Turning Six

Uschi turned six on Friday and in yet another “clearly this shepherd was meant to be my partner” moment she celebrated her birthday much like me: in food. She had rump roast for breakfast, then later we had an ice cream treat at lunch, and for dinner she had a marrow-filled femur bone fresh from the butcher. It was filling and exhausting.

It was also intermittently rainy, so we didn’t get to do the thing I really wanted to do. Instead we had our little birthday party in the backyard on Saturday. The main event, for Uschi at least, were the soap bubbles I was producing with a toy gun I picked up on a whim at CVS.

Uschi lying in the grass with her nose up in the air investigating the many soap bubbles floating around her

There were also balloons and a rather adorable birthday tiara, which you can check out here on the photographer’s blog.

What day is today?

Photo collage of six images of Uschi surrounding the text "Today Uschi is SIX!"

Why, it’s Uschi’s birthday!

Poor Uschi

I like to think I’m a competent guide dog handler and then things like today happen.

I forgot to feed Uschi this morning.

Okay, no, that’s not entirely true and the reality is even worst in my opinion.

Every morning I have the same routine. It’s been pretty much unchanged since her first day here. Primarily the part where I prepare her breakfast while I make my own. This morning was no different except for whatever reason I just left her bowl of food sitting on the counter.

A fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the shepherd. She didn’t bother me about it, which I find really surprising, but instead just kept going into the kitchen and then coming to lie down near me. After a few trips she gave up and just crashed in her crate.

I discovered my blunder when I went to make lunch. Uschi was definitely confused when she finally got a meal and just kind of stared at me as if to ask whether she were allowed to finally eat even with me urging her on. Hunger finally overtook any confusion she might have had and she gobbled her food down like the famished beast she no doubt was.

So, yeah, I kind of broke her and I feel most awful about it.

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!

Things and Such

First, let me assure all of you that I will be posting the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival soon. I expect this weekend, if not before. And, yes, you’re still welcome to participate if you so desire.

I deeply apologize that it’s about a month late in getting up. I had mono through a good chunk of last month, which thankfully wasn’t as awful as the last time I had it back in October. However, I think I dragged it out a bit more this time because I didn’t rest as much as I probably should have. I was busy with job interviews and the weather finally started to act like Spring and then it was my birthday and, well, you get the idea.

Of course, right about the time I was finally able to sit at the computer with most of my brain functioning, I ended up putting myself nearly entirely out of commission by taking a tumble down my basement steps. I bruised myself up pretty terribly, ripped a healthy chunk out of my left elbow, and jarred my (bad) left knee a bit. Oh, and I broke my tailbone.1 So, mostly I’ve spent the better part of the last week or so lounging about the house and griping about how I can’t find a perfectly comfy position where I’m not in pain.

This has left me with lots of time to play Final Fantasy X HD and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which I got for my birthday. FFX is one of my favorite in the series and the HD remaster is just breathtaking. It really makes me pine for a similar treatment for FFVII and/or FFIX. And I’m really surprised by Ni no Kuni, which was described to me as a JRPG that was basically Dragon Quest meets Pokemon and I was admittedly leery of the latter,2 but it really has proven to be a wonderful game. Not to mention the cel-shaded graphics are so well done they literally make me feel like I’m playing around in a living cartoon.

I also got some nifty Firefly swag for my birthday. Along with socks. And new stoneware cupcake pans!3

As for Uschi, she had her annual last month and aside from her nasty seasonal allergies is doing quite well. She does have a growth on her leg that needs to be removed and biopsied, but we’re pretty sure it’s just plaque. But thanks to finding an ointment that actually helps, the wound by her eye is nearly completely healed up. She’s on a waiting list for some new allergy medicine that I’m hoping will help clear up the issues with her being so itchy, too.

  1. For the third time.
  2. To this day the “Pokemon Craze” leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I’ve never been able to find any interest in a single aspect of it. And, subsequently, its many clones.
  3. You might recall I knocked my old one off the counter and it shattered into nine thousand pieces. It was very tragic.