Thankful for Makiko


  
Happy Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be grateful for this year. I have a very loving family, and while we have lost both of my parents this last year, we still stay pretty close. My grandparents were amazing people and I’m really grateful that they valued family so much, as they instilled that in their children and grandchildren. I also have a wonderful boyfriend who loves me to death and spoils me. Dating a gal with vision loss is just part of life for him and he embraces it. He has a wonderful family that I get to spend the holiday with while my Mom is visiting my sister in New York. I have an amazing job and a wonderful boss and many very compassionate coworkers. 

I am also EXTREMELY grateful for Makiko. Guide dogs are known to help their handlers have increased independence, freedom, and companionship. Makiko definitely brings that for me. But what does that mean? Here are many reasons why I am grateful for Makiko this Thanksgiving: 

  • Since getting Makiko. I have not had one injury while working her. This is HUGE. I have broken and torn too many things to count but Makiko has not once put me in any danger or missed something that led me to hurting myself. 
  • I serve 14 different high schools as a Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State. Makiko knows pretty much the way to the place we office in each of these schools. I can be independent and confident in my schools because together, we can do it!  
  • Living alone can be pretty lonely. However, Makiko is the best companion. We go for walks around my beautiful complex, just sit outside, go to the dog park in the complex, and play all sorts of games inside together. She is my best friend, my snuggle buddy, and the best companion! 
  • Prior to getting Makiko (and then a year later starting my job), I loved to sleep in and not do much. I still enjoy sleeping in and not doing much but my sleeping in went from sleeping in until about 1pm to sleeping in til 10am. She gives me a reason to get up and get active. During the week, she is an excellent alarm clock. Most days if she doesn’t see me getting up after the alarm clock has gone off a few times, she starts her silly ways to get me out of bed. She knows. 

    

  • She has made me more interested in the ways dogs are trained and think. I have very much enjoyed learning the art of dog training and reading up on it. We have started doing some fun clicker training. Makiko loves learning new things too! 
  • Makiko can tell when I am not feeling well, often before I do. She helps me figure out something is up so that I can be aware and work on it, like when I’m starting to feel very woozy because of low blood sugar. If I am napping too long and need to get up and cook dinner, she will let me know. 
  • She has given me the opportunity to care for something. I am a caretaker at my core and she gives me the opportunity to take care of her on a daily basis, and if I skip certain things, she doesn’t “run” as well.
  • I can go off in crowded areas by myself. I hate crowds, and this really only started once I started losing my vision. Makiko and I can just go do our thing in crowds and I can be independent. That helps me a lot.. I can do what we need to do to help us and make it enjoyable. For example, there was recently a huge craft bazaar in Colorado when I was there for the weekend. My aunt had my great-aunt latched on (and therefore naturally are slow), plus she really loves to look at everything. I like those kinds of events but am much faster. So Makiko and I just went off and looked at our own booths and bought some fun things.
  • She has opened me up to a whole new community- the Service Dog community at large, more specifically the GDB community, and also the puppy raising community. I love helping and talking to other service dog handlers on Facebook groups and other support groups. I run a Facebook group “Guide Dog Handlers Network” that has close to 800 visually impaired guide dog handlers from all over the globe. It is so fun to learn about their experiences. There wasn’t a page quite like it when I came back from guide dog training but I created it to help others and have fun… It has done just that! GDB has some of the most caring and loving people in their organization as employees and volunteers. I love doing activities and talking to others from this organization because they are genuinely good people. That is the same for the puppy raisers. They raise these dogs for 1 to 1.5 years and get so close with them. They then have to “give them up” to GDB to go to “guide dog college” or formal guide work training. That is heartbreaking! A lot of work goes into running a puppy raiser club, coordinating the events, and raising a puppy. I have met some amazing people through our local puppy raising club, Lone Star Guide Dog Raisers. 
  • Makiko loves to travel and she is wonderful when we are traveling. She is absolutely perfect in airports and on airplanes, and on road trips you barely even know she is down there. She is a great foot warmer though! πŸ™‚ I love to travel so it’s really awesome to have a buddy who loves to travel and helps me do it with such ease. She makes it much less stressful. 
  • Makiko and my Mom and boyfriend are all best friends. I am grateful that she loves my Mom and boyfriend so much and they love her. It warms my heart to see them all play together and love each other. 
  • Makiko loves her little place in the office and she has become an essential part of our workplace. I have to set boundaries with some coworkers who don’t quite respect my rules, but for those who do respect them, Makiko is great “therapy”. We have a very tough (yet rewarding) job, and work with a lot of individuals with disabilities with very heartbreaking and difficult situations. Sometimes they come to us and we are all they have left. We also have a lot of pressure naturally in the kind of work we do. Makiko has formed some very close bonds with my good work buddies and brings smiles to their faces daily. 
  • I totally respect those who choose a cane as their mobility aid but it is most definitely not the one for me. It’s sad but society doesn’t really know how to react to someone with a cane (but we are working to change this!). I also find that there are a lot more obstacles when using a cane and it’s just stressful to me. However, with a guide dog and particularly such a cute, beautiful, and well behaved guide like Makiko, she has increased and changed social interactions for me. I am very social and love the reaction from society with a guide dog much more than with a guide dog. I must talk to at least 10+ strangers a day on weekends when I’m out and about because of Makiko. I love that. Plus, I have the opportunity to educate others and that’s a blessing.
  • I have always been known, since college, for being pretty outspoken. However, since getting Makiko, I am a lot better with self-advocacy and advocate for my needs and rights more. 
  • I am a lot more confident all around because of Makiko. I am confident in myself, my ability to travel independently, my ability to go new places and try new things, my ability to meet new people, and just be me. I experience a lot less anxiety when I am with her.  
  • Many of you know that I got Makiko two months after my father passed away. My father is my best friend and this has been devastating. Still is. She has helped me grieve and keep going. Dad died one semester into my Masters and I got her my second semester of grad school. Makiko helped get me through grad school. 

