Category: guide dogs

It’s Tans And Trix Talk Time!

I am so overdue on doggy talk, and we just marched through that time of the year where there is a cluster of dog anniversaries for both Trix and Tans, so it’s a good time to talk about both beasts.

Well, I guess I can officially stop worrying about Tans pulling a LaniJo. She has been with me 4 years, and still seems to be going strong. Sometimes she looks a little sleepier than usual, but for the most part, she seems ready to go. I’m happy it’s spring, because I can take her to the park again.

Tans continues to be pretty healthy for the most part, but she did develop a UTI back in January. It was the weirdest thing. At first, she kept asking to pee and pee and pee, and sometimes when we were out there, she would act like she had to do the other, but it ended up being pee. She would actually whine like she does when she gets diarrhea, but it was pee. She must have been in a lot of pain.

When I took her to the vet, they said she definitely had a UTI and got her on antibiotics. But they scared the heck out of me because they said they wanted to check for bladder stones. Um, ouch. Thankfully, when they did, they didn’t find any, and so far, she’s been fine. Phew.

The weird part was they automatically wanted to put her on a prescription diet for treating bladder stones, or preventing them, or something. I wasn’t too sure about it, the calories were so much lower that I would have had to feed her a ton of it, it didn’t seem to have any meat in it if the label was read to me correctly, and the school wasn’t too sure about it either. So I switched her from salmon to duck because the guy at the pet store said that he might have heard something about a correlation between fish-based foods and bladder stones, and I’ve added a supplement with cranberry and vitamin C in it that’s supposed to keep things nice and clean, and so far, we haven’t had any more problems. But maybe I wouldn’t have had any more problems anyway. Who knows? Poor Tansy, I hope she didn’t suffer too long before making it clear there was a problem.

On the updates front, I have started bringing a toy when she has to ride in the hatch, to help her with her fear of it, and I think it might be working. I can hope so. I also noticed that if I call her actual name when I want her to come, and I don’t use a nickname, that seems to work, although it’s not perfect. I also asked about the issue of her wanting treats all the time, and I’m trying to use their suggestion. They said that although it feels counterintuitive, cut back on the praise, because she has associated praise with the hope of a treat, and only give her praise at spots where you were stopping anyway. It’s not perfect, but I’m trying.

God Tans will turn into a complete nutbar when she sees Brad, especially if we’re at the relative’s house with the other dog that we sometimes let play with Tans. The whining, the lunging, the complete disregard for anything orderly is a sight to behold. At least, usually, after she’s played with the other dog, she looks more respectable. She goes nuts over our buddy Anton, but not in the same way. I’d love to know what makes her decide a given person gets her seal of approval. It’s not always that they have a dog of their own.

She definitely has some quirks. If Steve is playing with her, and covers his head with the blanket, she goes absolutely insane. I’m not sure if she feels she has to rescue him or what, but she starts burrowing her head under the blanket, snorting, trying to throw it off or bite at it, and then running around the room.

And every now and then, she decides to test the whole idea of staying in her bed until I get up. It really sucks if poor Steve has decided to sleep on the couch, and she decides to run through the house at 3 or so in the morning. Sometimes I know why she does this, like the times there was a truck beeping outside the window that sort of sounded like the same rhythm as my alarm clock, but sometimes I have no idea what gets in her head. Anyway, when she starts up with this, she winds up spending a few bedtimes on tiedown to hopefully drive the point home that that’s supposed to be where she stays while I’m sleeping.

Sometimes, she definitely knows where things are more than I do, and she doesn’t mind telling me so. When I go out of the office, there is a pizza place a few doors down. Every now and then, I think we’ve already gone past it, and so I turn her around. She responds by digging in her heels. When I turn her back around, she will sprint even faster to the pizza place. Ok, ok, you win.

I never thought I would see a dog do this, so I feel like I have to mention it. In either February or March, we were going through periods of warm weather, followed by nasty ice and snow. One day, after we’d had some warm weather, I thought we wouldn’t need the boots. Tans was picking her way down the sidewalk so slowly that I actually turned her around and put her boots on. She never limped, she just moved super slowly. After I got her boots on, she moved normally. I think she actually asked for her boots! Wow!

For all her excitement and exuberance, she is super patient with my 2-year-old nephew. That kid loves Tansy, but he hasn’t figured out she has feelings. He will try to sit on her, scream into her fur, drive a little toy over her back, all of which we discourage. But the latest thing amazed me. He thought he could lift her. Of course he couldn’t, but that didn’t mean he didn’t try. There he was, both hands under her butt, trying and trying and trying. She just lay there and let him. My grandma saw her patience with him at Christmas and couldn’t believe it.

