Friday, December 30, 2005

"Surviving the Holidays"

Here she is in all her glory... my little snow angel, Rowena. This is what gets me through the holiday chaos. Look at that face!
Rowena, enduring the first snowstorm of the year in her new winter work coat and her holiday collar ruffle I made for her. You know, if all that really mattered were frisbees and tennis balls, I think we might all be happier over the holidays.
I hope to add in more photos and things later as soon as I can figure out what is wrong with my computer scanner program.
To those Eleven individuals and dogs who assisted me in creating the 2006 PSD Calendar, Thank you so much. It looks really good! I can only make one copy per person (for a minimal fee of $5 for ink, supplies and postage) on my computer and extras will have to be $25 a copy as I will have to go get it done at a place like Staples. I may be able to bring that cost down by using my own paper. Otherwise, you can use the copy I send you and make your own copies... whatever works best for you. This project is taking a lot more printer power than I had intended it to take. I hope that if anyone who participated decides to invest in a copy that they will appreciate the job. It really looks good, and I think I have done each service dog well. I wish I could give you a sample of it here, but I can't.
Happy New Year!
I am presently working with a friend (long- distance) to try to get off more copies of the calendar to decrease the cost to people who participated in helping me create it. Please try and be patient with this process, and I will keep you updated.
Thank you!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"My Psychiatric Service Dog Calender Project: I Request Your Help"

I am creating a PSD Education calender for 2006 to give to a couple of Mental Health care Providers this holiday. I cannot do this alone however... I need help! I am seeking out photos of other PSDs (or PSD-ITs) to serve as the pup of the month. I have so far 2 handlers interested in entering their dog into the calender, plus my own... this means I still need 9 other canine/handler participants to complete this calender project. I will also request that the answers to the following questions be sent to me as well with the dog's photo...
The dog's name (can use registered name), title(s) including PSD or PSD-IT, age, Birthday of dog, How long dog has been training or working as a service dog, disability in which the dog is trained to assist his/her handler, a few tasks dog is trained to perform, favorite pasttimes, pet peeves and town, state and country where the dog works/resides (or just the state) Your (handler's) name is not needed for the calender and will not be on the calender unless you request it. If the photo is copyright, please tell me. Even though I am not mass producing these calenders nor am I selling them, I don't want to get into too much trouble in making this calender. Please answer the above questions and mail the answers in with a clear "Downloadable" photo of your dog at work, in vest or not... or of your puppy in training. (See Rowena's example photo above). If you would like, also send the URL to your favorite service dog information website. Let me know if you would like your dog in a certain month. September and July are already reserved. To those who have already volunteered to help out, Thank you so much!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"A Photo Collage: Rowena in Autumn"

Dogs and Handlers eagerly await entering the Flyball Court this past weekend during a tournament in Bangor Tennis Club. The light yellow shirts are the local team (Flyball Maineiacs). The Black & White Border Collie in the center is Jayden's Chance, Rowena's half Brother... who lives across town. Chance is Four.
Rowena loves a good stick! Along with a long romp in the woods with family. this day was a beautiful Autumn day and Rowena well deserved a good long run. She played a quick game of tag with a burly Rottweiller named Major and actually went in the water to get a rock I threw in. I didn't think she'd jump in this late in the game!

Rowena, Feeling Sheepish (and I as her shepherd) in her Halloween costume at Petco. An over-weight Hybrid Wolf dressed in "Grand ma's" clothing won a prize. Poor Ro won nothing for her Humility... well, except my love and affection.

Frisbee Fun in the Field! Rowena's ability to focus on a game has greatly increased in the past few months. Frisbee and fetching tennis balls have become good exercise and a positive distraction for her when we go out for a walk or romp in the woods or forest... even in the water!
Family Walk in the Woods as Hunting Season Begins. Even Rowena is worth the orange vest as we head out on a good long walk in the woods. She also wears a bear bell on her orange collar in order to warn and scare all the deer away from the hunters... okay, not that, but so the hunters will know she is not a deer and if she were, she would have to be one of Santa Claus's Reindeer, and I think those guys are endangered or something.
Princess Rowena at Summer's End. This photo will be on Rowena's newest photo ID I have just mailed out for. She lost her other on Halloween when I clipped it on her collar and it fell off on our walk down the road. I have no idea why someone would not put the effort into returning it, but it is no where to be found.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

GOOD Anniversary Date: My Bundle of JOY!

Rowena's first snowstorm and her first service vest! This is one HAPPY puppy!

The hardest part for me while crate training Rowena was when she would whine or cry. However, I never gave in and she would stop before she could disrupt the whole apartment building. I also did the umbilical cord thing with the leash because she would not go to the bathroom while she was on the umbilical setup.

Here she is with my husband when we went to look at her at the breeder's. She is 8-weeks old here and we had not named her yet. I gave my husband the choice of either "Rowena" or "Paisley" for names. We both agreed on the name and agreed that it was the perfect name for this little pup.

Nothing is more cute than a fuzzy little puppy with floppy ears. When my Mom helped me purchase Rowena, I don't know if she realized all of the plans I had for the little bundle of energy and curiousity. I don't know if the term "Service Dog" was taken seriously or not. Either way, in the first few weeks of November, I was soon taking home a puppy that would change my life.
Rowena's introduction to her new home didn't go smoothly. After spending the evening shopping for last minute puppy supplies (because my mom didn't want to jinx the puppy purchase by getting things the day before we actually got the pup), we finally brought little 9 pound Rowena up to my apartment. Rowena spotted a couple of my 8 cats as we walked through the door, and when I put her down to pull out her new food dishes, leash still attached, she ran into the living room in search of a cat to play with. Before I even noticed, Rowena came yelping back into the kitchen to me and accidently back into her new metal dishes that clanged together, further terrifying her. I gathered the puppy in my arms, looked her over and straightened her dishes. I filled the bowls and coaxed Rowena, now unsure of these 2 loud metal bowls towards the food in the bowl. I remember when we had picked her up from the breeder's house, I had a little purple harness that was too big, and a leash hooked onto the back of it. I let her walk to the car and it was like she'd never been out before. The grass, the sky, the gravel in the driveway... and I pick her up into my lap after I get into the car. She watched curiously, as all this stuff goes on. It is like those pretty brown eyes were taking in everything. I held her in my lap and let her look out the window for the half hour drive back to Bangor. She was in my arms! She was mine! I can't believe that after wanting a Border Collie for so long, I actually have one! I can't believe that after 7 years of research, I was finally ready to do what I needed to do to get and train this tiny young service dog in training.
Potty training was my biggest anxiey. I didn't want to do the kennelling method to housebreaking the pup. No, I was determined not to do that. After a week of trying my approach, I broke down and dgragged our old dog kennel from out back inside. I new this approach would work, because I had tried putting wood chips in the kennel pan and she would only go once in the litter. Then she would go elsewhere. It's like she couldn't bear stand in a soiled tray of woodchips. She wouldn't go potty in that kennel. I could do this! With in a week, she was trained. She wasn't bombproof yet but was trained.
I will be adding on to this post later.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Most Embarrassing Training Moments"