Makiko is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Over 2.5 years later, she is daily changing my life for the better and helping me become the happier, healthier, and better me.  I am so grateful to and for her.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

November 26, 2013: Love


I am grateful for love.

What comes to mind very quickly when I think about love is the love my Daddy had for me. It has gotten me through so many tough times, both when he was alive, and now that he has passed. He loves me so so incredibly much and empowered me to do so much through his love. He was constantly there for me and he taught me how to unconditionally love others.

Makiko loves me so much and shows me that each and every day. She is not only the best guide dog but she also provides so much emotional support that I often need. I love her so incredibly much as well and that has allowed us to form this bond that not many other people can understand. We are two peas in a pod.

I also have a lot of other love in my life from my family, of course, but also Steven and my best friends. I am loved and can love others– which makes my world go around. πŸ™‚

November 6, 2013: Liz


Today I am very thankful for a very special person in my life. I have this best friend, her name is Liz. (Not what I call her, but the most generic term since I don’t like to list many names on my blog). She has been my closest friend through my high school years, my undergraduate years, and now through my graduate school years. We are the kind of best friends who may not talk everyday, but we can just resume every time we talk as if we do. We keep up with each other as best we can through Facebook and other methods. Our families love each other and we have some pretty hilarious memories with each other and each other’s families. We both have serious significant others that we love and we have had the opportunity to be with each other as these relationships have formed and blossomed. She constantly supports me in everything that I do, and I do her. We hold a lot of each others deepest secrets. When my Dad passed away, I was very very heartbroken but one of the first times I felt able to just let loose and break down, was in her arms at my Dad’s visitation. She allows me to show who I truly am and loves unconditionally. She is my best friend. πŸ™‚

November 1, 2013: Day 1 & Makiko


Each day this month I am going to try and post something I am thankful for. Today it is Makiko.

I can’t explain how much Makiko has impacted my life. She is a constant companion, my best friend, so much laughter, my independence, my freedom, and she helps me get through a lot of really rough times. She is the reason I have been able to keep going like I have been able to and I owe so much to her. We are the perfect team and we conquer so much together. We get each other and have a super close bond. She is the cutest, most amazing thing and one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Losing my vision is not half as bad as it would be without her.

