I am NOT a snack....Scooter's Adventures in South Korea

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Kicking butt on the job, Couch Stamps, and a little fender- bender

April 23rd 2008 9:45 pm
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Monday, April 21

Mom's neck is still bothering her. Dad woke her up before he left for school because we have to go for our SOFA pre-screening. Mom tried to get up and almost passed out. So she laid back down and we snuggled for a bit until she felt a little better. We took the 9:45 bus instead of the earlier one. Mom was a little worried that we might not be able to get an appointment (since they limit them). We had to wait to be seen. Mom had all of her "ducks in a row" so our pre-screening took all of 5 minutes. We go back tomorrow at a set time to see the officials and get the stamp.

We walked up to the Dragon so Mom could get a cold drink and we both rested a minute before taking a taxi home where she rested and I napped on the couch. She then re-dressed me and we caught the bus and went to the hospital. Mom had a PT appointment.

The tech had finished with the ultrasound and was getting Mom an ice pack when jerked my head up and looked at Mom. I stood up and pawed her since she was seated. She leaned over to me. (Normally, if she were standing, I'd cue her to pick me up, but since she was seated in a public place and I knew she wasn't going to let me in her lap, I pawed her and put my front feet on her knee.) I alerted. Mom sighed. I gave a really soft whine then walked off my mat and over to her purse and nosed it, looked at her, whined again, then walked back, sat in front of her and gave her "the look". So, Mom took her meds right there. I laid down and got another 15 minute nap in before the buzzer woke me up.

Mom was still feeling reasonably well when we walked out, so we caught the post run bus to the commissary. We had like a ten minute wait for the bus and the bus stop was packed. Mom answered a ton of questions. We get off the bus and Mom realizes she has messed up; the commissary is closed...DUH, it's Monday.

Long story short, we found out where the taxi office is and met the General Manager. He and Mom had a nice chat about how it is illegal for their drivers to refuse us service. Mom got the impression that the Legal office has already had a nice little chat with them. BTW, we got a free cab ride to our post office and then on to the PX.

Mom picked up a few things including some rugs for the hallway between our bedroom and the living room. YEAH! We had no problems getting a taxi home. Dad did call to see if we wanted him to meet us on base. Mom told him no.

Mom undressed me and I laid out on the couch, dog tired. Since she still needed some commissary type stuff, she dressed Bretta and went to the small one here on the compound. Dad came home while she was out, so I took advantage.

I had some delicious Cornish Hen for supper while Dad furminated Bretta. Next thing I know, Mom is vacuuming Bretta and stupid is sitting there enjoying it. I'm glad she didn't try that crap with me. I disappeared into our bedroom just in case.

Then she and Dad laid out all of his 1/2 sized index cards and were putting them in some sort of order. Silly Daddy had them mixed up really bad; two different vocab lists worth. Mom then did a really quick house cleaning saying something about fire inspectors coming in the morning. Looks like it is going to be another busy day.

Tuesday, April 22

The fire alarm inspection this morning was NBD (No Big Deal); The stamp thing was. Dad never got a new ID card when he re-enlisted. So his card shows his old end of contract date. We will have to go back for another stamp before December.

It was sprinkling when we got off the bus (to go to the appointment). We got a thumbs up and a big smile from the MP on crossing guard/traffic control duty. It was still spitting rain when we got done, so we hustled across a side street and up the hill to the Dragon and its taxi stand.

We got about half way home and were waiting at a red light when the car in front of us rolled backwards into us. Mom and the taxi driver both saw it coming. Mom's first instinct was to keep me safe. No air bags were deployed and no real damage done. Mom is a little sore, but with her neck, that is to be expected. It was a little scary for both of us. Mom is trying to decide what she should do. She thinks I need to be seat belted in, just like if we were at home. More-so over here. Seriously, the stereotype for Asian drivers hold doubly true over here. It is like a cross between turning a 16 year old boy loose with a race car and the older person who plows through a farmer's market and then says "I thought I hit the brakes".

 

Kids and Goofing Off

April 23rd 2008 9:41 pm
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Friday April 18

We spent Wednesday and Thursday with Mom getting frustrated over not being able to get stuff taken care of like she wants.

We caught the 3PM bus and ran into the little girls we met last night while we were out having some play time. The younger one was a little scared of Bretta, but was also fascinated. Mom showed her the proper way to greet a pup. (Mom is getting big on bite prevention and proper etiquette towards SDs.)

The bus was kinda full. Mom had her big backpack. We had a couple of packages to mail to a couple of Dogster friends. Then headed over to the PX to pick up a few things. I swear we just need to buy stock in the little half-size index cards. Dad is going through a ton of them for school with his daily vocabulary words. Then we went to the food court to wait on Dad. Now before we could get out of the PX building, Mom had someone ask if I was a guide dog. That always makes Mom laugh. Yes, she had on a pair of shades, her violet gradient lens Oakley Crosshairs to be exact. Generally she only get that question when she is wearing her HJs.

So Mom explains that No, I'm NOT a Guide dog. No offense to the Guides out there. We love you guys, but can we get a little promotion of our own?

We get half-way across the parking lot en route to the food court when some chick stops to ask how Mom managed to get me into the PX. Mom pointed to my vest. Hello. Then again, that is about the same place Mom was standing (with Bretta) when someone walked by (and into the PX) carrying a purse-like carrier with a cat inside.