Now for the Trixie news. As of two weeks ago today, she is 12. Just try to digest that for a while. Trix…is…12. I brought her home 10 years ago April 15. She’s 12. Wow. We’re getting into that territory where we have no idea what may be on the horizon. She seems mostly fine right now, but you just never know.

You know how I said she couldn’t care less about toys? Now, she’s getting picky about treats! I used to think as long as she could demolish it, it was fair game. But now, that’s not even a safe bet. I didn’t even know what to get her for her birthday this year!

She has more old lady lumps, but they all seem to be the benign type. It’s weird seeing her now. Also, her cataracts are pretty noticeable to people. But it sounds like she still copes pretty well. The scariest old dog thing she has is she’s starting to drag her back end a wee bit. She can still move super fast, but after she’s been still for a while, she needs help up the stairs, and apparently her back toenails look more worn down, which makes us think she’s shuffling her back feet more. But so far, that’s not getting in her way.

You can definitely tell she hasn’t been working for a while. At Christmas, when we had everybody over, including the baby nephew, I thought it would be a good idea to contain both dogs when it was time to eat. I got Tans in the crate, and then took Trix back to Tans’s comfy bed and the tiedown. As soon as I picked up the tiedown to attach to her collar, she got super resistant. She would not lie down, she would only sit. I think she spent the whole time she was contained sitting and staring back at us. To her credit, she didn’t try to follow Shmans’s exampleand rip that tiedown out too. But she was not settling on that tiedown. I could just stuff that idea. Ah, how things change. The tiedown used to be her happy place when the thunderworks were afoot.

I think that’s all for now. But this is a message to both dogs. Please, please, don’t age anymore. Things are good right here.

Stop, Ask, Listen: Pretty Straightforward Stuff, Yes?

I know I have said it over and over and over again before, but I found someone else’s take on it that I thought was pretty well-written, and bonus, it included references to other “feel good stories” I’ve wanted to talk about, so double awesome! It also mentions an issue that I have talked about before, the issue of people getting so upset when I refuse their help. Yes, this is a thing. I don’t even have to be mean about it. I can say “No thanks, I don’t need a ride, I’m good,” and it feels like they sulk off in a huff. Or, I sometimes have to be aggressive, like when people don’t even ask me where I’m going and grab, or grab my dog’s harness or leash, and I loudly tell them to stop because that’s not ok and I get the pouty, snippy “I was only trying to help.” That’s great, but the first step in helping is asking what would be helpful.

Also disturbing is some people’s disregard for our feelings, as if we aren’t allowed to feel violated ever. The other day, I was on the bus and a woman said “I know I’m not supposed to pet your dog right now.” I said no now is not a good time. Then I told her that people don’t care, and pet her when we’re sitting on the bus. Keep in mind that she is sitting between my legs, and people just pet anyway. I said “not only is it bad because she’s working, but think about where you’re putting your hands! You’re getting pretty close to intimate at this point!” at which point the woman laughed uproariously. I couldn’t help it. I looked at her seriously and said “That wasn’t intended as a joke.” I don’t think she knew what to do. But in all seriousness, that was intended as an aha moment, not a ha ha moment, and although this woman seemed like a very sweet woman, her first impulse was not to be appalled or empathetic, but to think it was hilarious that I might not want to have someone’s hands there.

My friend’s mom also had a similar attitude, and if I wasn’t in the back of her car with a long day ahead of me, I would have eaten her for lunch. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to get upset, I just had to explain it nicely. “Please don’t put your hands practically in my crotch?” Really? This is a thing I must do? Incidentally, it isn’t. The person is lucky they don’t get slapped.

It kills me, because people can do studies where people show resistance at touching the private parts of a robot because they feel like they’re violating something. But they have no problem getting up close and personal with us. Great, we are considered less than human.

Anyway, this post does a great job, and hopefully it makes this stuff make a little more sense to people who don’t get why we get irritated

Dog Poop Will Turn Your Roomba Into A Ruindba!

There’s a story going around Facebook that reminds me of something that happened to us when we had Trix that I somehow never put up here. Maybe it was waiting for its perfect moment.

One day, on a whim, I bought Trix a new puzzle toy. The dog is supposed to roll the thing around and get food out of it! Fun fun fun! It was called a tricky treat ball, and they should have called it a not for Trixie treat ball!

