Friday, April 27, 2012

You Want me to Whats, Mama?

Herro, Hermione heres to tells you all abouts Da Mama's crazy idea. You knows hows these crazy hu Womans and crazy hu Mans get these ideas in thems brains and then they think you shoulds just do whats they says? Wells, my Mama's gots one of those crazy ideas in hers head and I'm heres to tells you why I am rights and hers is wrong.
Da Mama does this thingy where hers puts on her shoes and coat, tells me to sits, which I do 'cause I'm a good girl, puts on my leash and makes me go outsides. Don'ts gets me wrong, I loves outside. There are so many interesting thingies out theres fors me to, infloor...erm, explore! Yes, explore. As I was sayings, there are so many great thingies fors me to explore. I means, just this morning, when da Mama did her crazy coats/shoes/leash dance, and mades me go outside at fives EM...erm, AM? AM is morning, rights? Anyways, alls you needs to knows is that it was very very very very early. I founds hers a present and broughts it inside fors her. If I hadn't infloored, I nevers would have founds the great treasure; alls fors my Mama.
The thingy is, hers eyeballs don'ts works and so, hers didn't notice my present until hers had tucked me back in bed. Hers shrieked when hers found my present and brushed, um, rushed me to the bathroom where hers scrubbed hers paws likes crazy. She wasn't even thankful! Oh, no! Hers kept saying,
"that is absolutely disgusting, Hermione. Oh, gross!" Overs and overs again. I means, really, Mama? Those aren't very good banners, I mean manners. You are supposed to say thank you. I infloored for you! I haves no idea what the thingy was, so I did some crazy, super research before typing to you and nows I knows why da Mama was upset. I don'ts blames hers for being upset, but hers still should haves been thankful. I was onlys thinking of hers.
You sees, I carried, up 47 steps, into our home and into bed...a,...erm, well...tampon. Apparently, this is not the grossest part...Da Mama said it was used. Whatevers that means. Hers still could haves said thank you.
Anyways, I got eyed, side tracked. I ams trying to say that this coats/shoes/leash dance is very very very unnecessary. Really. It is.
Da Mama thinks that hers needs to go downs all 47 steps out into all kinds of weather just to dance around saying, "go potty, Hermione, go potty." It's kinds of embarrassing. Why would I wants to go potty out where I do my inflooring, wheres everyone can sees me?
Mama, don'ts you realise that there are many other betters places for me to goes potty, and the best part is that you don'ts have to do the coats/shoes/leash dance and then the "Hermione go potty dance.
Mama, I've comes up with a plant, um, plan...and I haves just the pollution...solution. No mores goings out in the bad weather; no mores dancing likes a crazy Hu woman; no mores! Nope.
Whys waste your times and energies when I can take myself? We don'ts even haves to leave our home. I am quite happee using that little squishy rug thingy you haves in the living room. Or, even betters yet!
I really prefers the  flower...power...erm, shower stall. That's rights. Just leaves the door open fors me and when I gots to go, I'll just hops in there, do my business. It's evens easy clean ups. No poop bags, no mores dancing and we can saves the outside for inflooring time, instead of Da Mama looking likes a fool time.
I thinks it's a great plant!
So, startings this mornings, I haves decided not to poops when Da Mama takes me outside. That ways, hers will learn that the shower stall is a much betters option fors us all.
You hears that, Mama?
I've heards of peoples protesting and striking. So, heres I go. I'm on a "no poop" strike until Da Mama takes this leash offs me and I can goes in the shower stall insteads.
Eleven hours and counting!

Fire in my Veins

When I first started writing on this blog, there wasn't much that didn't get my blood boiling. I was young, headstrong and wanting to change the world. I thought the best way to get that done was to be forceful, outspoken and sometimes rude. Some things have changed since then, one of them being that I'm a bit older. My fuse is also a bit longer and when I attempt to change the world, I try to be a bit more diplomatic and assertive rather than aggressive. The old saying, "you attract more bees with honey" kind of fits. However, I received an email yesterday that got me all fired up and, although I attempted politeness, my response was difficult to write without unleashing the fury.
You'd think that in 2012 minority groups-I'm speaking of people with disabilities in this particular instance-would not face the discrimination that they do. You'd think that something as simple as wanting to be educated would be a process of submitting one's transcript and application and wait to be judged on one's pedagogical merits. Well, judging by the email that I received from a university yesterday, this is definitely not the case.
Over a year ago I applied to a university to their Master's program in physiotherapy. There was a huge problem with my application process back then and so I sort of wrote them off and moved on. Yesterday, an email came through from this particular university's disability advisors stating that I needed to discuss my disability with him/her before the university could make a decision about my acceptance. Needless to say, I lost my sh*t. Below is my emailed response.
(Names have been changed).
Dear Disability Advisor, (name omitted),
Thank you for your email.
Firstly, I am not entirely familiar with the University of Bozos' Admissions process,
nor the confidentiality policies at the University and so am concerned
to why the Admissions team disclosed my disability to your office
without my permission. I am accustomed to that decision being up to
the student's discretion and wright to keep that private if he/she
should choose. I am also accustomed to the student pursuing
accommodation upon acceptance into his/her program of choice; again,
the responsibility falling upon the student. University of Bozos is not the first
university I have applied to and this is the first time I have
experienced such a gross and   blatant example of a   breech of
Secondly, I am concerned with the fact that the University of Bozos would only further my
application after I have discussed my disability with an advisor.
Again, when I applied to universities for my under graduate degree and
also to other universities for Master's programs, the application
process was not dependent on whether I discussed my disability with an
advisor. In fact, my acceptance to other Master's programs have been
issued and my disability was never discussed with regards to
admittance.  Acceptance was issued, whereupon, I made the proper
arrangements with the appropriate office. Acceptance into university
should be based on the student's abilities as an academic learner and
not his/her disability. Whether I have a sensory disability or not is
a non-issue as far as acceptance into a program. What I choose to do
after acceptance, with regards to disclosing my disability and asking
for accommodations, is fully my responsibility; one that I accept
under normal circumstances.
With all of this in mind, I shall politely decline your offer of
discussion of my needs/accommodation until the University of Bozos' Admissions team has reviewed my application and decided on
my acceptance or denial based on my merits as an academic student. At
that time, I will make my decision as to which university to attend
and then and only then will arrange accommodations for my disability.
Thank you for your time.
Warm regards,

I am completely and utterly outraged. Not only was the fact that I have a disability disclosed without my permission, this university has decided that they will not process my application until I have discussed my needs with a disability advisor. Total and utter discrimination...I think I am repeating myself, I am so irritated. This stuff shouldn't still happen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Let's Go Walkies

