Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quick Update-Hospital Visit

It is 2:44 a.m. here in Ohio. I am writing so late because we took Rosalie to the hospital tonight for dehydration. She was completely lethargic, floppy, and unresponsive. She didn't look good at all. The nurse behind the front desk took one look at us and told another parent to wait. She ran around the desk and rushed us back to the "special care" room. After getting some saline, she is already perking up a bit. They want to keep her overnight in the "Almost Home" unit. Corey is staying with her tonight.

I will be taking Bomber to training tomorrow. We will be missing two tracking practices including our first one in a building. I will call Jeremy in the morning (a few hours) to find out what the plan is for us tomorrow.


Saturday, August 10, 2013


I had multiple titles for this post. I can't remember any of them because...

Handsome boy!
Bomber just completed a blind track here at the hotel!

Corey and I set up a practice track. Due to miscommunication between us, I had no idea where Corey was hiding with Rosalie. At first I went out with Bomber and I tried to direct him in the direction I thought he would go. (Right now in practice, we know where the kids are hiding so we can better learn our dogs' cues when they're tracking.) He took off away from where I thought Rosalie was. I even lost hold of his leash. I got him back with no problem and kept trying. The poor guy was so confused.

At this point, I was totally ticked off. I was so mad that Corey wasn't where I expected him to be. Bomber was confused so he both peed and pooped on the track. Again! I wanted to cry. I was so frustrated. I even thought that we are never going to get this down. I called out to Corey saying I had no clue where he was. He didn't hear me.

After Bomber pooped, I took him back to the room, went back out, and picked up his poop. I looked for Corey a bit and still couldn't find him. Then I tried to call Corey and his dang phone rang from inside the room! What a mixture of high emotions! Anger, frustration, despair.

With nothing else to do, I took Bomber back out. I got him amped up and sent him to "track." He went back towards where he was looking before. At this point, I just figured I better follow him even though I had given up inside.

Bomber finally went around a corner and I started to think maybe Corey and Rosalie were back there. They were!!!!! I burst into tears. I still am tearing up writing this.

My foot after stepping in mud during the nighttime track.
This has so many ramifications for our life! Never again will I not be able to find Rosalie. Never again will I have that heart drop when Rosalie is brought back to me by another person. Never again will I have to have someone say, "Is Rosalie supposed to be over there?"

I do know she will still take off. I do know that reality is I will have those things in the last paragraph happen. I also know I have an answer to those things. When Rosalie takes off, I will send Bomber. When someone asks about her location, I will send Bomber.

This brings me to the next exciting new task in our training. Tethering!

Bomber practicing tethering by being pulled on by another mom.
Bomber has been trained to allow a tether to be attached to him with the other end attached to Rosalie. I can put him in a "down," Rosalie can pull on him, and he won't move! I can have them tethered together when we are in a store and she can't bolt off.

Corey rewarding Bomber for doing a great job with tethering.
Another great thing. Rosalie can have a new sense of independence. She will be able to hold on to a short leash while she is tethered. She won't have me holding her hand in a death grip to keep her from running off or pulling away from me.

We have learned so many things the past six days. We are half way done!!!!! I am soooo thankful to be here. I may sound like a broken record but this is the best thing we have ever done for Rosalie! I keep saying to Corey, "Corey, we are here, getting Rosalie's service dog." It seems so surreal.

We started learning behavior disruptions commands today. We started with "lap" and "kisses." With lap, Bomber will come over to where you gesture and lay his head down. The dogs were trained to have their head on your legs but eventually will put their head anywhere you point. This can be used for comfort in a meltdown or after a seizure.

Corey and Bomber practicing "lap."
Tonight Corey and I took Bomber shopping. We went to Meijer and PetSmart. I was totally exhausted when we went out. Interestingly, I was energized after our outing. It is so fun to take Bomber out. I have never encountered such an awesome dog until this past week. (And I had a VERY good, well-trained dog as a kid.)

We looked at kennels today. Before we went shopping, we talked to Jeremy today about whether or not Bomber really needs a kennel since we don't plan on kenneling him long term. He really thinks Bomber does need a kennel for a while because he is so young. He did say we can get an XL one instead of the giant size, though.

We found a kennel at PetSmart on clearance because it is an older model. It was marked at $96 and was regularly $129. That is a really good price for this size kennel so we decided to buy it. At the register it rang up for $75. Such a good deal!

I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff, but the bed calls. Thanks for following along with us!

Lunch time fun with Clank.

First Public Outing!

I got up early this morning to write about yesterday. We took a 2.5 hour nap right after class because everyone needed to crash. An experienced 4 Paws mom told me there will probably be a point where I am so exhausted, I will cry. I can totally see that happening. We are only in class for 6.5 hours but we have Bomber 24-7 now. Then mental aspect is far worse than the physical aspect of training.

We started out the day by going tracking again. This was our third practice track. We will track every day (sometimes twice) through next Thursday. It was misty and drizzly during our track. The humidity was much less than the previous two days! Bomber did find Rosalie again! We have also done two practice tracks at the hotel. The first one, we couldn't tell if he actually found Rosalie or just knew the way to the room. The one last night, did not work at all.

