Posts Tagged 'guide dogs'

The Ninth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival (#ADBC) Is Up!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

Spent a Moment with Us!

ADBC #9 is up at Learning Baby Steps. Martha really scored with the topic she picked: Moments. I’m working my way through the posts and enjoying each one. From guide dogs to psychiatric service dogs, from puppies to retirees, wonderful stories have been contributed. Some celebratory, some poignant. Moments of both life and death or the split-second moment between those two.

Please check out the carnival, read the excellent posts, and leave some comment love for the contributors!

More info about the ADBC is here. Aaaaand guess who’s hosting Number 10 in January? Yours truly! Please tune in near the beginning of January for the theme and other details.

Also, if you would like to host an upcoming carnival, all the slots after mine (April, July, and October 2013) are empty and awaiting hosts. Please comment below or contact me.

Enjoy!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SD/SDiT

It’s Carnival Time! #ADBC and PFAM

Martha at Believe in Who You Are is the host of the October edition of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. Even though she is between dogs right now, she has taken up the challenge and come up with a great theme: Moments. Please visit her Call for Entries for topic ideas, guidelines, the deadline, etc. Thank you, Martha!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

Is this the Moment for you to get involved?

Lately it has struck me how many people follow assistance dog blogs (mine or others) who are not assistance dog partners. I know a lot of wonderful dog trainers and lovers of dogs who follow After Gadget here or on Facebook. When I learned of the topic for the next ADBC, I thought, “Anyone can write on this!” I mean, I know some of you who train assistance dogs or who train pet dogs but read about service dogs on lists or blogs or Facebook must have moments you want to share — don’t you? Moments where you read something about assistance dogs or training that made you stop and think? Moments where you read an idea relating to a service dog issue and you realized it could apply to your pet dog or you? Moments that moved, inspired, or irked you?

Why not join the carnival? Come on over, the moment’s right!

And speaking of getting more people involved in the ADBC, I’ve decided to introduce the hashtag #ADBC on Twitter so that people who are tweeting about the Carnival can more easily spread the word. So please, if you write a post for the ADBC or you read a post about it you like, retweet and add the hashtag #ADBC. I am very fond of everyone who participates regularly (or sporadically) and always look forward to their take on the new topic. At the same time, I think it would be fun to expand our family and get new people reading and posting every quarter. Thank you for your help! (By the way, my handle is @aftergadget.)

Green and white rectangular badge. On top, "Patients" is written in all capital letters, in Times New Roman font in white on a kelly-green background. Below, on a white background, "for a moment" is written in green, slanted up from lower left to upper right, in a more casual, slightly scrawled font.

Meanwhile, another blog carnival is taking place now. The monthly Patients for a Moment (PFAM) blog carnival is being hosted today by Selena of Oh My Aches & Pains! She has done an amazing job of putting together a really big and fantastic(ally frightening!) carnival of The Fright Files: Stories of Medical Mistakes. Don’t miss it!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Mr. Barnum, SD/SDiT

Guest Post: Dealing with Second Dog Syndrome

I’m delighted to be able to offer this guest post today by psychologist and long-time guide dog partner, Kathie Schneider. You’ll learn more about Kathie and her new blog in her bio at the bottom of this post.

Reading Kathie’s article made me aware that one can go through “Second Dog Syndrome” with any successor dog — not necessarily only the second. I experienced virtually every emotional twist and turn she describes below when I got Barnum, even though he was my third dog, not my second.

I hope you will find this post as supportive and informative as I have. If so, give Kathie some love in the comments. And I hope Kathie will return with future guest posts about assistance dog grief, loss, or transition.

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SD/SDiT

Three Steps to Dealing with Second Dog Syndrome

By Katherine Schneider, Ph.D and guide dog user for 39 years

If you’ve had more than one service/assistance dog and someone brings up the subject of second dog syndrome (SDS), I’ll bet you know exactly what they’re talking about. Maybe you didn’t have it a lot or maybe it didn’t hit you until your third dog; but comparing, and finding you don’t love or like second dog as much as first dog, is as natural as dogs greeting by smelling each others’ back ends, but not nearly as much fun.

The first step in dealing with second dog syndrome is accepting it as real and forgivable. Of course you compare; young children learn to pick out what’s different in a picture and we praise them for noticing differences. New Dog may look different, act different, work different, and even smell different. You had history with Old Dog. All you have with New Dog is hopes and dreams. As Old Dog gets further in the past, memories of the bad things they did fade first; in other words, they become a saint. New Dog is young and foolish and the bad things they do are right here and now.