Part of my desire to get a puppy was not only for its undeniable cuteness, sleepless nights, sharp teeth and sweet, sweet puppy breath, but so that when she grew up big enough, I'd have someone to take for a walk. Now, I know what you're thinking: you're thinking "Jess, you walk a dog everywhere you go." Okay, so I sort of do, but I'm not really walking Glacier as we're walking together; big difference. In a way, it's almost better to have someone to walk with, but it has its downfalls.
When Glacier and I are out walking, AKA getting from point A to point B, we are on a mission. We have a specific destination. Glacier is also not allowed to greet other people and/or dogs, nor is he allowed to sniff, pee, chase leaves Etc. Now, I'm all for good leash manners, especially when you have a steam roller of a puller like Glacier, but there is a sort of segregation between you and other dog owners because, in essence, your relationship with your working dog is not the same as theirs with their pets. This distinction and distance is good: it is what allows Glacier to do his job. It is for these reasons, that I've wanted someone to take for walks and Hermione is now that someone.
This morning we went on a very long and enjoyable walk. Glacier's work was quite impressive, especially since I asked him to guide us through a local park, full of frolicking dogs, cyclists and people just walking in general. It was a pretty busy place for 7 AM on a misty, chilly Tuesday morning. The walk probably took us about 45 minutes or so and that's with stopping twice for Hermione to meet another dog. It also included me asking someone for directions to ensure I was on the right path. Once inside the park, I lose all of the signals I use to keep Glacier moving in the right direction; traffic flow, sidewalk, curbs Etc. We were walking down a paved path, but it has branches and sometimes very subtle turns that I would not notice. Accidentally wandering down one of these branches would put me at the complete opposite end of the park. Turns out we were moving in the right direction, which made me very happy.
Hermione did a great job with her forward momentum. Walking forward has been something we've been working on because she initially wanted to prance every direction, sniff every sidewalk slab and eat everything in sight. For the most part, she kept her paws pointed ahead and her nose up. I was impressed with this latter feat as she is only three months old and technically a part of the "gun dog" category; AKA hunting breeds. She did very well meeting two other dogs, which I was also very happy to see. It is very important to me that Hermione is socialised with as many dogs as possible, not only because she is going to be a therapy dog, but because I think it is a very important part of being a responsible dog owner and having a well rounded adult dog. Prevention is the best method of training and teaching your puppy/dog to play nice with others is the first step in ensuring your animal doesn't have dog sensitivity issues.
This morning's walk was the first in many to come. I've made it my goal to walk Hermione at least twice a day in order to ensure she gets the stimulation, exercise and socialisation she needs. It's been something I've been working up to, going on shorter walks every second day or so, but I think she is big enough now to be able to handle the physical activity. Besides, her energy level in the flat as of late has been through the roof. This tells me she is ready for more frequent and longer walks. I really enjoyed myself and I think both Glacier and Hermione did too. They both passed out when we got home and Hermione devoured her lunch. I think there are a lot of benefits for everyone involved, including me, to be out and about. I even feel better just from that one walk. I've also decided that we need to try to go early in the morning.
First of all, I'm more of a morning person and more apt to do the longer walk early in the morning. Second of all, there are a lot less children out that early in the morning. Not that I don't like kids, or that I don't  want Hermione exposed to them, it's just easier because there aren't any little ones trying to interact with Glacier; or parents with kids in "prams" everywhere, but my anger towards prams is for another post. ;)  I've also noticed that the people out walking their dogs that early in the morning are actually quite friendly and happy. I don't know what it is, but people out with their dogs early in the morning are in a much better mood than a lot of people later in the day. Of course I am generalising, and this observation does not apply to everyone. Lastly, it's because you never know when it's going to rain here and it seems that the likelihood of precipitation is lower that early in the morning. It had begun to drizzle just as we walked the last two blocks to our home and it's been pouring ever since. I'm determined to do our shorter walk tonight, but I may need to invest in rain gear for both dogs and a pair of good Wellies for me.
There's something satisfying about starting a new goal; especially one that is just so enjoyable for me.  Have you set yourselves new goals lately? Do you have any kind of routine with your dogs that is enjoyable for you?

Monday, April 23, 2012

PSA: Glacier's Goody Shop Opened

I'm not sure if anyone would be interested, but I've created a Facebook page for the fundraiser I'm doing for LRRS. I realise that most of the people who read this blog are in North America and can't really purchase any of the products, but there's a lot more going on over there than just selling stuff. I am trying to add health facts from time to time; photo competitions and/or postings; engaging conversations Etc. So, if you care to check us out, here is the link:
to Glacier's Goody Shop.
We'd love for you  to join in and have some fun. Plus, a photo of Hermione was posted on the wall by a friend  so you can finally see her. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back in the Kitchen

Ever since I started fundraising for Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland, I've been experimenting with ways to make healthy, tasty dog treats. It's not always easy as most recipes call for flour or other wheaty things that a lot of dogs are allergic to. I'm really trying to find ingredients that shouldn't bother most dogs, throw them together and hope they make good cookies. So far, my banana/peanut butter/yogurt/cinnamon cookies turned out really well and today I tried another made up recipe, which I think was quite successful. The only thing I'm worried about is that these treats aren't pretty.
In the grand scheme of things, that's not a big deal if I was just feeding them to just my dogs, but trying to market these things is difficult when there are so many other treats out there in fun shapes, pretty packaging and fancy decorations. My treats don't even have a uniform shape. They are healthy and tasty and definitely low calorie, which means dogs can have more than one, but they don't look like anything a person would buy from a professional; not even if it's for charity. I don't know how to remedy this. I don't want to sacrifice quality, taste and health for shape, colour and visual appeal. The whole point of under taking this was to produce a treat that was worth eating, not a cookie that is just corn glossed over. Okay, that was a bit pretentious, but you know what I mean.
Let's take my recipe from today, for example.
Ingredients: butternut squash, cinnamon, honey...oh, that's it. Simple, identifiable ingredients all with nutritional benefit for your dog.
Nutritional value, for me, means that I selected each ingredient because of what it can positively contribute to the dog's diet. Since there are only three ingredients, let's examine each briefly.
Honey: a small amount of unpasturised honey contains anti-bacterial properties. It seems to help battle yeast infections. Roscoe has mild allergies to wheat, corn and perhaps some environmental allergies, but when he is eating a teaspoon of honey a day, his allergies stay pretty cleared up.
Cinnamon: I can't say enough about this spice. It helps regulate insulin levels, so it is good for diabetic dogs, and people too. It also acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflamatory agent. A lot of "antis." It is also thought to assist with heart health. There is a word of caution with cinnamon though because it does assist with thinning the blood, and, could potentially cause uterine contractions in pregnant dogs. So, if you are going to administer cinnamon as a daily  dietary supplement, research it first. Basically, cinnamon is good for dogs with arthritis, Diabetes and allergies.  A little bit on a treat, in my opinion, very good.
Butternut squash contains anti-oxidants, a good source of vitamin C and an excellent source of fibre. It too has a multitude of health benefits.
So, what do you get when you combine all three ingredients together?
A very "super food" type treat that looks...well, ugly.
The treats are made in my handy dandy dehydrator and so the butternut squash ends up curling up and twisting all around, but not in a pretty twirly or curly Q fashion. Oh, no. They ugly! I tried one and they are tasty and Glacier, Roscoe and Hermione all thought they were great, but they are just so visually unappealing. Because I can't see, I have no idea, but I suspect the dehydrating process probably discoloured the butternut squash as well, or perhaps the honey and cinnamon turned it a funny colour, but if it did turn a strange colour, how do I sell shriveled up, brown dog treats that are supposedly a "super food?" I'm just saying. :)
Would you like to know how to make these super food treats? That way you can see for yourself how UGLY they are.
Step 1: slice butternut squash in to pieces. Depending on what kind of treat you want, your treat will be either sliced thinly or thickly. I made both because I have big dogs and a little one. The thicker pieces are meant to be something for Glacier and Roscoe to work at, while the thinner pieces are for Hermione. These are probably more of a treat rather than a "training" reward kind of cookie because they take too long to consume.
Step 2: sprinkle thin layer of cinnamon over each slice.
Step 3: spread thin layer of honey over cinnamon.
Step 4: put in dehydrator and let dehydrate until it reaches the consistency you want. The longer you leave them in there, the tougher they will be.
So, there you have it: my recipe for my super food treat that is UGLY.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This New Blogger Thing

