Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not Happening

Eli is not going anywhere. I will never entertain the notion of losing him or any of the furbabies in our family again.
Eli is not just a family pet, which made the thought of not having him in my life that much worse. We depend on each other. Being with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week is what Eli knows. Protecting me and helping me is Eli's purpose. I can not take his purpose away from him. I also can not lose sight of the reason he came into my life and all of the hard work and dedication I have given to him, as well as my promise to continue doing so.
It became even more clear to me when I forgot I had something in the oven. From the living room, it was hard to tell that things were not going so well in the kitchen. Eli, however, was right on top of it. He was wimpering and climbing all over me until I noticed the smoke in the kitchen. Mei-li, our pet Lhasa Apso, would have let the house burn down. She was sleeping nice and cozy in the chair beside me without a care in the world. Eli was so distraught and knew he needed to get someone's attention, though. Not only did Eli remind me that dinner was in the oven, he saved it from being burnt to a crisp.
Eli came out to breakfast with me the other morning and was perfectly behaved. I am not sure if anyone even knew he was there, he was so good. Later that evening, he made sure I avoided a situation that was sure to be an embarrassing event when the MonSter reared its ugly head.
I do not know what I would do without my brave little guy and I do not want to find out. ♥

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Eli has become my best friend and my tiny little hero.
It is breaking my heart that he will be leaving me. I know he will be happy and loved, but I have literally spent the last 10 months with Eli right by my side. He gave me a measure of confidence to be alright with being out in public with my disability. He has been comforting when I am suffering through bad days and he has alerted others when I have needed someone else's assistance.
Things just have not worked out with our family's living situation. While we have an enjoyable place to live, I can not say that it is dog friendly. We have a nice property, but our doors are in close proximity to the road and letting the dogs outside is nerve racking. I would not be able to live with myself should something happen to either Eli or Mei-li.
I do not know how Eli will handle "retirement." I want to feel like he will slip right into being a pet with his new family very easily. I certainly hope this will be the case. It helps to ease my heartache slightly to know he is going to be loved and well taken care of. I am just going to miss him so much and I do not know what I am going to do without him. Never leave the house again? Probably. I may even give up driving. One of those harsh realities that comes with having an unpredictable disease and now, no tiny little hero.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Almost One

It is hard to believe that Eli is approaching one year of age.
At last check, Eli weighed in at eight pounds. He seems to be staying right around eight to nine pounds so I am pretty sure he is as big as he is going to get.
Eli has been incredible with doing his job. He certainly cannot demonstrate his willingness to do so any more than he does. He does not want me out of his sight. Eli is definitely the cutest babysitter I have ever seen and absolutely the favorite of any babysitter I have ever had in my life.
It has been suggested that Eli is muzzled when we are in public. At first I thought that was a good idea to protect others from being nipped. However, the more I give thought to it, the more I do not like it. People SHOULD NOT be reaching for Eli. It aggravates me a lot when people just reach out to touch him when we are out in public. Eli is supposed to help me feel more confident living with my disability and I should not have to shy away from situations for fear of how Eli is going to be treated. The more important reason I am uncomfortable with the idea of muzzling Eli is that he uses his mouth to alert me to symptoms. I feel as though he and I would have to do some retraining with the muzzle, but I am nervous about how he would react to the device. Eli is not able to stop me as a bigger dog would be able to. All Eli has, really, is his mouth. A muzzle would handicap him, I feel.
We are working on Eli being able to potty outside under the supervision of someone other than me. It is important for Eli to be able to take care of himself out of my presence. Right now, he barely goes out the door if I am not. When he does, he stands on the porch right at the door waiting to be let back inside. This needs to be worked on. Of course, I need to have others' cooperation with this part of Eli's ongoing training.
Eli does tend to test his limits out of doors, although he is getting better with his outside obedience. I am not sure if I can give credit to obeying my requests or if he just goes on his instinct to have to stay with me. In any event, obedience in a distracting environment needs to be strengthened and I have really been looking forward to agility classes to help with this. Unfortunately, I keep coming up short of the finances to be able to attend.
Eli does change people's views of his breed. Not a day goes by that I do not receive compliments on how smart and well-behaved Eli is. I know part of it can be attributed to the hard work and devotion I have given, but not every dog has it in them to be a working dog. It just so happens that this tiny dog has the drive to serve. <3
*??)  CRySTaLLyNN                          
?..??..*??) ?..*?)
(?..? (?..` ? God understands our prayers even when we can't find the words to say them.*??)
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Boy! Does Eli love to run around!! Most of the time it is impossible to catch him. He has not been too bad out in the yard, though. I have been reinforcing "come." It usually works and when it does not immediately work, it eventually does.
Eli has been getting more curious about the horses...and also a bit braver around them.
I can not imagine what it is like for such a tiny little guy to be looking up at something so much bigger than he is.
Eli and Mei-li seem to be getting along better. There have not been any brawls as of late. Oddly enough, Mei-li seems to be more sociable these days. Perhaps Eli had a positive effect on her.
I do not like this feeling that I can not do everything I need to be doing for Eli. He makes me proud so often. In fact, he attended his first basketball game last weekend and was excellent. People were astonished that he was not affected by the buzzer. He visited with a friendly stranger who was sitting next to me in the bleachers. The only "negative" thing was that he wanted the squeak toy that a baby was playing with. I guess Eli needs to learn that he can not have anything that squeaks.
I am just disappointed that we were not able to get to the Agility class this month. I know it would be beneficial to Eli's ongoing training and skills reinforcement. There will be other classes, I know. But feeling like we have been at a stalemate is bothering me. Eli, though, seems unaffected and just as happy as ever. ♥