Pure happiness + First two days of classes


March 4th I met Makiko. It is now March 21st.. 17 days later, and Makiko and I have bonded so much ALREADY and to know, from my instructors and other guide dog users, that this will grow exponentially over our lifetime together, especially over the next six months is just unremarkable. Her guide work is indescribably amazing, with the independence, freedom, confidence, and speed she provides. She is devoted to me around the clock and it is so evident. Even “on the clock” when we’re sitting down somewhere she’ll lay her head on her foot and that is just one of the many things that melts my heart. She is almost always touching me if she can. She’s a cuddle bug and I treasure that. We have lots of cuddle time, play time, and silliness. She makes me so happy, everything about her makes me so happy when we’re working and when we’re not. This is a “match made in Heaven,” and I know that may sound silly because she is a dog, but seriously, if you knew the bond between a guide dog user and a handler, and if you knew the bond specifically between Makiko and I, you would totally understand. I have lots to tell you about the last couple of days that will help illustrate this all a little more.

So I told you about our first day together at my new apartment. Well Wednesday was an incredibly busy day. It started off kind of easy. I got up and took care of her needs and then we went back to sleep for a little bit. Got up and got myself ready and then had to pack our bag for the day. I had to change backpacks to a regular backpack and not a messenger back anymore because I have stuff to carry for her too. I have to bring poopy bags, portable food bowl, food, a light-up collar in case we need it at night, etc. I had to bring all my school stuff too of course. So one of my very best friends got to meet her and took us to lunch, where we worked on a presentation a bit. Then we went to several meetings with department faculty, and then we went to an organization meeting that I’m an officer for. I relieved her in between meetings and also fed/watered her before my last meeting. The portable food dish came in really handy, just had to figure out a good time to let her eat. She eats really fast though so no problem. Then we headed to class.

While my class is all here to work with individuals with disabilities and they know that no petting of guide dogs is allowed unless the owner says, I knew it was going to be difficult. All but one person were totally understanding of it and I was so appreciative. They all admit that it is hard but they are really good with respecting our boundaries so that was awesome. My professors “met” (and by that I mean looked) her and everybody was really happy for me. She slept very quietly through class, then on the ten minute break in the middle of class, I relieved her. She did absolutely great! After that a good friend and I went and ran a few errands, which she also did great on, and then we went home. I have no vision at night whatsoever and Makiko just does phenomenally. I LOVE IT!

My friends joked last night quite a bit about how we “book it” (aka we walk really fast!) And yes, part of matching a guide dog to a handler is matching the pace. Makiko does sometimes go a little faster than my “natural” pace but you have to realize that my “natural” pace is partially slow because of orthopedic issues but also slow because I am so afraid of hurting myself on something. With Makiko, I don’t have to worry about hurting myself. I have also gotten in much better shape over the last several weeks and so walking that fast doesn’t bother me at all. I enjoy it! When I get a little tired or I need to walk with someone who doesn’t go as fast, Makiko has a second pace, and its slower. Not all guide dogs can go two paces but I am very blessed that she can.

Our dogs are supposed to stay on leash or on tie-down at home all the time for several months. This is to reinforce good house manners, etc. A tie down is basically a thick cord with two leash clips on either side that you can tie the dog down to a chair, or something else with. Well, Makiko was tied down to the chair and the chair was about 2-3 feet away from where my head is on my bed. Well, Makiko wanted to be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to me when sleeping so she had the tie down completely straight/pulled tight. I felt so bad because I want her to be next to me too but I don’t want it to be uncomfortable and that just didn’t satisfy me. So I moved the chair out from under the desk and just set it out kind of in the middle of the room. Makiko doesn’t move around at night much so I knew she wouldn’t move the chair and that would allow her to be RIGHT up beside my bed. She curled up instantly and went to sleep, very happily. That made my heart very very happy.

