Welcoming Change

TwoFauns-001How would you like having to nurse your twins in a stranger’s yard?

People love habit.  Having the feeling of knowing what comes next is comforting.  But you can’t fix problems or grow from a place of complete safety.  You have to take risks, spend resources, embrace the insecurity of undetermined outcomes, and dream of better things that might be.

Some of my favorite bloggers haven’t been writing much on their sites, for the best kinds of reasons.  Jennifer Ketcham (Blogroll ->), my original source of inspiration, hasn’t even been “tweeting”.  She finished work on a Baccalaureate degree, something I’ve tried and failed to do several times, and she’ll be continuing into grad school.  That’s an accomplishment I’m very impressed by.  It requires a level of discipline I didn’t develop until I was in my forties.  Jennie has talents useful for service work, and degrees lead to licenses.

Cat (Blogroll ->), my invisible “internet daughter”, who poured out her angsty wittle heart so brilliantly for years about her struggles with bipolarity, has similar reasons for not blogging.  She’s entering a doctoral program!

Lisa (Blogroll ->) is bravely building an independent life, Myra (Blogroll ->) has been concentrating on her semi-fictional comedy series, and Dianne Gray (http://diannegray.wordpress.com/) is still improving the charming Rugby club building she moved to her farm.  Dianne kindly invited me to join Linkedin, which I might consider if I had any desire to actually be “linked in”.  I’m linked in enough.  I upgraded my ISP, got a simpler, dumber (cheaper) phone, and purchased an external drive for the DVR so I can take recordings over to friends’ homes for movie parties.

WaterFeature-001 We moved ahead on another landscape improvement.  Dom Smith, the artist who designed and built our Asian-influenced front enclosure, worked from our ideas and created a low power, recycling water fountain at the corner of our property.  He set the position of the rock enclosure at an angle that reflects the sound of the water back toward the house, cancelling out traffic noise from the road out back.  There are places to sit, and the water attracts the wildlife, with enough movement to prevent algae and mosquitoes.

Rickles-001 Working with service dogs is still a constant joy.  We hosted a retired guide dog named Rickles for a few days.  He’s twelve and he worked for ten years, longer than most.  Now he’s an old, jowly, slow-moving, sweet guy who wants to lie in the sun.  He’s earned his retirement.

Stay-001 We still work with the new batches of guide dog trainees at the puppy club.  In a group, you can see which ones understand the commands to what extent.  The dogs teach each other, and so do the puppy raisers.  We expect to start another puppy of our own in the fall.

True to his word, Jeremy Jeffers, who owns Spice (our first certified guide) has kept in touch.  At first the noise levels and population difference between our town of 9,000 and Los Angeles County (9 million-ish), was giving her some difficulty.  The “normal” sound level there is about 25dB higher than where she was raised.  Jeremy also plays in some loud groups, and she was stressing.  But he bought her a pair of Mutt Muffs, noise-canceling headphones designed for dogs, and he says she’s much calmer.


Spice was sometimes pausing, reluctant to continue into unfamiliar places.  Guide Dogs for the Blind sent a local master trainer to help, and Jeremy now knows more ways to encourage her.  He says she’s improved enormously, and that he and Majanaye are very happy with her.  It’s tricky to reinforce a service dog for doing the job correctly, while refraining from overt affection if they are in harness.  She’s so gregarious that her main distraction may always be a desire to go all lovey-dovey with people instead of working.  The trainer told Majanaye she can only be “mama” with Spice one day a month.  It will help Spice always look to Jeremy first for instruction and confidence.

JandM OH – almost forgot.  Made my weight-loss goal of thirty pounds.  I can eat a sensible amount of pub grub and drink a beer when the Blues Festival comes to town at the end of the month.  I’m loving this summer!


Filed under animal communication, Music, photos, Thinking about thinking

10 responses to “Welcoming Change

  1. Thanks Mikey for the shout out!

  2. This is a really lovely post, Rickles is just too cute. And mega congratulations for your weight loss awesomeness! Go and get that beer, you freaking deserve it.

  3. Love the photo of the doe and her 2 fawns. We’ve had a doe with 2 fawns coming around here, as well. And you work with assistance dogs and puppies! Awesome! Congratulations on achieving your weight loss goal- go on and thoroughly enjoy the festival. Looks like we live in the same state, if the festival is in Port Townsend.

  4. I am among those taking a break as my last two posts explain. Thinking about when and how to come back to it, but not in a rush. I haven’t been reading blogs very much either, but I stopped by to see what you are up to. So glad I did. Always nice to get a Spice update!

    • Like a lot of you, I’m spending more time outside because the weather’s nice. This is a tourism destination, and there’s music floating through the air when we wander downtown. It’s almost like falling in love. Thanks for stopping by, even if I was out.

  5. Congrats. for your weight loss. So you must have cut out /cut back on something food-wise?

    That garden fountain is a great idea for cutting out car noise pollution!

    • Thanks, Jean. Not that much difference in diet, but a constant adjustment of input schedule and much more water than I normally drink. In other words, six small meals 2-3 hours apart to increase metabolic rate, around 15% more protein vs carbs, and a minimum of 64 oz. water/day. There were calcium/magnesium supplements included, and I took extra multivitamins. No change in activity, as I’m normally on my feet a lot. My average loss was 2-3 lbs/week.

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