Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

The Down and Dirty of Getting a Guide Dog

| Filed under writing

If I were asked by a potential guide dog handler what it is like to train and share life with a guide dog, focused on the grittier aspect’s, this is what I would tell them. This document states my thoughts and does not support or endorse a particular guide dog program.

1. Training is Physically demanding. Over time it could put stress on your left arm, shoulder and hand
2. You may not wish to wear sandals anymore, open toe shoes and dog feet don’t mix well. You may choose to wear slippers or house shoes instead of being bare foot in the home — Nyla bones, when chewed become marked with sharp edges and hurt just as much as stepping on Legos. This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative..
3. Dogs, like people, are messy, from drool to pee, puke, and at least once-daily poop pick-up, it is not for the squeamish.
4. Dogs shed, a lint brush and good vacuum are all essential for guide dog handlers. Dogs smell when wet. Conversely, dogs tolerate rain gear and booties, be ready for people to comment on the raincoat and booties when out in public. Did I mention that dogs shed?
5. Most dogs, while trained for good indoor house manners, will revert to being a dog. Don’t be surprised, on occasion, to find a shredded paper towel or tissue or even a can or yogurt container licked clean. My second dog chewed a paper napkin to shreds while laying down under the table in a fancy restaurant.
6. Cover all waste cans or it could become a canine snack bin — Same goes for the cat litter box.
Remember dog proofing is like toddler proofing.
7. A crate in your home is like a piece of furniture and most training programs recommend it. The top of our crate has turned out to be a great place to put the empty food bowls, toy bin and the top of the crate can become a safe place for just about anything.
8. You will need a larger bag or pouch. You are now caring things for two.
9. Did I mention dog hair?
10. Then there is other husbandry, ear cleaning, bathing, brushing, and learning how to give a pill to a reluctant dog. Pill pockets work only about 50% of the time.
11. There are times when you will need to leave your dog home because it may not be safe or significantly stressful. A loud rock concert is one example. Also, if it’s too hot or cold for you, it will be just as intolerable for a dog, so keep up those cane skills.

12. Finally, there is the Financial cost of food, equipment like grooming supplies, and supplements like fish oil and taking care of an occasional ailment or injury. Should you choose to keep your dog after retirement, it will require a handler to administer care and joint and/or other health supplements or medications to an Elderly dog. It also means you will be making the decision to euthanize the dog when it’s time.

13. The emotional journey you will take with your new guide dog will be blessed with twists and turns. Training will challenge and build confidence. The bonding is powerful. Some handlers say it took time to bond with the dog or to become used to the extra attention from the public, others said it was getting family, friends, and/or employers to adjust to the dog. Some handlers did not apply for a successor dog until the current dog died, sharing that it felt disloyal. Many guide dog handlers cannot keep more than a single dog due to restrictions depending on where they live. Other folks transition to a canine successor with a more practical attitude. It’s a team effort and investment in time and energy.

There will be times when your patience is put to the test; being denied entrance to a store or transportation because of your guide dog come to mind. At these times, being prepared and knowing your rights, keeping in touch with other handlers and/or guide dog user groups and staying in control are all tools to help with instances of access denial.

I hope this document has been helpful and has accomplished what it was meant to achieve: sharing your life with a guide dog takes a good amount of hard work and dedication but it is fulfilling and worth it.
For more information:
Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust by Ann Chiappetta
www.annchiappetta.com

The Handbook for the prospective Guide Dog Handler by Guide Dog Users, Inc;

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

How to assemble a Coffee Table

| Filed under Guide dogs Relationships

Place unassembled box flat on floor. Chase off dog who decides to lay down on it.
Open box; chase off dog trying to play with Styrofoam.
Empty box, and let cat play in box while dog lays down on the top of unassembled tabletop on floor.
Begin to read instructions while dog two enters room to investigate.
While making progress on assembling table, cat plays with paper instructions and tries running away with the paper. Dogs decide to kick back and watch human struggle with cat who has now taken screws causing human to curse and look for missing screws.
Finally, after accounting for all hardware scattered by cat, add legs to table bottom while avoiding cat trying to jump onto unfinished table.
Ignore dog one still laying down on as yet unfinished tabletop.
Ignore partner typing this all for others to read.
Wish for the day: furniture that comes already assembled.

Imperfect Foods for Two

| Filed under writing

Imperfect Food for Two
We’ve been ordering from imperfectfoods.com. I was tired of the same old thing being offered at our local grocery store. It’s just Jerry and me now so I thought we might benefit from fresher produce and smaller portions. So far it’s been great and one hidden benefit was discovering how much I missed cooking better quality foods with high quality ingredients. I am not a “recipe follower” and much more like an intuitive chef. Here are just a few of the dinners I’ve cooked since receiving our imperfect food boxes: Chicken and Shrimp with lemon and white wine, the fresh shallots and lemons made all the difference; kale and sausage soup, sweet potato wedges with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh nutmeg and sea salt. April made the best tasting gnocchi and tomato sauce from a jar that tasted like it came from a restaurant. Our salads are garnished with three cheese shreds and the Spanish dried salami is to die for. They even offered sourdough loaves. No one makes really great sourdough around here.

