Deep Breath – Start Fresh

Invisible Awareness Week is September 12th – 18th this year. I love the theme of this year’s promotion. How often do we take a DEEP BREATH and START FRESH? Perhaps the better question is how often do we NEED to do these two things?

Invisible illness or disability definitely takes adjustment. However, just when we may feel as if we have adjusted to a new lifestyle something will happen to take us back to “ground zero”. It may be that your disability or illness is progressive. Or perhaps, your life has simply changed in such a way that living with your challenges requires a new plan. For example, my children are now adults. Even though they still live at home at 21 and 20-years of age, both are working and going to college. This means that they may LIVE here, but I don’t see them as often as I did when they were younger. That means I don’t have the assistance of people who hear as often as I once did.

Part of the reason I decided to train and be matched with a canine partner, was so that I would be independent of my family’s help. Chloe has been a big blessing and I am grateful for her work of being my EARS and to help me with balance-related tasks. For all that she does, however, there are things she cannot do for me. A couple of weeks ago I needed to make a doctor’s appointment. The voice on the other end of the line had a heavy accent. Chloe obviously cannot assist me in understanding a voice with a heavy accent. However, I have found that because my life changes have been gradual, I already had a plan in place for when no one was home to help me with a call that had a heavily accented voice.

Are you a person living with a chronic or invisible illness? Do you have an invisible (or visible) disability? Do a quick assessment of your life, coping mechanisms, and skills. Do you need to take a deep breath and start fresh?

If you are a person living with invisible illness, I encourage you to check out the site for Invisible Awareness Week. Perhaps you can help to spread the word! There are a great number of resources available at the website.

Denise Portis

© 2011 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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Plan Ahead – But BEWARE!

Ah January! Don’t you love January? There is something about the beginning of a new year, isn’t there? Many of us make resolutions or commitments, although some of those same commitments we are pretty wishy-washy with no real resolve to complete them. Folks decide to quit smoking, drinking, or eat better and get fit. Some decisions are a wee bit ridiculous… even ludicrous. Those who end a year with a shout, “I DID IT!”, set realistic and practical goals.

Plan but Don’t Go Overboard

I’m a real “planner”. I live by my Google-calendar, and insist every family member use the same. We all have access to each other’s calendars. This is necessary as we have four drivers and workers sharing two vehicles. It is also necessary because “mama hates nothing worse than to fix a family ‘sit down’ meal, only to discover no one is home“! Mama? Well that’s me… and I’m here to tell you that really is a pet peeve. If they are suppose to all be home for a family dinner, they’d better be present when it comes time to set the table, sit down, and enjoy a big meal. My kids have a good number of activities other than school. If they want transportation, they’d better check our calendars!

Planning can get out of hand, however. I’m a little OCD. (Clears throat nervously when envisioning all those reading who know me well). OK. Perhaps I’m a LOT OCD, but I have come a long way! In high school and college I was truly “over the top” and my organized life was only due to a very unhappy disorder that had taken over my life. I’m more relaxed now about planning and organizing. Sure! Google calendar is my anchor for each day’s activities, but I have a messy desk, can walk by a dog toy on the carpet and no longer obsessively check things.

Your resolutions and “new commitments” will go a long way if you plan ahead. One of my own decisions is to get healthy and fit, then stay that way. I do not want to develop Type 2 Diabetes like so many in my family have. This means I have to plan a menu and grocery list and not just “show up” to super Wal-mart each week. I buy snacks, but only healthy ones. If my kids want “junk”, they have to buy it themselves and keep it in their rooms. Sometimes they will write a particular cookie they are craving on the shopping list, or perhaps they’ll go shopping WITH me. Unhealthy snacks cannot just be “laying around” in the kitchen. I want them OUT OF TEMPTATION’S WAY. I plan a good part of my day. I have to plan my day to a certain degree in order to determine when I work, do school, do housework and work in EXERCISE.

Even my assistance dog, Chloe, has put on a few pounds this past year. Three pounds for a canine is a lot. I have until May to help her get back in tip-top shape. First thing they do on certification day is weigh your dog! Walking helps us both get back into shape. Since it won’t be above 32 degrees for the next two weeks, I can see in advance that I will be walking VERY FAST. It’s been cold enough that even Chloe has stayed on track and not attempted to do anything but MOVE. (‘course… that may be because no bunnies are currently out and about).

