Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I heard the new graduates will be taking their dogs home tonight. They do that during training so you can ask questions as you get use to being a team.

I remember that day.

Dear Emma,

I was so nervous the day I took you home.
I didn't see Judy and I am sure it was an emotional day for her.
She left your bed, favorite toys etc to take with you.

I was happy and scared.
So worried to take you from a family that loved you.
So thrilled to start our life together.
Nervous about if I could handle your needs and emotional needs too.
It was mid Oct and I was so nervous I thought I would throw up.
But also excited.

You came home and were so curious about the house.
We all sat in a circle staring at you.
You had a favorite toy from Judy and kept bringing the ball
From one person to another
At first I was suppose to be the sole person playing with you
Gosh that confused you
It was obvious you grew up with children/teens

I can't believe what has happened since that night
You were very good
You slept by the bed in your own bed

Now you sleep right on the bed with me
Most nights
We are comfortable together
We are a team

I wish I could tell the new graduates
Not to be so nervous
It takes time
But gently day after day
week after week
month after month
year after year
the relationship grows...

now here you are Emma
Such and important relationship in my daily life
We have such fun together
We snuggle together
We sleep together
We are ssuch buddies

Thank you Emma
Thank you for helping me through that first night
and so many more
You are adorable, funny, helpful, and such a bright spot in my life.

I love you............Mary

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Price less Emma


Wow am i tired today. We did go to water exercise. I was all ready and fell asleep in the chair waiting for my ride. That is unusual for me to fall asleep in a chair. After water exercise I enjoyed lunch with Jan and then we had a short (for me) nap. My son is picking me up. Then the whole gang is going out to dinner - going dutch. I am always excited to go out with them and this should be fun.

My house got cleaned today so you know I enjoy that also. We work with MaidPro but have the same woman every time and she does an awesome job. It means so much to me that she gives it some TLC also when she comes. I need all the help I can get ha ha.

I hope to take some pictures in the next few days to brighten up the blog. Emma is doing just great. She is so cuddly, so attentive, and just such a dear in my life. I can't imagine one day without her. She is just wonderful.

Did i tell you this? A man came up to me after I was out to eat. I was outside waiting for a ride and he said how much would I take for the dog? At first I thought he was kidding. I still am not sure. But then he said, really I have a lot of money - how much would you really sell her for????? EMMA??? I told him to train a dog like this is 15,000 or more. I said Emma was priceless and that a million would not be enough for her. He said I kind of thought you would say that....but honest I meant it. I will mourn forever when I loose Emma. I still miss my pet dog.

But "EMMA" is something no pet dog could be in my life. With me all the time - helping me so much. I know her facial expressions, her body language, her schedule, and she knows me so well too. Greg says he can tell if I don't feel well or am anxious by Emma's concern for me and actions. She is priceless for sure...

Now I don't mean to say my pet dog wasn't important to me and loved to. Boomer was a great dog for me. He also liked being my companion and died too young of a rare disease for his breed. But just imagine how much more time I get to be with Emma, how much she does for me emotionally in all scenarios and how helpful. both dogs helped me face my change in abilities and disease...

Priceless - both dogs priceless in my eyes. I bet you would say that about your dog or cat also. Thank God for these wonderful companions.

Wishing you a good day Mary and Emma

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A very quiet day.
We are going to a dinner tonight.
If it is late I will wait till tomorrow to blog.

Emma is doing great.

boy the leaves are changing and falling. They are not very bright in my yard in color but i guess that is from the stress of a dry summer.

Mary and Emma

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rainy Day

Emma's bladder is strong.
She hates going out to go to the bathroom in the rain.
She went early this am but since then just turns around and comes back in.
We went out for just a little under two hours today.
She did good.

I fell in the shower and boy am I sore.
Normally I don't take a shower while alone in the house.
I had such a hard time getting up.
Nothing broken - must have good bones.
But very sore.
Back to the rule to have Greg here when I shower.
Then if I feel shakey, dizzy, etc he is there to help me.

Watching closely the Twins - hope they win tonight.
Emma likes snuggling while we walk.

Dropped the leash while going to the car
and Emma did such a good job of waiting for me
to get my purse I dropped also
A clumsy day I guess

We could use more rain but we will see.

Happy Weekend to you all. Mary

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TWO Dr appointments today. Emma was perfect. She was with me for one and with Greg for the other. The second was an appointment with the lung dr including some breathing tests and she does not like them. So she stays with Greg at least part of the time. It is distracting for me if she does not want to stay in her drop and upsetting for her. I think because they are rather loud as they command me to breath in and blast it out. Anyway this works for us.