Mom read through her handy-dandy phrase book and sipped a drink while we waited for Dad. It was feeding time when we got home. Dad cooked while Mom fed us. I also managed to give Mom the eyes so I scored some peas and carrots.

Saturday and Sunday...

The pawrents loafed. Well Dad loafed; Mom slept. Her sleep pattern is way off and it is starting to take a toll.

 

No matter where you go...there is always a 7-11.

April 15th 2008 7:54 am
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Monday, April 14

I woke Mom up at 4:30AM to go potty and to feed me. I was starving. Anyway, the elevator looked like someone had peed in the corner (it may have been a garbage bag leak, but it didn't look like one). Either way, GROSS! I was very careful not to step in it.

Mom took Bretta out (they got the same elevator) then we got our breakfast. Normally, Dad gets up around 5AM, but since he's been in school, he has been getting up later. When his clock went off at 7, Mom had him take Bretta back out. We did walk him out since I needed to go potty again.

There were 2 women out there who started off by complimenting me, then started asking Mom some questions. It soon became apparent they were a part of the "Complaint Brigade" as Mom now calls it. These are the people who think we should either be forced to live off base completely or that we should have been housed on South Post. One said she had been to see the base commander over it. Her argument was that if Mom needs me, then she needs to be by a hospital. She has no idea why Mom has me, nor what my job is.

We were also told that some people had seen us and without checking to see if the rules had been changed, went out and bought dogs or cats only to find out that the rules hadn't changed. These people blamed us. How is it our fault? Anyone with half a brain would think to actually check for policy changes.

They also tried to say we should be vested when we go out to potty. Mom politely told them that Federal Law doesn't require it and it isn't going to happen.

We went back inside and took a nap. Mom's head is back to being borderline. Her neck is slightly out of alignment again, so the left side headache is back.

We met Dad on base to pick up my patches. We came home, worked Bretta, and Mom worked on putting my vest together. Then made me stand there and let Dad take pictures so everyone could see my new patches.

Tuesday, April 15

Mom didn't sleep well last night. When her alarm went off, she got dressed and I could tell that she was getting worked up about something. I tried to get her to sit down so I could get in her lap and calm her down. Instead, I got brushed and dressed and off we went. The closer the taxi got to the base, the worse Mom's anxiety was getting. I leaned on her leg while we waited to check in. Things got momentarily worse when we were told we didn't have an appointment. Finally, the doctor came out to tell Mom that the Botox shipment hadn't arrived. Her anxiety level dropped immediately. She's got 4 tattoos and she's afraid of needles.

Since that was a bust, we walked over to the pharmacy to see about getting a refil on a scrip that was originally written at our old base. We get a number and wait. Our turn comes and Mom explains the situation to the pharmacist. I heard the woman say "There is a problem." It isn't on formulary and is considered a special order item that requires a doctor to write a special "medically necessary" scrip. So Mom has to get an appointment to see what they have available that won't make the headaches worse or have them write that it is medically necessary. She's just feeling a bit frustrated. I understand, I'm not ready for a two-legged sibling, so we need a refill on those meds.

Her neck is still out. That is adding to her frustration.

I like my new vest. Mom had bought a spare one thinking I might need a backup. She had also stockpiled some industrial strength velcro that had adhesive on it. Her sewing machine will be here in several weeks.

Punkin's Mom asked for some pictures of me in my vest out and about to add to a presentation she is going to give. Mom told me we'd go out when Dad got home. Sometimes I think she's loosing it, I don't want to be a model. And I really know she's lost it when she drags me out during rush hour. Originally, I was a country dog. Moving to the suburbs of Baltimore was a big deal. Seoul during rush hour is like NYC during rush hour. I wasn't happy the closer we got to the 8 lane highway. I let Mom know about it. The foot traffic as well as the vehicle traffic on the side street was pretty intense. The 8 lane is just crazy. We were walking parallel to it and came to a place where we had to cross about 4 lanes of traffic to get to the front gate. Mom asked if I wanted her to carry me. YES!!! I was happy to walk again when we got to the other side.

Anyway, I got my picture made in front of a 7-11 and with a crab. I was all for us bringing it home so I could have it for dinner.

Seriously, it was crazy out there.

 

Mom's sick and tired of being sick and tired

April 13th 2008 5:15 am
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Friday, April 11

Mom has had a migraine, but we really needed to go mail some stuff. Dad had called during his lunch break to check on us and they agreed to meet on base. So Mom sucked it up and we caught the bus. Since we weren't sure exactly what time the big post office closed (we pick up our mail at a small one that is stuck out in the middle of the back 40 and has some strange hours), we decided it would be best to catch the 3-something bus so we'd have more than a 15 minute window. The big post office is a full service place.

We also walked through "the Gallery" so Mom could drop off the template for my bi-lingual side patches. We get to pick them up on Monday.

It was rather warm out, which was making Mom's head pound worse, so we headed to the food court to see if maybe some heavily salted fries with a ton of ketchup and a cold drink would help. Sometimes tht kind of stuff helps. It was cool inside and out of the sun. I curled up and napped while we waited for Dad.

Mom spied him first and picked my leash up (she had laid it beside me on the floor). When he got about 3 feet away, I did my butt wiggle and "greeting" chortle at him. It isn't a bark or a bay, yet it is louder than a growl. It isn't loud, but it is a vocalization. I do it when Dad comes home on a daily basis. When I'm working, it is more of my way of telling Dad that I'm very happy to see him because Mom is sick and now I have help with her. Dad greets me whether I'm working or not. If we are out and about, it is abbreviated. Some people have asked why he is allowed to greet me, but I don't greet everyone else. Simple, Dad is pack.