I’m also using Spark People this year to track my nutrition and fitness. It’s easy, motivating and QUICK. I’ve seen some folks on the website who are Spark SUPER STARS. Honestly, if I had to put that much time into a “new me”, I’d lose myself somewhere. If you are planning and trying to get organized, make it simple, efficient, and fun or you won’t be doing it when February peeps around the corner!

When is Planning Wrong?

Some people work hard to make plans for work, their education, and their lives. They may have short-term goals and long-term goals. They may plan out every tiny detail. The only problem with being this way, is that when “life happens”, it can undermine confidence, destroy good intentions, and serve to produce anxiety at the deepest level. Joyce Meyer said in her book, Be Anxious For Nothing, “Learn from the past and prepare for the future, but live in the present”. She cautions against planning “too much”. Doing so can actually produce anxiety.

Have you ever been anxious? Worried? Sometimes our planning may go awry. None of us PLAN for financial difficulties, sickness, or a death in the family. You can check out my Google calendar and I can guarantee you will not find anywhere that our “Sump pump needs repaired”. We also did not plan for a circuit being “fried” due to my daughter’s space heater. These small, but unexpected bills add up.

No where on my calendar does it say, “Family shares a virus”, yet how often does that happen in any given month? Some people worry excessively about what “may happen”. Perhaps they’ve been hit by life hard and have already learned what the mean and vicious bite of unexpected tragedy feels like! They bear the scars, and fear “all things with teeth” as a result. Joyce Meyer continues in her book to say, “Anxiety is caused by trying to mentally and emotionally get into things that are not here yet or things that have already been — mentally leaving where you are and getting into an area of the past or the future”. We simply cannot plan for everything. Life happens.

The book of Matthew, reminds us, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). Planning can be helpful – even necessary to help us reach our goals. But write your plan on paper, not stone. Life has a way of changing our plans. It is very healthy to live TODAY to its fullest. If your plan is malleable, it can coordinate with the plans of others. If your plan is in pencil, changes can be made and adaptations created in order to make a “work in progress”. If your plan is on paper, you can wad it up and toss it towards a trashcan; one written in stone can only be hefted around like a burden and eventually dropped – ON YOUR FOOT – in defeat.

Plans are necessary for most people. I plan in advance by carrying extra batteries for my cochlear implant. I make sure I have Chloe’s ‘to go’ bag always stocked and prepared. I check my Google calendar at least three times a day. I have a list of things I MUST do, and a list of “hope to”. My plans do not include falling backwards down the stairs after tripping over our bouncy Elkhound. I didn’t plan it, but tumble I did last week! (Meniere’s has a way of making sure your plans have some fun “Whoops!” in there!). A man in our church had a seizure following the service yesterday. I’m not a gambler, but I’d put “money on it”, that he did not plan for that to happen. (Praying for you T. family!) Make plans, but be prepared for things to happen that you’ve not exactly planned for!

Planning is helpful and can be a great life tool. However, planning excessively can allow anxiety and stress take its toll on you emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically. I leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about “planning”:

Henry David Thoreau: “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”

Philip Crosby: “If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.”

Choice not chance, determines human destiny. (anonymous)

Denise Portis

© 2010 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

Surgery Date

chloe-after-vet

Chloe relaxes after pre-surgical blood tests

We had an unexpected surprise at the vet today.  Last week we found what looked like a “mole” or “wart” on the tip of Chloe’s ear.  I made an appointment at the vet more to put my mind at ease than anything else.

Turns out it is a cluster-cell tumor (with a big ol’ long word in the beginning that I just could NOT make out).  ear-0021Chances are greatest that it is benign as most of these are, but surgery is schedulled to remove it on Wednesday.  We are getting a biopsy done “just in case”, as Chloe is a working dog.  The vet nor I either one wanted to take any chances.

Chloe enchants everyone who meets her up close, and face-to-face.  The vets all love her, and she actually enjoys the attention and love from others as she gets to be “off vest” while there. She loves people.  They had to “take her away” to draw blood for the pre-surgical blood work.  I heard a sound, and only saw the vet tech’s wide eyes on the other side of the counter about 20 yards down the hallway.  Evidently Chloe escaped.  (She isn’t use to not being right with me all the time, poor thing).  Chloe came barreling around the corner going full steam right at me!  I was speechless!  Fido‘s training “kicked-in” and right before she ran me over, I used the hand motions for a long recall.  She sat prim and proper after skidding to a halt.  Whew!