We need to find a way to make tracking the MOST IMPORTANT game Bomber plays. Today, for the second day in a row, Bomber stopped to pee and then to poop during our track in class. Tracking should be so cool to Bomber that he doesn't care if he has to poop or pee. He needs to think the end of the track is so amazing that he won't stop for anything.

Bomber finishing the track with Rosalie yesterday
The thing you have for the dog at the end of a track is their absolute FAVORITE thing. Jessa (trainer) calls it doggy crack. Sometimes it is the ONLY time a dog EVER gets to have this item. Some dogs, however,  are so ball driven that they can have a ball at the end of tracking and still get to play with it at other times. They will still be so happy to have the ball. I am really feeling like it has to be more special than that for Bomber.

We know he likes squeaky tennis balls, but they don't make him go nuts. We asked Jacob (Bomber's foster) what we could maybe get Bomber for the end of tracking. Jacob confirmed our suspicions that Bomber LOVES stuffed animals. Jacob never gave them to him because Bomber would demolish them so quickly. Corey bought Bomber a squeaky stuffed monkey last night. We showed it to him and he did really like it.

Stuffed animals are not an appropriate toy for Bomber on a normal basis. He will not be allowed to grab the kids' animals and they will not have to keep their rooms perfect for him. The thing is, Bomber is so chill and tracking is so important that we get to break the stuffed animal rule for him ONLY at the end of tracking. Other dogs may have a different "forbidden" thing they need to get them excited (wrestling/tug of war/etc.) We'll see how it goes today.

Then we went back to the training center and learned "under." This is a two part command that the dog follows. It involved going under (a table) and laying "down." Bomber did great! We will now be able to practice this when we eat. It also leads to the next exciting thing.


Corey "treating" Bomber for a job well done at the mall
We went to the local mall with Bomber today. We practiced "under" while eating some fries. We went shopping in Bath and Body Works (talk about distracting with so many smells!). We were observed walking around the mall with him by Jennifer (trainer). We were approached by lots of people.

Being in public with Bomber is currently exhausting. He is really good but I still need to keep my eyes on him right now. The thing he needs the most work with is "heeling." He knows how to heel, but he needs to learn to match pace with us. This is especially difficult on the the stairs.

Heeling practice with Bomber in the mall
Matching pace is important because Bomber is trained as a balance dog. When Rosalie is having a good day (where she is more "with it"), she can hold on to him for help. Which, by the way, I didn't specifically ask for. I didn't even really know to ask for it but 4 Paws matched her with him based on the information we sent in. I am so thankful! She will really use this.

Bomber is definitely getting attached to Rosalie! (It may help that treats appear whenever she is around :-) He wags his tail when he sees her. He puts his head in her lap in the car automatically. He breaks command to be near her (ok for now). I am so glad to see this bond forming.

Rosalie loves to pet Bomber in the car
Ann (Corey's mom) took the boys to Cincinnati this weekend. This is a nice break and make things a little calmer to help foster the budding bond between Rosalie and Bomber. I miss them but things are a little more relaxed without them.

We practiced a lot in the evening too. We took Bomber to Arby's for dinner. I have a lot of questions now. How do I manage the kids and dog in a place like a fast food restaurant? How do I go to the bathroom? How do I manage the buffet style breakfast at the hotel? I can't leave him under the table by himself and I can't carry a plate and serve it with him in line? Lots to talk about today!

In other news, Bomber has been getting dirtier and dirtier throughout the week. I can't wait for today's grooming discussion!

Ok, I have to go get ready now. Thanks for reading and following along this journey!

Thanks Virginia for taking so many pictures of our journey!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I thought this was yesterday

Turns out we didn't all settle in for the long haul yesterday. It's hard to explain but I feel like maybe the honeymoon is over. :-)

Bomber is fantastic! He listens well. He listens to correction well. All around, we are slowly starting to become a team.

There's something underlying though. I think the first couple days he was unsure of us, but we asked him to do things anyway and he figured he should respond. Now, he still responds but sometimes gets a bit confused. It's almost like he thinks, "Oh, I really do have to figure you out now."

Bomber and the other dogs in 'down'
I don't want to paint the wrong picture. I truly do think Bomber is one of the best in the class. We are just at a point where we have to commit to each other. One of the trainers said something like, "You (the parents) have been planning for this dog for a year or more, but the dogs weren't doing the same for you." So, Corey and I were committed months ago. Bomber has to be convinced that it's a good thing to be with us.

I think we had slacked off on using treats a little too much. Today (especially this evening), we made sure to really use the treats. Every time we work with him, we all get better and better.

Rosalie was really lethargic this morning. She has been having lots of seizures and not eating well. Because of this, we were the first to practice tracking again so we could take her back to the hotel.

It was really neat to watch Bomber track Rosalie. This time we were in a more open field (yesterday we were right next to some woods). I could see him the whole time. Open fields are more difficult to track in because of wind and because there is less for her scent to stick to. (I'll talk more about tracking in a different post.) From what I could see, Bomber found Rosalie easily.

When we got back to the training center, we added more difficulty to sits and downs. Again! :-) This time we had all the dogs (6 of them anyway) in a "down" in the middle of the floor. We practiced "heeling" around the dogs while pushing a shopping cart.