I put Trix’s meal in it and gave it to her. Then Steve and I sat down to eat our own supper. They said the dog could have hours of fun with this thing, so I figured I wasn’t being a jerk for not supervising. After a few minutes, I noticed that the sounds coming from the ball sounded less like bat, bat, crunch, crunch, and more constant and much, much quieter. When I went over, I found Trix holding onto the thing that should have been a ball…only now it was a misshapen mass, and the whole top had been ripped off somehow. I also realized that if I took the mass that remained and tried to shape it back into a ball, it was not nearly the size of the original ball…uh-oh.

At first we hoped that we just had to go on a massive tricky treat ball treasure hunt, and we would find pieces everywhere…but we were not finding many pieces…which led us to the horrible conclusion that Trix had eaten the missing pieces! We were especially worried about this because the next day, we were supposed to be going to a big office party with folks from my awesome job. I had only started working there on a regular basis shortly before that, so I was feeling pretty new. The last thing I needed was for my dog to have a massive puke or poop accident at this fancy place. Plus, this was in the era where work and home were about 35 minutes’ drive from each other, so it wasn’t exactly trivial to get our asses home if necessary.

Through the next day, Steve would sort of look for tricky treat pieces as he went about his regular daily routine, and I was watching Trix’s poop to see if it was looking less…well…normal. We weren’t finding any pieces, but things were looking pretty ordinary. So we went on with the plan.

Trix got through the whole party and I never would have known anything was wrong, so I breathed a sigh of relief. We came home, and after changing into more comfortable clothes, we both fell asleep in the living-room. And a few hours later, we…found the rest of the tricky treat ball. To be more accurate, Trix produced it.

I still don’t remember this part, but at one point, some part of my brain must have heard Trix throwing up, and while most of me was still asleep, I uttered the words “Are ya ok? Are ya done pukin’?” At the same time, Steve had come to his senses enough to notice an unpleasant smell nearby that he could not identify. As soon as I uttered the words “Are ya done pukin’?” he was wide awake. “Puke…puke…pukin’?! Who’s pukin’?! I’m not pukin’! Oh…that smell…oh!”

So, although we did not have a dog poop-filled house, like in this sad tale below, there was definitely some 3 a.m. dog accident clean-up to be done. At least no electronics were sacrificed in the process, like happened to this guy’s poor roomba.

So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It's taken me until now to wrap my head around it and…

Posted by Jesse Newton on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More Strange Dog Dreams

After all these years, I still have weird dreams about either losing dogs or going back to train with a new one. But now they’ve gotten really weird.

One time, I had a dream that I was at a pet store and I needed their help with something. They said they would help me in a bit. So there I was, standing around waiting for their help. Then, along came a couple and they had a dog. For some reason I said I would take care of their dog while they shopped. Yeah, because that’s what I would do. This dog seemed really well-behaved though, so there I was, with Tansy on my one side, and this random dog on the other.

I was noticing that it was getting close to closing time and I was getting worried I wouldn’t be getting any help. Just then, someone came up to the door of the pet store and tried to come in, but the door was locked already. They knocked on it, and since I was standing near the door, I decided to let them in. As I opened the door, the dog I was babysitting bolted out into the busy parking lot. As I tried to get the attention of anyone who would listen, I heard someone say “Way to go, you just lost a rare French poodle!” And then I woke up.

A little bit later, I had a dream that I was at Steve’s buddy’s buck and doe, and Brad was there too, and he had brought Trix. There was also a little tiny dog that kind of looked like Zoe, my brother’s dog. I think Brad was babysitting it. For reasons that only make sense in dream land, Tansy, Trix and the Zoe dog were all running around this event loose. At the end of the event, we all had to clean up the place. Since our arms were loaded down with stuff, and for some reason no one had leashes, we had to make the decision to carry the stuff out and come back for the dogs on the next trip. But the whole time we were taking the stuff away, I was terrified that someone would prop open one of the doors and the dogs would get lost. I woke up before we could come back and pick up the dogs.

Then there was the dream where, in some kind of confusing mess, I managed to cause a dog who lives in the building to get separated from his owner. I don’t know how this is possible, or how I would cause this, but I rushed through a door and shut it behind me, only to realize that now the dog was stuck outside. This one is sort of fuzzy, but the point is now I’m dreaming about losing dogs that aren’t even mine! What does that say?

