Friday, December 31, 2010

Okay after a car accident

We ended the New Year with a bang...a crash that is. Our car was broadsided as we went through an intersection. It was not our fault but our car ended up with the most damage. Luckily no one was hurt. I was grateful for that. It happened Thursday.

Today we will celebrate NEW YEARS EVE with the granddaughter. They will soon be here for supper and a sleep over. I have games ready, colors, things to make cookies, healthy snacks (they wanted fruit) and so on. Greg and I just worked around the house today. Got things done since we didn't think we should drive the car.

Our mechanic is so kind he made a house call and talked with Greg about the damage. Wasn't that nice of him?

I was sore but think I am okay from it all. It was a big SUV that hit our mini van so ours crumpled on the passenger side. The big car had little damage except (picture this) her license plate was wedged into our car. Came off her car and got mangled between our wheel and the door. Hard to explain but took awhile to get it out.

We were intending to be home tonight anyway. It is a bit icy here so I hope everyone drives careful who is going out.

2010 was a year to remember. Greg had cancer again, I had some hospitalizations due to asthma/pneumonia but there were many good things also. Our family is doing pretty well (normal struggles) and everyone is healthy. My children all live in town soI am blessed to see them often. We remain a close family. I have a great family and awesome friends for support.

2011 - A friend of mine is already composing her resolutions. I need to think on that. I tend to make the list too long and can't keep up with it. I need to be realistic.

We even got Emma some special treats for tonight. Healthy of course.

I hope to journal about the blessings of this year. Maybe i can share more tomorrow. One thing Emma is a blessing in my life and that enriches my life immensely.

As you end the year and we venture into 2011 - I wish you many blessings and happiness. Know that family, friends and yes pets are super support as you face life with its up and downs.

Mary and Emma

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wed Smiles for You

Emma and I enjoyed having Rosa overnight last night - Grandpa Greg too. But Emma kind of likes it alone too. She gets even more cuddly after Rosa leaves. We took her home this am. If all goes as planned she will come to celebrate New Years Eve with us also!!!!!

Remember playdough??? Emma watched as Rosa and I played with it for almost two hours. She got for Christmas two sets of gadgets to use with it. One was a make theater snacks so we made playdough popcorn and treats for grandpa watching the Vikings Game. We played yahtzee (our own version) and just had a blast. I felt better than normal so had more energy yesterday afternoon and night. In the afternoon we took her to the movie "Tangled" that was fun.

Today we are resting, picking up a bit, and going to do some returning of Christmas items. Gifts I got Greg that didn't fit and a few things I got from Amazon. com for kids that didn't fit the bill or were duplicates of what they got from someone else.

Then out to dinner tonight. We have a very generous gift certificate from one of our children to use. What a treat!! Fancier place than we normally go to. The Craftsman for those of you who know South Mpls area. Should be a great time.

I have read more in two days than in the past month, due to my ipad where I can enlarge the print etc. So having fun with my Christmas gifts. I was so spoiled this year.

Emma got some new treats. I will let her pick out a new toy too.

I AM THINKING TODAY OF FUN - I can be way to serious and worry my way through life. My therapists taught me that ha ha. While there are worries, concerns, things to "do" and so is good for my spirit to have time to play. Rosa and Sophia always remind me of that when I am with them. Light hearted times with my children and Greg also are good for my heart.

MS CAMP is one of the big fun things in my life = a whole week to play. Vacation is great too. But in the MN winter when doing the outdoor sports does not work for my abilities - I have to find times to relax indoors. The ipad has been fun, reading gets my mind off things, talking with friends is also fun.

WE ARE WISHING YOU time to "play". Go to a movie, do sports, spend time alone or with friends and family in a way you enjoy and find relaxing. Maybe a hobby helps with that? Try playdough with a child - it is always fun!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading...Mary

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spa Time for Emma

Emma was groomed today. They take good care of her and said she was excellent. She of course hates her nails clipped. Teeth brushed, washed, dried, trimmed up a bit, and brushed some more...she looks like she has lost weight and is so pretty.

We have had Rosa this afternoon and overnight. She is good to Emma. We went to the movie Tangled and Emma was perfect. The many children in the theater were amazed to see a dog present. The staff there see us once in awhile so always greet us warmly. I was proud of Emma.

Rosa liked the movie a great deal. She climbed in my lap or Grandpa's in the scary parts. The movie was pretty, music joyful, entertaining and well received by the audience. One child (not Rosa) cried when it was over because she didn't want it to stop.
she calmed down though when everyone was leaving.

We have such fun when the granddaughters come over or our kids. We appreciate playing with Rosa so much. Time with her is truly a gift for us. I love hearing her play and also playing with her. We were playing vet with a gift I got her for Christmas. Her favorite stuffed animal needed a check up as he hasn't been feeling well. It is so interesting to hear how she interprets what a animal doctor would say and do. I enjoy being with children and always

Wishing you sweet dreams!! Even Rosa noticed how fresh and great Emma looked today.

Mary and Emma

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Relaxing Day

We had a relaxing day at home monday. Greg is off and enjoyed being home the entire day!! Rare for him to be able to do that. Emma had fun outdoors in the snow, playing with us indoors, napping with us, and just hanging out with us.

We watched a netflix movie - Old Dogs. My son generously putchased us an apple tv so we can do various things like connect to the internet through our tv, to radio, and more. We are learning what we can do with it. It is a surprising fun thing to have.
My husband and children also surprised me with gift cards so that I could purchase an ipad and also applications for it. I will use it for reading books alot and there can adjust the font to what I want. I have had fun today and last night learning how to use it. They spoiled me this Christmas and really really really surprised me also. My husband has been saving for months.

He saved by skipping lunches out and saving this and that in cash in a jar in the garage so I wouldn't see it. He also lost weight not eating out...truly. Long story but I was so pleased. The gifts aren't the issue as much as the depth of my family's generosity and hard work to make them possible this year. They were so excited about it all.

There Presence would always be present enough. Last year we surprised Greg with a new tv. Both the tv and the ipad will be used by both of us.

Heard a friend I am meeting for breakfast tomorrow, with my sister too just lost her dog to death. She died at home on Christmas Day. I feel so bad for her....can't think of what to do to express my sympathy.

I had a long nap today as I woke up in the night so started reading on the ipad. You can download books on it. Now off to bed. Sure was great to have Greg home today.

Emma is doing just great. She is looking at me like she knows it must be bedtime due to our routine.

Hope you get some relaxing time this week....Mary and Emma

Sunday, December 26, 2010



Today at church they talked about family.
Emma of course is part of my family.
I have four children and their two spouses
My two lovely granddaughters (sisters)

We had a lovely Christmas Day

Every day though, not just holidays
I am so grateful to God for my family
My close friends and extended family as well

those friend with MS who support me and help me feel less crazy
those friends from Helping Paws who clearly understand my love for Emma

Today I am taking the day off
from needed chores, hopefully from worries
I am going to capture this day with joy
I am going to dwell on gratitude

I am going to enjoy time with Greg and Emma...

Thanks for your role in my life,
You help me every day reflect on goodness
On the blessing of my Angel Emma

May you have a day full of gratitude,

Mary and Emma

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Week

From Emma

Merry Christmas

Our house is full which is fun
But Lily and I don't always know where to lay
(Lily is Mary's Granddog)
They are playing Wii now
Wow that is loud
Mary and I aren't playing

Opening presents
A Good dinner
A board type game (Wits and Wagers)
And good conversation
And lots of laughter

What a good day we are having!

Hope you are having a wonderful day....


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve

Enjoy time with family and friends.................Mary and Emma

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Holidays

Today Emma was so happy. We went to lunch and a store in Maple Grove. She got to smell new things in the Good Things store. She was very well behaved. She walked outside in the snow bank as her reward. Those who walked by chuckled at the dog diving in the snow.

At home is fun too but I think new places and smells are fun for Emma.

I am going to wrap presents tonight. That should be enjoyable as I did part already. Greg is my elf picking up some gift items as he comes home from work. Our well loved "Christmas Eve Hotdish" is in the oven. We decided not to opt for it on Christmas Eve but it is a dish my mom use to make so we like having it this time of year. Smells good while cooking.

I Think we will see Rosa for a few hours tomorrow. Sophia is with her dad. There is no school or pre-school for them this week or next. Seeing her and playing would be fun. If we have to shop it won't be much and we would take her along.

I have breathing problems at times when I am in the cold and when I walk. So gettinng out was good but also a bit challenging.
I am so glad to have a wonderful friend to share lunch with. I found one item I might go back for - I am not sure yet (or send Greg).

Well off to wrap or use gift bags on some items. I never seem to have enough mid to bigger size bags.
The best present of course being with friends and family. All lmy children and granddaughters will be here on Christmas day so I am very very pleased.

Merry Christmas

Emma and Mary

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BAby God

Rosa slept over on the weekend. She loves looking at photos of her on the computer. This is one of the precious early photos. She liked this one.

Looking at it in this season reminds me not only of the wonder of her birth but also of Jesus' birth and what it meant to our world and my faith.