More distractions while under command
After lunch, each team talked about the previous evening again. Then Jeremy went in to detail about how tracking works. I don't know what was wrong with me yesterday because tracking is amazing! Several times during his talk, I got teary thinking about the positive ramifications of tracking for Rosalie.

We practiced all of the things we have learned so far with Bomber at the hotel tonight. We have been having him be up on the bed with Rosalie too.

My mind keeps playing tricks on me. I keep thinking I will have a weekend at the end of this first week. We don't have a weekend though. We keep training straight through. We don't even have lighter days. AND the hotel doesn't serve dinner on the weekends so we have to cook, too!

Tomorrow we have our first public training session! I think I'm too tired to be nervous. Ask me tomorrow if I was nervous, because I'm sure I will be.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Settling In

Have you ever had something big and new in your life? (Rhetorical question, I know. :-)  At first, you're excited, full of energy, it's easy to pay attention, etc. Then, you hit the hunker down stage. The time when you need to get serious, conserve your energy, and figure out a way to get through the whole thing.

Hunkering down. That's what I feel like today at the end of Day 3. Now, we have to settle in and keep going even though we're even more exhausted than yesterday, even though Rosalie has had a horrible couple of nights and days, even though we're not doing everything perfectly with Bomber, even though the reality of this situation (both good and bad) is really sinking in.

Don't get me wrong. Today went very well. Bomber is an amazing dog!

We started our day with our first tracking practice! We will be able to use the dogs to find our kids should they ever take off (or elope) from home. Almost all the dogs in our class are trained to track. The dogs think it's a big game. The trainer "talks up" the dog to get him excited and the dogs receive a valuable reward (hot dogs) at the end of a successful track. Valuable rewards are reserved for big tasks.

On the way to tracking practice.
We went to a local park. Rosalie was first to practice because she was having a hard day already. (She has had a lot of seizures during her sleep at night. Today, after tracking, she had another five this afternoon.) Bomber was able to find Rosalie quite quickly!

Some dads socializing during tracking practice.
I'm in a weird place emotionally about tracking. I feel like I don't remember much about it from today. It's kinda fuzzy much like the heavy moist air was today. I don't know if it's fuzzy because it went so fast or because it seemed so easy for Bomber or because it was really muggy for the first time today. I know tracking is super cool (and I know we'll use it) but I'm not all worked up about it. Other parents, including Corey, were very excited by tracking.

Bomber and "his girl" after tracking practice.
After tracking practice, we went back to 4 Paws to work more on "sits" and "downs". This time we added even more distractions; clapping, snapping, patting the leg, pretending to have a treat, actual treats, toys, etc. We have a goal to find our dog's most distracting thing so we can work with them on it. The idea is to work really hard on the thing that most excites the dog because, if they can ignore that thing, then they can ignore anything.

Next, we practiced "heeling" around other dogs and people. Bomber did much better today! We also practiced "heeling" in the parking lot later in the morning. Corey struggled a bit outside, at first, but we figured out the problem. He wasn't giving enough slack on the leash. Our instinct is to keep a short, taut leash to keep the dog where we want him. It is interesting that the dogs do much better when given their "head." By the time Jessa (the other main trainer helping our class) observed Corey and Bomber, she said they were doing great.

The thing is, these dogs are all fully trained. They know how to do what we're asking. They just need to learn to listen to us and we need to learn how to utilize their training.

We also practiced "jump" onto a grooming table and "off" to get back off again. We will use this in the car, Rosalie's bed, the couch, etc.

We went out for lunch today, so Bomber stayed at 4 Paws in his kennel. The place we went was slow so Corey and I had to rush. We had to decide to leave Virginia and Rosalie at the restaurant with the van and walk back to 4 Paws. It was only about 1/2 a block, but, oh man, the humidity! I was hoping to be refreshed after lunch, but I was tired instead!

After lunch, Jeremy asked each of us to share how the previous night went with our dogs. We talked about some different things. I asked how much we needed to pick up and keep up from Bomber. I wanted to know if I had to watch cords, toys, stuffed animals, socks, and clothes. Jeremy said we just have to supervise them right now and tell them "no" when we don't want them to have or do something.

"No" is the only command for undesirable behavior. Someone said, "No is the only appropriate response for inappropriate behavior." Dogs can only understand one definition for each word they know. Sit means sit, down means lay down, jump means jump up, off means off. Down does not mean lay down and get down. Everything is very simple. It makes it easier for the dogs and us!

I am truly impressed by the training methods 4 Paws uses. The dogs are well behaved and happy. I'm talking about A LOT of dogs. I haven't counted, but I would guess there are at least 30 dogs at 4 Paws right now. I really think it's more. I may even embarrass myself with my low guess. :-) The facility is as clean as it can be with all those animals. It is well organized. There are staff there from at least 8 am until midnight. The more I learn about 4 Paws and the more I see from them the more I love them.

In fact, one of the biggest problems any of us are having with training is actually retraining ourselves! A lot of us have had previous experience of some kind with dogs. Tonka, my family dog as a kid, was a very well trained dog. However, some of the methods we used for training are not the same as 4 Paws uses. Some of the words are not the same either. We are having to catch ourselves quite a bit. I caught myself saying "drop" the other day instead of "down."

