Nicknames: full name: Graceland (my tribute to Elvis)
Birthday: March 17th 2005
Likes: I love to cuddle and love going out anytime and anywhere, shoppig at the Mall We have to have perfect manners when we go out. "i just love to stick my head out the window and feel that California breeze run through my hair".
Pet-Peeves: any and all baths and the pool! She's sort of Prissy and doesn't like to get wet which brings up rain she doesn't like trying to "go" on wet grass! and I hates her shoes, so she ends up getting wet anyway!
Favorite Toy: She's watched "Days of Our Lives" all of her life, likes Ghost Adventures, Taps ,Animal Planet
Favorite Food: peanut butter,milk & other people's food spagetti & yogurt really anything plus tons of training treats
Favorite Walk: We go to the mall, a lot of people know us from there. We'll go for a couple of hours or just to get one thing. We shop around the O.C. a lot its pretty big. We love the beach and vacations. We spent the weekend up at Morro Bay last month. "We loved it
Best Tricks: Ican give a "High Five" , "Gimme ten",shake hands, a sort of salute means "I want,,out,dinner,treats"
Arrival Story: When Grace came to the family she weighed only 10 ounces. A can of coke was bigger than she was. A very small white ball of fluff with arms and legs that were all over the place "She looked very much like a new bunny, she even hopped along the yard like one".
Bio: To have Service Dog is to learn an entirely new world but when I learned how much empathy and love Grace had for me actually saved my life! This is the story of how Grace came to be, of the mighty strength and love that a 5.5 pound teeny maltese has given me and my family and of what I've learned from her. To give it a title might be a bit off (but then you've never met me) It is, however aptly called: To Be Loved With Grace.. It seems to me that I always have had great luck when it came time to choose the right dog. And in our family it has always been me who chose the family dog and even though we did have a great Yorkie (named Cloe, that's how she spelled it) for some unknown reason that I cannot explain, I kept looking for a dog that had something extra special that I can't explain to this day. Actually, I kept looking at large to medium dogs. (I'd had a Golden Retriever at one point named Shawnee and kept looking at those) Also looked for Labs or Collies, Shelties,dogs like that. (We even had a rescue Collie-Shasta and a Cocker Spaniel-Daisy at one time who were great loves)But I couldn't put my mind around what was missing. One day I saw this Maltese who gave me a soft "old soul" look and I thought "O how sweet and cute she is". But that was that. My mind was made up on the fact that I wanted a large dog. (I had no idea why we would even want 2 dogs at the time but I had kept my antenna up for many years just in case) But still, I couldn't get this little Maltese out of my mind. Plus by this time I'd developed daily major migraines that I'd already had for many years and had found out that I had many lesions in my brain which may have been the cause of pain, plus I was having panic attacks daily, even at night! So how could I even handle training a puppy with all this extra stuff going on in my life. I'd had to quit a good job as a pharmacy technician (a job I'd worked at for so many years since I was 16 years old. I'd type RX labels, fill scripts & council patients regarding their meds. I had my license and had taken classes sign language & sometimes that came in handy.) it was a job I loved, paid well and was really good at but because of all this extra stuff going on in my life such as pain in my neck & back since age 5 too, I could just no longer work, cook (smell of food cooking causes nausea & migraines) go to the movies (too loud, triggers migraines) + the regular pain & cronic fatigue stuff, etc. (I'd later find out that since I was 5, I'd been experiencing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, a very painful disease that attacks mostly women in the deep part of the muscles. Each person is attacked differently because every body has a different grain. Side effects are miserable migraine, and severe cronic fatigue syndrome. Nobody knows what causes it or how to cure it). Still the looks that the little maltese gave me couldn't leave my mind. I went back a week later, "Certainly, she'd be gone" I thought and I could get her out of my mind. She was still there. And still gave me these intence looks. I held her and asked how much? Dooooo-iiiinnngggg! Wow! Did I have that much? I went home and counted out my 'secret stash' that 'just in case money'. Not enough. I went back a couple days later and said, "Look here's my money & its not what you asked but its all I have is all here in CASH" and I placed it before her. She looked at me and said, "she's all yours". You could have knocked me over! "What's her name going to be? I just said, Graceland....Grace. By this time she was 10 weeks old and weighed a whopping 10 ounces. (The vet weighed her on the hamster scale or something.) I came home & my husband was asleep on the bed. I took this little creature out of her kennel and placed her on his stomach. After about a minute he woke up. I said, "this is Grace and she lives here now". "How much?" that typical husband said. I said, "Undisclosed". So I loved Grace and trained her but when she was almost 