So, when I logged in this morning I had a whole post about Hermione planned, but as soon as my Dash board popped up, I realise something had changed. Blogger had switched over to its new stream line interface and I am now stuck with it. From everything that I've read, it is supposed to be less accessible for screen reader users, like myself, than the old interface and I was worried I'd have to find a new home for my blog. So far though, my screen reading software seems to be working with it, but I haven't tried to do anything  fancy yet and until I try to post this blog entry, I won't know if I can even post anymore. With that in mind, I'm going to keep this short because I don't want to write a novel and it be all for nothing.
So, here's to hoping that "At A Glacial   Pace" can stay where it is, despite Blogger forcing me to switch to the new user interface.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chop Chop

I've always said it's the small things that make life so enjoyable. Yesterday Tenie, Glacier and I headed over to a local hair salon. The salon was having a two year anniversary sale and my haircut, wash and blow dry was half price. Spas have always seemed like a great idea to me. In fact, I had thought about opening one myself, but to be honest, getting fully pampered at a spa hasn't really happened for me because it's just too expensive. Massages used to be my treat, but ever since graduating from massage college, I find that I am way too picky about my massages that I hesitate to drop money on them. Haircuts have always been my go to when I feel like I need a  pick me up. Even when I don't need a pick me up, haircuts are always enjoyable for me. Yesterday was no exception.
It's something about going in and having someone else do your hair for you  that seems so luxurious to me. For the last three weeks or so I've been wearing my hair mostly in a ponytail because it was so frizzy from needing a trim desperately. Mr. K suggested I cut my hair short, making it easier for me to manage and I took his advice. I've worn my hair short before and loved it. I'm not entirely sure why I let it get to the length it had. I think the last hair dresser I had suggested a longer style and my hair has been sneakily rowing longer and longer on me.
When the hair stylist was finished yesterday, I had lost about three inches in the back and a bit less in the front. Doesn't sound like much, but my hair feels so much lighter and bouncier. Just that 45 minutes of washing, snipping and blow drying made me feel like a brand new woman. I swear: life is so much more fun when you find the simple things that bring you joy; even if it is just a haircut. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Like a Weed."

Herro everones! Hermione heres again today.
Haves you ever noticed that your hu Man and hu Woman (or whoevers lives with you), says the mostest strangest thingies? I means, da Daddy loves these thingies called wrought dogs, erm, I means hot dogs. Him says theys are delicious. Him says him would eat thems all of the time. So, I hopped on to da Mama's 'puter thingy and looked these wrought, I means, hot dogs thingies up and do you knows what? There is nothing doggie abouts them. Why does da Daddy calls them that?
Da mama isn't much betters. Hers says weird thingis too. Like just the other day, hers picked me up to go outside because I ams not allowed to climb stairs yet and hers says,
"oh, Hermione, you are growing like a weed."
"A wha Mama?" I tried to ask hers, but hers never underpants me...oh, I thinks that's supposed to be "understands" me.
So, while I was looking up those wrought dogs, I looked up a "weed" and do you knows what I found?!
Weeds are not nice things! They choke other pints, erm plants, and most of thems are not pretty! Hows does da mama thinks I'm a weed?
I, Hermione Sophia, am certainly not a weed and I will shows you.
First of all, weeds comes in funny bright colours. I am more of a sin a man...cinnamon, colour with some very lovely white markings. Hows can da Mama contort, hmmm confuse, me with a weed? I means, I knows hers eyes don'ts really works-I figured that out, but I'll tell you all abouts that another postie-but Auntie Tenie and Auntie Carmen tell da Mama what colours my furs are. Hers must know that I am not green or yellow like a dandelion, rights?
Another reason  why I am not a weed is because I haves legs. Sures, weeds haves foots that goes deep into the ground...foots? Hoods? Toots? No, roots! Roots that goes into the ground,  but they do not haves legs. Thank dogness because we'd haves weeds running around on leashes going for walks and doing zoomies; especially since da Mama seems to thinks that weeds makes good pets.
Also, I haves eyes and a nose and two flabby...I means, floppy ears. Weeds do not haves any of these thingies. I've also tasted weeds. I knows I haves! Don'ts look at me like that. I knows you've tasted them too...and I knows I don't taste like that. Plus, who would wants to eat me? Weeds are for perfuming, ah...consuming and, I, Hermione Sophia, am certainly not for perfuming, erm consuming!
So, you sees? Hows can da Mama gets me confused with weeds? Hers really needs to gets hers eyes...wait, no, those don't work...hers brains checked? I ams much too pretty to be compeared-mmm pears-with dandelions.
Hers also said that if I didn't stops growing like a weed that hers was going to sticks me in a bottle...what's that all abouts?
I'm sorry Mama, but I ams not a weed, I researched it, and there is no ways I'd fits into a bottle! Hers really needs her brains checked.
Nows, it's times for my nap. A growing puppy needs hers beauty sleep you knows.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

