In Praise of a Doctor

Dec 12 2015 marked the passing of a very special person, Dr Vivian Moir. Her practice was in Keswick, Ontario and it was a large one. Her death left a huge hole in the community and in the heart of all her family, friends and patients.

She had been the doctor who had quarter backed all my illness ‘s and treated me as a friend. In her passing it has been hard to find a doctor with her level of knowledge, compassion, and level of caring.

She also realized all my physical ailments needed to be treated together in order to achieve harmony within my body.

Since her passing I have been wrestling with doctor’s who don’t understand chronic pain like she did. And it seems no one is familiar with inflammatory arthritis from Chron’s disease and the effects of fibromyalgia and how they can work together to make pain so bad that a person can hardly function.

Some doctors where she worked did not agree with some of her choices in  medications  resulting in being denied certain med’s used for pain control which has resulted in a backlash of pain that is hard to overcome.

I don’t sleep well at night anymore and it takes me till noon till I can cope with the pain.

But there is one thing they cannot take from me, my service dog in training, Riley who Dr Moir prescribed for me shortly before her death. She did get a chance to meet her in the office a couple of times but I am sad that she will never see her grow up. For me that dog is a constant reminder of Dr Moir’s compassion and devotion to her patients.

It was Dr Moir’s hope that Riley’s training and presence in my life would give me some relief from overwhelming pain and anxiety and bring some joy back into my life.

I am happy to report that the four legged partner prescribed to me a year ago has made a huge difference in my life.

Using deep pressure therapy where the dog presses on certain points of the body does help with pain and stress helping me to be off strong pain medications that had bad side effects. Just feeling the heat of her body on my sore joints helps me feel better and allows some relief from unrelenting pain.

When dealing with chronic illness it is easy to feel withdrawn and isolated even when you are surrounded by people. I fight a constant battle with fatigue, pain and worry and to be around a dog who has such a love for people and a joy for life is like a breath of fresh air that wakes me up to the simple pleasures of life that are easily missed.

Thanks to the fact my dog is an early riser I have seen a number of beautiful sunrises that I would have never seen. Riley’s playful heart and love of games makes me take a moment to laugh and forget about the problems that loom ahead.

When working her in public she forces me to engage with people who I would have avoided or have had no chance to meet which has made me feel a little less alone.

It is my hope that one day when I cross the threshold between life and death and remain in the here after I will get a chance to thank Dr Moir for her kindness and care and tell her what a wonder blessing that four legged prescription is to me and the way it changed my life.

 

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Summer Night Symphony

I took the dogs out one last time before bed and took a breath that was saturated with the smell of damp. grass, weeds, flowers and hay fields I was transported back to my childhood. Visions of campfires, marshmallows, frog hunting at dusk played out before my eyes and I was seven years old again

Gone were the pressures that assaulted my senses day after day and I was caught up in the wonder of a splendid summer night. The air alive with firefly’s that danced to the melody of , crickets, peepers, and bull frogs.

Raccoons trilled out the melody as they beckoned family members to play.

Even the moon joined the dance as it illuminated the tree shadows that waved and swayed in time to an invisible conductors wand that was there before all creation.

Thank you Lord for this gift of life that plays witness to Your Grace and beauty!

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My Boat Upon the Waters

 

 

 

Please Lord put behind me all the times that I have failed

Breathe into me  a new life and put Your Hope into my sails

Make forgiveness be the harbour that is my journey’s start

And chart a course for Mercy that now lies within my Heart

 

With every rising sun, let me follow in Your Wake

While the endless waves transform me to Your Make

Let me sing at every sunset, praises to Your Name

As a million stars reflect, my steps along the way

 

Let me see your Goodness in each morning, as the dawn breaks across my bow

May the Holy Spirit rise in me, though i t’s a mystery to me just how

Your endless love can find me,  far and wide across the seas

In raging  storms or quiet mist Your whispers, echo back to me

 

You are my faithful Captain and Your hand it sets the course

As I seek to do Your bidding, because Your  love it is the source

Of everything that is good in me and I will try forever more

To glorify Your name Lord and receive Your great reward

 

 

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Bring You Up To Speed On Where Riley Is With Her Training

When Riley came home I thought I would post her journey as a daily post but I came down with 7 kidney stones that caused me to have a lot of Surgeries so I just couldn’t keep up. It is my intent to bring you up to speed as to where we are today.

The first step in Riley’s training was socialization. We spent a lot of time taking her out and getting used to the environments she would train in. We also had everyone she met to pet her so she would not be timid and really used to people.

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This is our local grocery store we approached the owners and ask if they would give us permission to train in the store and they were only to happy to comply. When bringing a young pup into public areas we always asked before bringing Riley in. If they said no we would just leave but our local retailers were really supporitive and we were never refused.