2,(she was born on St. Patrick's Day)she became more grounded I think. She had gone everywhere with me by sitting in my purse. Seen all the people, sites, heard the cries in the mall and the smells. Knew when to be quiet & was also not a barker as was my Yorkie. She was so close to me she'd even sit on the carpet-part of the john lid when it was down & wait until I got out of the shower. But when on the bed with me 'cause that's where I sorta hang out because of all my migraines, she'd always touch me close but now, she was giving me a different stare and began "pawing" my shoulder, pause, stare and do it again. "OK", I said. "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" she knew the phrase but didn't go to the edge of the bed & wait for me to put her down (cause when you're only 4 & 1/2 pounds its a long way down). She didn't move. She gave me the stare. "OK then stay here with me" I said. Then after a long while later, I'd got a migraine, Big Time. I looked at her.(Briefly thinking, "No Way!") She'd do it so many times over the next 3 months. (which is the amount of time it took my son Matt & I to keep a careful record of when she did that special warning thing that she did, coinciding w when I was having migraines and or panic attacks.) It blew my mind! She was empathetic! She understood certain things in an exceptional way that no one else could possibly do! Not an average dog any way (although they're all special in their own way) It is her pure and total love for me. That "specialness" that in no way can be bottled! This little ball of fluff was becoming my hero because I now knew that she was indeed that special dog that I'd searched for so long. I could now be warned of an oncoming migraine, take my meds and the pain either wasn't nearly as bad or it would turn out that I wouldn't have any pain at all! This is mind blowing to someone who had daily migraines for 20 years and knew the ER doctor's names! But what would I do when I had to go, anywhere? In other words, now that she was bigger & couldn't be hidden in a purse, was there some way that I could train her well enough so that I truly could take her everywhere? I asked around and got her into a group dog training school to go back and teach her the basics like the proper way to walk on a leash, sit, sit stay and lay down-stay. I told the trainer of my intentions with her. (that I wanted to train her to be my Service Dog) She was sorta skeptical. But Grace has far exceeded any of my expectations of her. Then one afternoon, I was on my little laptop I'd typed in DOG to see what I could come up with. I'd only recently learned how to use a computer. Two things kept popping up. The first was something called Dogster, which I'd never heard of. The second was this thing that looked like a Service Dog group. Never heard of that either. Finally, after seeing these 2 things after a while, I clicked on Dogster. "Oh, a dog club". I said but it was more than that. It was everything DOG! Different breeds, vets people's comments, stories, everything! "Cool", I thought this was great so I put in all the info required and my oldest son helped me put Grace's photo in. Then, I clicked on the Service Dog group. I could practically here the Halleluah and the Heavens opening up! "Oh, My, God!!" I thought this is wonderful. Its everything I'd been searching for hoping for but not really knowing that something that ever existed! You see, I have Fibromyalgia in a major way for the last 40 years but didn't know it, neither did 40 plus doctors! The way I had to discover that I had it was research, research research: I found out that I had a major case of fibromyalgia which is what had been causing deep case of cronic fatigue sydrome and daily migraines and deep pain over various parts of my body(which by the way had kept me in bed for 20 years) . But what I also discovered was the strong bond between Grace and me. When I'm ill, she won't leave my side, even to go "out" Today Grace is almost 6 pounds and still has the energy of a pup. If we go out to dinner I always bring a small mat and she knows to lay down on it (right next to me) and to never beg (and we don't give her one bite). He has stayed beside me through thick and thin. She Is my very best friend and though I know I won't have her forever I should enjoy her while I can and thank the Lord that Grace waited in that pet store for me! I'm thankful for her gifts because to be loved by Grace is awesome! . We are friends with psychdogpetpartners.com .Postcript As of November 2013 I have left that bed through various experimental supplimenta and other things. I still have migraines that Grace still warns me of but my life is so much better. I feel as though I have control over my life again. I'd love to pick up where I left off at age 35 but of course I can't. But I feel 200% better and really want to live. I'm able to do so many things that I haven't done in years. My friend Grace has truly saved my life. She's stayed beside me through thick and thin. I love being alive. In some ways my pain is worse , especially since my metabolism has increased. Grace also warns me before that pain begins also, so I can reach in her vest pocket and take my meds and I get by. Again, with the love of my best friend Grace. April 2014
Hi Everybody!! We haven't written anything for a long time 'cause we really didn't have anything to say.