So, as all of you know, thanks to Hermione, I spent some time in the   kitchen attempting to make some hypoallergenic, gluten/grain free treats for my pups. Surprisingly, they didn't turn out too badly and, as was requested, I will share the recipe with you. It's more of a "sort of do this" thing than an actual recipe. So, bare with me. :)
(I don't have a name for these. Any suggestions)?
Ingredients: bananas (how many bananas you use, depends on how many cookies you want. I used two bananas and got about a dozen or so treats), smooth peanut butter (natural if you can manage it), plain yogurt (I used organic), cinnamon.
Instructions: chop banana into slices Aprox. a quarter of an inch thick. (You can cut them however you want, but just know that the thicker they are, the longer it will take for them to dehydrate).
Spread thin layer of peanut butter on to each slice of banana. On top of thin layer of peanut butter, spread thin layer of plain yogurt. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and place into dehydrater. Let dehydrate for Aprox. 10 hours or until all ingredients have become hard.
Note: if the peanut butter is spread too thick, it will not lose its moisture and remain slightly oily and sticky. This is fine. The texture can be whatever you want it to be. If you want softer cookies, take them out of the machine sooner.
Bananas were used for flavour and potassium. Peanut butter was used for flavour and smell. Plain yogurt was used to encourage good intestinal health and cinnamon was used to promote good circulation.
My boys loved them and swallowed them in one gulp. So, these would be good training treats for big dogs. However, Hermione took hers off into a corner to chew on it. It took her about five to ten minutes to consume the small treat. So, these would not be good training treats for smaller dogs or  small breed puppies as it would take too  long for them to consume.
They are a healthy, low fat treat that your dogs should love. Enjoy. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Da Mama's in Da Kitchen!

Herro everyones,
Dis is Hermione writing my first ever postie and I am writing you a big warning...beclawse..da Mama's in da   kitchen.
I haven't lived heres very long, buts I already knows that da Mama should not be allowed in da kitchen. Hers and da kitchen haves a loves hat, erm, hate...yes, hate, relationships. Da mama wants to loves da kitchen, buts da kitchen just doesn't loves hers back. My very ver very very big brother Glacier says that once da Mama, he calls hers him girl, lit the stove thingy on flames. Da Daddy hads to tell hers that hers was on fire. Oh, wait. No, hers wasn't on fire, the stove thing was and hers was standing right in front of it and didn't even knows. So, hers should never be allowed in da kitchen.
Well, this morning there was no mopping her...I mean, stopping hers. Hers was on a commision, um, mission and no matters hows much I pulled on hers pant leg with my very sharp puppy   teethers, hers was not budging. Glacier even tried to push hers out, buts hers was defurfmined...determined. Glacier stopped trying to shove hers out when she told him "out of the kitchen" and pointed.
"No, no, Mama!  no!" I was screaming, buts hers didn't hears me. "You should be getting out Mama. You are da one getting out of the kitchen! You are Lordess of the Flames!"
Buts hers told Glacier that hers was making dog cookies and him told me that hers could stay in da kitchen. I was not as sure as him was, buts he is the very very very very big brother and so I listened to him.
And do you knows what?! Him was rights!
Da Mama made dog cookies, buts hers didn't use the stove thingy, so there weren't any flames!
Best morning ever! No flames   and cookies, for us! All for us!
Hers said she was using some weird defrightening machine to make them. Oh, Glacier says it is a dehydrateor not a defrightener.
What do I knows? I'm only threes months old.
I tried to snoopervise, buts I am much too short and so Glacier and Roscoe tolds me that there were some pretty yummy thingies that da Mama put in our cookies.Roscoe said him saw bankers..wait, bananas. Yes, bananas. Glacier said him saw bee nut putter, erm, peanut butter and I smelled sinn o men...Spell Check says it is "cinnamon..." And Glacier's pretty sures there was some yogurt too! Can you imagines? all of those yummers mixed togethers to make cookies just fors us?!
Wow. If da Mama wants to cook like that, and there's no flames then I votes hers kitchen privileges be re-inflated...erm, you knows what I mean.
The only pawblem nows is that we haves to wait for a long time for our cookies to be ready.
What's that all abouts Mama? I am a puppy and don't knows how to wait!
Are theys ready yets?!
Still waitings!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Latest Endeavor

It's been a busy couple of days. Roscoe had a great birthday, complete with frozen peanut butter stuffed Kong and a hamburger patty chargrilled just for him. No, we normally do not feed our guide dogs human food. If we give them stuff we eat, then they will think that that stuff is always for them. This could be problematic in a public situation and so, it is a good rule of thumb to keep the human food for the humans.
However, on his birthday we went out for supper-Tenie, Carmen, Mr. K and I-and we told the server it was Roscoe's birthday. I'm not really sure how it came up, but then he was asking if Roscoe and Glacier could have a meat patty. He assured us  it was just meat and no extra sauces. They make their burgers by hand and so we said it was fine, but the boys had to wait until we were finished eating and ready to leave. So, Glacier and Roscoe ate burger off of a plate, in a restaurant! What have I become?!
Anyway, aside from Roscoe's birthday, we celebrated Mr. K's yesterday; I gave someone a massage on Sunday and we had a great Easter dinner as well that day; and much much more. That is why I haven't been here to tell you all about it.
Not only have we been celebrating birthdays and eating burgers, but I've taken on a new fundraising effort for Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland; the organisation I volunteer with. It's been something I've been thinking about for a while now and the details only fell into place on Saturday. I've been blowing up the LRRS Facebook page with announcements and also the dog trainers' Facebook page I've been invited to be a part of.
So, what exactly is it that I'm doing?
The fundraiser is twofold. First, I will be making fleece tug toys for dogs. The tugs come in a variety of colours and sizes and can come with  or  without tennis balls. I had made a small one for Hermione and when I saw her and Glacier playing tug-of-war with it, I realised just how sturdy it was and that it would be a good item to sell as a fundraiser.
Tug toys are not the only product available for dogs. I am also making gluten/grain free treats. These treats are good for training as well as just a treat and are totally natural. These cookies also come in a variety of flavours.
Of course there are goodies for humans too. Hand made soaps, bath salts and foot soaks are all available for purchase in a variety of fragrances and sizes.
Thus far, the tug toys have been the most popular item, with fourteen orders coming in within the last two days. All of the profits made from the products will go directly to Labrador Retriever Rescue Scotland to assist with medical care of rescued Labradors, food and boarding until they can find their new forever homes and whatever else that is needed. I'm really excited about this project and can't wait to start making all of the items. I just have to wait for my materials to come in now. I've been trying to think of ways to spread the word, as I'd like to raise as much money for LRRS as possible, and so far, Social Media has been a big help. I've also thought of contacting the local pet food store where we buy all of our dog stuff from, to see if they would be willing to sell the tug toys. I think the treats may be a no go in the pet store as there is probably some kind of packaging/labeling requirement. Do you have any suggestions?
Well, with that in mind, I must be off to buy fleece and tennis balls so that I can get started on making my first order. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Our Household: Part 7