Today we got up and did our morning routine and then we came back inside and played for about 25 minutes. That was tons of fun. She doesn’t exactly play tug of war all the time with her tug of war toy, she more like just plays with it and when she does, she gets rambunctious so it lets us get silly with each other. She usually brushes up right beside me and I tickle her and scratch her and she loves it! πŸ™‚ So after we played for awhile she laid down on my lap and went to sleep. Well, I don’t know if anyone can understand how hard it is for me to wake her up when she is so adorable on my lap asleep. I laid back against the wall and closed my eyes while she rested for about 20 minutes and then I decided it was time for me to get in my own bed because yes, you guessed it, I wanted a nap. So I took a nap for about an hour, woke up and did some stuff around the house and then got ready to go out with another best friend of mine, who is also a guide dog user. Makiko isn’t really a huge dog person but she really liked this dog. They were both off harness and we just wanted them to meet in a relaxed environment. It went well. Then when we got to our restaurant we put them both in harness and they acted a little distracted at first but then did really well from there. My friend kept telling me that she was being so amazing for being around her dog and that made me happy. So we hung out at the restaurant for a few hours and I got really into talking and wasn’t paying attention to the time. Well, I had 29 minutes to make it clear across campus, feed, water, relieve her, and sit down for class. Guess what? We did it in 24. We “booked” it clear across campus in no time at all. We walked a route I never have walked before and would never have done by myself before Makiko. The speed and confidence we walked at made me feel so free. On the way into the building I let her relieve, then I fed her and gave her water, and then we went into class. Again, she did great. This professor always gives us a break in the middle of class but for some reason she didn’t tonight. So 3/4 of the way through, Makiko poked her little head up. I couldn’t tell if that was her wanting to play or if that was she wanting to use the restroom. We went back to my apartment and I let her relieve there. She did just fine and wasn’t uncomfortable it didn’t seem so that was great.

Whenever I remember I fill up the small Kong we have with a few pieces of moistened kibble and freeze it. She LOVES it. You know what else she loves? The surprise present we got from our puppy raiser tonight! Now, I knew that my puppy raiser was going to send this at some point but I honestly have been so busy that I didn’t really think about it. Tonight my Mom picked me up for me to come to Dallas for the weekend and when we got back to Dallas we had a large package waiting for us. I opened it up and there is this HUGE ball with a rope going through it. A JOLLYBALL/ROMP n ROLL! So, it is midnight, dark, and we can’t go inside. Well, that’s not gonna stop us! I take her to a large open room and give her the jolly ball and around and round she goes! You’ll just have to see it. I took a video tonight but I’ll take one tomorrow outdoors and show you that one. Makiko absolutely loves this toy and watching her play with it is SO much fun. She is hilarious and adorable with it. Our puppy raiser, Jenni, has spoiled Makiko and I so much and she is truly a blessing in our lives. We couldn’t have asked for a better puppy raiser for our personalities and lifestyles!

I have an extended family member who lives with us and she is older and has an intellectual impairment. She is one of the sweetest ladies on the planet and our relationship is so very close. She has thought that me having a dog around me all the time is just the funniest! Well tonight we were all standing around doing laundry and she bent over to pet Makiko and I let her. She wasn’t playful with her, she just kind of stroked her a few times and Makiko wasn’t really phased by it. My family member really liked it though so that was wonderful. I also decided that several days had gone by and I wanted to reintroduce my Mom and Makiko and get that relationship a little more civilized so that Makiko could have some interaction with my Mom every now and then but not be out of control. My Mom and I are super close so that was important to me. I had Makiko sit and I told my Mom she could say goodnight to Makiko. My mom just stroked her a few times and said good night and Makiko loved it but she was focussed on obeying me the whole time so that was truly great. Then we just went on our way to bed and no problems after. PERFECT! This really made me happy because I didn’t want Makiko to anticipate too much attention from my Mom. Mom has been amazing though, willing to do whatever I said needed to be done about not petting/paying attention, etc. so that there aren’t any problems. And it worked out really really well so I’m very grateful with that!

So tonight as we go to bed, I don’t have a chair in my room so I figured out a way to tie it around a bedpost with an extension. And of course, she is RIGHT up beside my bed. I am happy.