Our next stop now is Greg's work. Taking me home made no sense from a time factor so we are using the computer and I brought a book while he wraps up some things. He needs to do some errands for work that I can help with. The teacher in me is thrilled to go shop for bulletin board decorations and some other supplies. We also have another errand or two to go depending how I hold up. Then yep home for a late afternoon nap.

They tested my bypap machine and were surprised at how much i sleep each day. The computer card on it gives them info. Gosh were they surprised. I blame it on MS. Yet I don't know if t hat is acccurate.

I am pleased we have a plan of attack for the upcoming 6 weeks when I will be checked again. some medication changes ...........and also discussed what to do if I get a cold, bronchitis or the flu. In MN the flu season and cold season is around the corner. I do not what to get pneumonia twice like last year.

We still are making sure Emma gets outside today. Greg walked her this am besides running in the yard. She will walk as we do errands and we plan a walk with me on the scooter. Fall means colder days will come so motivates us to get outside and enjoy the weather as much as we can.

Have a good day....Mary

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

E - enthusiastic
M- magnificent
M - marvelous
A - attentive

T - terrific
H - happy
A - awesome
N - nice
K - kind
S - stupendous

For Being YOU

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Funny Faced Emma

After many days around 80 it was 70 (I think) today. Emma and I enjoyed the temps and we also had some rain last night. She loves when i say "do you want to go outside?" I know the body language, including facial expression, that means "What are you waiting for - yes".

At water exercise some of the individuals got out of the pool a bit early (10-5 min). I rarely get out early. There aren't enough private locker rooms in the family/handicap locker room to all have a room if we all leave at the same time! Emma has a specific facial expression, and position as she lays in a drop position. this time she looks inquisitive as if to say "are YOU leaving yet?"

All I have to do is verbally say to her "Emma it's okay, I am not done yet". She relaxes and settles back in. She and I know how to communicate in most situations I think. When it is time to go I say "hi Emma, stand Emma, get the towel (she is laying on) and "time to go". Most time the cane is leaning against the wall so no need for her to retrieve it.

At home my favorite is "nap time Emma-go" and she runs down the hall to my room/ and bed. If I want her to she will wait for me it is all in how I present it. I love feeling her body snuggled up next to me.

In the morning she nudges me. My answer might be "it is not time yet" and then she goes back to sleep (normally). She eats at 7 am and today it was 6:59 when she woke me. I said "Okay let's go eat". I would love to have a picture of how excited she was to not have to wait. She flew out of bed. she waited at the door for me and walked to the kitchen. She was one happy dog.

When we are outside she is so inquisitive. She likes to sniff around and if there is a squirrel or bunny to chase all the better. No she never catches them. They know where to run to get out of the fenced yard. I can say get your "ball" or "toy" and she will bring something to play with. She has a look of sheer pride when she catches or retrieves the ball or toy. She is just so much fun.

She also can be very funny. You can talk and she will raise one eyebrow and then the other as if it is so interesting to listen. It makes us laugh and then she will do it more. Maybe if i was really a great photographer i could capture it in film.

Does this present a picture in words about how wonderful it is to have Emma as part of my life - 24 hours a day. She is just great to be with. I love her so much. She is just the best.

Thank you Judy and family
Thank you Helping Paws Staff
Thank you to Volunteers and Financial Supporters of Helping Paws

Where would I be without my awesome dog Emma.

Mary and Emma

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Good Day


Emma did not get sick or anything from the banana bread yeah. It also happened to be the day to purchase more dog food.
We went to the movie "Love Happens" with Greg late afternoon and enjoyed it. Emma was perfect even though we did not feed her and she ate two hours late. Normally that meal time rarely varies.

Emma sure enjoys time outside. Oops I am behind in watering flowers (this month is dry) and it show in my garden. She and I will tend to it tomorrow. We did get outside, play catch, and enjoyed time with Greg.

I went to the family dr and my breathing sounded better - yeah for that. I am not as sore but the chest wall is still inflamed. So I will do activities as tolerated and take anti inflamatory drugs as needed. He talked about what to watch for as this may be chronic and when to get help in dealing with it. Like all people i still have to watch for heart symptoms (runs in my family) or breathing problems. We see the lung specialist on Thursday.

Tuesday we plan on water exercise though i will have to take it gentle. I likely can do a bit more than last week I think but will be careful.

Emma is so delightful. The change of seasons (summer weather but leaves falling) bring about smells and fun exploring. She loves rustling through the leaves...we still have a bunch more to fall. She add so much joy to my life.

Wishing you a good day...Mary and Emma

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The foil was still on the floor. At least she didn't eat that

Yum Yum

Yes she can "put" things on a counter.

