What a Week Part 3 – A Scare

(This entry was written on Monday…just now posting it).

Sunday…oh Sunday. Adam and I took Jingles for her annual vet visit. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I go sighted guide with Adam when I have the dog, but not today. I wanted to make sure of the route so that Jingles and I could find it alone easily next time. We did great on the way there. Found all the right exits and staircases, and made our way down the street, enjoying Sunday as a family. The vet appointment went fine. Jingles won over the Dr. with her cuteness, and all tests came back great. Her weight is also perfect, which is great, after such a sedentary winter. After the exam, we made our way back to the subway, stopping first at Chipotle for some lunch, and then Starbucks for a coffee to sip on the train ride home. As soon as we got to our right platform, a train came. To catch it, I heeled Jingles beside me and held Adam’s hand. Somehow in all the commotion of catching the train, weaving with dog and coffee in hand, I lost track of where exactly I was in relation to the train. Next thing I know, SPLAT. I screamed as the world fell out from under me, then realized I was on my knees in the train… What the??? Turns out, I had caught the edge of the train car with my foot and tripped. Adrenaline much? After getting over my initial shock and residual embarrassment, I composed myself and calmed down with my caffeinated stimulant.

Once we got home, Jingles seemed sleepy, but after the trip to the vet, weren’t we all? After sleeping a while, thinking she was twitching, I realized she was not twitching, but shaking. My poor pup was shaking like crazy, and wouldn’t stop. Then we noticed she was limping. What was wrong with her??? I was so afraid. I immediately called the vet, who couldn’t be reached at the time because of other appointments. In the meantime, I searched the internet, and found it was probably a reaction to the vaccine she had just gotten. She was still shaking and completely lethargic, but I had basically ruled out analeptic shock. Thank goodness. Even so, I was in a state of freak out. Adam was trying to keep me calm, but it wasn’t working too well. I wasn’t flying off the handle or anything, just super concerned and pensive.

Eventually, the shaking lessened, and Jingles fell into a deep sleep. I still would not leave her, constantly checking on my little Belle. A little while later, the Vet called me back and assured me that Jingles should be fine, as long as she didn’t have facial swelling, hives, or pale gums. She didn’t. I still asked about the reaction. The Vet said it was a common reaction, though usually only seen in smaller dogs. The limp was from pain at the injection site, which happened to be her hind leg. Next time, I can get the vaccines broken up into single doses so that the risk of side effects is reduced. I will do anything to not have my pup go through that again: /.

Jingles slept the rest of the night. She wouldn’t move for anything. It was really sad. She still shook a bit in her sleep. I was restless all night, waking up every couple hours to check on her and make sure she was okay. I didn’t know what I was going to do about work today. I couldn’t take Jingles out in that condition, but I also couldn’t leave her alone all day. What’s worse, I had a meeting at City Hall I needed to attend. I decided to wait and see how she felt in the AM before deciding what to do about work.

This morning, Jingles was happy and semi-bouncy, but spent her energy quickly on a trip to the bathroom, and was shaking by the time I fed her. Then, she wouldn’t even put pressure on her hind leg. Poor thing. I put her back to bed and contemplated work.

I decided to go to my morning meeting, then take the rest of the day off and come home to take care of Jingles. Since she was improving, I figured she just needed some real rest to get her strength back and reduce the soreness.

Unfortunately, this meant that Bob the Stick would have to show his ugly face once again. I know he is laughing at me now, as I write this. I hadn’t used the ol’ Bobberoni in nearly seven months, so I was a bit nervous about my cane technique, but was determined to make it. Thankfully, Adam was home this morning (he worked a little later than me), and gave me a “lift” to the subway, which is awesome because I would’ve definitely been late if he hadn’t. I got off at the right stop, and found the stairs. My coworker, who was attending the meeting with me, was amazingly perched at the exact exit I took, so that was completely seamless.

The meeting (which was a public budget hearing) was long and less than exciting. Literally, one of the public officials was falling asleep in front of everyone in attendance. Yeah…After four hours of that, my coworker and I left to head back to the office and home, respectively.

She helped me to the subway, and I got on the right train. Then it was back to Brooklyn. All I could think of was Jingles, if she was all right, how she felt. I couldn’t wait to get home. I hated being without her. It just didn’t feel…right. Sometimes I let Jingles have a break and go for a walk or meal with Adam or a friend, but this was different. It was miserable being without my Jingle-Pup.

I got off the train at my stop and started on the ½ mile walk back home with Bob. Amazingly, we weren’t terrible. I made it home fairly quickly and smoothly, considering the more than half a year I had not used the stick. It still sucked, and I still hated it, but I noticed my orientation and confidence had improved even with the stick, thanks to Jingles. Of course, this could also have something to do with the fact that the only thing on my mind was getting back to Jingles to see how she was feeling. Boy, I hated having to concentrate on not being the human pinball, finding the curb, and crossing the street in a straight path again.

