Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moral support visits

Emma and I are both enjoying some visitors lately. Today a woman who helps with cleaning came. A woman from our church also brought a dinner. A welcome break in the day and some nice conversation.

The weather is warm but still some snow for Emma to play in. Boy does she enjoy that. IT is so enjoyable to watch her play, fetch toys and explore the yard. There must be interesting smells as she has a routine to walk the perieter of the fence line, Then sniff under a pine tree that is in the fence. There is a tree line just outside the fence in the far back so I be she smells critters. We do see rabbits and squirrels at times. In our front yard we see tracks that might be deer or fox. I am not good at determining which and not out daily. Plus with only a bit of snow and then sun melting some of it = well I just can't figure it out.

Emma really likes any treat with ginger or peanut butter. Yes normally it is for sure a doggy treat and I watch how many to keep her weight steady. Too bad she doesn't do the same for me. We were out though and had some very think boxed ginger cookies almost crackers. We would break in half and as a special treat now and then would give her one. She was estatic. Yes we stick to doggy food but once in awhile a carefully selected treat seems to be okay.

A funny thing, yesterday MOnday i had a more challenging day. So tired, hard to breathe so I use the bipap machine which is normally by my bed. Sometimes I move to by my chair but it isn't easy to do if weak. So we had been up a bit and I was in bed just dosing. Someone knocked on the door and Emma only put her head up let out a weak bark and since I didn't get up neither did she. Normally she would run to the door. Well turns out someone was delivering food. They called by cell phone and I was so weak I hadn't picked it up. Once in awhile that is the case. Well I got the message and we got the food - but it was so unusual that Emma ignored it and laid in bed with me. She is now 9 but anyway very rare.

Today she was her perky self. I dropped one of those tins you hold christmas cookies in and couldnot pick it up. Emma loved the effort like it was a toy but also did not get it picked up . There was nothing for her to grab on to. Well a friend to the recipe so that worked out.

No other big news. We are liking short visits. No dr appointments till Thursday this week. No photos today. Time to get ready for bed already. Thanks for all the support. Love from Emma and Mary

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Can't Wait till Majestic Shores - MS Camp to Me

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The name is now Majestic Shores Resort but I knew it once as MS Camp. Certainly the highlight of my year with MS friends. You feel normal there. Scooters, walkers, canes all are the norm and wheelchairs. You don't have to explain, they see you not the assistance devise. The scenic Camp Courage run by Courage Center on the shore of a lake with wooded areas to is so wonderful Certainly majestic. The laughter, the fun, the reunions with friends who share this crazy disease, the volunteers who come back many over 25 years --- well it is great fun. Something I look forward to. These are just a few pictures.

There are campfires, activities, boat rides, indoor swimming pool, board games, costume contests, dances, and so much more. So yes I am thinking of that today. We had nice weather and now with February almost here -- my thoughts are spring. Though we kind of skipped winter in many ways.

Emma really was great today. Some girlfriends visited. Both dog lovers and she was so comfortable (Emma) that she just snore away. She helped pick up before they came - well actually she picked up not me. She napped with me once they left. She even spoiled me by waiting an extra hour before waking me to eat her dinner. That a big surprise. We had a nice day.

Emma is learning to do a few more things. Skills she uses but now in different ways. She never had a "gentle mouth" so I never had her pick up pill bottles. She could crack them. Yet lately she has picked up those and other more fragile items with ease. I just repeat gentle and that seems to work. But oh she loves a good challenge so picking up keys, something hard to grab is so fun. Or i bumped off the counter an empty tin can rinsed and headed for the recyle bin. It was tuna and flipped so hard to grab. Well it was like a toy she had such fun trying to get it. then would get it so excited and drop it and start over. Yes it did get put in the recyles. She can of course "put" items there for me.