We also have the fischer price nativity set. Rosa loves to play and arrange the animals, shepherds, Jesus and the mommy and daddy. She know his name is Jesus but calls him baby God at Christmas. It was heart warming as she used her voice as she played out the birth of Christ as she knew it in her words.

When she left she said "now take good care of baby God" while I am gone.

So I am going to remember my Faith and in her words "Baby God" who lived a life that taught us how to love and care about is a good thing for my mood.

My second post today.

Making It a Good Day

Home today - too much to do but pacing myself. YES it did snow last night.
Emma is like a child it is so much fun to see her in the fresh snow. It is awesome to watch her play and she makes her little paths to run in. At first she gets out there and looks like she is smelling the fresh air, then thinking of where to run to in the yard. What a cutie she is...for sure.

Emma is doing great on all skills. A bit sharper in everything, quicker for sure as we have increased deliberate review times with various cues and the food reward (just kibbles from her dog food) and/or verbal reinforcement. She really can be so good I don't always have treats with me. I guess like people a bit of extra reward/incentive/acknowledgement causes her to be even more excited about working. She is just so smart.

She likes our cleaning woman and she is be obedient to stay out of the way. Normally when she comes we go to swimming and see her only at the end and she loves being petted. Having help for a few hours twice a month is wonderful. Cleans my kitchen, bathroom, does floors...dusts as time allows. I could use help weekly and add other rooms of service but can't afford that. But I am so darn grateful she does what she does. She makes good use of her time.

Emma is being great at hanging with me as she cleans so we are not hindering her work. We just came in from outside. Greg had to shovel a place for me to stand (patio) to be out with Emma. I sure can't be in the drifted yard like she can. She tires from her prancing/jumping/running through deep snow. She is such fun. I am so grateful for the fenced yard.

This is going to be a good day. I am getting some things done which is really good. Tomorrow if time allows we will see my friend. She is picking me up from a medical appt and then we will go to lunch. If time and my health allows we might shop at one store also.

Wishing you a great day.
Mary and Emma

Monday, December 20, 2010

It Looks Like Christmas - snowy day today

Yes Emma there is a Dog Santa and he brought you more snow today and another snowfall is due thursday your snowy dreams are coming through. It is getting deep for her but we shovel a bit (Greg does) and she makes her own trails and uses them like her little doggy freeway through and around the yard. I never tire of watching her play and run and explore. Last time she tried to fetch a toy she didn't find it!! Surprising. But the snow in that part of the yard was too deep for me to venture into so it will just wait....

How are you doing for Christmas? I had hoped to have more organizing done as I thought I was having more of my kids staying overnight. That bedroom tends to be a catch all room. But anyway I have had a few melt downs in tears. I LOVE this season of the year, the Christmas Music, Christmas Music, Christmas Gatherings and yes the snow since I don't have to drive in it or shovel it. But everything takes energy and that is tough on me. I anticipate/expect I can do more than I can around the house, preparation, wrapping all the things that make the holiday special. Christmas baking except for my pumpkin cake is all I am doing.

I get way to stressed and part a big part is just me. The Gundersen family gathering Sat was enjoyable and Weinand Christmas brunch Sunday Fun. But of course they tire me out. I forget to allow nap time when things get hectic which is not good for me...or rest time works.

Even as a child I would try to do too many crafts and things for long as I can remember (and my husband agrees) I plan more than I can accomplish which is truly my mistake. So I am trying to calm down and know it will be fine.

Believe it or not, even with things to do, i took time for a movie with my friend. HOW do YOU KNOW was cute and funny. Emma was great. I had not seen this friend for several weeks as she has been at Mayo Clinic for health concerns. It was a matter of priorities and I am certain spending time with her was the right choice.

We will rest a bit and then do chores. I have a few things I really want done today - others I can spread out through the week. Greg does not work tonight, the Vikings play outside due to the Metrodome collapse in a snowstorm. Hope no one gets hurt. i can't believe all seats are general admission due to the venue now being U of M Gopher Stadium and people outdoors for hours waiting to get a ticket. More ticket holders than seats due to the change of place.

We will be warm and cozy at home and for that I am truly grateful.

May your last days before Christmas be calm as they possibly can be....Mary and Emma

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Emma's Skills

Emma and i are reviewing some of the cues that I don't use so much. Practicing "look" was a suggestion from Wendi at Helping Paws that I am finding is keeping her sharp on whatever I want her to do next. We practiced "put" also and she was awesome - I just so often have her "give" things to me instead of using "put" it on a specific place

She does great on helping me take off my socks, so "pull", "bring" and "give" all work well in any situation. She does well at the cues when in a scooter or walker or with my cane. Those position cues of "side, heel, around, back, all go well. We should review the M & M sequence (I think they called it that( which helps review all those and the in front cues. She knows how to go ahead of me too but rare I need that.

In any case we are reviewing the list we have from training to be sure we are practicing them. Wendi was helpful as when I go out with Jan on Fridays - Emma won't stay under the table in a drop. She stands, she paces, and sometimes goes out to the aisle. This is NEW behavior and only there or just maybe once or twice in another situation. Normally and I mean 99% of all locations she lays down great till the meal is over or mtg. She does know when i get my purse it is probably time to go and might stand then without being told (working on that too). I don't know why this situation is tough on her.

Well I won't explain what all we talked about in our longer conversation. What I am going to do is be sure she has her blankie to lay on (this helps) and see if sitting elsewhere there is better (bigger booth or table). Also IF it happens elsewhere see if there atre any similarities or differences when she does great. She will have the chance to test out that behavior at two events this weekend.

At home we have been working on her drop and stays too. We have had fun with her toys practicing all her skills. She is a wonderful companion. When things don't work I try to sort out is it human (me) error or her error. She knows us so well and visa versa that sometimes we use our normal language and she get's confused. Once in awhile I catch myself and stop to use doggy language cues if needed to redefine the behavior I am looking for her to show me.

I am so tired today that we napped and I hope to go to bed early. She was curious as i wrapped presents for the family tonight. I did not get hers yet. She seems to enjoy cuddling up as we watch Christmas Shows or listen to Christmas Music.

Take good care,

Love Mary and Emma

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wed and wishing you a good night

It is late. I will post tomorrow. We are doing well.

Have a good night or day...Mary and Emma

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I was actually out of the house to go to a store and a yummy dinner today. Gosh the snow is deep. We have a lot but I hear Mpls got even more

I am tired and will write more tomorrow. Emma is leaping over the snow to get around the yard though we did shovel a path for her to get out the door and into the yard. She seems really tired after being out to play. I sit in my rocking chair and watch from the patio as today was brrr cold.

It was good for her to get the extra walking while we went shopping iwth Greg tonight. I can only handle a few stores but good to get things picked up. I knew what i wanted so we got a lot done, including dinner (our favorite Mexican Place) in just a few hours. Also enjoyed seeing Christmas lights on our way home.

Emma and I are ready for bed...Mary and Emma

Saturday, December 11, 2010

9-10 inches in our yard of fresh snow. Emma loved it but it is deep for her. Another 8 or so likely today. Good day to stay off the roads. The winds will get even stronger and snow is drifting.

More later


Friday, December 10, 2010

Snowy Night

It is Friday,
Yesterday was a busy day and I didn't blog. Thanks for not giving up on me. Some days I get too tired. Our day Thursday included Dr appt, and some time with my kids.

Today we made a homemade pumpkin cake, napped, and went out for just over an hour with a friend Jan. We were both tired (Jan and I) but had a nice chat and early dinner. Greg is working a bit late. A big snow is predicted here. We could get a foot or more of snow so Greg wanted to finish some things at work. He hopes to be home tomorrow.

For those of you not in MN or even those here. Greg had to do errands for work. The stores are busy with those getting groceries in case it is bad like it might be and we are snowed in till Sunday or so. The roads are also busy with people out Christmas shopping. Normally you might expect that, but even more so with the worry that they might have to stay home tomorrow or all weekend.

In MN though remember we are use to snow. So a foot though a nuisance we will handle. High winds and bitter cold is expected and that changes the picture. So think of us those of you in a warmer temperature. ha ha.

Emma loved play time outside today. Gosh she was so fun outdoors. The deeper the snow the better she lives it. She sticks he entire face and upper body into the snow piles. She comes out all full of snow and an expression that says "this is just great".
I bring inside a pretty wet dog and she is happy as can be.

I will see if I can use my husband's camera to take some photos to share over the weekend. There is an event for my MS support group SAT am. A potluck gathering but I am not sure if it will be held if it is really snowy. I made a my home made cake (I don't bake much) and have that ready to go if they do meet.

I am going to listen to the weather report on tv. More tomorrow. The snow is expected during the night so we will see what we wake up to...

Mary and Emma wish you a good weekend

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emma Says Time to Eat

You can't feed Emma early unless it is a dire need. Why? Because her tummy alarm will still go off at 7 am and 5 pm. If she is distracted though like you are out and about then she can hold off awhile. When at home she finds her dish - time to eat. I think this picture is cute. Nope it is not new it just happened again today. If you ignore her she has been known on occasion to throw the dish down the steps with a loud clang...just to help you notice what time it is ha ha. Most times we stick to our schedule.