I honestly have cried happy tears a few times. I applied and went to guide dog training because I had heard that it would make my life a lot more easier in terms of navigating the world and I have always loved dogs. What I got was this dog that makes my life so incredibly more rich, happy, efficient, safe, and full of lots more love. We travel so remarkably well and she does great navigating me through this visually based world. And then when she’s not guiding me, she is this incredibly sweet loving partner of mine, who happens to be a dog. After my Dad died, I have gone through rough periods, naturally, and Makiko has really gotten me out of a few sad spells already. She is the BEST!

Thank you all for your support. Here are a few pictures!

20130322-012327.jpg
The tie down was connected to the chair, pulled into the desk. Well, she tried SO hard to be as close to me as possible she even moved off of her bed. And literally, she was lined up with my knees when I laid down. But that just wasn’t good enough for her and she pulled her tie down so tight! I thought this was incredibly adorable and of course she melted my heart for the thousandth time that day so….
20130322-012527.jpg
I moved the chair! Who cares if it is in front of the bathroom door? πŸ™‚ I’ll move it in the morning! πŸ™‚ Now, her bed is right by my head and she can be RIGHT next to me on the floor. πŸ™‚ Cutie!
20130322-012412.jpg
And of course, I have to show you a cuddles pic. This was me in my pajamas and she has her tug of war toy in reach too. πŸ™‚

 

Day 7 at GDB


Well, today was our hardest day yet. It was full of emotions and I’ll explain why.

Wednesday was Dad’s birthday so I was a little on edge that day but managed to get through it. I have kind of suppressed a lot of my grieving because I want to really concentrate on Makiko these two weeks. Well, I think it might have caught up to me a little bit because today I was more emotional but I couldn’t directly relate it to Dad.

Morning routine was normal.. food, water, relieve. It was our last time relieving together as a group. Breakfast at 7:30, I had scrambled eggs. Then we all got our stuff together for the day and headed to Portland. On the way to board the bus we had, of course, another dog distraction. Each day it gets a little more intense. This time one of the instructors stood about 100 feet away from another instructor and they had a dog run back and forth between the two. Makiko did great. I was very proud of her. I worked my normal route and then the instructor changed it up again so I wouldn’t know what to expect and neither would Makiko and so we practiced a little more. Since I am partially sighted and will eventually lose what little I have left, they put a blindfold on me to practice doing everything that way for when that does happen. I didn’t mind not being able to see as much as I didn’t like that thing on my face. We also wanted to practice this because at night I don’t have any vision at all. However, I think I’ll be more comfortable then than with a blindfold. With the blindfold, I did really well. I only had one issue and that was as we were crossing a street I felt the train tracks and that through me off so I missed Makiko’s cue for the upcurb. Ah well we reworked it and got it right the second time. After that route we went to work escalators. That is an interesting task — getting on an escalator with your dog. We did Juno practice first, so without Makiko and only me holding onto the harness and leash with my instructor holding onto the other end. When we finally used Makiko it went really well. She’s such a good girl! Then we came back to our dorm/campus and we had french onion soup and a delicious salad. Oh man that was a fabulous lunch. Then we had a lecture soon after, I think. During that lecture I got really sick. I got a horrific migraine, sound was miserable, I fell asleep (partially because of the migraine and partially because of the early rising). Instructor caught me, hah. They understand because it’s a lot of work but they still give me a hard time. It’s really funny because several other classmates were also drifting off but they cheated because they had sunglasses on still so they couldn’t tell. After the lecture, I went to my room, started puking so when I settled down I went to the nurse’s office and she gave me Tylenol and then I passed out (as in fell asleep really fast) and when I woke up I was fine. So I had missed a little bit with my instructor but not much. I cried when I got back to my room because I didn’t want to miss out working with Makiko and I was just feeling so horrible and also the instructor who gave me a hard time hurt my feelings. I’m telling ya, my emotions were on edge today.

