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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dakota's First Weekend Part 1



Hi Dr. Marvin :) ... we haven't been taking MANY pictures, but THIS is the FIRST and most important picture!  This was taken on Sunday ... So far I could say "Hug" as I tapped on my chest and he'd stand up leaning against me for a good pet, and I tried about the same when I was sitting down - just said, "UP!" And, UP he indeed did jump just like a jack rabbit!  So this picture is the first time that he was up in our lap.  He does like to ride in the car/SUV and in Rich's SUV I've been sitting in the back with him with Katherine in the front talking with Rich and Dakota will lay his paws/face in my lap.  We're REALLLL attached!  I am having trouble now sleeping - I've been up for about 3 hours and it is only 4:45 am.  Just soooo much to be excited about!  
  
Right now Katherine and Rich and Dakota are still sleeping - just Missy has gotten up with me.  The Missy/Dakota story is going to be one of the really best stories!  AND, there are a lot of them!  We did put the gate up in the laundry room to keep Missy's stuff safe from Dakota - and for sure he did check them out though he's not a grabby eater.  There are CERTAIN things he still likes!  When he came in and first met the cat - there was like a half a room distance and they knew each other was there, but just turned the opposite direction.  There was a lot of that going on, but the bottom line is that Dakota doesn't search out the cat - and will sometimes spot her and go the other direction, but in general - it is Missy who is approaching Dakota - AND while he's lying down, she has even come up and touched the tip of his tail with her nose.  She doesn't seem to mind he goes in the kennel at night, but so far, we have not heard him growl or bark at absolutely NOTHING!  It's pretty amazing how quiet he is.  Like he seems to know right now it's not time to be up yet, so he's not whined or given any indication of wanting to be out of his crate.  AND, at night time - about when Rich and we retire to the bedroom, we just say crate - and of course while carrying his bedtime treat - he will go into the crate, turn around to get his treat and all is GOOD for the night!  He's really amazing
  
Rich seems to prefer if we didn't need the crate, but oddly enough I am siding with Katherine where I like to know where he is at all times.  When he first came on Friday - he had a bowel accident in the house and then the next day there was a leg lifting incident.  I think that I'm going to write these up as just not knowing the house rules, but we're trying to be real preventative as to getting him to the right place at the right time.  It seems like yesterday when we were out, he wasn't concerned each of three trips where he had an opportunity to go, but then when we came home, he went out to the bathroom and did his thing right away.  Last night he paced a little by the door - again he isn't barking at all ... and it was about 40 minutes after his dinner, so I took him out.  He first didn't want to go down the back porch steps, so I had to just leave him and close the screen door.  I came out of the sunroom and closed the sliding door between us so he could barely see us.  So he looked at the empty space for about a minute, then he went down the stairs and peed, AND THEN Found a nice spot in the yard and did the other thing.  We were soooo proud of him.  We waited a minute or two for him to "feel the victory" then we went out to get him ... He was happy as a lark to come back in and it seemed we'd reached some kind of communication that when he went out back we expected him to go before he could come back in - AND it was a bit stifling out yesterday so we didn't keep him out long.  

I'm still afraid that if we didn't notice it was about time, he would use a piece of furniture or wall corner, but we're going to count the small victories as we get them!

It has been a whirlwind with Katherine and Dakota here.  We were on time for picking up Katherine (waiting at the O'Hare Oasis) for her call especially because we knew her plane was going to be 15 minutes late.  We had a little trouble finding her, because she had been upstairs at Departures where we were downstairs and not understanding where she was at, but we finally found her and we DID give her the biggest hug!  I had already decided that Katherine was going to be in the front seat so we could sit with Dakota - and that seems to have worked out just fine.  Dakota is not much of a "licker," but he's cuddly!  We got home to Rich's roast and we all got settled and had a good time.  Katherine is like an EXPERT conversationalist - and through the weekend we found that she can talk "fishy-language" with Rich - WooHOO!!!  How often does a person find that, and in the meantime it gave us a chance to just ogle our puppy!  Katherine says he's 15 months old.  So we're going to give him the honorary birthday of May 1rst!  We were thinking May ... 5-1-14, and then it was 5 am, so we figured it would be a good time to get in the shower!  It worked!  