Jeremy and Jessa do a great job explaining why they do what they do. I look around the room and see head nods. I hear mumblings, "Mmm, that makes sense." Lots of preconceived notions are being obliterated. A true education about dogs and our interactions with them is happening!

Back to our day. :-)

I mentioned earlier that there are some highly prized treats. These are used for important tasks that the dog doesn't understand the importance of. Dogs don't know why a seizure is so serious. However, they do know that if they bark when a child is having a seizure, they will get a valuable reward. Maybe it's a tennis ball, hot dog, or Pupperoni. Maybe it's a special toy only used for that task. Seizure response, tracking, and "come" are highly valued behaviors. Therefore, highly prized rewards are given in practice with those. Very early seizure response was introduced yesterday. Tracking was started today. "Come" was explained this afternoon.

We want our dog to come IMMEDIATELY when called. The dogs won't be perfect all the time. They are dogs after all. :-) However, there are situations when we need to know the dog will absolutely respond to us. "Come" is like how you would want your child to respond if you called out "Stop." You need something that you not only use everyday, but can also use in a dangerous situation. The importance of "come" makes it worthy of a highly prized reward (hot dogs).

We learned how to ask our dogs to "place." "Place" is what you use to ask the dog to go to their mat. While they are on their mat, they are allowed to do what they want with one exception. They can stand, sit, lie down, or play with a bone. The rule is they must keep two paws on the mat at all times.

Bomber showing how well he knows how to "place."
The last thing we went over was how to use the training collar verses the gentle leader. Most people call training collars choke collars. They are not being used correctly if they are choking the dog. A correction with a training collar is a quick snap and release of the leash. It is not a slow drag. As some of us started to overcome our poor usage of the training collars, you could see amazing response from the dogs.

Dogs won't pull on a gentle leader because it controls their heads. They will pull all day long on a training collar because their necks have strong muscles. Jeremy wants us to use the gentle leader outside our hotel rooms and the training collar inside our hotel rooms for now. This just goes back to the fact that the dogs still don't know us that well. We have to become a team. I respect Bomber and think he's a pretty awesome dude! He likes me well enough for having spent 45 hours with me (13 of those he was sleeping). :-)

I don't feel like I was unknowledgeable about dogs before coming to 4 Paws. I just feel like my knowledge is getting deeper and wider. WAY deeper and WAY wider.

So thankful for this opportunity and this place.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 2 (with a HUGE reveal or two)

Tired. And it's only Day 2.

We were the first ones at 4 Paws today and, when we got there, Bomber and one of the Chocolates were working with a trainer in the middle of the room. Bomber started obviously looking at Rosalie and wagging his tail. He was in a "down" and did end up breaking command, BUT it was to come directly to Rosalie! Later in the morning, Jeremy was talking about how eventually we don't want them to break command even for "their" kid, but while the bond is forming, we are not going to correct them if they do. Bomber was ahead of the game on this!

Maybe you've guessed that bonding seems to be going well. We are doing everything we can to encourage Rosalie and Bomber to bond.

Some of the things we are doing...
  • When we greeted him this morning, we helped Rosalie give him tons of treats. (We did this a lot yesterday too.)
  • Rosalie has special treats that ONLY she gives him.
  • Rosalie gives him each new toy that we bring him.
  • Rosalie and he have a special toy that ONLY they play with together.
  • We help Rosalie to throw the ball for him.
  • We pet him tons when Rosalie is around and somewhat ignore him otherwise. (This isn't mean, we are trying to help him know she is "his girl." He will bond with the rest of us later.)

We started training today with a review of yesterday. Then Jeremy talked a bit about some theory of what our long term goals are with the dogs. We will eventually be able to only use hand signals to ask the dogs to do what we want. He explained this will be helpful in places like a movie theater or church where we will want to be quiet. I'm sure it will be helpful other times as well! Jeremy also talked about how we will eventually be able to use just our voice to praise or correct the dogs. We currently are using tons of treats along with verbal praise.  For correction, it's a firm pull on the gentle leader coupled with a verbal "No." Then we restate the command they were supposed to be doing. No treat is given along with correction.

So it's going to sound like all we know how to do is tell the dog to sit or lay down, but I promise it's much more than that. :-)

Yesterday, we did sit and down with a little bit of walking around the dog while they stayed in position. Today, we added a significant degree of difficulty. Now, we direct the dogs from sit to down and back again. We also can direct them from any point around their body not just right in front of them. The extra fun part was working with distractions. We threw treats around them, bounced tennis balls by them, and used "happy talk" to try and distract them away from what they were supposed to be doing.

After a nice lunch with time for Bomber to run around, we learned "heel". Yesterday, we just did a free walk where we corrected when they got too far away. "Heel" means walking close to us on our left side with somewhere between their ear and shoulder in line with our hip. This is the first thing I did not find comfortable to do! Bomber was lagging behind me in class. Tonight he was out too far in front. This is the first thing I think we really will need a lot of work on.

