that the stones would hurt, or would feel hard and clumsy against my body, but besides the heat, you can hardly tell the therapist is using stones.
For those of you who have never had a hot stone massage, let me walk you through a standard treatment. You would start on your tummy with the cozy covers pulled up over you. The therapist starts by placing a stone on your sacrum, which is basically just above your tailbone. The back is done first with the therapist leaving the stones they have used along the spine. The heat and weight of the stones, although they are quite light, soak into the muscles and relax the client as the therapist continues to work up the back. After the back, the backs of the legs are addressed. The therapist may tuck stones into the sides of the thighs as they work along the legs. Again, letting the heat from the stones relax the muscles. After the legs are finished it is onto the backs of the arms. The therapist may place hot stones into the palms. Then all of the stones are removed, including the one on the sacrum and you turn over. Front of legs are addressed and tiny warm stones are tucked between your toes. If you don't want this, of course tell your therapist. A cylindrical stone is placed behind the neck, right where the head attaches to the neck. This is probably one of the best feelings, especially if you are someone who wears glasses or relies heavily on your eyesight for your job. Some of the muscles that move your eyes are located back there. Warm stones are placed on your sternum and along your abdomen. Again if you don't want these, you can tell your therapist that you don't like them. The front of your arms are massaged and your face as well. Again, if there is any area that you don't want worked on, like your face, let your therapist know. The treatment usually ends with three small cool stones being placed on your forehead. The stones are usually room temperature, but because you are so warm from the increase in circulation and the hot stones lining your body, the stones feel cold. They feel very soothing. There are variations on this treatment and each session can be tailored to the client's preferences and needs.
Hot stone therapy is incredibly relaxing and is beneficial for a lot of different conditions. It is good for athletes during training periods; for people with Arthritis during a non-flare up; people with muscle spasticity; people who need a lot of work done, but can't handle the pain of deep tissue massage; and people who are in chronic pain because it is relaxing and non-invasive. It's also good for people who are stressed and just need to relax. If you fall asleep, or nearly fall asleep, you know you had a great hot stone treatment.
Hot stone cannot be performed by just any massage therapist. In Ontario, you have to take an extra course that teaches you how to massage with and care for the stones. If someone is offering hot stone therapy, feel free to ask them to see their certificate or ask them where they were educated. If they can't fulfill either request, you may want to get a hot stone treatment elsewhere.
I hope this was helpful and perhaps made hot stone appealing. I know just talking about it makes me want to go get a treatment.
As always, leave me any questions or comments. If there is anything you want me to address in a future post, please let me know and I would be more than happy to. And since it's Monday, it would be a great day to go get a massage. :)

My Super Non-Mut

I posted a few days ago about Glacier being a "super dog." It's funny how true some things turn out to be.
Glacier and I were doing our Rally Obedience training in the backyard again this afternoon. Mr. K was studying for a test, so I thought it best to take the whole gang outside for a while. They have been absolutely crazy today. I think part of it could be that things are changing around them. They don't understand why I am putting things into boxes and not letting them remove the items. It could just be the weather getting warmer. Either way, training was taking place outside to give Mr. K a quiet house; at least for a short while.
Glacier and I went through a lot of different cues today. We are just working the things he will have to know for Wednesday's evaluation. I am impressed with his progress, but that is not actually why he is a Super Non-mut today.
Normally when we are out training, the sun is out,the air conditioning unit kicks on every once in a while,, or the pump in the well house starts humming. But today there was no sun, it wasn't hot enough for the air conditioning to turn on and Mr. K was studying so he didn't use any water. All of these things are indicators to me with regards to my location. The sun only shines on a certain side of the backyard because of a giant tree we have; the air conditioning unit is mounted on the wall just to the left of the back door; and the well house is almost in direct line with the back stairs. Without any of these cues, I got myself turned around. I wasn't worried about wandering off into my neighbour's yards because we do have a fence, but I didn't want to be stuck out there walking in circles, guessing where the house might be. Plus, I am from Canada, I'm still afraid of fire ants and other weird SC bugs that might be lying in wait under the "pine straw."
Our yard is quite large and it's easy to get lost in. It was a concern I had when I first started training out there, but soon learned what to listen and feel for. If I had had my cell phone with me, I could have called or texted Mr. K to come and open the back door so that I knew where it was, but I had left it inside. I didn't realise that the sun wasn't out and didn't know that none of my audible indicators weren't going to go off.
By the time I noticed that I was lost in my backyard, I had already released Glacier as a reward for his hard work. He was off prancing with
Roscoe and the other fuzzies, but when I started taking a few hesitant steps, all of the dogs came running back to me. I felt a bit better with them around, but I still couldn't figure out how to get my rear end back to the house. I thought for a minute and then decided that if I found the fence, I could follow it back to the deck.
It was a good idea in theory, but when I found a fence, I didn't know what end of the yard I was at. Was I right? Left? All the way at the back?
What now?
I still held Glacier's leash and flat collar in my hand and a thought occurred to me. I have friends whose dogs leash guide them. Basically, even though they are not working and just supposed to be heeling they put tension on the leash and direct their person. They can also use their bodies to push their handler where they want them. Roscoe does this with Mr. K. Jetta never did this, but I wondered if Glacier would.
I have been working so hard with him and loose leash heeling that I didn't want to undo all of our hard work and have him guide me with the leash. So, I called him to me and put his collar back on. I just grabbed onto that and said as happily as I could muster,
"find the stairs." I kept repeating it and he started walking, tail wagging ears up. I knew he was thinking, but I didn't know what he was thinking. Did he think it was a game? Could he actually process what I was asking him? Roscoe trotted along side and got more and more excited every time I told Glacier to find the stairs. I don't know if Roscoe was cheering his friend on, or helping him find his destination, but Roscoe seemed to think he should help too.
Suddenly Glacier stopped and Roscoe danced even more enthusiastically on the spot. I reached my hand out and found the railing to the back stairs. I was floored. I then proceeded to have a party with Glacier and Roscoe, sticking left over training kibble in their mouths as fast as I could. They had just turned an ordeal that could have taken a half an hour into a three minute meander.
All I can say is "wow." So cool!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Demonstration of the Brilliance of the Human Race

Gather around and let me tell you a story.It is a story about a man named Mr. K, his wife Jess, their friend and a woman who is a perfect specimen of human brilliance. (Notice the dripping sarcasm in my voice? Oh right. This the written language, you may have missed it).
Yesterday, after realising that three out of five of our fuzzies were beyond dirty, we had headed out to lunch and made a quick stop at Petsmart where I purchased the Furminator and a spray in conditioner for our long haired friends. Despite the stinky state our animals and consequently our house was in, we were all pretty cheery. We had enjoyed a good lunch out on a patio in the sunshine with great company. I was particularly chipper because Glacier had done really well both in Petsmart and the restaurant.
Upon arriving back at our car-yes, we have a car-I unharnessed Glacier and crawled into the back seat. Whenever I get into the back, Mr. K usually opens the door as wide as it can go because it is a two door and that gives me enough room to squeeze in. As I was settling in I heard a woman say in a very snarky voice:
"Can you get your car door off my car please!"
I was confused. Mr. K is very conscious of other cars because when he could see, he was a driver himself. That is why we have a car now: when he lost his sight he had a car and kept it. I think Mr. K was baffled as well because he said very politely, "Oh I'm sorry. I didn't know your car was there."
"Well, when it's your personal property..." She snapped back.
Mr. K then replied,
"I'm sorry. I am blind and didn't know your car was there. You don't need to be so rude." How did she not know he was blind? He was standing with his extremely tall white cane in his hand. Mr. K is six foot five and therefore his white cane is very tall! It's kind of hard to miss. I'm not sure what she said next because Mr. K started getting in the car. The next couple of sentences had a bit of swearing from both parties and basically translated into Mr. K explaining to her that she should check her facts before she started giving people crap; only a bit more strongly put. The interesting part was that neither of us heard his car door disengage itself from her car What was even more interesting is that as we drove away, she flipped him off. Okay, take a few seconds to think about it.
Did you figure it out? I'm sure you did because you are all much brighter than she was or is.
Mr. K had just finished telling her he was blind and she flips him off. This is a silent hand action. Most blind people can't hear someone giving them the finger, especially when in a moving vehicle. The only way we knew she had done that is because our friend, who was driving, told us. All we could do was laugh. What else can you do when a person is that ignorant and dense?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fighting The War Against Poop Armed with A Comb, Shampoo and Doggie Toothpaste