Dad grabbed a sandwich then we all walked over to the PX. Mom needed some shipping supplies and they looked around. Both of them need some new jeans. They worked their way around and grabbed some air-tight containers for our dog food since our other stuff isn't here yet. Mom also picked up a cool high powered fan. She uses fans to drown out noise when her head is bad.

We got a taxi (no problems there). It was funny. He knew which building we live in - he has driven Mom and I home before. So much for trying to blend in and not stick out. Actually, it is quite nice that we aren't getting the hassles.

When it got closer to dark, Mom suggested to Dad that we take Bretta out to play.

Saturday, April 12

I'm a tired puppy. Mom has been wanting to go back to the Chosun (spouse run gift shop that gets in cool stuff from all over Asia) for a couple of weeks. She had found a couple of plates that she liked. She got a wake up call today as to how bad her dyslexia is...she had looked at the tags last month. Dad asked her as they were walking up to the register if she realized exactly how much the plates were. Let's just say that Mom's brain saw 19. Huge difference. We did get one. The other one can wait until next month.

We walked home since Mom wanted another Coach hat and to just look. She and Dad want a headboard for their bed and Mom has something in mind, if she can find a set of wooden screens that she likes. She's also been trying to find a special gift for one of her Florida friends.

Once we crossed the (very busy) street into the shopping district, I became a velcro dog. Normally, I don't walk touching Mom because sometimes she walks funny due to her knee. I also listen a lot more closely and tend to anticipate her commands. I've learned that depending on how the flow of foot traffic is around us, I may need to go ahead, follow directly behind, or go "off-sides".

Mom wanted to go into one of the leather stores that also sells purses. Dad told her to take me inside. If they ask, she has my ID. Worst they can do is ask that I leave. The guy behind the counter saw my vest, could read my "I'm working" bi-lingual tag and knew enough English to read my SD rockers. He asked what kind of service I performed. Dad answered. He was cool with it. Mom checked out her "My Precious". The grey croc Hermes Birkin name brand knock off (yeah. There are special name brand knock offs that are rather expensive themselves.) This was a different store than where she saw the first one. Mom wants "My Precious" soo bad she can't stand it. I think it would make us a cool looking bag, but I wonder how Mom will feel the first time I need to drag it over to her.

We also went into several antique stores. Well, they call themselves antique stores. Most of the stuff was new, but quality stuff. Really heavy. She found some stuff she likes. Makes her re-iterate to Dad that she needs a job. She found a really heavy wooden "desk" that looks like a table - really UNfancy, that was about $1200.

I had my second run-in with local dogs. We had a -poo cross with a distracted owner try to catch me. Mom picked me up and it was jumping at me and growling. Dad got in between before Mom got nipped. I did growl at it once. Mom told me to hush and I completely relaxed when Dad stepped in. Then there was the red toy poodle on a flexi. Mom isn't a fan of them in the first place, but to use one on that particular road/area is asking for trouble,

Then, out of nowhere, we had a little girl come up and ask to take my picture. She was having lunch with her parents at one of the places that as outdoor seating. She was very polite, so Mom told me to pose for her. I gave her a nice profile shot. (Mom would have let her take my pic either way, the whole politeness just capped it off. We appreciate kids with manners.)

The walk down "Luger's Paradise" was fun. Mom had to take it slow because her knees were starting to hurt. We passed the vet/groomers/store on the way. There was a BIG Chinese Shar-Pei sitting outside with his owner who was talking to someone. The sidewalk through there is narrow and all of the Pei's Mom has been around have all been a bit dog aggressive; so Mom picked me up since she didn't want to have to walk out into the street. As we went by, Mom could see it had a bad eye (either a cherry eye or a bad tack job) as well as some skin issues.

Once inside the compound, Dad went to grab some stuff from the commissary while Mom took all of our packages to the house. I got my feet and legs washed and then took a nap on the bed.

After supper, we all went back out to the field to work Bretta. She showed her butt, so she didn't get to play; had to do drills. Mom had Dad turn me loose. I tore around in circles, doing fly-bys on Bretta. Mom says she needed the distraction training. When we came back inside, I was ready for bed.

Sunday, April 13

Mom has been laid up most of the day with a dual headache. Her neck is out and she has a migraine as well. The last time this happened, she ended up in the ER with enough drugs to fall an elephant. I've staid with her most of the day, mainly getting up to ask Dad to take me out to potty. I've learned to ease out of the bed without making it move.

I did wake Mom up to feed us since she takes meds at that time too. Dad cooked and then asked me to wake Mom so she could eat. That gives me a chance to practice my wake up skills for real. It isn't the same when we practice/refresh for the smoke alarm. I know she isn't asleep.

Dad was productive while we were in bed. He furminated Bretta. Got a bag full of hair off her. He asked Mom if he should bathe her, but Mom said No. He washed her feet and wiped her down instead.

Mom decided to try to sit up and spend a little time with Dad.

 

New ID and a new patch

April 12th 2008 4:26 am
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Tuesday, April 8th
Mom tried to do some follow up phone calls, but there was too much of a language barrier. That bummed her out a bit. When Dad got home, he sat down and made me two new ID cards. They are identical except one is in Hangul and the other is in English. Mom had picked up a cool ID card holder (it is hard plastic, like a box, but made so that the cards can still be scanned). My cards fit into it and it is clipped onto my leash next to my rabies tag.