Wed and wishing you a good day

Yesterday, i was tired when we got home and didn't blog. We went first to the Cervical Spine Specialist. It turns out the MRI does show damage in an area there. I could have surgery to correct it but since I am coping with it - we decided to wait to see how I do. If it gets worse again we will reconsider. I made the decision and am happy with it. Sounded like a big deal to do the surgery and I am not anxious for that. Due to my diabetes he did not suggest a steroid shot unless my diabetic specialist agreed. I see her tomorrow.

When we were out Emma found a really nice pile of snow that I let her dive into. She was so excited and only her back legs and tail showed. She came out all smiles and snowy. A fun treat for a great dog.

We spent time reading at Greg's work as he had mtgs and things to tend to before he could drive me home. I helped with a small task folding things and it went fine. I was tired by the time I got home.

I think more snow is coming for Emma! If I feel good enough we have a few presents to wrap, and a few very easy chores here. A nap will be a must. Greg took her outside and she loved it. I think more snow is expected over the next few days also? She will be thrilled. The snow loving dog.

Have a good day...maybe more later... Emma and Mary
Have a great day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What a difference a day makes = Kidding there is still snow on the ground. i was just day dreaming about summer and having windows open and sitting outside for over an hour watching Emma....
Plus I like this picture ha ha.

In reality we went out in the snow. I do have a chair I keep out all winter but I don't last long. Like I said we play fetch, i watch her explore and then I stand in the patio door so she gets more time. She does get me outside in the winter and that is good for me.

I love nature, Emma helps me appreciate nature. The clean white snow, cool crisp wind, and the artistry of the trees when there are no leaves on them. I love admiring the shapes of the trees, with the twist and turns of the branches. Emma sniffs where rabbits and deer have passed and causes me to notice tracks. See how she helps me enjoy winter?

As a child we lived walking distances from two city parks. Both had nice warming houses so we would go ice skating and sliding a lot. A warming house might be part of an existing building or the unique ones were built just to exist during the winter season. Rustic but nice and warm for snow lovers. With my own children we went sliding mostly.

I never skiied except cross country. I liked it but was busy with kids and did not pursue it. never tried down hill. And in this winter wonderland of Mn never was on a snow mobile either. but I can enjoy the snow...

The cold seemed to come back to me so I am fighting a cough but vertigo is much decreased...all I need is more energy to tackle things that were put on hold during the severe vertigo. I will not complain. i have my Emma and that is a good thing.

Any season, Emma brightens my days.....have a great day - Mary and Emma

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snowy Sunday

No new snow but plenty for Emma to play in. The vertigo has decreased so I AM going to a baby shower for my neice. Emma will be home a bit and then Greg will be here till I get home. They have several dogs so don't need one more to add to the commotion. I am looking forward to getting out of the house.

Emma seems to enjoy the Christmas music with me, the christmas movies on tv and so on. I have not made a final decision on what to get her for Christmas. She is so dear to me. She is MY PRESENT every day of the year. Where would I be without her help and companionship. She adds a lot of love and entertainment to our home life also. She is so enjoyable to be with.

We do have deer, the neighbors saw them, that is stirring up the neighborhood dogs. We also have plenty of rabbits too and squirrels. Emma loves to race after the bunnies and squirrels but they get out of the yard before I get her far out the door. They are very safe in our yard.

My nice's family are hunters. Emma of course has never hunted. Friends/family say she would be a good hunting dog. I don't know about that but she is a great service dog. I love her so much. She means so much to me.

I better go get ready....Mary and Emma wish you a good day.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Emma is enjoying more fresh snow. They say five inches so far? I haven't measured but enough for Emma to enjoy. Greg might not like snow plowing when he gets home from work and is not home yet at 10:20 pm. A work event. He spent part of the day with us. MS dr is trying some medication to see if that helps me deal with the vertigo - yeah. Home tomorrow but plans for Sunday if i feel okay.

Emma playing in the snow. Play hard and then nap good and the cycle continues. She also works hard. Boy when you have vertigo you sure appreciate your dog more than ever picking things up and bringing things to Greg for me and all her skills.

The pictures are not new but worth repeating. A snow late afternoon and night for us.

Emma peers out the window or patio door at times. Is she thinking "Boy this is Just Great".

Have fun in the snow if you have it where you live. Otherwise enjoy the weekend where you live.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

from Emma

We went to the doctor again (primary)
Mary did pretty well (heart rate)
The vertigo is not gone
So now waiting for the MS specialists opinion on it all.

It took awhile and was fun to be outside with Greg a few times
He will be home tonight also so that is a treat.

Mary is tired and still some dizziness with the vertigo
We watched White Christmas video and that perked her up.

It's nap time but I wanted to be sure to write.

Yeah I for one am happy more snow Friday night
Maybe 4-8 inches!!!!!!
For me it means more fun playing outdoors.
I don't think those who shovel it are as excited.

Home most the day and that is okay
But both Mary and I will like when we can go places
without worrying of her dizziness and vertigo meaning she could fall.
She sure walks weird right now.

Time for a nap.
I don't mind that since we just went outdoors.
Mary just sat in a chair by the door to watch me this time.
I had fun though and still kept my eye on her.

Time is flying fast. We can't believe it is December already.

Nurse Emma

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nurse Emma

Mary stayed home today
at least her blood pressure and heart rate were better today
after a medication change.

She felt a bit better despite being dizzy most the time.
I enjoyed several extra times outside in the snow since she felt better.
It is chilly to get use to so she wasn't outside long but liked the fresh air.
She watches me from the patio door if it is night time or too many times outdoors.

I bet Mary didn't tell you this.
They are building an addition on the house
across the street from us.
My goodness they are working fast.
But they often park by our yard.

They have had big machines
Loud noises as things get thrown into a dumpster.
Well i bet you can guess it is distracting to me.
Now I am more use to it though.

Today I rested by the small side window
by the front door and watched them awhile
Mary thought it was cute
and it was while she was in a chair not far away
so I could easily go to her if needed.

We go to the doctor again tomorrow.
Then i think we will be home.
Mary says if she is not busy we can go to water exercise
but she seems doubtful that all this will clear up so soon
and we might not be back from the dr on time anyway!!

I am working extra hard at home helping Mary.
I am especially good at getting her a blanket when she is on the couch.
I am working hard. mary is proud of me.
She really can't pick anything up now so she needs me in many ways

Don't worry she will get better
We have been through this before
If it does not improve they will do a special physical therapy again
To help retrain her brain or something like that.

Ii am on duty all day and night.

Nurse Emma

PS we are all glad the medication is helping with the heart stuff and Mary didn't have to go to the hospital

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A trip to the doctor and a medicine change for my blood pressure meds.
See will help the heart to stop beating so fast and if it makes me feel better.
Greg is with me checking on me. Seems like the first dose of med helped...we will see how this goes.

It might not be the only cause of my problems but needed to be dealt with. One day at a time.

Emma was the star attraction at the doctor as there were kids there. She was concerned about me and she and Greg were with me the whole time. Glad it is no worse tonight...see what tomorrow brings.

Mary and Emma

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vertigo keeps my world turning...

Remember the song

"dizzy ....i am so dizzy my head is spinning..."

We are staying pretty close to home. Tried an outing with Greg but got too dizzy...Emma kept me company at home most the day.

Have tried three card readers and can't get my pictures to download so will keep working on this issue...

Emma and I say have a good day...

Rain today so Emma was snuggled in with me most the day....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tried to make some phone calls tonight and Emma kept pestering me. Now I am done (they are short) she has all my attention and she is a snoozing. silly girl.

this will be short. I am having trouble with feeling dizzy? I can barely move and the room is spinning and I am falling as I loose my sense of what is what. It is trouble I have off and on with MS. Kathy and others can understand having gone through it. You just deal with it. I sleep some of the time, lay listen to christams music or sit (whichever provides me a position where I feel better). It is weird and hard too describe.

It is very windy which causes Emma to want to know what is going on. Greg has been home nearly all day. He took her out again before he left but he will be home again soon. A short night tonight at a program at our local church instead of where he works. I wanted to go but didn't want to feeling like this. When I walk or move I hang on so as not to fall or roll off the bed or something. This is so strange.

Emma had a great day I think. Was with me some and Greg had time with her also. Yesterday the granddaughters were over for a few hours also. Again Greg had to manage it due to my dizziness or whatever you call it. All I know is the room seems to be spinning often.

Thanks for checking the blog. I will write more and add pictures soon.

Mary and Emma wish you a good day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving was wonderful.
The day after was a relatives funeral.
Between the two I was very fatigued and slept from 5 pm Fri - Sat 8 am!!! i was tired.

More later. We get to see our granddaughters a few hours today. I am pretty dizzy for some reason but Greg is home so we will do fine. I need to lie down again before they arrive. I will try to write tonight or tomorrow. Emma had a long day Friday waiting through the funeral and all. She was so glad to be home to play awhile but was awesome like always. She will have a good day today. She has already been outside twice playing in the yard.