I made it to the building, burst through my door, and found my Jingle-Pup running to greet me! She was 10x more like herself than when I had left her this morning. Now she was her usual squirmy ball of love and wet nose. I can’t believe how much I missed my sweet girl.

She’s still a bit tired, and sleeping a lot to regain her full stamina, but as the day has gone on, she is more and more 100% my spunky girl. I took her for a quick walk a few minutes ago, and she was back to wagging her tail, and bouncing with excitement. You can imagine my relief. I think she’ll be ready for work tomorrow. In your face, Bob!!!

So ends the saga of my “adventurous” week. Here’s to another week of adventure…though hopefully only the good kind this time around.

**As I post this Saturday, Jingles is completely, 100% fine, and she has been since Tuesday. We also had a much calmer week, with only good adventures, thankfully.**

What a Week Part 2 – Saturday Gallavant

After the workweek of meetings and new experiences, you’d think Jingles and I would be done with adventures and hide out for the weekend. Not so.

Saturday was a Grand Day Out (to quote Wallace and Grommet). A grand morning, anyway. First, I was going to attend a Young Professionals networking group for folks with vision impairments. I’d gone to the group a few times before, and once with Jingles, but it had been a while. I basically remembered where the library was, so wasn’t too worried about finding the place. We set off bright and early. I decided, since it was cold, and had just snowed the night before, to transfer to a train that let out closer to the library. The transfer was in Downtown Brooklyn, at a station that I had been to a million times, but only once with Jingles. Even so, I figured we’d be fine. Well, it was our stop, and off the train we hopped. Jingles navigated the extra narrow platform with ease, leading me gently around many obstacles. Soon, she found an escalator, and we hopped on to transfer to the other train…Whoops…I accidentally took the wrong escalator. Crap! I knew the timing seemed a little off for finding the right one. No fault of the pup’s. So, there we were, in the hall for an exit only, not quite knowing where to go from there. Luckily, there was another guy leaving. He asked if I was okay. I told him I was trying to switch to the F train. He pointed out an alternate staircase that would lead into a lobby to get back in the station. I thanked him, and made my way down the stairs. Jingles found the turnstile, where a station attendant spotted us and asked where I was going. I told her and she gave me directions as to how to find the right place to transfer. I entered the station, but got a hint turned around. Station attendant to the rescue! She came running and pointed me to the right staircase. Once back down on the platform I had just left, I followed her direction and Jingles guided me to the elevator at the end of the platform. We accidentally hit the wrong button (almost calling the station attendant), but another individual entered the elevator just in time, and even better, thought I was holding the elevator for them! After leaving the elevator, we were in the mezzanine to transfer. Working from memory, I managed to give Jingles the right commands, and we made our way flawlessly to the right train…Great compensation for my earlier blunder.

After getting off the train, I realized I hadn’t been to this stop in forever and couldn’t remember what staircase to climb. Of course, I chose the wrong one. Upon exiting, I asked someone, and realized my mistake. Back down the steps we went, up the other side, and down the road. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, minus Jingles wanting to check out some scents in a scaffolding tunnel (who knows how many people and dogs have marked their territory there?). After crossing the last road, Continue reading

What a Week – Part 1

Wow, if last week is any indication of the upcoming months, Jingles and I are in for some real adventures! We experienced so many out of the ordinary experiences that I believe the week deserves multiple blogs, so as not to bore my faithful readers to sleep… Okay, without further ado, the week in review (poet and know it: P)

My recent trip to the hair salon with Jingles, paired with melting snow and rumors of spring made me restless to try something new, face another fear, and put another guide dog experience under my belt. On Tuesday, I decided to return some clothes. Now, I know that the simple act of returning clothes is nothing, truly miniscule in the realm of errands, but for me, it was kind of a big deal. See, I like to go shopping with a sighted person…usually my husband, but sometimes another family member of the fairer sex. Since my favorite store is only a few blocks from my apartment, I have, up until now, left Jingles to enjoy some “her” time while I search for the season’s latest styles. So, it really hasn’t been necessary to bring her with me. I have contemplated bringing her many times, say, to find a black shirt or some other singular item, but usually don’t know what I’m searching for, so I haven’t tried it yet. Anyway, I had a few items I needed to return, so I figured what better way to try our first venture into the clothing store than to simply find the counter?