On the subject of dreams about having to go back and retrain, two dreams spring to mind. In one, the dream started off normal, but then I was told that my dog would be named Daylight. The funny part about that is that Daylight is the name of a project at work. So, in the dream, I got all excited and said that Daylight could be the mascot at work.

In the other dream, I had chosen to go to another school that did only in-home training. But their policy dictated that I had to go pick my dog up at the Humane Society. They said that there would be a dog waiting for me, complete with papers. When I went to get it, it looked exactly like Steve’s great aunt’s dog. It was very fluffy and we didn’t know what breed of dog it was…and it was super rambunctious. It was then that I asked what the dog’s name was, and no one could pronounce it. As the dog bounded around me and tried to pull me all over the place, all I could think was “How will I control this thing if I don’t even know its name?

And that’s the latest installment of I have strange dog dreams. All of these are pretty old, so maybe I’m due for another one. Hopefully it will be more funny than sad.

Kika The Spying Guide Dog

I read about this a little while ago, and had a few thoughts about it.

Amit Patel is a fellow who has recently gone blind, and he encounters a lot of jerks in his travels. So, he decided to attach a GoPro to his guide dog Kika and capture video evidence of said jerks. Unless I’m missing it, there are none of the aforementioned videos available to see, which is mildly disappointing. I guess he has used this video footage to get people at transit stations to be better trained, to report cab drivers for denying him access, all kinds of stuff, along with capturing the everyday incidents of people kicking his guide dog and other assorted run-of-the-mill crap people do, which his wife tweets about.

There are countless times where I’m pretty sure I know what happened, but I don’t want to assume the worst and be a jerk myself. For example, I hear the kissy kissy noise that usually means people are trying to talk to my dog. But there could be a toddler or a baby nearby that I just haven’t noticed yet. One day, I heard someone taking pictures and then someone else said “you should really ask her permission first”. I wondered if that was about me, but wouldn’t I come off as a pompous ass if I said “I’m offended that you took my picture.” and it wasn’t about me at all. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the proof of what did or didn’t happen?

I hope it’s easy to go through GoPro footage, because otherwise, his wife would have a full-time job going through the days events looking for jerks.

I don’t live in England where he does, but I really hope it’s not as bad as it seems every single day. I mean, I acknowledge that some people are special, but I’ve never been told to apologize for holding people up, or been deliberately shoulder charged. Most of the stupidity comes from people not looking where they’re going…I think, and then there’s the occasional numbnut that thinks I’m begging for money or I’ll take up all their time, or they say those offensive inspiration porn comments like “Oh just when I think I have it bad, there’s always someone worse than me…How do you even get up and face the day?”. I also think it’s harder to get people’s attention now because so many people are looking at their phones or wearing headphones. I’ve had to get a lot closer to people and face them because just speaking in their general direction isn’t going to cut it. Also, saying the words “excuse me” seems to get the response of people getting out of the way, rather than realizing that you want to ask a question. It’s like they default to the meaning of “excuse me” that requires the minimal amount of work. Or, they stop and wait, but they don’t say “Yes?” so you know you’ve got their attention. I don’t know what’s up with people not wanting to use their mouths lately, but it happens a lot. People will hold things out for me to take them and not say a word, like I’m going to know it’s there, even after we’ve had a whole blindness conversation.

I think part of it is that he hasn’t learned the trick of addressing a small group of people. If you yell “hello” at a whole crowd, you’re not going to get good results, but if you practically get right in a small group’s face and do the closest thing to giving eye contact and ask something, most times you will get a response. I have even chased people down when I’m desperate or *accidentally* given a leg a cane tap when I had my cane. Now I’ll sort of brush up against them and then go “Oh gee, sorry.” When they say that’s ok, then we’re talking. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but yelling at an in discriminant crowd is nearly always going to fail. Hearing the following quote makes me sad, if traveling in London and other big cities is really that bad. “Losing my sight is very lonely, if I’m travelling by public transport I’m sometimes like a scared little boy sat in the corner.”

I’m going to hope that since he has only been blind for a short time, maybe he hasn’t learned some of the tricks that have taken me a lifetime to learn.

Either way, good on him for catching some arseholes in the act and bringing them to other people’s attention.

A Giant Shmans Update

Tans is pretty long overdue for an update, so off we go.

