We surely missed her during her overnight stay. Funny how this four-legged creature has made such a difference in our house! I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to pick her up. I had lined the bottom of the van with blankets expecting her to be a tired, dopey pup. Well, was I wrong.. She came running towards me practically pulling the veterinary assistant. However, she was NOT happy when they put the cone on her.....
She wouldn't move... and let's just say her balance was off!
Well, I won't apologize for the much needed update as I hear that is BORING in the blog world....
Maya has adjusted well... We are up to a few socks a week.. That just means that she is very comfortable here. She has developed quite the relationship with everyone here... We have begun our CGC classes. They are going well. Although, I can tell that our biggest challenge will be the distraction of other dogs. I am posting a few pictures. Enjoy!!
Well, Maya arrived on Sunday, August 16th. Everyone was happy to see her. Maya is doing well. She transitioned with no problems. She is the sweetest, most mellow dog that I have ever met. As a matter of fact, when the trainer arrived on Tuesday, we had to wake her. She didn't even hear (or care that) the doorbell rang. The trainer. Lisa, is helping to teach "come here", "visit" and "heel" to name a few commands. We also started a technique that will help with the stay command.
The kids are so happy. Each one is developing their own relationship with her. This is the great thing about North Star. Although she is here for (and because of) Nikki, she is a family pet. I couldn't imagine telling her siblings that they couldn't play with Maya.
Maya seems to have an intuitiveness about Nikki. She will lick her unbelievably. I can't even explain it. She will sit with (and sometimes on) Nikki with and without prompting.
I have been a little technically challenged recently so I have lots of catching up to do. Last week, we had our first sleep over. It was a very exciting and fun time for us!! Nikki was thrilled to see Maya... She (Maya) was such a good girl. She slept in her crate.. Honestly, she slept better than I did. The next morning, after waiting to be released from the crate, she followed me into Nikki's room. I carried Nikki to the top of the stairs.. gave Maya the "wait" command and she did!! She waited until I got to the bottom of the stairs and called her down. She smothered Nikki with kisses. She definitely has a connection to Nikki. She sits patiently by her with no prompts. She even tries to rest her head in Nikki's hand.
Okay.. so for the part that I wasn't expecting... Obviously, Nikki's brother and sister are excited to get a "dog". They want to help.. some nay-sayers state that this will pass . However, I believe that Maya is starting to fill a gap that I didn't think was there. Nikki is involved in her siblings life (soccer, dance recitals, etc.). Actually, we've always considered ourselves a "typical" family. However, Maya now gives her siblings the chance to particpate in Nikki's life. They really want to help with training, walking, etc.
In just one day, she has made quite an impression on us!!
On Wednesday, June 17, Nikki had an appointment with the hemotologist and the neurologist. I now take the day off for these appointments as they are about one hour from our home and usually draining. This day was different because Nikki and I were able to visit with Maya.
Maya has grown. That's a recent picture of her to the left. As you can see, she is still a beautiful dog. She appears to have a great disposition especially with Nikki. Actually, the two of them are quite fond of one another. There was a lot of licking goin' on (and not just from Maya!) You see.. Nikki gives kisses with her tongue.. It's a kiss only a mother (and Maya) could love!!
We are planning our next visit. This time, Maya will spend the night at our house!! We are very excited.. I'll be sure to keep you posted.
Maya is now with Judy. Both Judy and Sharon are her puppy-raisers. Or are they our puppy-raisers(?) Anyway, she's at Judy's right now. Judy shared these pictures. Looks like she is enjoying her new roommates.
We are looking forward to another visit in June. Her home-coming is some time mid-August(?) For now, I hope that you enjoy the pictures... I do. She is just so darn cute!! (and so are her new friends!)
Over the Memorial Day weekend, our puppy-raiser's Judy and Sharon graciously allowed us to visit Maya. We were amazed how big she had grown in just four weeks! She is such a sweet puppy. However, a little more adventerous then our first visit. We all learned a few lessons on that day even a few commands. I swear that dog training is more for the owners than for the dog!
Nikki had a very quick seizure that day. It was only a second or two. She was sitting on the floor visiting Maya and immediately "fell" backwards. Maya was sitting by her and started to lick her neck. Could this be a sign that she is already attentive to Nikki's needs(?)
Well, at worst, we have a beautiful fuzzy friend for Nikki! Everytime we talk about Maya, Nikki smiles! She may not be able to talk but I know that she understands who Maya is... Maya is not even here yet and she's already brought happiness to Nikki!!
Yes, our dog is named Maya. Thanks to everyone that voted! We ended in a tie and decided on Maya.
The inspiration for her name, as suggested by a dear "comment", is Maya Angelou. There is a quote that I have tried to pattern my life by. I found it just after Nikki was diagnosed. She says "I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it." While the dog represents hope and love for Nikki, we felt that her name be just as special.