Today concludes the "Our Household" mini series. Today's post is focused on another very special boy and I've left him until the end on purpose. Not because he's not important-absolutely not-but because I thought it would be a nice wrap up to our week to learn more about Roscoe on his birthday.
Yes, today is Roscoe's fifth birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Shaggy Dog. In honour of is B-day, let's get to know him a bit better.
Roscoe is Mr. K's guide dog and was issued to Mr. K on the same day I was matched with Glacier. Roscoe is obviously from Leader Dogs for the Blind as well as that is where Mr. K and I met. Roscoe is a 29 kilogram, or 68 LBS, Black Labrador, and as his nickname indicates, is a pretty fluffy guy. Despite being a bit too short for Mr. K-he has to lean over to reach Roscoe-Roscoe and Mr. K were perfectly matched with regards to their personalities. Mr. K had to try out a few different harness handles until he could find one that was long enough for him to work comfortably with Roscoe. Roscoe also had a few siblings graduate from our class as well, but I can't remember any of their names; except for maybe a Black Lab named Pepper. She may have been his sister. She went to work in Texas.
Roscoe was raised in Michigan  by a family and  Mr. K had the honour of meeting the wonderful people who taught Roscoe house manners, basic obedience and how to behave properly in public. I don't think puppy raisers realise how much it means to most new handlers to meet the people who helped shape their new life partner.
It would seem that in our household each dog has taken on is/her own role and takes it very seriously. Even though Roscoe is Mr. K's guide dog, he has taken it upon himself to be the protector of the home. He will alert bark if someone knocks on the door, but will stop as soon as Mr. K or I tell him that we know someone's there. He is even more sensitive to this role when Mr. K isn't at home with me and Roscoe had stayed behind for some reason or another. Roscoe isn't as much of a snuggler as Glacier is, but he always has to be near Glacier; touching him somehow. When we are out working, if he and Mr. K are in front of Glacier and I, Roscoe always looks back over his shoulder to make sure we haven't gotten lost. If I go to bed before Mr. K, all of the dogs come with me and Roscoe sleeps at the foot of the bed, closest to the door: I think this vantage point makes him feel like he can be on duty better.
Roscoe isn't all work and no play either though. He loves to run and roll in stinky things. Glacier may look for dirt, but Roscoe looks for the stinkiest thing he can find; like dead, rotting fish for example. He also is quite the talker. If he gets excited about going out to work or getting his dinner, he hops around grumbling. He's quite the character. Roscoe also never does anything half As*ed, if you'll pardon the expression. If you tell him to sit, his butt hits the floor with an emphatic "wham!" That is probably why he takes his protective duties so seriously.
As all of our other animals have several nicknames, so does Roscoe.
Shaggy Dog: because he has a fluffy, wavy coat, with long fur between his toes. If he's out in the mud or snow, I would often have to make an effort to ensure things weren't clinging to his toe hair.
Mr. Rudeness: Roscoe may be the protector, but sometimes he has no regard for anyone else. Once when we were  at the vet, I had Glacier go into a down and Mr. K asked Roscoe to sit. Instead of sitting on the very empty floor space, Roscoe planted his rear on Glacier's head; with that emphatic "wham" of course.
Moscoes: This is a name he got early on. Mr. K's niece, who was about two when Roscoe came home, couldn't say "Roscoe." So, when she called him it came out "Moscoes." The name has stuck and is applied to Roscoe when he is being sweet or goofy. As one of our friends aptly said, "Roscoe is for when he is working and Moscoes is for when he is off duty."
Little Bear: This goes back to his fluffiness and that he's black. Not to mention, his little noises he makes when happy make him sound like a bear.
People often stop us to comment on how beautiful our boys are. Glacier's colouring is often the topic of conversation. That, or his gigantic head, but when people talk about Roscoe, they mention how he looks like he came off of the front of a hunting dog magazine. He looks like the perfect gun dog with his huge jowls, blocky head, thick coat and broad tail. I think that if he hadn't been a guide dog, he could have been trained to hunt birds; he just would have to work on his swimming ability.
Glacier is horrible at swimming, but at least Roscoe tries. When he swims out from the shore, he lifts his front paws right out of the water and whacks the waves. He looks and sounds like he is about to drown. The strange part is that when he turns around and goes back to shore, the waves behind him, he swims properly. Maybe he thinks he has to climb over the waves?
Here are a few fun facts about Roscoe.
1. Roscoe loves pillows. If there is a pillow on a couch or bed, it can be guaranteed that Roscoe will be using it. When I was attending massage college, he used to climb up on the bed, where Mr. K was asleep, grab my pillow and take it back down into his bed. A classic example of his love of pillows and why the nickname "Mr. Rudeness" applies.
2. All Labs love food, but you can't even say "supper," "breakfast," "cookie" or "food" around him because he loses his mind. He acts like I've never fed him even if he's just polished his bowl clean. If you say "food" around five PM or when you first wake up in the morning-his two feeding times-the dog nearly comes out of his skin  with excitement. He starts talking and prancing.
3. Roscoe's newest trick is learning how to give "five" and he loves doing it. If he sits and you ask him to "give me five" he reaches over with his paw and hits you with it. Remember I said he never does anything without enthusiasm? If he's going to give you five, you're going to know about it.
4. Roscoe is faster than Glacier when out running. When they are running on straight aways, they are pretty evenly matched, but because Roscoe is more compact and lower to the ground, he can take the corners better. I think he knows this because if he is playing with Glacier, he'll run circles so that Glacier can never catch him. Mr. Rudeness is quite appropriate don't you think? Either that or he's too smart.
5. Despite his love for food, Mr. K can put an Oreo cookie on each of his front paws, tell him to leave it and Roscoe will not touch them; even if he is left alone. He has waited for twenty minutes before, surrounded by cookies and never moved. He was quite excited when Mr. K released him from his "stay" and he was given his own cookies. Good boy, Roscoe.
6. To Glacier, I am his girl, his handler, but to Roscoe I am Mom. He does not work for me and because of that, we can have a different relationship. However, it is not completely the same as other owner/pet relationships because, ultimately, he is still Mr. K's working dog.
With that, we have reached the end of our "getting to know you better" marathon. I hope you all have enjoyed it.
Happy birthday again, Roscoe.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Our Household: Part 6