Back in June, we had our follow-up, and for the first time, it wasn’t with Chuck. Because his coverage area is so huge, he’s started sending people to do follow-ups, unless I guess the person has a huge problem or he’s in the area. Boy, did I give the two ladies who came to do follow-up one heck of a chore. I’ve been trying to find a way to conquer the crazy area where there is some important stuff near my house. But this complex where the stuff is isn’t super pedestrian friendly. It took them a long time of searching and searching, but I think we sort of figured out a new route. They were amazed at how quickly Tans picked up the new route. They called her a patterning ninja. This I know quite well.

Lots of people only see Tans working, and are amazed at how calm she is. I’d love to show them the display she put on back around Father’s Day when we saw Brad and Trixie. When I let her loose, she immediately started running around Trix, making lots of play noises at her. At first, I thought both dogs were participating in the noise, but I reached down and touched Trix, and she was just lying there. Poor Trix barks at Tans a lot when she sees her because Tans is so nuts.

Then, the same day, Tans walked up to Brad, made weird grunting noises at him, and kind of play nibbled on him. What the heck? My dog still thinks she’s a tiny puppy.

Tans doesn’t really care much about storms like Trix did, but there was one particularly big storm with hail and heavy rain where she got worried, and it looked like she was almost insisting that we get inside in a hurry. Steve was out on the balcony, and out of nowhere, Tans started running out to the balcony and then back in, out and back in. Only when we came in and shut the door did she settle down.

Back a few months ago, we decided to get something we could use for exercise at home. We thought about some kind of treadmill we could fold, but we settled on a rower. It has actual water in the tank, and it stands up super small when we’re not using it. It’s pretty cool, at least we think so. Tans, on the other hand, always kind of eyes it suspiciously. She’s pretty ok with it when it’s standing up now, but at first, she would stay away from it when she came in the house, or spend long times staring at it. Now, when we lay it down to use it, she does not like it at all. If she’s not staring at the tank or nuzzling the thing you pull on to row, she’s staring at it from a distance as if it might come after her. At first I thought seeing the water in the tank weirded her out, but I really don’t have a clue.

I always thought Tans was made of steel and was pretty unflappable, but I think I may have found something that scares her. She used to climb into the hatchback section of a car without a second thought. But that all changed after one ride she took in June. It was the night before Steve’s buddy Greg’s wedding, and there were a bunch of us in the car, so we put her in the hatchback section. This is just a section behind the seats. I can reach back and touch her if I wanted to, and she could, and would, lick my ear if she wanted to, so it’s not like I put her in the trunk.

There were a few things with her in the hatchback, but I didn’t think about that. Apparently, I should have, because during the ride, they tended to slide and bump her. By the time we arrived, when she got out of the hatchback, she shook off and snorted a lot, as if the ride stressed her out. Now, it’s a fight and a half to put her in one of those places, and she spends the whole ride shaking and trying to get out of the hatchback into the seats. She doesn’t care that there is no room for her to go, she’s going to try to come down anyway.

I’m not sure quite what to do, since I don’t really have access to a hatchback all the time, so it’s hard to desensitize her. I’m going to try and bring her favourite toy to play with, or one she likes, so maybe it won’t be so scary.

This summer, we were at a lake, and we tried to get Tans to swim. I thought she’d take to it like nothing, but I was wrong. She would come down so far, then stop. When she was carried in, she sort of liked it, but got back out again. I’ll laugh if, when she retires, she once again decides she likes water.

Although Tans has beds to sleep in, she has this way of finding wacky little corners to curl up in, or if she’s feeling especially lazy, large chunks of the middle of the floor to sprawl on. Lately, she has decided that the little space by one of our couches is just big enough for her. She’s so tucked away that I forget she’s there, and almost step on her.

I wouldn’t call Tans clingy, but if one of us is sick, she knows it, and will plant herself next to the couch or bed. I call her our little nurse.

They always say if you know the calories per cup on a food, then you can figure out how much to feed. If they’re gaining, cut it back and you’ll be good. But I have learned that it’s more complicated than that. Back in April, we had our issues with Tans’s food no longer agreeing with her. I switched food, and boom! She was all good. This food had more calories per cup than I thought her old food had, so I thought I’d just keep feeding her the same amount. If I saw her packing on the hound pounds, I’d cut back.

Well, I saw her shedding hound pounds. At first, it wasn’t much, and then more, to the point that the vet said she shouldn’t get any thinner. She also started trying to eat anything she saw that looked appealing as we passed it.