My mind is blank but there were some unique things this week we wanted her to pick up and yes she loved it. She also is great at taking laundry out of basket and handing it to me so i can put in washer. She always can take out of dryer of course. I really can't bend without being dizzy, but once in awhile I do of necessity put a few items in washer. Greg is handling this a lot though. Well she just is so proud. Than I had to unload washer and handed items to her one at a time to put in the dryer and she got the hang of that too. No surprise she is smart but finding I can ask more of her than ever now.

Still chuckle at Dr appointment my friend reaches for blanket Emma likes on so I don't have to pick it up. Well of course Emma can do this fine. Even in her youth though she was more than willing to let others do it if they wish. Dropping the leash is a big one that others goofed up. In public panic if they see you accidentally drop leash and grag it. Well Miss Emma can do it. On some thngs now she will stop to look and see if the humans in the room will do a task before she does it. Alone with me she will do it all the time. It sure gave the Dr a chuckle.

Saturday my son and granddaughters were here. While watching a movie I realized how close Rosa was snuggled up to Emma and just stroking her so gently. So cute and just came natural. You can imagine how much Emma loves that. Also both girls more than willing to take Emma out into the fenced yard to spare me some footsteps. Though if Emma is worried about me she will just stand outside that patio door wanting to come back in. She has my back all the time that is for darn sure.

I know I needed her to pick up a baggie. Well certain textures not her thing mouth wise. And this was small but yes she got it to me without ripping it to shreds or anything. My friends today also acknowledged how much help she is to me now more than ever.

She is 9 now and it is interesting as my body is slowing down so is hers. I hope things improve for me of course but I think as she ages she will be glad for my quieter life style. Though people say she is as enthusiastic as a puppy for sure. The Vet said she was in great shape. She certainly is a dear to me.

A new issue is if we go to medical appointments who drives me. I for now am not using Metro Mobility until I am stronger or have no choice. I benefit from the help of friends, and even visiting with them when they drive me to appointments and am a bit spoiled in that regard. Well most times Emma goes. So need room for Emma and I and a walker or transport wheel chair. That takes some room especially as one friend sometimes grocery shops while I am at an appointment. Well then some of my MS friends also use walkers themselves. So though they kindly volunteer must examine does their car have room for two walker and Emma? Most times it works out.

I still have a few people who will not allow Emma in their car even if I bring a big sheet or anything. Not even now when I think it is even more obvious that I need her help. The difficulty with one person is she has no concept of why anyone would have a pet and no appreciation for a service dog. On an emergency she let Emma go in her car once and I had huge sheet. She complained and complained it got some hair in her car. She wonders why I dont' have her drive me places but the reason is obvious. I mention not to judge here and sorry it sounds that way but to appreciate that most of my friends go out of their way for Emma even those who are not big dog lovers. Also I don't mind if they simply say no dog in the car but I don't need to be told that over and over again like I am too stupid to know that is there rule.

We go to Rochester Mayo Clinic for their viewpoint on my situation in February. Emma will go with. Greg can't go the first day so another ride down is needed. The issue is who has time and room for my walker, dog, luggage, my daughter, and whatever they need for mobility. We have it worked out with a few options though so that is good. Greg will then join us and bring us home if all goes as planned. Not sure if it will be a few days or longer. I think I have someone to stay at my house while gone or Greg will be here so that is good. Maybe I will feel better and not need to go????

Probably will go no matter what as it is all arranged.

Saw cute saying on facebook something like this - I Try to Take It One Day at A Time but sometimes the days gang up on Me.

Wow this got long. Hmm bet you aren't surprised. Can you tell I wanted to be a writer?

Love from Mary and Emma
Hope you have a good weekk.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I am so confused!! Looks like some other posts I made did not come through. I normally check after i compose them. Maybe i am simply loosing my mind? Some othe mixups tjis week also - ugh!

Emma is getting so skilled in Drs office visits. We had several this week. This morning again. Now an MRI for my back this afternoon. Like i needed one more issue?! Emma and Greg are keeping the ship afloat for me. Emma is however a blanket ho g! When in bed with me she seems to get nost of the blankets! I will try to write more later. A quick rest before the second medical appointment of the day!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Look Back at my first time celebrating her birthday

Happy Birthday Emma - Three Years Old!!