Something interesting about these dogs is we don't really say their name before each command. We might get their attention with a smooching sound but we don't say "Bomber sit," "Bomber down," "Bomber heel." They are supposed to be paying attention so we don't need to incessantly say their name.

Another tidbit. We don't use "stay." When we ask them to "sit," they are expected to sit until we tell them either something else or that they are "free." Stay is an implied command with every command we give. I REALLY like this. It seems to work very well.

During a potty break for the dogs, Corey and I discussed teaching Bomber to "Go Potty" on command. I know this would be a great tool for everyone, but we live in a townhouse right now, so it would be immeasurably valuable to us. We went over our idea with one of the trainers and she agreed with our plan.

The last part of the day was spent learning tricks. I didn't think this would be very important to Rosalie but all the dogs know the tricks so we practiced them. After seeing them, I realized this could be a very good addition to Bomber and Rosalie's relationship. I can see her thinking he's funny when he does them. Every little kid loves a dog who does tricks. This can really open up Rosalie's world with other kids and make them more comfortable with her if they are a little put off by her. I haven't seen this happen much with her yet, but she's only going to get older and the possibility of other people not being so nice is just going to get greater. So... Bomber knows how to "Shake", "Gimme Five", and "High Five" so far. Can't wait to show you all! Kaylin, Holden, and Malachi LOVED it!!!!!

I know this is getting long. I have three more really cool things to share with you.

The last trick we learned today was "Bark." This is actually the first step in seizure training in class. All the seizure dogs are trained to alert before a seizure, but we are not sure how long before a seizure that will be. The dogs are also trained to bark when they SEE a seizure. However, barking is not really allowed in regular obedience. So the goal with getting them to bark on command, is to show them that they can play this game with us. It will get them comfortable barking for us so they will do it when they're supposed to.

The trainers have been mimicking some of the kids' behaviors with the dogs. They mimic seizure movements, sounds, other odd movements, etc. One trainer demonstrated this with one of the seizure dogs. Ally's dog, Perry, barked when the trainer fell on the floor and wiggled around like one of Ally's seizures. I think I saw tears in Ally's mom's eyes. There were definitely tears in mine. This is AMAZING! I have no words to relay all the huge emotion around this.

Also, Bomber and Rosalie were kinda stars in class today. During distraction training, there was tons going on in the room and Bomber was sleeping. All of a sudden, he got up, came over to me, and then went to Rosalie and started intensely sniffing her ear and mouth and licking her too. He wouldn't stop. Jeremy came over and talked to us about it and definitely thought Bomber was alerting to a future seizure!!!!! Bomber continued doing it and Jeremy pointed it out to the rest of the class. He used it as an example later in the day too.

Then, the very last part of the day was spent talking us through TAKING THE DOGS HOME TO THE HOTEL FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!!! We are very excited to announce that Bomber came home with us tonight! He is doing great so far.

All in all, today was quite emotional. This is the BEST thing we have ever done for Rosalie!!!!! Teary eyes happened a couple of times today. After Bomber greeted Rosalie this morning, after I saw and truly understood the value of seizure alerting, watching the trainer mimic a seizure and seeing the dog's response, and even writing this blog post.

I'll sign off for tonight. Our kennel for Bomber was empty in our hotel room last night. Much like an empty baby crib waiting for a new baby. Tonight, it and our hearts are more than full.


Monday, August 5, 2013

We Met Bomber Today!

Well... everyone has been in bed since about 8:20. I'd say that is evidence of a good day! :-)

After a nice breakfast at the hotel, we headed to 4 Paws at 9 am this morning. I'm embarrassed to admit that I got a little lost on the way even though we had scouted it out on Saturday. I rarely get lost so that added to my embarrassment. We still arrived with time to spare.

When we got there, we went looking in the crates for Bomber but he was out exercising. Rosalie was very happy to go around and meet her other class members and their families. She was in a good mood and very interactive. She went up to anyone and everyone to point her finger in their face to say, "Hi."

When Bomber finally came back to his crate, Rosalie was already pretty overdone. I started to be concerned that she was going to have a seizure soon from being too overwhelmed. I am pleased to say she didn't have a seizure until after bed time tonight!

Next, Jeremy (head trainer) introduced himself. He talked for a bit about 4 Paws and what we are going to be doing over the next 12 days. Honestly, some of what he said is a blur. Some stuff I already knew and the rest was just informative about general things. He also talked about how to help the kids bond with the dogs.

Then, the moment we've been waiting on for 19 months. The dogs started being introduced! I don't remember exactly what number Bomber was to come out, but he was maybe number 4. I'm glad Rosalie didn't have to wait too long to meet him.

Rosalie and Bomber

Then next chunk of time was spent just getting to know Bomber. We helped Rosalie give him tons of treats. This is to tell him that good things come from her. It is one way to help Bomber and Rosalie bond.

Then Jeremy talked some more, but I don't remember what he said. :-) He did introduce other staff members at this time.

We had a picnic at the playground at 4 Paws for lunch. We were feeling pretty comfortable so we took Bomber outside with us.

After lunch, we worked on basic obedience. We worked on sit, down, free, prolonged sit, prolonged down, both prolonged sit and down while we moved around the dog, and free walk (less strict than heel, which we learn tomorrow). Bomber did great! At first, he didn't like the Gentle Leader he was wearing. The trainers told us that part of the reason the dogs are so resistant is that they are testing us. They hope we, as new people, will take if off of them.