The vet said she was going to make some notes for the surgical team to make sure they made the smallest notch possible in her ear, and that they would use special sutures.  Still in shock, I only nodded numbly while she explained this.  I guess she was thinking that Chloe is in public all the time, and extra care should be taken?

A field spaniel with a snake bite came in while I was getting ready to leave, so scheduling the surgery went rather quickly.  Wednesday I drop her off (no food or water) around 7 AM.  I get to pick her up after 7 PM.  Will this be a long day for me or WHAT?  Grin!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

Made a Spectacle of Herself

This morning I went to the grocery store.  I hate to go on Fridays, but we were out of a few things that I couldn’t wait for at a later date.  I went first thing in the morning, anxious to avoid the crowds that hit the grocery store on Friday afternoon.

Chloe was in rare form and a bit too playful.  The autumn weather was gorgeous, so I chalked her good mood up to that, and decided this trip would be productive as she was also anxious to work.

Once we entered the store, Chloe decided I needed everything she came across on the floor.  As this is a new skill for her (point and say “fetch object” to different items), I gave her some leeway.  I hope to eventually have her cued to specifics like “fetch water bottle”.  She already recognizes the specifics “fetch keys” and “fetch phone”.  A recent skill she learned was picking up a piece of paper.  This can be tricky, as paper tears easily.  She needs to make sure she doesn’t put a foot on it during the process of lifting it off the floor with her teeth.

The picture above is her fetching my shopping list.  To Chloe, this is a very grand game; she doesn’t realize that on days my balance is bad that the last thing I want to do is to reach clear to the floor for something flat.  So if it is a game to her and HELP to me, we are both happy.

At the check out, I walked into one of the “self-check” out lines.  These things use to scare me to death, and I actually blogged about a particularly funny “first encounter” here.  Now that I have a cochlear implant, I actually like these lines as I can hear the computer very well, and it also chirps and dings.  The conveyor belt even “whirs”!  All of these “noises” are wonderful little reminders of the blessing of “hearing again”, so I probably take more time than I should.

After completing the scan of all of my items, I pressed “finish and pay” just like the “self check-out” veteran I am.  Unfortunately, my Amex card wouldn’t scan.  I caught the eye of a nearby front-line manager, and she came over to see what the problem was.  Evidently it wouldn’t take credit cards “today”, so she printed out a receipt and asked me to follow her to HER cash register where I could scan my card.

I quickly zipped my Amex card through, and promptly dropped it on the floor.  Chloe, still in a great “I’m fetching everything today” mood, did exactly what a hearing assistance dog is suppose to do.  They are trained to do automatic retrieves, as HoH and deaf people often do not HEAR what they’ve dropped.  So before I could interfere, she was in a “bow” trying to pick up my credit card.

Dropped credit cards are “ornery little pieces of plastic” when laying on a hard surface.  She tried for about 20 seconds and then kind of smacked at it and “woofed” softly.  I heard laughter from several different locations, and so lifted my head to see who was watching.  I became aware of 4 or 5 employees standing there watching.  Chloe, a trifle exasperated, started lifting my shoe by the shoe strings in order to retrieve SOMETHING.  I whispered WRONG, as this can set me on my behind fairly quickly! She spied a dropped receipt and quickly retrieved THAT and laid it in my hand.  I pointed once more to the card, and she finally was able to flip it enough with a toenail that she could pick it up.

Applause and cheers erupted around us, and I bemusedly grinned at my working dog. She sat there sweetly with tail flopping 90 mph, very VERY proud of herself.  Several standing around asked her name, and I told them.  In hindsight, that actually wasn’t very smart.  When they see her now and call her name, she’ll want to see who knows her.  Sigh.  I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.  It’s there on my horizon most certainly, as I never go to any grocery store but this one!

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

Hound & Determined

Chloe and I will be participating in Fidos For Freedom’s 10th annual Stroll ‘n Roll on November 8th. We need people to volunteer to be on our team, and also are looking for donations to reach our goal.

I started training at Fidos For Freedom in Laurel, Maryland on April Fool’s Day in 2006. It was a long thirteen months, but months I needed to learn how my assistance dog would help me to be more independent and confident. Fidos matches dogs with clients “free of charge”, with on site training and follow-up, offering everything a client needs to succeed with a service dog. They match dogs for people with hearing loss like myself, as well as clients with mobility challenges. Every “match” is a life changed.