Wednesday was a national holiday aroud here so Dad got out of class early. He came home and played with me, including getting down on the floor and acting silly. We wrestled, played tug, and then ganged up on Mom and tickled her. It was rainy so there was no going out to play. Plus it is Spring Break this week, so if we go outside to potty, we end up feeling like the pied piper.

Thursday, April 10

We missed the bus this morning. Mom had a bad night and decided to try to sleep in a little later. She hadn't counted on Bretta deciding she needed to go out, but then wanted to take her time. So Mom called a taxi. The driver started to give Mom a hassle abut me, but she showed him my new ID. BINGO. That was what we needed. (For all we know, Legal has gotten a memo out to the taxi company already. At this point, we are just happy things are going well.)

Mom did her PT and we caught the bus to the bus station so we could walk over and pick up my new patches. They had messed up our order. Instead of 2 rockers they only had one. We have to go back tomorrow for the other rocker. My new bilingual "Working Dog, Do Not Pet" patch is awesome looking. It is a stop sign with the lettering and border in white.

Mom grabbed a snack then we went to the PX to pick up something for Dad. Had to take a taxi to go check the mail. Our mail box is out in the middle of BFE. We had a notice about a package, but couldn't get it because the window is only open for a short period of time each day. So we went home to wait until they would be open.

I napped while Mom got busy and changed my patch over. We caught the bus back to base then got a taxi to take us back to the post office. Our package was for me and Bretta. DOG FOOD!!! My Evo RM, some regular Evo, and several different small bags of Taste of the Wild.

I was such a good boy as Mom pushed the cart up the concrete ramp to the building and then up the funny ramp to get to the elevators. It is a steep incline. Mom's been working on having me walk off-sides so that I don't have to follow her up the ramp when she has a buggy. She's worried that if her knee gave out that I could get hurt. She's also worked with me about getting into the elevator with the buggy. I'm use to being around each of those individually, but a grocery cart is a tight fit into the elevator. Then we have to worry making sure I don't get hit by the elevator doors.

Mom got the box into the apartment and took the cart back. She and I had headed back downstairs to go to the mini-commissary when Dad came walking up. So he came with us.

 

Promising news on a busy Monday

April 7th 2008 6:36 am
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Monday April 7th

Mom woke me up really early to get me fed, dressed, and out the door. We had to be on the 7AM bus so we could make it to base for Mom's neurology consult. That was all good news/bad news. Good news is that they offer Botox. Bad news is that we are still at the "end of the line" as far as other treatment options. So, Botox it is...next week; the

doc is talking about putting some in her shoulder and going to do part of her neck. PT was more ultrasound. I napped through that.

We ran into Mom's e-mail pal while we were in line at the pharmacy. I like her daughter. She's got a light touch and moves slow around me. Mom broke with her normal "No petting" and let her pet me because she's scared of dogs, but was fascinated with me. They gave us a ride to the "Gallery" where the patch shop is located. Mom dropped off the stencils for my new patches. We pick up the finished product on Thursday.

We went to the food court for lunch. I kept looking for Dad. Mom spoke with someone who asked about the dogs trained for Parkinson's patients. Luckily, Mom knows a little bit about the other specialty dogs. We continued our slow walk towards the Dragon. Ok, let's face it, Mom was worried we'd be refused a taxi again and she just couldn't deal with the BS right then. By taking the walk, we got to see Drama.

There was an ambulance, several fire trucks and a ton of MPs at the building about 200 yards from the Dragon. We were heading down the sidewalk when the bomb squad rolled up. Mom told me to put it in gear, "Let's get out of here before there is a BIG BOOM." We never heard anything, so it must have been a hoax or just a threat.

Mom offered me some water and got herself a drink. We settled in at one of the tables in the common area of the Dragon. Mom read and I slept. She had to wake me up so we could walk down the hill to our Legal appointment.

WE GOT PROMISING NEWS!!!!

The ROK government issues certification (IDs and vests). We are on our way to having that. We've also found out that we may very well be the first Medical Alert team to visit the country. The school we've been waiting on got several phone calls and e-mails from our legal guy. They admitted that they are just getting into producing program hearing dogs and that we are a real rarity, but they are looking to expansion in our direction. They have contacted the agency that covers disabled welfare to find out what wording they want to use for us. They did give us a word to use for now. It translates well enough that it should help, but we have to keep in mind the wording might change.

We also discussed our recent taxi woes were discussed as well. They (legal) want to make sure that the ADA is being followed on base. Mom was involved with discussing solutions to the problem. Since vesting alone (even bi-lingual) isn't going to be enough, it is most likely going to come down to ID. Something that we (and then those that will come later) will have or be issued that pets won't have. It may be different colored rabies/base id tags; it may be picture ids.

Normally, I'd have a bit of a problem with that, but I also understand that verbal assurance isn't going to work on base. Too many people with small dogs who want to take them everywhere. Mom saw someone with a cat in a purse-type carrier take it into the PX Sunday. She didn't go rat them out because she was talking with someone. I think it would be pretty cool if they'd just issue us IDs like Mom's. How we fit into the emergency evac plan is also being discussed. Mom explained that they didn't tag our vet records or our base registration even after she questioned the vet clinic.

I'm beat. We didn't get home until after 4:30. Mom's tired too. Dad did take the time to make me a Hangul ID tag. He's got the basic stuff saved from my original one, so it isn't a big deal. Mom had picked me up a new clear holder for my English one. It is hard plastic and different. Now, I've got both in it, where you can just flip it to see either one. Very cool. Dad's got mad computer skilz.