Originally today I was going to put up a photo recap of our trip yesterday to North Carolina, but since we're in the middle of moving out of The House from Hell, I can't seem to find the cord that goes from my camera to the computer. You know when you put something in a "safe place," but it usually turns out to be too safe? I think that is what happened here. So, if I ever find it, I'll get those up for your viewing pleasure. Instead, I am going to give you the recap of our very crazy morning.
It's just been one of those weeks. We have been without water three times since last Sunday and it is off right now-making it four times-because they are replacing the foot valve as we speak...whatever that is. I didn't know we were waterless until I called Mr. K from the road yesterday to ask him if he wanted to meet us for supper. He was irritated, and rightfully, so since it wasn't going to get turned back on until 6:30 this morning. We were both very excited about waking up so early on a Saturday. I'm not much of a sleeper in, but usually on Saturday I manage to sleep past eight. We both decided that the sacrificed sleep was worth being able to have a shower this morning. The Crazy Landlord Lady was planning on showing the place at noon and we figure that is the only reason she had the water fixed so quickly. I am so glad we're out of here on Friday.
We phoned one of our friends and asked him if he wanted to go for lunch so that we could get out of the house. It was a gorgeous day and we didn't really feel like sitting around while strangers wandered in and out. He agreed and came to pick us up. I was finishing my coffee and had fed the dogs and put them out so that the house could be shown without five, crazy fuzzy creatures running about. I eventually let Doc back in because he wouldn't stop jumping on the door and making a huge fuss. He is still getting used to the idea that we're his forever home and that we're not going to leave him. He happily hopped up in my lap while I fired off a few emails.
When our friend arrived, I let the dogs back inside. Roscoe came in first and distracted us from the others because he was so incredibly dirty! He is so dirty, his black coat is tinged brown. I never knew that was possible. He is shedding really heavily and I think he goes out and rolls to try to get the clumps of fur off. Mr. K couldn't bring him with us because he was so dirty. Guide dog handlers have a responsibility to have clean, well mannered dogs. If the dogs do not abide by these rules, managers and owners can ask us to leave. Owning and handling a guide dog is a privilege, not a right. We check Glacier and although he was stinky, he was good enough to go out in public. So, I started getting my shoes on. As I was pulling Glacier's harness down from its perch, Mr. K noticed that our bedroom smelled disgusting. Our friend went in and looked and discovered a brown stain on our comforter. At first we thought it was poop, but upon further examination of Balloo, we realised it was vomit. I have no idea what he got into, but whatever it was it made him throw up and was all over him. I think he must have been rolling in and eating crap. Yummy!
I immediately rushed him off to the bath tub and was able to wash him. Thankfully we had water, but I didn't notice Aria until we went to put her in her crate. She smells awful and still does because we don't have any water right now. She must have been eating it too, but I don't think she rolled in it because her lovely, long fur is clean. It was decided then and there, that as soon as the water comes back on, this place is going to turn into Jess's Puppy Spa. All of them, except Doc, could stand to have a bath and we bought a Furminator while we were out so I can help Roscoe out a little bit. The Furminator usually is super expensive, but they were on sale at Petsmart, so we decided to get one. They are a great tool if used properly and reduce shedding greatly. They are a grooming tool that removes the dog's under coat, which is what Roscoe is shedding right now. The only thing to be aware of when using one is that they have to be used gently. The blade is actually sharp and could leave lesions on the dog's skin if they are used with too much pressure. If you just lightly run the tool from the dog's head to bum, you can feel it catching and pulling out the loose fur. This is not the only tool that does this. Slicker brushes are even worse because they have those bent, wire teeth that can scratch and irritate your dog's skin. They are way cheaper and most people think they should use them, so I think injury to dogs' skin happens more frequently with Slicker brushes than Furminators. I personally love the Zoom Groom made by Kong because those brushes have no risk of scratching your dog's skin. The only problem with them is that they have to be used outside because they don't collect the fur like the Slicker brushes or Furminators do. The fur just falls off the dog in gigantic clumps and floats around; not good for indoor use. Well, there is my little digression for today's post. :) Back to my Furminator purchase. I've just never bought one before now because my bank book wouldn't have liked it.
So, once the water is back up and running, I am busting out my bathingsuit, the Furminator, doggie shampoo, their metal comb and as many towels as I can find-which might probe more difficult than normal because I've packed most of them away. The only thing I am worried about is that I make this huge effort and they will just get filthy before we move. Then again, the dirt I can handle, it is the pups who are walking around showing off their new Poop Perfume that I am more concerned with. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pet Blogs United: Foster Friday ~ Jack

Soooooooo cool!!! And crate trained and everything. Let's find Jack a home.Pet Blogs United: Foster Friday ~ Jack: "Hi everyone! It's Jack here. My foster mom wanted me to introduce myself here on PBU. I'm a handsome, smart, and loving Border Collie mix. ..."

Road Trip!

"We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of..." wait, I think I may have my destinations confused.
All right, so maybe it's not a wizard, but it is another Dachshund. Now before you go getting all worried, it's not for us!. The friend that drove us to get Doc, we'll call her T, fell in love with a little guy while we were there picking out Doc. She snapped a few pictures with her cell phone and sent them home to her husband in the hopes of him falling in love with him too. It must have worked because she called the breeder back that night and told her that we would be there to pick the cream brindle male up today. Even though it was a week away, the breeder said she would hold him. When T called last night to confirm, the breeder assured her that the little guy was still waiting.
He is older like Doc, but is super cute. He is a smooth coat and is a bit smaller than Doc. He and Doc had played like crazy when we were there picking Doc out, so it will be interesting to see how he does with the rest of our guys. T is Isis's Mom and comes over often for play dates. We also make Petsmart dates together because she can drive and she also enjoys going to the pet store. Most other people don't like going with me because I get extremely picky about the stuff I am buying and take forever. LOL
Glacier is obviously coming with us, but I'm not sure who else will come for the ride. I thought about taking Doc to see the breeder because she loved him so much, but I think it is too soon. He is just settling in now. You can tell he is feeling more comfortable because he has eaten all of his meals without any encouragement yesterday and today and he also gets excited when I get the bowls out. That is a new development. He is also running and playing more and I am afraid that if I take him, it would undo all of that. So, Doc will stay home.
Aria loves getting out and probably be a good choice. The only thing is that she hates sitting still in the car. More accurately, she hates sitting still the majority of the time. She wants to be in your lap, in the back seat, looking out the window, looking out the other get the point. She has also developed this little nasty habit of barking lately and she barks less when she is tired. In that sense a car ride would be good for her.
But what about the baby? Balloo sits in your lap nicely during the ride and just likes being around...well, me. He likes his Dad, but he definitely is a Mama's boy. That could be a reason to leave him home; get him used to being around Mr. K a bit more. I have to go to my parents' for two months in April to get our wedding organized and also to get my Portuguese passport. (My Mom is Portuguese). I can only bring one of the little guys home with me and I can't decide between Aria or Balloo. So, maybe today would be a very small trial run for that.
Listen to me. I can't even pick which dog to take on a trip with me. I'd take both, but that might be a bit much for the new guy to hop in a new car, with new people with three new dogs-one of whom weighs 75 pounds. Regardless of who comes, Glacier and I are off on a road trip today. Maybe I'll be able to give you a photo recap later tonight.
Happy Friday! (And if you're in the South, enjoy the very warm weather. I'm from Canada, 79 in February is very warm)! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Glacier, The Super Dog!