Mary and Emma

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for all of tired to write more. Busy Wed included a sleep over here with Rosa and preparations. Fun day Thanksgiving with the family and my granddog and Emma...yawn...time for bed here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A busy day.
Water exercise was very nice and relaxing.
A nap.
Now off to do some grocery shopping for the holiday and to purchase birthday gifts too.

Hope to write more when we get home. Thanks for following the blog.
Emma is doing just great.


Sunday, November 21, 2010


We have been home all day. Very icy out. Greg even went into work a bit later than planned due to the roads. Emma and I have been enjoying a quiet day at home. She has gone outside but walks carefully. I watched her from the patio door today. Don't want to risk falling.

Emma and I are just hanging out. I have been reading, watched tv, napped and did only a little around the house. Not much pep today at all.

Was looking through photos and found a few of my favorites of Emma. Hope you had a good and safe weekend.

Mary and Emma

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Other Favorites from Emma

1. Snow
2. Chuck It
3. Stuffed doggie toys
4. Peanut butter doggie snacks
5. Other strong smelling doggy snacks
6. A nice bed pillow (she got a new one last year)
7. Time outdoors
8. Time playing indoors
9. Time going in the car
10. My warm quilt that I lie on nightly on Mary's bed
11. Chicken noodle soup broth ( a rare treat)
12. Fetching slippers or socks

Emma's Favorite Snow Toy

Emma wants to be like Opra and tell you her favorite Christmas Gift. Here they are -

1. Snow
2. Chuck It

She loves both. Our snow is melting but more expected for Wed-Thur. Let's hope it doesn't hamper Thanksgiving Celebrations.

The Chuck it with it's bright colors and frisbe type way of flying is a hit with her. I have found it at REI and Target too. We have two of them as it is her most important toy almost any season.

Saturday - she got to play outside with both Greg and I. Emma and I worked on sorting some clothing, and other things to be donated to the thrift store. We also did some quiet chores. tonight I need to read as book club is Monday and I am not all the way done yet.

We hope you are having a fun weekend. Take care. I may write more later - time to eat.

Mary and Emma

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Special Day for Emma

Today was the funeral/life celebration of my friend Julie. The church was packed and it was a beautiful Mass. A great tribute to Julie and the life she led. she touched many lives with her music, her smiles, kindness and loving spirit.

Emma was wonderful during both the service and the fellowship after. She is such a great job.

We went to pick up some copies of MRIs that I need for an upcoming doctor consult. Then I got to see my friend Jan. We were all ready for a nap before dinner.

It was a day when i thought a lot about the friends in my life. i thought about the memories we share, the conversations, the hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows. Friends are truly a blessing.

Emma was so good. Everyone commented on her behavior. She knows how to shine.
Now my friend Emma and I need to head to bed....Mary and Emma

Have a Good Weekend

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Emma At the Pool

Today was cold but it did not keep us from water exercise. Emma waits patiently, watching as I participate. When it is time to go she is ready. She knows after I change we take a break outside before the ride home. Today that included rolling in some small snow piles and she loved that.

Emma goes in the snow - face first. Than she rolls her head from side to side. The wetter she gets the happier she is. She is so much fun. She also seems very inquisitive about smells in the air the past days. i wonder what she smells, but she likes to put her head up in the air (nose up) and sniff away. Of course there are also things to sniff on the ground too. Life is good for Emma.

My cough has seemed to come back but not too bad. Greg is really suffering with a cold/cough. Nasty stuff to deal with. Brr it is cold so we are bundling up more both inside the house and outside. The furnace of course on all the time. Yes winter is here in MN.

I am glad to be home tonight. Warm in our own home. Even Emma seems ready to cuddle in. We were just outside for awhile.
She is in a great mood today. She is playing nurse to Greg too, fetching him a blanket and the remote. She is an awesome dog.

She did SURPRISE ME TODAY. We had lunch with friends. It was a table for 8 and I was at the end. The easiest for her was under more the middle of the table. Now I normally hold her leash at all times or have it on my lap. Well we were eating she was great. When i noticed the other table of people ALSO had a service dog. Then I realized it was EMMA!!! We were so surprised as she has never done it before.

Our table has walkers, canes etc due to MS. The other table had elderly with the same situation walkers, wheelchair, canes. I guess she felt right at home? I guess I noticed right away as they were admiring her but knew not to pet her. Emma of course came right back to me. I do not know how i lost my attention on her or what motivated her to do this. Staying "under" the table while we eat is something very routine for her. Maybe they had crumbs under the table (a no no for service dogs but I am not saying she wouldn't notice).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow Melting but still some to play in

The snow is melting but there is still some for Emma to play in. Emma loves the snow. She puts in face into it so come out with a snowy/wet face. She is so much fun to be with. I don't think the people I know need more snow but Emma does. The grass is peeking out in the yard now....but snow is sure to come in Mn. You can "bank" on it - pun intended.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Already

Hi to All,
I can't believe it is Tuesday night already! this day flew by. We had some time around the house, water exercise, lunch with friends and then a wait till a Dr appointment re my MS. Due to the fact the Dr appt went late, we had to go to Greg's work for a mtg he could not miss. It shouldn't be really long - there just wasn't time to drive me home and Greg to get back to work on time. It was a busy day. We can rest up tomorrow. I hope he is correct that the mtg will not go long.

Emma had to watch and wait at swimming, and relax during the rest of the day too. I am sure she will delight in running in her own back yard when we get home. We did have food for her (just in case) thank goodness as she eats at 5 or so. I got her outside some between events today. She is coping just fine.

The testing today at the Dr. confirmed that the drug Ampyera (spelling) that is designed to help with walking skills is indeed helping me out...that is a great thing for me. I think Emma get's more exercise because I can walk a bit longer distance, I can stand and play with her longer, and have more pep when we play in the yard. Yeah for Emma and I both.

We had light flurries of snow today. The places we went had more snow than we have left in our yard. Emma was more than happy to dive into it and play....she is so cute to observe and play with too.

Hope you all have a nice evening/day - whenever you are reading this. i wish you a happy day.

Mary and Emma

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Fun Day

To Blog Readers

Writing this is good for me. It helps me focus on what a blessing Emma is in my life.
I know sometimes now I miss a day. I blame fatigue or lack of ideas. Some of our days seem pretty routine and it can get difficult to know what to write. I appreciate those of you who read it weekly or yeah daily. It means a lot to me.

Today we get to go to a birthday party for a special young man. i use to tutor him in reading and now he is in high school and doing great. He also is my son-in-law's foster brother. That has made it fun to watch the student grow from a boy in grades 3 to a teen in high school. I had to give up tutoring when I couldn't drive over to pick him up and go to the library and had more health issues. i treasure the two years or more that we met twice a week after school. We hit it off. And i do sometimes see him at special family events also.

I recall when he would read and was so excited to read to Emma. We would do our reading and then he would select a book and sit on the floor and ignoring me, would read to Emma. That was his reward for working hard with me. He was such a good sport even though in those years reading was tough for him...Now over the years he is doing well. What a hard worker.

So that is our special thing to do today. We will be sure to take a nap so that we can handle the party. What a happy time. It is a surprise party but they wanted me to attend as they felt it would mean a lot to him. Wow we are excited.

The snow is melting and we got only a little overnight. Emma is enjoying it but within a few days it will probably have melted and the grass will be back. The ground is warm and the temps cause this to happen. But it is fun to see Emma play in the snow while it is here.

I charged the camera battery but had trouble getting my camera to work. I hope someone helps solve that for me so we can take some picture and jazz up this blog.

I worry it is boring but I do want to always convey how wonderful it is to have Emma. So today we celebrate that Emma also had a special role in providing and incentive to a young reader. She is the best in so many ways..

Have a good weekend - Mary and Emma

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Snowy Sat

Emma likes SNOW - nothing new there.
She was a bit surprised and inquisitive about the 5 inch accumulation we seem to have in our yard. She has been out to play several times and we will again soon. She did not really roll in it (like usual) but it is really really wet. We will see how she reacts now.

It did not snow in flakes but in clumps ha ha. such wet snow it all clumped as it fell. Now it is big flakes though. Emma and I stayed home all day. Napped, played outside, did a few chores, and quiet things. i got several phone calls - i think because people didn't want to drive so we are home.

The best song of the day "It is Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and yes indeed it is.

Hopefully more later...

Mary and Emma

Friday, November 12, 2010

Emma Comforts Us

Emma has been playful, snuggly, inquisitive and a good companion in numerous ways today --- helpful like always also.

Another person has died that I know. Julie was our age or younger and we have known her for over 25 years through church. She died of cancer. We knew it was coming but I am oh so sad. She led one of the choirs so we already sense the loss. She was an active church member, special friend to get the idea.........I am sad and she will be missed.

I know she is free of pain. I believe solidly in heaven and that she is there. But our hearts are heavy for her husband, son, and for her friends and church community. What a special person....