Bomber = Big Doggy Pillow!
This part of the day was a ton of fun too. Part of me wanted to take Bomber home to the hotel with us so we could practice some more. But it is much better for him to get used to us a little more gradually. It probably is for us, too. :-)

The best part of the day? When Bomber was "free" while we were working obedience, he went up to Rosalie and shoved his face in her lap to snuggle. He didn't do this to anyone else today.

All in all, we are tired but looking forward to another day!


PS I feel like this is a little more "list-ish" than I normally write, but that speaks to how tired I am.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Day Before (and the week before)

I know I promised some more blog posts than I have been getting out. We have had quite the week traveling by car from Seattle to Dayton. We've visited with friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We had rainy picnics (every. single. one.), flat tires, lightening storms, fevers, and check engine lights. We've also had nice mild weather not above 80, national park visits, water park fun, tried lots of restaurants, watched a little Disney Channel, and generally had some good family time. (You can check out Rosalie's facebook page if you want a little more day by day updates on our trip out here.)

At Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Last Wednesday, while visiting our good friends in Wisconsin (Wiscotland according to Malachi), we got the email with our match for Rosalie! He is a beautiful Goldendoodle named Bomber. He'll be one year old on Sept 22. This is his letter to Rosalie.
Dear Rosalie,
My name is Bomber and I am a white golden-doodle from the Aerocraft litter. I was born Sept 22nd 2012 and I'm already a pretty tall boy! My mom, Enya is a big golden retriever and my dad, Zeke is a silver standard poodle. I've been working very hard to get ready for you! I even went to college! I spent a semester at Wright State University with two fosters who loved me se much! My favorite toy is a squeaky tennis ball. I love to get hugs and cuddle. I especially love to lay my head in your lap! Will you let me snuggle with you? Please hurry I can't wait to meet you, Rosalie!
XOXO your boy,
I can hardly believe we actually get to meet Bomber tomorrow! We have waited so long for this day.

Rosalie seems to be excited. She keeps trying to say his name. It comes out as Bomb. This is a little confusing because they way she says Bomb and the way she says Mom are quite similar.

Rosalie excited over Bomber!
We've had a great couple of days dreaming about Bomber. Bomber's foster, Jacob, has been really great. He friended us on Facebook right after we got our match email. (He actually tried to friend us a day or so before we got our match. But Corey and I didn't know who he was so we didn't accept his friendship.) Right after we got our email, Jacob asked us if we were ready for pictures. He then sent over 100 photos of Bomber for us! (You can see a few of those on Rosalie's Facebook page.)

Jacob and Bomber

Ever since then, he has been more than willing to answer questions about Bomber. We went to Petsmart today for Rosalie to pick out a toy for Bomber. While we were there, I had a ton of questions pop up. Virginia started messaging with Jacob for us while we shopped. He was able to answer all sorts of questions about Bomber's preferences like whether he would like a dog bed or not and what his favorite flavor of treat is. Jacob even wants to get together with us for dinner later in the week. We are very excited about that.

We feel very blessed to have Jacob have been Bomber's foster. He has made a lot of effort to help us out. Some of the other families haven't even heard from their fosters and are even having a hard time tracking them down.

We are excited that Bomber is from the Aerocraft litter. This is the puppy litter that I looked at last fall and knew that they were the youngest dogs we could have. His litter mates have names like Boeing, Sputnik, Echo, Skylark, Zulu, Jinx, and Banshee.

Baby Bomber
One funny, random thing I have been wondering about is how we are ever going to fly on a plane with a dog with the name Bomber? Oh well, at least we drove this time. :-)

Until tomorrow,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Match Time!

We are eagerly awaiting a special email from Rosalie's very own service dog! Tomorrow (or rather today) is the first possible day that we will get to know which dog has been specially trained just for her. 4 Paws works extremely hard to make sure the matches are perfect. It could be a few days yet, but I really hope it's tomorrow.

I can't believe the long wait is almost over. I am actually pretty emotional over this. I am not a big crier but I get tears in my eyes just thinking about getting the email in the next couple of days. The more I learn about what these service dogs are doing for kids all over the country, the more excited and hopeful I am for the results we will see with Rosalie.

We have a long trip ahead of us. We leave this coming Sunday and are planning to be in Fargo, ND on Monday night. We are doing a little visiting in Minnesota and Wisconsin next week. Then we leave for the Dayton, OH area on Friday night next week. We arrive in Dayton in the morning of August 3rd. We will have Saturday and Sunday to get our bearings, grocery shop, and relax before class starts.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Class starts Monday August 5th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the kids are excited too. Rosalie tries to leave every time we mention her dog. She also says, "In a minute," when asked about her dog. Kaylin is such a great sister and has an excitement as well as seriousness about the whole concept of a service dog. Holden and Malachi both keep asking if it's Sunday yet. :-)

We have a Facebook group for all the families getting their service dogs this August. We are all going crazy waiting for our matches. There are many stories of people sitting at their computers all day and refreshing email every 5 minutes. It's been good to get to know these families through Facebook over the last year. They are a big part of the journey to Rosalie's service dog. I can't wait to meet them all.