Glacier and I have unofficially started our Rally Obedience training. I got the go ahead from the Obedience Club to register him in the Novice Rally class that starts March sixth. We still haven't been skill tested, but the instructor said to look at as more of an evaluation to see which class we would be better suited to. If things continue going the way they have been, Glacier will be all set. There are a few basic Rally Obedience cues Glacier didn't know yet, and so I started training him in our backyard. I may have to change our training location since I asked him to "down" on a sand spur yesterday. He completed the request without a complaint and I didn't even know the stinking thing was attached to him until the training session was over and I patted him down to make sure everything was in working order.
For those of you who don't know what sand spurs are, allow me to explain. They are the dumbest plant in existence. Mosquitoes have more purpose. I understand most creepy, crawly bugs have a role to fulfill and so do most plants, even poisonous ones, but the sand spur is the most pointless, painful type of vegetation out there. Okay, maybe they have a point, but I have no idea what that would be. They have these horrible prickly barbs that get stuck under your skin and even after you pull them out, the area burns for a while. They are so small that people don't even know they are lying in weight. The dogs often come in from outside with the annoying little things attached to their fur and stuck in their paws. Usually I have to remove the latter. Anyway, the point of the off track rant was that, poor Glacier performed his cue and got stuck with one of those pesky things. That means, a change of training venue is probably in order. Look out living room. Here we come.
There are two problems with the living room though. For one it's much too cluttered to practice loose leash heeling. The next issue isn't really a problem with the living room, but we really enjoy being out in the sunshine. The whole back and front yards are covered in sand spurs. There is really no escaping them. Maybe I'll have to do some training inside and then finish up outside. That way we get loose leash heeling work AND sunshine.
As for our training, I've been reviewing "sit," down," "heel," "stay" and many variations of these cues. Glacier has to be able to hold a sit/down "stay" for a short length of time; he has to hold a "sit stay" while I walk around him; he has to be able to go from a sit to a down and back to a sit again (we in guide dog school world like to call these puppy push-ups); and other combinations of "sit, down, stay." His puppy push-ups aren't so good, but I think it's because he thinks it's a punishment. We often would use these in training, and in every day work if our dogs became distracted. It would get them listening to us again and make it so that we could continue working. So, as of right now, the thing he knows the best is the hardest for him.
I've also been teaching him new things. I'm not sure if I am teaching the to him properly because I can't see the pictures or videos, but he is at least getting the point. I figure the instructor of the Novice Rally class can correct my body position and his if need be. Glacier will only have known these cues for a short while, so it won't be hard to re-shape them into what we need him to do. Re-training me might be harder. :)
I mentioned before that in order to be in the class Glacier would have to know how to "finish right or left." I didn't know what that meant, so I did some digging and found a few good resources on the internet. That said, there wasn't a whole lot available. Most of the resources were book that were in inaccessible formats. That means, no digital or audible format. So, I did the best with what I could find and began teaching Glacier the different finishes and "front" as well.
Front is a cue you use to get your dog to come from a "heel" position to sit in front of and facing you. I'm sure in more advanced competitions or dog sports, "front" could be assumed from any position. I won't bore you here with the details of how I managed to teach him these three things because its' a lot and if I started doing that, every single post would be the different training sessions we've had. I was thinking of starting a page that outlines each cue we have learned and how we got there. That way, if you want more information you can get it, but you are also not bombarded by it on my every day posts. I'm very excited by his progress. His "finish left" could use some work, but we've only trained twice. We'll see today how things go.
The trainer for the Novice Rally class, and the person testing us, seems like a great person. We've only communicated via email, but I like her training philosophy so far. She doesn't encourage the use of harsh corrections and subscribes to reward based training. That is good because as of right now, Glacier only performs his finishes for treats. She also would rather people use flat collars or Martingales rather than choke chains. Prong and electronic collars are NOT allowed. They aren't even allowed on site at competitions. That makes me happy. I think prong and electronic collars are horrible horrible devices.
Glacier usually wears a choke chain when he is working. LDB, and most other guide dog schools, encourage collar corrections, but students are taught how to perform them properly and they are not to be used with excessive force. I am going to have Glacier wear a flat collar though, and maybe use a different leash than his guiding one, to create a distinction for him between working, playing and Rally Obedience. The guiding harness is used in a similar fashion in that it not only provides the blind handler something to hold onto and serves as a means for the handler to read the dog's body language, it also signals to the dog that he or she is working. That is why most handlers are so strict about people petting their guide dogs in harness. The harness is supposed to signify "working" to the dog and if people are always interacting with the dog with the harness on, then the dog forgets or cannot distinguish between working and not working. If I give Glacier a particular collar and leash to wear and take off his working collar during Rally training, that will signal to him that it is Rally Obedience time and he can focus on that.
At the Novice level, Rally is like basic obedience training with a few more fancier cues. You are allowed to talk to and encourage your dog. You are allowed to praise them, unlike the traditional Obedience competitions. This very important difference is what makes it possible for Glacier and I to compete in Rally. I don't think I would put him into Obedience competitions because being able to communicate verbally is key to a guide dog team. I'm not saying that is the way it is for all teams, as some handlers cannot speak to their dogs, but Glacier has been trained that way and we bonded that way. I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize our working relationship.
I also wouldn't enter a guide dog in agility because there is a higher risk of injury. If your guide dog is injured, not only is the dog out of commission, but so is the handler. I was reading somewhere that at the advanced levels of Rally that the dogs are asked to do low jumps. I will have to actually look at one of the jumps and determine when the time comes if it is safe for Glacier or not. By that time, Aria may be ready to start Rally and Glacier and I can just keep doing the Novice stuff for fun.
Wow, I've rambled a lot this morning. I will leave it at that for now even though I have some thoughts pertaining to our move to Scotland vying for my attention. Have a fantastic day and make sure your furry friend, working or not, has an equally fantastic day. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"What's This?" Wednesday: Photo Number Two

All right. I guessed that one. The pink shirt and two people reading a card told me that one of our friend's parents reading a Christmas card. The funny thing is I'm trying not to get people in the pictures, but it's inevitable. LOL So here's another one for you brave souls out there.

"What's This?" Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, as most of you probably already know, and that means it's the day for my mystery picture. I put up a photo for all of you lovely people to view and then you try to guess what it is. Since I can't see, I have no idea what the picture is, even though I probably took it. LOL Based on your guesses and the details you give me, I will try to tell you what it is at the end of the day. Thanks for playing and happy Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And Chaos Ensues