Happy Birthday Emma

Happy Birthday Emma

Dear Emma,
I don’t know how to share with you as a dog – how much you mean so much to me.
I know it is good for me to write this.
I want to acknowledge how grateful I am to have you in my life.

You make my days easier to deal with
You help me do chores
You help me be more independent
You help me by sharing so willingly your affection
You brought a special kind of fun in my life
You give me a reason to get outdoors
You make me feel more secure and safe
You accept me as I am

You are my dear companion
I knew I would like having a service dog.
I certainly did not know how quickly you would become so dear to me.
I did not realize the reality of how much you could help me.
You are there 24/7
I literally don’t take a step without you noticing
You look to me for instruction, affection, and to play
You need me to feed you, get you exercise, get you outside, and
I think like the sense of belong as much as I do

We are a team Emma.
I don’t know if you or any human can understand the depth of what that means to me.
I no longer face this illness alone
I have a helper every minute of every day
Even while my husband has to go to work or tend to things
Even while my children venture into adulthood and new chapters of their life
I have you to share the moments of my day
I have you even on days when I can’t do much due to health
I have you when I want to go out in public – you assist me
I have you to share my day
That means a lot to me.

You didn’t just come into my life.
Others took a lot of time to train, nurture, and support you
You grew to be a service dog – because of Judy and her family
You learned from her patience and persistence
You both learned from instructors
Your ability to even be available to me was a direct result
of the help of those who support Helping Paws

You have litter mates who also are helping dogs
So many people work together to make our partnership possible

At the risk of being over dramatic
This is like a small miracle in my life
You bring so much happiness and hope
You make me want to go out of my home
I don’t have to ask others for help as much
You and I can handle some things together
You mean so much to me.

Happy Birthday Emma
Three years old!!
I treasure you and promise to give you the care you need
You are so wonderful
I am so teary writing this.
I can't imagine life without you.

Thanks to Judy especially, and to all who brought Emma this far

Monday, January 23, 2012


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Dear Emma,
Happy Birthday today. It was so fun you woke up in a special place today. Rosa was so excited. There you were in her "tent" made of chairs and big blankets. She had made sure your bed was in there. Cozy and fun way to start the day we hope. No big party today, just a wonderful day together. I know you understand more than other people must think. I think you understand the emotional struggles right now more than anyone else knows. I hope you know how much I love you. I hope you know how much I love both the quiet times we snuggle and the active times when you play. I love how you help me with your physical abilities. I never imagined how you help me emotionally. You wake me with enthusiasm and oh how you help me work to make each day a good one.

I love you Emma. I can't stop crying thinking how God blessed me with you as an Angel.

Dear Mary,
You thank me but gosh I love those naps in your warm cozy bed. I really like that many times you don't sit in the recliner because I would rather have you sit on the sofa so I can be next to you. Do you notice I am working on that issue? Now you tell me you need legs up and all that stuff. Thanks for trying to find a way that I can still be so physically close. I love you too. You use words, I use licks and kisses. But more than that I hope you see how attentive I am to you. I am a mess as Greg tells you if you are gone too long. I think our feelings our mutual.


And sometimes pictures are worth more than words so I added some of my favorites...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of my favorite photos. No one positioned those toys for her. Rosa had been her so perhaps they were on the couch and she snuggled around them? But gently wrapping her arm across Minnie Mouse is her idea.

Wow the post was wordy - took a while to write ha ha. Remember I am home a lot. Always wanted to be a write. Maybe I need an editor to be more concise? Hmm not all will be so long I would guess.

A Six Year Partnership - Life with an older Service Dog

I will try to email and please forward to any dog fans that I am going to try to write as I can on this blog again. A new tool is that with my arm weakness I can still dictate, sometimes type, or a combo of the two. Finding the dictation does not always recognize with accuracy the words I say so excuse sill remarks. I will try to correct by typing but sometimes no strength to do that. Or when I select to indeed compose with me using the keyboard you will find typos due to tremor, fatigue or other issues.