Chloe and I are looking for local volunteers to walk with us on Nov. 8th, but team members do not even have to participate the day of the walk. You can still join our team and help us reach our goal by simply contacting people you know who might help. I hope you will prayerfully consider supporting us in this way.

We also are looking for people who feel led to provide a small donation to help us reach our goal. Fidos For Freedom serves our community with specially trained dogs from professional trainers FREE to people with disabilities. They can only do that because of the donations of people like you! No amount is “too small”. Every dollar brings us that much closer to making sure another person with a disability is “matched” with a Fidos For Freedom dog. I hope you will stop by our page and join our team, or support us with a small donation today! Thank you in advance!

Hugs and slobbery kisses,
Denise and Chloe

Waiting for the Woof

People who love dogs often get along great.  Folks who have an interest in dog-training, often find that they, too, can easily become friends.  Those who are in training or waiting for a service dog, have a unique bond of shared experiences, dreams, and a new-found independence.

I am very blessed to live close to Fidos For Freedom, Inc., in Laurel, Maryland.  It is not only where I received my own working dog, Chloe, but I have made many friends of the clients and “fidos” there.  We continue to train and “hone our skills”.  It’s even better that I call my trainer… FRIEND.

The internet is a wonderful thing.  Not only can you research and “learn”, but it also levels the “playing field” for many with disabilities.  I know deaf people, blind people, and folks with mobility challenges who use the internet and “connect”.

I read a lot of different types of blogs.  Obviously, I have an interest in service dogs and matches between canine/people partners.  I met Elizabeth online through our blogs.  She has a great blog called “Waiting for the Woof“.  She is waiting to be matched with a dog through PAALS

She writes about the “wait”, and also posts a great deal of information and “news” about service dogs.  I have actually learned a thing or two (or three) from reading her blog.  We’ve also connected “off blog” through email and I’m very excited about her upcoming match with a working dog of her own!

PAALS differs from Fidos For Freedom, in that the client is responsible for seeking donations and funds towards the expense of their Fido… or in this case “Woof”!  I wanted to help Elizabeth get the word out about her fund-raising campaign towards getting her own service dog.  Her goal is $7000.  Some people think, “I can only give $25 or so… how can that help?”  However, every donation adds up… so even the “small amounts” count!

I’d love for you to take a look at her website and read her story.  She’s a wonderful lady and I know her story will touch you!  If you can help with even a small donation, I know Elizabeth would appreciate it!  I’ve seen what a mobility service animal can do for their partner.  Until you see it first hand, it’s difficult to understand the freedom and independence they grant to their partner.

After reading more about Elizabeth, if you’d like to donate it is actually very easy to do so.  Simply go to this link (click here).  At the site, click on the “Donate” button under the heading of “General Donations are Greatly Appreciated.” When you are taken to the PayPal page, you can then choose to donate via credit card or directly via PayPal. There is a space to indicate special instructions – this is where you can put the name of the person for whom you are donating. (Elizabeth Riggs)

Let’s help Elizabeth reach her goal!  I’d love for her blog to direct us to a new link… “Living with the Woof”!

DeniseP

Certification Day

(On the opposite of her tag is emergency contact information, information about Fidos, her tattoo number, microchip number, etc.)

On Saturday, May 3rd, Fidos For Freedom held their annual certification day. It is a voluntary certification. Although currently the ADA does not require certification, the Department of Justice often considers requiring assistance dog teams to provide “proof of training” as the subject comes before them periodically.

Fidos is accredited with ADI (Assistance Dogs International) and IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners). As clients we must demonstrate our knowledge of the basic commands as well as those accompanying the specialized skills our dogs have been taught. The certification training team also notes how well we work together as a team, and we are evaluated on a number of “tests”. One test, is the written test (approximately 10-12 pages long), which covers all the information in our client handbook. Topics include communicating with your dog, “matching” and afterwards, the “30 Day” bonding period, your dog’s equipment, daily care of your dog, “time off”, public deportment, traveling with your dog, preventative health care, first aid, and emergencies, and “1 year Probationary Period” and beyond. Our dog is also weighed. Their overall appearance as well as the appearance of their equipment, is evaluated.

Chloe and I both passed! (I was hoping for a new picture… but they used my picture from last year when we were matched. I don’t have long hair anymore!)

