Thursday, November 22, 2012

I want to personally express my appreciation to Ansel's blog followers for your generous pledges to the DogFest Walk Challenge Ansel and I participated October 13, 2012 and supporting the Canine Companions for Independence organization. We successfully raised $3,825!

Having Ansel in my life has been life changing for me. It is so hard to have to totally depend on others, even for the most simple tasks. Ansel has given me a sense of independence I haven't felt since my accident almost three years ago. Beyond the much needed assistance he provides me everyday though (and just as is important, if not more), he brings a new positive energy and love in our home. He is truly a blessing! Priceless!

CCI is a phenomenal organization--professional at every level--from their executive director to the office and kennel staff, trainerst, and puppy raisers. 

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! Go Bucks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Canine Companion DogFest Walk Challenge

Ansel and I are looking forward to participating in our first Canine Companion DogFest Walk Challenge on Saturday, October 13 in Columbus, Ohio. It is a family oriented, pet-friendly walk held annually to benefit Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). The event features a pledged walk with trick-or-treat stops, a raffle and a costume contest following the walk.  What fun!

Private donations and fundraisers, such as Canine Companions DogFest, help to provide the necessary funds to continue enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through the placement of assistance dogs.  While it costs approximately $45,000 to breed, train, and place an assistance dog with an individual, like myself, who has a disability, Canine Companions’ recipients receive the dogs free of charge.  And all recipients are provided with additional ongoing support and training through the lifetime of the team--free of charge!

I am  grateful--beyond word--to CCI for bringing Ansel into my life and am honored to walk, complete with costume, in support of this phenomenal organization. Stay tuned for a sneak-peek of Ansel’s most entertaining costume!   

If you would like to make a pledge to our team for this most worthy cause, you can do so easily by clicking on the following link. It will take you directly to our personal web page. We are astounded and most appreciative of the generous support we have received already! Check it out!  And consider supporting our team!

Monday, September 17, 2012

First, I would like to thank Mark and Deb as well as all puppy raisers for what you have given me. The Canine Companion service dogs are absolute life changers, especially Ansel!

Ansel graduated on Friday, May 18 and became my best buddy by the end of the first weekend. We have become inseparable, I take Ansel virtually everywhere. He is always the perfect gentleman and almost never needs correction. Ansel truly enjoys working and I can see the great joy that it brings him. Ansel attracts interest every time Denise and I go to a store or restaurant. Ansel is a real ham and loves the attention (he especially loves showing off his talent). I may get Denise in trouble, but she cannot keep her hands off of Ansel. He is so soft and loves to have his belly rubbed that she cannot resist.

I need to convey a story to best describe how he has helped me with my independence. As background, I use a power wheelchair and drive a minivan. I have a lift that positions the wheelchair in the back of the minivan and I walk to the driver’s side with a cane. I'm not very stable with the cane and I’m completely unsafe without it. A couple weeks ago I had a checkup at the Ohio State hospital campus. I had put Ansel as well as the power chair into the minivan and was walking to the driver side door when I dropped my cane. At this point I can neither pick up the cane nor walk further. However, I now have Ansel! I used my key fob (which I keep strapped around my left wrist) to open Ansel's sliding door, asked him to come out and pick up my cane. Without any hesitation or confusion, Ansel stepped out of the van, picked up (and dropped the cane twice), but finally got it into my hands on the third try. He got back into the van, I closed his door and proceeded to the driver’s door safely. Now that’s a buddy you can depend on!

Joe Parrish

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ansel's Graduation

It finally arrived, the day every puppy raiser longs for...GRADUATION! Our little pup has grown up and fulfilled his destiny. We could not be more proud of Mr. Ansel.

Deb and I had prior commitments that could not be altered and were unable to attend this wonderful day. In our place, we had Kansas City's very own CCI Volunteer Extraordinaire Aunt Marty, stand in for us at the graduation ceremony. She got some "me" time with Ansel and then had the privilege of handing over the leash to Joe; Ansel's new buddy and lifelong friend!

We heard that it was a great time had by all and that all of the KC Chapter attendees got to meet Joe and his wife Denise. I was lucky to have met them the week prior and got to see Ansel's new digs.

Here are a few pictures of the great day!

Marty and Ansel

I think someone called Ansel's name!

Joe and Ansel

We would like to thank CCI, the staff, all the volunteers, the Kansas City Chapter, friends, family and everyone that played a part in Ansel's training. We especially thank Aunt Marty for standing in for us at graduation. We know that Ansel has been matched to the perfect person and are really thankful to Joe and Denise for opening up their home to Deb and I.