So, I decided to feed her more food. As soon as I did, it was like Tans had gone back in time. She had more energy than she’d had in a while, and she just felt like she had more bounce in her step. She wasn’t eating everything off the ground, but she kept asking for treats all the time as we worked. All she had to do was find something, and she’d start looking up at me as if to say “I do believe a treat is in order.” I’m still dealing with that little quirk, I think that has to do with boredom because we haven’t been able to go to new places, but I’m just so happy to see her energy is back. She’s also gained the weight she lost, so I don’t feel like I’m depriving the poor beast.

Back when she was new, I had a little trouble with her just laying on her bed when I would call her. I thought that had resolved, but now it’s back with a vengeance. Even back then, as soon as I put the leash on her, she would get up. Now, even that isn’t enough. Sometimes I hold out a treat to get her to come, but I really don’t want to do that every time I want her to move. Sometimes I have gotten all excited, but often that doesn’t help. Other times, I’ve had to give her leash a tug to get her up. I don’t know what is the right thing to do to get what I want.

I don’t know what Tans does, but back last Thanksgiving, she shook off her school tag. Now, this September, I noticed her Avid microchip tag had gone AWOL. I thought it would be a little bit complicated, but I had no idea what I was in for.

First, whatever they tell you about your AVID chip being recognized all over the world is complete garbage. Apparently, you have to register it in every country you live in. So if you’re like me, and go to GDB and get your dog there and then return to Canada, the AVID chip registration they do isn’t recognized in Canada. If you want to register it in Canada, you have to deal with a company called PETIDCO, or at least that’s the rumour.

Oh me oh my, where do I begin with PETIDCO? Let’s just say that if Tans and I ever got separated, I think I would have better luck running around KW yelling Tansy’s name than they would have reuniting her with me if she were ever found and scanned. I don’t know what their qualifications are, but the standards aren’t very hi.

  • they tried to tell me that the whole department that handles registration was on holidays. That whole department was one woman.
  • their whole site went up and down so many times when I tried to use it that I did it over the phone. Because I couldn’t use the site, they tried to make me send them all kinds of extra verification by mail. When I asked them why I wouldn’t have to do that if I did it on the site, all they could say was “Well, no, you wouldn’t have to because you’re confirming online that this information is correct.” Hmmm, can’t see anything wrong there, can you?
  • When I did, the person taking the registration kept asking me if Tansy had been neutered even though I told her she was female. They also couldn’t grasp the idea that I didn’t have her for her entire life, and that she had come from the states.
  • After they registered her and sent me a tag, without asking me, they passed my information on to Petsecure, a pet insurance company. I happened to miss their call, and when I returned it, none of them had any idea who I was, or why they had called.
  • Finally, when the tag arrived, it had a different number. Because this whole process had been a clown show, I took tag and dog into the vet to see if they could figure it out. After they scanned Tans, and went to a microchip-lookup site, they found that this was a valid microchip number, but it hasn’t been registered to anyone.
  • When I called PETIDCO back, they told me that she was registered, and basically insinuated that my vet was the incompetent one.

As it stands, I have no idea what to do to verify that she’s properly registered. PETIDCO insists she is, as does AVID in the states. The vet doesn’t understand why she’s marked as unregistered, and I’m left wondering if the microchip would prove useful if the unthinkable ever happened. It’s not a nice feeling, so if anyone knows anything, I would love some ideas.

When we got our bathtub replaced, we lost our telephone shower head that I use to bathe Tans. I thought I would have to buy some wacky adaptor. But lucky for us, when they replaced our shower heads later, they gave us a brand new telephone shower head. Woohoo! I hope we have that one for a while. The idea of finding a groomer or do it yourself bathing station wasn’t thrilling me.

That’s the bulk of the Tans updates. There are some other bits that I feel like need their own posts. I hope you’re not bored.

Rogers Centre Fan Assist: This Fan Thanks You For Your Assistance.

A few weeks ago, Steve and I went to another Blue Jays game, one of the last games of the season. That was a fun game to watch. But the reason I’m writing about it is because we learned about a service offered by the Rogers Centre that’s pretty cool, and I wish it was more broadly advertised.

It’s called Fan Assist. How it works is you text a phone number and you can ask them a question, anything ranging from “where’s an ATM?” to “where’s the nearest bathroom?” to “I have a security issue in my section.” You give them your section, row and seat number and they either can just answer you, or they send someone to help you. How friggin awesome is that?

As fate would have it, I needed to make use of the service that night. Tanseroo was being silly, and when I offered her a chance to relieve when we got off the bus from work, all she would do was pee. I was sure that she’d need to do the other at some point…I didn’t know how long she could hold it.