Most of all, you have changed. You’re older and perhaps less flexible, both physically and mentally. If Old Dog worked well for you, it was a life changer for you, kind of like first love. Now you’ve come to expect that level of dignity and independence in a functioning service/assistance dog. New Dog has big shoes to fill. If Old Dog didn’t work out well, you’ve got a million ideas of what you and New Dog need to do differently this time.

So when you think those thoughts of “Old Dog would never have done that,” “I don’t love/like New Dog,” and “I wish I still had Old Dog,” chalk it up to second dog syndrome and say to yourself, to New Dog, or to a friend who might understand, “I’m having a SDS moment, forgive me.”

If you acknowledge those second dog syndrome thoughts instead of trying to fight them, they lose some of their power. You’re not wasting your time and energy feeling guilty. Instead you can begin step two: When you find yourself comparing, try to add an “and” occasionally. Old Dog was better at this and New Dog is good at this. On a really bad day it may be, “And New Dog looks cute when he/she is asleep.” When others point out, “Old dog would never have done that” about your New Dog, all you can say is, “Yes and I really miss Old Dog too.” Unless of course you have time to educate the thoughtless passer-by about second dog syndrome. Included in that education could be the fact that New Dog is not a replacement, but a successor. Old Dog will never be replaced.

The third step is give it time and work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are relationships. Gradually you may notice more things about New Dog that you like and they will grow up and settle into their job. If you take care of them like a valued employee, they’ll work to earn your trust and love. In my experience, they’re quicker to love than I am anyway, so as I find myself with each successor dog in the middle of my heart I learn that I have a big heart. Then when people ask, “Which was your favorite, really?” I can truthfully say: “It’s just like your kids; they are each my favorite in different ways.”

* * *

Katherine Schneider, Ph.D. is a retired clinical psychologist, blind from birth and living with fibromyalgia. She’s written a memoir, To the Left of Inspiration: Adventures in Living with Disabilities, and a children’s book, Your Treasure Hunt: Disabilities and Finding Your Gold. She’s had Seeing Eye dogs for 39 years. Her latest writing venture is a blog, Kathie Comments, about subjects ranging from aging with disabilities to assistance/service dogs to disability activism.

Signal Boost: IAADP’s Assistance Dog Grief Pilot Program

I’ve posted previously about the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP), and I frequently encourage people involved with assistance dogs to join the organization. Why? It’s a unique organization in that it represents and supports all people with assistance dogs (ADs), regardless of the type (guide, hearing, service, or combo) or training (private-trained, program-trained, partner-trained, or a combination) of the AD. And, while most members live in the US, like its name says, it is an international organization.

IAADP provides benefits to partner members, including an information help line and discounts for certain supplies and veterinary products. It’s also a terrifically effective activist organization. And it has a great newsletter, Partner’s Forum, that is entertaining and very informative.

Anyone can join IAADP, although to be a partner member (to receive partner-member benefits and to vote in elections), you must be a disabled person partnered with an adult working service dog who meets certain criteria. However, trainers, puppy raisers, AD programs, and other interested parties can get a lot out of a friend membership or provider membership, as well as supporting an excellent cause.

I’ve been an IAADP member since I trained my first service dog in 1999. Toni Eames — one of the founders and long-time officer of the organization — used to be listed as the person to call for grief support. Sadly, three weeks before Gadget died, Toni’s husband, Ed Eames, the president of IAADP, died. Obviously I did not call her for grief support. I figured she had more than enough grief to deal with on her own. Ed’s loss was a loss to the entire assistance dog community, in fact.

However, in the years since then, Partner’s Forum has had some articles — and referred to pamphlets — about grief-related issues. I’m hoping they’ll eventually appear on the IAADP website. Meanwhile, in the April 2012 edition of the newsletter, the following information appeared:

Pilot Program for Grieving Partners

Are you grieving the loss or the impending retirement of your assistance dog? Would you like to participate in a monthly support group by phone with others in the same situation? A committee of the IAADP will start offering these phone calls in June, 2012. If interested, email ADLC[at]iaadp.org and one of the call facilitators will be in touch with you to see if the group is right for you. Since the committee has no idea how many assistance dog partners may be interested in this service, the first ones who contact ADLC[at]iaadp.org will be served first.

If you’ve been through the loss of an assistance dog and would like to  consider helping the committee, please also contact us at the above e-mail address or call 888-544-2237 and leave your name and phone number for a return call.

We want to be there for you in this time of transition.