Rainy day training & fun

These stories of embarrassing training moments are so humiliating that I almost don't want to publish them. However accidents happen and so does misbehaviour. Rowena is her own person/dog and I cannot control her every breath. I do my best to train her and I believe she does her best to behave and do what I want. For the most part, Rowena is a well -behaved dog in public and we have never been kicked out of a place or even eye-balled for our behaviour. So I ask, What the heck happened!!??
Herding Instincts or Alert Dog?:
I had gone to the state hospital (BMHI) to attend their renaming ceremony. Even though changing the name from Bangor Mental Health Institute to The Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center sounded nifty, it really wouldn't change what the place was or what peoples' experiences had been there. Everyone knew what the place really was and it could never hide from itself behind a fancy name. However, over the years I had come to respect the place for what it had done for me and I had a good working relationship with some of the doctors and other staff there. Too bad they won't take me there anymore... or is that a good thing? Anyway, I thought this ceremony would be a good place to take Rowena for a public training exercise. She had all her paperwork on file there and most everyone was familiar with her there already. It was a rainy, crappy day out so the ceremony would be held inside. I would have taken Rowena to play in the field first to get her to unwind a bit before the ceremony, but with the weather, I didn't want to take a very muddy and wet dog into the hospital. We got off the bus and I had to hold firmly to Rowena as we passed by the place she knows as "playtime". We go into the hospital and up stairs to the little auditorium (where in the old days they used to play movies) and we found a seat up front on the outside edge of the right side. The governor and some other political figures came over and pet Rowena, (some without asking I might add) and she enjoyed all the attention. As the ceremony began, the superintendent spoke a little and then announced the first politician up to speak. I think that one went okay, but as the next guy was called up, he came from behind us (my right) instead of up front where there was a row of important political figures sitting. He swiftly walked up from behind me and cut sharply in front and close to where Rowena lay, looking the other way. As the swift moving politician past her, she started up to chase him and lunge for his pant leg. Fortunately, she works on a 2 foot leash and I had it wrapped around the chair leg. She barely made it off the floor and I promptly stomped my foot down on the center of the leash. The politician didn't even notice. However, I get the feeling that the governor and others sitting up front facing the audience and the front row I sat in... including the medical director saw what had happened. I know my face blushed. I could see eyes looking my way. Rowena was under control, back in "down" on the floor again,but the damage was done. After the ceremony, I spoke to some individuals and decided to visit a friend of mine who was a patient there "indefinitely". On my way down the hall, the medical director (used to be my psychiatrist) comes up behind me and says: "I saw your dog nip at someone." My response was "She didn't 'nip'!" Was I in denial here? I didn't see the mouth open, only saw a restless young service dog in training totally screw up and make herself AND me look bad in front of the Governor of the State of Maine! I obsessed on this comment from this doctor for the whole week. Gees, is that what it looked like? Did they think she was acting in aggression? I hope they know that she's a herding dog who thought she was going to "play" with the jogging politician. If she really didn't like the guy, she would have avoided the guy and backed under my chair. I couldn't believe that she had done something like this. A year old and never had she done something like this while at work.
That wasn't the first thing that happened that day... Or maybe she was just alerting me of a "swift moving politician" as not a person I should be voting for?
When Rowena was about 9 to 20 weeks old, the end of the day found her exhausted as any puppy would be following me around all day. As a result, if she was going to have an "accident", it would be late in the work day. And so it did... about four different times. My husband and I saw the marriage counselor around six o'clock in the end of the week. The first week we had her, we proudly brought her in and laughed as she discovered herself in the mirror while enroute to the therapist's office. As we were leaving the session, she peed on the corner of the therapist's rug. He was cool with it, didn't make a big deal of it and I was glad. However, on another occasion (mind you, I try to get her to go to the bathroom outside BEFORE we go into appointments) we were walking down the hallway towards this therapist's office and as we are walking, she piddles down the hallway (carpet) leaving a trail behind us. Luckily, it being winter, it looked like we had just tracked in some snow. Another time, I was at the chiropractor's office, paying for services and Rowena was on the floor next to the corner of the counter and she just let it go... peed on the floor. The man behind the counter... knows me pretty well, didn't make a big deal of that and just said she's lucky she didn't do it on any of the chiropractor's carpeted areas. I agreed, but was embarrassed even though Rowena was still a little puppy and it was the end of the day. I think she may have gone in the marriage counselor's office one other time in the say exact spot as she did the first time. Then there was the time I was leaving the counseling agency around five thirty after seeing my psychiatrist late in the work day. We had made it to the rubber backed carpet that is down inside the front doors of the agency and she peed. We were like 10 feet from the outside and she just couldn't hold it. She was a young and worn out puppy back then. At almost a year old... she wouldn't have any more accidents.
Before Rowena and I headed off to the state hospital for the renaming ceremony, I had to drop some things off at the counseling agency. It was morning and I had taken Rowena out to go to the bathroom already. She only tinkled. We had to take off to be on time, so I couldn't wait around to see if she was going to eventually have a BM. On my way out of the agency, I was walking down the steps just before getting to the lobby and I noticed that Rowena was hesitating on the stairs and I was having to pull on her. I glanced back and noticed that Rowena was... midstep on the steps and "squatting" right there. I scolded her and picked her up with her tail tucked under her. I had quickly glanced back to see if she had deposited anything and didn't see. I explained to the security guy (and some individuals that were sitting there... I knew them and they knew me and Rowena) and ran out with her. I placed her on the first grassy spot and she wouldn't go. I had to march her over to her "favorite spot" on the grass next to the sidewalk before she would go. The following week, my friend would tell me that Rowena had indeed left a deposit on the steps and that security cleaned it up. I was so embarrassed! I apologized to security (we are quite familiar with one another) and told him that if I had known she left a mess, I would have cleaned it up. I apologized for my dog too.
What was it with this particular day that made Rowena act up so much? Was it inactivity? Had I not taken her out enough to play? What had I done wrong with her?
I don't know what it was that day. I only hope that what Rowena did doesn't permanently blemish her record as a future service dog. Thankfully, I still have 2 more years to iron out the kinks in her professional life.