I noticed a little while later that Tansy was looking very uncomfortable. We had arrived pretty early for the game, and had heard the PA guy make an announcement about fan assist, so I figured it was time to try it out, so I did. They texted me right back and said they would send someone. It took a few minutes, but hey, this is the Rogers Centre…people can’t just appear instantly. A nice fellow came and got some kind of pass to take us out of the building, took the dog and I outside, Tans took care of business, seemingly quite gratefully, and then he brought us back to my seat. Friggin yes!

Here is the page with the info, and here is the specific bit about Fan Assist.

Guests are invited to make use of the Rogers Centre Fan Assist Program if they have an issue in their seating section or a question related to their experience.
Simply send us a text to 647-503-4131 using your mobile phone – please include your issue or question and seating section, row and seat. The process is quick and simple and by using the Fan Assist Program, guests are able to report issues and concerns, ask for information and call for assistance in a discreet and convenient manner.
Operators are standing by and participation in our service is free of charge; however, standard carrier text messaging & data charges will apply. Please note, cell phone numbers that repeatedly send messages which are deemed fraudulent or irrelevant may be prevented from communicating in the future.

Awesome. Believe me, I was grateful for the program that night, and evidently, so was Tansy. I’m going to put that number in my contact list so if I need it again, it will make the process even faster. I hope they never eliminate it.

An Update From The Land Of Brad And Trix

I’m so glad Brad did this update, complete with pictures. Now we can catch up on the life of Trix, which is still pretty good. Take it away, Brad.

Rumour has it that it’s been quite some time since we last heard how good Ole Trixie is doing. Well my hound-loving blog readers, we’re about to change that. If memory serves, the last Trixified update we had was back in either late Winter or early Spring. I seem to remember writing about her liking her new beds. We’ll start in April, right around her birthday. Trix turned eleven this past April ninth. She got a couple new bones, a lot of petting, and a hike to her favourite place, Global Pet Foods. For what more could a dog ask?

In May we went for her annual all-point inspection, complete with the senior canine blood profile. The old beast is still in prime condition, so sayith our fearless veterinarian. Her cataracts are not much worse, and she is in “amazing shape for a dog her age!” Anyone who has seen her knows she’s a fine physical specimen, much like her owner.

With this summer being as obnoxiously and disgustingly hot and humid as it was, walks were a little shorter, much to Trixie’s chagrin. She had it in her head that it was fine to do our usual five or so daily KM even though her tongue was down around her feet. I tried to go later in the evening, but she goes a little squirrelly around dusk, so it wasn’t always enjoyable. Let me tell you though, she is a huge fan of this cooler weather. Heck, so am I!

She does a lot of sleeping, which is a good thing, as I’m pretty sure that that place I go every day to keep the bills paid is secretly trying to work me to death. No one should have to work seven days a week, should they? No? I agree. I did manage to wrangle two whole weeks off this summer, though! One week in July and one in August. I went camping for both with my aunt, uncle and the cousins, and we have some pictures of Trixie doing campy things.
Blurry shot of Brad and Trix at camp site.

We were up to Silent Lake Provincial Park in July and Algonquin in August. Trixie seems to be a sizable fan of camping, despite her advancing years. The squirreliness around dusk is a little worse, and she develops an almost unhealthy obsession with me and my whereabouts, but, overall she loves it. Her favourite activities include hiking in the bush, which is well documented in previous posts, and wading belly deep in the lake.
sandy-and-trixie-at-the-beach

She seems to have given up swimming, at least in large bodies of water. I think I’ve finally figured out why. I think her deteriorating vision makes her a bit nervous of large open bodies of water. She has no problem with going in up to her belly, but she won’t swim out anymore. She will, however, dive into my neighbour’s new fish pond if the gate is left open, and its five feet deep at the one end. She swims laps in there until someone fishes her out. It’s only about ten feet around, letting her see all the sides. Good, I’m glad you fine folks agree with my powers of deductive reasoning.

No matter how long the hike we chose for the day, she thought she had to lead the way, along with Sandy, my aunt and uncle’s practically eight year old Australian Shepherd, who is in many of our pictures. You may remember from long ago posts that these two were not always so chummy, but they have put that in the past and let bygones be bygones. The average hike length was between five and seven Km, similar to our walk routine here. The difference is that this is over rocks and roots, up and down hills. Sandy runs loops around everyone for the entire time, and Trix seemed to think she had to do likewise. She slept very well after most of these. It’s possible that we did, too.
everyone resting after the big hike

There are some absolutely massive rocks up North, you know.
Brad and Trixie on a rock

Brad, Trixie, cousin Ben and Sandy with a huge rock in the background.