A lot of what goes on in this house is normal to me, but I'm pretty sure a complete stranger, or non-dog person, would look twice. We have puppy stairs leaning up against one couch; there is a stainless steel bole in the kitchen for water; an entire shelf in our laundry room is taken over by glass puppy boles that say things like "hungry" and "princess;" there is a wood stand a friend's husband made for me that holds another two stainless steel boles in the laundry room; there are nylabones, sterilised beef bones, rubber squirrels, bone shaped Kongs and every other toy imaginable strewn about the living room floor. We have a toy box, which is just a cardboard box for now, that houses maybe one or two toys at a time. Aria feels it necessary to drag them all out if I have put them away. There are leashes of varying colour/material/lengths and working harnesses hanging from a shelf standing near the front door and if you open a certain cupboard in the kitchen, you will find doggie toothpaste, a purple Zoom Groom, a brown flat collar, ear cleaning solution, a cow bell that can be attached to a collar, a metal comb and flea and heart worm treatments. Does anyone else's houses look like this? Not to mention, the two places we have wee pads put out for our newest family member.
The funny thing is, I wouldn't have it any other way. We've learned to wear slippers or indoor shoes and drag our feet so that we don't step on pointy toys. We've learned that doggie toothpaste and Mom's coffee stays out of reach. And that doesn't mean on the kitchen table because both Aria and Balloo can get up there. Just this morning he stole a piece of bread off my plate when I went to correct Doc for chewing on one of our packed boxes. I'm just glad I was done with my breakfast by then. I was shocked. Balloo my little baby is stealing things? That used to be Aria's trick-she once stole my passport from the kitchen table and we discovered it a month later under a couch with teeth marks in the corner.
Sure there is the danger of a visitor stubbing a toe on a bone and of course they will leave with some colour of fur-white, chocolate, tan, black, yellow...take your pick. You also run the risk of being run over by bouncing, racing puppies if you sit on the couch. But come on now, you were in their way while they were trying to battle. And perhaps the house is a bit stinky if they all have been out running and rolling in the dirt, but that is what air fresheners are for. And really I love these guys and the companionship and comic relief they bring is worth the doggafied house. :)

What about you dog people out there? Sure our dogs have changed our lives, but how have they changed your houses? Or cars, or yards?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day: A Love Story

I know today is normally Massage Monday, and I am sure you are missing it greatly, but today I want to share a real life love story in honour of Valentine's Day.
Back in August of 2008, I retired Jetta my first guide dog because she just didn't want to work anymore. I reapplied to Leader Dogs for the Blind located in Rochester Michigan and was registered for a class scheduled for the end of October. I had debated applying to a new school, but stayed with Leader Dogs for the Blind because my first dog and I had done so well. I was informed of another class starting at the end of September, but I wasn't sure if that one would fit into my schedule as I was away in Beijing China competing at my third and final Paralympic Games.
I was very excited to be matched with my new partner and was worried about the time between returning home from China and the next class. After thinking about it a bit longer, and consulting our swim team's manager to see when wen we would be returning to Canada, I decided to switch to the September 21st class. There was still room, but I was worried that we would be getting back to Canada on the 19th. Would I have enough time to recover from my trip? Would my heart be in getting a new dog after competing at such an emotionally charged event? It was something that I would just have to put my mind to and make work.
September 21 came very quickly and I was soon on another plane flying to Detroit Michigan. This plane was much smaller than the one I had gotten off of just three days before, but I didn't really notice. First of all, I was so sick with the flu that I thought I might collapse if I had to walk too far upon landing and my brain, how ever fuzzy it was, couldn't stop thinking about how much my life was about to change.
It had changed a lot with Jetta. She had been my partner for six and a half great and busy years. I had learned so much from her, including that I was much stronger and independent than I thought I was. What would this new dog have to teach me? I was fully prepared to give this dog the best life I could. I wondered what breed the dog would be. Would it be a boy or girl? What colour? Would it be big or would it be small like Jetta. My mind was fixed on one thing and one thing only; get my new dog and make this class the best learning experience ever. The next 21 days were all about my dog. Or so I thought. Wait, hold on now. Did you think I was writing this about Glacier? I suppose he could be considered the love of my life too, but he is not the central character in this particular story.
Upon arriving at LDB, I went straight to bed. Sunday was a travel day, so it didn't matter that I hid in my room and slept. I don't remember much about that day except that I almost slept through supper and probably would have if one of the instructors had not called me down. As I was walking down the hall, hazy from sleep and flu symptoms, I noticed there was a guy walking in front of me, who had apparently almost missed supper as well. I thought he was weird and kind of brushed him off as socially inept. Boy was I wrong. I blame the flu.
The next couple of days passed quickly and with the help of orange juice and a lot of water, I was pretty much better by Tuesday. I kept hoping that I would recover quickly because if you are too sick to work with your dog, the school can send you home and you would have to wait for the next available class. I was impatient-I wanted my dog.
Tuesday of that first week, I thought I should call home. On the way out of my bedroom, I noticed a plastic bag of items sitting on my desk and rummaged through. None of the things looked like mine and I was worried that they belonged to another student. The residence staff had gone shopping for things that may have been forgotten so I thought there had been a mix up. I brought the bag down to the common room, a place with a couple of booths, the residence staff's desk, pop and snack machines and a hot drink thingy that made hot chocolate, tea and coffee. I explained my concern to the staff member and she laughed saying that it was a "welcome" gift. Mr. K, who I did not know was Mr. K, was fiddling with one of the snack machines and said he had thought the same thing. I was so flustered I left without my calling card. Upon returning the bag to my room and discovering that I had forgotten the card, I went back to the common room only to find Mr. K talking to another student about "vending machine" surprise. Apparently the braille had been harder to read than he thought and his preferred item had not come out. Mr. K had only been blind for about two and a half years at that point and had only learned braille six months or so prior to his visit to Leader Dogs for the Blind. I laughed and said that I would be happy to read him the options next time. I bought my calling card and was about to leave whe he said,
"Hey , where are you going?
"Back to my room." I managed to mumble.
"Why don't you sit down and talk to me?" He said.
I didn't really know what to say, so I sat and talked to him. And talk we did. I walked away thinking that he was very interesting and that I would like to talk to him again. I really thought nothing of it.
I noticed him in the next few days. We would line up in the mornings and after lunch to load up the buses to go downtown to work. I won't go into details about our training because that would be enough material for a post of its own. I noticed in the line ups this guy who talked a lot, but didn't realise it was the guy that I thought was weird or had sat chatting to in the common room. Sometimes when you are learning voices, and a lot of new ones, you get people confused very easily. While we are waiting for our turn to train, the students are gathered together in one place and often section off into little groups just chatting to pass the time. I was no exception. I'm a pretty social person, although quite shy at first, and so I soon began striking up friendships. During this time I began to get to know Mr. K and discovered that he was the guy that I thought was weird and had had a two hour long conversation with.
I was under the impression that I was the only one there my age and the people closest to me was one guy who was 18 and a woman who was in her forties. I had been informed incorrectly. When I met Mr. K more officially and got to know him, I had no intention of falling in love. I had been single for five years and was very happy being by myself. I had every intention of growing old and being the Crazy Dog Lady all by myself. I had gone on dates, but usually found that the guys I dated weren't interested in a girl who could take care of herself. I think they saw blind girl and thought they could take care of me: not so much. So when Mr. K came into my life, there were a lot of walls up. I was at LDB to get a dog. It was a very serious thing and I needed to focus on my new dog, whoever he or she was, and I needed to give this new partnership 100 percent. It probably took a week and a half before my resolve broke, which isn't really that long, but when you are thrown into an environment like that, it is hard not to get to know people very quickly.
In that week and a half, Mr. K and I spent some time together just chatting, watching movies and other such things. One time we walked back from supper together and were deep in a conversation about politics or religion, or something that you're not supposed to talk about, and Mr. K said
"Ok we're at my room."
"Ok bye," I said and continued down the hall to my room. Mr. K later told me that he thought I would stop and finish the conversation and was completely baffled when I "blew" him off, as he put it. Poor guy. I was so clueless.
I kept trying to ignore the feelings I was having, but it was hard. The instructors even noticed the tension between us and started separating us. That made me angry. Mr. K and I were the ones doing the best with our dogs and instead of coming to us and expressing their concerns, the instructors just treated us like children. Sure we were spending a lot of time together, but we always tended to our dogs first. Who, as you know are Glacier and Roscoe. Mr. K and Roscoe had bonded incredibly fast and Glacier and I were hot on their heels. The bond that those two dogs have now is amazing and I am pretty sure it started in those early days. Roscoe and Glacier trust and love each other so much that they will even drink out of the water bole at the same time without any problems. I can feed them out of dishes that are next to each other and there is no grouching or anything.
Finally, Mr. K made me sit down and talk to him about the tension we were both feeling. He kept making statements like,
"If you were American you know I would have to date you," and I would say things like,
"but I'm not."
In our little chat, he talked to me about coming to visit me and my response was, "but I have cats!" I realised as soon as it came out of my mouth that it sounded very wrong. It's a wonder the guy kept talking to me-I shut him down so many times without even knowing it. He had just told me the day before how allergic he was to cats and I was actually concerned about him. He responded with,
"do you think cats are going to stop me from coming to see you?"
I had to concede that it probably wouldn't, but I expressed my concerns about our real reasons for being at guide dog school and we went back to trying to be friends. A few more days passed and Mr. K brought up the subject again. I was so afraid of labels, afraid of what that would mean and I didn't want a long distance relationship. I had done two of those before and I had sworn that I wasn't going there again, but he won me over. I look back now and I am so glad that my fears didn't win. I could have lost not only my now husband, but my best friend too.
Mr. K finally said something to his instructor and they backed off. I think they realised that we were both mature enough to recognise our primary purpose and tend to that relationship first. I left LDB six days before Mr. K did as I was a re-train and he was getting his first dog. Newbies have to stay a bit longer. It was one of the hardest good-byes I have ever had. I was a bit uncertain and was worried about what the future would hold. I was also excited and completely smitten. Glacier seemed reluctant to leave his friend Roscoe, but I assured him that we would see them soon. We talked a lot on the phone in the weeks that followed and planned for Mr. K and Roscoe to come to visit me starting on November 12th, but on October 28, just 18 days after I left LDB, Mr. K hopped a bus and arrived at my front door. We spent about five weeks together in that first visit. It was hard at times, but I knew that if we could make it through that time that we would be together forever. At least that was my plan. I had never believed people when they said "you just know," but I did by Christmas of that year.
We spent the next two years or so traveling back and forth to visit one another. Mr. K did most of the traveling as his school was portable and mine was not. At one point, when they changed the rules at the border crossings, we spent six weeks apart because Mr. K was waiting on a passport. It was the longest six weeks and we were both very cranky. I always teased Mr. K, and still do, that he is my Grumpy Bear and sent him a three foot Grumpy Bear Carebear as a surprise to try to make the situation a bit more tolerable.
In November 14th 2009, Mr. K proposed-that is another story-and we were married in a courthouse in July of 2010. Our wedding is going to be May 28th of this year and we are both very excited. We had wine made for the reception and the labels read,
"But I have Cats!"
So, you see? Love really does fall in your lap. It happens at the strangest moments and especially when you are not expecting it. If Mr. K had never gone blind; if I had not retired Jetta, or more correctly if Jetta had never retired herself when she did; and if I had never switched guide dog training classes, we would never have met or fallen in love.
Happy Valentine's Day :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moving Right Along