However, when it was time to renew my licence, Mom called the licence place and spoke to a really nice lady. They talked for a really long time time and Mom asked lots of questions too but she wouldn't even
know the questions to ask if it wasn't for Sabrina's mom for answering tons of questions too. So thanks a lot V.M. Well anyway, the lady gave mom the correct number to call to find out how many papers mom had to bring and I guess what they said on 'em. Mom said that all together she had about 9 pages or so and also a photo of me in my vest too. (it was really hot here the day she went so I stayed with Dad in the car with the AC on). Anyway, for some reason they were really slow so Mom called and they said they had it there waiting for me so we all got in the car for the giant 3 mile trek to the animal shelter and luckily the same man said, "Can I see all of your papers again ma'am? And we can't find the form you filled out either". Mom just wanted the tag so she said she'd just fill the form out again! Silly Mom. Anyway, now we finally have our official California Service Dog Tag!! Yeay! Its funny lookin' too. Its shaped like our state. Now Mom can just show the guards at Target and other people who give us a hard time (from time to time) my Service Dog ID Tag especially if she's forgotten my vest or something and she just Has to stop by there for something fast, or just to look at the plants or something. I'm doing really great 'cause I learn stuff so fast but Mom's been going through a very long hard time and she's so worried that Blue Shield won't approve all of her doctor's requests (4 of 'em) for her to have the Vagus Nerve Stimuli surgery 'cause there just aren't any pills that work for her and she just feels so sad every single minute of every single day. And she's been having little breakdowns during the day at all time and the panic attacks, sometimes even at midnight. She just can't stop crying and then there are the migraines every morning. Then there's the migraines. Sometimes the pain wakes her up at night. She feels guilty too 'cause she's never able to contribute to the family by doing laundry, dishes, dusting or anything but also she doesn't have that thing inside her that makes people Want to do things like that. I don't know if she just doesn't have the energy or the Urg or what. Urg is a good way to describe it. Even though she knows she's not alone, she still feels very lone ly. Plus she also knows that there's no guarantee that the VNS will even work but she feels that she has to try it anyway. Try anything and everything that might give her back her life. It started when she was just a teenager, a kid and it would come and go from time to time but after she had her last baby, it came back with a vengeance! And that was 16 years ago (when she had the really Big nervous breakdown. She thinks she hasn't been a very good mom to the youngest, that he got gipped out of a good and happy mom, ya know? Besides, she has a friend who had the VNS a couple of years ago and it worked really well for her. You still have to take the meds and stuff but its supposed to help soooo much! And she feels that what's been happening especially in the last year
is not even a real life! She also thinks she's a bad gramma. She loves the kids so much but we don't think they understan her. Anyway, I do what I know she needs plus the other things she's taught me and I remember to use my manners and I never leave her side. Sometimes she even sleeps for 17 hours and even if I have to "go" I still lay beside her, 'cause I love her and she's, Mom. I just learned to "hold it" pretty good but when I get the screen door opened for me, well I have tiny legs but I'm a really fast runner. Well, got to go, she's sharing her banana cream pie yougurt with me and I don't
want to miss my turns.
Things are not going so well for us lately. Mom cries a lot and is in a lot of pain. I went with her to the Social Security office 2 weeks ago and last week too. She had to apply for state assistance. She is very embarrased about that. Dad needs to go to the doctor but doesn't go. All he does is work. I get so upset when mom is that I've been having seizures last week and even last night. They mostly happen at nigh. That makes mom cry too because she counts on me for so much!! Right now she can't even afford her medicine and is in much pain in her body and in her heart too. Well, I'm going to go now sos I can be more next to her. Hopefully we'll get through this spell. Any good thoughts to us are very welcome.
Every year since I can remember and even way before I was born, my family has always had a Christmas Eve Tradition.