Friday, October 14, 2005

"More Personal Experience with Depression"

What I think makes depression so blatantly obvious to me is my memory of last year. What makes last year so memorable is the facts that it was the first year after my last and ever-so-memorable 4 month stay at the local state hospital, and the year I will always know as my "year of enlightenment". When I was in the state hospital, I had been put on a new antidepressant, and it apparently worked. I finally won my way out of the hospital and a new life began. My husband and I began marriage counseling and I started up again with my therapist. I seemed more at ease, more productive and felt more normal. (Whatever that is.) I used my camera a lot as (like in that antidepressant commercial) colors seemed more brilliant, details sharper, and I began to notice an inner peace that I had never felt before. Spring seemed to announce its self loudly to me. It was not all a bed of roses. I did have some PTSD episodes that without my therapist's order to not let the crisis team put me in the hospital, I would have been. Not even a crisis bed did I take. However, I kept going. Come the end of summer (August), our SuperActivity went to Baxter State Park for a week in August. It was a time of complete peace and self re-discovery. We hiked hard and enjoyed the complete wildness of everything. We came back in a natural state of highness. A few of us came down hard upon returning home to civilization. I had another PTSD episode that nearly killed me. However, I did not die. I was given another chance. It took me a good two weeks to regain control of myself, but with in the first week, the week I was given another chance, Rowena, my future service dog was born about 20 miles away. Utter joy in November ocurred when my mother helped me purchase Rowena, the charismatic puppy and her "first grandchild". However, perhaps I never fully regained my composure from August's episode. Maybe I did. Winter went a little rougher than last year. Rowena added joy to my days, but in February when she was attacked by the German Shepherd, my PTSD symptoms picked up big time. Things have been tough since then. Colors seem cloudy and days seem to float and fly by without my noticing. Social phobias seemed to be increasing as I am having a hard time getting myself to even take the bus to appointments... especially the one that is near the house where that damn German Shepherd lives. I get emotional drained from riding the bus and running errands. I am tired, and after just returning from this year's SuperActivity, I really see how bad I am. Where is my enthusiasm, my motivation, my creative energy, my inner peace, my outer rainbow? Where did it all go and Why has it gone? What have I done to deserve to lose it all after I had just gotten hold of it? Where is the hope of ever getting better? Where is my purpose? Perhaps if I feel like I have to ask all these questions then I have lost God. Does God only hang out with me if I go to church, do all my callings, and go to all my meetings and pay my tithes? Not the God I know. However, I feel as if blessings are being withheld, but then again, one often has a hard time feeling worthy of a blessing when they are depressed, and also have a hard time feeling blessed while depressed. I want to say that the biggest blessing I have is a dog named Rowena... but then I though of a joke I read on the internet... I think it goes kind of like this: "There's nothing like a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who stays up all night wondering if there really is a dog". Okay, God has granted me the gift of humor that never seems to leave me.

"How Does Human Depression Affect a PSD?"

Here is Rowena in her free t-shirt and special service bandana, waiting to do the Mental Illness Awareness walk across the bridge from Brewer, Maine to Bangor, Maine and back on the other bridge. In this shot, she is resting after we had finished playing a quick game of frisbee toss. She was on her best behavior playing off-leash (leash dropped) and in a parking lot.

Well, the answer to this question is: I don't really know, but it must affect a PSD... how can it not.
As I come to realize the extent of my depression this year, I come to realize how... though very helpful in keeping me on the psychiatric straight and narrow, Rowena makes it very difficult for me to seek out the help I need when I am in crisis. I know that if I get to the point where someone hospitalizes me, I cannot take her with me. What would I do with her and how well could either one of us do without one another? Would this indeed actually a therapeutic hospitalization for me? I doubt it. Would it affect Rowena to be separated from me (and even my husband) for any length of time? It certainly would. My best bet would be to get in at the crisis unit because I could take Rowena with me, but they have a time limit and have a limited tolerance to exactly how much crisis they will accept at the crisis place. For example, I have recently begun the long and painful process of a med change. If during this process I need extra support, will the crisis unit be able to keep me long enough? (Usually a 5-7 day limit on crises).
Another aspect of my level of depression as of late is my lack of energy. Rowena, being a young Border Collie is full of life thus full of energy. She wants to go out and just play play play... and only with me! She is very patient letting me sleep in late and does her very best to restrain herself, just ringing the bell to go out more frequently than usual. I am trying to build a little agility practice set for her, so I let her out on the deck with me, but for an intelligent dog, she is not totally satisfied unless I am playing with her continuously. We try to take her out to the field or the forest for a long free run or game of frisbee (or ball) at least on weekends. Often at the end of the day we are too tired to run around too much. We have had so much rain, it has made playing outside for any period of time rather unpleasant. Last week, I went out back to build a small drainage ditch as the water was gathering in the middle of the yard. I brought Rowena with me and she got totally covered with mud, and so did I. We came inside and I brought her directly to the shower to wash off. She seemed satisfied though, even if I did not play directly with her.
As a service animal, she is taught to "Lap up" and check me out when I seem upset or am crying. Perhaps if she grows restless from an extended period of depression, she might get to distracted to do her work appropriately. I know that she has a tendency to be a bit more unruly when she doesn't get enough play time... and I see that in her inability to remain still when another dog is present. Luckily she is still young and is not yet a full fledged Service Dog.
So in the midst of a really crappy night, rain falling and I am out for a "poop time" and walk to call the help line, I get a busy message and go to the police station to ask: "so what else can I do?" I am crying my head off and Rowena, doing her job, comes over and leaps up on me. I feel so bad, like I am letting her down, am the worst dog owner around. Standing there in the pouring rain, Ro's leash hangs as my hand droops down. Her leaping up is not working to her satisfaction so then she begins grabbing her leash and yanking on it. (She knows this is a "No-No" normally). Not only does she yank on it, she is growling. She is looking at me... frisky like, pulling and yanking her leash back and forth... GGRRR...GRRrrr! Well she knows she's not supposed to do this. However, in my tears, I can't help but begin laughing at her. This is not routine misbehaviour happening here. This is her alert system working at "code Yellow." Instead of falling on my knees and curling up into a little ball outside the police station at three in the morning, I am able to regain enough of my composure to look at Rowena and think to myself "I can't give up!" If this is the only type of alerting that Rowena ever did for me, she has earned her service dog title. Had I not had her at all, I certainly would have given up and slid down to a point where I would have required more professional help than what I sought out that night (morning).
I owe Rowena all the time she wants for all the time "outside" of hospitals I have had since I have been with her. It often feels like hell to stay out of the hospital for this long when I feel so miserable, but most of the time I feel the quality of my life is still better at home with Rowena and hibernating than it would be in a hospital with out Rowena. People (the MH providers) often say: "Oh that's great... you've stayed out of the hospital for so long!" What is not considered by these misguided providers is the quality of that outpatient time and the overall state of my mental health while I am out. What makes it worth it? I'd say Rowena does.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

SuperActivity 2005: Photo Scrapbook

Here we are on top of Mt. Battie in Camden, Maine. Usually one would be able to see the town and harbor in Camden in the background, but the fog pretty much left us in the clouds. Fog was a chronic problem (as was rain) the whole week.