The AKC emailed me back and I have heard from the local obedience training club twice now. Things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Mr. K and I talked about rally training Glacier, since it would be a good chance to brush up on his obedience and listening skills. We originally were going to put Aria in the class, but I don't think she is ready. I need to work on her "sit stay" a bit more because in Rally she has to stay seated while I walk around her. She can't do that yet and I'm afraid I'd step on her because she is so small. My thought process was that since this all new to me, that I should learn it all with an already trained and reliable dog. I will officially train with Glacier and then bring the skills I learned home and teach Aria; kind of the same way I was going to do the Petsmart classes with Aria and Balloo. Only this way, it will be Glacier and Aria. We had put Aria in the intermediate obedience class at Petsmart, but have since taken her out. They don't train for competitions, so it would be more financially reasonable to do the Obedience club class. The Rally class is also thirty dollars cheaper, which is a bit enticing in and of itself.
Glacier and I will be "skill" tested in the next week or two to see if we are ready for the Novice Rally class and if we pass then we will enroll. If we need more work then we will take the Obedience Two class with the Obedience club and that will better prepare us for the Novice one.
As for the AKC, I am not the first blind handler to want to compete and they have rules put in place to ensure equal opportunities to participate. I may need documentation at each rally show in order to get the accommodation, but that is easy to get. My eyes are prosthetic, there is no doctor in this world who will deny my blindness. LOL The AKC confirmed the information the Obedience club gave me in that blind competitors in both Rally and Obedience would have the judge or a stuart move them from station to station and that designated person would read them the instructions on the sign.
I am incredibly excited and have all crossable body parts crossed that Glacier and I pass the "skills" test. The woman from the Obedience club explained the finishes to me and unknowingly, Glacier already knows how to "finish left," but we will have to work on finishing right. I'm not sure how to train that, but it is something I can work on between now and our skills test.
It's been a pretty good day all around. The sun is shining, Rally training is looking more and more doable and our water was turned back on around 11 this morning. I am a happy girl.

Water Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Flush the Toilet

Yep. You guessed it. We don't have water again. I just went into the bathroom with the intention of going pee and then actually getting some sleep since I have to be up in the morning. When I went to flush the toilet it wouldn't go. A little miffed, I grabbed the plunger thinking that maybe it was plugged. We are on a well and sometimes the plumbing doesn't work quite right. So, I plungered away for a few minutes and flushed, but the toilet didn't refill with water. I took a deep breath, praying that it was an issue with just the toilet, and turned on the bathroom sink. All I could hear was a weird empty sucking sound that it has made before when our water stopped flowing.
I swear, it's something every week to two weeks with this place. We're moving out in two weeks, couldn't it just hold out until then? No showers, no cooking, no water for the dogs...again.
I know our friend will take us out to buy a case of water and maybe a few jugs for good measure, but I am sick of brushing my teeth by pouring a bottle over my toothbrush bristles just to rinse them off. I hate that we can't just go out tomorrow morning and get the water that we will need for the dogs by ourselves. They will have to wait until our friend wakes up. It also means no coffee in the morning, which I realise is a luxury, but really? Really?!!!! I just wish the next two weeks would hurry up or that we would be able to move in early, or that we had somewhere to stay for two weeks that has running water.
I know here in North America we are spoiled with fresh, clean water. I know we can be hogs with it, but that knowledge doesn't make this any easier. It's the third time without water completely. We also went another three days with only freezing cold water because the hot water thingy wasn't working. It always seems to happen at night too. We'll go to bed being able to brus our teeth and wake up in the morning unable to flush the toilet.I'm just so frustrated and probably a little overly emotional because it is 2:30 in the morning.
Mr. K is going to be ANGRY when he finds out. He went to bed with a migraine, so I wouldn't dream of waking him up and telling him. He needs rest. I think I am just blabbing away on this blog because there really isn't any other outlet at 2:30 in the morning. LOL
With that in mind, I will stop my disorganized ranting and try to sleep. Try, being the key word. Grrrrr.