Traditionally, when my grandma was alive, we always had a Smorgasboard. On Christmas Eve, she'd always put out lots of Swedish foods like herring (yuck!), Swedish cookies, lots of types, some with different jellies in the center, olives (yuck!-only on pizza for me), ham, potato salad, regular salads too. Oh, and homemade Swedish sausage. She actually would go to a special place to find the skins and carefully mix up her own recipe and grind it up in one of those old fashioned hand grinders that hooked onto the cutting board that pulled out from many of the old kitchens that used to have cutting boards that pulled out and would grind up the sausage and then stuff carefully push the raw sausage meat into the very long skins and would then bake the sausage. (its very different than breakfast sausage and tasted very different too way much better). There were many homemade breads but at the time I didn't like potato salad (when I was younger) so I would always make a sandwich from the homemade ham. There were many condiments too. The simple ones that I liked were just mustard and mayonaise. There was also cranberry sauce (which I never liked) but what I did like were her homemade gingerbread cookies. I think it took her about a week to make everything for Christmas Eve.
After we ate. we always would sit in the den at my mom's house and would sit around and open up Christmas presents from the relatives. The one's from Santa (Mom & Dad) were always opened on Christmas morning. So on Christmas Eve, we usually opened up presents from the Grandmas & Grandpas, Aunts & Uncles, cousins and friends. We always tried to make it last as long as possible. It usually lasted, sometimes up to 3 hours because first everybody would get one present from someone and keep it on their lap and then we would go around in a circle. One person would start and everybody would wait and watch the first person open up their gift and go ooooohhh and aaaahhh and that person would get up and and go kiss and hug and say thankyou to the person who gave the gift and show it to everyone too. Then the next person would take their turn and open up their gift and so on and so on. Not every though (the grown ups) would alway have the same number on gifts however because there were ALWAYS more gifts for the children than for the adults.
The great-great grandmas, great-great grandpas & great grandmas & great grandpas are gone now and now I am the grandma (although I feel in my mind very young and actually am very young to b e a grandma and so does my husband)
The tradition still continues however. Only now we have ready made sandwiches, chips and dips but still have hot cocoa though but still have the basic Holiday tradition. We first have our dinner, then we all sit around in a circle and everyone has a gift on their lap. However, I don't think it lasts 3 hours anymore. But we open the gifts from our aunts, sister and brother-in-law, cousins and friends. Only I'm really excited about this year because now we have three grandchildren!! Lovely Mariah is 11 going on 12, lively Josiah (who's very smart but so is Mariah) who i 5 and now we have a new member of the family, baby Hannah, who is growing so quickly (I wish I knew how to get to their home but I'm also afraid to drive it alone). I'm hoping, that for one evening, we can just all get along and celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, and exchange gifts like a normal and loving family. After all many people say "that Christmas is for the children" (and why should the children have to suffer if some people don't see eye to eye) I've always said I just want everybody to be happy and healthy. We do have a great grandpa still left whos going to be here too. (God forbid, but what if its his last Christmas with us?--why should the children be deneid a Christmas with their great grandpa? He loves them ALL so much!!) Plus, its baby Hannah's first Christmas. Is hatred and animosity something that shows her what the Holidays are all about? My wish is that all of us can be together like the Chistmases me and my family are used to having. My son was lucky enough to know his great-grandmas & grandma & grandpa but it was too late for my daughter and her younger brother to know them. My husband and I have many health problems that we don't discuss with everyone. God forbid one of us is not here next year, all because of a disagreement. In my opinion, the children should always come first.
We have a fine tree with many gifts for everyone and we'd very much enjoy watching our grandchildren getting excited and opening the gifts. We love them very much and wish they would come over more often. As we have health problems, as our parents did, when we were younger it was always easier on them if the younger people (us) came over and visited our folks, the grandparents. We wish it was the same now.
The day of Christmas, we ALL usually have a Honey Baked Ham and again, wish the children and grandchildren would come over and celebrate Christmas Day with us. We usually make cheese scaloped potatoes a vegetable and pumpkin and apple pie with cool whip or vanilla ice cream. We never eat late on Christmas. About 3:30-4.
I don't expect a Christmas gift. All I want is to enjoy my grandchildren at Christmastime. I think they would like it too, if given a choice. PEACE, LOVE & JOY