So, if you’re interested in offering or receiving support on assistance dog loss, and you are not yet a member of IAADP, this is a good time to look into that. You can also find the announcement at the IAADP website’s Assistance Dog Loss Committee page.

– Sharon, remembering Jersey and Gadget, and currently partnered with Barnum, SD/SDiT

Prize Update! Call for Entries: 8th Assistance Dog Blog Carnival

Now there is a raffle, too! Anyone who submits a post to the Carnival will also be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card! Read Brooke’s announcement here. Please spread the word about the ADBC!

* * *

Brooke at ruled by paws has swooped in to take on hosting the July Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. Thank you, Brooke! Check out her this thorough and enticing call for submissions that she just posted.

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

March to Your Own Drum!

Brooke has selected a really fun theme with a lot of possibilities for diverse topics: Marchin’ to Your Own Drum. You can find out all the details, including how to submit a post, the deadline for submissions, and topic ideas at her call for submissions.

Please spread the word to other bloggers you know and people with an interest in assistance dogs. I’m optimistic that this will be a great carnival. Not only do we have a great topic and a very able host, but I think we will probably have some new participants because of the “buzz” I’ve already seen on this topic on Twitter and because the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) just published an article on the carnival in their newsletter.

So, fellow partners, trainers, puppy raisers, friends, allies, and others, please talk up the ADBC on your social media or elsewhere. And for those who want to participate, please start thinking about what you want to write. If you are new to the carnival and want to see past issues or learn other details about how it works, please check out the carnival home page. If you have any further comments or questions, please comment below!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum SD/SDiT

Gotcha Day! (Got Me)

Hi folks.

Two years ago tonight, Betsy brought home a little bundle of fluff who turned into Barnum, my wonderful service dog/service dog in training. I was looking forward to a celebratory post today of lots of pictures of him doing all the stuff he’s learned in our two years together!

Today, I did get a bunch of pics of him — opening and shutting doors, turning lights on and off, opening the fridge, and being generally adorable and super fluffy. Unfortunately, the energy expended in doing all that has left me very weak and in too much pain to upload, post, caption, and tag pics. Typing this is painful and exhausting, but I wanted to say SOMETHING because INSIDE I am celebrating!

We LOVE Barnum! He is an awesome snugglebear lovemuffin and he’s become pretty smart, too!

So, consider this a placeholder. As requested by Cyndy, I am trying to post some of his baby pics from when he just arrived and “looked like a teddy bear” on our Facebook page. Stop by and go, “Awww.”

If you have memories of him as a puppy, or of me talking about him as a pup, please share in comments!

Love from . . .

Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum SD/SDiT

P.S. Speaking of adorable puppies who grow up to be assistance dogs, the awesome L-Squared of Dog’s Eye View is holding an auction to complete her sponsorship of a puppy for Guide Dogs of America — the program from which she obtained her current guide dog, Jack. Please check out her auction, bid, share, tweet, and generally spread the word for a great cause!

P.P.S. Speaking of auctions, the one I’ve been working on for my NVC teacher, Marlena, is getting ready to go up. If you have offered to donate an item, I would really appreciate it if you could try to get me your listing info within the next week. Thank you! (And mark your calendars to visit the auction starting March 9! We have some truly amazing offerings!)

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival #6 Seeking Entries!

It’s ADBC time again, folks! (If you’re not familiar with the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, you can read all about it here.)

The host for this edition is Cait at Dogstar Academy. The theme she’s chosen is “Obstacles,” and she has some nifty thoughts to ponder on the topic.

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

There should be no obstacles to a great carnival!

I didn’t see a deadline in her call for entries, but she indicates she plans to publish the carnival on January 29, so assume you have to get your posts to her before that date, at the very least. (If she posts an update, I’ll modify this post to give the deadline.)

Check out her call for submissions!

And please share, tweet, and generally spread the word about this carnival so that anyone who might like to participate has time. For those who are planning on posting, may you find no obstacles in your path.

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SDiT

The 5th ADBC – Achievement – Is Up!

I’m about two weeks late in announcing this. I was without power due to the freak October snow storm that slammed us in New England, and then my internet was down for another week or so. But even after my satellite connection was fixed, the only site I could not access was Cyndy Otty’s blog, Gentle Wit, where the new Assistance Dog Blog Carnival was posted! Frustrating!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue, a font that looks like it's dancing a bit.

We've achieved another great carnival!