We arrived at Fidos at 10:15 AM. Part of the certification training staff were in the parking lot. We were not allowed to unload our dogs without an evaluation. So I had to demonstrate my knowledge of Chloe’s seatbelt, “Chloe wait”, “Chloe OUT”, etc. Then I had to re-load her! “Chloe HUP!” “Chloe wait”, etc.

Next we checked in at registration. Here Chloe was weighed and her paws, nails, teeth, ears, eyes, etc., were checked. She weighed 59.2 pounds. (She was suppose to weigh under 62… all those walks have paid off!)

Gretchen S., (trainer and owner of Chinese Crested… she introduced my daughter Kyersten to the breeder from whom she received Peg, shown in the picture) followed me to the “Bottom Dollar” grocery store across the street. In the parking lot, we encountered two “strangers” who asked to pet Chloe, and asked to give her a treat. (Both were sneaky “Fidos pests” stationed to see how we handled the requests). I was watched the entire time by Gretchen, as she made note on a clipboard how I handled the “pests”, crossed the street, walked on the sidewalk (with traffic “away” from my dog), entered the store, etc. I was instructed to purchase one item at the store. As I perused the isles, Gretchen “dropped grocery items” behind me, made a “ruckus”, etc. She then had me “accidentally drop my leash” to see how Chloe behaved and if she stayed in heel. I did a short “off leash” recall. She then observed my “check out”. (Where did I have my dog?, how did I handle progression through the line?, etc.) I was then observed taking Chloe back across the street to Fidos. (Chloe had to be in “place” for this in order to keep her away from the “street side” of the sidewalk… I’m glad we’ve been practicing this!)

When I arrived back at Fidos, I was taken to a room in order to take my written test. Sherri (another trainer), took Chloe from me. Chloe was evaluated on how she behaved when not with me… did she exhibit any anxiety due to being apart from me? was she under control?, etc. I was about 75% finished with my test, when I noticed movement at the door. I was really concentrating (the test was HARD!) so only looked up for a fraction of a second. I caught a glimpse of Sherri, so my head snapped back up to look at her. She was mouthing from the door, “sorry!” About that time, Chloe shot up from underneath the table right into my face! Scared me spitless! She licked my whole face and was practically in my lap! I had trouble calming her down because… well… I was SPITLESS! Sherri came over to me and told me she did great, and that there weren’t any problems. (I was thinking if this wiggling, licking, “thank goodness I found you, you were lost!” bundle of canine was “she did great and there weren’t any problems“, I was thankful I didn’t know what the reaction was when there WAS a problem!)

Chloe and I then met up with Judy to do our skills test. I brought my alarm clock, cell phone, kitchen timer, keys, etc., thinking we were to be tested on every skill. However, we only had to demonstrate two to pass, and then a “name call” alert. I chose “dropped item” (keys) and the kitchen timer.

I walked with Chloe in heel and “accidentally” dropped my keys. Chloe is to do an “immediate retrieve”. This alerts me to an item I dropped. She retrieved the keys immediately and handed them back to me with a look like, “Denise? You sure drop your keys a lot, but I don’t mind gettin’ them for ya!”

Judy set the kitchen timer and then hid it amongst some training equipment at the side. I walked with Chloe in a small circle in heel while she did this. When the timer went off, Chloe immediately stopped and cocked her head. (At least I’m assuming it went off… I can only gauge this by her reaction!) She bumped my hand with her nose and made eye contact. I said, “What is it, Chloe? Show me!” She immediately took me to the area where the timer was, and then stopped and cocked her head again to listen. When she located that it was up high, she stood up on her hind feet to locate where it was at on the box. After she “placed” where it was positioned, she jumped up with her front feet on the box in the location of where she saw the timer. She was unable to “bump” it with her nose as it was just out of reach. Instead, she laid her head down on the box and stared right at the timer. It was so cute, I almost forgot to praise her!

Next we did the “name call alert”. Every client with a hearing dog at Fidos must pass this. I was a little bit worried, because I’ve been told that Judy has a very low and soft voice. Judy started calling my name like an alert. (Denise! Denise! Denise! – about every 5 seconds) At first Chloe didn’t react, but then she froze and cocked her head to listen. Her head whipped around to where Judy was, and she stopped to listen again. She licked/bumped my hand, and trotted towards Judy. She sat right in front of her and looked from me to Judy, and repeated this. (It looked like she was watching a tennis match actually!) She passed all of the skill’s section with “flying colors”!