When we first took her out we just concentrated on getting her to say hi in a calm way. We kept our visits short and we practiced letting Riley curl up under tables so it would feel natural when she had to do it for real. 12011375_141892122823206_5663323220804007774_n

Riley did not like shiny floors in the beginning so we would take her to this lounge area and just let her sit , and move around a bit till she got used to it before we asked her to walk down the aisle.You can see in the next few photo’s she eventually got use to the floors. The trick is not to force a pup to do something we would just take it slow and let Riley get used to each new situation before trying to give her any commands. That being said we did start Rileys training at home where she was more comfortable to be more structured. They first commands we taught her was sit, down, stay and come. Again her training sessions at home were short but we would practice several times throughout the day. And we always ended a training session on a positive note. So if there was something she had not quite mastered we would always end the session with something she found easy to do.

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While I was teaching Riley basic obedience I googled the service dog laws in my area. The laws vary from the States to Canada so you need to know the rules that pertain to your area. I was able to hook up with a really great group of service dog handlers and a lot of them were owner trained service dogs and they gave me great advice and have been my cheering section when I feel a bit low. Most of them post great service dog videos on utube that show you how to train your dog. The group I belong to on Facebook is Service dog handlers safe haven. The people on this site are so nice and helpful. In Canada Trillium Service dogs site help owner trained service dogs find training and they are putting together public access tests for owner trained service dogs in training to be tested.There is no official organization that registers Service dogs in Canada or the United States. The first step is a service dog has to be prescribed by your doctor. After that if you have enough money you can apply for service dogs that are already trained if you meet there financial criteria. The other option is to train the dog yourself than take the Service dog Public Access Test.

Most of the general public does not understand the difference between emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs

Emotional support dogs and therapy dog help people by letting the person pet,play or cuddle with them and they can give the handler or person working with them emotional support as well as physical affection. Emotional Support dogs and Therapy dogs do not have complete public access.

Service dogs are trained to do specific tasks that helps their handler have a better quality of life and  to be more  independent . Service dogs are trained to concentrate on their handler and to ignore the general public. Service dogs should not be touched as it distracts the dog from his/her job. A fully trained Service Dog does have public access.

When you are socializing your service dog in training make sure you get them around things with wheels like bikes, carts, skate boards, roller skates, wheel chairs etc so they won’t be nervous of them in public areas.

Enrolling your dog in obedience class really helps your pup get used to other dogs and enrolling your dog to compete for his Canine Good  Citizen test will help to let you know if dog is well-mannered enough to be in public.

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This is my friend Nikki who helps me get my dogs used to wheel chairs

In this picture I have to remind Nik not to touch the dog you will find that your even your friends and familly who know better will forget and reach out for the dog. You just have to gently remind them that even though we were having fun the dog is still working.

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My Service Dog Riley

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I have now had the reconstructive work done to my kidneys and I have been back to work for a Month. The surgery seems to be a success and now I can concentrate on moving forward to a new life with my Service dog in Training.

I choose to train my own service dog as it is next to impossible to get funded for one if you are working and they are very expensive. Depending on the work you want them to do a service dog costs anywhere between 30,000.00 and 60,000.00. Since I could not afford this I decided to train one my self with the help of others in the Service Dog community.

Despite being involved in obedience training for the last 30 years training a service dog  has been quite challenging and very different from obedience training and the first step in this journey began when my doctor prescribed a service dog for me. After battling chronic pain from fibromyalgia, Chron’s disease,kidney stones, dizziness and asthma that is crippling in cold and humid temperatures my doctor thought a dog that was trained in mobility  would help my walking and balance, deep pressure therapy done with the dog  would help me from becoming too anxious when these symptoms occurred and we are hoping she would medically alert me when the dizziness was severe so I would not fall.

After her prescription for a service dog  was given to me the next task was to decide on a breed to train. We have always had German Shepherds and they do wonderfully as Service dogs but I had just lost our German Shepherd Bruiser to liver cancer he was one of three that we had that died young from cancer and I just could not go through that again. So I begun to research breeds of dogs that might make a good service dog. The first thing I considered when choosing a breed was the size of dog I would need. During the last three years I was on a drug called Lyrica and the drug prednisone whose main side effects were weight gain. and swelling . As time went on my weight soared to a whopping 258lbs and no amount of dieting helped the situation. Since the dog would be used to help me up if I fell I knew a small dog would not work so I was looking for a large breed dog with some weight behind him or her. The next trait that I considered was the type of temperament I would need in the dog that was going to go  everywhere with me. Since the dog I was going to work with was going to be large I wanted a dog that was known for being calm, easy to train  and friendly to both adults and kids alike and I wanted a breed that would not be scary looking to the general public. After much consideration I decided on a Saint Bernard

Now a Saint Bernard  might not be the first dog to come to your mind as a Service dog but they are a friendly breed known to be intelligent , very friendly, calm steadfast loyal dogs that are easily trained. When researching the breed I was amazed to find out that the Monks that used the dogs to save people trapped in avalanches and bad storms did not train the breed to do this. The dogs did these things all on their own. They Monks would let the dogs out to roam in packs and if only half the dogs came back they would know that the missing dogs would be with travelers who were caught in the pass and they would send out search parties to rescue them.This breed also had an uncanny knack of finding people buried under large amounts of snow after avalanches had fallen. Again the dogs did this all on their own.Since I wanted a dog to alert me to an onset of dizziness when I walked I thought their uncanny knack of sensing unpredictable weather phenomena might help with medical alert training since an intuitive nature already seemed programmed in their DNA.