Fortunately, Cyndy is a tech wizard, and she gave me some suggestions for messing with my browser that fixed the problem (emptied cache and cleared cookies). Now I am devouring the posts — it’s a delicious carnival! There is definitely a celebratory feel to this one, thanks to the theme of “Achievement.” Cyndy did a fabulous job of promoting and hosting and presenting the content. I definitely encourage you to hop over and check it out.

The next ADBC will go up in January. Look for an announcement of the theme and deadline by its host, Cait at Dogstar Academy, some time in December. To read past editions of ADBC or to learn what it’s about, visit the carnival’s home page.

Bone appetit!

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SDiT

Round-Up: Assistance Dog News, Notes, Updates

Today is a bit of a roundup. Too much going on. Can’t devote a post to any of these topics alone.

First of all, to all my femme sisters, happy International Femme Appreciation Day! I wanted to do a post on this topic, but I couldn’t manage. So, if you want to read some good, very diverse writing on femme life and identity, including several essays that deal with disability in some way (one of which is by me, and another of which is by Peggy Munson, who also has CFIDS, MCS, and Lyme), I suggest the two-volume set Visible: A Femmethology.

Of course, in the comments, feel free to tell me how much you appreciate me, as a fabulous femme dyke. Just an idea. (Note: You can appreciate me even though I didn’t manage to publish this till July 3, instead of July 2.)

And now, in assistance dog news.

First, the less cheery news items. . . .

Goodbye to an American hero, Roselle of GDB. Sadly, Roselle, the guide dog who led her partner out of the World Trade Center shortly before it collapsed on September 11, 2001, died last week at the age of 13. There is a book coming out about her soon. Here’s a news story on Roselle’s passing.

Restaurant denies access because of “too many” service dogs. Recently, thirteen people who had reservations for dinner at 5:00 PM at a Dedham, Mass., restaurant were turned away, because six in the party are blind and had their guide dogs with them. When the store management refused to seat the group, they called the Dedham police. (BTW, Dedham is not too far from my hometown.) The police officer refused to uphold the law, kept on saying how he has a daughter who uses a wheelchair, so he understands, but they are being confrontational and should leave. (With allies like that, who needs, um, allies?) He also did helpful things like, when one of the blind people asked  for his badge number, he held up his shield to show them. Great!. Here is one of many news stories on it. You can also find it on Twitter, with the hashtag #bambooadafail

In happier assistance dog news. . . .

The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) now has a Facebook fan page! You can visit their fan page here. They also still have their regular, very informative website, that they’ve had for years, which you can visit here.

International Assistance Dog Week is just a month away! It takes place this year from August 7 through August 13. Assistance dog partners, trainers, puppy raisers, and others are encouraged to do something fun and/or educational to raise awareness about, and good will towards, assistance dogs and their partners. I don’t know yet what I’ll do for it. I’m pondering. You can get materials and ideas from the official Assistance Dog Week website, and there is also a Facebook fan page to visit for ideas and community.

If your “Please Don’t Pet Me, I’m Working” patches are not effective enough, there are some good ideas at the Please Don’t Pet Me website and especially at their Facebook page. I particularly like some of the wording on this placard that a SD partner made and attached to her dog’s mobility harness handle. It’s very eye-catching, with lots of colors, and the way it’s designed. It says, “Do not pet. Do not distract. Mobility & Medical Alert Service dog. Questions stress person ~ has brain injury ~ please stop.” Amen to that.

And lastly, remember that the fourth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival is coming up! The July ADBC is being hosted by the wonderful Kali at Brilliant Mind Broken Body. The theme is “Differences.” Make a difference in the carnival and write and submit a blog post!

Must. Train. Dog.

G’night.

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SDiT!

Barnum Officially Proclaimed Awesome

It’s official. Not only do I think Barnum is awesome, but so do Carin and Trixie at VomitComet and Brooke and Cessna at Ruled by Paws!

Awesome Blog Award

It's official. We're awesome.

[Image description: Square with black edges and a pale gray-striped interior. In the upper left, inside a hot pink rectangle, it says, “This blog has been given a…” Below that, on the regular background, it says, “Awesome Blog Award!” There is a horizontal straight-line ribbon graphic with the words “AWESOME” repeated over and over as form of wallpaper, with a black seal-of-approval on the lower right, inside which it says in hot-pink and white letters, “Nominated for being so damn Awesome.“]

It’s nice to get some recognition from your peers, isn’t it? Especially all the fabulous things that Carin said about After Gadget.

Barnum is already told on an almost hourly basis how wonderful he is by anyone in his presence, so I don’t think he thinks this is anything new. I, on the other hand, have been having a rough time, emotionally, lately, and will take all the ego-boosting I can!

