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 helpingpaws.org 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