I'm now officially up, showered, and dressed ALL before Dakota, Katherine and Rich!  AHA! More writing time - I've been missing my computer connection - AND, while we were officially up we started the coffee.  Maybe that will get a couple early birds up OR we might get MORE writing time.  Dakota hasn't really woken up yet where he is standing or standing and whining or anything, so we're figuring he wants to sleep in some more.  We are getting him REALLY tired - especially for still being a puppy.  How long is a dog a puppy?  Hmm, just thinking now that Katherine called him an adolescent or a juvenile - Maybe!

The last couple of day’s people have been getting up around 7 am - so we'll see what happens now AND we'll see if Rich set his work clock.  Ok, ok so where were we!

Hmm, thinking we're still back at the first night.  Katherine is teaching us that if we say "Crate!" Dakota scoots over there.  Sometimes if Katherine gives him "the look" he scoots into his kennel too.  She has a raised eyebrow like Rich and if she says a word or two or grumbles, Dakota knows he's doing something wrong.  She says that he's testing us out to see how far he can get and then sometimes Katherine is looking the other way - like when he jumped into our lap.  She said that he had never done that before.  Hehehe INCORRIGIBLE!  

Katherine puts him in his cage for more than we would naturally.  Like if he's misbehaving or if she sees that he's not listening because he's over-tired, then "In he goes!"  He doesn't seem to mind it though in the least and sometimes he goes in there by himself.  He really does seem to already know that it is his space.  

Talking with Katherine in-between everything has been soooo gosh darn good - that part is just incredible.  She's everything we dreamed of and more.  She's sunny and sparkly all rolled up in one and has had soooo many experiences!  She's lived in Wisconsin, Texas, LA, Denver AND South Dakota.  Everything is plum full of experiences!  She's like one of those women who are God-given gifts to humanity and she's been SOOOO patient with us.  You know that list we made together - you and us?  She sat patiently with us as we went down the entire list until we both knew all our questions were answered.  We had started the list in the sitting room comfortably in the recliners, and then we finished it out on the patio.  Oh, and she helped spray for the bees that were still out so that was pretty good - though the area probably has to be sprayed each time AND we ran out of bee spray.  Dakota DID get his time outside, but it was only the once because the indoor temps have been so much better.  This morning when we woke up, we saw this note from Emergency Services...

------------ ALERT: SEVERE WEATHER WARNINGS AND WATCHES -------------

.HOT & HUMID TODAY WITH THE HIGHEST HEAT INDEX READINGS SO FAR
IN SUMMER 2014.

LEE-LA SALLE-GRUNDY-KANKAKEE-LIVINGSTON-IROQUOIS-FORD-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF.DIXON.OTTAWA.MORRIS.KANKAKEE.
PONTIAC.WATSEKA.PAXTON

340 AM CDT MON AUG 25 2014

.HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 10 PM CDT
THIS EVENING.

* TEMPS.LWR TO MID 90S IN THE AFTERNOON.

* HEAT INDEX READINGS.PEAKING AT 105 TO 109.

* IMPACTS.THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPS & HIGH
 MOISTURE WILL LEAD TO AN INCREASED RISK OF HEAT RELATED STRESS
 & ILLNESS. THE VERY YOUNG.THE ELDERLY.THOSE WITHOUT AIR
 CONDITIONING.& THOSE PARTICIPATING IN STRENUOUS OUTDOOR
 ACTIVITIES WILL BE THE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE. IN ADDITION.CAR
 INTERIORS WILL REACH LETHAL TEMPS IN A MATTER OF
 MINUTES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS.

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT WEATHER IS EXPECTED.
HIGH TEMPS & HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A
SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESS IS POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF
FLUIDS.STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM.STAY OUT OF THE SUN.
AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES & NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS.IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE.RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING. WEAR
LIGHT WEIGHT & LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE & DRINK
PLENTY OF WATER.

ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL & SHADED
LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY.CALL 9 1 1.

CHILDREN & PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING HOT
WEATHER WHEN THE CAR INTERIOR CAN REACH LETHAL TEMPS IN A
MATTER OF MINUTES!