THIS, is the best feeling.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Find Ansel on Facebook!

There's a picture of all the NC grads up on CCI's Facebook page: Can you pick out our graduate?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Can My Life Get Any Better? No, Really?

You might imagine that I was pretty disappointed when I heard that various factors were going to keep TBG and SWMBO from being able to attend my graduation. I mean, I know they were upset about it too, but I'm the one who's earned the blue cape and I really wanted to share that with them.

Well, I guess TBG and SWMBO talked to CCI and the powers-that-be said that if they wanted, they could come the Saturday before graduation and CCI would arrange a few minutes with me and an introduction to my new handler. I guess TBG and SWMBO really love me and wanted to see me and check out my peeps because TBG boarded a plane on Friday and headed out here. Sadly, SWMBO was unable to come because of another work commitment (I never understood that as a young pup, but now that I'm a working dog, I get that you just can't shirk your responsibilities to others).

TBG made one stop before coming to see me, though. He went and had breakfast at Elijah's place and got to meet Hobart! You'll remember Elijah--he raised Dembre, who was one of my kennel-mates for a time, and is now working as a successful service dog too!

SO! I got to see TBG today! Not only that, but TBG brought with him my favoritest toy of all times--the infamous red ball! This favorite toy tradition was started by Jeb's puppy raiser. Only, I guess Jeb loved a honking possum (some people might call it a hedgehog, but don't say that around SWMBO. It's a possum in her mind. You know how she can be...anywho!)

Not only THAT, but I was able to introduce TBG to my forever people! And, not only THAT, but my forever people invited TBG to their home to spend time with them and me. Goodness sakes, humans can talk, you know it? We give a bark or two and we're worn out, but these three kept on for about 3.5 HOURS! Ah, I admit, it was fun, actually, to hear TBG tell all of those Jeb stories AGAIN, and to chuckle at some of my, ah, challenges as a young pup. I also really liked learning stuff about my forever people, and why they wanted me and how they see me helping around my new home and workplace. I also really liked showing off all of my advanced commands with my forever person, working as a team. I could tell TBG was impressed!

 I've got some pictures below, but just in case you were wondering...YES, TBG and SWMBO have several people lined up to take pictures at graduation. They'll get posted here too. And in case you were wondering...YES, TBG and SWMBO have a very special person lined up to turn my leash over to my forever people during the graduation ceremony. NO, I'm not going to tell you now! You'll just have to wait and see!

Elijah, TBG, and Hobart

I am at the Center, sporting a BLUE CAPE!

Me and My TBG

I am at my new digs with my forever peeps and TBG (note the red ball!)

TBG and my forever person

Me and my forever peeps!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jumpin' Jebifers!

As all of our readers can appreciate, the news about Ansel's match has engendered much emotion, and brought us swiftly back to the guy who started it all. I thought it might be fun to share a picture or two of Jeb's puppy-raiser with Ansel's owners. I mean, it did all start with HER.

Against my better judgement (and the very direct admonition by TBG that this was NOT a good idea), I headed down to the basement to root around in the photo albums to find what I wanted. "I'll just grab a few pictures and come back upstairs," I said to TBG. "I PROMISE I won't run amok in sentimentality, bittersweetness, and reminiscence." laid plans and all that. I won't bore you with those sloppy details, but in the midst of it all, I came across a photo that gave me paws (oh! I do so slay myself). Not just because it reaches back in time to showcase Jeb and one of his best pals (Sailboat-Vacation-Guy), but because it has convinced me that Ansel and Jeb must have some shared relative in the CCI family tree somewhere. Take a look and see if I'm right!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

He did it!!!!!!

We got the phone call that we'd been waiting for. Ansel made a match at Team Training and will become a Service Dog. He'll get to work and play in Ohio, all the while wearing the coveted blue cape!

We are so happy and proud of our little man.

Pick up day, March of 2010

Some fun time at the lake

Playing in the snow

Turn in for advanced training

Way to go Ansel!

I'm sure Jeb is smiling with his goofy "Larry" face.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Graduation nears for Dr. Ansel

We received our final progress report yesterday. No changes since last month. Ansel will be attending Team Training in May and hopefully make a match. It's appropriate that he graduates after attending canine college (6 months) and then going on for another 3 months to get his Ph.D in Service Animal! He just had to be like his Mom and idol, Jeb.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Right Paw or Left Paw?

Is your pup a right paw or left paw? Why should you care? Because "it has a massive influence on whether this puppy will pass or fail Guide Dog school."

Interesting...and fun to try at home!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ansel's Buddy at Work--Dembre!