So Emma thank you - for snuggling us amidst our tears. For playing outside with us, going with us on errands and just being your wonderful self!!!

It does remind me also not to take for granted the people that are part of your life.....

Have a good weekend. Mary and Emma

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Great Fall Day

65 degrees, sunny in MN in November? I even have roses still blooming. Cooler weather is heading our way but gosh did we enjoy today.

Emma and I were outdoors a lot. I had a medical appt and then home. Then outdoors several times leaving time of course for a nap. Most the leaves are gone so Emma misses romping and rolling in them of course...but she had a grand day.

I am feeling better but still fatigue and coughing bouts. After water exercise yesterday, I was beat so we didn't even blog. We are okay though.

Can't think of anything creative to write. We are having a good day...thanks for checking the blog. I am charging my camera tonight Need more pictures of Emma.

Take care, mary and emma

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Time Change Confusing for Emma

Monday and all is going okay here.

Emma and I are home on this gorgeous late fall day. We have enjoyed playing outside. There are not many leaves to dive into is perhaps her only regret. I am glad they are so well cleaned up thanks to help from our lawn service. I got the cheapest version of their fall clean up and it looks good. We will have to do the gardens ourselves but that is okay.

I am listening to Christmas Music already because I just love it. Singing along while I write, pay bills, or do quiet chores like fold laundry all easier with music.


Emma had to stay home for numerous reasons but managed. I don't leave her alone much at all so it is hard on her when I first leave...but she seems fine when I get home. I miss her and it seems weird not to have her at my side.

The birthday party was at the Community Center for Rosa. The children ages 2-10 had a super great time. I enjoyed it too. I mostly watched as things proceeded. They had the indoor maze climbing area for an hour (kids came as they were ready after naps etc) and then the party room with gifts, and food. Then the big hit - swimming.

Gosh it was renewing to see the gift of children's enthusiasm
pure you as they swam with friends and parents too
giggles from the small slide into the water
such fun in the maze quickly exploring all the places to climb.
Waving to Grandma and was just a blast.

My ride home did not have room for Emma. I didn't know if I was going to swim and don't think this pool place would work for Emma to lay by the pool. So I spoil her today while I am with her.

We are headed outside again. Wow it will get dark here with daylight savings. I mean it will seem so early till we adjust to it all.

EMMA is finding adjusting to feeding times when we switch out clocks is a challenge. This morning she climbed in bed u p between us and oh so gently nudged us with her paw. She was starving. She usually eats at 7 so after putting the clock an hour back she was very persistent but gentle that she was ready to eat.

Wishing you all well.

Take care Mary and Emma

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hi to all, it was a great day. We slept late (or I did - Emma ate, went out with Greg and came back to bed) Later Danny came over and Rosa and Sophia. We had a great day - low key but fun. Like I said I still had to nap but couldn't convince Rosa to sleep. She did rest a bit.

I don't know where I would be without the support of family.
Support includes playing, keeping my mind off MS, and hanging out.
Support included helping me when I need help too.

Emma is a support too. She DID join me for a nap. She was great all day and is just so good to be with.

So my word for the day is - GRATEFUL.


Take a minute today to think of your blessings. My cough has settled down compared to before so that is also a good thing. Off to bed - I am tired...think Emma is also.

Have a great weekend Mary and Emma

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 years ago

Yep we both still enjoy our naps. Only NOW she is usually next to me on the bed. But when alone she still has her baby.

Another Glimpse at the Past Nov 4 2005

UPDATE{ This is a repeat blog ha ha. It is what i wrote 5 years ago today when Emma was new to me. It is as true now as then. People comment about that gentle leader all the time. I mean so much. We tried moleskin again on it where it ouches the top of her nose. Emma hated that. She is so sensitive to how things feel. She acted calmer once she had it back to normal ha ha.
She is still as treasured as 5 years ago only even more so.

Emma and Lily have fun together now.

What I wrote Now 4th, 2005

The Gentle Leader Emma Wears

You would never believe how many people comment on the gentle leader that my dog wears. I think it is common among service dogs but many others use them. In the photo you will see the blue strap around her nose. First of all it is not a nuzzle. She can eat, play, sleep and everything with it on her. She has worn it since she was 8 weeks old. Sometimes you might see a dog paw at it but it doesn't hurt her in any way. I find she behaves much better outdoors and in public with it on. She of course also is wearing her uniform. At home indoors she does not need it since she is not on a leash.

I have tried the quick trips to relieve herself without the gentle leader. If it is quick she does fine with it attachd to her collar (the leash). However if we are going to play, go for a walk, or play she does better with it on. When she has it on just the gentle movement give her feedback on what she needs to do. It helps her know if she needs to get closer to me for example. If I need her attention just a quick movement shows her I mean business.

I found today that in the yard without it - she pulled me around too much. I find friends, neighbors and the general public seem to have strong opinions sometimes on using this leader. I have even had people say I should take it off her. Why? It is what she is use to and works well for her training and so on. She is a working dog and with the gentle leader and the pack on she is more focused.

At home she has time without the leader on or her uniform. You would be surprised maybe to know even without it on she often uses her paw on her nose to itch or play. I think people are quick to think they want the leader off. Yet, I see with the leader off she still does that behavior.

Today she needed to go out badly after we took a long nap. To get out quickly I did not use the leader. Her behavior was so different. I wondered where did my Emma go? Then we got the leader on and the uniform to go for a walk. She settled right down. Last night my husband took her for a walk and went quick without the gentle leader. He won't do that again. The leader is just a tool that helps us both. It is not a punishment or anything.

EMMA MET LILLY MY SON'S DOG today. He has a very small beagle. Emma must look like a lion to her. We only made a short visit. Emma did not bark or anything. Once Lily knew she was okay they both were calm. We hope they can get along but will do only the shortest of visits till we see how that goes. Lily adores my granddaughter. When Sophie petted Emma she looked sad. We encourage Sophie to keep her attention on her own Lily. She is such a darling dog. We wondered what both dogs were thinking. We just had to drop something off at my son's home. They both had their own gentle leaders on.

Final note _ we took a long nap today 5 years later. Wonder if I looked up this date each year if we would have napped??? Most likely!! I felt better today so Emma got even more time outside.

Have a great day - Mary and Emma


I learned of 3 deaths in 3 days. Another friend is in hospice.

Trying to get my health better for the Memorials/Funerals. This is weird.

I want to tell you about how much one of them meant to me. Her name was Margaret and she was my Dad's cousin. Our relationship though was more like an Aunt. We loved her. We were able to stay with them at the lake each year for many years when we went "up north" for the family reunion. Reconnecting with my Dad's extended family.....treasured memories.

I guess it is to difficult to put into words right now. She had been sick a long time and lived a long good life. She has wondeful children and grandchildren. What she taught me was how to be "welcoming". She welcomed people to her home, into her heart, and into her life. I didn't see her a lot but loved when I did.

I feel like a movie is runnning in my head today of fond memories of Margaret. She lived in the country so we would ride down the road and she would run to greet us when we parked. like a Hallmark card a golden moment...many golden moments.

I love you Margaret and your children...grandchildren. If they say God is love than you should be right at home in Heaven today. Because you certainly spread love and care to everyone, I thank you for the love you game to me.


PS. Fingers crossed the asthma seems to have calmed down a bit.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We made it through the day at home which means I am managing the asthma problem and other health issues at home vs needing to go to the hospital. One day at a time. Honestly I would be absolutely nuts without Emma's company and help. Thanks for the well wishes....eventually I will be able to right about doing things and not mention one thing about my health - right?

I almost didn't write at all but know some of you who know me well then worry I am in the hospital. Yeah I am not.

Mary and the Wonderful Emma
I need prayers now more asthma problems - in long run will be fine though hard now.


:Grandma it was election day at school.

But my guy lost. The letter M is for show and tell tomorrow. I voted for C.

4 year old lesson in politics....from my granddaughter Rosa.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goal - I need a new card reader to down load photos for this blog site. Also need to take more pictures. I tremor so some you will see that but still would like to do both.

Goal = Would like again to thank all the Helping Paws Staff, Volunteers, Donors who have changed my life forever with Emma.

Goal - To especially than Judy her family and close friends who were part of Emma's training/socialization.

Emma I Am Glad You are OK!!!!!!!!!!!

Like a goofy tv show or was all a dream. I bet you are relieved.

these meds for the cough cause wild dreams I think. Oh my Gosh I had a horrid long dream about Emma being taken from me, and then treated poorly, and then finding her but she was a wreck. I repeat it was a dream. But one of those dreams where you remember vivid - wake up - and just keep thinking all day - yeah Emma is just fine.

I am a vivid dreamer anyway.

On to brighter subjects.

EMMA'S HALLOWEEN - She was a "treat to be with all day". I could barely talk, but the whole gang was here. Greg's bday, Rosa's and Danny's were all celebrated!!!!!!!! Emma was in a great mood. I literally sat or rested all day. The kids did all the food and brought it or made it here. Greg did some last minute clean up and decorating and all pitched in except me. For the first time ever I was like no help. If I did anything it started a coughing fit. So I observed.

