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Rescue Rant

While I’m not studying for finals, I thought I would finally clear something up. Many people have commented “You should have adopted a dog, not bought one.” I have avoided discussing this until now because I want this blog to be a positive place. However, I will now finally address this topic and endeavor to keep this from becoming a full-blown rant. 

Warning: anger, discrimination, and stupidity ahead!

Yes, I looked at breeders. But I also kept an eye on dogs in shelters and rescues for about a year.

I tried to adopt a dog. I contacted 6 rescues about 6 dogs in 3 states. All 6 told me I wasn’t a fit home for a dog.

Why? I’m a student. I’m under 22. I live in an apartment. I don’t have a securely fenced in yard. I have never owned a dog before. I live alone. I don’t live in X state. I’m mentally ill.

One of the rescues couldn’t even be bothered to return my calls.

I’m sure you can all see why this “unfit” dog owner gets a little angry every time someone criticizes me for buying my dog.

For those of you who hate me for buying a dog and try to make me feel guilty I will happily give you the names and numbers of those 6 rescues. Go criticize them for passing up a wonderful home and leave me alone.

I think I was rejected from all those rescues for a reason–so that I would end up with Lucy. She was the best decision of my life.

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Hello, this is Lucy. How may I be of service?

Today, I would like to happily announce that, under federal law, Lucy is a service dog. To be a service dog under the law two things are required.

(1) The handler be disabled.

I got that part down

(2) The dog perform specific tasks or work to mitigate that disability.

Lucy is successfully task-trained to do the following

Remind me to take my meds

Remind me to eat (since on my meds I never get hungry)

Force me to get out of bed

Alert to mania

Alert to depression

Deep Pressure Therapy

For now I am going to continue to identify her generally as a service dog in training because her public access manners are not as nice as I would like (they’re still pretty good though). Since in North Carolina and Indiana service dogs in training have all the same protections as full fledged service dogs there is no reason for me to identify her as a service dog yet.

Mostly, I just wanted to brag to all of you and to tell you, my dear friends, first that Lucy is both legit and official.

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TODO? Try TODONE!

Hi all!

First, a quick update about Lucy. Her surgery went well and she is fully recovered (although her hair still isn’t all grown back). She also saw snow for the first time ever today. A video of this historic moment will be posted at a later date.

Second, I would like to take this opportunity to list some of the things I have been able to do since Lucy came into my life. These are things that I hadn’t done for years prior getting her.

Ride on a bus

Drive to the mall

Deal with groups of more than 10 people

Shop in Brick and Mortar stores (I’ve been shopping almost exclusively online)

Stand up to my father

Go out for dinner (My friends took me out for my Birthday a few years ago. I had such a bad panic attack during it that I threw up.)

Go to drive-through

The following are things that I could do, but they caused me panic attacks every time. With Lucy, no more panic!

Go to work

Drive

Make eye contact with strangers (ex. waitresses or when checking out at the grocery store)

Talk about myself

Talk on the phone

The following are things that I HAVEN’T done since I got Lucy

Cry for more than 10 minutes

Have a panic attack in class

 

So, Thank You Lucy!

 

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Video

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After

As many of you know, Lucy had luxating patellas. This means that whenever she walked her kneecaps popped out of place. On Monday she had corrective surgery. She came through like a champ but with one complaint…they shaved her entire rear end.

Since I couldn’t let a photo opportunity like this go to waste, here are some images of Fluffybutt butt nekkid.

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Before

Here are some pictures of Lucy before her surgery.

 

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Graduation Day

On Saturday Lucy graduated from Beginner Dog Training class. She was easily #1 in the class and got glowing accolades from the trainer. The trainer said that Lucy is well on her way to becoming a service dog!

Here is Lucy, showing off her stuff for the camera.Image

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Soggie Doggie

So, here’s a little Saturday morning treat! Lucy right after a bath!

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

Hello all!

Friday, Lucy and I leave Seattle to return to the frigid wilderness of northern Indiana. At least, I hope so. I haven’t been told which flight out I’m taking (it’s all organized by a third party). I’ve been bugging them, but still haven’t heard anything.

So? What notable things happened this summer? In no particular order:

I got followed by a creeper

Lucy went through four (4!) harnesses

I started seeing double

Lucy decided she wants knee surgery

I contacted every single American organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International

Lucy started eating only grain free, limited ingredient Sweet Potato and Bison for dinner.

I got asked out on a coffee date

Lucy studied for the CGC

I walked between 4-7 miles a day. Half of those were uphill.

Lucy chewed through my shoes

I bought new shoes

Lucy was so well-behaved on an airplane that the person sitting next to her thought that she was fake

I saw Disney songs preformed by the Seattle Symphony

Lucy updated her dogster page (http://www.dogster.com/dogs/1245928)

I finally let everyone know that I have a mental illness

Lucy, once she is a service dog in training, may be allowed inside certain buildings on campus. Or maybe not–still working on it.

I left my online support group to help found a new one which is wildly successful

Oh yeah! Sometimes I worked.

That’s all I can think of at this moment. May add more later!

 

~Caitlin

 

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“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”

Hi all!
Here is a Lucy Training Update!

My goal is to have Lucy pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test this year. The CGC is a test standardized by the AKC that tests dogs for good manners. The test can be performed by a wide variety of people (professional trainers down to those people at PetsMart). There is a certificate awarded to the lucky dog that passes. The CGC has ten challenges, listed below.

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger

We live in a hotel. Lucy has this down cold. She loves strangers!

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting

Again, we live in a hotel. Many a person has swooped down out of nowhere to pet, cuddle, or pick her up. She’s always very polite and enthusiastic.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming

Didn’t I say in my last post that this dog is a diva? She won’t go out in public looking any less than her best.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

Yep, she walks on a loose lead.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd

We’re in Seattle. Any walk requires maneuvering around people, strollers, and shopping bags.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place

This is where we run into some trouble. Lucy does none of these three things on command. She knows when I want her to sit (waiting for the elevator or to cross the street) but doesn’t know a word for it. I’m actively working on teaching her the necessary vocabulary for Sit and Down. Stay might be harder as she is something of a velcro dog.

Test 7: Coming when called

I’m about 80% sure she could do this if she could ever stay in one place long enough for me to get far enough away to call her.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

Friendly dogs? She’s wonderful! Looks at them a bit and keeps walking. Big dogs that bark at her? She gets scared stiff. She just sits down wherever she is and watches that dog very very carefully.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction

She has very good focus. I can even get her attention away from pigeons.

Test 10: Supervised separation

Yep, I have been away from her. There were those couple of days in doggie day care and then occasionally I leave her with the front desk staff when they want to pet her and I want coffee. She kind of sits there for a minute looking in the direction I went, just waiting for me to get back.

So, 8/10 in 2 months? Not half bad, puppy-girl! And she doesn’t even get points for her only-bark-once-when-someone-is-at-the-door trick.

If she doesn’t pick up sit/down/stay by the time school starts back up I’ll enroll her in one of those PetsMart beginner classes. I’m sure she’ll ace it.

After the CGC I will feel confident enough to start Lucy on public access training. However, she needs knee surgery in September so for about 2 months she’ll be in recovery. She will have a lot of trouble walking so I’m not sure public access training will be able to start until Spring Semester.

tl;dr version: Lucy is too damn smart for her own good!

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