Dembre and Ansel were both pups-in-training at the same time, and even kennel-mates for a time at North Central. Here's a newly minted video of Dembre at work with his graduate! (This will also take you to Hobart's blog)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monthly Report Is In!

We just heard from Gwen, Ansel's "new" trainer, via an emailed, monthly report. She let us know that he has NO current health concerns! YEA!

All his old behaviors are still there: anxiety, forging, rough play with other dogs, whining...

She also said their main activity is concentrating on proofing at the center and in public as he knows all of his commands. He seems less responsive in public than what she would expect but she is seeing improvement as the field trips continue. Otherwise, he is doing "well" and her "fingers are crossed for May Team Training...."

I pulled this oldie but goodie to share today. Is that really my Ansel?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Telephone Call Received!

Well, we had an opportunity to talk with Gwen, Ansel's "new" trainer today. She reported that she hasn't yet had much opportunity to get to know Ansel. He appears to be on the mend in terms of his "condition" but he currently has a papillomas on his paw which is being treated. This does cause him to limp so he has missed a training field trip and has shortened training sessions. The papillomas usually resolve in a week or so at least to the point where they are not painful (think planter's wart for dogs).

She has worked with him some and enjoys his willingness and the skill level he demonstrates. She did say that something catastrophic would have to happen--either medically or with his training--for him to be released at this point. They preferred to keep Ansel for another semester to ensure that his medical condition is resolved before sending him home with a new graduate.

Although they saw some distractability during Team Training, it did not rise to the level where they had a concern. They just know that he has a bit of insecurity and they think that he uses sniffing and distraction as something to do when in new situations and unsure of expectations. Gwen implied that these behaviors could be well-managed with a strong handler and again reassured us that they are not anticipating that they would release Ansel at this point.

SO! Onward Ansel!

Graduation is this way-------->

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Star Amongst Us!

While we still have no news to share about Mr. Ansel, we DO have some exciting news to share about our friends, Marty and Stanton!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February Team Training Update

Sadly, Ansel was not matched to anyone at this round of Team Training. Apparently he was more interested in toys and food than he was of people (now THAT'S the Ansel we all know!). He will be held over till the May Team Training and possibly make a match at that time. It's also possible that he could get released between now and then due to his on and off stool problem and distractability. He'll also get a new trainer for the next semester. Tonya said she really enjoyed working with him and was a little surprised that he was so distracted the last couple of days.

So, we get to wait another 3 months.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Know Drama! Or, Ansel's Report!

We heard from Tonya, Ansel's trainer today.

Ansel's intestinal problems appear to be getting better. They have been giving him B-12 shots and just took him off Metamucil. Poor dog has had an internal problem of one sort or another since the day we brought him home. As long as he continues to get better, she said he will be moved into Team Training (wahoooo)! Tonya said she's enjoyed training him and he has a great work ethic. He always pops up in the kennel when she enters to see if it's his turn to practice. She said that he is "high energy" when off duty and they will take this into consideration when determining a placement for him.

Along those lines...there are 12 candidates coming to Team Training and just 14 dogs. IF he can "get well" then his chances of making a match are good. She did say that he is adaptable enough that she could see him working well regardless of the category (service, skilled companion, facility). If placed as a facility dog, she did say that he would work best as an "active, task-oriented" dog, rather than one that is used more for petting and to have a calm presence. Yes, that sounds like our Ansel!

Maybe he WILL be placed with a Facility Team, continuing the great work of our much beloved and missed Jeb, for years to come! But we won't be disappointed, regardless of his career path!

Maybe...I'll be on the board one day...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Update! Update! Update!

We've been in touch with CCI recently because our "little guy" hasn't been feeling well. You know that we have had concerns about Ansel's medical condition since day 1, what with his cyclical vomiting...this recent concern has affected, ah, the other end. Anywho, we've been appreciative of his trainer, Tonya, keeping us up-to-date on how he's faring. So...we wanted to share this latest email from her with all of you!

"Ansel seems to be on the mend (let's keep fingers crossed). We did a (removed for the faint-of heart). We have him on antibiotics to treat the infection, b12 supplements and a product to aid in digestion health. Hopefully this will do the trick.

You might be wondering how this has effected training. He is continuing to do well learning the commands and is still a little rowdy in the exercise yard. Our biggest concern at this time is the loose stool. We will see how he responds to treatment when considering placement this February Team Training."

Come on, little guy, get well!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy 2nd birthday to Mr. Ansel!

Here's a pic from his 1st birthday, giving a high five to his peeps.