Thanks again for all your support. We couldn't be here without all of you.

Be on the look out for a letter from Rosalie's dog and a picture, too!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Fundraiser Success!!!

We had a GREAT fundraiser this past Tuesday at Naked Pizza in Kent! Thank you everyone who came out to have some tasty pizza and participate in our silent auction.

We were able to raise $2383 from the auction and cash donations!!!!!! Naked Pizza is connecting with me on Monday with the total they are giving us.

This means we have raised $3263 of our $7000 goal! (And we don't even know how much we are getting from Naked Pizza yet!)

Thank you again and please continue to get the word out about Rosalie and her dog. We still have a few days left to meet our goal. Keep in mind EVERY bit helps. You can donate here NOW or by giving a gas card, grocery card, restaurant card, etc.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Big Fundraiser Tomorrow!

I'm so excited about our trip to go get Rosalie's service dog. We leave in less than two weeks!!!!!!!!

We are talking with Rosalie more and more about getting HER dog. Every time we mention it, she lights up and starts saying "in a minute." I almost feel bad bringing it up because she wants to leave right away when we talk about it. I still want her to know we are going though. I want her to get excited. Her being interested in the dog is a good step in her forming a strong bond with her dog.

We still have a lot to raise to help cover the travel expenses to drive to Ohio. Come on out to Naked Pizza in Kent Station tomorrow, July 16th between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Have some pizza and bid on some auction items. I will be there most of the day. Rosalie will come at 5 p.m. for the evening. Can't wait to see you all there!

If you can't make it to the event tomorrow, you can still help out! Donate here now!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Fundraising Event!

Rosalie Jewett Fundraising Event!

Tuesday, July 16th, all day! 11am to 9pm.

Come on out to Naked Pizza at Kent Station. They are donating a portion of their proceeds to Rosalie's trip expenses! There will also be a silent auction, giveaways, fun and a special visit from Rosalie herself!

If you can't make it to the event, please, please consider donating to this great cause! Here's the link to her fundraising site: Rosalie donation site. They are needing to raise $7000 in the next 4 weeks, so your help is greatly appreciated! :-)

You can come eat and drink anytime that day and help Rosalie and her family travel to Xenia, Ohio to pick up her special service dog. You can also donate on site with a donation jar which goes directly to her travel expenses! For more explanation on where, what, who is involved in this amazing trip, see the previous blog post here!

So, to recap:
1. Come to Naked Pizza anytime on July 16th (11am to 9pm) and eat pizza and stuff and enjoy a special time of fun, prizes, drawings, silent auction, another opportunity to donate, etc.

2. If you can't make it, please consider donating directly through Rosalie's donation website.

3. Please, please share this information with your friends and family! Every donation helps... big or little!

4. Or do ALL of these; come to the event, make a donation and tell your friends!

Let us know if you have any questions and we hope to see you there!

Dog Pick-Up Fundraising

Hi Everyone,

In just under 4 weeks we leave for Ohio to meet and receive Rosalie's service dog! We are driving with the whole family to finally add this new member to our family. We are fundraising to help cover travel, lodging, and dog related expenses. We will be in Ohio for two whole weeks taking an intensive class with Rosalie's new service dog.

Our fundraising goal is $7000. We need to have it all raised by July 25th!

Things to donate.

  • Cash (use donation link to the right.)
  • Gas Cards (Chevron, Shell, Texaco, 76, etc)
  • Grocery gift cards (Dorothy Lane Market, Trader Joe's, Kroger)
  • Restaurant gift cards (Starbucks, Texas Roadhouse, Cracker Barrel, other midwest favorites :-)
  • Other helpful gift cards (Walmart, Target, Costco, etc.)

More ways to help.

  • Tell ALL your friends! Every little bit counts.
  • Use the link on the right side of this page to donate directly to Rosalie through
  • Facebook, Email, Text, Call, etc.
  • Snail mail to 6424 S 236th Pl, Kent, WA 98032

Thank you!
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

If you're curious, here's the breakdown.
$3449---Hotel in Dayton, Ohio.
$1336---Estimated gas cost. (We will be driving a total of 5126 miles including back and forth to class while we are in Ohio. We will need 366.1 gallons of gas and based our estimate on $3.65 per gallon. This estimate does NOT include trips to grocery stores or restaurants, trips to a store for a forgotten item, or to somewhere like a park for the kids, etc.)
$618---Estimated hotel cost on the way to and from Ohio.
$483---Estimated cost for dog supplies. (crate, bowls, toys, combs/brushes, mutt matts, leashes, etc.)
$400---Estimated cost for dog upon arriving home. (vet, food, grooming, treats, etc.)
$0---Corey's mom's (Ann) flight. This has already been donated by Ann!
The rest will be used for food on our trip.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trip Info: Part 2

Hello again!

More trip details are included in this post.  This is the exciting part.  If you haven’t caught up on recent posts, you should check out THIS ONE and of course THIS OTHER ONE.  They both have important (and fun!) news.

So, here we get into some of the nitty-gritty...