I observed ....

how even Anna's boyfriend Brian is so good at playing and being with Emma.
Anna who loves Emma took her out a lot
Dan, Becky, Mike, Tia Sophi and Rosa were all so good to her

Emma seemed to have a great time. Enough affection, outdoor time, and space to be on her pillow/bed and observe what was going on...and of course pets from me.

At TRICK OR TREA TIME for the first time ever EMMA was CALM. Much of the time she just layed at the step indoors (we have a split level) watching as Greg handed out candy. Has she mellowed?

Most of our trick or treaters were young. She hates witches and really scary outfits. Well the costumes were more gentle doctors, tigers, princesses, care bears, among the age 2- 8 ages mostly. She did great. She also got use to the dancing ghost that was fun not scary that we would play for trick or treaters.

Ok but we also got our first halloween TRICK from EMMA.
She decided she wanted a "treat".
I was in bed but Greg was up but occupied. Emma apparently took food from the counter. Now she knows how to put on the counter but we don't use that on the counter in the kitchen. Well she figured out how to "take" from the counter. It was people food but nothing to hurt her and not a large amount, silly Emma.

So today we went outside a few times but quiet day at home. Greg will get her outside when he gets home also - she'll probably get some walking in,

Off for another nap/rest before Greg get's home. We are lonesome with him back at work.

And yes it was a bad dream. In reality Emma is just doing great...Mary and Emma

Friday, October 29, 2010

tis the Season?

I guess a lot is going around - and tis the season for colds and in my case bronchitis.

Nurse Emma is taking good care of me.
I am on antibiotics since I get pneumonia so easily
Sleeping a lot....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A busy Day for Emma and I

A counseling appt, voting absentte, one hour of physical therapy and a three hour MRI filled out day. Greg was off and took care of Emma for the MRI. I am very claustraphobic so I was giving drugs to help me relax. Came home and napped another three hours. Am headed back to bed. Think I am getting a cold.

Emma is enjoying time with me and some extra time with Greg too. I don't know what we will do tomorrow - likely be at home.
I'll write then about our trip to the zoo on Tuesday...............interesting stories about Emma's reaction to some animals...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Emma had some time with Greg on a cloudy, cool day with some rain. I was able to go to a concert with a friend. We saw Celtic Thunder and it was marvelous. It is a group from ireland.

I need to go rest my neck but am hanging in there. Sat I had to rest all day but we visited for a few hours with dear friends in the evening.

I will write more tomorrow. Emma is very good at getting me a blanket when i sit around on chilly nights. OH OH it is only Oct this is not chilly compared to how it will be in Dec and Jan...though we don't have the furnace on tonight.

Hope to get some pictures posted this week....Mary

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We educate One person at a time.

Emma is a snoozing and I will soon join her.
I had physical therapy this morning and then a friend picked us up. We had a YUMMY lunch and a place called "YUM". Very tasty food and great company. We had a loong lunch and great conversation and laughs. She is a great friend and often will pick me up from Dr. appts. I also got some meds and a flu shot. That's it for the day. Now a long rest. Greg will be home for a bit later dinner.

Still trouble with my neck and arm. Physical therapy seems to be helpful and gentle. Massage, heat, and teaching me very gentle exercises. A MRI next week on the head and neck.

Sunny and cooler but great out. I even walked just a little with Emma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I mean i walked also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been a nice fall.

This years graduates just took there dogs home for the first time from Helping Paws.
I remember that day - I was so nervous about if I would be able to give Emma a good life.
She had a full and active life with her foster family.
Well we are doing pretty well I think.
I appreciate her presence in my life so much.

Today we educated peole at the Mpls Clinic of Neurology and at the restaurant about Helping Paws. We had to wait awhile for a ride from the clinic = everytime we go out it seems we find ways to educate others. That is a good thing.

Hope you are having a good week. i need some sleep now - move over Emma...she loves to snuggle close to me and the feeling is mutual.

Have a great day - Mary and Emma

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From my first month training with Emma -2005

Our First Public outing

We had a good experience working together today. I am getting so use to having Emma at my side I almost forgot it would be unusual for them to see a dog in Target or a grocery store. A small group even gathered to watch as Emma had to pull open a door for me at a Barnes and Noble store. She did wonderfully. I have not had a lot of experience using my own scooter in some of those stores with those doors so we had the added adjustment of me practicing getting through each door without being too slow or fast to do it comfortably. I heard parents comment to children that is a helper dog so don't touch. I let Emma help decide what toy to buy and got her a nylac bone. I was so impressed with how she handled being in public. It is amazing they know not to sniff or bother food at a grocery store or where we gathered for a snack. If it does gain her attention - all I have to say is "leave it" and she keeps on going. At the training center they even put treats on the floor where we walked so we practiced this with her. The employees and public seemed so respectful. Many shared their good wishes. We finished earlier so I even got a nap in and that was well needed. Tomorrow more training at helping paws and then she comes home for a quiet evening.
Posted by Dog Lady at 9:16 PM - No Comments Add a Comment

Monday October 17, 2005

Monday the second week.

Emma was eager to see me today. She showed me how she can open a door, turn off and on lights and we reviewed other skills. One very cute story to share....They were showing us appropriate toys for the dog that were safe and suitable. I had heard a Kork was one of Emma's favorites. When they passed it around (we were siitting at a table) I dropped it right in front of Emma who was laying on the floor. My first thought was her favorite toy and I am suppose to get it from her. The instructors encouraged me to have her bring it to me as she has to know to bring me things not just those she chooses. Well she moved quick. When she heard me ask her to get it - she put it quickly under her rug and then layed her whole body over it. It was like she was saying "Get what I don't have anything". Her expression on her face and her moves made me laugh so hard I had to look away and calm down To her credit when I again said get it - my dear Emma got it and stood up and brought it to me. That's my working dog. She did earn a treat for giving up a toy. I was glad the instructors pointed out that i should followr up with my command to give it to me so she knows that is what she has to do.
Be assured when we are home and she is not working she will be able to play with that and other commands. I am exhausted. Tommorow is our first field trip to a shopping center.

Wed Fun

Today we are going to a movie and seeing how my neck/arm handles that outing. IT will be fun to be with my friend Karen and see how this goes. We went to water exercise Tuesday but I could not do much, we went to an MS educational event with my daughter in the evening. I was sore but not as much as I thought I would be. Today, I can rest after out outing.

Emma is so super. She is bringing me a blanket these cool nights when I need a bit of extra warmth.
She is just a wonderful companion.

I am going to try to look up an old blog from my first year to post.

Mary and Emma wish you a good day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween is not far away and my family will celebrate birthdays. Greg was born on Halloween. This is a picture of Emma a few years ago. We are excited to have the entire family together if all goes as planned.

My daughter and her boyfriend came to see us today (Sat) and my other daughter is coming tomorrow with her husband for awhile. Greg hopes to be home a few hours on Sunday too (his busiest day of the week often).

We posted two times today - check out my good news...and hello from Emma who is still my little pumpkin.

Great News!!!

I am on the new drug Ampyra to help with MS. It helps the messages from the brain get to the limbs. Helping with walking mostly.

Guess what????????
I can tell a difference. I am showing off to family how I can lift my legs higher. If this continues I can climb steps much easier and walking will be easier. It is suppose to help you generally feel better too....time will tell what the results are but I am thrilled and that is an understatement.

Anna and Brian stopped in and i showed off to them. Anna couldn't believe it - it has been more than a decade that I could move my legs like that. Now it is isn't a miracle drug I am told but any help in managing MS is wonderful in our eyes.

A friend of mine has had great results on this drug. She can use a cane more often and walker less. She also says she feels better. She has been on it about two months. It doesn't help all patients with MS they say about 1/3. Gosh I am excited if this keeps up.

The CANE - Emma is working on getting the cane for me (i have a different one). At home yesterday, she somehow got it but had it hooked under one of her legs. On three legs she still got it to me. What a girl.

Well When I can I am almost marching around the house I am so thrilled. Will keep you informed as to how this goes for me in the long term. Neck/arm still sore and weak but we will focus on the good news...

Have a great day....Mary

Friday, October 15, 2010

from Oct 10 2005 my first days with Emma

thinking of Emma -from my blog in October 2005 when I first trainned with Emma.

Emma look at the time. I should be in bed dog gone it. I am instead up thinking about you. I can't sleep. I am thinking how amazing it is that you are coming into my life. First of all I can't believe how much love, patience, persistence, and intelligence it took for Judy to train you over the past two plus years. As anxious as I am to get you to come home with me. I know she will miss you. She has a new dog she is training but I can see you are a unique dog and her first service dog so will always be special in her heart. another women, who is also a foster mom and giving up her puppy to another graduate (as they call us) said it is a process and even though they plan for it difficult. It is so fun to tell Judy at the end of each training day how you did Emma. She sure did an excellent job workign with you. I am just getting a glimpse of all the time and expertise it took to bring you this far - so I am thinking of that tonight.
Emma you are going to open new worlds for me. Multiple Sclerosis has changed my life. I have shyed away from going to stores, malls, and some events due to the changes. I particularily have not ventured out in a scooter alone. I have tried those available at the supermarkets but you just can't reach everythign. I drop things easily and then you have to get off the darn scooter to pick it up. Or bend over and get get the picture. I think I will try more things with you along as my helper. Even on good days when I can use a walker for a quick trip - I run into problems. Now as I actually work with you it really is hitting me how practical and wonderful this will be for me.