We then went to the obedience skills, and temperament testing. Pam (another trainer) met me inside a large sectioned off area of the training floor. I was instructed to “drop” Chloe’s leash when I came into the area. A plate of food was in the middle of the floor. I instructed Chloe that it was “stolen! Leave it!” Chloe walked around it, but gave it about a 5 foot berth. Her nose kept sniffing towards the food, but when she’d catch my eye, she’d whip her head around and pretend interest in the pictures on the wall. She can really be a “hoot”! I was instructed to put her in a down/stay right in front of the food. She stared at me the whole time. I caught her looking sideways at the food under her nose one time, but she immediately jerked her attention back to me. (I think she was hoping I’d say, “Chloe! Paid for!”)

Pam removed the food, and had a volunteer come up and pet Chloe, and then step over her. Chloe remained in a down/stay with her attention on me. Then Pam had me release Chloe, and she brought out a squeaky toy. Chloe having been told “free”, was immediately all “a wag”! Pam told me that she was going to play with Chloe for a couple of minutes, and then I was to call Chloe back to me. The “test” was to see how quickly she settled down and how immediate was her response to a command given by me. Pam started squeaking the toy and tried to get Chloe all excited. Chloe only 1/2 played with her! She continued to come over to me with a look like, “Is this all right, mom? Is this ok? Can I be playing? You don’t need me do you?” Pam had to keep getting her attention to come back and play! (Chloe’s all time favorite toy is a “squeaky” toy! I was floored that she was more concerned about not being by my side!) Finally I was given my “cue” to call her back. Chloe seemed so relieved! Her response was immediate!

I was then taken to another area of the facility where they had a make-shift “store” set up. Sarah, another trainer, was the shop’s “owner”. Chloe and I were denied access, and were given a “hard time” with all the usual statements given by store personnel. “You can’t bring that dog in here!” (“Oh, actually I can. She is an assistance dog, and my rights of access are guaranteed by the federal ADA law!) “Well, what if she makes a mess or tears up things in my store?” (“She won’t make a mess or tear things up. She’s been trained to never touch things without permission. Should she make a mess, I will clean it up as I carry everything I need with me. But I can assure you, she will not as she only goes when I give her leave to do so in a private OUTSIDE area!”) “Well, what if some of my customers are allergic to animals?” (“If I discover someone has an allergy to dogs, I will shop in another area of the store and do my best to stay away. However, unless their allergy is a disability, my right of access with my service animal supersedes their allergy to dogs”) “Well, I’ve never heard of this law! I’m going to call the cops!” (“I have a copy of the law right here. Please read it. If you feel you must, please feel free to call the authorities. They are required to uphold the federal law that protects my rights as a person with disabilities accompanied by an assistance animal”) “Is she certified? Let me see her papers!” (“Chloe IS certified, but actually all the law allows is for you to ask me what she does for me to assist me with my disability. Anyone can fake certification tags. It HELPS me for you to ask what the dog does for the person with a disability when you see someone trying to bring a dog into your store. I don’t want people claiming to have a service dog anymore than you want people coming in with “fake” working dogs!”) Combinations of, and part of each of these conversations took place during my “access” test. I tried to hand Sarah information about the training facility in which I am involved with, but she knew they were the older version. Sarah is legally blind, so I was amazed that she could tell by the feel of the brochures that they were the “old” ones. She showed me where the partnership seals at the bottom were slightly embossed. The new ones have 4 or 5 partnership seals, and the old ones only have two. (Sarah is AMAZING! She does a great job training the dogs as well!)

Next I stopped to see Pat, the director of training. (She was/is my individual trainer too! Chloe was glad to “sit” close to her as she spent a great amount of time in Pat’s home! I’m thankful to consider Pat a friend now too!) Pat went over the problems I missed on the test in order to explain “why”. One I disagreed with a little bit. The question was that the ADA protects my rights as an individual to have access with Chloe into any public building. I put “false” because my rights are not guaranteed in court houses, federal buildings, etc. I consider these places “public buildings”! Evidently, federal buildings are not considered “public buildings”, however. At least I’ll know the next time I take the test! I missed a couple of others… but I still passed!

I received my new certification tags, and we went to the foyer to wait for Pat. We had a “lunch date” and Chloe and I needed to wait for her to finish.

So? Should I say that Chloe and I are “certifiable” now? Perhaps I should just stick with that, “yes… she is certified!”

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary