Lifestyle

We have been together for 5 years

I want to apologize for such a long absence. The last year has been filled with crazy work days, a new apartment, and a rotator cuff injury that has added complications to my only source of mobility. I’ve gone through multiple managers, learned how to clear my car of snow after large storms, and have moved into an apartment with stairs. I even hope to search for my very own house in the next few years. None of it would be possible without Graham, and I want to return to sharing our journeys and adventures together. Five years have passed. Five years have passed since I was lucky enough to receive my best friend, and partner in crime, Graham. He is an incredible companion and I know, for a fact, that I would not be where I am today without him. He continues to teach me lessons in patience, understanding,…

A new year, a new job, and a return to blogging!

Greetings! Graham and I cannot believe that a year has gone by since we have touched this blog and for that, we are terribly sorry. Life has been absolutely nuts and, as you may be able to tell from the title, a lot has been going on! First of all, we would like to wish you a Happy 2016! A new year means a new start and boy did this one start off fast for us. This past July, our lives took a sudden change. A new job was beginning and that meant a new commute, a new apartment and all new people, and dogs(!) to meet and befriend! We had joined a company far far larger than the last and though this one would also require long hours in the office, it held that sweet sweet satisfaction of being a dog-friendly work environment. Sure, you may shake your head…

Greeting Service Dogs … or any dog for that matter

Today’s blog post isn’t so much about Graham as it is about watching how people react around service dogs. Many don’t know what to do. Some have a general idea of what’s acceptable and what isn’t while others are completely clueless. As a service dog handler, I encounter all types of these people on a daily basis, from my time running errands to roaming my apartment building. Approaching a service dog can cause trouble for everyone involved. A service dog is there to help their handler. If a stranger, or even a friend for that matter, approaches a working dog, the level of distraction in a possibly already stimulating environment can be disastrous. For myself, if something were to startle Graham, my balance could be compromised with the crutches. If he gets too excited and jumps into me, my support might disappear. He weighs more than half of me. Many…

Grooming with Balance Trouble

Graham is a golden retriever. Golden retrievers tend to have gorgeous fur that needs a good brushing and lots of attention to keep the home free of any fuzzy balls. The sight isn’t pretty… even on a rug that almost matches said golden’s fur. Because I walk with crutches, and because my balance isn’t quite where I’d like it to be, grooming Graham is difficult. He’s not a large golden, sitting at 58 lbs and coming to my waist (remember… I’m 4’8) but I need to be able to reach under his ears, his belly, the feathers on his legs and so on and so forth. Getting him dressed is equally as challenging. His gentle leader is simple for the most part but putting his vest on, or jackets and booties in the winter, is so much more complicated. The clasps are at the bottom, under his belly. His front…

A Stroll Down Newbury

Saturday was an exciting and busy day for Graham and I. It was my mother’s birthday and a whole girls day was planned. The morning started as any other. We were lazy to get up, Graham and Simi playing with each other while I hit snooze a few times. Breakfast time rolled around, however, and I was forced to get up and feed the crew. Graham had a full cup of food while I had a light breakfast, planning for the day ahead. My mother rolled in around 11 am and after a few minutes of organizing and greetings, we were off. I drove her through the city of Boston and turned onto Newbury Street. The spots were all taken. Snow made visibility difficult and caused a two-lane road to become 1 and a half at times. We drove for a few blocks, nearly missing a few chances to park.…

A Night Out

Everyone likes to get out of the house and explore the town or find a nice place to eat. It’s fun, different and most definitely breaks up our mundane routines. For Graham, it’s time to work. Getting Prepared Restaurants are unpredictable, for the most part. They can be noisy, quiet, clean, grimy… you get the idea. Okay, so for the most part, you can guess if a place is going to be busy or not. A dinner on Tuesday night is going to bring in a completely different atmosphere than dinner on a Friday or Saturday night. Let’s be real. Who really wants to go out to dinner in the middle of the week when they have to get up early for work the next morning? Graham and I certainly don’t! When I go out with Graham, I have to be ready for all of these factors. It could be…

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Graham!

Apologies to everyone on the delay of this post. Graham’s birthday was exciting and busy, as always and then with these New England storms continuously piling up, it’s been difficult to get on and share with everyone. The morning started out as any other, an early wakeup for breakfast and then dawddling about for a few hours. Around ten am, we had visitors. My parents dropped by and got settled, helping me with some errands and lavishing Graham in affection. We went out, we cooked and we relaxed. Then our guests arrived. Graham’s puppy raisers have been invited to every birthday we’ve shared with him and it’s become a tradition. It’s a fun time and great excuse to show off all that’s happened and talk about the future. The pure excitement that pours off of Graham when they visit. Though it’s been almost three years since he came into my…

Graham’s turning 4!

Birthdays are always exciting times. We have parties, give gifts, cards and just celebrate life in general. I do the same with Graham. He’ll be turning 4 on Valentine’s Day! Time really does fly. He came home with me at 18 months old and now I’m celebrating this with him? It’s insane! Parties with Graham are small but fun. He was raised by a wonderful couple during his training days and we make sure to have them over every year. We buy a small “pupcake” and of course a few treats and toys. Last year we had another service dog join us, a Greater Swissy who was still in training (Graham got to show off ;)). This year will be quiet and fun. We, Graham and I, will be hosting my parents and his puppy raisers, for the first time in the apartment. He’s getting a new jacket for this…

How do you handle the cold with your dogs?

Winter is a tough time for humans and canines alike. Jackets only go so far for us and fur coats are just the same for our furry companions. Most dogs don’t need to go out unless they are pottying. For assistance dogs, it’s different. For Graham, being outside is a much more common occurance, especially during the morning and evening commutes. I avoid taking him out if I can but when he has to get out into the harsh reality that is New England, I bundle him out in a Smartpack dog jacket and booties. It doesn’t seem to be enough to keep him comfortable when we are walking any sort of distance. Are there other ways to keep my companion safe and warm in these temperatures? With next week’s forecast being ominous, I worry that it will be extra hard on Graham. All thoughts and opinions are much appreciated!

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