To read who else is awesome and get some inside dirt on Trixie and Cessna, visit VomitComit’s Somebody Else Thinks We’re Awesome post and Ruled by Paws’ Awesome Blog Award post.

To accept this award, we have to reveal seven unknown fascinating tidbits about ourselves, and we have to choose 15 other blogs upon whom to bestow the honor.

I’m going to write the seven revelations about me, because you probably already know almost all there is to know about Barnum!

Sharon’s Secrets, Revealed!

1. I love to dance. Before I became disabled, I learned swing and ballroom, a little bit of modern, and whatever else I could. As a kid I took jazz and tap. I sucked at jazz and didn’t like it. I really liked tap, but none of the other girls did, and I had no self-esteem, so I didn’t pursue it because it wasn’t cool. Sigh. Once I was old enough (actually, thanks to a fake ID, well before I was old enough), I went out clubbing as often as I could. I even did some go-go dancing. After I got sick, I occasionally tried to do some wheelchair dancing for special events. Of all the things I miss about being able to move my body however I want, I miss dancing the most.

2. I was the graduation speaker for my class at my commencement at Tufts University. I won this honor by being awarded the Wendell Phillips Award, which is given to one student every year at both Tufts and Harvard University who display oratory skill and community leadership. The award is named after the abolitionist preacher. The president of the university tried to find a way to prevent me from speaking, because he was afraid of my scary radical militant lesbian ways. [Eye roll.] The irony is that, because he tried to silence me, I revealed his dirty deed in my remarks. I played Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” on a boom box at the end of the speech and got a standing ovation.

3. I have paradoxical reactions to many medications, including antihistamines and tranquilizers, such as Sudafed or Valium. Instead of making me sleepy, they make me shaky, anxious, sweaty, and wiiiiiiide awake.

4. I used to have a pet snake named Falstaff. She was a garter snake. She liked to curl up in my hair on the top of my head. She ate live goldfish for her meals. I discovered she hunted by smell when she twice bit my thumb after I’d poured the goldfish into her bowl. After that, I always washed my hands after touching the goldfish, and she never bit me again.

5. I am a total Harry Potter fanatic. When I am going through a hard time, I listen to the entire set of CDs over and over. I have most of the books memorized by now. I wish I didn’t feel so compelled to watch the movies, because they have messed up my previously well-established imaginings about exactly what each character looks and sounds like.

6. Some day, when I am well enough, I would like to foster and train hypoallergenic rescues as assistance dogs for other PWDs who have dog allergies and don’t have the fanatacism interest or ability to train their own assistance dogs. Or, even better, I’d like to work with people to train their dogs, themselves.

7. I  have several books in my head or on my computer that I hope to polish and publish eventually. They range from poetry for children, to a compilation of my Sick Humor essays, to an anthology of disability erotica, and more. I have ideas for three dog-related books, too.

I’m supposed to list fifteen other blogs I think are awesome. I’ve decided to include some non-blogs, as well, mostly youtube channels, because 15 is a lot, and I already passed on the One Lovely Blog Award to a bunch of blogs, previously.

I’m focusing my list on blogs and sites that are either new to me (and may have nothing to do with disability, dogs, or training) and/or blogs that are related to the themes of After Gadget. These are in no particular order.

1. Adoption Paradox. This is one of the blogs I stumbled across when dealing recently with “the unpleasantness,” and then I just happened to get sucked into it. Why? It’s extremely well-written and compelling, and if you are new to the issues adoptees face, and the social-justice implications of adoption, it will be an education.

2. Through a Guide’s Eyes. This is a relatively new blog by my long-time friend, Karyn. Karyn was my mentor when I started training Jersey, and over the years, we have both experienced great changes in our disabilities and lives (and have gone through the process of loss and training of successor dogs). Karyn’s posts are impressively frequent and packed with information. Almost everyone can learn something from Karyn’s perspective, as she is in the unique role being a handler/trainer of combo dogs who act as guide, hearing, and service dogs.

3. this ain’t livin’. This is the personal blog of writer s.e. smith (aka Meloukhia), one of the founders of my favorite blog ever, FWD/Forward. Meloukhia posts at least daily, on subjects ranging from pop culture (especially Glee!), class, feminism, book reviews, disability, food, and uh, lots of interesting stuff. It sort of  defies definition. If you don’t want to think, don’t read this blog, cuz you might be forced to think.