This was Rowena's first time in a Kayak and I thought she did surprizingly well! In this photo she looks like my faithful navigator. Actually she was not crazy about the kayaking experience and I do have photos of her looking back at me as if she were asking "Umm, is this what is supposed to be happening??" I attached her retriever toy to the front of my kayak and threw it out for her toward the end. She pulled me about 50 feet to shore by her retriever toy.

Here is Rowena warming up the camping cot for me at the end of the day. She was a cot hog as she wanted to sleep as close to me as possible, which on a tiny cot means "ontop" of me. She adjusted to the fluttering tent the first night we were out, but remained a bit wary of the tarps and tents when outside. Today the Venture Crew had an open house and I went in the tent we had displayed. Rowena went right in with me without much hesitation. Progress is being made!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rowena Goes Camping!

Rowena helps set up camp

September 12th- 16th, 2005, Venture Crew #847 went on their annual week long camping trip. This once annual camping trip is known as a SuperActivity. The crew members spend the majority of the year preparing for the trip which takes place in a different place each year. This year, Rowena was with us. Rowena was not yet born when the Venture Crew went out to Baxter State Park last August. This year, the chosen location was Camden Hills State Park in Camden, Maine. This was Rowena's first real camping trip. She did spend the night in a tent with me last November when she was only 9 weeks old, but this was not just a night... it was a whole week! Be prepared to see a bunch of pictures of Rowena taking part in Crew activities as she fulfills her duties as the "Assistant to the Vise President of Fun". (I am the Vise President of Programs... or "fun" for the crew.) She tried to herd the ocean, went for her first real hike (at night), played navigator for my kayak, and had training sessions campsite style!

Friday, September 02, 2005

An ID card that describes Rowena as my Service Dog... signed by my doctor, and witnessed by someone other than myself.

Incongruancy of Law"

What about State vs. Federal law regarding the ADA?
Judge Jayden's Rowena Residing...

Perhaps the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is too long or too vague for people to read and comprehend. Perhaps the education of our state and government employees are lacking. Perhaps I am being nit-picky, but I don't think so. I just hate it when laws conflict with other laws or those who are supposed to uphold the laws really don't know what the laws are. It turns into the "blind leading the blind" which though politically incorrect and inaccurate, is supposed to mean something like someone who doesn't have a clue asks another person. The other person doesn't have a clue either, but does his/her best to answer the question. Something like that.
I finally called Animal Control of Orono back regarding the dog attack on Rowena in February. I asked about the rule regarding an attack on a service dog by another dog. The attack alone is enough to fine the owner of the dog $1000. I was told that the police were the ones to charge the fine. Another person told me that Animal Control is the one who fines them. It doesn't matter. Animal Control in towns in Maine are unlike the ones portrayed on Animal Planet Animal Cops programs who have many "officers"working the area. Around here there is one Animal Control officer per town. Orono is a college town a couple of towns away from mine. It is where a German Shepherd ran out the front door of a house that is located next to my doctor's office and attacked my then 5- month old petite, Border Collie pup as she walked calmly in a "heel" command on my left side. She was wearing her little orange service vest, a rolled nylon training collar and a 2-foot lead. She had no chance. When Animal Control, that is Cindy Dunton got involved (all though I question whether she ever really did get involved), it was several days after the incident. She told me that she didn't call before because the police report didn't mention any open wounds on my dog. She has obviously never tried to search the hairy, matted, wet and mud/gravel covered hindquarters of a Border Collie for puncture wounds when the dog had a winter coat. I also had the state of shock against me. The Veterinarian found the puncture wounds right off. Anyway, you can find that whole story in my archives. Cindy tells me that the 10 day quarentine time is nearly done so she would just go make sure that the dog is up on all his vaccinations. Like that would greatly diminish any damage he had done to my dog or myself. (Oh, good. He is vaccinated for Rabies. I guess that attack wasn't so traumatizing after all!) I was told that if my dog was indeed a service dog that I would have to make copies of all of her cards, etc. and she would call me back. Well, I called her today and she stated that she had called the Animal Welfare Offices in Augusta (State Capitol) and that the woman there said that that attack on a service animal law only applies to "certified" service dogs. When I asked her what that meant, she stated that it meant the dog had been evaluated & certified by a service dog trainer. Right. I stated that I was training my dog with the assistance from my dog's breeder who also teaches obedience. "Not good enough." Cindy replies. You know, I have gone to one fancy kennel/obedience class in this area and spoken to instructors of two other. Two of them I am totally against now. They are reputable kennels, but their teaching methods don't work well with my dog. They are so narrow in their methods that they don't see this. The third place is still a possibility, but I don't hold my breath and don't really want to waste any more money on obedience and training unless I can at least get a piece of paper saying we completed the class successfully. In my training program, I feel like I ask more of my dog than any "service dog evaluator" will ask for. Besides, who are these folks anyway? What makes their signature on a piece of decorative paper mean so much more than my signature or that of Rowena's obedience teacher/breeder. Not good enough? What is not good enough is the fact that this woman nor the person above her are familiar with the ADA that states that a person with a disability doesn't have to show certification for their service dog, and that the service dog can be handler/owner trained. What is not good enough is dog obedience schools who don't look at each dog as an individual who has her own learning styles. Obedience instructors who don't act like the owner/handler is not the one always at fault if the dog isn't performing well. (maybe the class environment is too stimulating for the specific breed, too many dogs...) What is not good enough is the fact that this person,
Tracie Jason (who wasn't present at the incident) and her German Shepherd are getting away with this whole incident basically unscathed at Rowena's and my expense... both financial: over $400 in vet bills and mentally, an increase in my PTSD symptoms (new triggers etc.) Tracie's sister Cindy was present when the dog attacked Rowena. When the police came by later (an hour and a half later), Cindy is recorded as saying: that my dog was in her front yard (impossibility since her house was on my right and Ro was leashed on my left on a short leash). Nothing I said was mentioned, no witnesses were mentioned (and there was one) and no mention of an injury was recorded. The dog has a rap sheet for running around unleashed. My doctor who's office is next door says that Tracie has boundary issues and that is why he had a fence built. The officer who took my complaint said that someone would call me back. A week later, I called them. A week later, nothing has changed except that I was still sleeping out in the living room with my injured dog. Nothing changed except that I would get an anxiety attack if I tried to deal with the aftermath of the whole dog attack. This dog still lunges at us from inside his house, slamming himself against the windows, pulling down venetian blinds and barking madly when we are on the lawn next door. This no longer means nothing to me. I now have little rage attacks where I can visualize myself beating this dog with all the anger inside of me. I now walk to my doctor's appointment every week by walking in a different direction and taking a path through the lawn of the woman living on the other side. (I got permission from the owner to do so.) It is a little off the beaten path, but atleast now, it is an option. Come snowfall, I don't know how long I will be able to trod through the wooded path and through a small ravine to get to my appointment.
So, out of the kindness of my heart, I have shown my doctor's letter for the service dog, a signed letter stating that Rowena is my service dog and anything else even though by law, I don't have to show anything. Then I am told that any owner of a dog that attacks my dog won't be fined because it only covers "certified" service dogs which I don't have to show proof of to begin with, but I did anyway. What am I going to do about this extremely frustrating incongruancy that seems to keep popping up? I am going to hunt high and low for items in the ADA and state and federal law that back up the not mandatory service dog certification. Then I am going to send it to this Cindy Dunton Animal Control officer and will send it to this Animal Welfare woman as well, perhaps providing them with the education they need regarding service animals and those individuals that use them. We all know that had it been my dog attacking the other dog that something would have been done. A civil suit would be filed. I just don't have that kind of emotional energy to fill out a civil suit and do all that footwork and deal with the extra stress involved with seeing the whole thing through from start to finish.
I get so tired of being this kind of person who can never get justice for my injustices. It is not like I am the quiet submissive type. It just feels like everyone else is somehow justified in the crimes against me. It is never them... it is somehow me. If I were killed by someone, it would probably be called a mercy killing and the person would only have to suffer through a court hearing before going free. It is always something. I am just plain worn out from what feels like a forever fight to just be.
On that pleasant note, off to bed I go with my devoted "Pookie" (Rowena)... oh yes, and my husband too.
Maine laws protecting "service" dogs & non-service dogs:
Title: 7, Section 3961-A (attack on a service dog)
Title: 7, Section 3962-A (attack on a pet)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Birthday Girl: Look Who's Turning One Year Old"