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Our plans have not worked out and I am being very hard on myself for it.
My cell phone decided not to work correctly, which turned out to be a system error with my carrier, and I did not get the reminder for our first Agility class. I was so upset about that! Eli and I will have to continue waiting. I have just been feeling horrible for Eli ~ feeling like we are in limbo right now with training.
When Eli is working he makes me super proud. He amazes other people, too. I have to say that I can not remember having a dog as smart as Eli is.
When Eli is not officially on the clock, he has gotten into a routine of bad habit. This is where he is not making life a little easier for me. This is when I feel I should have gone the other way and tried for a mobility assistance dog rather than a medical alert dog.
I am sure that Eli is having issues because of the relationship between him and his big sister, Mei-li. Eli habitually urinates on my bed. There is an ocassional urination on a chair in the living room, but almost every day I find that he urinated on the bed. We have one comforter and blanket which are not even the right size for the bed, but they are the closest to being big enough. The comforter is dump material at this point because it's been washed so much and is torn to shreds. I am getting so frustrated with this behavior. I take him out constantly because I am trying to prevent it from happening. Sometimes I feel like he saves it just to do the deed on the bed.
This has made me rethink his ability to work. However, he still exhibits the drive to do his job and I do not want to disappoint him. When I look at him I am beginning to feel like I am failing him somehow. I also can not imagine not having him around, but am I giving him the best life he can have? Eli is obviously feeling stressed about something. I do not want him to be unhappy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What To Do

Eli is on My Dog Training Center's list for the upcoming Introduction to Agility class. Not only do I think Eli would have a lot of fun doing agility and would be great at it, agility is beneficial for reinforcing commands between a service dog and handler, as well. I have really been looking forward to starting this training together.
Eli is a little over nine months of age now. At this point he is beginning to grow into his adult personality. He continues to display very good manners in public and certainly knows he has a job to do. While he does not want to be bothered, he accepts a friendly stranger when I hand him over to the person. It still amazes me how many people just do not know service dog etiquette. People reach for him, talk to him, make noises to try to get his attention...these things make for a stressful outing for both me and Eli.
Eli growing into adulthood has been producing some changes with our family dog, Mei-li. In general, Mei-li does not care for other animals. On ocassion the two get along and play together. Lately, however, there has been more battling between them than friendly play. It breaks my heart to think that Mei-li and Eli seem to be increasingly unable to live peacefully together. Of course, Mei-li was here first. Recently, too, she has been wanting to go everywhere I go. Because of that it seems Eli has been marking me, or at least marking where I spend time. He has taken up marking my side of the bed and even my recliner. There are times when Eli really seems uneasy. He gets nervous and even my husband says Eli seems to be feeling insecure about something. It is very painful to me to think that neither Eli or Mei-li are living the happiest lives they can due to not being able to live in harmony with one another.
I do not know where to go from here. This is an extremely sad situation. I cannot imagine what it would be like for Eli to retire as a service dog and live with someone else. I have a feeling it would devastate him. I know he would be looking for me. Not only that, but all he knows is being with me constantly. If he had to spend time alone it would probably crush the little guy's soul. What do I do about Mei-li, though? As I type with Eli laying on my shoulder, Mei-li is laying on my pillows in the bed. This is something recent she has been doing. It seems as though they are fighting over me. Yet, Mei-li has always been more of a "daddy's girl," so I do not understand it. I hate to think that she is going to be miserable every day of her life now. The fighting between them is just getting worse. If they are jealous of each other I do not know how to fix that.
I suppose there is no easy solution. I just do not know what to do.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eli, Being Eli.

I have been able to recognize that Eli became comfortable with the other members of my family during my hospital stay. He continues to demonstrate a sense of easiness being with my husband or one of my children rather than with me on occasion. However, Eli still very strongly wants to be doing his job and is always interested in where I am and what I am doing.
I feel I have to revert a little to when I had to hold onto him all the time. Praise and reward him for being with me to reinforce that he is supposed to be with ME. Not that being comfortable with others is a bad thing. It certainly is not. It was one of the components of the Canine Good Citizen Test. We just have to remember the fine line between being a service dog and being a pet and how easy it is to cross that line. Such is the life of a service dog, though. Lifelong skills reinforcement and training.
One question that comes up with Eli being a service dog is why I carry him. First of all, Eli is a 7-pound Chihuahua mix. He accompanies me everywhere I go and it is just safer for him if he is not invisible on the ground by me all the time. Secondly, ADA Regulations state that a service dog should always be within touching distance, or no greater than a foot away from the handler. With my mobility issues and use of a cane, if I had to control Eli or protect him in a situation I would not easily be able to stoop down to pick him up. Aside from that, Eli's job is performed more efficiently the closer he is to me. Above all else, in my arms is where Eli is happiest. I am happy to have him there and equally as happy to be able to ask another family member to babysit for a moment.