4. Remembering Niko. One of the loveliest people I met online due to Gadget’s lymphoma diagnosis is Bettina, who lost her (pet) dog Niko to canine lymphoma. Her site has terrific resources, support, and information on pet loss, including pages on anticipatory grief, what to expect from euthanasia, and common symptoms and signs of grief. I’m still working on my grief support pages, but if you are grieving a dog (or other animal), you will find much you can relate to at Remembering Niko. Reading the story of Bettina and Niko’s life together is also quite remarkable and touching.

5. & 6. BZ Training. This delightful blog is well-written, humorous, and has great photos. Kathleen is another Training Levels fanatic, so she writes a lot about the Levels, but even if you’re not interested in clicker training, golden retrievers, or dog photography, her writing is natural and compelling. She gets two slots, because her clicker videos, username, BZFischer, are outstanding! If you want to learn how to shape a training enthusiast, check out her youtubes. Yes, I am jealous of her. She’s so damn good.

7. & 8. Here’s another woman who’s so talented, she earns two slots. Her awesome blog, Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs has been on my blogroll since the beginning. VIAD teaches people with disabilities to train their own assistance dogs. It is an informational/instructional blog. Even better than the blog are Donna’s videos; find her on youtube as supernaturalbc2008. They are captioned, and some also have voice narration. She breaks things down into easy-to-understand steps and concepts. Some of the best clicker videos ever made are her “9 Habits of Highly Effective Clicker Trainers” series. She covers foundation behaviors, mobility assistance, hearing alert, diabetes alert, and more. (Again, totally jealous.)

9. The Angry Black Woman. This is actually a blog with three contributors (but don’t worry, they all identify as angry, black, and women), but I like ABW’s posts best. The blog’s subtitle is “Race, Politics, Gender, Sexuality, Anger,” and it does contain all of that, as well as a lot on speculative fiction (SF/F), writers/writing, and dealing with People Who Don’t Get It in a refreshingly straightforward, enjoyably angry manner. I came across ABW when I was looking for links I could put up for some commenters here who Didn’t Get It, and I felt all my knotted-up muscles relax when I started reading ABW, especially The BINGO Project and its comments.

10. Marge and her Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Terrific videos of the happiest-looking dogs you’ll ever see. Oh, and thy just happen to be rescues with awful pasts. Oh, and they just happen to be doing fabulous, often funny skills, like “Ridgeback Cleaning Service,” or holding a raw egg in their mouths, or sitting on their person’s head (on cue).

11. Eileen is another clicker trainer who has a lot to teach humans. She’s been very generous with her advice to me and posts here. Helpful, kindly, and humble, she has some great videos (included in my previous blog) on why dogs may fail to understand cues (commands) that you think they should. She also has Levels videos and various other good dog training fun stuff. Her youtube channel is eileenanddogs

12. Writer in a Wheelchair. I just discovered this British blogger thanks to the latest disability blog carnival. Disability rights activism, humor, culture, and general life-about-town as a person with a disability. Good politics, and informative for me about life with disability on the other side of the pond.

13. Ham Blog/Annaham. Annaham is another one of the founders of the blog formerly known as FWD/Forward. At its previous locale, Ham.Blog had the best subtitle, ever: “Ruining feminism, one pain pill at a time.” The new subtitle is “Promoting disability since 2008 or so.” It should be obvious that this blog includes humor, disability, and feminism. There are also various social justice themes, but mostly, lately, she’s doing cartoons, drawings, and other artwork, often related to chronic pain, but not necessarily. Another one that sort of defies description. What can I say? She’s good. I like her.

14. Wheelie catholic. This is a great blog that I often forget to read, and then, when I do, I think, “Yeah! OMG! I’m dealing with just that same thing!” It’s well-written, thoughtful, and real.

15. The Fibrochondriac. Another friend of the blog! (Hi, Kathy!) Kathy was on of the first bloggers I “met” online, and she helped me believe I could do this blogging thing. I’ll be honest, when I first saw the name of her blog, I thought two things: 1. “That’s witty and clever!” 2. “Uh-oh.” I mean, I knew she didn’t discount the reality of fibro or other chronic illnesses, but I didn’t know if her take on fibro would be some sort of falsely peppy, cheerleaderish sort of roses-and-sunshine blog (which seems to be popular among women blogging about chronic illness) that would downplay the realness of her illness. But no, her blog is very real and readable and fun. She’s got backbone! (Which probably aches.)

Whew! It took me a long time to put this together!

-Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum (SDiT with one actual service skill in place! Will try to video and post eventually!)


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