Late August I know my prayers were heard
When Rowena was born... on September Third.
For me what was some trying times,
She was born: A ball of fuzz, and puppy whines.
My life would change unbeknownst to me:
My near death; Her new birth
Our Destiny.
For weeks before we ever met,
She grew strong and brave...
She'd be for service- not just a pet!
Through triumphs and trials,
None of which I would miss,
Our hearts are now bound.
The seal... a puppy kiss!
Happy Birthday to Rowena!
9/3/2005 1st birthday!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Year in the Life of a Working Dog"

Oh, how this year has flown by!
Rowena will be turning a year old on labor day weekend. Both dog and human have learned a lot about life and each other this year. My new obsession is Rowena, and Rowena's new obsession is... well, yes me, but she has many other things too. Within just the last few months, she has blossomed into the ever-alert, over-focused Border Collie that I had always read about. Nothing I ever read said that one day, out of the blue, my dog would suddenly gain the attention span of an obsessed Border Collie... and nothing I read ever taught me how to teach a Border Collie what the term "That'll do" means. So I see a somewhat humorous memory running through my mind of Rowena, after a long walk in the forest, (See photo above of the old railroad bed she found the bee's nest off of) after a swim, a swarm of bees swarming at her butt for the past hour and pads blistered open, my husband and I decide that with the storm clouds rolling in (Photo above) we should stop playing in the blood-sucker infested pond and take the trail back to the car. Retriever toy in hand, I call Rowena out of the water and insist on carrying her toy in my hand. "No" I tell my husband, "She has to learn that just because it is out doesn't mean she has to play with it." The term I must use is "No more." She knows "NO" means stop whatever your doing or about to do. So we are walking down the trail and we are yelling "no" at her to keep her out of the murky, stagnant, algae covered water in the ditches on the side of the trail, and she begins jumping on me to get her retriever toy from my hand. Then I am yelling "NO! OFF!" and I realize that those bees she got into earlier are still after her. I am dancing around trying to avoid contact with her and her entourage of bees so I don't get stung... she is dancing around oblivious to her fan club and is dancing around me. I should have just given up the whole consistency concept for the moment and thrown the darn toy. Chris comes to my rescue and grabs the shredded frisbee from my pack and throws it out for Rowena to run after. The bees fade away before the car, and we pack Rowena in the back seat. On the drive home, I notice she has ripped off nearly the whole pad of one of her feet. It had blistered loose somewhere... either on the trail or in the bottom of the pond. I checked her other foot which was blistered worse. At home, I immediately drag her in for a shower and discover 2 bloodsuckers. One was swimming for the drain (I helped it in) and the other was in her inner thigh of a leg. I took the ole salt to it and joyed at the wormy creature curling up, writhing in... well whatever those creatures feel, and washing down the drain. It was at that point that I realized I would really have to watch how hard Rowena plays. She must learn "That'll do" no matter how I teach it to her. I cannot let her wear her pads down like that. It was also then that I realized what a "tenderfoot" my little Border Collie really was. My husband says to poor Rowena that Border Collies all over the world are laughing at her ("RRRrr-hrr-hrr-hrr!") because her feet are so delicate. I explain that sheep live in fields of grass normally, so herding didn't necessarily call for rugged calloused pads. I don't know how true this is, but I hate to admit that my Border Collie is a "Fragile Flower" (as one of my friends describes her to be.)
Thus, as I look back on the last ten months, I remember all of those things I said I would never do if I had a dog, but then learned that I had to swallow some pride and do it anyway. Let us reminisce: I said "I will never make my dog wear clothes." Well, what am I supposed to do when my young Whippersnapper looses all her puppy fuzz in the beginning of a rough, subzero snowy winter? Am I gonna let her shiver to death when I can no longer cram her into my winter coat? Am I going to watch as my puppy pitifully picks up one ice bound paw... then another until she falls over whining in the snow? No. I am going to get some fleece sweaters and little boots for the young tot. My obedience instructor tells me that my overly rambunctious tot needs to be wearing a training collar to class. I had said that I would never put one of those chokers on my dog... no way. I get one made of rolled nylon and realize that this could be a big help. Now I have graduated to a Halti as she still doesn't comprehend the full meaning or purpose of the "heel" command.
I am presently preparing to go on a week long camping trip with a group I belong to. Rowena, being a service dog (In training) is allowed to go with us. I have been rushing around to make sure I get all the items on my dog's camping gear list. Today, I ordered about $140 of gear for her (including her medicine- $50). Here is the list of stuff she needs for the trip:
-small water bottle
-food/water dish
-water proof food storage for a week supply
-service papers
-life jacket
-boots for the rocky trail and ocean beaches
-her joint medicine
-nap pad
-harness with reflector material
I think that is it. The real big items are taken care of. The harness that I have found is the next big item (expense wise) and I would like to order that very soon as well. I may even add in one of those bungy leashes. I don't think I want to deal with her flexi-leash phobia on the trip. That could put me right into the hospital. I hope that her fear of fluttering objects subsides enough that she can handle sleeping in the tent with a breeze blowing outside too. I look forward to this new adventure with her and hope that it does not bother her too much that she will not be allowed off the leash during the trip unless we are out on the water.
All in all, I am very pleased with my little Border Collie. She is usually well behaved when I am in appointments or on errands in public places, and she is absolutely brilliant, bordering on being just plain psychic. I didn't teach her all she knows. She is like a child, ever absorbing the details of her life... its patterns, our moods... When I am upset and crying, she will show concern and come over to me, come right up in my face and then begin acting really goofy as if she is trying to cheer me up. If I am sleeping and she is just coming into the bedroom, she will walk right up to me, her nose right in my face and check me out, as if she is making sure I am still okay and breathing. She is very tolerant of my low and lazy days, and tries to be patient as I moderate her activities when her leg is bothering her. When she meets other dogs though, I can't help but cringe when she begins trying to herd her canine playmates by running circles around them at top speed. I can't help but smile with pride to watch her speeding around in the field either. I couldn't imagine having another breed of dog and am very glad that I didn't let people talk me out of the Border Collie. I would have missed out on something extremely special.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hey, Just a Summertime Check-in...