The Jewett family is going to be driving across the US from Washington to get to the dog class in Xenia, Ohio.  This means they’ll be driving with four kids (yes, all of them are coming along), three adults, and one dog on the way back.  The drive is 5,126 miles round trip.

WHEW!  It’s going to be really really fun.  It’s going to be crazy.  It’s going to be tiring, and it’s going to be messy.  All these things are certainties.  Yes, there will probably also be some bickering and a lot of questions like, “Are we there yet?” and, “Can I have my snack?”  And you better believe we’ll mapping our rest stops according to Starbucks locations (kind of joking, kind of not).

But, even with all the “hard” parts, there will also be some visits with family, and special sight-seeing and miscellaneous stops along the way.  It's not going to be a straight drive-all-the-way-through kind of trip.

So, if you haven’t guessed already, we’re going to be fundraising to help pay for the trip.  Expenses to drive with everyone isn’t cheap, but seriously, who doesn’t love a nice summer road trip?

The Homewood Suites hotel in Xenia has already been booked for the two week dog class, and it’s a pretty nice place...
  • 2 bedrooms with kitchenettes
  • full breakfast each morning
  • dinner four nights a week
  • same hotel that most of the 4 Paws families will stay (BONUS!)
  • (obviously) allows service animals

If you want to make donations towards our accommodations, you can contact Homewood Suites and speak with Steven Brown (4Paws Sales Manager) or Brian Wipprecht (General Manager).

Also, Ann Jewett (sometimes referred to as Corey’s Mom, or Grandma Ann) is coming on the trip as well.  She will be flying in--she's scheduled to arrive the weekend before the dog class starts.

So basically, we’re all excited to be a part of this adventure, and we can’t wait for Rosalie to finally meet her dog the first day.  Please be praying for all the details of the trip... from safe travels, to no car troubles, to inexpensive gas prices, and of course, good attitudes the whole way!

Thanks so much for checking in with the progress of this journey--we’re so thankful for you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Trip Info: Part 1

Hi again!

Ha, I bet you’re reading this post thinking something like this, “Oh, I thought she wasn’t serious about posting something soon, guess she showed ME!”  Well, if you’re not, that’s fine too.  It’s not like I’m the best mind-reader.

By the way, if you missed our awesome update from a few days ago, you should catch up with your homework and check out THIS POST.  Okay, you’ve read up on everything?  Awesome-sauce.  I think you’re ready for the next step... it’s pretty epic--hold on!

So, not only is this whole adventure becoming a reality for the Jewett family, but it’s also becoming a reality to me personally.  Because--


I get to go with them!

Hooray!  I get to road trip along with two adults, four kids, and a new dog back and forth across the country in the summertime.  If you think I’m being sarcastic about being excited, then you haven’t seen my iPhone full of pictures and videos of Rosalie, Kaylin, Holden, and Malachi... they take up about 90% of my picture storage.  In other words, I’m pretty crazy about them.  Oh yeah, and I kind of like Shawna.  And Corey’s good too.

It’s going to be a fun trip, and honestly, I can’t wait!  Basically I’ll be doing whatever needs to be done... whether it’s kid activities, driving for a stretch or two (or eight), unloading the van at hotels, telling bedtime stories, going to the grocery store, etc.

Okay, that’s all the epic news you can handle at this moment, but I promise there will be more to come... so check back with the blog soon--more trip details to follow!  And don’t forget to pass this info on to all your friends, acquaintances, and people you’ve barely met--the more support we have, the better!

Thanks for stopping by... until next time!

P.S. By the way, I’d love to hear helpful tips about traveling with kids... mostly because I haven’t been on this long of a car trip with a family for 13 years. :D

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Long Awaited Update

Hello again everyone!

Yes, it’s been a while since the last blog post--but believe us, we haven’t forgotten about any of you!  In fact, we really wanted to extend a ginormous THANK YOU to everyone for their support of our journey in getting Rosalie her service dog.  If we could come to your house and hug each one of you individually, we would.  But then you might think we’re crazy, so we’ll go with a virtual hug instead:

Seriously, though, we have been feeling super blessed by all of you and your constant encouragement and support.  We have begun to really see this adventure become a reality, especially since Christmastime.  Sometime in January, the real-ness of our family getting a dog for Rosalie sank in just a little bit deeper for all of us.  It’s like we’ve turned a corner--and part of it has to do with a countdown we’ve begun!

We’re bubbling with excitement over this countdown.  The frantic running around to get all the details started and finished has begun.  The planning is beginning--this is the beginning of the end!

We know some of you have been waiting patiently to hear when we are getting Rosalie’s dog... maybe you already know...

The date that we are officially showing up for our dog class is August 5th, 2013.

This is reality.  

We have 115 more days until we get Rosalie’s dog.  

Only 115!  That’s amazing.  Oh my goodness, are you getting excited?  Because we sure the heck are!

Before we wrap up this post, we just wanted to re-thank all of you AGAIN for your support... it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Also, we’ll be updating the blog soon--so check back for more news.  Oh, and if you think we missed anyone in this update, please pass on the information to anyone that you think might be interested--the more people we get the word out to about Rosalie and her dog, the better!

Thanks again--you are truly the best ever.