As you’ve seen, Trix seems to have a little mountain goat in her DNA somewhere. She found her way up a trail at the back of the rock, but thought she should follow me down the front, a good ten foot climb/jump. Luckily she listens well, or we may be reading her obituary rather than this lovely little number.

Not everyone likes to move at the same pace as Trix and I, though.
Brad leading the trek through the woods.

I didn’t take Trix out in the canoe this time, as it was pretty warm on the water. She has been before, and doesn’t mind it. She hasn’t quite figured out the whole balance thing, but we’ll work on that.

There’s not much more to tell. Trix is doing well, is loving this cooler weather, and is always up for a walk, and food! Stay tuned for more updates. I’ll end this off with a few other random pictures of Trixie that I wasn’t quite ambitious enough to cleverly work in to the text.

Cousin Ben rubbing Trix's belly

Brad squatting, Trix laying
Brad with cousin Ben on his shoulders and Trix watching

“Is Your Dog Friendly?” “Are You Friendly?”

I have often been asked if someone could pet my dog. I’ve never been asked if my dog could play with theirs, but I can imagine it happening. Even if I had, I would have never dreamed that if I said no, the response would consist of a volley of rocks fired at my dog. I’m sure it will come out that Ricky Sabourin has some kind of issue going on, because in what logical world would you throw rocks at the dog because the person won’t let you play with him?

The officer said the dog had no lasting injuries. I hope the officer realizes that there might be a psychological impact on the dog that you can’t see. For the sake of everyone, I hope there isn’t one. I’m glad the guy was charged, but I feel like the gravity of what happened wasn’t reflected in the charges. I thought there was a service dog assault law being worked on in Ontario. Am I wrong?

I hope I’m never in a situation where some strangeoid decides to hurl rocks at me or my dog because I won’t let mine play with theirs. Yeesh!

Thank you, Bingemans Waterpark

I wanted to write a post to say thanks to a local business. I do a lot of screeching and chewing, so it’s nice to be able to say something positive. That business is Bingemans.

The folks at my awesome job had an employee and family picnic there. My first reaction was “Woooohooo! I’ve never been there and I heard it’s fun! Water slides, baby!” This was immediately followed up by “Hmmm, where will I put Tans?” and “I get the sense that Bingemans is an immense land of chaos and running, shrieking children. How on earth will I find anything?”

I did not want to miss out, the Captain has made me miss out on too many things, so I was going to go if I had anything to say about it. I emailed them, not sure what they were going to say, and hoped for the best.

Bingemans eventually gave me a call, and we had a good chat. My first piece of good news was they had a plan for Tansy. They let me book a cabana, which provided me a place to put her that was shaded and safe. I could also leave her a dish of water, so she could have it if she needed.

But they told me that there weren’t too many staff just roaming around, so they might not be able to help me from A to B. A little nervous, I still decided to go ahead. Maybe I could ask a few coworkers to give me a hand…or something. This had turned into a challenge as well as a fun picnic, and I really wanted to make it work.

When Steve and I arrived, I realized that it was true. This place consisted of a sea of chaotically-moving humanity. I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. But once we arrived at the desk and registered, I started to relax a little. One of the people working there took us to the cabana and helped me get Tansy settled, and then another helped us pick the first slide we wanted to hit.

I was super grateful for that bit of help, but thought we had exhausted what they would give us, so I was pleasantly surprised when they said they would come back for us and take us to the next thing. This was starting to look like it was possible.

The biggest surprise was when it was time to find the picnic. When we told them where it was, they said it was far, and drove us there in a golf cart! How awesome is that?

This is how it went the whole time we were there. They helped us get from slide to pool to picnic to pool to slide and did it with a smile. I never once felt like a giant burden that they felt obligated to accommodate.

Basically, the staff at Bingemans made it so we could enjoy the day like everybody else, and not have to feel like a burden to any of my coworkers, who already were trying to take care of their kids. When you go to a waterpark as a blind kid or as part of a group, you don’t really think about the logistics of how you will manage things if you come here without folks who can help you.

I sent a thank you to Bingemans, but I wanted to publicly thank them for all the awesome. It did not go unnoticed. Maybe we’ll see you again some day.

Aside: Boy, do you fly down water slides faster when you’re older and therefore heavier, but you still scream like a small child, at least I do. Oh wait, small children don’t swear like sailors.