Archives for December 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

Uschi lying in the snow with her nose coated in ice and snow

I already completed the daily posting for this year and I shared this photo earlier this year, but I couldn’t resist participating in the very last photo challenge. I’m glad that other than the fluke storm back in October we haven’t yet been dumped upon this winter, but we have had some incredibly strange weather, well, for most of the year. Uschi will be happy when and if that does change — and she’ll be the only one under this roof who will. But I must admit, it’s hard to be cranky about cold and snow with a shepherd bouncing around in the backyard having the time of her life.

As to the photo itself, I’m particularly fond of it for a number of reasons: Uschi’s actually looking into the camera (and not everywhere but as per her usual demeanor) and it’s one of the rare captures where you can see the dynamic colors of her coat.

365 Days

Well, I managed an entire year of posting every day . . . and I couldn’t be happier that it’s done and over. It was a fun exercise — one I’ve tried and failed at before. But for the most part it only confirmed that I don’t do well with blogging when I feel forced. It feels too much like work and I get lazy with it because it has to be done even though I feel strapped for content. A lot of the things I would have normally found worthy of blogging about this past year never made it to a post because I had to get a post up and I didn’t have the energy to write out whatever interesting thing I was thinking of. I always have draft posts sitting around waiting to be finished and rather than whittle those down this last year I probably tripled the queue because of this.

It will be quite a relief to go back to the normal course of things where I just blog when the mood strikes me. Of course, that doesn’t mean the tons of draft posts I have are any more likely to ever get finished. But I do expect that the blog itself will go back to being a fun hobby rather than an enormous chore.

Anyway, wishing you all a safe and happy New Year!


The other day I posted about the situation with Snickers the service dog. I saw yesterday that he’s since been reunited with his partner thanks to the judge ruling in favor of the injunction.

Things here are much the same. My mother is currently not speaking to me due to a very involved story. And for once I’m not taking the blame for her being wrong and I’m refusing to apologize. She can just stay mad. That means that my holiday plans have been slightly truncated and I’m kind of relieved. I don’t have to try and whip the house into shape (i.e., finish decorating) or do a ton of cooking and/or baking. In fact, I’m strongly considering deholidayifying the house so I can get some decent cleaning done. But that’s also a lot of work and I’m feeling rather lazy.

Actually, I’m feeling kind of run down. I’ve been battling a sinus thing for awhile now and I think it’s finally decided to turn into an actual thing. I figure if it really is something I can deal with it on Wednesday when I already have a doctor’s appointment scheduled to refill my prescriptions.

Uschi hasn’t been quite her usual self these last few days either, but I think that’s more from losing out on having a playmate again. It’s quite typical for her to be a bit despondent after a long visit with another dog, especially when we spend extended time at Dad’s. And it doesn’t help that we haven’t been doing as much fun stuff since it’s been downright frigid outside.

I hate the cold.

Side by Side

Yara and Uschi lying on the floor back to back on their sides

Snapped this photo while we were visiting Claire the day after Christmas. Uschi looks a tiny bit distressed because she popped up when I pulled out the camera and I made her lie back down. The girls get along fine and well, but I was still surprised to see them fast asleep lying end-to-end like this. Usually they jockey for position, resigning themselves to having to be so close. They are pretty hilarious to observe even in these calmer moments.

Last night I had the wackiest dream about the girls. I guess it’s odd, but I rarely dream about my guide dogs.1 This one definitely seems rooted in my current situation with my mother, who is essentially mad at me. It’s sort of an involved story, but it’s not really a big thing and I’m sure it will blow over soon enough. Anyway, for whatever reason I had both dogs here and my mother was all upset about it and didn’t like the idea of one of the girls being home alone all day while I was at work. There was all this stuff about her being scared of the way the dog was acting and at one point I was apparently moved to try and problem solve how to start working Yara instead of Uschi. This seemed absurd even in the dream.

Wacky dream aside, I think I’m coming down with a sinus thing. I thought I was getting sick a few weeks back, but it passed and then I was at Dad’s and I figured I was all stuffy from the tree. But now I’m home and still equally stuffed up. Of course, it could just be the weather, which has finally decided that it is winter and become incredibly cold very quickly. It snowed a bit yesterday even. I am not pleased by this at all.

  1. Actually, the last few years or so it seems rare that I dream anything that I actually remember.

Service Dog Considered a Banned Breed

Saw this retweeted on Twitter [full article]:

Breed Specific Legislation Laws (BSL) have become a growing trend amongst cities trying to ban “bully breeds” from their city limits. A city ordinance which bans pit-bulls in the city of Aurelia, Iowa has caught national attention after the ban kept a service dog from his owner because of his breed.  The ordinance was approved in March of 2008 when a meter reader was bitten by a pit bull.  Due to the fact that several people felt unsafe and that the breed was labeled as being “aggressive” (which is only a matter of opinion rather than fact) the ban was placed which prohibits owners of the breed from having them within the city limits.

The owner of the dog in question is a disabled 64 year old Vietnam Veteran named Jim Sak.  He served for over 30 years on the police force in the city of Chicago, Illinois.  Now that Jim has retired both he and his wife Peggy have relocated to Aurelia so that they could be closer to help Peggy’s mother who is an ailing 87 year old woman.

Jim is now struggling to live his daily life due to the fact that an ordinance passed in the city prohibits him from having his service dog “Snickers” simply because he happens to be a pit bull mix.  Snickers, has been with Jim for five years and is certified through the National Service Animal Registry.  The Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities by giving them the right to own a service dog regardless of their breed.  Snickers happens to be a Boxer, Labrador and Pit Bull mix, but the fact that he is mixed with the banned breed has started a storm of problems for Jim and Peggy.

Jim suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke three years ago that causes him to have spasms on his right side affecting both his hand and leg.  He said that it occurs from doing more activity than he should, or during times of stress.  He is forced to use a wheelchair 95 percent of the day due to his disabilities. Snickers is a service dog and trained to sit next to Jim when he needs assistance and waits for the command on what he is told to do.  Snickers will usually be the one who goes to alert Jim’s wife so that she can help him to get back into his chair.  Jim stated in an article for MSNBC “If I fall on my back I’m a turtle. I just don’t move.” he explained, “I grab that collar…He’ll pull me over by the table and chairs and I can pick myself up.”  He says Snickers is very well trained, and has never hurt anyone. “He has never even growled at anybody. The kids come home from school and would stop and play with him.”The Sioux City Journal reported that said Snickers’ presence allows Jim to be left at home for Peggy to go take care of her mother.  Since Snickers has been gone, Peggy has had to leave Jim at home alone with no one to assist him. Jim has reportedly fallen once, and an emergency call was made to 911 for assistance.

The article notes that first a petition was signed by local residents to enforce the ban and then a council meeting voted that the service dog was not an exception. Jim’s filed a lawsuit, though, and the Animal Farm Foundation is assisting him. The hearing was scheduled for today and I’m very interested in the results of Jim’s lawsuit. As the article notes: “This case has the potential to set a precedent for many others. The number of aging and/or disabled people in America is larger than ever, and service dogs can be an essential tool for this population. The right to live independently and safely is a cherished freedom, so the world is watching Iowa to make sure this freedom is not compromised because of a service dog’s breed or physical appearance.”