Five Years!

Black and white pencil sketch of Uschi buried in the snow

There is so much I have been meaning to post about — and one thing in particular will likely happen very soon. But for now, I just wanted to acknowledge the fifth anniversary of being partnered with Uschi. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s been five years already because it has gone by incomprehensibly fast for me. And yet, even though I have fond memories of working my other girls, I feel almost as if I’ve never been without this wonderful and wacky guide dog.

Bowl

Black-and-white photo of Yara holding a metal dog bowl

Yara likes to carry things.1 A particular favorite is Eli’s bowl.

  1. Shepherds are very oral.

Happier and Healthier

Uschi lying in the snow, her nose heavily covered with snow and ice crystals

Despite her itchiness, Uschi’s been enjoying all the snow that has been dumped upon us. I think it’s especially awesome for her since I’ve spent the better part of the last three months ridiculously sick. First I had an issue with my eye, then I had the flu, and I’ve only just recently gotten over the pneumonia that plagued me since Christmas.

Anyway, I’ve kind of fallen out of habit of taking photos of the shepherd girl since her eyes were just such a, well, eyesore. And so I haven’t had the chance to get photos of her gallivanting around out back yet, so you’ll just have to do with this oldie from a few years ago. But I promise to get some new ones to share soon enough!

House Call

Uschi lying on the sofa looking a bit forlorn

Uschi spent most of the morning hiding under my bed. I can only guess this was because she was fully aware of her vet appointment today. She’s been having issues with her eyes again, but this visit was more specifically to get her anal glands expressed.

Unfortunately, last year she’d had this done and it was not a pleasant experience in the least. Uschi has always been strangely aware of her rear end. She doesn’t necessarily mind it being touched, but she always reacts. And I’m sure coupled with the discomfort of having full anal glands, it is not a pleasant experience to have them poked at. I warned the vet about this, and very strongly suggested I accompany her in the back because of this. He wouldn’t let me and when he came back he was cagey about what exactly happened. I don’t know if he was unaccustomed to shepherds and how ridiculously dramatic they can be about everything1 or if he actually hurt her, but she was very freaked by the experience.

Anyway, for this and several other reasons Uschi’s seeing a new vet now. It’s actually really awesome for me because the vet does home visits!2 It was still a rather awful experience for Uschi, but her anal glands are done now and hopefully she’ll be the happier for it. She’s also on new meds for the inflammation around her eyes.

  1. I’m sure she whined and jumped around and was completely uncooperative, much like Yara is with nail cutting.
  2. We were only seeing the other vet because our original vet had moved to a different practice and it is a bit beyond my travel ability.

Vale Cemetery and Park

Yesterday Uschi and I took advantage of the utterly glorious weather and walked around Vale Cemetery and Park.

Paved walkway in Vale Park covered with fallen leaves

Unlike a lot of the other parks around the Capital District, Vale is incredibly peaceful. Aside from an ambulance siren I heard somewhere off in the distance it was easy to forget we were in downtown Schenectady. Actually pretty much the only sounds I heard were the various critters in the brush, presumably running away from Uschi. And except for one rather daring squirrel, my sometimes very animal-distracted guide dog was completely focused on her job.

Along the path to the main cemetery we passed by one of the more rural burial sites, which caught Uschi’s attention only because a couple were walking around down there.

Uschi looking through a wooden fence at a set of graves in Vale Park

We continued on and walked through the main cemetery before the sun started to set and the air got just a bit too chilly to be comfortable. It was a shame since Uschi was being so cooperative I thought I might finally get a chance to check out some of the graves.

Maybe next year I’ll go on one of the walking tours.