Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Girl Friday

I have not seen the Cary Grant movie but I think I sort of have the 21st century equivalent in my 12 year old niece.

She has been insistent on helping me write blogs while I am concussed. She's actually typing this one now.

I just have to not swear although she probably wouldn't mind but her mother would. She even is willing to blog instead of going to bed although that might be because of an interest in not going to bed. If there are any weird little notes in this blog, it's probably not mine.

Editor's note: It is not an interest of staying up late. Ish.

In other news, Fame is doing well although my bed is taking on a blackish color. She still sleeps in the kennel at night but on my bed for naps and such. (My typist is making fun of the "and such.") (We would have blogged more frequently but Monday is Supergirl Monday, Tuesday is hockey practice, and Survivor was on Wednesday.)
Editor's note: It's so mysterious. "and such." Hmmmmm...... :s

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Professor X never had a week like this

Mom and I got home Saturday, and Fame and Kenny got acquainted. Fame was fine -- she has been with other dogs her whole; K-man was unsure. He seemed to want to play but was scared of Fame. Our backyard is divided by the ramp, and the two dogs spent most of the first week on opposite sides. Fame had a long leash, so by necessity stayed on one side. Kenny, with his electric collar, chose the other side, except for his speedy forays onto Fame's side.

So that is how I spent Sunday and Monday, the holiday.

On Tuesday, I went to the doctor to have my stitches removed and to see if I had a concussion from my fall. Oddly, the PA said my dizziness, which began right after the fall,  was unrelated to the fall and came from my low blood pressure. My sister, who took me because school was closed, and I were skeptical, but he stuck to his guns. I think part of it was I described my issue as lightheadedness, which apparently is different from dizziness. So we left and were to check in Friday.

The rest of the day was OK, but as I was getting into my recliner to watch the Flash, I slipped. I was fine, but didn't want Mom and Dad to struggle to get me up. So I watched from the floor, a bit of an issue as my dizziness comes from moving my head, but I survived.

My sister came home and enlisted her 12-year-old daughter to slide a stool under my butt when she lifted me up. And from the stool to my chair. That, of course, makes it sound easy, like I didn't almost fall off the stool, choke my niece, etc. After it was over, my niece said she doubted this happened to Prof. X. He does have Colossus, I pointed out. But again, I survived.

Wednesday was OK, though I began to use my backup cushion, which is OK but (foreshadowing) really slick.

Thursday went fine until I rolled off our sidewalk into the mud. Our sidewalk and yard have sunk a bit, so the metal plate dividing them sticks up and prevents me from getting back.   My sister had to find a board for me to roll on so I'd have traction, then  Mom anD my sister had to Clean off my muddy wheels.

Friday was bad.

I was transferring back to my chair from the toilet and slid right off because of the slick cushion. I managed to stand but slid off again. I got Fame to bark a few times but no one was around. I called Mom, but she was at church. Then I called my brother-in-law, who was at the bus stop with my nephew. He came home and  helped me up.

I didn't fall because of my head, but Mom and I decided I should go back to the PA because what little balance I had is so important.

This time he said I had a concussion right off the bat. So he said I could not work for a week and I needed to limit my computing, TV watching, and reading.

That brings us to today. It was a nice day and all I could do was play with my dog.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fame costs

I can't say I wasn't warned.

My new dog is a black dog named Fame.

Miss Grant tells Leroy and the gang on Fame "You've got big dreams, you want fame. Well fame costs, and right here is where you start paying; in sweat."

I have sweat these past 10 days. 

The problem is I could have sworn she warned them you had to pay in blood. So last night I fell in the bathroom hard about 10 p.m.

A classmate's dad helped me up and drove me to the ER. "Quite a laceration," the doc says. Seven stitches later we headed home. I also think I am mildly concussed, so I skipped most of today. Tomorrow is the written final and the test of our handling in public. Then graduation Friday and home Saturday.

Weird coincidence: Fame was turned into to CCI the same day Claren died.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part IX

We went to the mall today. We did well.

I'll say this for New York: It shrugs off snow. The snow kept up till 8 last night, but when we went out this morning, the first road had snow on it. The others were just wet.

They also cleared a path to the play yard. It is so amazing to watch her run and play. She's kind of a jerk, though, teasing the other dogs and running away. Funny.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part VIII

Today was cool despite another snowstorm that canceled today's field trip.

These are the dogs we will take home, barring something unforeseen.

I learned that graduation is going to be like a wrestling entrance. (Or a reliever's walkup, but I thought of wrestling first.) No, I don't get to stand at the top of an entrance ramp preening and posing, but I do get a entrance song. And I get to pick it!

It is supposed to be a tune that relates to the new dog and I, which rules out 75% of Springsteen's catalog. I mean, Lost in the Flood doesn't fit. Independence Day is too sad. I finally settled on My Love Will Not Let You Down or Better Days.

I also had my first 1-on-1 conference, and the trainer said they are pleased with our progress. In particular, she mentioned my inclination to motivate not correct, pointing out that the dog might not always understand me yet. I  know you're shocked -- I speak so clearly. HA

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part VII

I debated whether telling folks here where I worked, given the current unpleasantness in Oregon. In the end, though, I did,  and it was fine. Later  in the week Mom realized the name tag on our door shows a wildlife refuge. HA

I woke up at 6:30 today, my first time sleeping through the night. I didn't fall asleep till midnight because of my jumpy legs. But after we fed the dog, I went back to sleep till 9! Awesome.

