The World is Ending (Or Maybe Not)

[Guest post by Uschi.]

There are times that I think humans are pathetically obtuse. Last night, for example, we had a tremendous thunderstorm. The rain pounded against the windows. The sky was pitch black, only lit up with great streaks of lightning. And there was, of course, thunder. One monstrous clap sounded that jolted me awake from a cozy nap.

And with it, the power blew.

Clearly, this was not a good sign. What I’ve gathered from my companion’s aversion to horror films is that loud noises and darkness are a recipe for very bad things.

Uschi lying on the sofa, hiding her face from the cameraI expected her to be right on my heels as I bolted off to my safety zone underneath her bed. I’ve burrowed a nice area there behind the various storage containers and dust bunnies. I even have a few bones and toys I’ve left there for emergency purposes. I had a blanket tucked in there but my silly human friend removed it and washed all the smell from it. (Obviously, I’m way better at hiding than I was when that picture to the left was taken.)

No, instead, she stayed firmly outside of my protective area, trying to coax me out like some treacherous viper. Ugh!

The power came back on a few minutes later so I ventured out to check on my stupid human partner. I was still a bit shaken and was obviously trembling a bit from the shock of it all. Cyndy was concerned, but still didn’t quite grasp the danger we were in. Since she seemed reluctant to utilize the hideout I’d created, I joined her on the sofa. snuggling up and then deliberately positioning myself directly across her. This would just have to do, I guess.

While I protectively pinned her to the sofa, the funny box under the TV kept flicking on and off and then the power went out again.

My human companion thought I was stressing out as I lay across her lap, but she just didn’t get that I was trembling and panting because I was in such a high state of alert! Well, okay, maybe I was a little scared and maybe I used the close proximity of my partner to provide just a tiny bit of comfort. But don’t let that diminish my diligence in protecting us from whatever ominous events might have occurred.

Luckily this seems to have just been a test run of sorts for the coming end of days because the storm was pretty much over and the power eventually returned a few hours later.

I’m relieved, but no less wary. I mean, my crazy human partner spent the entirety of our potential doom reading a book!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival #15: Freedom

[Note: My deepest apologies for the extreme delay in getting this posted. Much gratitude and thanks to Brooke of Ruled by Paws for compiling the submissions and writing up this edition of the ADBC.]

Assistance Dog Blog CarnivalOur friends Cyndy and Uschi have been dealing with ongoing computer problems, so they have asked me, the Rogue Hurricane, to take care of sharing the many great entries that were submitted for the 15th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival.

This will be the very first time I have been given this amazing honour, so hopefully I do okay.

First up, we have our friends, Karyn and Thane, from the blog Through A Guide’s Eyes. Karyn writes about the wonderful changes she has experienced over the past six months, both with her personal health and in her partnership with thane while taking part in a program centered in the science of neuroplasticity. Please take a moment to read about the journey in their post titled “Now this is Freedom.”

Now let’s go visit Flo over at the blog, A Mutt and His Pack. In an entry called “Freedom,” Flo writes about the things a service dog handler must consider before going out each day with their canine companion, and about how to her, it’s all worth it.

I totally agree, I think I’m totally worth the constant worry and public annoyances, don’t you?

Next, we’ll go visit our Swedish friends, Nadja and Hera, over at the blog, Leye-Shprintse Oberg. In a post titled: “Freedom,” Nadja talks about the freedom of choice. She writes about her feelings of not being ‘normal’ wile using a white cane and how choosing to work with Hera has changed the way others think of her.

Mommy says she can really relate to this post because when she lost her sight at 13 and had to learn to use a white cane, she hated it and hated the way people thought of her. She told me that when she got her first dog guide, Gryphon, in 1997, she put her cane on the shelf and has never looked back. Now people see her as the “woman with the dogs”, and stare at us instead of at “the “blind woman”.

Here’s our fellow Canadians, Carin and Tansy, of the blog, Vomit Comet. In her entry, “The Freedom I find in a Guide Dog,” Carin writes about how her dogs have made life a lot easier, but if needed, she would still be able to survive without them.

Mommy says she can also relate to this post, but in my canine opinion, I think they’re both wrong…how could they ever survive without a cute, four-legged friend, like me, to watch over them?

Now it’s time to get a little more serious with our friends, L-Squared and Jack, who have written about the issue of irresponsible dog owners and the differing levels of prosecution from state to state if a service dog were to be injured. In their post, “Freedom Comes With Responsibilities,” L-Squared shares some frightening experiences her and jack have had with off leash dogs and irresponsible owners.

BIG SHIVER I am SO glad I wasn’t there. Mommy has encountered scary dogs and bad owners with both Phoenix and Cessna, but thankfully it hasn’t happened to me.