At one time in training today I blinked back tears. I was thinking of the reality of all this. I have seen people with service dogs at MS camp or once in awhile at educational events. I always hoped that I might qualify for a dog - now here I am really training with a dog. I was listening to a speaker and there you were Emma, sleeping under the table at my feet - and I just thought this is so unbelieveable.

It is hard to loose your physical abilities. I wish I had not taken for granted being able to run, take long walks, stand for a length of time and so many things that are not possible for me now. People sometimes ask me how I cope but i say a day at a time. How else? I have a good attitude and sense of humor I think. I credit that to my supportive children, husband, Dr. Schapiro and his nurses, and support from the MS Society. The people I meet with MS are wonderful peers and we really keep one another going. Yet even with all that, sometimes it is lonely, scarey, frustrating, and tough to deal with an uncertain future.

I am crying as I reflect on this fact. Now I will have Emma to help me deal with some of the challenges. It will help me be more independent. My philosophy with my family is I won't ask for help if I can do it myself. Like if I need physical assistance at home. I recognize some days I need more help than others due to the nature of MS. Now Emma will help me pick up things, open doors, help at stores...they say she will help in more ways then I can imagine. It will be good for me. It will be good for my family. It will be helpful when I am home alone. You have to chuckle that sometimes they come home to a trail of things that I dropped and could not pick up. Emma loves to retrieve so she should like being with me.

My dog boomer was put down in November. I cried and cried and never wanted to give a dog my heart again. He was not a service dog though became an important companion to me. Here I am venturing into another relationship with a dog. Emma will be different than a pet due to the fact she is a service dog. I can already get a glimpse of how strong that bond will be. This relationship is going to take work, committment, priority, and time. Emma are you ready to do this with me? I hope I can offer you what you need to make this work.

Look at the strong feelings I have after only two days of training!! I pray that I can learn what I need to these weeks of training. I am grateful for the follow up that helping paws offers. Emma it is a new chapter in my life. I guess this is like your first love letter from me...
Posted by Dog Lady at 1:19 AM - 1 Comment Add a Comment

Tuesday October 11, 2005

Training Mary to work with Emma

Training was very involved today. There seems to be so much to learn and practice with the dog. My enthusiasm for working with the dog is only growing. Emma is so skilled, lovable and a beautiful dog. We worked hard today on various cues and behavior. The training staff is so patient and helpful. We have a mixture of lectures, demonstrations and lots of time working with the dogs. I am learning the importance of my timing of my cue to Emma and my reinforcement. I am also trying hard to not give her the command/cue twice. she needs to react on my first request and by telling her more than once I am reinforcing her taking her time. They also tell me sometimes I tell her things like it is a question rather than like I am in charge. I have to work on being more firm but of course I don't want to be crabby.

We went outside for a little bit with the dogs and with the distractions of outdoors, she still worked well with me. This was the first time I brought my scooter and it makes a difference. It positions me different with the dog and Emma had a tendancy to go ahead rather than beside me. She also has to get use to the noise it makes. She came out smelling like a rose and was so helpful. I can't wait to take her for a walk in my neighborhood when we get home. I also had my first trip on Metro Mobility a transportation service for the handicaped. That will expand my world to use that service when I can't drive. It is very evident that Emma is going to make it much easier for me to do things outside the home and at home. She is so cute. I think the cutest dog in training of course.

Emma gave me her first show down. She refused to do what I requested on a specific thing. I am not sure if it was because I did not sound like I meant it. Or because I started to repeat the request rather than expect her to do it the first time.. With the help of an instructor I held my ground and was patient. She didn't get her treat till she complied. She has such cute eyes and expression I had to not look at her and give her facial contact till she did as told. I was worried I did it wrong, and then thought of like a toddler testing the limits when you ask them to do something. Like a friend of mine who is a parent said about his daughter "sometimes you have to be calm and firm so they know this is not let's make a deal". I have to work on sticking to what I request so we are a good working team.

It is interesting to get to know the others who are getting a dog and the trainers. They are all such nice people. The dogs are amazing.
We are so boring right now. I am rest rest and resting now. Changing position though to keep the pain tolerable in my arm and neck. Greg is giving Emma extra outdoor time with him and I am managing to get her outside too when alone. I have physical therapy again Monday and an easy weekend planned.

It is a pretty sunny but a bit cooler fall day. Emma is loving the leaves and just playing in the yard. I can't toss things to her now to fetch outside but she manages to have fun smelling and scampering around.

Last night she just on her own brought me a blanket (hers) and a remote control while I relaxed in the recliner. Isn't she funny and precious. She is eager to help.

It is a bit hard to even type so will keep this short. We are coping one day at a time and will know more next week.

Emma and Mary hope you have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Emma's Skills

Our day included the demo at the MS Group Mtg. Two other Helping Paws dogs were there. John and his 5 mo old puppy in training Jed, and Rosie with her 4 year old LOTI did just great. I added a bit of verbal information but Emma and I watched.

I feel defensive after one audience member thought at age 7 1/2 Emma maybe wouldn't or couldn't do the skills. For clarity Emma is excellent at her skills. She did not attempt any demo because she can get distracted when there are so many dogs in small space there...but MOSTLY because I felt so crappy. I could not have stood and presented for 90 min including questions.
Emma is still a great service dog - more than willing to help me out. I am still amazed at what she can do and does do for me.

I am also so emotional today. I think because of pain and anxiety. When I am at a demo or talk with people I often share emotionally what she means to me. I have a poem I sometimes use. Well today I blinked tears as I watched the other dogs perform and realized how much Emma has improved my life.

I also am in awe of John and Rosie and all the volunteers of Helping Paws, especially those foster families who take in a dog to train for 2.5 years. It is amazing to see even what a 5 month old has learned and realize the patience and persistance the foster families have to take on this challenge. Time did not allow me to thank Rosie and John enough for taking time out to present to my peers what a service dog can do.

If things get worse for me I may not write for a few days. The pain in my neck is a pain in the neck in many ways. Now with the MS challenges they have looked at a past MRI and at my symptoms now and think I perhaps have three problem discs in the neck area. Possibly a pinched nerve? The pain that once crept up as the day wore on is now all day and so much worse with each passing day. Sorry to complain but any of you who have had back or neck problems can relate. It is miserable. Very wearing to have such pain. Emma thankfully is rising to the occasion and helping me with everything - including moral support.

One of the issues is weakness and pain in my right arm and leg. The arm/hand could be from the discs? Not sure if they think the leg is still MS. So anyway I sat today. Emma and I watched. Emma was a good demo dog and probably if I drove and felt better we could do demos regularily. But for today, she is focused on helping me.

In what ways is she helping me?

Moral support, including kisses and snuggling next to me.

Get the cane, the keys, my brush, my bag, her blanket, the newspaper, and anything I drop due to the problems I have with tremor and now the weakness.

She got me a blanket when we got home. She is doing just super. Where would I be without her support and care? She is awesome.

Helping Dogs enhance lives for their partners.
We are a team.
She s like an angel in my sometimes very challenging life.
She is a treasure, priceless.
She is my best friend.
I could not deal with life without her....she means so much to me.

Thanks so much to those who read this and also support Helping Paws.
Staff, volunteers, and contributors all help make their mission possible.
Emma is just one example.

IT is about five years since I started trainning with Emma.
I will never forget the excitement of those days.
I worried though if Emma would have a good life with ME.
I wondered if we would bond and do okay.

We are doing great.
I hope to say the same in another 5 years and more.

Thanks to all of you for supporting Helping Paws. Look at if you want to learn more about this organization.
It is wonderful and outstanding.

Lots of love to Judy her foster mom, and belated Happy Birthday from Emma and I.
I won't list all the individuals I know helped with Emma but you know who you are
and I hope you know how deep my gratitude is.

Yeah pain medication allowed me to do this much. OFF to rest the remainder of the evening and tomorrow. etc. My MS Dr doesn't come back till Monday but I hope he will order a new MRI and then we will see what help that is in determining our next steps.

Sorry if I am being a "pain in the neck" by complaining. Those with chronic back/neck problems have my support - yuk.

Emma is my nurse and support...and gosh we are using those skills.

Mary and Emma

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going to be at the Helping Paws Demo at Regency Hospital in Golden Valley tomorrow. THank you to those of you who talked to Brenda and will be helping. It is a mtg for people with MS in there mtg room. All are welcome if you want to see it. Start Time is 1:00 p.m. Located on Hidden Valley Parkway near courage center. Wed. We will have 4 dogs.