The Doc Is In The House

I really should be sleeping, but my brain is firing a million times a minute. I got an email back from an obedience club and they are willing to work with me. They also told me that the AKC allows for accommodations for blind handlers, which makes me even more excited. The judge or a "Steward" would help me move from station to station and read the signs to me. I think both Aria and Glacier are ready to start the Rally Novice class except neither of them know "finish right or left." I don't even know what that means, but it will be something I research after writing this post. Anyone out there able to enlighten me?
But the Rally stuff isn't the real reason I'm posting. I meant to yesterday, but the day got away from me and today was pretty busy with me trying on my wedding dress to make sure it still fits and then going shopping in a friend's closet. She gave me stuff that still has the tags on it. How cool is that?! But I am getting away from my point again. Who is this Doc character? You might ask. Well, let me tell you.
Doc, formerly known as Charlie, is a long haired, seven month old, chocolate and cream miniature Dachshund that Mr. K and I got for his sister. We are going to train him-basic obedience and house training-and then give him to her and her family when we go up North for our wedding in May. (If you are confused by me calling Mr. K my husband and now me talking about our wedding, hold on to your hats and I will fill you in on another post).
We got him from a breeder in North Carolina and I would recommend her to anyone. She is not only a very personable, knowledgeable breeder, her dogs are beautiful. We walked out of her house with Doc's AKC registration in hand and she had cleaned his ears and wiped down his coat. We got Balloo back in November and we still haven't seen his AKC papers. Doc, named in the Honour of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, has both English and African blood lines and is absolutely stunning. One of these days I will get a picture up of him and you can decide for yourself. He weighs almost 12 pounds, so he borders on not qualifying as a miniature, but he could lose about a pound, which would drop him back into the miniature category. He is a bit squishy, as I like to call it, but that makes me happy. That is much better than the skeletal state Aria came to us in. Doc is quite a bit bigger than Balloo and much larger than Aria, but he is so sweet.
You can tell he is still settling in and getting used to us. He ate supper tonight, but had not eaten breakfast this morning or supper Friday night. He had never worn a collar, so when we outfitted him with one, he promptly decided it needed to come off. He tried biting at it and when he realised he couldn't reach it with his teeth alone, he recruited his big old hound dog paws to hold onto the pesky neck wear and pull it to his mouth. He absolutely will not walk on a leash and hates being crated. So those are things we will have to work on with him.
On a positive note, he has only had one pee accident in the house and he was playing with Aria at the time and probably didn't know he had to go. He follows humans around very well and plays really well with Aria and Balloo.
This afternoon I was outside picking up poop in the backyard and Doc just followed me around, enjoying the sunshine. Yes, a blind girl picking up poop-it's interesting let me tell you. I put a glove on my right hand and carried a bag in the left. Then I walked around the backyard dragging my feet. If my toe struck something that felt denser than grass, I would squat down and check for poop. Go, Jess the professional Poop Seeker! Nine times out of ten, it was poop. The other one percent, it was a stick. Every time I lowered myself to the ground, Doc would use that opportunity to place his front paws on my thighs and try to crawl in my lap. He would sniff my face very gently and then try worming himself up. Doc is not a licker, which is very different than Balloo who would probably win a "face washing" award.
Doc's breeder also said that his blood lines are so good and he is such a great dog, that we could breed him. Part of me wishes we could keep him. Okay, 99 percent of me wishes we could keep him. He is such a great dog and he already fits into our little furry family quite well. Following in his brother and sister's paw prints, Doc has had to have a bath within the first 48 hours of coming home. He was so mad I crated him this evening that he peed and it got his hind end absolutely soaked. He was very patient in the bath tub and held still while I toweled him off. He kind of reminds me of a rescue dog in that he doesn't know how to play with toys yet and chewing bones or Dental Chews of some sort or another is completely beyond him. He is also a bit timid in new situations. For example, Mr. K and I watched a movie this afternoon and his surround sound system was turned on. Whenever there was a loud explosion on screen, Doc popped up to see what was going on. Eventually, he settled in, which indicates to me that he isn't nervous, just curious. He also watches the humans around him and learns very quickly.
Tonight after his Bum Bath, I combed his gorgeous, thick coat out and he tried biting the comb. Every time he clamped his teeth on it I said "ow" very loudly and he stopped after the comb said "ow" twice. I was impressed.
You should have heard Mr. K and I trying to name him. Some of the names were ridiculous, but others were really cute. Snickers (because of his colour), Mars (because of his colour and because Mars is the God of war...I think), Clapton(for Eric Clapton) and Thumper (because he bounds like a rabbit and "thumps" when he jumps) are just a few of the choices. Doc won out because he can be very serious and stoic, but a bit of a goof as well. It was just a name we kept coming back to and it felt right. So Doc it was. Plus, I love Disney. :)
So needless to say, our pack has grown by four more paws; at least for a little while and I'm glad. These little, and big guys for that matter, give me something to do and there is nothing like a fuzzy creature to make life that much more exciting and enjoyable-just times that by five. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pet Blogs United: Foster Friday ~ Surge

Pet Blogs United: Foster Friday ~ Surge: "Id #11800125CatMale/NeuteredDomestic Shorthair/Mix5 years 1 month Here's a little about him in his own words... Hi there, my name is Surge..."

The Flush Potty Has Been...Flushed

The Flush Potty lasted less than 24 hours in our house. There were a lot of things wrong with this product and I'm pretty sure if that me or Mr. K could see, we never would have ordered it in the first place.
First of all, the Flush Potty supposedly comes with a "bark mixture," which is used instead of synthetic grass. To me, if you say "bark mixture" I picture strips of bark and maybe other kind of thinly shaved organic product. I wasn't thinking hunks of tree. If I had known that the "bark mixture" meant palm sized pieces of wood, I never would have bought it. Who in their right mind would make a product for dogs with wood pieces? Maybe they don't own dogs because if they did, they would realise that there is no way to stop a dog from eating wood. Okay, maybe not "no way," but if you have dogs who are used to playing outside, they will automatically try to play with/chew wood. Unless you're planning on lighting the wood on fire or spraying it with hot sauce to discourage your dog from eating it, don't bother with the Flush Potty. You will just end up with a gigantic mess.
I can remember when we took Aria out for the first time. She was so small we didn't put her on a leash because our backyard is fenced in and she was so tiny we knew she wasn't going very far. (She didn't even weigh two pounds when she came home with us).One of the first things she did, instead of going potty, was to pick up an itty-bitty stick and carry it around proudly. It was the size of a toothpick, but she was very happy with it. What I am trying to say is that wood chunks is not a "bark mixture" and dogs will be more inclined to eat the potty material than potty on it.
Also, when we were reading about the stinking thing on the Flush Potty website, there was mention of a valve that you open when cleaning. Maybe we got a new model, but there is definitely no valve. It is just a hole in the front of the pan. The rest of the design of the Flush Potty follows the design of most other indoor potties. It is a metal tray with a grate above it with small holes for the waste product to filter through. There's nothing more special about this thing than any other indoor dog potty. The only difference is that, this one uses pieces of wood and the others usually use synthetic grass.
Now, I am one person with two dogs who won't use it. Well, I retract that statement. They won't use it for its intended purpose. They would rather make a mess of the living room by systematically pulling each wood chunk out and chewing it into pieces. Once that one has been reduced to mere crumbs, they go back and get another one. So, maybe there are dogs out there that will use it-maybe dogs that have lived in apartments all of their lives in gigantic cities and who have never seen a park in their lives...but I'm thinking most dogs would prefer pigging out than pottying.
Another concern I have with it is the fact that big wood chunks like that could be a choking hazard or cause blockages in small dogs. It can block big dogs as well, but it is more likely in little fuzzy ones. So again, who in their right mind would make a product for dogs with wood chunks.
Mr. K and I didn't want to give up too soon, so we did try a few different things in the hopes of encouraging them to use it as a potty.
First we tried putting a used wee pad over the "bark mixture," but they would just sneak under the pad and steal the pieces of wood. Then Mr. K bought some kind of marking spray to show them that it was a "potty" place, but that didn't work either. If he didn't use a whole bunch, they still took the wood and if he used more, the house smelled like dog urine and the dogs wouldn't even go near it. I can't even imagine how stinky it was for them, if I could smell it. The stink was the last straw for me.
I dragged the heavy metal tray outside,, bark mixture, stinky spray and all, on to the front porch and left it there. I haven't figured out what to do with the tray yet. The thing weighs probably ten pounds or more and it was expensive. I don't want to throw it out, but what else will we do with it? Keep it as an expensive wee pad holder?
Regardless of what we decide to do with it, I just want everyone out there with dogs, particularly little dogs, to know that the Flush Potty is a good way to "flush" money down the human toilet. Don't waste the 75 dollars on it just to find out if it will work as a potty or a tree buffet for your dogs. If you want them to chew on trees, put them outside or take them to the park. It's much cheaper.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Fluffy Thief Strikes Again