Of course we all know the one and only Glacier; the guy for whom this blog was renamed from "Jess and Jetta's Adventures" to "At A Glacial Pace." The funny thing is, I think even when Glacier retires and has gone to the Rainbow Bridge-let's hope we don't have to worry about that for a while-the name "At A Glacial Pace" will remain. Out of all of the dogs who have passed through my life, Glacier has taught me the most about loyalty, hard work, friendship and partnership. Without getting too mushy, Glacier has, as every guide dog owner will tell you, changed my life. But, it's been in this incredible way that I never knew would happen. He taught me to speak up for what I believe and also that I should not be afraid to ask questions. I have always done these things, but my journey with Glacier has driven these lessons home.
Let's take some time to get to know this big guy better. :)
There is nothing "glacial" about this big guy; except for his colouring and size perhaps. He walks very fast and makes quick decisions to keep us both safe. I do have to admit though, he thinks about things a lot harder than Jetta ever did and if I interrupt his thinking process, he gets flustered.
As most of you know, Glacier is a 33 kilogram, or 75 LBS, Yellow Labrador; a huge change from my little Jetta. When I first met him, I was convinced that he'd be more difficult to handle due to sheer size, but in a lot of ways I was wrong about that. He is much lighter in the harness, which means that he doesn't lean as heavily into the chest strap of his working harness. This was a shock, as I thought that if he was bigger, he'd pull harder. Of course when he sees someone or something he likes, he can pull harder than Jetta ever could, but when we are just walking along, and he is minding his own business, he is very light.
Another surprise was how sensitive he was and still is. Jetta was stubborn and required a much heavier hand to keep in check, whereas, Glacier often just needs a verbal reminder and he's back on track. It was a hard lesson to learn as I worked with him for almost two years before realising this. It nearly cost us our working relationship. Once I discovered that gentle verbal reminders and just snapping my fingers were all he needed, we began to bloom as a working team. Now, three and a half years later, I think we are finally finding our groove. I've been asked why I stuck it out so long with him and my simple answer was that because I knew he loved working and that he was good at it: I just had to figure out how to be the handler he needed to be successful.
Aside from working, Glacier loves a lot of things that you would consider regular dog things. You can't have all work and no play. One of Glacier's favourite thing to do is find a particularly dirty patch of grass or mud and roll in it until he turns into a Chocolate Lab. It doesn't matter where we go, he always manages to find a hole for his rolling pleasures. Murphy's Law; the white dog gets the dirtiest. I've also mentioned before how he loves to lie in wait for any unsuspecting passing by pup, usually Roscoe, and then run full tilt after them and tackle them.
Glacier doesn't necessarily do a lot of things that would be considered typical to a Labrador because his formal training would have discouraged such behaviors. Retrieving, for example, is not one of his strong suits. In fact, I don't even think he knows how retrieving is supposed to work. Often times, if you throw something he doesn't even chase it. He also does not like swimming, but I'm not sure if that is because of his training and upbringing or because he's just a strange sort. The one thing that is  not negated by his training is his love for food. In that regard, Glacier is a Labrador deep in his bones.
Speaking of food, Glacier had a horrible habit of eating everything when I first got him; especially things that were not edible. He ate velcro, Brillo pads, floss, earphones, a doll's face...the list could go on and on. I don't know if he has an oral fixation or what, but his eating of everything got him into a lot of trouble; including surgery to remove the velcro, doll's face, pen cap, goggle strap and whatever else they found.  Most recently, he decided it was a good idea to snap the end off of a soft, puppy Nylabone and consume it. That resulted in him throwing up every morning for two weeks until he finally threw it up. It doesn't matter how Glacier proof I think something is, he always manages to surprise me. His oral fixation has lead to some pretty useful and interesting experiences though.
When we first arrived here and were staying with Tenie and the girls, Tenie dropped a peach on the kitchen floor. Glacier strolled over, picked it up and brought it to me, setting it into my lap minus teeth marks. The soft peach was completely unharmed by Glacier's very powerful chompers. I think that if he had been trained to be a service dog, he would have done well. When people come to visit, he always has to greet them by carrying something to them, such as my slippers, a shoe, his bone, a blanket he's snatched from the couch...he never hurts the objects, just shows them off.
For those of you who have been reading for a while, you will know that even though he does not destroy his "gifts," he definitely has the power to do so. Glacier has one of the strongest set of chompers I have experienced. He destroyed a hockey puck in less than seven minutes and  tore the top off of a Black Kong (King sized), in less than fifteen minutes. There aren't very many toys Glacier won't destroy and so we are very selective in our household as to what we buy for the boys, and Hermione as well. Otherwise, we would have a toy graveyard in our living room very quickly.
A few quick, fun facts about Glacier:
1. Glacier was born March 16, 2007. His Mom's name was Babe and his Dad's name was Sigh; both dogs were a part of the Leader Dogs for the Blind breeding program.
2. Glacier was raised in Marquette Michigan and his puppy raiser was a teacher; I believe for a Kindergarten class.
3. Glacier was not the only one from his litter to graduate from Leader Dogs for the Blind as a full fledged working, guide dog. He had a few siblings in my class; one of them was named Murphy.
4. Glacier is one of the only dogs I know who refuses to play with the Kong Wobbler properly. Instead of whacking it around to make the kibble fall out, he'd rather sit down and try to chew the top off.
5. One cue Glacier refuses to learn, or remember, is "follow." At Leader Dogs for the Blind, the guide dogs are trained to "follow" a sighted person that is pointed to by the handler. No matter who we're following, Mr. K or Tenie, Glacier decides to not follow. I don't know if he thinks they are going the wrong way or if he feels like making up his own route, he will not follow. In malls or such places, where we are all traveling as a  group, I often have to heel him and take an elbow; otherwise, I will not be arriving at the same destination as everyone else. In his defense, apparently "follow" is one of the hardest cues to teach a dog and since he does everything else so well, I suppose I can give him a bit of a break. That is a new conclusion I have come to as I have worked very hard over the years to get him to follow reliably.
So, there you have it. Some old and new information about Glacier; the big Yellow Fellow with the big heart.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Our Household: Part 5