I had both a Dr visit and PT today. Tonight dinner with my daughter, my sister and Greg and Emma...a big nap too. They are getting another opinion but think I may have a pinched nerve in my neck and disk problems. One day at a time as we try to figure all my issues out. Emma was super all day long. I am so proud of her!!!

I must go to bed I am so tired. Greg is fast asleep in his chair with Emma asleep on the floor by me. It is pretty cute. We all are tired and it is only 8:30...we got up early though.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We have had warm sunny fall days. Emma and I have already been outside twice today. We are home today. I think all day. I needed to sleep late so missed going to church. The Church Dog and I stayed home.

I am trying to get some things done like sorting items (Greg cleaned out our office yesterday) and folding some laundry. My intentions are good but my fatigue only allows me to do a bit and then rest. I am trying to be accepting of that fact.

We went to a MS support group yesterday and it was very pleasant. I have not been there regularily for awhile so good to meet with some old and make new friends. Nice to be with people who understand the ups and downs of MS. Then it was over 83 and I napped so long. We turned on the AC for last night and I think I will keep it on today as I just can't function when it is over 80. Funny to run ac in October in MN.

Emma loves the leaves of fall. You should see her try to dive in and cover herself with leaves. She seems a bit more tired when the house is too hot also. We get a lot of sun which warms it up. If Greg were not working, I would want to go for a drive to look at fall leaves. Emma and I will be fine here.

I know several people battling cancer or other serious illnesses. My heart is heavy as someone we love from church is now in hospice. She is so wonderful and this was hard news to hear. My thoughts and prayers are with all those dealing with serious illness themselves, or in their family.

Today I am going to say appreciate your health. Even for me, I need to appreciate my "abilities" and not focus on what is tough to do. Also thanks for family and friends who support us when illness strikes.

Wishing you a good weekend.

Mary and Emma

Friday, October 8, 2010

Counting My Blessings

No jackets needed today - it is 86 degrees. Emma and I got up early with Greg. Power outage at 5am. We use sleep apnea machines so couldn't sleep. We eventually left to get breakfast and were at Target before 8. I didn't know they were open so darn early. Emma got exercise and we killed time while we waited for my physical therapy appt after 9. Got home by 11:30 and needed a nap.

We have been outside it is just so nice. The weather breaks records. Pretty fall trees in the warm sunshine. Truth is it is a bit too warm for MS people but we did fine. I used fans in the house. I enjoyed outside in the shade with a friend. Greg is going to a football game tonight - how warm those athletes will be. Still having such trouble with my neck, back, and arms that I am staying home to relax. Need to have my neck supported in a way that I can't on bleachers.

I want to work more on counting my blessings. At the MPLS Clinic of Neurology in Golden Valley I nearly always see people I know with MS. Today I had the chance to chat briefly with two wonderful women I know. I also had the physical therapist that I prefer and she is very wise about MS.

I also had a metro mobility ride that was on time, (hurray) and a ride that didn't take real long. The driver said Emma was one of the best service dogs he has ever had on his bus. Now isn't that a compliment?!!!! Emma is so good for me. I am thankful for my family and for a good friend who had time to chat and relax with me for awhile. So even with the challenges I have a good good life.

I have good doctors I trust and a medical team. IF I get discouraged (and I do) I want to remind myself of these blessings in my life.

I need to go put an ice pack on my nect and be by the fan to cool off. Thanks so much for reading this note. Hope you can think of blessings to count today especially.

Not sure what is in store for us, b ut you have a great weekend.

Mary and Emma

Having trouble downloading pictures. Hope to have more soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday was mostly a day of rest for me. Greg was off (shock shock) and Emma had time outside on a beautiful fall day with both him (an extra walk too) and time with me. I did get a haircut that was badly needed and we got some groceries. That was enough for me to be tired out big time. Taking a quick break from the Twins game but still listening. Go Twins.

Tomorrow physical therapy again and that is good but tires me. I think we will have a visit with my friend too after school? Depends on how I feel.

Emma was so good. We didn't time things well and she ate supper two hours late. Sometimes this is hard on her - her stomach seems to have an alarm clock. Yeah she handled it just fine and for that I am pleased. We are practicing with the cane now as I have a different one for my comfort but she does not seem to like to pick it up for me consistently. Life with her means some reinforcement of course and practice. Sometimes , many times, I have it in a position she does not have to pick it up for me. Tonight we did go out to eat though and I wanted her to pick it up. A well meaning patron dashed over to pick it up before I could say the dog can get it. So when others do it for her - she doesn't mind at all. Silly dog? or smart dog?

Emma loves the leaves. In the front they are not racked up so she can still lay in them and enjoy them. Beautiful fall weather this week also.

Take good care. Enjoy fall colors and take care where ever you live.

Mary and Emma

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Wednesday

today I am writing mid-day.

Emma and I have already been on metromobility bus for those with handicaps - once today. Coming home from a counseling appt. Greg dropped us off there. We have a break here at home and then the metro mobility bus will pick us up for physical therapy and take us home after we are done. We both prefer car rides - but this service is wonderful for us.

It is a sunny beautiful fall day. Emma is loving being outside with me and going in the leaves. Such pretty leaves it is beautiful to see them when out in the car or bus. Not all of mine have fallen so there are still pretty trees in my yard and my neighborhood.

We are able to have the windows open during the day it is so nice out. We like that too. My house can get so warm from the sun ==too bad it isn't a solar home.

Last night we had dinner with my daughter Anna, the oldest. It was great fun to see her. Her first thing was to take Emma out - she is so good to Emma. I have the greatest children in the world I think. On the way home from burnsville we saw fireworks being shot off looked like in Minnetonka. I would love to know where and what the occasion was to have them on a Tuesday night in October. Sure was pretty.

I still am having lots of problems with my body weakness and MS. That is why physical therapy today and through the month of Oct a couple of days each week, home exercises, and a revision of what they want me to do in the pool. Emma is so helpful and I need her both physically and emotionally during this time. I hope this will gradually get better but some days are tough.
Greg, my children, grandchildren and friends help me cope. Thank God for a good therapist also ha ha.

Well Emma time to rest before the bus picks us up again. Mary and Emma wish you a good day

Monday, October 4, 2010

MONDAY - Here's hoping you have a very good week.

Today Greg was home in the morning because he works late tonight. We enjoyed his company. We have been home all day. It was a beautiful spring day - Emma and I loved the sunshine. IT is suppose to be in the 70's all week. Sunny. So sunny I am forgetting to ask Greg to water flowers for me. Can't manage it on my own right now.

When my granddaughter Rosa was here, she was playing with a toy micraphone and interviewing us all. Her question - what is your favorite season? Why?

I said fall (probably because it is so beautiful now) and that I loved the colored leaves. Grandpa said fall too. Rosa thought all of them were good.

Fall - you jump in leaves!
Winter - you jump in snow
Spring - you see flowers
Summer - you jump in the pool

Her remarks reminded me that I do like MN seasons. I have only lived here so of course am biased. But I can't imagine the world without the seasons. Winter at Christmas...frosty faces, warm hot chocolate, and so on. And yes snow snow snow. I don't have to shovel anymore but enjoy it's beauty. Love seeing Rosa and Sophia playing in the snow...and yes Emma is so enthusiastic about snow.

She/Emma loves the leaves. Some have droppped and others are waiting but soon enough will fall so she can dive into them.
I like how crunchy they are as you walk and how they smell. Fall crisp cool mornings and warmer afternoons...

Thank you to Rosa for getting me to think about the seasons. I will write about the others another day. Today every time I ventured out with Emma I thought of how fortunate we are to have such a lovely season. Sat despite my walking limitations I even went outside with Rosa and Emma too. She wanted to swing and so she did. It was cool but enjoyable.

THANK YOU GOD FOR FALL. THANKS FOR ROSA MY GRANDDAUGHTER AND FOR EMMA WHO GET ME OUTSIDE. Good medicine to think of the beauty of nature. Makes me think of happy things.

Have a happy day.

Emma and Mary

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday had fun with Rosa and Friday night with both Rosa and Sophia!!

Sunday plan to be home = rest up and pick up a bit. Hope yoiu have a great day. hope to write more later.

Emma and Mary

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I loved the Flintstones and they are 50 today!!

We went to water exercise and then came home to rest the remainder of the day. We did go outside - it was a nice fall day.
The doctors want me to take it easy. The physical therapist even insisted I do much less in water exercise today and gave me some specific more relaxation things to do for my muscles.

Emma had a great day and helped a lot. I am sick of being so weak. Greg did not have to work tonight so also got her outside extra three times today so that was great.

Tomorrow Physical Therapy again - it is pretty gentle at this stage. I wish I had pictures to share but misplaced my camera. I want to get some fall pictures of Emma.

I am sorry I don't feel I am very creative, entertaining, these days at all. Thanks for reading the blog. I will try to get my health better, find the camera and maybe then do something interesting with Emma and Greg too to write about.

Have a great weekend and may Friday be good to you. I think Rosa is staying over night Friday and if that is so I may not get to blog.

Again thanks for reading and for emails I get. Mary and Emma