VISIT US AT HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/CHICAGO (ALL LWRCASE)

Ok, we're back here again at the other end of the forecast.  Wikipedia says, "The heat index (HI) or humiture or humidex is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature—how hot it feels. The result is also known as the "felt air temperature" or "apparent temperature".  SOOO, we looked up Sandwich, and it says on a different weather system - "...Hot and humid today... Very hot and humid conditions expected today with temperatures forecast to rise into the low 90's with humidity across northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. These temperatures combined with a very muggy air mass with dew points in the mid 70’s will result in afternoon heat index values between 98 and 104 degrees.

AHA!  That will give Katherine something to talk about when she goes home!  OMG I just looked at weather in HER area.  Right now it is 48 with a high expected of 68 and the humidity is only 82% MUCH nicer!  I can't believe it - we're getting 92 degrees and their high is only 68?  It's like a FREEZER zone!

She'll be glad to get back to DECENT weather.  Ok ... we got a LOT more to write about ... thinking this note is going to continue past the time we get home after dropping Katherine at the airport.

Ok ... you heard the part about Katherine going over the written material and how great THAT was!!!!  It helped to have a REALLY sound discussion on everything we'd been concerned with ... some of the concern had naturally passed because we'd figured out answers as we went, but the big thing is that we could talk about anything.  I know we were both getting tired at the end, but I feel we really got our money worth from the experience with Katherine throughout.  Before that, we'd had a REALLY busy day.  We had let Dakota out to go to the washroom, and then I think we concentrated on talking talking talking WITH Coffee!

After we got something to eat and all we went outside and took on the scooter.  Dakota got it really fast, but there was experimenting too like how long the leash should be, pacing, where he should stand, etc.  It's going to be worked into a fine piece of art, but it was a GREAT start.  Dakota can easily go on the scooter's fastest speed and the few times we saw him loose, he was REALLY rabbit fast!  He's got very strong bouncy legs that make him look like a cricket!  Katherine started walking and then running with us.  She's really strong ... she's had a couple decades as a fitness instructor.  Boy!  I don't think we knew that about her, but you should see her hoist a full bag of dog food WOW!

We went out on the busier street right away and this morning will be the third time.  Traffic has been going fine around us, but we still have to get the flags on her to feel more comfortable.  I hadn't known after Rich put them on - that if we turned the chair they would snap off.  Lesson learned!  Dakota has a tougher time on the busier streets, but we are both feeling our way along.  It's a little more confusing to him with Katherine running because he wants to keep her pace or run next to her, or at least take her running into account.  It's going to take some time, but Katherine gave us the clue that we have to start looking around and appreciating our experience rather than worrying because the dog will pick that up.  All along she's had to remind us that we have to be the leader of the Pack because Dakota needs a Pack leader.  From Everything I read I know she's right, but sometimes it’s hard.  Sometimes we don't know our or his limits - like we're much more afraid we should be taking him to the bathroom and Katherine is encouraging us to not worry about it so much.  She said dogs don't have to go NEAR as often as humans.  I guess, for example, I am used to going RIGHT before I leave for your office, then when we get there, and then when we leave, but Dakota can do that whole trip without having to stop.  Yesterday in fact as mentioned previously, he waited to get home, even given the experience of three stops.

After the first walk and cleaning up and such, Katherine and we and Dakota were off to Walmart to pick-up our OWN Prescriptions!  Can you believe THAT!!!??? I used the walker and all went PERFECT!  AND, we did get the 90 day subscriptions.  Thank you for arranging that.

AHA!  We here the garbage men AND Rich's alarm trying to wake him up.  I think he might be fighting Monday morning.  

Pswhoo BACK!!!!  It's now about 3 pm.  After Rich got up, then Dakota got up and then Katherine got up and everything was full forward.  We'll talk about that more later down the line, but the general drift is that we have had a very nice day, Katherine is by this time probably just getting back to Rapid City SD, we've been home for about 2 1/2 hours and have had lunch, spent more time with Dakota (and Missy), took a little nap, checked in online and am now ready to sit down awhile and write again - just that much more to write about.  I think it's going to take to the end of today before I get everything in, and I'm guessing at this point that I will take a while to think through it all, but will also post in our blog.  This is the comprehensive "report," but we like to think right now with the focus of us telling you.