 

Lots of walking...meeting someone like me...taxi drama

April 7th 2008 6:34 am
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Thursday, April 3

Mom had a rough night. She got another e-mail from "old dad". He's good at yanking her chain. Dad and I also think that her friend dying has sorta depressed Mom a bit. It is making her look at her mortality.

She called "old dad" and finally admitted to him that she wasn't in the country. His first question was to ask where I was at and say that if she had left me in Maryland to go on vacation that he was going to come get me. As if Mom would leave me. Yes, I stayed in a nice kennel when Mom and new Dad went to Vegas to get married. I was a SDIT then and Mom didn't think it would be good for me since it was hot. She regrets I missed the wedding.

So, when Mom finally got up, she had overslept. It's her birthday, so she can sleep all day if she wants. She had forgotten my beef heart and liver yesterday when we went to the commissary, so we went back. Mom took the time to speak to the head manager to ask him about bringing Bretta in as a training session. His only question was to ask if she is as well behaved as I am. Mom assured him that she is, so he is cool with it. As he put it, if she's with Mom then she's working (there to alert). So if anyone else wanted to complain that would be his take on the situation.

I got my first taste of liver and heart mix when we got home as well as having some cornish hen. Dad fed me and Bretta. Mom felt it was time that he did it in case something happens and she needs him to in an emergency or something.

Friday, April 4th
Bretta made a mess...ok, that's an understatement. Turkey legs and wings are just too rich for her. She got the splarts. Thank Dog Mom hadn't put the carpet down in the spare room yet. Mom had to wake Dad up to take Bretta outside while she cleaned up. Mom got her settled back in the spare room while we went off.

The Legal department was our first stop. Mom is tired of waiting for an answer from the Samsung Guide dog school. We need to know what our status is and Google has done nothing. We couldn't see anyone today, but we got an appointment. We grabbed a taxi to the PX since it has gotten really warm out. Dad needs some supplies and Mom likes to look.

We were refused by 2 taxis when we got ready to go home. Mom got the numbers and called the company. Communication is a problem. She did find out that Korean dispatchers are a bit like Cubans in prison; certain words translate. In this case, it was "complaint and Inspector General" (Cubans it is "turn around and cuff up NOW"). Mom got upset. The bus going back to the compound had just left the bus station (which is a bit of a walk) and the next one was over an hour away. Luckily, one of the drivers who knows a bit more English (and has talked to us before) picked us up.

Saturday, April 5th

We (me, Mom, and Dad) all walked to base. We stopped by the pet store to pick up some vitamins for us. I had to avoid an ill-behaved shaved peke that was tethered outside of one of the stores on Itaewon Street. We had been looking for Mom a windbreaker. We found a nice one and the guy was nice enough to let me in the store. He could read my vest. Mom had to stop one of the Riot Police officers from petting me. Those are the guys who stand outside the gates and along the walls with a cane rod. They put the beat down on protesters who get out of line. He was nice, but Mom wants people to ASK before grabbing at me.

We watched a wreck happen literally right in front of us while we waited at the cross walk. It scared Mom pretty bad. It was also right in front of one of the riot buses that park on the side of the road to provide support for the guys. (They take breaks in it and it has food and drinks for them. It is armored for going into riots.) A dozen officers came out at once to direct traffic and take care of stuff. We crossed as soon as the light permitted and checked in through the pedestrian gate. Lunch was tops on our list.

That done, we walked across the parking lot to the PX. We were about to walk inside when a woman asked Mom if her son could look at me, that he knew I was working and he didn't want to pet me. He and his Mom both had some questions. Mom got down on his level so she could be eye to eye with him and explained about my job. She couldn't tell quite how old he was because he was special like me. Mom explained that I am going to retire early because of my condition and he understood because he's a dwarf too. Mom hopes we run into him and his Mom again because she wants a picture of us together. He's what Mom calls a "cutie". He didn't know that pups can have those kinds of problems too.

Then we had another person want to take my picture. I'm becoming famous.

We got what Dad needed. Had a taxi refuse us again (which made Dad very angry). We went by the Chosun (store run by the spouses club), but it had closed about thirty minutes earlier. So we went home. Mom and Dad decided to go back out to Itaewon Street and leave me at home since I was pooped. Mom took some meds to try to keep a headache at bay.

They came back after dark and carrying some potted plants, "swag" (souvenirs) for friends and a new messenger bag for Dad. Mom had spied a purse that would make "us" a great bag when we had gone out earlier. She found out what it was on this trip. Someone please explain why Mom has expensive tastes! It is a very expensive REAL Hermes bag. Crocodile is expensive no matter where you live. Something says Dad will have to try to find her a knock-off one cause she is still drooling over it.

The taxi refusals has Dad designing me some new patches that we can have made at the patch shop on base.

Sunday, April 6th

I stayed home with Dad while Bretta went out with Mom.

 

On the Go...

April 2nd 2008 9:24 am
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Wednesday, April 2

We got up early (for us) so Mom could hit the ATM before we caught the shuttle to PT. The bus ride was fun for Mom. She foudn out that we aren't the only dogs on the compound. We are the only SANCTIONED dogs on the compound. Mom was talking to a young Mom who was telling her about how there are dogs in her building, but that no one ever talks about it. There are also several cats. From what she has heard the apartments with the dogs STINK because they go potty inside. YUK!