Currently, Maya is with her puppy raising family in New Jersey. We look forward to our next visit with her.
Well, we took a road trip to visit Patty and the North Star pups! It was better than I could have imagined.. Patty had a plan.. and, boy, did it play out perfectly. First, she brought out two of the girl pups.. Immediately, one of the pups went to Nikki. The pup was sitting by her. She was playful but sensed something about Nikki. Both were cute.. This pup, in particular, just hung out by her. We played for a while then Patty took the dogs back into the house. She returned with two of the boys. All the time, we could hear the other pup crying from inside the house. The boys were equally as cute. They were already in a sit/stay position. Again, we played. Patty returned them to the house and brought two others out. Without even knowing which two, one of the dogs went right to Nikki.. The original pup.. So, if anyone asks... we didn't choose a pup.. the pup chose us!
A very close friend and I have the analogy of peaks and valleys in our lives. There are often days when things just get too overwhelming. It could be the seizures, vomiting (from seizure meds), a new symptom and/or new doctor to chase down... We call these times valleys. Then there are the peaks!! We ended the week in a peak... It was the email from a mom with N***'s disorder. Her daughter is 32 years old... It was also another sweet note left on my blog with well wishes for us. It is amazing how many folks, friends and even strangers, share our joy of a dog! They humbly leave such sweet messages wishing us good experiences! They look forward to following our journey. Don't ever let anyone say that there are not good people in the world... Our North Star experience has proved otherwise!
So, here's the first picture of our North Star Dog!! Not sure exactly which one it will be... One of my children has suggested all 11!!!
I've already spoken to Patty, North Star. We've begun the planning. It is all so exciting!! I have even spoken to one of the trainers. She'll be doing "specialty" training. That will be for public access and the seizure alert/response training. We'll have another trainer who will work on the more basic commands and tasks. How great is this???
From Patty Gross, North Star: "I have wonderful news this morning! Rosie had eleven lovely and very healthy puppies over the weekend! All the puppies are thriving and Rosie is doing well nursing and caring for them!"
When she started having seizures, she was 10 weeks old. It was the final ‘marker’ to her diagnosis. She’s had so many since. I can’t even count. However, I remember that first one as if it was yesterday (and it was 10 years ago). It was like my heart was ripped out. Honestly, it was like a death. It was the same feeling that I had when my dad passed away. It also meant that there was no denying her diagnosis and our confirmation that we were in Holland.
We have become more benign to them. At least, we are so with the small ones. Those last a few minutes and average from one to three a day. They are more tolerable for her and anyone that’s around to see them. Some folks do not even notice. We sometimes use the analogy of hiccups. i.e., sort of annoying and you just need to wait for them to go away.
Then there are the strong ones… the ones that trigger a call from school or a run up the stairs to her bedroom and sometimes a run to the medicine cabinet (for extra medicine to stop them). Those are unfair and unbearable to watch.
Last night was one of those… After we put the kids to bed, I sat on the couch to catch up on an episode of "Lost." I heard a slight tapping or maybe it was mother’s instinct (?) As I approached her room, I could hear the heaviness of her breathing. She was in a sweat and her left fist was clenched. She would stiffen every few seconds. I couldn’t catch her eyes. She was off in a distance – not focused on anything. I called for my husband… We were unable to get her attention. Finally, she gave Daddy a big smile as the seizure continued. Then, after more minutes, it stopped... Thankfully, no “extra” medicine was needed... not this time. Eventually, she would fade off to sleep. She slept somewhat peacefully. That is more than I can say for us (her parents)... I thought: will I hear her through the monitor at the side of my bed? Will I sleep through an episode that would have needed medical intervention?
So, I guess that I need to apologize… ‘Cause Our North Star Dog isn’t just for ****… The dog is for her parents and siblings as well… Sorry and thanks! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Footnote: Episode = A show that is distinctive and separate although partof a larger series; Also, a term that the neurologist uses to describe a seizure event/occurrence.
Okay, so every night, I have this routine with my son. We have three stories that we have made up over the years. I surprise him with one of the stories each night. Last night, it was the pirate story: He is on a ship with all his pirate friends, their parents, his family and everyone's pets. They are in search of a pirate treasure. When they get to the island, they find the spot on the map. They dig until they find a treasure chest. Inside, there are lots of special delights: (in no particular order) wii games, ds games, chocolate covered pretzels, spaghetti (w/butter), soccer ball, lentils (for his sister – one of her favs), and much more. They also find a smaller treasure chest. Inside are dog bones, meow mix and yarn. That’s for their pets. He then says... “Oh wait, Mommy… “There’s another treasure chest!” “It’s bigger than the small one and smaller then the big one!” He says “They open the chest and inside is ****’s Dog!” “That would be a great treasure, Mommy, right?!”