Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog: Jetta's Journey ~ Life and Times of a Service Dog:...
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I have been watching a bump on the top of Jetta's hind paw for several weeks. It started out small,looking like a tick full of blood. I pointed the spot out when the vet plucked a small wart looking like bump off of her eyelid. The vet knows how much Jetta means to me. He's been my vet for 29 years when I came to him with my cats.I love my vet. Doctor Truax is a common sence kind of a guy that got his schooling at UC Davis. He humors me when I worry too, much but has always given solid guidance for my animals. He has a chapter in my book,"Lumpy Bumps." After Jetta's Maste Cell cancer for years I brought her in for every bump I found. We just saw our vet two weeks ago for her eye bump. He says when he sees us in his office again very good naturally, "Denise have you been on bump patrol again?"
We both smiled and we both know that Labs get bumps with age,all dogs get bumps. I guess it's in knowing the difference, from a bad bump,and a good bump. Trust in my vet helps me know that I'm taking the best care of Jetta as she ages. Jetta is moving more slowly with her paw wrapped up in a bandage to keep the wound dry for about 7 days. I just gave her more medication wrapped in ham. Bud was very sad not to get a treat so I gave him a little ham too. After all Jetta has the boo boo. Jetta is sleeping more. I give her extra loving.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I wrote this list of questions from all the millions of questions asked of me when I'm in the community with my dogs. I'm most happy to answer those questions. I find myself in grocery stores with people circling around me with these questions. I try to stop for them even when I'm in a hurry. I'm overjoyed by the curiosity I receive from the public - this means that more people can make dogs a larger part of their life. No one plans on having a disability. It's my hope that people living with disabilities will find it calming to know that a canine will be there to help them, and if nothing else, love them.
Q: What does your dog do for you?
A: He gets the phone for me, picks up dropped objects like socks, clothing, utensils, pens, eye glasses and keys. He walks next to me on a leash without pulling me over. When I'm on the ground, he stands still so I can grab his back and use him as a bench. While walking without my walker, the dog has an anchoring effect for me, which helps with my balance.
Q: How long is the training period?
A: 18 Months for full duty. The dog needs strong mature bones to bear the person's weight without it harming the dog.
Q: When can the dog visit with people?
A: When I say the word "Release", the dog knows he's on break and that I'm not depending on his for support. (And then his tail goes crazy!)
Q: How can I get a service dog?
A: Go to a large group like Canines for Independence, or other groups that offer adult service dogs. You can also pick out a calm pup and pay for a trainer that specializes in service dogs, which is what I did. Starting with a pup can be a difficult challenge for a person with a disability, if that person has to be the puppy raiser. You can try to pick up a puppy that seems to have the right temperament, however you won't know definitely if the pup will become a good service dog until well into the second year.
Q: When does a dog get too old to work and what happens then?
A: That depends on what the dog's job is. For example, Jetta can still come with me to appointments. She walks next to me but can't do any weight-bearing tasks like helping me to stand up. Jetta is slowing down and getting tired; she still loves to work but also enjoys being lazy. Because she is my dog, Jetta stays with me for the rest of her life. With guide dogs, sometimes the person can keep the old dog but sometimes that's not possible. If your dog does not pass the tests to be come a working dog or is retiring from service, there is a long list of people waiting to adopt them.
Q: Who qualifies for a service dog?
A: Anyone with a disability that has a doctor's note stating that a service dog would make their life safer.
Q: What different types of Service Dogs are there?
A: Guide dogs, Seizure dogs, Hearing dogs, dogs for stress disorders, dogs for returning war vets with post traumatic stress disorders.