Just a quick entry to let everyone know that with all the heat and sunlight, I have retreated indoors til after dark. I write in this blog at night, so you will note that my entries have decreased a bit. The heat is killing me! I can't wait til Autumn. Rowena is old enough this year to enjoy it with me! I look forward to showing her piles of leaves and long walks by day in the coolness that fall graciously presents to me after my long-suffering of summer's heat, humidity and social withdrawal. It is the greatest effort right now just to walk down the street for an appointment, let alone taking a bus with no air conditioning into Orono... but then again, that beats walking there!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tasks of PSDs: Posted by Picasa

Serious about Service
-Sunshine Collection

"Rowena's Training Plan"

As we all know, Rowena is my service dog (in training). I am presently training her with a 3 phase system called Psychiatric Service Dog- Individual Training Plan. Like the PSD, this plan can be adjusted for the dog at any point in order to meet the training needs that are so varying from dog to dog, and from one stage of development to another. Though I plan to carry it out for three years with Rowena, (but that may change depending on her maturity level) if she continues to focus well and calm down a bit during this next year, maybe we can knock off some of these goals faster than that. Here is what this PSD-ITP includes:
1-Public & Canine Socialization
2-Basic/Beginners Obedience
3-Puppy Desensitization
4-Handler/Canine Bonding
5-Introduction to Skills
1-Advanced Desensitization
2-Autonomy Training
3-Canine Community Etiquette
4-Task Specific Training
5-Community Institute Visits
6-Earn Canine Good Citizen
1-Can Perform Identified Tasks
2-Advanced Obedience
3-Attention/Distraction Evaluation
4-Re-focus/Self-control Evaluation
This September, Rowena has earned a certificate for completion of Phase-1. She is a fast and eager learner and I am enjoying the process of training her and getting to know how she learns and works. Okay, so this flexi-leash phobia of hers is really getting ridiculous, but I guess phobias happen to the smartest individuals... in the meantime, she continues to serve me to the best of her ability.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"She's Got the Look"

