back index // archives next

doggin' it
wednesday, october 23, 2002

so, we found a dog for taz. she's a red merle, which is a breed of australian shepherd (or a coloration pattern? obviously, i don't know dogs too well), and about 2 years old. she's quite pretty actually.

i cannot believe how quickly things have fallen into place and how well things are working out (so far anyway, knock on wood!). it was the beginning of last month that a friend mentioned the possibility of a dog for taz, who is autistic.

shortly after that we had an i.e.p. and discussed the school looking into any problems with a partner dog at school. we really want taz to have his own aide there, but in all likely hood he won't get one. for one, the classroom he's in has the highest number of aides in the district. not sure why that's a factor, especially when they've been having difficulty with his behavior again, but it is. second, the district is low on funds and may not be able to afford an aide. so we suggested an assistance dog as a sort of testing the waters kind of thing. the school psychologist was supposed to look into any school issues with the dog, but it really should be treated as a seeing eye dog (and, according to the law, couldn't be denied access because she is an assistance animal). we still haven't heard from them, but i'm not holding my breath that we will and i don't think it even matters. once the dog is trained, it will go with taz to school and they are just going to have to work around it. we'll be glad to help and i am sure we'll have to go in with them for a day or two to help everyone adjust, but, in the end, they really can't say no.

after the i.e.p., or sometimes around there, linnorm ran into an old high school friend he pretty much hadn't seen in a good 10 years or so. and it turned out she is a trainer. a couple of weeks later, we (linnorm and i) went up to watch one of her training classes and to talk to her. by the end of the class, she had agreed to help us and not only take payments but also reduce her rate. then she went looking for a dog for us while we dealt with hud.

she called sunday and told me she had found a possible dog and wanted us (me and taz) to come out and see it so she could see how the dog and taz interacted. the logistics of getting to the dog (and the dog to us) had to be worked out since we have no car and all she has is a truck and the truck is having problems and the dog was a good hour to hour and a half away. but it all worked out and we went to see the dog yesterday morning.

the lady who brought the dog (met us about halfway) also brought a second dog for us to look at. she apparently rescues dogs from the pound and gypsy (who was unnamed at the time) had been impounded from a couple ( i gather) who refused to pay the impound fees to get her back. so this woman did. she also brought a 3 year old blue merle male, just in case the female wouldn't work out. it was decided that the male would probably be too strong for taz (although he was an absolutely gorgeous animal, and i'm not partial to dogs).

taz actually was a bit skittish when he first met the dogs (he'd been running around a bit and he's real hard to settle down once he gets going) and the dogs were a bit skittish from the trip over, so we initially had a but of trouble getting them to connect. taz thought the dogs were great, but he kept backing up when they asked for attention. eventually everyone settled down and we were able to watch him with both dogs and miss d (the trainer) said she thought gypsy would be the best bet for him.

now here's the cool part. gypsy is going to cost us $150. the seller is more than willing to give us a week to see how well they bond (although we're already pretty sure we're going to be keeping her at this point) and then, when we agree to take her, we can make payments. she knows the dog is going to be an assistance animal and of our financial situation and is willing to work with us. she microchipped the dog right there and we brought her home. taz really wanted to see more of the blue merle until we told him that gypsy was his dog. then all thought of the blue merle went out of his head and he was really excited about "his dog!" and kept thanking all of us. lol

the next concern was the cat and we've had no problems. gypsy pretty much ignores the cat and the cat, well, ororo can't quite decide what to make of the "intruder" to her home, but she's only hissed once and been otherwise pretty much avoidant. miss d gave us some basic signals to start training her with, a list of stuff to buy, and instructions and care. she's going to come out to the house to do the training sessions for now, which is the best option considering our circumstances and the fact that we're pretty much going to be training both the dog and taz. i called hud again and spoke to the supervisor, told her we had the dog but paperwork was going to take a little bit (especially since we have to get the doctor to squeeze some time out and write the letter of recommendation) but that we wanted to keep her in the loop of what was happening. she appreciated that and told us to just get things to us as soon as we can. i'm hoping no later than next week for most of the info. then i called linnorm and told him we had the dog, but with both the dog and the training costing $25/month each we were going to need help. he's going to add $25/month to the child support.

so everything is working out wonderfully. we're working on getting the dog bonded to taz as her owner and saxy as her handler (and alpha male) and she's picking up on some of the cues already, which is good. she's very affectionate, which helps, but also easily distracted by kids, which is going to have to be trained out for her to work with taz.

as for her name, saxy came up with two options. he told me he wasn't sure which one to name her so i told him to ask taz. taz picked gypsy, but tends to call her dripsy. we're working it.

site of the moment:
ring of the moment:
special * k
word of the moment: kindle

light or set on fire; catch fire; arouse, inspire; become animated, glow with passion