It was a super windy St. Patrick’s Day. Jingles and I navigated around a few drunken people hanging out in front of the local bars on our way to the store. Once we got to the block, we began to slowly walk down the street, searching for some sign of familiarity as to the location of the storefront. We didn’t have much luck because I had never paid attention to the details surrounding the store in walking with my husband. After a couple swipes of the block, I heard someone closing a store nearby and asked them where New York & Company was. He kindly showed me the way, and soon Jingles and I were inside. Once inside, we were faced with a new challenge. The many stocked racks of clothes were viewed as obstacles to the dog, so she would stop to show me what was blocking my path. A clerk noticed us and asked if we needed help. . I told her we were looking for the counter and she guided us there. The return process was easy. Jingles chilled out beside me like an angel. After we were finished, I asked the clerk to point out the path, and once Jingles found it, she navigated to the front door like a pro. That was fun, winding around the many clothes racks on the path out 

New adventures were ahead of me on Wednesday. First, in the morning, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by USA Today about life with Jingles! Can you believe it? I was able to represent Guiding Eyes for an upcoming spread about the Today Show raising Guiding Eyes puppy, Wrangler. There will be a whole piece about service animals in early may, and guess who will be nestled in a side column? Your favorite yellow lab and handler: D I am so incredibly excited!!!! It was quite the honor, and I hope I painted the school and life with Jingles in a way that truly reflects how awesome both are: D

Later, I had a meeting in the Upper West Side. This would require me to transfer at Times Square, which I am not at all familiar with (I avoid the station like the plague). Luckily, I was able to take an Uber Cab on the way to meet my colleagues. Meeting was fine, but on the way back I would have to take Times Square during rush hour. Aghhhh. My coworker was super sweet, however, and rode extra stops on her way home to transfer with me so I didn’t get lost. While I’m sure I would’ve found my train eventually, this really helped take the stress out of things. Jingles was overall okay, but was a little too interested in the garbage and smells around us. (We’re working on this little issue…no one’s perfect).

Fast forward to Friday. This day, Jingles got to visit a Juvenile Detention Center. Not an incredible lot to tell here, except that there was a little miscommunication, and a little hassle getting inside because of the dog. It was rather annoying at the time, but once things got sorted out, the staff tried to compensate by being extra nice to Jingles and I, so I guess I’ll let that one slide: P. It was irritating though…I don’t like to stand out, much less be an annoyance to someone. Oh, well.

And, so ends Part One. A little excitement, a little irritation, a little sniffing…a lot of love.

Jingles Visits the Hair Salon

Hello WordPress! Yet again, my absence is inexcusable. Seems like I’ve been hibernating through the winter in all facets of my life. I suppose I should start all my posts with “sorry it’s been so long.”

I just wanted to write a little post to brag on my Jingle Belle a bit. On Wednesday, I took Jingles on her first trip to the hair salon. I had been putting the visit off out of apprehension, anxiously imagining a million ways my friend could misbehave at the salon. Maybe she’d knock over products. Maybe she wouldn’t sit still and I’d have to keep settling her, annoying the person doing my hair. Maybe she’d try to eat everything in sight…

Because of my anxiety about the unknown, I put off my hair cut for…months. Looking like a ragamuffin, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I didn’t want Jingles first trip into the salon to be on a busy day (Saturday, or Thurs night), so I decided to take the day off work. I also made sure to take the same day my husband, who works the weekend and gets a mid-week day off instead, was off work, in case I chickened out and decided to leave Jingles behind.

After getting a little encouragement from one of my friends and former dog school classmates, I decided that I would take Jingles. I called the salon the day before to make them aware and make sure they weren’t afraid of dogs. I know I didn’t have to do this, but I like to make sure I cause as few waves as possible. My hairdresser assured me it would be fine.

SO, the morning of the appointment, I got Jingles together and prepared to conquer my fear of the unknown. My husband, who is always willing to help, asked me if I wanted him to go. I really wanted to do this as independently as possible, but thought a failsafe to hold Jingles if she began to act up, and some company for the walk would be nice.

So, the three of us walked the mile on the beautiful spring day to the hair place. When we neared, I asked Adam to show me where the door was and I’d be fine after that. He did, and I went on to the salon while Adam continued on to have a cup of coffee and be on call in case I should have a difficult time.

Well………..

Jingles was AMAZING. A complete angel. I mean, she’s good in public places, but I’ve never seen her THIS good. I would tell her to lay down, and she’d be a statue. It was fantastic. Everyone loved her. With that face, who couldn’t love her???? She laid patiently as I got my hair washed. Then, when I sat in the chair, I put her down next to me and she laid there serenely, watching the traffic in and out of the place, only getting up once for maybe 30 seconds.  Hair fell all around her, and she never even cared to taste it. This coming from the dog, who would, if it were up to her, try anything not bolted to the ground. My hairdresser loved her too, and she made a great conversation piece.

I left the salon with my hair looking like a movie star’s, and my dog an actual rock star. Jingles would’ve made her puppy raisers, trainers, and Guiding Eyes proud. She certainly made her momma proud!!!

rebekah and jingles on stoop