Today we had goal meetings, overhead clearances, campus orientation, and free run scheduled in the afternoon. The goal meeting is a meeting to discuss where we are right now with our dog in terms of how we feel and how the instructor feels and what we want to get out of our next week. We then discussed lifestyle and what kinds of things we do when we return home so she can help us obtain the skills to work with our dog in these environments. I did really well and it was great. Next week should be a blast but a lot of work, of course. So I did the goal meeting but we weren’t able to do anything else before my instructor had to leave. So when the person who stays overnight, who is a Canine Welfare Assistant, came she took me out to the free run to let Makiko loose and then also showed me around campus. Oh my goodness my girl can RUNNNN! Β She is super duper fast. There is this trail that winds around campus through beautiful trees and it has benches along the way. They named it, of course, the “Oregon Trail.” Tomorrow is a free day and we have the opportunity to get off campus for a little while but we would have to leave the dog at home. Since I have been so tired this week and not feeling well today, I’m thinking I may stay at home. But to get the “mental health” break, I may take Makiko and go cruise the trail. I’m actually really excited about that. A cool thing about the trail is they have these little “speed bumps” in the road so when we are coming to a fork in the road, we can feel the speed bump to tell us. There are all these little nifty things that I never would have thought of. We got to see where the Visitor’s Center is and the kennels.

After that I went to dinner. There were other times in there where we watered, fed and relieved our dog but that’s becoming so natural I forget to mention it. Dinner was delicious as well, I remember that but I can’t remember what it was off the top of my head. I’m telling ya, I’m exhausted. After dinner was free time, I went back to my room to talk to one of my best friends for a bit and then two of my classmates each came to my door to invite me to watch a movie with them. I thought that was super sweet. So we ended up staying out there for many hours, watching the movie, letting our dogs play, and talking. It was truly wonderful after an emotional day.

It was really cute. So “E” brought her black labrador and his chew bone. Then “H”, her dog, me, and my dog also came but we didn’t bring our dog’s bones just because we didn’t think about it. Well then when Makiko started nibbling on the other dog’s bone while they were sitting next to each other, I decided to go get Makiko’s bone. Then when I brought it out, the last dog decided he was going to go steal Makiko’s bone. Makiko is so sweet she allowed it. But I fight for her and I got her bone back lol. So then “H” went and got her dog’s bone and they were all happy except her dog still stole Makiko’s bone and they kind of switched for awhile and then when I wasn’t paying attention, Makiko wouldn’t have ANY bones lol. Poor girl. She is such a sweetheart. There are old couch cushions that they have if we ever want to sit on the floor so we all got them. “H” got hers first and her dog decided HE wanted the cushion. (Pictures below). Then my dog and “E’s” dog decided to share my cushion for a bit. So then we settled in and she laid on my lap, as always. I decided halfway through the movie that I wanted to lay down so I laid down with the cushion as my pillow and then Makiko just curled up on the pillow by my head. It was adorable. So we just laid there the whole time together.

I will tell you what, Makiko is just amazing for me. We have already bonded so much and if you know me, I really love hugs and cuddling. She has been perfect for me and today when it was rough I really really loved having her cuddles and love. Close to midnight we all decided it was probably time to go to bed. We relieved our dog one final time before we went. Β Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you about that. When we got back from Portland today we got to relieve our dogs on our patio/run area for the first time. My dog is the ONLY dog that pooped out there right away and I think she’s the only one that pooped out there today period. The other dogs are taking a little more getting used to it. She peed too! lol. TMI? She’s such a great girl! She even comes and sits by my side after she poops instead of trying to go sniff out her poop like a lot of dogs do. It is nice to have her relieving in the patio/run area because now in the mornings and evenings especially I can be in my pajama’s and just walk outdoors and relieve her. The patio connected to my living area of my room is for relieving and the patio connected to my bedroom area is for relaxing. The staff water down the relieving patio quite often so it is nice and clean. I’m still responsible for picking up the poop though and throwing it in the bin.

Can you believe I graduate a week from today? The 16th I graduate and the 17th I fly back. Monday we’re gonna work on the overhead clearances that I didn’t get to learn today. Next week we have night routes, learning another route, a mall, a park, an outdoor shopping area, escalators, public transit, visiting with the veterinarian, having another goal meeting, graduation, graduation photos, etc.