We're back to the humans today and so that means you get to read all about me. Don't worry, I won't make the post too long. ;)
I don't know whether I go looking for adventure or if I just  turn everything I do into an adventure, but I always feel like I have some  story to tell. That is part of the reason why I started this blog so many years ago. That said, usually my stories involve me in some way, since it is my life, but I am not usually the focal point. In fact, I find it hard to write about myself: I think a lot of people do, but I'll try to give you a small glimpse into what makes me tick.
I was born with an illness called Retinal Blastoma, which is cancer in my retinas. Nobody knew until I was about two and I had lost both of my eyes by the time I was three. Both of my eyes are prosthetic and I can't tell you how many pranks I've played on people with them. Not to mention, the unintentional things that happen when you have prosthetic eyes. Anyway...
Despite being a blind kid, I think I had a pretty good childhood. Sure, there was some bullying and most definitely some exclusion by other kids, but I had one friend who I met when I was seven and she and I have been inseparable ever since then. In fact, the longest we were apart was when she moved to Scotland for her Master's degree and I wasn't far behind her. That friendship made all the difference in the world. I was so lucky, and still am very lucky, to have had Tenie as my best friend. Together we took on the world, but not in your typical little girl way.
When we played "house" the dolls we played with weren't our children, but were being babysat and would be picked up by their moms at the end of the day. When we played "Barbies" our Barbie dolls were witches and wizards and battling evil for the greater good of the world. We found games in hopping around in cardboard boxes, riding tandem bikes, singing at the top of our lungs and fishing in a river with fishing nets and thigh high rubber boots. We were pretty creative kids and I am so glad I had her to share those experiences with. We definitely made our own adventures back then.
I did attend a school for the blind for three years, but it was my decision to go and it was my decision to return to the public school system. Tenie was there of course and she made navigating high school so much more enjoyable. I went off to university a year ahead of her, but fate was kind and she ended up at the same university a year later. By that point, I had been working with Jetta for a year and had attended one Paralympic Games.
All in all, I attended three Paralympic Games-Sydney, Athens and Beijing-and swimming had been a huge part of my life. The swimming trials for the Paralympic Games were actually a few days ago and it was the first time in 12 years that I wasn't there. It's kind of a funny feeling; kind of sad, but also relieved as well. I retired from swimming at the end of Beijing and moved on to massage therapy college, with Glacier in tow.
2008 saw some big changes, with me beginning to work with a new dog and I also met Mr. K. Retiring from swimming that year also forced me to redefine who I was and find ways to fill my time. Sometimes I still struggle with that. After spending so long, committing so much time and energy into one activity, you almost don't know what to do with all of the extra time.
I graduated from massage therapy college, got married, moved to SC, had many experiences with various dogs and then ended up in Scotland, waiting to go back to school for my Master's degree in the fall. Of course, other things happened along the way, but I would have to write a novel and I'm not sure it would sell. :)
I have a lot of interests: such as jewelry/soap making, dog training/behavior,  reading, writing, volunteering, singing, attempting to train for a triathlon (which has sort of been put on hold), horseback riding Etc. I've never been able to sit still well and I think having retired from swimming has increased my need for movement.
The famous quote for this blog seems to be:
"there is never a dull moment"
and although I like to blame it on my dogs, I think I'm really good at putting myself into those situations. Honestly though, I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Our Household: Part 4

First of all, I'd like to start today by thanking my new readers for inspiring me to do this series of posts. I am having a lot of fun revisiting the people, and creatures, that make up my life and why they are so special to me. So, thank you. :)
Second of all, I have a question for those of you who may be more technologically advanced than  me; is it true that Blogger is forcing everyone to adopt the same template in the future? Apparently, this template change is inaccessible with screen readers, which means, blind folk like me will have to move blog sites. I've stuck with Blogger for so long because it's been one of the most accessible blogging websites I could find. I will be very sad if "At A Glacial Pace" will have to find a new home. Anyway, on to today's family member.
Let's get back to the dogs.
We've met Jetta, our oldest family member, so why don't we meet our newest?
Hermione is a 12 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She will be three months this upcoming weekend and she is growing only as a puppy can grow. She is a cinnamon colour with white markings and has  a slightly indistinctive "Buddha's thumb print" or "kissing spot" on her forehead. This marking is particular to her colouring and is very sought after for show dogs. It is a chestnut marking on the dog's head, right in the middle of a white blaze. Hermione's hasn't developed fully yet and it may never, but either way, we think she's beautiful. We don't plan on showing her or breeding her, so if the mark never shows itself fully, life will continue on as always. She has curly fringes on the ends of her ears, feathers on the backs of her legs and a perfect ringlet at the end of her tail; this last feature will probably go away with age and turn into a big fan. We met her Mom, Queeny, and she had a beautiful full feathered tail.
Hermione was purchased from a breeder in England and we had to drive four and a half hours one way just to pick her up. She was in a litter of seven and was the only girl. Five of her brothers are the same colouring as her and the other is a tri-coloured, which means he is black, white and brown. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels come in four different colourings:
Ruby (deep reddish brown and it is ideal that there is no white on these dogs),
Blenheim (which Hermione is  and may be spelled incorrectly),
and black and white.
With Hermione being the only girl, she was a bit more expensive and very sought after. Luckily for me, I put a down payment on her right away as other people called for her just minutes after Mr. K and I laid claim to her. One woman even went as far as to call the breeder three to four times and suggest to the breeder that she just tell us that Hermione had been sold. Her remark to the breeder was:
"Well, I'll get there faster..."
Thankfully, Hermione's breeder is a stand up citizen and told the woman that that wasn't going to happen. The breeder figured that the very persistent and rude woman was a breeder as well. We had already paid for the puppy and were already on the road. The nerve of some people.
There were a couple of reasons for us getting Hermione, but the main one was that I want to train her as a therapy dog and use her skills as a part of my Master's degree dissertation. Not to mention, I was really craving puppy breath, teeth and sleepless nights. Also, when we moved, we re-homed our three Dachshunds and I was missing having a dog that I could treat as a  dog and not my working partner. Mine and Glacier's relationship has a very particular balance and too much mothering on my part can tip that balance in the wrong direction. I wanted someone who could be my princess and baby.
With all of that in mind, Hermione is definitely a diva, but is definitely not allowed to be a little Hellion. She has been working on going potty outside for just over a week and aside from an accident here or there, she is doing very well. Pee is the hardest to catch for me. She also knows how to sit and can hold a stay for about ten seconds. Yesterday we started working on down and that is coming right along. She can be a diva, but she will be a well behaved diva.
Some of Hermione's favourite pass times are trying to play with Glacier, tug of war, getting in the shower stall for no reason  and napping. Since she does like tug of war so much, we are also working on "drop it" as I don't want her to think that she can just take off with whatever she wants. She also loves going for walks and actually has half decent leash manners considering her age and that she's only been on a leash for about a week now.
Hermione is the perfect size and will probably grow up to weigh about 20 LBS, making her smaller than the Cocker Spaniel, but larger than the King Charles Spaniel. Confused yet?
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered a toy even though the King Charles Spaniel is smaller. The King Charles Spaniels are also more rare than the Cavaliers. Cavaliers were bred to be lap dogs, but they still have a lot of energy and spunk. I had been through several breeds, trying to decide on what small breed would be appropriate for a therapy dog, and after hours and hours of research I came to the conclusion that a breed that had been bred specifically to be a companion was probably the way to go. I'm a big dog person, but our flat is small and Mr. K prefers the small breeds. So, in order to make us all happy-Mr. K getting a smaller breed and me getting a puppy-I found what I hoped would be the perfect little dog for us.
In her short time with us, Hermione has accumulated a few nicknames,; just like every other animal that has lived with me. So far she is called:
Hermione Sophia (Sophia after my mom LOL),
Jumping Bean (which has been shortened to Bean),
and Goob (which is substituted for Scooby-doo in the Scooby theme song and is sung to her).
I may be biased, but Hermione has been the easiest puppy I have ever had to train. She just wants to please you and your praise is reward enough. She is incredibly smart and that coupled with her wanting to please makes her a dream puppy. We can leave her on her own for a few hours and she doesn't tear anything up or bark/howl/whine. We did start leaving her for small time periods pretty much from the second day we had her to teach her that us leaving wasn't a bad thing. She just goes to sleep. She has also started "holding it" until we get home and I can take her out to the bathroom. From time to time, she still sneaks off to potty in a secret corner, but if I stay on top of taking her out every two to three hours, she doesn't have an accident. I love my Dachshunds and I miss them very much, but this puppy is a cake walk in comparison to them and she hasn't lost any of the "'tude" that I loved about the Dachshunds. The only thing we do have to be concerned about is the health risks associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but that is with most breeds.
To give you an idea of Hermione:
if she's not napping, she's attempting to battle with one of the big boys; if she's not attempt battling, then she is up to her shoulders in Mr. K's shoe mining for toe fuzz; if I remove the shoe from the situation, which I do, she's dragging the fleece tug I made for her around the living room at top speeds; and if that isn't enough excitement for her then she convinces Mr. K to pick her up so they can "sing" together. That's right, she sings. Mr. K will hold her up close to his face and sing to her and she starts squawking/squeaking/yipping right along with him. She definitely keeps me busy. I'm only able to write this now because she is snoozing soundly on my legs.
So, that is Lady Hermione Sophia in a nutshell. I'm sure you will be hearing more about her as she grows, conquers new cues I teach her and any other silly little things that she does because she is a puppy.
Did I ever mention that there is never a dull moment?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Our Household: Part 3