It was rainy and I got the belly of my sweater wet walking. I hate it when that happens. Luckily, Mom had something to wipe my feet with or I'd have left prints on her jeans. See, I sit in her lap on the bus because it isn't made for pups to sit on the floor and she doesn't think it looks professional for me to sit in the seat (though she'd love to be able to seat belt me in).

We had to wait in line for what seemed like forever to get a taxi when we were done at the hospital (we were like 3rd in line). Luckily a nice NCO took some initiative and got on the phone and did a Drill Sgt. number on the taxi dispatcher. He told Mom that he knows some of the people who work for the company. They had a nice chat; Mom told him about our problems last week - being refused service by one of the drivers. He asked what my job is. When Mom explained I was a medical alert dog and that we were trying to go home because I had alerted, he seemed concerned. He said he'd talk to someone he knows higher up there and let them know that I'm like a Guide dog. Maybe some networking has paid off.

We rode to the Army's Community Services (ACS) building so Mom could check to make sure she had signed the right clipboard for her SOFA stamp and to sign us up for a language class. We had the driver wait on us and Mom actually took the stairs since that particular elevator is slower than molasses. We missed getting into the latest class. It started yesterday, but it was full (25 students max). The next one (which we signed up for) starts in the beginning of May. In the meantime, we can see about getting into the one on the compound. The compound class takes a lot of field trips, so that might be a problem.

We had our driver drop us off at the PX. Mom is a member of several military spouses sites and one has a forum specific to Korea. One of the ladies who is coming over this year asked about her favorite personal care products (shampoo line and facial cleaners). Mom PM'd her that she would check the availablilty for her as well as pick us up some stuff we need. Dad had been eyeing some Korean language books to help get him back up to speed as well as help Mom, so they went in the buggy. Our PX is divided up into two buildings. Toys, sporting goods, gardening, pet supplies. and tools are at the "Four Seasons" (Mom tends to call it the 4 winds). After she had put all of our regular purchses in her backpack, we walked over there to look at dog beds for Bretta. She's been sleeping on a pallet, but Mom wants her to have something more comfortable. We caught a taxi home and she unpacked everything.

Dad is taking college level language classes as a refresher so he has homework and is getting home later than normal. BUMMER.

Anyway, Mom dressed Bretta so she could accompany Mom to go get trash bags. Recycling is mandatory. Anything that isn't plastic, glass, paper, or a can must go in a special bag that you have to get from the housing office and is strictly inventoried. (Mom doesn't understand why there would be a black market for the bags, but evidentially, there is.) You are only allowed 10 at a time (and they aren't very big). Mom didn't have to tell the man what apartment we live in; he knew when he saw Bretta. He did ask Mom some questions about us. Seems the office has been confused as to why there are two of us. Mom explained that I need to retire early and that it takes up to 2 years to train a dog then the transition for switching over. He understood what she was saying (which made Mom happy). She said Bretta was a good girl and paid attention and was very professional.

Mom was feeling pretty good when she got back, so she took some meds and decided she was going to go to E-Mart (Korea's answer to Wally World), BY HERSELF. That is where she and Dad got my stroller. She's wanting a new scale for measuring my food.

E-Mart is in the bottom two "sub" floors of this huge mall. She walked through the grocery floor on her trek, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Backpacks aren't allowed. The greeter wouldn't let her take it in. They have these little coin operated lockers that cost 100w (won) - about 10 cents- and machines near them that can change your 1,000w bills (about a dollar) into 100w coins. Problem was, all Mom had was 10,000w bills. The greeter was kind enough to give Mom a 100w coin. Mom thanked her profusely. When Mom couldn't find a scale, she bought a coke just to break a bill ro repay the greeter and thank her again.

Mom walked back to base by herself. It was about 6 city blocks or more, cleared the gate, then called for a taxi to go to the Commissary to pick up some food for Bretta and I. Our shipment of Evo RM (and a couple of other grain-free goodies that Mom has wanted to try) got messed up. The company sent them to our old address, but Mom got a hold of them to straighten it out, but the stuff still won't get here for a couple of weeks since it has to come via the United States Post Office. Mom has switched Bretta over to some inferior stuff, but has also taken her 1/2 RAW. I've gone almost completely RAW. I think I've got about 2 servings of RM left.

She picked up turkey legs for Bretta (they are almost a pound a piece), chicken legs for me, Cornish Hen, duck, beef heart, liver, ground turkey and ground beef. She found me some ground lamb that was kinda expensive, but Dad was ok with it. He found a good deal on some beef ribs the other day; got almost 5 pounds for $2.71 (total); I can't wait to try one. I had some of my ground lamb for supper; it was yummy. Bretta had a turkey leg for supper.

Mom made a point to tip the taxi driver really well. He got everything out of the trunk and into the cart, then pushed the cart up two ramps and into the building to the elevator. He would have taken it up to our floor (and probably unloaded it), but Mom could get it from there. We have a small selection of shopping carts parked outside of the building (under cover) for stuff like that.

Mom had managed to have spaghetti sauce simmering when Dad called to say he was on his way. While Dad was studying tonight, Mom started photocopying the worksheet pages out of one of their new books "Your First 100 Words in Korean" then started trying to study. Yeah, poor Mom is going to have a hard time with this. She's dyslexic, with most of her problems concerning numbers and symbols. Her pronunciation is going to be a problem as well. If Dad is having problems understanding her accent when she says Korean words, then the Koreans will have a problem.