Today I also heard from Makiko’s puppy raiser. She is so sweet. She probably won’t be able to come to graduation because it is super expensive. You see, the puppy raisers don’t get notified until approximately 10 days before graduation that a dog they raised is in class. The school doesn’t tell them until they are fairly sure that the dog they raised is going to be a good match. So at that point if you’re flying from like Colorado where my puppy raiser is, airline tickets are insanely expensive then she would have to probably get a rental car and a hotel room. That’s just too expensive. However, since I’m in Denver a lot I’m hoping we can meet up sometime soon. I’ll be there twice in the next 3 months so that should give us a good opportunity to meet. She has pictures and a present for me!! That’s exciting. I can’t wait to see what Makiko was like as a puppy.

So tomorrow is a free day. We still have to wake up and relieve our dogs but then I’m going to go back to sleep. Wake up around 11 hopefully, go to brunch (which is open for many hours), go to the gift shop to buy a few things hopefully, and then do laundry and nap and hang out with Makiko the rest of the day. I think the outing would exhaust me as much as I do want to see Portland. However with everything else that we are doing and as much traveling we are doing to different destinations to practice, I feel like I am already getting a good tour around Portland so that’s not that crucial. We’ll also take a few cruises/walks around campus so that’ll be nice. πŸ™‚ I just hope the weather holds up nice for us. NO RAIN! I’m hoping tomorrow I can get plenty of rest and recover and get ready for the week. I also have 11 more Dr. Peppers to drink before the trip is over so I’m going to use them as a technique to stay awake so I don’t get teased anymore haha. It’s time to get sleep folks so here are a few pictures. I posted a ton of pictures on Facebook tonight because I had been posting photos here but not there.

These two dogs (Bamboo is the black labrador female and Corbett is the yellow labrador male) just LOVE to cuddle up with each other and love on each other. They stole Corbett's owner's seat cushion.
These two dogs (Bamboo is the black labrador female and Corbett is the yellow labrador male) just LOVE to cuddle up with each other and love on each other. They stole Corbett’s owner’s seat cushion.
Bamboo is the dog in the back and she is 46 lbs. Makiko is the dog in the front and she is 50 lbs. They both look almost identical and they both stole MY cushion at one point haha.
Bamboo is the dog in the back and she is 46 lbs. Makiko is the dog in the front and she is 50 lbs. They both look almost identical and they both stole MY cushion at one point haha.
I know this may be strange but her paws are so soft and adorable I had to take a picture :)
I know this may be strange but her paws are so soft and adorable I had to take a picture πŸ™‚
This is what the harness looks like when the handle is removed.
This is what the harness looks like when the handle is removed.
I wanted to get a good picture of her curled up on my lap (her whole body is on my lap while I"m sitting cross-legged) so I had to take a picture with my arms outstretched above me.
I wanted to get a good picture of her curled up on my lap (her whole body is on my lap while I”m sitting cross-legged) so I had to take a picture with my arms outstretched above me.
My cuddle bug and a picture of me with her :)
My cuddle bug and a picture of me with her πŸ™‚
Another picture of my sweet cuddle bug. I took so many pictures because i just think this is adorable and it shows how loving she is.
Another picture of my sweet cuddle bug. I took so many pictures because i just think this is adorable and it shows how loving she is.
I was leaning down to kiss Makiko and take a picture when she let out a big yawn :)
I was leaning down to kiss Makiko and take a picture when she let out a big yawn πŸ™‚
Makiko sleeping on my lap
Makiko sleeping on my lap
Another picture of my cute little cuddle bug with her front legs curled around my leg :)
Another picture of my cute little cuddle bug with her front legs curled around my leg πŸ™‚

Great applicable quote


20130308-201108.jpg

(For those who cannot see it, it says: “You cannot expect miracles to happen overnight. Be patient, be loving, and little by little, the change you seek will come.” -Leon Brown)

I saw this online last night and it seemed really relevant to the work Makiko and I are doing. We have to be patient with each other and be loving. Figuring everything out takes time and like the quote says, miracles don’t happen overnight. In fact, they say it takes about a good solid six months to really cement things. 6 months! The change or the new ways that Makiko and I will work together will come and eventually it won’t be as much work. She is an amazing dog and has been trained really well. NOW, I have to get “trained” to effectively and safely work with her and in the process we are both getting trained together to work as a team. We are bonding this entire time. Pretty cool huh? Anyway, I saw this quote and thought I would post it πŸ™‚