Friday, October 29, 2010
JETTA GOES TO HER VET
I noticed a little spot that looked like a wart under Jetta’s eyelid – I’m always expecting the worst, like “Oh my God, she’s going blind”!. I do this because once Jetta had a little cancerous bump that had to be removed, it was called a maste cell. I took her to the vet and also took Bud for his monthly weigh-in. She walked in like a good service dog, she always loves to be there. Bud, who has had some painful toe-nail breakage recently, has been afraid of the vet. My helper Charlie had to basically force him to go, he had to be pulled. We got to the clinic, Jetta got weighed while Bud was trying to get out of that hell-hole, crying and jumping on my lap, carrying on like a big drama king. We got in the examining room for Jetta’s appointment and the vet gave her a thorough exam. He explained that the eyelid sore was starting to scratch and irritate her eye. He said we could put her under or take it off right then with his scissors. I said to do it the easy way. He said she probably wouldn’t have any discomfort, so I said “Do it without putting her under”. Good, patient Jetta. All the time Bud was crying, trying to escape and carrying on like a big baby. During the exam, we talked about how dogs age. She’s lost muscle, but her weight is perfect, so we can only continue what we’ve been doing with her, walking and swimming, for as long as possible. After the exam, both of them got a treat. The vet bought the book and loved it. Bud was so happy to get out of the room, but Jetta wanted to stay because she loves the attention of her fans and knows they have treats.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Jetta's behavior has changed with age. Jetta has always been the most polite dog. Now that she is almost 12, she is rude. She looks at me and barks for treats. She never did this before. She barks at me to jump up to bring her the water bucket from the kitchen into the living room while I'm watching TV. I know this because I tell her that I don't know what she wants. Then she gets up and goes to the kitchen and drinks water from the water bucket. She barks at me when she wants to have a walk. When we go to the beach, she trots down the beach stairs then barks at me while I walk down carefully so I don't kill myself; she wants me move faster. She pokes her nose at pockets of people on the beach hoping that treats drop out. She backs her hind quarters in to every one she sees, hoping for bootie rubs. At home in the garage, where I keep a covered cat box, she puts her head in, looking for kitty poop. Gross! She knows how to open the refrigerator and kitchen cupboard where I keep the trash. At night I have to put the trash bucket in the sink. On three different times, when the front gate didn't get closed properly she took off and wandered the neighborhood looking for food. Jetta, much to my shock, has gone into other homes down the block and eaten any food left in sight. I can only think that old dogs don't care. They must think "Oh well, whats the worst thing that can happen." So I have concluded that old dogs have no shame because they know how much we love them and treasure every moment with them.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I would love to hear about your dogs' behavior in similar situations.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Old dogs need extra care to keep strong. With age dogs lose muscle and Jetta was getting weak in her back legs. Swimming with Chris at "Splash" in Morro Bay helps her. Bud swims too. Bud starts crying when we go down her street. Both dogs get excited when we go. After swimming, Jetta acts like a puppy and Bud is really mellow because he swims like a maniac.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
I know that I am crazy to raise and train another service dog on my own, especially with my being 10 yrs older and my disability. The truth of it is that I have had my friends and my community helping out all along. The fine men of the Lyon's Club built my beautiful fence around my yard when Jetta was a puppy and they also paid for my new pup Bud. Another friend gave me money to buy Bud also, but that money went to his training since he was already paid for. My friends from Aquanetics raised money for his training also.
When I sadly found out about Bud's elbow displacia when he was 7 months old, his surgery was paid for by an Angel Fund from UC Davis, because he was a service dog (and they fell in love with him and Jetta, too). Harbor Labs and other non-profit organizations also donated to the cause...my prayers were answered. The vet said that Bud would be able to be a service dog even with his displacia, and that I would just need to keep him lean, and swim him a lot, which of course he loves, (and Jetta gets to swim, too, keeping her legs strong). One of my goals of Jetta's book is to help to encourage people to find ways to have their dogs have a full enriched life by training them so they can really fit in with their families and be able to be with them as much as possible. It's tons of work but the joy of teaching your dog to help you is very rewarding. The dogs love it too. Let me know about any of your needs, so I can try to help find answers. And you can share your tales about your own pups here, too.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
This blog site is for you to tell things about your beloved dogs. Denise & Pack
Monday, September 13, 2010
Meet Jetta at Mission Plaza on Sunday September 19th!
Jetta and the human she cares for will be there! Jetta will be inscribing books with her special paw print!
You may also meet Isobel Hoffman whose charming illustrations introduce the chapters in Jetta's story, depicting Jetta's adventures as she learns to care for and protect her owner.
For further information, contact publisher, Billie Johnson Oak Tree Press
Telephone: 217 824 6500