June 28th 2011 11:19 pm
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Abe's been working for several months now full time. However I've noticed within this past month that he's really fell into his groove and matured a great deal. His little insecurities which sometimes annoyed me in public have disappeared and you can tell he's really taking his job seriously. This has also fallen within the same time now that my new doctor has renewed my prescription for a service dog and is taking his usage very seriously.
Since my Pulmonary Specialist has never worked with someone with a service dog before he is keeping detailed records of my health and how Abe behaves and alerts to it and is hoping to use it for the purposes of a study for people with severe lung problems. He's hoping that by indicating what goes on with my system when Abe alerts that it can be helpful for other people with chronic lung issues and stopping chronic episodes before they happen. I keep notes of when Abe alerts such as what I was doing at the time and what sort of sounds and actions he's made to alert me. So far it has indicated that he has different sounds+actions depending on the severity of the situation. For example; he wakes me at night if I have breathing problems by biting on my fingers or my neck. For slight wheezing he pushes his nose into my ribs and growls and for major issues he bites my fingers and pulls on my clothing while growling until I take my medication or someone helps me.
Now most people and especially doctors don't usually believe that a dog could learn to alert to breathing problems like other disabilities because alike with seizures or blood sugar there hasn't been any evidence of what sort of chemical changes take place before an attack. With seizures and blood sugar there is a smell change that takes place that allows the dog to alert but there is no indication of such with breathing issues.
…Now I will get onto talking about Abe’s remarkable day.
Today was the first day I had taken Abe with me to my pulmonary rehabilitation appointment. I have been having some serious episodes this past month and have reported to my doctor in a journal every time Abe alerts to an attack but my doctors/nurses have never observed it first hand. Today I went to do my exercising and Abe was sound asleep next to my treadmill near the pulmonary nurse that observes me. I all of a sudden felt a wave of dizziness and suddenly to my surprise I heard the nurse gasp and Abe come right up to me and start biting onto my hand and pulling me gently by my pant leg. I immediately stopped because this is his indicator that I am going to have an episode and am dizzy and he wants to brace me. The nurses immediately sat me down and took my vitals and discovered that I was in the beginning of an attack but because he had alerted immediately it kept my lungs from collapsing and kept me from passing out. The head nurse who had been assisting me had said Abe had shoved her out of the way to get to me and she thought he was misbehaving until she saw he was alerting and bracing himself for me.
Frankly; them seeing him alerting in public was a huge step for validating in there notes me using a service animal but also providing to my doctor information for his personal study.
I sat for about a half hour and took some medication and when I felt better I went to my next exercise machine. Abe lay down next to my step machine and was off in dreamland once again.
There was an elderly man who was in the hospital who was doing rehabilitation on a treadmill 5ft from me. His nurse attendant was several feet away, completely distracted and ignoring him. Without warning and before I could stop him- Abe yet again woke from his deep sleep, race across the room to the man before I could grab his leash and started biting his fingers and pulling gently on his robe. The man at first was terrified thinking him dangerous and stopped his machine as Abe started nosing him aggressivly. I was stunned at Abe’s behavior and I told the man that he was alerting and to take a seat immediately. The man then all of a sudden collapsed as I said this and was luckily caught by a nurse before he fell completely. They had to call in help and put him on a face mask because his lungs had given out but he shortly recovered.
Abe is now the idol of my pulmonary rehab clinic as well as the elderly gentleman he assisted.
The head nurse that works with me as well as the rest of the group including the doctors now adore Abe and now want to push the use of pulmonary service animals. The head nurse however did yell at the assisting nurse for not paying attention to her patient and stated that if Abe had not been there he would have been seriously hurt. She yelled at her also; telling her that Abe was my service dog and should be only paying attention to me and her incompetence is dividing his attention away from his master. LOL I’m glad she said that because I was thinking it.
This was just an incredible day and I had to share. It validates all the hard work I put into Abe as I’m sure all of you feel about your dogs. It makes me proud to know that Abe is taking his job so seriously and you can really see the joy in his eyes when he’s out and about. I hope this is just a small step into creating a better environment for service animals as well as for helping the average person to understand a service dog’s function more. I know that before I left for the day several people with chronic lung issues where now interested in getting service dogs because they admired how useful Abe was and want to be more independent. I offered to give them whatever information I could and hope to see more service dogs helping people in the near future.
March 27th 2011 3:10 pm
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Now I just want to say that Abe doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. The only time he’s been aggressive is he growled when two men approached me when I was walking at night and he scared them off. But he’s about as benign a dog as I’ve ever had, including my golden retriever.
