Friday, 29 June 2012

Blog 29 Fond Memories

Blog 29 June 29 2012

Fond Memories

These last few weeks of June have been really difficult, in the way of many fond memories of Jagger.  Lucky has this uncanny way of doing silly things when he is up to mischief.  He reminds me so much of Jagger that over the last few days my wife has caught me calling Lucky by Jagger’s name.  The way Lucky looks at you when you to talk to him, and the way he drops his tail and goes under the table, when he knows he is in trouble is so uncanny.
I was thinking a lot about him lately, today Jagger would have been 8 years old, and we would have been a team for 6 years in September.  I was talking with my wife about his first birthday we had with him!  She stopped by the baker and got him a cake, with Sponge Bob-Square-Pants doing the back stroke in the lake, (that is because Jagger loved the water) over the years we had different parties for him and we would make sure all our kids came over to have cake.  One year we had a BBQ and we told people not to feed him, but sometimes they would slip him something when I was not looking! lol
I went downtown today with my son, and it was Lucky’s first trip downtown to the city core, I stopped at the park were Jagger and I would stop so I could relieve him, or give him water or just give him a break before or after a long bus ride.  I stood in his favorite place where he liked to sniff and roll around in the grass, after I spent so much time brushing him out in the mornings (I swear some people would tell me that my dog needs to be brushed, I would tell them he was, until he went to the park) as a smile came over my face remembering how silly and goofy he was.  I decided that I should start introducing Lucky to this place because this is where we will be stopping in the future.  I never was so reminded of Jagger as when I took off  Lucky’s harness today.  I gave him a long leash and gave him the busy command and then you know what he did? Yup, sniffed the ground, put the side of his nose on the ground and then proceeded to roll around in the grass, and the first thing I said to him was “what are you doing you nut, I just finished brushing you” I think it was the boy coming to say hi to me and let me know that he is still with us, as long as we hold him in our hearts and thoughts and prayers!  

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Blog 28 Where Is The Time Going?

Blog 28 June 13, 2012
Where Is The Time Going?
I cannot believe that we are already at the 13 of June!  It just seems that we got home from the school and now we are in the middle of June. It just seems that we had just got back from Ottawa and now we are in the middle of June. Things at home have been moving at a fast pace we had so much going on we have not had time to breath! I look at it as that every event we have is a training session for Lucky and I have to say he is getting better and better. It is hard for a new guide dog to be at social events and have to sit quietly and have everyone ignore you.
The end of May and the first week on of June, is when we finally finished training around our area and frankly I think Lucky and I are glad that is over with, especially the Lion part of it!lol
I guess it is time that I tell the story! When Lucky and I and the trainer were doing our practice routes we came across two statues outside of a restaurants. They were standing fully erect as we walked by Lucky must of thought they were two dogs or something because he started to get in a crouch position and growl at them (he wanted to show them he was boss, and he would not be scared) well the trainer and I thought this was so funny since it was the first time the trainer had ever seen this, for me it was the second time Jags did it as well. The funny thing is that I did not know how many statues of Lions were on the route that I walked. One night as my wife and I were driving around the area we counted 8 statues. The trainer suggested that one day when it was quite that I bring Lucky to meet the Lions. A couple of days later I did. I have to tell you it was a typical Retriever reaction. I took him out of harness as walked closer to the statue he crouched low to the grown and creped up on it not to scare it away and when he got close he started to growl. I started to touch the statue he stands up as if to say I knew it was not real I was testing you! With that said I thought well we will just go over to the other one and it will be ok! Wrong we went through the process all over again, it took a couple of times before he realized that they don’t move. I tell that story too many people and I always laugh when I tell it.
The month of May also found Lucky and I working on traffic, walking with a guide dog takes a certain amount of skill and a lot of practice. Guide dogs walk a very good line when they are facing traffic. This means the dog is on your left closes to the buildings and they walk you down the center of the sidewalk. Guide dogs walk different when the traffic is behind them, they walk in the center of the sidewalk and you are as far to the right closes to the buildings, this however creates a problem the handler is a little Huskier   than probably the normal handler. The dog does not like having traffic at it’s back, the other problem is that the handler will sometimes step on the back paws of the dog. The dog will correct its self by turning his front part of the body in front of the handler so in essence the dog is walking at a 45% angle this creates space for the handler to walk freely but changes the pace of the dog. I know it sounds complicated but think of it as both you and the dog are walking on a balance beam, one step to the right can walk you into a pole or hole or any object that may not be seen by the dog, one wrong step to the left you can step on the dog or worse trip over the dog and this creates a trust issue with the dog walking in tight spaces. I am happy to say that we have worked out those details of walking in tight spaces.
I have now moved on getting Lucky use to being in large functions. I brought him to a full church service last Sunday. I asked the minister if I could talk to the congregation, I asked them if could they could help me with the next part of Lecky’s training by ignoring him; this means when we go down stairs for coffee not to talk to him or try to pet him because I need him not to be distracted from his job and that is to guide me. The congregation was so happy that they could help in his training, they also want me to come back and great them at the door when they come in, and if Lucky is not sitting and being good they know that I will not come back and be the greater at the door. They want to be the church that has a blind guy and his dog as there greater.
Lucky and I were to start traveling downtown this week but, the Economic summit and all the other protesting going on in our fair city made me re-think that plan besides this week I was a little under the weather, I think it was the heat.

