QuickPress: Workig Dog

Today is one of those days when I woke up and couldn’t move much or speak. Here are some of the ways Barnum has helped me today.

  • Helped me take off turtleneck shirt. (New task that still needs a lot of work.)
  • Brought my PCA to me — perfectly. (Opened door, ran to her, nudged her, and led her back to me.)
  • Pulled off my socks.
  • Helped with bathroom transfers.
  • Shut bathroom door.
  • Took three messages to Betsy.
  • Pulled covers down. (Not all the way, but enough to be helpful.)
  • Opened and shut the fridge.
  • Shut bedroom door.

I think I’m forgetting some things, but the main point is that he is actually helping me now on days I need it. It’s good to be able to practice things and see what is really working and where the holes are that need further training.

12 Responses to “QuickPress: Workig Dog”

  1. 1 Cyndy Otty June 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Sounds like he’s got a ways to go yet, but I’m sure it’s incredibly gratifying — and even a relief in some respect. Good job, Barnum!

  2. 2 Sharon Wachsler June 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Cyndy. Yes, the best thing was him being able to ease communication between me and Betsy. That makes a huge difference! I started to feel a little bit of the ease and relief I used to have with Gadget. Big smile!

  3. 3 Sarah June 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I am so glad Barnum was able to really help you when you needed him!

  4. 4 Brigitte Mang June 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Way to go Barnum!!!!! He’s getting older,( and maybe wiser)
    the hard work for both of you is starting to pay off.

  5. 5 brilliantmindbrokenbody June 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Oh yay! I imagine that there are few things more exciting than having your service dog start coming together in ways that make a difference in your life. I suppose it may feel a bit like I felt when I first got to have Hudson do useful things for me, like brace so I could get up off the floor (which I was taught WAY ahead of schedule because I needed it from the first day if I was going to groom him)

    It’s so good to see you around again, and to hear that things are going well!

  6. 6 wendy June 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Yay! What a relief you must feel.
    I’d love to have a dog that would let me know if the doorbell rings, or wake me if there is smoke or the smoke alarm goes off, or if someone breaks in.
    I won’t always have my technology on…never when I’m sleeping, it would be nice to have a dog just for those things….and maybe help steady me if I’m feeling dizzy. I’d also like her or him to stay with me and make sure I’m not hurt if I have a vertigo attack. Or if we are in the house, go get my husband.

    But I can’t afford a service dog.

    I’m sorry you were having such a bad day, but happy Barnum helped so much!


  7. 7 Sharon Wachsler June 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Wendy.
    Thank you so much for your well-wishes!
    It does sound like a hearing dog, or possibly a hearing/service combo dog could be a real help to you. Are you saying you can’t afford a hearing dog or other SD because you can’t afford to get one through a program, or because you can’t afford the care and upkeep of a dog, in general?

  8. 8 Sharon Wachsler June 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks so much, Kali!
    Yeah, Barnum is definitely making progress. Still a long way to go, but on the days I’m feeling really sick I learn both what he has learned and is reliable on, and what needs more work.

  9. 9 Sharon Wachsler June 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Brigitte and Sarah!
    Thank you so much for your support. Yes, Barnum has gotten older, wiser, and more capable of assisting me in a more reliable way.

  10. 10 wendy June 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

    We can’t afford to get one through a program.

    We lost our 19 1/2 year old dog a couple of months ago, we also have a cat. We can afford to take care of a dog in general. And I’m sure my husband makes too much money for us to qualify for a program to help pay for a service dog.

    I wish I had an inkling of an idea of how to train a dog like you do. I’ve trained dogs for normal things, but I’m lost on the specialty training.

    I hope you are feeling better, and I’m still thrilled that Barnum has been able to help you so much!


  11. 11 brilliantmindbrokenbody June 24, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I don’t know if you’re aware, Wendy, but program costs vary wildly. I paid $1,000 for Hudson. Canine Companions for Independence has a relatively long wait-list typically, but I believe their dogs are free of charge. Don’t write off a program dog because of cost!


  12. 12 Sharon Wachsler June 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Yes, program costs vary considerably, I agree.

    Also, hearing dogs require the least amount of training of any type of assistance dog because teaching alerts to sounds is one of the easiest types of tasks to train, so there might be a cost difference for a hearing dog versus a mobility service dog because the length of training is shorter.

    And then, of course, there is also owner-training. 🙂 Or even if you go through a program for a hearing dog, if you got a large sized dog as your hearing dog, you could train the dizziness help yourself.

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