After making a decision about the breed I found a good breeder that I trusted and was introduced to the future mother and father of my service dog in training.Both Sam and Mocka were big solid dogs with calm temperaments and beautiful markings. It was love at first sight and I couldn’t wait to take a pup home.

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On July 14th Riley was born and I was overjoyed to see the first pictures of the litter shortly after .

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At six weeks of age we went to pick out our puppy. Upon arrival I knew that looks had nothing to do with the puppy I picked it was all about how the puppy scored on temperament tests. It turns out we picked the perfect day to go because the breeder had just moved the pups away from their mother to a puppy pen that was located at his daughter’s house next store. That meant that I would be testing the puppies in an enviroment they were not used to. This was perfect for me because It would be a great opportunity to see how the puppies would act in a place they were not familiar with. That is one of the tests that helps you see what a puppies temperment is like under some stress. All of the puppies tested really good but the one thing that made Riley stand out from the others is that when I showed her the tennis ball I had brought with me she got excited and when I threw it for her she was the only one who brought it straight back to me. This test shows a pups willingness to want to work with me. So I picked her and that little bundle of fur was my hope for a more independent life and I could not wait to bring her home. Most breeders insist on waiting till the pups are eight weeks old so it would be another two weeks to wait for her arrival but it was worth it and after what seemed a lifetime we were able to go and pick her up.

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Riley at eight weeks old

(Next Blog Riley starts training)

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Answered Prayers

Well the Lord came through again and several wonderful people have stepped in to help me get the 12 orphaned kittens adopted. Right now several people are fostering them in homes till they meet there forever family’s safe from coyotes’ and other predator’s. We have six girls that need to be spayed as well as the kittens and normally we would just spay and release but with the coyote’s being so bad this year I would be just turning them out to be eaten. But again some wonderful people are booking their spays and they will go into foster homes so they won’t be eaten. God is good. There was one course of upsetting events that took place at the end of the week. I have locked up my remaining barn cats in the grain room and hayloft to stop the killing spree and somehow with no more cats to kill the coyote’s located the gravesite of my dog who died about 6 weeks ago. Even though we buried him deep they were able to locate the body and when I went to let my dogs out they interrupted  the meal. Fortunately they only got a leg out but it was not a pretty site. It really upset my Newf who could smell his old buddy and smell death. I had to drag him from the fence where he refused to leave the body. In order to keep the coyote’s  out of the grave we had to collect and push large boulder type rocks on top of the gravesite so far they have not been back. I am hoping with no more easy meals they will move along.  I am worried about my goats but so far they have left them alone.

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Hard week God’s still sweet

The hot weather is now upon us and I have been in the emergency dept twice this week but we now have new air condition units in the house so I hope to make it through this weekend with no trips to the emerg. I have made the decision to get off lyrica and try another medication to help with nerve pain so I can lose weight, not that you will notice for quite a while because I am back on steroids for breathing. On top of this I am already producing kidney stones in both kidneys, I hoped the kidney operation on Mother’s day would stop them but I guess not, on top of everything else the doctor thinks Jim might have contracted lyme disease after being bitten by a tick last week and we are awaiting conformation from blood tests. Sometime it is really hard for me to see God’s plan in this but I know he holds Jim and I in his hand so I will be thankful in all allows and leave the worry to him

We are having coyote’s’ hunting right at the back of our barn they have wiped out most of the cats on the property forcing me to take in 12 young kittens whose mother were killed. I am working like crazy to get them ready for new homes and I am hoping some cat rescue agencies will help me out with this once again I prayed in advance for God to open up the doors so these kittens can find forever homes in safe environments. I have always believed that God has left us caretakers of the earth and all creatures on it and he sees all of His creation man, included as being precious in His sight.

Spirit - 5year old spayed female still with us

Spirit – 5year old spayed female still with us

silver -spayed female living in the barn still with us

silver -spayed female living in the barn still with us

Lucky still with us

Lucky still with us

Chief one of the four remaining barn cats that have escaped the coyotee killing spree- that took 6 of our barn cats and 5 ferral cats that lived on the farm

Chief one of the four remaining barn cats that have escaped the coyotee killing spree- that took 6 of our barn cats and 5 ferral cats that lived on the farm

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