Next, we have Sharon Wachsler who has some wonderful news to share with us all… In her entry titled: “Freedom! I’ve Recovered My Health!” Sharon writes about the amazing changes her health has undergone through a program that involves a behavioural neuroplasticity brain retraining program. Please take a moment to read about her spectacular journey towards recovery.

Now let’s take a moment to welcome Natalie of the blog, Still I Can’t Be Silent. This is Natalie’s first time participating in the Carnival, so please take some extra time to leave a comment on her post. In her entry titled: “Freedom,” Natalie writes about the different ways in which service dogs provide their human companions with a sense of freedom.

Here’s another new carnival participant, please try and take some extra time to leave a comment for Joe. In a post titled: “Gaynor,” Joe tells us about his daughter Siobhan’s service dog. He writes about the first time Siobhan meets gaynor and about their partnership, as well as, about having to find her a retirement home and about her recent passing.

Awe, this entry had me teary, I am only 3 and don’t like reading about dogs passing away…in my short life, I have already had to say goodbye to my friends Phoenix and Aspen.

Guess who’s next…?

It’s our turn!!

Come check out our blog, ruled by paws. In a post titled: “Rogue is Freedom,” Mommy writes about yours truly!! She talks about what a difference I have made in her life and how even before I arrived, I was forcing her to go outside of her comfort zone and take back her independence.

Not sure how many of you know this, but Mommy and I went on a trip alone to Wyoming on an airplane in May. Mommy was a bit nervous about the trip, but I took charge and showed Mommy how amazing I am. I even passed the dreaded public access test with flying colours!!

So, that’s it. there are no more posts for me to read and write about. thank you Cyndy and Uschi for allowing me to take over your blog for a bit and help you out, it was fun learning about everyone.

OH!! Just one more thing to tell everyone. From now on, the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival will be organized by Cyndy and Mommy, so keep an eye on our blogs to see when and where the next Assistance Dog Blog Carnival will take place. We hope to see you all at the next one.

New York, New York!

It would seem that all efforts to get me to produce some content here have failed. For what it’s worth I had every intention of making good on the posting thing, but with one thing and another that clearly never came to pass. Rather than bore you with all the details of my inability to blog, I’ll let Uschi tell you all about our recent trip to New York City with the Ruled by Paws gang.


The way I understand it New York City is some sort of right of passage for a guide dog. Cyndy has talked about it a bunch and seemed disappointed that I hadn’t yet accomplished this task. But, honestly, after four days there I don’t get the fuss. As far as I’m concerned New York City seems more like a testing ground for walking the pads of your paws sore. Maybe it’s more fun when you only have two feet?

Cessna, Uschi and Rogue sitting in front of the dragon clock at the entrance to Gershwin TheaterAnyway, the best part of this little journey was that we were joined by my new friends, Rogue and Cessna, and their humans, Brooke and Huib. At least, I think we’re all friends. You see, we had a bit of a communication barrier. I can only guess excitedly bouncing around and loudly barking doesn’t mean the same thing in Canada because no one seemed to get that I wanted to play and play and play!

At any rate, after a rather uneventful Saturday here, I woke everyone up bright and early the next morning and we took the train to Manhattan. The humans remarked at how packed it was, but all us dogs had plenty of room on the floor. And we got plenty of attention from some of the kids in our car. Mostly I used Cessna as a pillow and slept through the ride. Our first stop once we arrived in the City was to our hotel, but before I could once again attempt to convey to my canine buds my desire to play we were out the door again for the humans to do some shopping and have dinner. Then we headed to the Gershwin Theater where the humans saw wicked music or something. The photo to the left is the three of us in the lobby in front of the dragon clock.1

Manhattan at night taken from the observation deck of the Empire State BuildingAfter that we went to the Empire State Building and took a bunch of elevators to the tippy top. Everyone kept mentioning how pretty the City looked all lit up at night so me and Rogue both tried to get a glimpse over the Observation Deck walls. It is pretty neat as you can see for yourself to the right, but it’s also super windy so it wasn’t long before everyone was cold and ready to head to the hotel for bed.