I had seen other Border Collies give "the look" but had never really seen it in Rowena. I thought: maybe her eyes aren't the right color. They are brown and not amber or blue. I also never saw the attention span she would need to develop one of these "looks" either. She had always been easily distractingly from her tennis balls and frisbee. It was hard to get her to pay attention when we were throwing one of her toys. I also had a hard time visualizing Rowena in any sort of a herding position as she often charged forward towards other dogs and people. I thought I was really missing out on a Border Collie experience by not observing these things with my own dog, and finally concluded: "Oh well. She won't be a herder anyway."
As Rowena nears her first year, she has noticably settled down. Gradually she has picked up these common Border Collie traits over the past couple of months and her attention span has allowed her to have longer and more focused playtimes and has begun developing intense obsessions with certain objects and games. Not only have I reached my goal of teaching her to swim, I have indeed turned her into a retriever. Rowena is an obsessed retrieving beast! She loves her tennis balls, her water retrieving toy, and now a frisbee! The last couple of times playing at the field, she has actually gotten assertive with her playmates who have usually been able to take her toys and run off with them. She may be a normally submissive puppy, but now when it comes to her frisbee, Rowena is ALPHA! She now watches the toys we are about to throw with an intense, brown-eyed Border Collie stare. She runs or swims after her toy and returns with it over and over and over again! This is where the phrase "That'll do" would come in handy. She doesn't understand that phrase as of yet.
She does know what the phrase "Slow!" means now. When she spots another dog or some people when she is off leash during playtime, I yell "Slow!" and repeat that command until she has gotten to her destination. When I yell slow, she now crouches down as if she is looking to herd a bunch of unruly sheep. Then she'll get up and hurry along a bit further. I repeat my "slow" command and she crouches down again and continues her stop and go approach.
Rowena is also fixed on water, or anything that might have some water left in it. This is my fault for trying to get her to not be afraid of the water. On the down side, I cannot take her to play in the field before our Orono appointment because she will jump into a not-quite-dried-up stream or a little pond that will leave her smelling like a swamp thing. We can't go on the bus like that! When we recently spent several days with "Grandma" (My mother), she became obsessed with the river out back. When ever she was out and off leash, she would run down and into the river, stand there and wait for someone to throw something in for her to retrieve. Fortunately, she has not discovered that she can swim just to swim too. Right now, she would not imagine swimming unless there was an actual fun purpose for doing so.
Watching Rowena grow and develop over this (almost) year has been a fun experience for me. Since I spend all my waking hours with Rowena, I can even pick up on all the little things as well. I can sense her mood changes, facial/body language, and despise it when she stares at me... like I have done something wrong. She is indeed a blossoming Border Collie.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Border Collie Buddies is a kind of play group for Border Collies. I have noticed that Border Collies have their own way of playing with one another. Other breeds don't always catch onto this style. However, get 2 or more Border Collies together and you will see each dog doing the same thing with the other. For a person who owns a Border Collie, it is fun to watch a dog who has never played with a Border Collie before play with another. Finally, one might find out that his/her Border Collie is indeed "normal" for his/her breed. So far all the Border Collies Rowena has met that are social with her play the same herding and tag games together. They also never run off or run too far ahead of their "herd". They tend to run wide circles around their people when they are playing. They can be mouthy with each other as well. For the not-so-well socialized Border Collie, (let us call it a HE to make things simple for me) he may become annoyed by the often insistent advances of the other dog. Thus, it is not unusual or abnormal for him (or any other breed of dog) to snap, even appear to grab the neck of and bring the other dog down. This usually occurs with a growl and ends with the take down. It is quick and should not escalate very far beyond that. This is the way dogs assert themselves. This is the way he tells the other more social dog "Hey, bug off kid! You're obnoxious!" This is also a way dogs let other dogs know who is boss, who is the alpha dog in the group. I know Rowena is slow on reading body language from other dogs and she often gets the "alpha take-down" from the less tolerant dogs. Sometimes she gets it more than once! It is when this growl-take down goes further in to an all out brawl or that a dog continues to go after the other even when the other has backed off that human interaction is needed. Some dogs get overwhelmed by situations and groups of dogs. Learn your dog. Learn his body language, his tolerance, and try to gradually introduce him to other dogs. I have seen less social Border Collies atleast exist in the same setting with other more social ones who are actively interacting... While staying away and not harassing the less social one. Border Collies need to be socialized as young as possible. They need to interact with people and other dogs whenever possible so that they learn the proper social skills. Border Collie Buddies is a group I am trying to build up... a list of other Border Collies in the area that can go on play dates with fellow group members and their humans. The Border Collies are beautiful to watch play, and the humans enjoy trading Border Collie quirks and experiences (unique to the breed) with one another... an assurance of sorts that their dog is not bonkers. A romp around a local field or the City Forest is perfect, and if the person has a trained dog (not aggressive, good recall, etc.) then off leash is an option. I like to walk in these places with my dog and this has been how I have met all of Rowena's playmates. (Photograph is Rowena playing with Cinco at the forest this past winter.)
If this group is of interest to you and your Border Collie, please
e-mail me. Please note: I cannot respond if you do not leave your email address.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

After seeing how obsessed Rowena was with frisbee last weekend during and outing, I thought about this comic: "How to Train Your Border Collie to Herd Sheep"... where the poor sheep are running around with tennis balls hanging from their ears and frisbees from their tails (or rumps).

- c. Sunshine Collection
Border Collie Play Buddies: A Group in the Making

* from the Sunshine Collection

"An Alert Dog?"

Time and time again, Rowena has let me know that she does not like people who are active alcoholics. She sometimes walks wide circles around certain individuals when we pass them in the hall of the apartment building. The whole time, she watches them like she is scared to make sure they do not move towards her. If they try to pet her, she backs away as if she were like a timid wolf. This is totally not like her regular personality. She is normally very outgoing and loves people. I call her my little social butterfly.

One time, a friend from the Venture Crew came by to let me load his first bunch of photos from his camera onto my computer in order to make prints for him. Rowena wanted nothing to do with him and I couldn't figure out why, until later. At a Venture meeting, we were informed that he had gone into a half-way house type thing. Apparently he had been drinking again and had suffered a full blown relapse. Rowena sensed this in him. I felt bad for him because he is a nice guy and reacted to Rowena's shunning by saying "Story of my life." I wondered why she had acted that way, and now I know!

Last Sunday, I was out on the front lawn with Rowena and we saw a man walking down the street. Well, he had a bandage wrapped around right below his knee and appeared to be having a hard time walking. I thought either his leg hurts or he has a physically disabled. Rowena saw the man and began "woof"ing at him. Actually it sounds more like: "WWfff." I doubt the man could hear it. I was hushing her, but she kept up her woofing. As the man passed on the sidewalk in front of us, He looks up and says "Hi pup!" at which Rowena woofs. I watched as he uneasily made his way past our driveway and as he stopped at a bunch of trees just beyond. He kind of looked like he might be trying to rest, grabbed a branch. However, he was really staggering a bit and eventually fell backwards while holding on to the flimsy branch. He landed in the center of this tiny stand of trees, sitting rather awkwardly, but seemed as if he was trying to look like he meant to sit there in that stand of trees. That is where I left him... sitting in the stand of trees. Nervous, I ran inside and called the police department. Maybe he was ill, or had passed out or something. When I went back out, he was gone from the stand of trees. I walked out to the sidewalk to see him staggering on a block away. The police showed up like 20 minutes later.

One of the drunks in the building was sitting on a chair on the first landing of the back steps that lead into the building. He was speaking to a woman and drinking what appeared to be a liter of beer from its brown bottle. I had to get in so Rowena followed me up the stairs. Sure enough, this guy reaches out and tries to pet her. She immediately backs away and hides behind me. She walks in dashing over to the opposite side of where she is supposed to go in. The woman responds to Rowena by saying "Shy one, huh." I just kind of smiled and continued indoors. How do I tell someone that the reason Rowena is avoiding them or is afraid of them is because they are active alcoholic? Is this a bad characteristic for a service dog to have?

I trust animals and their reactions to people. If Rowena walks a wide circle around someone on the sidewalk, I trust that she knows something that I don't. I stay away as well. I do not personally believe anyone should squelch that reaction that animals have. I also think that Rowena has my best interest in mind as she leads me around these individuals.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


For almost a month now, Rowena has been taking a 3-part naturopathic remedy to help heal from her muscular skeletal injuries caused by the dog attack on her in February. Before the attack, she had been a happy, healthy energetic puppy. Afterwards, she was stiff and sore.

Being picked up and shaken at the hips by a big mean German Shepherd certainly qualifies as a physically traumatic event that can injure in ways that can be quite visual (puncture wounds) or a little more subtle (pulled and torn ligaments) that take longer to heal. I was determined to get her bouncing again!