Mom admitted to Dad that she felt absolutely NAKED without me. Speaking of her little trek. Dad cautioned her to be very careful. Technically, she's really not supposed to be out without a buddy. (Though, Bretta or I count as a buddy.) Dad knows Mom can take care of herself, even in a strange land. He also knew she had her S&W special tactical blade on her. She is also carrying her new handy book of phrases (with phonetic pronunciation guide) on her at all times.

It is LATE (midnight) and Dad just went to bed. He's going to be a tired puppy tomorrow. Nite All.

 

Baths, lunch, and headaches

April 1st 2008 3:23 am
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Sunday

Bath day. Mom furminated me before getting me squeeky clean in the tub. She was happy that I wasn't nearly as dirty as she thought I'd be. I guess taking wipes to my feet have really been paying off. I did the usual after bath zoomies, but decided it would be nicer to settle down wrapped up in a nice fluffy towel. Dad gave Bretta a bath. She had to hang out in the spare room until she was mostly dry. She was too busy sitting at the baby gate to do her version of the zoomies. Silly girl.

I did sneak into the bedroom and curl up on the clean sheets while Mom was waiting on my fleecy binky to dry. Mom busted me. She wasn't mad.

Monday, March 31

Mom had PT. We got out of the hospital and went to the bus stop. While we were waiting one of the ladies who we've seen on the bus drove by in a taxi. She stopped and asked if we were headed home, that we could share a ride. Mom thanked her and told her we were going to meet Dad for lunch. Mom was soo surprised.

The bus finally came and we rode it to the end of the line which is the bus station. It was a short walk over to the Food Court; it is a large building filled with fast food places with lots of seating. Since it was lunch time, it was packed. My nose started working over-time the minute we hit the doors. It was like walking through the food court at the mall; soo many smells, the variety of foods.

I did a very un-SD butt wiggle when I saw Dad. He was standing in a line waiting for their food. While we waited with him, Mom realized this was my first venture inside a fast food place. Mom just doesn't eat it that often.

I curled up on my pad under the table and did a good job of ignoring everyone until one of the Korean cleaning people kept trying to call me over to her. I stood up (which made her start trying harder) and pawed Mom to get Mom's attention. She told me to "Ignore it" and to lay back down. The woman understood enough English to stop.

We walked over to Clothing Sales AKA the uniform store to see if we could find me a Cadeceus patch. Unfortunately all they had were unit patches. Instead of a staff it has a sword. They look cool and would still get the point across, but we don't want to get in trouble for using a unit patch. Mom is hoping that since the symbol seems to be universal (we've seen it on a local hospital sign) it will help cut down on confusion about why I'm NOT a pet.

Dad went back to work and we walked back to the bus station. We sat outside to wait on a bench and since it was a little windy (mom was wearing her leather trench coat) I curled up in her lap so she could put her coat around me. We had some enlisted guys and gals ask about me. Then we had an older Korean man start a dialog with Mom when he asked what a service dog is (he could read English). They had an interesting exchange before we had to get on the bus.

I alerted Mom about 4PM. Bretta alerted her shortly after. The "Brat" is getting bossy. She kept hounding Mom and was starting to get on Dad's nerves. That is a double-edged sword. She needs to be bossy, but there is a line.

Tuesday April 1

Mom didn't sleep last night because her head was bad. Her first line meds didn't work. She did doze after Dad left for work. When she woke up she figured she had slept too late to get a same-day appointment, but she did get in.

We caught the bus and Mom got some info about the TWO different Korean language classes offered. One is offered here on the compound and the other one is on base. From the sounds of it we are going to be taking the base class.

The ROK Army guy at the reception desk said hello to us. He's gotten use to seeing us.

The doctor we saw had a ton of questions about me. We'd have gotten out of there alot sooner if we hadn't been answering questions. Mom doesn't get why everyone thinks I"m soo well behaved. I'm just doing what Mom asks; then again, Mom has high standards.

We had no problems catching a taxi home. Mom does have a phrase to use now to better explain my job, thanks to someone on one of the Korea boards Mom has been frequenting. We'll see how it goes when Mom tries to use it the first time. He even gave Mom a pronunciation guide for it.

Dad's flipping channels. Korean Boy Bands. Someone PLEASE teach these guys how to dance. They have no rhythm. Dad has homework. Mom thinks that is funny.

 

The last week...rain, taxi drama, and Bretta's first- training excursion

March 29th 2008 8:44 am
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Last weekend (Easter weekend)...we goofed off.

Bretta had her Cornish hen and I had a quarter of mine.

Monday, Mom wasn't feeling well, so we watched movies on Dad's laptop (so Mom could surf on hers) while we waited for Dad to come home.

Tuesday, Dad stayed home since our stuff was coming. Mom had gotten a message from my "old" dad that she needed to call him ASAP. She didn't look at the clock, so it was going on midnight his time when she called. One of Mom's friends died over the weekend. Mom's sad about it. Mom ended up having a bit of an anxiety attack over the whole thing. Her friend was 4 days younger than Mom and passed from something as simple as an Asthma attack.

We found the delivery men unloading our stuff into the lobby when we went out for a potty break. It was raining. Mom crated me and Bretta while the men brought the stuff inside. She just had them prop the door open.