Monday we visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. At the Met we visited the Temple of Dendur and looked around at the Egyptian exhibit. It’s one of the sections of the museum that allows blind people to touch things like a sarcophagus by the Temple of Dendur. My favorite part was at the Guggenheim, though. It’s built as a series of levels spiraling up to the top and once again Rogue and I had to check out the view, which in this case was a perfect vantage point of a fountain on the ground floor. By this point everyone was tired out, especially Cessna who had basically gone on strike and was pretty much refusing to work for Brooke. So, we spent the evening back at our hotel where I at least partially overcame the communication barrier with Rogue:

Okay, so that wasn’t exactly the epic playtime I was hoping for, but there wasn’t really enough room for a proper game of chase in our hotel room anyway. Then again, perhaps I should be insulted considering the very next morning Rogue spent a good ten minutes stalking a packet of honey Cyndy had from her morning tea.2

The Statue of LibertyYou can probably guess from the photo to the left how we spent our last full day in NYC. We had to take a boat to the island, which was a neat experience for all us dogs for reasons the humans found amusing since we were all intrigued by the ripples of water the rudder created in the boat’s wake. At Liberty Island, we went up to the pedestal and got to check out yet another cool view. We also went through the museum, which had a few things that Cyndy and Brooke were able to touch, like Lady Liberty’s face!

We were going to do another boat ride around Ellis Island after, but the weather was getting steadily more unpleasant so instead we just went back to the hotel. Everyone ended up taking a nap, but we managed to drag ourselves back out into the snow and rain to meet Abby at Junior’s. Or, as I like to think of it, my second nap because we were there for literally hours while the humans had their dinner.

Uschi and Rogue on their hind legs looking over the fence bordering Liberty IslandAll too quickly it seemed our trip to NYC was over. We headed back home Wednesday morning and spent the rest of the day back at our house. I got Cessna and Rogue to finally play with me for a bit, but truthfully we were all so wiped from our trip that we pretty much just fell asleep.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and it was a bittersweet day for me. There was, of course, the holiday festivities, which meant another trip to some type of excitement — and yummy goodies for me! But all my new friends were leaving just when I finally seemed to have gotten them to understand how desperately I wanted them to play with me. Cyndy says we’ll be seeing them again, though. And, of course, I have all the photos from our trip to look at and remind me of my new pals and our adventures in walking!

  1. It was too crowded in the lobby to get the top of the clock, where the dragon is climbing, into the shot.
  2. None of us is quite sure what was up with that. Rogue had jumped up on Cyndy’s bed and when she caught site of the honey packet, she started to react like it might jump up and bite her. It gave the humans quite a laugh.

Dear Santa

[Guest post by Uschi.]

Dear Santa,

I have been extra specially good this year. Well, okay, I’ve destroyed a lot of toys, but that is what dog toys are for, right? I mean, I haven’t even once tried to eat the coffee table this year and I really find it tasty.

So, for Christmas this year can you please send me a puppy? I really want a pal to play with and one who I won’t wear out so easily, like Yara. Oh, or you can send me one of these, they seem fun, too:

Uschi touching her nose to an infant in a carrier

Thanks in advance, Father Christmas!

Love,
Uschi

P.S. One of Cyndy’s friends on Facebook reminded me that I’ve also stopped pouncing on her after she finishes doing her weird routine on her red mat. I think that gives me bonus Good Points right there, so maybe you could also send some new bones and chew toys my way just for that!

I CAN HAZ FREEDOM!

[Guest post by Uschi.]

I’m so awesome! Seriously, you guys, you just don’t even know. See, I did something no other guide dog has done before: I have achieved freedom! I just have to figure out how to work the deadbolt on the front door and I can go off and explore to my heart’s content. I liked it better when Cyndy didn’t remember to use that thing; it’s much harder to open the front door now.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. Yara’s told me several stories about her Dog-dini escapes and I’m well aware that she and Dolly both managed to get out of their collars. Yara’s even managed to misplace her tags at least twice. But this isn’t about them, it’s about me and I definitely have accomplished more than any guide before me because not only did I escape the confines of my audio detection device, but I’ve hidden them so well that no one can find them! Huzzah! Never again shall I be tracked by the jangle of those evil metal things called “dog tags.”

Oh, right, I’m getting ahead of myself. I just am so very excited about all this, I can’t help myself.

So, yesterday I went swimming. It was a very fun day indeed. But while all the people were chatting away in the water, I went on a bit of an exploration of the backyard. I found a great spot in the bushes away from curious human eyes and dug out a good chunk of earth. After a few trips in and out of the bushes I managed to relieve myself from the awful noisy metal things that hang about my collar. They really serve no purpose that I can tell other than to alert Cyndy to all the things I’m not supposed to be doing. So, into the earth they went.

I was a little worried that Tally might tattle on me, but I lucked out. And, of course, the humans were all too busy talking and eating and playing games that they didn’t even notice a thing. I don’t know what they had expected me to do to pass all that time outside. I mean, it wasn’t like Tally was going to swim with me.

I do admit, there might be a small hitch in my genius. I overheard Cyndy mentioning something about my “guide dog tag” and issues with replacing it. I don’t know why she needs a tag to remember that I’m a guide dog. She can be a forgetful thing sometimes, though. Oh, well, we’ll see where this goes, but for now I am celebrating my victory!