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On Saturday I went to Arbor Day and went around tables about recycling and the environment and planting trees.

Today gardeners are here with blowers which I hate and a chain saw which scares me.  Our back yard is a wild overgrown place.  The gardeners will tame it and clean out the "duff" aka fallen bits of leaves and cedar needles.  We want a yard where the kids can run around and play without pricking themselves and where C and I can sit without sneezing.  We're both quite allergic to tree pollen.   But right now  I feel sad that the huge vines of jasmine that cover our fence are being torn down.

Little T the reader

Little T asked to read more Bob books yesterday.  He can sight read several words including "and", "the" and some of the characters in the story.  He also has a rudimentary grasp of phonics and gets the first letter right and often the vowel.  I'm very impressed by his preschool teacher, because Special K really had no idea about phonics at this age.  She went to a private preschool. 

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Evidently the parts of my mind that process assistance dog relationships overlap with the parts that write.   You may have noticed I've written very little here of late.  And none of a nonblogging sort.

I seem to be recovering.  But I'm woefully behind on LJ. Woefully because I'm sure you'd wrote fascinating things.
Special K asked me the other night "How come you haven't taught [Little T] to read?"  I replied "Because he hasn't asked me."  The next evening Little T asked in his nicest voice "Mama, please will you teach me to read?"   My son only calls me Mama the name he first called me when he especially wants something.

As is typical for my boy, he started ambitiously with Green Eggs and Ham.  I said "That's a bit too hard."  He insisted.  He could read the first page or had memorized it.  

I looked around for the Bob Books.  "They're lost." Special K said.  C denied all knowledge of them then suddenly found them.  Little T read the first book Mat and started on the second book Sam.  He asked me what happened in the pictures.  He appears to already identify Mat and Sam.  I don't remember Special K doing that.  He could already read most of the first book.  He's mostly a sight reader like his sister, but he appears to have a better grasp of phonics than she does.  Oddly though he starts reading on the right page first instead of the left page.

Then it was time for dinner.  

Raining dog

It's been raining hard. -- 20% of our rainfall these past few days.  Tovi squints a little as the rain pours down, but otherwise she bounces along, ears flapping.  She shakes off once, but otherwise remains quite wet.  I wish I could face life's downpours with such equanimity.

C dries her off and she likes to bury her face in the towel.

Yesterday while we were sitting at a Vietnamese restaurant, Tovi was snoozing under the table with her head resting gently on my foot.  She lifted her head then put it back down again.  A little lap dog had trotted over to investigate her.  The same lap dog also ran over when we went to the bathroom.   Tovi turned to look as I closed the door.

My new dog

I have a new dog.
Like Hermione, she's a small spunky female who is quick, prances and is sweet.  She loves people and food.
However she's quite different.  Most obviously, she's black.  She is more laid back.  She has already fallen asleep on a down at my son's therapy.  A vocalizing kid walked by and she didn't even react. 

She LOVES petting which is great, because I also love to pet.   And it means I can easily reward her when we're out in public.

She's about 3 months younger than Hermione when I got her.  She's barely two.  I dunno if it's being younger or what.  But my new dog seems impressionable and eager and willing to make mistakes and unsure right now.  Once we have success at a task, she's quick and confident.  And in fact she's already learned some positioning issues in working with me.

Unlike Hermione who lived to play with a ball, she doesn't like to play fetch at all.  She likes bones, but otherwise toys don't appear to interest her.  I will miss watching a dog run around playing fetch.  But the key word is watching, because I can only throw the ball a few times.  So I actually appreciate that she prefers other things.

She shimmers when she gets excited.  Not the powerful whip tail action, but rather she undulates reminding me of an otter.  Her fur is also dense and silky like an otter's too.  And she has a thick broad otter-like tail of the lab.

She's the niece of C's dog, so I'll be in C's good books for years.

I will post photos later.  Graduation isn't until Feb 21, so I'll probably hold off on the name until then in a public post.  I am still wiped from our intensive training - 2 weeks compacted into 3 days.

Hermione is retiring and a successor dog

Sorry I've been so quiet.  I've been dealing with a matter which I had to keep private until this week.

And that is: My service dog Hermione is retiring on Monday for medical reasons.  She's going to live with one of her co-puppyraisers and should live a long happy life as a pet.  Her puppyraisers did a wonderful job raising her so I know she'll be well taken care of.

Also on Monday I'm getting a successor service dog.  I'm going for what they call a side placement which is a placement outside of the regular Team Training.  I'm going for three days.  My first Team Training was two weeks and was almost exactly a year ago.

It is all rather unbelievable typing it though I've been living it for months.

I will miss Hermione tremendously, but she's ready to retire.  I try to keep in mind what another graduate said to me about her dog's retirement that it's a gift to her dog.  I do believe that.  I just wish we'd had the 8-year working plan instead the 1-year plan.  However if there's anything I can learn is that sometimes I just don't get to choose, but just make the best of what I've been given.  And Hermione has been a tremendous gift who changed my life.  That will be another post.

Happy post Thanksgiving

Happy post Thanksgiving!  I had a good one with my family.  I'm very thankful for that.  My niece has recently started walking.   She walked all over my parents' house.  My son and my nicece laughed and laughed.  We had some delicious cherry pie made from cherries grown in my brother's mother-in-law's friend's garden.  I'm thankful for the pie too.  My dog is thankful she got to run and run around and around my parents' big backyard.

Brief update

My cold is slowly getting better. I was able to sleep without a decongestant so I actually got real sleep. Yesterday was my birthday and I had a lovely weekend. I went out on a date with my husband on Saturday night while the kids played at their gym. They have a kids night out once a month where the kids get to play on all the gym equipment and get pizza. I got a Wii Fit from my family and I gotta say despite the parodies on youtube, the "white plastic board" gives you a workout.

Reading

I got nudged to post and so I give you a short post.

I'm listening to the kids in my daughter's class read.  It's very helpful this one on one time.  The teacher says it makes a difference.  I can see the difference in how some come over all happy to read and the first day was like dragging them.

C, Special K and Little T are all well.

More later.

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