Well I went to a doctor’s appointment recently and it was the first time he’d ever gone with me to a visit since he wasn’t working full time before due to his age. He was of course a doll and was so happy and well behaved….until the little monsters in the waiting room showed up.
I have issues with kids all the time. He’s a hound, kids love hounds and their floppy ears and wrinkles but once I tell them not to touch him. They usually behave or the parents come get them. Unfortunately this time around I got the kids that just wouldn’t listen and the parents that just sat there on there fat asses not paying attention to what their children were doing.
Abe and I went to check in and my mother went to sit down in waiting when suddenly Abe and I were both startled by a high screech yell and two kids racing towards us at full speed and then sliding into home in front of us. Of course any dog would be wide eyed and while Abe didn’t move from his heel- he was terrified and his lip was quivering.
I managed to stop the kids from petting him and was terrified to think that Abe might bite the child given how scared Abe was. I told the children not to pet him because he was working and I received a blank stare. Some dude lounging across some chair nearby yelled at the kids to ‘get the fuck away from the dog because he was working’ and they ran off but that wasn’t the last I heard from them. I then told both parents to keep the kids away from him because he was a service dog.
I had not been waiting in line 5mins when the kids started throwing Cheetos at Abe and he started getting restless. Not because he likes Cheetos and wanted to eat them but rather he was upset at the attention. I firmly told the kids to leave him alone and the “mother” came over to the kids and proceeded to scream at them and drug them away. I was to stressed and angry to care about the kids being treated badly. Besides, just because I’m disabled doesn’t me I’m under obligation to be friendly or teach someone elses kids a lesson.
Not 2 minutes later they started racing in a circle around the chairs, tossing Cheetos at Abe and run by slaps as they went by. It was then when Abe started growling, not a full blown growl but a deep rumble under his breath and his lips started twitching. I lost it!
I snatched one of the kids at he ran by and yelled (ok, my version of yelling is much more quiet and more threatening but it works) and I told the child that if they continued I would call the police and they would take there parents away and the they would never see their parents again if they continued to bother me. It worked and the kids ran off to there parents and sat down and everyone in the waiting room was relieved.
Yes, I know, not nice and even illegal. But I’m getting so f-ing sick of kids messing around and there parents not even paying attention or telling them no. I will not have my dog driven to aggression or a child bitten because some parents never taught their kid the meaning of no.
That is the first time Abe has ever growled for no other reason then he was panicked but what are people like us with Service Dogs suppose to do with kids that won’t listen; Especially if they are pushing our dogs to aggression. I’d rather they arrest me for scaring the hell out of those kids then if I let it go and Abe be euthanized for biting a child out of fear.
Thank you for letting me rant but I’m still really upset. This incident has set Abe back on his training by months because now he is acting shy whenever he sees a child. It was a bad situation.
March 19th 2011 1:35 am
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We have been relaxing since Boogie has left for a new home. Its been alot of drama having him with being fostered here and things were getting pretty bad with him. Boogie was biting me an average of 3x a week. But I drew the line when we had to use a broom to pry his jaws off of Abe's throat and McLovin' and Boogie got into a dog fight because McLovin' ran in to rescue his brother Abe. Boogie went to a different foster home where he will be a lone dog and hopefully, she plans to keep him permanently.
The dogs have mellowed, the cats have mellowed and everyone is now able to sleep through the night without a little white terror screaming bloody murder. I feel so sad for Boogie that he is such an unhappy dog but I'm more mad at his past owner who let him get to that point. I've never been unable to rehabilitate a dog but Boogie is my first.
We decided to top off this wonderful, mellow day with ice cream given that it's just so lovely outside (Couldn't eat ice cream around Boogie because he'd attack the other dogs.) Sat outside in this lovely 65 degree weather and everyone got there own ice cream cone (posted pictures) then we all played a game (catch McLovin') and took a nap outside together (Dog Pile!). It was a wonderful happy day.
McLovin's most favorite thing in the world is ice cream and he set a new record of eating every drop of ice cream in 3 minutes flat. O_O He had a bit of a tummy ache but a nap made him feel better and then his day got so much better when he was invited into my room to watch Sherlock (his favorite; he loves murder mysteries).
Abe isn't as coordinated with the ice cream as McLovin' and got it all over himself. I ended up having to him him a bath because he got all sticky LOL McLovin' cleaned most of it off of him and has been so sweet these past couple of days now that it's just him and his main pack again. Abe slept like a pup and snored. It was a big day for everyone but I finally figured out what my dogs have that Boogie didn't have that made it impossible for him to live with us...Bliss.
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