Cleveland Chronicles

dog getting inhaler

dog getting inhalerWelcome to this week’s Cleveland Chronicles.

This week we went to Lowe’s.  We had a lot of opportunities to practice commands in a strange, new place.

We began by opening and closing drawers on floor model bathroom vanities.  Then we opened and closed doors on yet another floor model vanity.

Dog and Wheelchair
Pulling

He does a terrific job at pulling me in my wheelchair and there were a lot of wide aisles we used to practice.

When we found the plywood stacks I thought it was a perfect time to try an ‘up.’ (Up puts his front paws on the stack.) Cleveland puts his whole self into pleasing his human and in his eagerness he did a perfect ‘jump.’ (A jump sounds like the word up.  A jump involves leaping to the top of the stack with all four paws ending up on top.) A few more tries and some well placed blocking he was doing perfect ups.

It snowed this week and his Montana was showing. He didn’t even blink when we went out to the yard that morning.

This week he can position himself behind my wheelchair, then he goes under to retrieve a dropped item. He does this very well.

Now, we are working on a whole new command where he will retrieve my inhaler from the tv cabinet.  He is a quick study so I imagine this will be an easy task.

Dog on a pink throw rug
Eye Roll

I am a professional learner and I’ve been finishing up a study of CSS Coding.  I saw your eyes glaze over. Last night I was telling him about the usefulness of Child Combinators and he didn’t even pretend to be interested.  I got a dog’s equivalent of an eye roll.

I hope you are enjoying these Cleveland Chronicles and the photos. Don’t touch anything sharp.

Cleveland Chronicles

Cleveland and the Grooming Tools

Welcome to this week’s Cleveland Chronicles.

During Team Training I could not remember his name. I’d have a command ready and I’d just look into his big brown eyes and think what is your name? Sometimes, I could see his tag, other times I searched my mental filing cabinets for names starting with a CL. There are a lot of options for a CL name combination. The good news is that after just over three weeks I can call him Cleveland on the spot!
Cleveland and the Grooming Tools

Last Friday, I used a Dremel tool to shorten his nails. The guy was taking a nap while I was taking a power tool to his feet. You can’t get much calmer than that.
graduation photo

Cleveland outweighs me by at least twenty pounds, an intimidating size under normal circumstances. He hasn’t bumped me over once. He is as slow and steady as I am.

The most amazing thing I learned during the week was that Cleveland can count to four. I have no idea how his humans taught such an amazing command. I took a short video clip and I am sharing it here.


This week he has retrieved items, tugged and pulled my wheelchair and has worked his way deeper into my soul.

If you are interested in becoming an Amazing Puppy Raiser for Canine Companions for Independence visit the site at CCI.org.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II

Monday marked the two year anniversary of Havan’s crossing.  It also marked the first Monday as Team Sally and Cleveland II.

On the 16th we landed in Santa Rosa.  We began Team Training the next day on the Canine Companions for Independence North West Training Center.  I was one of five awesome people chosen for what is referred to as a ‘side’ placement.  We were there for a Successor Service Dog.  Between us we had retired 11 companions.  For four of us, this was our third dog.

Graduating Class - April 2017
Graduating Class – April 2017 (Graduates, Dogs and Family Members)

April 21st  we Graduated as Teams and met our Puppy Raisers.

Cleveland, received most of his training in a Prison Program right here in Montana.  He spent three months before advanced training in California with The Bradshaw Family where he was further socialized before going into advanced training.

I will be forever grateful for the Prison Program and his second family.  There are breeders, caretakers, trainers, volunteers, veterinarians, office personnel and donors to be thankful to as well.

To everyone involved, you did one heck of a great job and we intend to honor you by working hard at independence. 

After a ridiculous flight home on Saturday we arrived in the graveyard hours of Sunday morning and began our lives together.

I’ve been posting photos for nearly two weeks on Facebook.  I’ll be blogging about our adventures.  I’ll keep posting even the most mundane things.  You’ll see.

On Monday, Cleveland II was a new breath of life beside me and I think Havan is very pleased.  I can almost hear her tail thumping.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II
Cleveland II

Cleveland II is a two year old yellow lab who weighs in at 78 pounds.

If you’d like more information about Service Dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence program visit http://cci.org

Sally & Cleveland II CCI NW ’17
Havan CCI NW ’07 – ’15
Lincoln III CCI NW ’98 – ’07

 

 

Why Would I Look that Gift Horse in the Mouth?

I was ten months old when I was diagnosed. After my second round in traction for femur fractures, the doctor advised my parents to take me home but try not to get too attached.

A person with brittle bones disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, OI, can look like every other person or they can present as extremely small, distorted and very disabled. It really has no rhyme or reason. It is a collagen disorder and can appear in a family seemingly at random.

OI in all of its extreme presentations has a cluster of symptoms. Besides un-earned and unexplained fractures, a person with OI can have shallow, loose joints, blue scelera (whites of our eyes), spinal curvatures, compression fractures, sweating at rest, and a general blessing of being good with words. Okay, that last part is not on the list. We can also have short stature.

I had over ninety fractures before high school. I spent a lot of time in body casts, arm and leg casts and a few rounds of traction.

I began to walk when I was ten years old, I never got really good at it and when I insist on walking during family outings my darling husband and children spend much of their time waiting for me to catch up. This is where a wheelchair is the best option.

Recently, I found myself injury free. Nothing out of the ordinary background pain was bothering me. I started a new trend of going to the gym on every week-day. On the treadmill I enjoy the freedom of clinging to the hand grips, cane lying along the side, service dog, Havan, on a down stay below the deck and most of all the ground is even and I don’t limp.

I had done 38 week-days in a row and was becoming rather full of myself.

On the morning of my 39th day, two weeks ago Thursday, I shrugged off a feather blanket in just the right way to cause my humorous, (upper arm bone) to come out of its rather shallow home. I have only a few ligaments attached on that part of my arm. OI brings wear and tear. A pop and a mournful curse word and two weeks later I am feeling just about ready to start a new goal.

Breaks, sprains, pulls, they all come to people with OI at the silliest and most inconvenient times. Just when we start to feel all of the world is normal some slight unexplainable injury happens and we feel betrayed by our bodies.

Would I trade this in for anything? Would I like to be taller than three feet even? Would life have been easier without a visible disadvantage?

I can say yes to all of those questions, I have spent my lifetime working hard to achieve what an average person has. I’ve actually done most of it.

I’ve gone to college, have a husband, family, mortgage, dental bills, just like most but I do feel I could have done much much more with a more reliable body.

As disabilities go, though, I am okay with the inconvenience of OI, for me, that’s life. Life is what you do with your time, how you see the world, how you interact and react. Life is and why would I look that gift horse in the mouth?

For more information on Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Canine Companions for Independence click those links. 

Thanks for listening to me as I go a little stir crazy.  Here’s me hoping to get back to that gym.  Feel free to comment, see you next post.