Mom and Dad were tag teaming the 19" tv (leaving us crated) when three ROK MP's showed up. That kinda freaked Mom out. I signaled Mom she needed to let me out to check her. She told me "No". I told Bretta I didn't like the situation, so she let everyone know she wasn't happy about strange people being in our house without her being where she can take care of Mom. The MP's freaked a little when Mom told Bretta to be "At Ease". That made Bretta hush and stop trying to tear out of her crate.

Since Mom now knows they will come knocking again when our other stuff gets here, she plans on making sure Bretta is loose when they get here. Once they were gone, Mom let us out and we took turns snuggling up to Mom.

Wednesday, March 26

Mom had an early morning physical therapy appointment. SInce she wasn't sure what they were going to do to her, she brought my really small bag (the one she bought for the trans-Pacific flight). We didn't need it.

When that was over, we went to see about catching the bus back. It was going to be almost an hour. We sat down and were waiting when I alerted. I had been hanging really close all morning. We walked over to the concession stand for Mom to get a drink and take some meds. We sat back down to wait for the bus and I decided the headache was coming quicker than I liked. We walked over to the taxi stand at the front of the hospital so we could get home.

The driver REFUSED to pick us up. They can't park right in front of the building, they have to park about 50 feet away. He got out of his car and walked over and told Mom "NO." Because I wasn't in a carrier. Mom showed him my ID and pointed to my vest. When a guy showed up and wanted a ride, he picked him up. Mom was MAD. She got the cab number and called Dad. Luckily, another cab pulled up as the first one picked up the guy. He asked Mom about it on the ride and she told him what happened. By the time we got home, Mom really needed to lay down.

Dad came home with 8 boxes of stuff Mom had mailed before we left. We have CURTAINS for the bedroom. Now it will be nice and dark when Mom needs to lay down. My Samsonite bag (with it's fleecy inner pad) is here as well as the rest of my favorite toys. Oh, and our gallon size waterer and our furminator.

Thursday morning while taking Bretta out, Mom had some guy get an attitude and tell her that Bretta belonged in the K-9 kennel. That is was against policy to bring a working dog home. Mom laughed then kept a straight face when she told him that Bretta wasn't government property. That is when some woman started with "It isn't fair. I had to give up an expensive dog when I moved here." She then went on, without missing a beat, to say her Great Dane was worth more than Bretta. Mom asked her if it was titled. Nope. Then asked if she had any idea how much it costs to train the average SD. Nope. Mom should have told her "A hell of a lot more than your pet quality dane." but she didn't. Mom did inform her that training costs alone can exceed twenty grand. She looked speechless, but it didn't last. She followed Mom out the door and to where Mom has been taking Bretta to potty. "My eight year old doesn't understand why you get to have a dog and he had to give up his pet."

Mom wonders if there is something in the water around here.

Mom> "Does he understand that you have a job? That you get up and put on a uniform and go to work?"
Woman> "Yes."
Mom> "Does he understand that police and military K-9's have a special job?"
Woman. "Yes."
Mom> "The he should understand that she (Bretta) has a job. She wakes up, gets dressed, and goes to work. In her case, work is going everywhere I go."

Mom is quickly loosing patience with these people.

We met Dad on base after he got off work. We waltzed into the PX and got curtain rods and then Mom hit the little GNC shop in the lobby. On the taxi ride home, we saw firetrucks on Itaewon Street; that's the shopping district right outside the road that runs between South Post and Main Post. Then we heard (before we saw) an older woman screaming at a couple. Mom made the observation that drama is drama be it in the US or in Korea. People all over rubberneck at accidents or wherever firetrucks are parked. Fights are the same, even half-way around the world.

Mom took the opportunity to to ask Dad if the guys who she keeps seeing walking around in black uniforms with little hand-held devices are meter maids, valets, or something else. They are human parking meters. weird.

Friday March 28

Mom and I slept in...almost until noon. She did take Bretta down to play with her retrieving kong. I wasn't happy that she made me stay inside. Mom made Bretta carry her kong all the way back to the building. That got a few laughs. Later, after Dad got home, Mom decided she wanted some chips so she dressed Bretta in her vest and took her down to the shopette. That gave me a bit of quality time with Dad. Mom said Bretta did really well. She took her time going down the steps to get to the shopette and didn't try to touch anything.

Mom stayed up late to check in with my SNOOPS friends. That made me a happy camper. I haven't been able to give a real time shout out to my friends for a couple of weeks. I was missing my SNOOPS big brother, Bernie.

Saturday. We goofed. It rained off and on all weekend. So, no going out to play. Dad did take Bretta back out on the porch and furminate her with the furminator.

Mom slept in big time. I stayed with her, of course. Dad thinks it's funny. Mom did find info on a Korean language class that gets together twice a week for an hour at a time. She's going to call and see about enrolling. That means she and I will get out of the house for a couple of hours (including travel time) a couple evenings a week. She and Dad have been discussing the "W" word. Work. Mom thinks she is ready to go back to work.

OK. I've got to take a moment to discuss Korean commercials. One word. Cheesy. Nothing like seeing a (major US name brand) acne face wash ad with giggling Korean girls. Mom did ask Dad if they all aspired to be skanks when they grow up or just look like one. They start them young over here.

And there is nothing like hearing the chicken dance with the lyrics in Korean. That was funnier than actually watching Dad dance to it (with all of the senior NCOs) at the flight Christmas party. Yes, I was there and saw it with my own two eyes. Mom had even dressed me especially for the occasion. My collar cover matched her dress and Dad's kerchief.

Mom is starting to miss American cable.

 
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