“Peace-In” at the Pacific!

18 04 2010

*NOTE:  Due to my hand mobility issues, I could not turn my hand to make the proper “PEACE-IN” sign.  I’m NOT making a gang signal.  It’s my happy way of being able to say, “PEACE-IN Everybody!”

In honor of my friend, Kristen, we're "Peace-In at the Beach."

Oh Boy!  Windsor and I had “Big Busy” this week!!!  Windsor saw the beautiful, salty-smelling Pacific Ocean for the first time!  For me, it was my second time in many years due to my brain injury to make the short, but difficult for me, car ride to the beach.  I also had breakfast at a popular restaurant – “buffet” style.  Eating/drinking involves great mental concentration for me.  Typically due to my brain injury, I eat by myself, away from people’s movements and speech.  Now throw in lots of people at a restaurant, noise, lights, figuring out how to move through the restaurant with my mobility struggles, how to make decisions (a toughie) in a buffet line, and more.  It’s alot for a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).  What joy I have from doing this though…another sign of continued healing.  I ate and drank around people, a “People Party!”  I’m brain fatigued now…hangin’ by myself, but it’s worth the time it takes to recuperate! 

Fascinated WatchingWindsor did great in the restaurant!  He opened the doors for me into the restroom, followed well in the buffet line, and with a few reminder “Leave it!” commands, he left the floor scraps alone.  Calmy and quietly, was how he laid under the table perfectly.  That’s pretty good for a 9 month old!  Did he carry my plate?  No, he’s not trained to do that, but he does carry bags for me.

Talking to/Concentrating on walking together

After finishing eating, I needed to leave the stimulation of the restaurant.  Being outside with my eye difficulties – the bright sun, sparkling water, people/dogs running, etc, is another brain workout.  Windsor and I continued practicing together.  It’s still difficult for him to follow my walking pace.  He did very well going slowly up/down the stairs at the beach.  I only fell twice on the stairs.  It will be easier for my balance when Windsor is old enough to be mobility harness trained.  At the bottom of the stairs…SAND!  He loved the “Substitute Snow” which he really “digged” in Kansas.  I took a break and he dug his way to China while providing laughter for many watching his escapade, or should I say, “Sand-scapade!?!”

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A Gift Well Worth the Wait…

6 04 2010

After waiting over a year for a service dog, here are pictures of us meeting and video training clips worth a 1,000 words…

My thanks to EVERYONE who helped to make this dream come true – praying, donating financially, sending notes/emails/Facebook!

Windsor is 9 months old and will receive more training for mobility assistance.  For now, the goal is to become acquainted as a service dog (SD) team with basics and for him to learn my pace, abilities, etc. 

Some of Windsor’s Work:  Windsor enjoys tugging open/closing doors, picking up what I drop in the house/public, “PROUDLY” carrying items for me, going slowly up/down stairs as I work to stabilize, and laying at my feet as I work on the computer…OOPS!  Correction-ON my feet slobbering!  When he puts on his vest to go out in public, he’s all business!  It’s time to work!

Some of Windsor’s Play:  When he is “Released” from work, he becomes part “Marley.”  Windsor enjoys romping in the grass and chewing up branches (Anyone need help cutting down a tree?  He’ll gnaw it down!).  He’s clearing out the long-hated, ant-carrying ivy in my parents’ lawn…a cheap gardener.  He also loves raw bones (Yucky!), tearing up stuffed animals (They should be headless.), sleeping on MY pillows (Get off!), and like all retrievers, carrying a ball in his mouth while “telling you about his proud catch.”  He’s a talker – sounds like a happy “look at me” growl. 

He’s a love, follows me everywhere, has claimed me with the full understanding that I’m the one to help, and does his best to help.  Anyone around me can already see that he is igniting pathways in my brain to recall/activate, and this brings healing.  He helps to “clear the moss” off my unused brain paths.  Over the next year we will both “season” together…much to be thankful for and to keep striving ahead for more healing.