Monday, August 26, 2013

Time Keeps Slipping Away

What a year it's been!

Shortly after my last post Rachel graduated from high school. She's our only child, and we've been through so much as a family in the last 18 years, but she is such a light in our lives that it seems like it all went by in a flash.

This whole last year was huge; senior year, Stewart came to live with us, Rachel's boyfriend came back into her life after moving back from Idaho, and then announced he'd be leaving for the Army in May. We crammed a lot into that 9 month school year.

Jonah gave Rachel a promise ring for Christmas, which was huge, and the kids spent as much time as they could together, in between school and dog training, before Jonah had to leave again. 

There was prom...

And a month later it was time to say goodbye, as Jonah left for boot camp...

He did great, and graduated, moving on to AIT in August...

We took a short family trip to the coast after Rachel's graduation, and we bought a one year membership to OMSI. Rachel planned to take a gap year before going to college, because we all needed a break, and because she and Jonah need to know where he's going to be based before deciding what the future holds.

Rachel and Stewart outside the Oregon Coast Aquarium...

October 19, 2013 will be the one year anniversary of Stewart coming to live with us. He has changed our lives in immeasurable ways. He is a wonderful companion to Rachel, loves to do his job, and is just a lot of fun. Rachel is learning every day how to be more responsible for herself, and taking on more duties around the house. 

We stay busy, we have fun, we laugh every day. It could be a lot worse, and we are grateful. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

They Did It!

On October 19, 2012 a wonderful dog named Stewart came to live with us, and to be a partner for Rachel, as she learns how to be an independent adult.

This is their first Hello

Over the next several months, Rachel and Stewie bonded over grooming, and cuddles...

We helped Stewart celebrate his second birthday with a peanut butter and kibble 'cake'...

Stewie even accompanied Rachel to a production of The Nutcracker...

As much as we loved having fun with Stewart, he was here to learn, and to work, so he and Rachel did lots and lots of training, every single day, everywhere they went... 

Still, there is always time for play, and Stewart is a guy that knows how to have fun...

So, Rachel and Stewart have bonded, worked, played, and practiced for the big day that they had their certification testing, where Stewie had to show off all his skills, and Rachel had to show that she knows how to get the most out of her partner...

They nailed it! Rachel and Stewart are now an official Certified Team. Soon Stewie will have his ID card to show off, but this doesn't mean the team is done working. They still train and practice every day, so that they both keep their skills sharp, and are confident when they go out each day.

We have all of you to thank for this amazing gift. Without your help and support, this whole process would have taken so much longer. With Stewart at her side, Rachel can go out into the world with confidence, knowing she has a loving partner, who will stay by her, and alert someone that she needs help in the event of a seizure.

Brett and I can never thank you enough for this gift to us, as well. We are forever grateful. <3


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Okay, Mary, Here You Go!

I made a post on Facebook about a thing that happened today, and one of my friends said "Copy and past that into the dog blog!", to which I replied something to the effect of "but I'm sooo busy!" 

So, here's the post:

Today was a big day for Rachel and Dog. The trainer came to put them through their paces, in hopes of being able to give a 30 day notice for certification testing. They have just a couple of things to perfect, but overall are looking very good! The notice is going in, and the team will have 30 days to work, work, work on their weak points before the trainer comes and does a video that will be turned in to Paws for review. Our hope is that they will be certified before graduation, and we can have a big certification/graduation celebration.:)

Yes, this is a Big Deal, and we are both excited and nervous. Recently, another friend asked when we'd most recently updated, so I ran over here to look. Yikes, December 28th was over 3 months ago. That's a really long time in the blogiverse, but I know we have some folks who been following along from the beginning, and we owe to you to at least try and keep you up-to-date.

It would be so much easier to be excited about blogging if I could share more about Dog, and when the team passes their certification test, I'll be able to do just that, with tons of pictures, and fun stories.

Until then, here's a pic of Rachel and Dog enjoying a sunny afternoon, and some bonding time.

Training is never really finished. Even once they're certified, they will still have to practice commands, and do seizure simulations on a daily basis. Every day, until it comes time for Dog to retire. They will also be re-certified every two years, so must keep their skills sharp.

Rachel will graduate from high school in June, her boyfriend is going into the Army at the end of May, and she's working on her certification with Dog. This is a very busy and stressful time for all of us, but she's the one being graded. Rachel is holding up really well under the pressure, but has experienced a few more seizures than average lately. Fortunately, they seem to be much less impactful, and she's only had one anxiety attack in the last few months.

Dog has become a good friend, and a source of comfort and support for Rachel. He goes where she goes, though he won't be attending Prom next week. He's getting the night off as he hasn't learned how to dance yet, and Rachel happens to have a very handsome human date. I'm not really looking forward to trying to explain to Dog why he can't go, and keeping him from pacing a rut in the floor until Rachel gets home.

So, there's my big, long over-due update. I do apologize for the huge gap, and I would promise to do better in the future, but I think we all know that I can't be trusted, so I'll just say that I will try and remember to update at least once a month. Feel free to leave a message if you want to know something. I will get a notice, and get back in here. :)