Herro. Aria Here.
Mom is busy packing our stuff into boxes so we can move into our new house. So she didn't notice me bowwowing her waptop. I have a stowy to share with you and I wanted to make sure I was the one telling you because Mom might get it wrong.
This mowning Mom was wunning around the kitchen cweaning it to make sure the house is nice for the new people to wook at it. When she was done, she said it was bwushing teeth day. I was vewy excited because the goopy stuff she puts on my teeth is vewy tasty. Big bwother Gwacier says it is cawwed toothpaste, but I don't bewieve him. I will have to Google it. I wove Google, awmost as much as I wove the goopy teeth bwushing stuff.
Mom said I could go fiwrst because I am the pwincess. Well, I added the pwincess pawt, but I know she thinks I am a pwincess. I was so excited that I accidentally bit Mom's finger when she was bwushing my teeth. My tuwn was over much too quickly and so I twied to cwimb into everyone else's mouths when they were having their teeth bwushed so I could have some more. I couldn't help it. The goopy teeth bwushing stuff is vewy tasty. I wove it awmost as much as I wove coffee, but Mom doesn't wet me have coffee. She wets me have tasty teeth bwushing stuff though.
Big bwother Woscoe was the wast one to get his teeth bwushed. He hates getting gwoomed, especially if he has to have his ears cweaned, but Mom didn't do that today. Just teeth bwushing.I twied to wick his mouth, but he wouldn't wet me so I wemembered that Mom had weft the tasty teeth bwushing stuff on the kitchen table so I went to check if she had weft her chair pulled out. Mom and Dad know I wike getting on the table and so they have agweed to push the chairs in so I can't cwimb up. Sometimes they forget though and I can still get up there. I can't help it. I am the pwincess and I can see my kingdom better fwom up there. Besides, Mom might have weft her coffee there for me. Anyway, back to teeth bwushing.
I wemembered that the goopy teeth bwushing stuff was on the table so I cwimbed up and took it. I twied to be vewy quiet. I twied to tiptoe. It's hawd to tiptoe when you have four feet. Big bwother Gwacier cawwed them paws. Is that wight? Paws? Hmmm, I will have to Google that.
Anyway, I sneaked back to the puppy couch as fast and as quiet as my puppy feet would wet me. I guess I wasn't fast enough, or quiet enough because Mom wemembered the teeth bwushing stuff and went to check the table. I stayed vewy quiet on the couch twying not to wet her know I had the teeth bwushing stuff. All I wanted was beautiful cwean teeth. I am a pwincess and pwincesses must have white teeth wight? But she knew and she knew even where I was hiding. She came wight over to the puppy couch and took my tasty teeth bwushing stuff. She even put it up in a cupboawd I don't know how to cwimb to. Well, at weast not yet I don't. I was vewy disappointed. Oh, a big word-I wooked it up on Google. I wove Google, awmost as much as I wove the new tree cookies Mom and Dad put out for us.
The onwy weird thing is that Mom says we can't eat the cookies and every time me and Bawwoo are near the giant pan, she picks us up and plops us on it and says in her happy Mom voice
"Go potty."
Really? She wants me to potty on the tasty tree cookies? I am confused. Big bwother Gwacier says it is an indoor potty cawwed the Fwush Potty-wait, no Flush Potty. I don't bewieve him. I will Google it. I bewieve Google.
Anyway, that is my stowy and don't wet Mom tell you I am a "mischievous" puppy. Oh another big word I wooked up on Google! Because I am not "mischievous." I just wike cwean teeth. That is good wight?

A Doggie Bloggie Update

Yesterday was very much a "puppy day." By that I mean, we spent a lot of the day doing stuff for and with the dogs. That is not a bad thing. In fact, it's quite enjoyable. We went to the vet to get the process started to get the dogs into Scotland. It took over an hour to draw blood and insert microchips in each one of our four dogs.
We hit a small glitch when the vet Tech scanned Roscoe's microchip and realised that it is not an international chip. This meant that both Glacier and Roscoe had to get outfitted with new chips. We technically could have bought the scanner and took it with us, but it was cheaper just to get new microchips. So, now Glacier and Roscoe have two microchips a piece. There's no way we're going to lose those guys.
Aria and Balloo were also given the shot to put the microchip just under their skin. Neither of them were very happy about the microchips insertion or the blood draw. The vet Tech had to take the blood from a vein in their necks and Glacier's rolled around a lot and he didn't want to hold still for her. He made his little whining noise even before she started. We had joked that Aria would be the big drama queen, but I think the award went to Glacier. Roscoe was cool as a cucumber as usual.
He didn't like being up on the stainless steel table. The surface is really slippery and he kept sliding when she asked him to "sit" so she could draw his blood. At one point she said, "okay Roscoe," without knowing that was his "release" cue and he launched himself off the table that was raised to waist height. We always thought "okay" was a dumb release cue as it is such an easy word to say. Maybe we'll have to change it.
After the vet's visit we came home to find our newest puppy purchase waiting for us. We had ordered a "Flush Potty" for Aria and Balloo because our new house does not have a large backyard. Glacier and Roscoe go on command, but I'm not sure the little guys are that good yet. We thought the "Flush Potty" would be a good alternative to puppy pads and would solve the problem of the Dachshunds refusing to potty outside when it is raining. I had high hopes for this product, but they are quickly sinking.
The Flush Potty does not have synthetic grass, which is why we picked it. It uses a "bark mixture" which is supposed to reduce odor and encourage the dogs to go on it because it is more natural. Really? It's a good sales pitch, but where's the warning that your miniature Dachshund would rather remove the pieces of bark and chew on them, leaving tree crumbs all over the house? I mean seriously. I think Aria saw the bark being spread around and thought
"Yum! My own dessert buffet!"
Balloo isn't much better. He pulls pieces out and brings them up on the couch where he can chew his coveted prize in comfort. We thought about getting some sort of "go here" spray, but I'm not sure those even work. If it doesn't, then we've spent another ten dollars that we won't get back. I put a used Wee pad over the bark pieces in the hopes of encouraging the pups to potty on it, but they just pull the bark chunks out from underneath it. Damn burrowing genes.
We may get the spray anyway and see if it works. I thought about phoning Petsmart and seeing if the Great Dane Guy is back and asking him which product works the best. I also need to talk to him about the Intermediate obedience class for Aria. We probably should have contacted him before buying the stinking Bark Breakfast Buffet, AKA the Flush Potty.
I think it may be a good product if you have a very small puppy and you teach them from a young age that it is for going, not chewing. I am not going to give up yet though because if I do, that was a very expensive "oops."
I also started researching Rally training. It's something that I could do with any of my dogs really. For Glacier it would be a good refresher/reinforcer of basic obedience and a good way to train Balloo and Aria. I talked to our vet Tech yesterday about it and she thinks it's something I can do, but she suggested I contact the AKC. I would need a sighted guide to move me from station to station and the instructions are delivered via a sign posted on the wall. I would need my guide to read the instructions of each station to me. She wasn't sure if the AKC would allow for this sort of thing and thought it would be better to find out before I invested a lot of time and money into it only to find out I couldn't compete.
She has a point and so I sent out two emails last night. I haven't heard back yet, but I'm sure it's not a request they have had before. I am a bit concerned they will say "no," but I'm pretty sure if they do, it won't stop me. I'll find some way around it and change the rules and regulations so that blind and visually impaired handlers have equal opportunity to compete. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have not heard back yet, as I said, and so I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Who knows, they might surprise me and already have something in place or be willing to establish a rule that would make it possible for me to compete.
I better get back to my vigilant guarding of the Flush Potty to make sure no one is sneaking off with a snack.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"What's This?" Wednesday