Sunday i was gone under two hours and left Emma home? What was she doing I thought? Sleeping?

Nope EATING the banana bread I put on the counter for Greg and I. Wrapped tightly in foil.

I guess I didn't place it far enough out of her way.

Homemade so Maybe it is a compliment? Ha

Well only the second time in almost four years that something like this has happened!

She did go with me out with a friend during the day. We napped and baked banana bread (apparently for Emma).

Off to bed..sweet dreams....Mary and Emma (burp)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Emma Gets Tangled but is Fine - Human error

Twins won!!! Another exciting turn of events. We napped and missed part of the game but saw the last half.

We were home all day. Got some time outside, laundry folded (Emma helps take things out of the basket), put away items (Emma does not do that darn it), napped (Emma loves that) and I did some paperwork and read too.

Ended the day grocery shopping and dog food shopping. CUB is a big store so I make sure to get some extra walking in as Greg shops. I do part of the list with Emma and then we walk some laps while I use the scooter. It is a good exercise for her as we do the perimeter of the store and the aisles also. She is such a sweetie and seems to like it.

For the first time I needed to ask for help. For the first time I somehow got Emma list wound up in the wheel. I blame myself as in one place I didn't have her in the right place and almost hit her. I bumped the control. Well she moved (self defense) and somehow we got into a mess. A kind woman helped me just a bit which made it faster and easier to get Emma and I back under control. I use a bit longer leash so i should have been holding it to have it be shorter in the situation. Oh this is hard to explain.

We got home and had a nice rest of the evening. We had such a good day. Twins play again tomorrow and I hope to watch them beat Detroit again...this is exciting.

Bought some cooking items to make banana bread tomorrow too. Not sure we will do anything else since Greg has a very very long day at work.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Mary and Emma

Saturday - At Home

I think we will be home all day? Went to the Twins game last night with my family. Wow did we have fun and the Twins beat detroit a key win. Let's see how they do on the weekend.

Emma seems happy to go outside more, play more with me, etc since I feel better. Plan to write more later.

Mary and Emma hope you have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Memories my post the day I graduated with Emmam -Oct 2005

My Graduation Commments

Graduation was emotional and wonderful. Tonight I will simply share the comments I shared at this event. I will write more about the graduation tomorrow.

October 28, 2005
Some of the people in this room tonight know that I once was a teacher. I loved being a teacher. Tonight however, I stand before you as a very very humble student. I am here to thank your for what you have all taught me.

• When I look around the room and see first all the Michurski’s Emma’s foster family,
• the instructors of Team training,
• the staff of helping paws
• Those of you who are foster parents
• Sponsors and donors
• Helpers at the various classes
• The board of directors
• Families and friends of graduates
• The graduates from my class and others
• And of course the wonderful dogs

I recognize how much you have taught me about what people can accomplish when people work together - they combine their unique gifts and talents to work towards a common goal. Certainly tonight celebrates that unity of purpose!!

You also have taught me about persistence and patience and commitment. I especially thank the Michurskis and all the foster families and instructors. Every day I marvel at how these dogs can help others. I learned about helping paws long before I had a disability. I have learned through the process of becoming a graduate. Now I have wonderful Emma in my home and have had a chance to work with her in public. It is impossible to list for you all ways she is assisting me in my daily life. Your patience, your persistence and commitment -
All those days weeks, months and years you trained and nurtured this intelligent dogs – is certainly something we celebrate tonight.

Finally - being involved in this organization and process has taught me a great deal about THE DEPTH OF HUMAN GENEROSITY.

I was fortunate to be a teacher for jack and Michael Michurski. I met Judy and Steve there and you won’t be surprised to hear Judy was an active volunteer.
When I had to leave that position due to my life began to change dramatically. I did not see them as our paths went different ways. I did not know she had a puppy to train or that she became a staff member. I did not find out until it was decided the Emma would be placed in my home of their roles as Emma’s foster family.

I have wrestled with how do I ever say thank you to Judy, Steve, jack, Michael, Katie Michurskis for all they have done.

LOOK AT THIS ROOM - filled with people who have open their homes to puppies that have become service dogs. All of you who have supported helping paws in various ways. I salute your generosity!!!
Thank you for showing me the depth of human generosity.