It certainly costs equal to, and sometimes less than, shopping at the local stores and the best part is it comes right to our door every Tuesday.,
Bon Appetit!

https://www.imperfectfoods.com/join?utm_source=adwords&gclid=CjwKCAjwzvX7BRAeEiwAsXExox5-OWgt6YW_g4A-d8M-ws3duWQRSPzVwyUdcowzhXNJCW2-qZRDaxoCpM4QAvD_BwE

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

attracted to elastic

| Filed under Relationships

April handed me a soft elastic band the other day.
:What’s this?” I asked.
“I found it outside, it’s something I think you might like to use,”
I fingered the soft band, imagining it could be used for tying back a curtain or for my unruly travel bag.
“Thanks!” I said, and realized I was just like a crow, attracted not to the “sparkly” but to the “practical”. My daughter knows me so well, and I love it. Flap-flap, caw-caw!

Poetry Evening Recording

| Filed under Poem Relationships writing

Hello folks,
This is a follow up to my recent poetry reading which took place September tenth. I want to thank the people who attended, making the time to listen to it. I also wish to thank my cohost, Jason Castonguay and my audio editor, Lilian Yves.
Click the link to listen, to share, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me with your feedback at anniecms64@gmail.com .

book cover white rocks beside patterns of sand

Celebrating National Guide Dog Month

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem writing

Hi all,
Below is a link to the ACB Voices blog. My audio and text of the poem titled “Verona” was featured today in celebration of National Guide Dog Month. Please visit and share the post with other guide and service dog handlers, friends, family and dog lovers.
Hi Annie, Thank you so much for submitting this poem, it is beautiful and the audio is such a nice touch. We posted this to the ACB Voices blog, which you can access through this link: Vinterviewveronaacbvoiceseronaacbvoices

Black lab with snow sprinkled on the nose

Black lab Verona with snow on her nose

An Evening of Poetry Reminder and Special Extra

| Filed under Poem writing Writing Life

Hi readers and Listeners,
If you are reading this, it’s not too late to be sent the link joining me for an evening of poetry on Zoom. Just email me at anniecms64@gmail.com to receive the link for Thursday
‘s presentation at 7 p.m.
The link will be sent soon, so don’t delay. Until then, enjoy a special treat from me in both email and audio.

Dill and Brine
By Ann Chiappetta

Green and curved, bumps
diminutive gherkin cornichons
curved Kirby’s
Aromas bewitch salivatory glands
Jarred in glass
Brine Of herbs and salt vinegar.
Infused Tantalizing tartness
Wicked on the tongue
Olfactory humming with anticipation, the crunch
The layered satisfaction
Of Perfection.

2020

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

Under the Bed

| Filed under Relationships

close up of May dog

May dog face close-up

From May the dog diaries. Subject: stashing stolen goods. Yup, folks,

she’s a sneaky one, this dog with derpy ears. While playing in the living room with the other chia pets, she drops the tug rings and goes for a flip flop, then when Jerry tells her to drop it, she runs past him and dives under the bed. We know better than to attempt to lure her out, after all, it’s a game and she loves it. Sigh.

Jerry calls her bluff and drags the entire bed from the wall and she leaves, choosing a bone and finds a place to chew it. Sometime later Jerry reports that a half dozen empty soda bottles, a chewed up pen, and the stolen shoe have all been found and removed. Until next time.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

An Evening of Poetry

| Filed under Poem writing Writing Life

Listen to audio message

Hi, I’m poet and author Ann Chiappetta. I’m hoping you can join me for an evening of poetry on September 10 at 7 p.m. via zoom. I’ll be reading selections of my collections Upwelling and Words of Life.

Contact me at anniecms64@gmail.com or reply to this post if you are interested in joining me.
You can learn about my books and other writing-related information by going to http://www.annchiappetta.com
Or by subscribing to my blog, http://www.thought-wheel.com
I look forward to hearing from you.
Stay well and stay creative.

Music provided by TeknoAxe pursuant to the creative commons attribution license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
This and other music created by TeknoAxe can be found at http://teknoaxe.com/Home.php

white daisies on black background bordered in red phot by C. Romanek

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

Weekend Paper Warriors

| Filed under blindness Relationships

Here’s a halfway rhetorical question: what are weekends for? Since I don’t mow the grass, it could be anything. Scrubbing out the tub, maybe? Or, cleaning the shower with a toothbrush? Nope, guess again.

Hopefully some of you readers got it right: cleaning out my desk and file cabinet. Do I hear horrified screams and moans of dismay? BWAHHaHaHa!

First, a disclaimer: I am blind and do not like the task mostly because I require a set of eyes, usually my intrepid and reluctant hubby, Jerry. I avoid it and let it pile up, which is counterproductive. Okay, so then there are the extra tools, a braille labeler, scissors for trimming the labels, paper clips, stapler, accordion folders and four feet, er, inches of unfiled paperwork. Now, this is where I panic, and Jerry pulls up a chair and begins reading.

It really wasn’t that bad, except for when the accordion folder fell on its side and the paperwork that I had already filed, all slipped out into a messy pile and we had to start over. I lost page one of a five-page eye report and misplaced Bailey’s new vaccination record and Jerry found it in the trash pile. I still don’t know how that happened.

Eventually we finished and Jerry shredded to his heart’s content. It’s therapy for him, bless his soul. 😊And, that, dear readers, is how we overcame the insidious demigod of reams.