So I've devised my own Wordless Wednesday, but since I don't know what any of my pictures are, I'm going to post one every Wednesday and let you lovely people guess. Thus, "What's This" Wednesday. Now hopefully I can get the photo to download. :)
Happy guessing

Screen Reading software and A Girl Who Doesn't Know What She Is Doing

You would think that after blogging for four or so years I would know how to work all of the fancy features that Blogger offers You would also think that after being blind since I was three I would know how to operate a computer using screen reading software by would think.
Well, I'm here to tell you that I am a lost cause. Up until recently I had not used any of Blogger's extra features and just spewed out my soul in the hopes of it serving as a sort of therapy. If you read some of my older posts from a few years ago, I don't have titles or even the time stamp set up properly. I guess I can give myself some slack in that department. I have managed to figure out quite a few things just through trial and error-like "following." Do you have any idea how long it took me to figure out how to "follow?" Now that I know though, I am a "following" fiend: it could be considered unhealthy. ;) Anyway, so I think I'm doing pretty good in that department, sort of. I still have not discovered how to post links within the post or pictures, but I'm working on it. Soon enough, adorable fuzzy faces will be staring back at you, but until then, my riveting words will have to do. But I am digressing.
So, we know that the Blogger thing is a work in progress, but what about my inability to operate a screen reading program? For all of you non-blinkies out there (Blinky, a term we used in the competitive sporting world for blind folk), screen readers are programs that blind and visually impaired people use to operate a computer. It talks to us, telling us what we are typing or reading what is on the screen. Hence, screen reading software.
There are a few different types of screen readers out there, but the most common one used with Windows is called Jaws, which is what I used to use. More recently though, I have switched to a Mac and I am now using the accessible feature called Voice Over that Apple designed for their computers. It's actually quite impressive how accessible Apple's products really are. But I am not here to promote Apple. They don't pay me yet. I am here to tell you that I have no idea what I am doing. :)
I have only been working with my Mac, named Marvin, since June of 2010 and it has been interesting teaching myself how to operate it. I've mentioned before that I am not good with electronics and that I prefer living, breathing creatures. See? If I knew how to use the linky thingy, I could have linked to that previous post. But alas, I do not.
The point of this gigantic introductory verbal diarrhea is that I have followers who I can't figure out who they are. That annoys me greatly. Blogger tells me to click on their image and their information will pop up. Yeah, right. Good luck working with images as a blind person using a screen reader. I have eight wonderful Followers, but I have one mystery one. I can't see the pictures to put a face to the name and I can't click on the image to get more info, so I propose that all of my fantastic, loyal and dedicated readers leave me a comment one day so I can click on your name and know who you are. That is, if you want me to know of course. ;)
Either that or if a fellow screen reading software user out there knows how to fix my problem, please let me know.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Crazy Landlord Lady

I had something completely different planned for today's post, but after this afternoon's phone call I quickly changed my mind. Originally I was going to enlighten my lovely audience of the crazy costs of owning dogs, but how it doesn't matter because it is totally worth it, but instead I would like to introduce you to the Crazy Landlord Lady.
I piddled around this morning doing my normal morning things. I fed the dogs, had breakfast, made coffee, made a few phone calls related to our move to Scotland and other mundane life tasks that must be done. I found myself in the need of a good exercise session. I have been feeling sluggish the past couple of days and I know it's because I have been neglecting my exercise regiment. As a retired competitive swimmer, I am used to physical activity and I don't feel like I get enough at this point in my life. So, I changed out of my jammies into my sneakers and gym clothes and locked myself in the extra bedroom Mr. K and I have turned into a very small and squished workout room. I slapped a set of headphones over my ears and turned Pandora on. I busied myself for about 45 minutes riding Matilda-my bike-and using free weights as an arm workout. By the time I was done, I was a very sweaty girl, but a very happy girl. I pulled the headphones off to hear Balloo and Aria scratching under the door. They know when I'm finished because the very loud humming of Matilda's tires stops and they start digging to get to me. I kicked off my runners and went out into the hall where I was greeted by bouncing fur babies and a very licky Glacier. I hadn't noticed that Mr. K was on the phone before I opened the door, but upon emerging, I heard his "serious" voice booming through the house. I knew it wasn't any of the dogs getting in trouble because all four were frantically jumping on or licking me. His voice started taking on words and I heard fragments of sentences like,
"Well the dog poop is the least of your worries since you can't rent the house because it is not up to code," and
"I wouldn't say that the electrical box hanging off the back of the house and the giant hole in the bedroom window that I had to tape shut because bugs were coming in is petty."
My happy heart sank. He was on the phone with the landlords. We had told them that we were moving out almost two weeks ago-about six days before our new/used fridge died. Yes, we were without a fridge again. I couldn't understand why she was calling now. Did she want more money because the dogs had messed the backyard? My euphoria was slipping away, so I hurried into the bathroom and plunged my head under the hot spray int the hopes of drowning out his conversation. I didn't want to hear bits of it. That would just work me up more. I wanted him to tell me about it when he was done. And tell me he did.
As I was hopping out of the shower, feeling a bit calmer and Balloo was licking the shower water from my feet madly, Mr. K came into my haven of steamy goodness and told me everything.
She was calling because she wanted to show the place. I was flabbergasted. She wanted to show The House of Hell? She thought they would get someone to rent it? The Crazy Landlord Lady had told Mr. K that the hole in the window was petty because when she had viewed it before we moved in, it wasn't very big. Are you serious?! She knew about it and didn't think that the temperature changes between the very hot South Carolina summer outside and the air conditioned inside wouldn't make the hole get bigger? Glass splits with temperature changes and differences. We had to use packing tape to hold the window together and apparently this was a "petty" problem.
I'm not sure what her reasoning for the electrical box dangling from the back of the house was petty, but this issue didn't concern her either. Even though that is a fire hazard and deems the house uninhabitable. We had told her about this problem back in September when it happened, but nothing was done about it.
There were a bunch of other promises that they made that were never followed through on. They had said that they would close up the swamp cooler, whatever that is, and spray insulation in the attic because it is a huge energy waster, but it never happened. They left us without a fridge for a total of five days between the two times that the fridges died. As blind people we can't just go out and buy food every day-we need a fridge. We were also without water for a total of nine days from November 2010 to January 2011 and we were gone for two weeks in December. Really? And all she is concerned about is dog poop.
Of course we are going to clean the backyard up to the best of our ability. A few people said just leave it and don't clean the house before we leave, but that reflects poorly on us. They might be completely irresponsible human beings, but we are not.
So it turns out the Crazy Landlord Lady is bringing a person by on Thursday and three on Saturday and we're going to be here. If the potential tenants ask questions, I am answering them honestly.
"Yes it's a nice fireplace, but it doesn't work. It leaks when it rains."
"Of course you can take a shower every day, but invest in a rubber mat because there is rust in the tub." And so on and so forth.
I'm not angry anymore. I was at first, but now it's just amusing. Thankfully in seventeen days we will be rid of the Crazy Landlord Lady and will be living in a place where the property management staff care. There are even two pools on site and a little workout centre. The neighbourhood also has sidewalks throughout it and we can walk to Cracker Barrel for breakfast if we would like to. It's still not ideal, as this city is extremely inaccessible, but it will work until we move to Scotland. And the best part is that we won't have to worry about us or our stuff going up in flames because an electrical wire fell on the back deck.