Before I start today's post, I had an interesting question from the last one. It was  asked if it was true that Sugar Gliders hate dogs.
In our household, our Sugar Gliders do not hate dogs. In fact, when Fiona, Yoda and Plato are out and about, they often jump on to Glacier and Roscoe and scurry around on the boys. Both boys are incredibly patient and just ignore the Sugies. Hermione has only been introduced to them through the cage so far, but eventually, we hope to teach her that Sugar Gliders are friends, not food.
I thought today we could be introduced to one of the two humans in our household. We are definitely outnumbered by animals here, but I don't think we'd have it any other way.
Introducing Mr. K.
Mr. K was born and raised in Michigan, but moved around a bit in his early adult years. He attended college to become a minister, but realised that that sort of work just wasn't for him. He started working for Best Buy and quickly climbed the managerial ladder. He worked in both Michigan and Florida and was very successful. At age 25, just six months after he had bought a brand new car, he lost his sight to a neurological condition. Apparently it had been going on for a while, but there was nothing gradual about the onset. At one point, he was totally blind, but after under going some heavy steroid treatments, he regained some of his light perception, which he still has today. This means, he can see bright lights on TV screens or even outside, as long as there is enough contrast.
After this very obvious life altering experience, he attended the Commission for the Blind in Michigan, which is a facility designed to assist totally blind and visually impaired people learn important life skills, such as reading braille and Orientation and Mobility. (Orientation and Mobility is what we are taught to allow us to be independent travelers). After four months at the Commission, Mr. K attended Leader Dogs for the Blind and was matched with Roscoe. This is where we met as well.
Our"courting" story is kind of funny, but quite lengthy. So, perhaps I'll leave that for another day.
Mr. K decided to go back to school and in October of 2009, he entered Liberty University for Psychology. He is currently a "Senior" and will probably graduate in the fall of 2013; unless he decides to do a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice. His future plans include attending the University of Edinburgh for his Master's in some kind of Neuro Psychology program that I can never remember the name of; it's just that impressive.
Mr. K is six foot five and his height is often a conversation starter. We always tease him because Roscoe is shorter than Glacier, but realistically, personality wise, Mr. K and Roscoe were matched perfectly.
Mr. K likes to draw and after not drawing due to his sight loss, my mom convinced him to try again with some very impressive success.  He also started painting when we moved with even more success. One of our friends has commissioned him to paint him a series of paintings, with the Yorkshire rose as the focus. Everyone who sees the paintings are floored at how good they are. Mr. K, of course, does not think they are brilliant, but many people would beg to differ. He also comes from a musical background in that he played the guitar in a metal band in high school and continued playing music, just with different instruments. When we lived in SC, he picked up the banjo and thoroughly enjoyed it and now he is taking online lessons for the mandalen. He is actually talented and I am impressed at how quickly he has learned to play each new instrument.
Mr. K is also the biggest nerd around, but I love him for it. It's funny because if you were to see him, you may not believe me. He has several tattoos and his hair used to be shaved into a mohawk, but underneath all of that, Mr. K loves electronics and videogames. Cameras, computers, new cellphones, anything that may be related to technology and he's going to be excited. His favourite are speakers though. When we lived in SC, he had a crazy sound system and whenever someone gets a new one, he is always over hooking it up properly.
Mr. K wasn't really an animal person until he met me and was matched with Roscoe. Actually, I think the various dogs we've had in our considerably short relationship have all brought him closer to being a dog person. He has completely fallen in love with Hermione and as I mentioned before, the Sugar Gliders have attached themselves to him.
As for me and Mr. K: we are best friends. Sure, we have little spats as any friends or married people do, but at the end of the day, we like doing things with each other and love being around one another. We definitely complement one another  well and I think that is what makes our relationship work. I think sometimes it is easy to forget, in the craziness of the day to day, how important someone can be to you. Sometimes I forget to tell him how proud of him I am and how lucky I am to have him in my life. I mean, really, who else would put up with my crazy dog antics?