When searching for something to help her recover more completely from those more invisible wounds, I did some research. That is when I found this naturopathic remedy, I thought it sounded like it had a lot of promise, could built her into a new puppy. The stuff is called "Winston's Joint Formula". It says it helps with a number of assorted canine muscular- skeletal problems and was very similar to a formula given to humans for similar problems. When we got it in the mail, it came in a small box that contained 3 bottles of supplements, each one having a different job to do. One helps rebuilt and strengthen bone, another helps strengthen and heal tendons and ligaments, the other helps heal and restore cartlidge. In this past month, I have seen Rowena's energy come back to where it used to be, and I see her return from a day of play not appearing to be stiff and sore. Her doggy chiropractor has noticed an improvement in her as well. Her last adjustment was quick and routine.

Half joking I like to claim that this formula is responsible for Rowena's ears standing more erect than usual for her. Yes, Rowena's ear cartlidge has been strengthening as well, and I have seen those soft black ears stand upright or nearly upright on more than one occasion throughout this past week. I look forward to beginning Rowena's second month of treatment with this naturopathic approach.

In the next several months, I would like to try Rowena in some doggy sports. I would like to check out flyball, agility, and some sheep herding workshops. She has that kind of playful spirit, and I want to feed it in healthy ways.

When she was first attacked, I was very distraught. I didn't like to see her in pain. Since I have started this remedy, I have seen Rowena play rough with her canine buddies, I have seen her jump, leap, have seen her run full speed ahead, and at the end of the day not be sore or stiff. My girl has recovered! I look at this girl now and I don't see any signs of her injuries from the attack!

Click on the above images to see a larger view^^^^ for more information on Winston's Joint Formula.

Rowena during our Sunday Training Session
-Sunshine Collection

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Be Still My Heart"

Rowena has been training well this past week. I have really tested her sit-stay and down-stay this week and had planned to do some playing and training with her to help her unwind from a boring business day. I packed up my backpack with her tie-out post, line and balls and put her on her flexi leash to bring her down to the park across from CHCS where she might get some extra distractions. It was about 5 pm so people were beginning to make their way home from town and from CHCS. As I knelt down to screw in her tie-out line, I placed the flexi -leash handle under my knee to hold her lightly in place. She took a few steps away to check out the surroundings when she realised that that horrible flexi-leash was slowly starting to follow her. This was the beginning of this horrible episode. She began running away from the leash (attached to her collar) and I did my best to call her to me... yelling, half panicked for her to come back to me. She headed for the edge of the sidewalk and I thought for sure she would freak out right into the road. I screamed for her to come to me. She moved from the road edge and began to kind of run towards me, but continued to freak out and past within feet of where I was. She then scrambled up the hill, nearly stepping off the sidewalk a couple of times, but never doing so. A woman who was walking up the sidewalk was able to step on the line of the flexi leash and stop Rowena from going any further. I ran up the hill to where the woman was and snatched up the leash handle. I thanked her and explained what had just ocurred... that my dog was terrified of her flexi- leash because it "follows" her a bit too closely for her comfort. I took some real slow deep breaths as I pulled Rowena in to safety and said "Thank you very much" to the woman as I returned to the bottom of the hill. I continued screwing in her tie-in and clipped her off the mean ole flexi-leash and on to the line that we usually train or plain on. I began crying. I sat down on the grass and pulled her close and pet her and kissed her as I told her "Don't you ever do that again. It is just a leash! It is not going to hurt you! Don't do that again." I just sat and hugged her for a little bit before I stood up and tried to do some work with her. I was going to play with the tennis ball to gradually get us back to play and work mode, but she seemed so spooked by the whole experience that I could not get her even to get excited over her tennis balls. She seemed very hesitant to move too much even with her tie-out line. Her energy she had shown me earlier had been sucked dry from the horrible flexi-leash chasing her around the park. I packed up her tennis balls, her tie-out and line and put her on her short work leash. I then hooked her flexi-leash to her collar and I walked around the grass in the park for about a half hour until she had gotten to the point where she could walk facing forward (as opposed to walking backwards while staring at the offending flexi-leash handle that dragged behind her). Then I walked a bit on the walk way until she could handle the flexi-leash dragging on the pavement. Finally I proceeded up the stairs, across the road and up the sidewalk towards home, all the while dragging the flexi-leash on the ground. Some kids questioned what I was doing. Then right near home, these three adults looked at me... even after I tried to explain what I was doing, looked at me as if I was somehow torturing my dog. Oh if only they knew how this beloved dog of mine had tortured me earlier. It was after dealing with these people that I decided that Rowena and I just needed to turn back around and go inside. I would take my PRN anti -anxiety medication so that I could breath and calm my heart down a bit. then I would just lie next to Ro on her dogbed and savor the fact that she was here with me and was okay. She is presently the best thing going for me in my treatment plan. To lose her would almost definitely put me back in the hospital. Before I go off to bed tonight, I am going to brush her out, give her her meds, take her out to go to the bathroom one last time before leading us both into bed. I will pray giving great thanks that Rowena is still with me. Tomorrow is another day. I'll see where she is then.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Rowena's Stats"

6/18/2005 Measurements:

Height at Shoulders=
20 inches
Length from base-of-neck to base-of-tail= 24 inches
Around Chest= 23 inches
Collar= 14 inches
Weight= 32.4 pounds

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Good Read: CHECK IT OUT...

A Book About a Border Collie...
REX, a Book written by Joyce Stranger

The book REX is a Border Collie classic. It is a book about a puppy born of an abused mother who runs off to live in the wild so she can keep her puppies. Rex is rescued and taken in by a man who tries to tame him. He has goals (and a bet) of raising Rex to be a herding champion. However, unable to get through to the young pup, a boy makes a connection and takes the pup home. This is a story about a boy and his devoted and loyal dog more than anything else. It is the Border Collie equivilent to "Lassie". My review doesn't do this book justice. I loved this book and encourage anyone crazy about Border Collies and all that they are to read this book. ***** (five stars) c. 1967 by The Viking Press, Inc.

Joyce Stranger has written these books as well: THE RUNNING FOXES and BREED OF GIANTS

Photo of Border Collies: CHECK IT OUT...

Photograph of Border Collies...
Change of Heartland: America's Great Plains

A boy in North Dakota holds an armload of Border Collie puppies as the parents (of the pups) supervise.
The article is basically about how the great plains region seems to be dying off, ghost towns... and how the area is looking for a new way to define its self. The boy's father (in the photo) is an organic farmer.

Meg and Ro play herding games.
-Sunshine Collection

Mud bath after a hot afternoon of high-speed playing.
-Sunshine Collection

Rowena (L) and Meg (r) play tug-of-war with a stick.
-Sunshine Collection

Meg chasing Rowena
-Sunshine Collection