I WANT IT TO BE VERY VERY CLEAR TO ALL OF YOU that the investment you have made to helping paws has made a difference in my life. WHATEVER YOUR DONATION HAS BEEN TO HELPING PAWS = YOU CAN BE VERY VERY CERTAIN



On a closing note, since we are in tears here anyway, I have one final comment to make to the JUDY MICHURSKI. YOU are so kind hearted – that I doubt she recall this. When I left teaching due to MS there were some teary moments. On one occasion you said to me “Someday I am going to think of way to help you with the MS”. Well Judy, you sure did.

from Emma

Hi from Emma

We went to water exercise though Mary couldn't do too much
Just exercise her legs mostly walking and some marching gently
Then light things - nothing with the arms.

Then we slept for a long long time
Some time outdoors, a bit of tv

We have tickets for almost the whole family to go to the Twins Fri night
Our last time to see them at the Dome
They have a new outdoor stadium coming next year
Mary will go if she feels okay
We will see how she feels

I am glad to see her better
Also I kind of "snuggled" with her Judy!!!
Yesterday I really did it!!!!!!!
Then I got so excited at her praise
I did my puppy scoot/dance
JUDY knows what I mean
We have our own way of hugging
Then I dance

At night I like to wrap my paw around her arm
Greg says it is amazing
I do it at nap time often too
Somehow I always like to be as close to her as I can
Do you know it has almost been 4 years?

We are a good team


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feeling Better

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for the kind thoughts and emails and prayers.
They mean more to me than you could imagine.
I am finally feeling a little better.
I went out to get my hair cut which helps too.
Good for my morale.

Emma has been super and I will keep needing some rest.
Drs. okayed that I go to water exercise tomorrow
IF I feel okay and can handle the pain I still have
IF I only work on legs not arm exercises and if it doesn't make it worse
It will be good for me even if I walk some and float some and exercise my legs
It will be good to see my friends.
But it will depend on how the night goes and how I feel in the morning.

So one day at a time
Emma and I were outdoors (me just sitting) for long periods of time today
We both enjoyed it.
I still had to nap a lot but not as much as past days (yipee)

Off to bed...Emma will take off my socks, get me the blanket, pick up anything I drop on the way and then snuggle in with me. I just love my Emma. She is so good for me.

Mary and Emma

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Taking IT Slow

Resting and sleepy a lot. Emma is being great. Our house was cleaned today so that helps my spirits.

Thanks for the get well wishes....Mary and Emma

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Nothing new
Mary did sit outside with me a few times
Otherwise mostly resting or sleeping

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Day at A Time to Feel Better

From Emma

I am glad it doesn't hurt me to breathe like Mary.

Pain pills and rest are helping or will help we hope.

We have been outside but mostly sleeping or resting.

One day at a time.

Thanks for the nice notes in the email and ecards.

Thinking of Judy, Brenda, Pam, Eileen and all those working on the Helping Paws Dinner tomorrow night. Today is a busy day for them also. Hope all goes well.

We weren't going to be there due to a schedule conflict but now had to cancel those plans too.
We will be there next year and hope all goes well. It is such fun and exciting.

Things I am doing for Mary

-getting the blanket
-getting the phone
- cuddling up next to her
-picking up anything she drops (does she do this on purpose?)
- helping her take off her socks, retrieving her shoes
- moral support
- making her smile with my kisses
- cuddling up next to her (doing that a lot)

Mary reminded me it is 9/11 and to pray for those who lost loved ones. She was teaching Judy's kids on that day. The principal asked she not tell students and let their parents explain. So hard to act like nothing was happening and to not know what was going on.

Oops time for Mary to lay down some more. Emma

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nurse Emma

Mary has been at the hospital. She is home but it will be a few days at least till she feels better they think.
Also some activity restrictions for at least a week.

Part of the problem is asthma and lung issues and she will have follow up on this.
I can't pronounce the other issues or recall how to spell it.

She is home unless chest pain and breathing pain gets so bad again we can't handle it at home.

We will be changing some plans and having a very quiet weekend and likely next week too.
She needs extra rest.

I will take good care of her and so will Greg.

Mary says don't worry she will improve in the way she feels...


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Special Girls

This picture shows last week when one evening we enjoyed having both Rosa and Sophia to babysit. Rosa is trying to distract Sophia from her reading. Sophia is a superb reader and loves it. They both had a fun night and so did we.

Today Emma and I spent time outside several times before going to water exercise. Last week there she had to drop/lay in an unfamilar spot and today the exact spot she likes the best. It is kind of in a doorway and I think feels good to her by the lifegaurd's desk and not far from there chair. She was great.

We did go to lunch at a local place with a special. Judy was finally back after her MS attack. She had lunch one other time but first time in the pool for 7 weeks or so. We kept reminding her to take it slow and easy.

I would like to go out to do a few errands, but as you might imagine Greg is just exhausted after a busy day today and a long weekend at work. He will take part of the day off tomorrow if all goes as planned.