Ok, so if we go back to Saturday morning, we were at the point of going outside with Dakota and first circling the block, and then going down the busy street.  Everything balanced out and after a certain point; we turned around and headed back to the house.  After I get back from everything, I am letting Dakota out on his 20' chain in the back yard so that he understand that is his bathroom space.  Katherine was great ... we started walking together and then she started running alongside us going faster, and then we kept pretty good pace, but got a little ahead of her, but not much.  After we came in (collecting our dog too), we made sure he had breakfast and there was always between everything quite a lot of talking - sometimes surrounding our life with Dakota and sometimes, just a heck of a lot of interesting stuff that we were learning about each other (Katherine and us).  Each of the three mornings, we got up and showered and dressed before others were moving and sometime in there Katherine and I had cereal both at the same time.  She's a lot more creative than us in trying different cereal and coffee combinations.  She's SOOOO cool!  After she was dressed and after we had gathered our minds - it was a hard task ... AND after we'd settled some money regulations with Rich, we took off for our first adventure!  

The first stop was Walmart to pick up OUR OWN PRESCRIPTIONS!  I think we might have started to say this before, but everything worked really well.  We did bring our walker and Dakota walks very nice besides it.  We were next in line, so there wasn't any hassle, but we were comfortable with Dakota and being able to sit down.  We got a little confused when the woman was talking to us about the medicine, but I don't remember why.  Just remember her asking if she should get the pharmacist and we said no.  We weren’t doing her words well.  Katherine asked her where the dog items were and the pharmacist was able to direct her, but we still couldn’t hear her words, because we were already thinking about having to navigate somewhere we didn't know.  And things got really messed up.  Katherine figured it out though. 

We got a few things in the dog aisle.  Katherine did most of the scouting because we were too dazed at all the stuff in our vision.  We just stopped in the aisle and Dakota lay down next to us and Katherine did the harder work.  We ended up getting a few things at Walmart and a few things at the next stop Pet Smart.  I'm not sure at this point which place we got which items.  AND, the drive was very concentrated ... like I'd never driven to Walmart and parked there and I had to put in directions to find the Pet Smart Store in Yorkville, even though it was off the same Rt 34.  I didn't know how to do the turns.   When Katherine asked for help at Pet Smart and in checking out, it seemed that all three personnel were really not very intelligent.  The one lady kept pacing back and forth looking for someone else, and then she tried to converse, but couldn't remember the name of a city she'd visited in SD so she went on and on holding attention while just stammering.  Then the lady she got put her face into her electronic gizmo and was like floating on clouds, gave us no indication what the hell she was trying to do, and then wasn't able to give us any information after we stopped her because she was just in a bad snow drift and the cashier - almost as bad.  I think at one of the stores, Katherine talked to some people for us, because what we are finding already is that everywhere we go people ARE drawn to Dakota.  At one of the stores - like THREE people in the main aisle just stopped to smile at him.  The one person at one of the registers had a baby, and we couldn't do the conversation so we walked ahead and Katherine finished it for us.  We just couldn't concentrate on talking and having the dog and shopping and trying to get out of there.

The kinds of things we got?  Hmm, think we got a 20-25 pound of really good dog food, some "greenies" for his teeth AND some of his favorite bedtime snack that are like chicken strips.  We got a regular "leash material" collar and a matching red leash - about 6 foot, and then we got a prong collar, because Katherine was sure that he needed it for discipline.  She put the prongs around my wrist and pulled, but surprisingly enough - they actually felt good - there was no feeling of pinching our skin or anything.  She talked often about us making corrections if he didn't do as we asked and that was probably the hardest part was to be making us ALWAYS seem authoritative, because as you know some parts are and some parts aren't.  We're still working at that though.  She says that Dakota NEEDS us to be the pack leader so he knows what to do and that he is more than anything wanting to please us.  Its soooo cool!  Anyway, we also got an animal to play with and a little ball on the bottom of a heavy cord for tug of war.  

So far, we can't get him to play with anything or pick-up the large rawhide bones that Rich got him, but when Katherine got out of the shower, she found that Dakota had brought her his one (of three) large bones and placed it next to her suitcase.  She figured that because he didn't want it, he wanted her to take it home to his friends.  I loved that thought!  The other two will probably go to Maury's two dogs, and maybe in that process we could get Dakota to pick one up to chew.  We are just not counting on it.  He's very sensitive in eating - doesn't gobble, but can sure take down those chicken treats AND a LITTLE soft rawhide.  I'm thinking I might bring that package to you and you can treat him when he gets to your office.  We also got a new double bowl set for eating/drinking, and we got some shampoo and we got some spray to take care of toileting problems in the house.  Oh, and we got a sparkly tag that you put in a machine and it puts our information etched on the tag.  Katherine had us put our name and phone number.  She said not to put the dog’s name because you don't want anyone finding the dog - knowing it and feeling in a position to take rights over it.  That was good thinking.  All you want is for them to call you so you can pick-up the dog.  I'm thinking that is probably about it.

We did get from Katherine a saddle vest for Dakota that states he's a service dog - and a portable water bowl, and some patches and identifications for both Dakota and Us (our pictures and names), and then on the back there is a copy of the ADA rule stating what people can ask you about your service dog and their right to access premises.  There was other paperwork and certificates – and Dr. records we got from Katherine too – the other was in an folder.

I'm looking down at Dakota now ... he is back lying next to us.  This time though, he has fallen asleep stretched out with his muzzle laid over both of our soft purplish/gray shoes.  I guess he's breathing us up, though we wish we could have left a better impression than stinky shoes!  He's really tuckered out...



I don't know if I said yet, but we took him on longer and longer walks each day.  Not by much, but by some.  We added a space at the end of our busy street walk where we are walking around the perimeter of the mobile home park.  That gets him back into more familiar comfortable surroundings, and again we end the trips in the back yard.  He's doing SOOOO well!  Katherine said that when he walks next to us in any form (scooter, walking, or walker, but especially scooter), he is really proud of being there.  He's being very much a dog and a well-cared for dog at that.  I'm so happy to be feeling that we're doing it the right way.  I asked about what it was that he does during the day, but I think we're really figuring that out ... basically, he sleeps near us when he's got down time, and then he is ready to go when we get up to move, and especially when we call him over to put on his prong collar and leash. He's ALWAYS ready to go and likes to sleep by the door too!

The last time we took him out - just before sitting back down to write, he was pacing in the kitchen area and he whined, so we took him right to the door asked him if he wanted to go out (repetition) and then as before we left him out there and came back in and then just spied on him.  AND, sure enough ... he urinated and pooped and then stretched a bit and relaxed before we let him back in.  He seems to appreciate the good dog pets he gets and is excited to be back in the air conditioned house and WITH HIS People!  He's doing GREAT!  He doesn't bark at all so I'm glad he's at least whining, just I have to look for it so there is no accidents.  Katherine says the two he had were just in getting accustomed.  When he walked in he didn't know what to do.  

Oh ... he didn't like that ... Rich got up from where he was working at his chair, talked for a few moments, put on his shoes and left for a few grocery items and a trip to his mothers.  Dakota is still fretting a bit because he didn't take him with.  Poor kid - he was meant to be on the go!

We made some popcorn and emptied the dishwasher, but everything is in pretty good shape.  I did find Dakota though reaching in through Missy's door in the gate to check out her food stash.  Lucky we pushed it back because he had his whole neck AND head in there!  He eventually though went back to finish up some of the food he'd started at breakfast.  There ... we're back, Rich is gone and Dakota is now lying by the door.  He likes it over there like Lady because of the cold air vents, we think - and now he's probably waiting for Rich.  Rich is doing real well with the dog.  When Dakota walks over to him, if Rich's hands are free, he will give him a real nice pet, but then he's like - ok, go on now!  On the Saturday - after he'd had the accident I cleaned it up and Katherine took him outside and left him, but she gave him too much leash by putting one attached to another, so when Rich came home, he saw Dakota was attached to his leash, but he was sitting out in the middle of the street like he was starting his own street gang!  Hehehe - needless to say Rich brought him in! 

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