After breakfast we walked around the campus and spent nearly an hour in the big dog play-yard here first with another dog in the class and a little puppy, then by ourselves. We came in only when the dog started eating snow, which I decided meant she needed a drink.

In the yard, she was awesome. She liked running through a tunnel to escape the other dogs. It worked for a while, but the last time, the other dogs caught on to where it let her out. She would juke into the tunnel, and the others would take off to the end of the tunnel.

It was also fun to see how she tempered her play depending on who she was with. When the other dog in training was there, they went at it full tilt. Nothing bad, just dogs playing like dogs. But when it was just the puppy, she was a lot easier-going -- not to say she didn't really give that pup the business.

Then we came in, had lunch and took a nap. Now, she is asleep in her kennel.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part VI

A pretty good day and I am off tomorrow. Plus, I am more then half-way done -- only four days of work left. Graduation does not count. That is awesome. I mean, if this was a full-time gig, I could do it. But I need to get back to my life.

Anyway ... today ... I won a prize, a Kong toy.

One of the things I do well with dogs is motivate them. I probably do not correct enough or hard enough, but I can encourage them.

The prize came during UP practice, the command to tell the dog to put its two front feet on the table or counter in front of it. It is mostly used in transactions.

Well, New Dog didn't do the up right when commanded, but she looked like she was interested in doing it. So I poured on the motivation; she did it and they told me how great it was and gave me the toy.

Lowe's was OK. She is still having some issues getting things, but it'll come.

She also took a nap on my bed with me. It's a narrow bed, too.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part V

I am blogging with a dog at my side! Today was the first night we get to take the dogs home. It's awesome. It even makes up for all the snow we got.

Class was delayed a bit and only two instructors made it in. They also canceled our first field trip.

But, it being the north, the street seemed pretty clear by the late afternoon, and it was really sunny, too, so things look OK for a trip to Lowe's tomorrow afternoon. Then we get a day off!

The new dog seems awesome, definitely a licker -- not in Kenny's league but ...

We worked on the Get command a fair bit, which is one I'll use a lot.

I realized I need to start looking over my nightly quizzes before I turn them in. The command to bark is speak, which I know. But the instructor who worked with my dog a lot said that after I give the command, I should woof at her. On my quiz, I wrote the command to bark is woof.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Parts III and IV

Apologies. I started writing last night but had to stop and go to bed unexpectedly.

Wheelchair is back! Repairman who looked and sounded like my N.Y. in-law's dad fixed it this afternoon. it needed a new controller.

Before my chair died Tuesday, we ranked the three dogs we thought would be a good match. Then the trainers got together, decided who they thought would work best for the whole class. Then they lookout our list, I think, to see what is in our minds.

The trainers' choices are called pre-matches. As long as things go as expected, we will go home with these dogs.

Twelve years ago, Claren was my top choice because she was a good size and because I suspected she was the one because they kept matching us up to work on commands.

This time, with 20 dogs or so, we didn't work with dogs more than once.

That's not true; I worked with my #2 twice. He was good, but #1 seemed better.

On Wednesday, we learned who are pre-matches are. I got my #1 again!

But the loaner wheelchair caused problems. I was going slow because it was so wide, and the trainer correctly said, I know you are worried about the chair, but the dog is walking on eggshells because of your mental state. Try and smile.

I did and today was better.

Although I did hear a dog whining late last night and I imagined it was mine saying, Oh crap! I got the dud.

For some reason I have yet to sleep through the night, and no naps. How I am cognizant I don't know.

Snow tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part II

I ran over a dog's foot today -- no big deal really even though it yelped. I ran over Claren hundreds of times. You just make sure to laugh and be happy, so the dog is happy with you and doesn't grow afraid of chairs.

But I make no promises not to run over many feet tomorrow. I am in a power chair 6 inches wider than my own because the wheelchair I had tuned up before I left died. We're calling a repairman tomorrow, and Mom is doing less, so she'll wait for him. Currently, the dad of one of the other students is fooling with it, but no one is real hopeful.

Otherwise, it is awesome.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Matt and Mom go to the dogs -- Part I

I got the OK to blog about team training as long as I don't name names -- human or canine.

The trip to Canine Companions for Independence's Northeast Center in LongIsland was long. Traffic around NYC was crazy bad for Sunday afternoon, and it gave me time to recount why I want nothing to do with NYC. Traffic is high on the list.

The dogs were restless Sunday night, folks, or at least loud. Our room looks out on the kennel, and they were yelping till 11--ish. I liked it.

Today, we did orientations and worked a fair bit with the one dog I will name: Carpet Dog, just a rolled-up piece of rug to give the trainers an idea of our strength, timing, etc. Even Mom worked with CD.

After lunch, we met some real dogs and did a few commands with dogs in their first semester of advanced training.

It is a big class -- 13 -- with lots of successors, service candidates, skilled companions, even a facility dog person.

Good group. My new best friend is a 7-year-old who asks a lot of questions.

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