My cell phone got dropped. Emma picked it up and now it won't work. I am surprised as I have dropped it before and nothing appears broken. But the keys won't work, we charged it and it just won't work. Yuck. Emma was so gentle with it that I don't think it was her fault at all.

Helping Paws has there big dinner this Saturday and we are sorry to say we will miss it. Hope lots of you go and enjoy it.

Emma and I are ready to go outside again. She and I only took a short nap. A nice day outside and in fall you really have to enjoy them......................

Mary and Emma

Will try to get some photos of Emma

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Emma and I did a lot of work (for us) on Sunday. I work slow as a turtle. We do a little and rest and rest and do a bit...and that is a good day. Sunday we were outside a lot too. Our reward for the day numerous times. Emma and i both love the outdoors and as months pass we know we have to enjoy green grass before snow and cold come. Though Emma loves snow too.

Emma's ability to help with laundry was again a god sent. Thank you Judy and Helping Paws. She hands the laundry to me from the basket as I fold it. Again we (I) am slow so it takes so long but got done. We even got most of it put away. We had some towels, sheets, plus clothes so it took the whole day at our pace. We did sneak out for a short break with Jan which was a nice snack outdoors at a place near here.

Labor day and i am not moving as well as yesterday. That is n ormal. I watered plants at least. I have a little to pick up. I am not sure which of my kids are stopping over but most of the food is cooked and ready to reheat. Very easy for us. Greg made some ribs and hanburgers. He is working all day again today.

We are off to play outside again and take an early nap.

Mary and Emma - enjoy the holiday

Friday, September 4, 2009

Congratulations Tia

Friday -

It is a beautiful day Emma and I will enjoy being outside often. Our walk with the scooter will be very nice.

We are also going to a movie. The Time Traveler's Wife. I tried reading the book but though intirquing found it too complicated. I have heard the movie is good and hope it is. We seem to go in spurts. See a few movies and then not again for awhile. Many of My MS friends go to movies almost every week. I am so glad they invited us today.

It has been cooler nights and it is so funny. Emma really burrows down in the covers and at the foot of our bed. Her presence keeps us warmer too. Today she and I slept late after Greg went to work. How fortunate we are some days. I feel pretty good today which is good too. I am no longer taking one of my drugs for pain because I think it has caused increase appetite. So far I am doing okay and I think eating less too.

Labor Day Weekend and Emma and I have little planned. Greg is off only on Saturday. It is neat they go to various dorms as kids move in and hand out hotdogs and pop. They also provide information if they want it on the Catholic Students Association. I know when we moved our kids in a can of pop and hotdog would have been welcome sight.

My daughter in law Tia is going to be a Freshman at St. Catherine's university in nursing. We are so proud of her accomplishment. Getting accepted there is not easy. I graduated from there in 1977 and my daughter Becky went there. Yeah for Tia. Yes she is the Mommy of our two darling Granddaughters.

I went back for my MA when my children still played Barbie's. Barbie would tell Ken supper was in the oven and don't forget to give the kids baths!! Ha ha. I only took one class at a time usually while I did daycare too. Busy years but fun. I loved going to school. So proud of Tia

We are headed outside again. Have a lovely day and great (safe) weekend...Emma and mary

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PLEASE don't Pet while working

Yesterday was busy. We had three medical appointments, a nap, and then the granddaughters came over. took them home to get pj's on and read stories. They are so darling to us...

I am applying to get an insulin pump to better control my diabetes. I have to apply and my doctor writes a letter and then we see what part insurance will approve.

Lately I have had such trouble with people wanting to pet Emma. Once in awhile it works for me but gosh my pet peeve is people who reach down and pet her while saying "I know you shouldn't pet them but is it okay"...while they are already petting her. Some people move so fast I don't get to say no she is working. Greg even noticed it so much yesterday and we both were so irritated...ugh. Some days go better than others.

Today we have water exercise. Greg works late so we will nap and hopefully work on a few chores including laundry.

We will not be going to the Tail Waggin Dinner for helping paws due to a family schedule conflict. I will miss it but get there next year.

Better go get ready...Mary and Emma

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Home All Day

Home All Day
Time to read a book outside
While watching Emma relax and play

Time to visit with my neighbor
While watching Emma relax and play
in the fenced in yard

Time to take a nap
While Emma relaxed and slept

Time to do a bit of laundry
time to snuggle with Emma

Time to enjoy the nice weather
and sunshine

Home all day
Time to be outside with Emma
Playing and relaxing with Emma

What a Great Day

Wishing you great days!!
Emma and Mary

Wed dr appointments and some time with Greg too!!