The following weeks are going to be interesting we are going to start some major route training on buses and walking down town, provided that the protesters behave. I have to get Lucky ready to travel by September, that’s when my next semester starts.

I will keep everyone posted.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Memories! Blog 27 2012

Blog 27 June 2, 2012

This past week has been a very emotional and moving time. It has been a time of remembrance and grieving of our loss this time last year.
On May 26, 2011 we lost our great nephew Eric in that tragic incident in that Ottawa school. That took him in a auto shop incident.
My wife and I and of course Lucky spent the weekend at the memorial service finally having our opportunity to say goodbye.
Although my wife and I were at the hospital the night Eric past away, we never got the chance to say good bye at his funeral.
At the same time we were at the hospital that night with Eric, my guide dog Jagger was on his last legs.
He was pronounced two months earlier with a very aggressive blood cancer. His last job was guiding me to the hospital to sit with my sister and niece and her family.
We got Jagger in the car that night and we knew it would not be long for him; he did not have the strength to carry on.
On May 31, 2011 he stayed in the garden and I sat with him we made him as comfortable on June 1, 2011 my best friend and I brought him to the vet we lied on the floor with him we talked to him told him how good he was and at 5:30pm he passed away.
It took months to even think about applying for a new guide dog. On the way to memorial service for my nephew, I was thinking how ironic it was that the same time last year I was doing this same trip but now I have Lucky and last year it was with Jagger. The funny thing is that people would say oh you had to move on. I never felt comfortable about moving on for me that meant it’s over now and something new took over or I could start to forget about him. I new in my heart that I could never forget him nor Eric because they are so intertwined. This last year when I spoke at the schools, spoke of Jagger and his last working job he did bringing me to see Eric and I spoke of Eric and how popular he was in school and how much he disliked bullying. These are two very messages for people to know. So how can you move on from that? At the memorial my great niece said something that was very profound she said “ I can never move on because Eric will be a part of me every day. I think about him all the time”. She also said “I can now start to move forward in my life but I will never forget him because we were friends and brother and sister”.  So I guess you could say I have not move on from Jagger but I am moving forward.
Jagger and I started a special Ministry at the hospitals when we were there. Jagger would get the attention of the patients opening the door so I could speak with them. Not about their spirituality but listens to their concerns’ and take that opportunity to hear their fears. More often than not we end up praying together.  Last Tuesday Lucky fell right into that roll of opening the door with a patient and his wife which allowed me to speak with this couple and help them to gain a better understanding and give them some hope and share some faith to help them move forward.  This action for some strange reason made me think of Jagger maybe it was the way Lucky acted like a big loveable goof y Just like Jagger was. Who loves to leave people fealing  better than when he met them.



Sorry everyone for some reason I am having trouble posting.


Blog 27 Memories!


Blog 27 Memories!

Memories! Blog 27

Memories! Blog 27