Please pass the word. I can actually look up the statistics on how many viewing but am not going to let numbers be the goal. There are just amazing things Emma does for me now as my health has declined. I want to see things with her with a sense of humor also So share I will. My goal is once a week or it may be more. Who knows I can't do much do to limb weakness. I am shut in so this will be good for me. And an invitation to those who wish to follow.

I will still keep up the caringbridge.org site with website of my name Maryweinand. However will keep them more about the medical end of things. I think now I have to take times to choose to not focus on abilities, disabilities, or medical appointments etc and just feel more normal...if that makes any sense to you.

I wish I had a blog where you can sign up and get email alerts when things are posted. However, I decided I would rather not start another blog at another address. Will see how this goes. When I first started this yes over 6 years ago someone asked me well "who would want to read it" Well we have had readers. NOW I can offer you the perspective of living with an older service dog and the team we have become

We were blessed with only a bit of snow today. How funny. The first year I pay for snow removal. You pay montly in advance. Rates seemed reasonable and the trusted man who does are yard care. Only it has not plowed even once enough for him to plow and shovel. Okay I live in MN where November snow is not uncommon. We would have over 50 inches by now. Well this year not sure total but never eve n two in my yard.

Well this is an issue for Miss Emma. She loves the snow. Her enthusiasm is so cute as she tries to plow through the head in the snow even with so little. We try to be sure balls are tossed to her or toys but even that is not met with as much enthusiasm as a good snow fall would be. Sorry about that Emma. These pictures are from years past.

Emma has done a lot for me. One day I will repeat on here in case you missed it on caring bridge the list of ways she helps now. I will keep this more day to day. Like I have in past.

Emma wil be 9 on MONDAY - yes we better celebrate in some way or another. She is changing. It happened gradually but those who have not seen her for awhile see that she is getting whiter in the face. Enjoys a bit longer naps with me. If i say (rare) she needs to stay home and say go ahead take a nap. Well she seems to almost smile and go jump on her bed or mine. Yet in no way do I worry she will need to retire at age 10. Not with our quiet life style.

I do think she can for sure read my mind even more than ever now. I am certain. She could get me a blanket since her youth but now I don't have to ask. Last night I lost my pillow and she got it off the floor for me too. I need a lot to position my limbs in bed or in a chair these days.

One day I think I looked weary and she searched like mad for things to pick up. Not hard some days. She found socks, a newspaper, a towel and things in various rooms. Now Emma always will pick things up for me when asked but usually I need to or Greg needs to be in the room we are asking about or in eye shot at least. I have heard of helping service dogs who drag many things to owners like purses etc from various rooms as they love the task but that was not Emma. Eager to help for sure but not looking for it in other rooms unless asked I guess.

Rosa is coming today one of my grandchildren. Well she loves a sleeping bag. She left it on Emmas bed which is truly like a mini sized crib matress that is on the floor. Nothing but the best for Emma thanks to a friend and yes it is orthepedic no more simple pillow beds for her - no siree. Well Rosa kind of liked that sleeping bag so has used it on her bed for awhile. Still haven't captured a picture but priceless. Not ever dog gets both a matress and a much loved sleeping bag. Hoping Rosa is ready to now or soon step up to the next size sleep bag as she is getting taller now.

So this seems so good for my spirits and keeping my spirtis up is very good both now and always. Will post some pictures and see if Greg maybe has some new ones to add? Nor sure. With so much going on we haven't exactly taken tons of photos here.

So hurray. Check as you wish but my first goal is weekly. may be more often but who knows. Helping Paws had to great sets of puppies this past December. Think of how they will change lives of others just as Emma has changed both mine and ours...will leave that topic for another day. have a great day.

Ha ha I actually have a timer and have to alternate doing things even sitting and typing and resting doing nothing. I write in bits and pieces so it may be choppy...

Mary And Emma a wonder service dog team....