Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good-bye Sue, We Miss You!

On Mother's Day, a friend of mine died. I knew Sue through Saint Francis Service Dogs. She was one of the first people to be partnered with a St. Fran dog, and his name is Barkley. Yes Barkley is 12 years old, and he was by her side for ten years. Barkley will continue to live out his life with Sue's husband and family. He is a very sweet golden retriever who loves life and people.

Sue was one of these people who never met a stranger, always took a moment to stop and talk to people who wanted to know about Barkley and service dogs, and always had time to talk to friends and ask how they were doing and leave them with a smile. She had a myriad of health problems, and was on supplemental oxygen at all times. She had seizures. Barkley knew to lay across her during a seizure, and then to go for help or the phone afterwards.

We live in a small town, and every time we went into Walmart or Krogers someone invariably would say, "you just missed Sue and Barkley".

During one of our partner classes, Sue told a funny story about Barkley. At night when he needs to go out to park (bathroom), he waited until one of them turned on his flashlight and handed it to him. He then would go out with the flashlight to do whatever business he wanted to do. Then, he will come back inside and hand back his flashlight. So funny, so sweet!

Sue's memorial service was this past Monday. Barkley was sitting with the family. There were also five of us with our service dogs who attended the service, plus lots of family and friends. Sue's son is in the Marines in Iraq, and the service was postponed until he could get home to be here for it.

Sue's husband said that Barkley is okay as long as they can keep him busy, but then he starts looking for Sue. It is so very sad, because it's impossible to explain to an animal that the person is gone.

Good-bye Sue, we miss you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mowing, Planting, and Nice Neighbors

MS has taken some things away from me, or the ability to do some things. A little over two years ago, we sold our two-story home and bought a ranch that is on 1.25 acres. A few months after that, we bought a riding lawnmower. I mow the yard.

That lawnmower has given me so much pleasure! I have a responsibility to do that I absolutely love doing. When I'm on the mower, I have a sense of pride and I have a whole lot of fun. Once I mow the front and sides, then the fenced-in part in back (Montana's yard), I get to do the "back 40". This is a huge part with slopes. Have you ever mowed going down a slope? Sometimes I pretend I'm on a rollercoaster, let it rip, and yell all the way down! It's given me back a little bit of myself that had I lost.

If it ever stops raining, we are having a landscaping company come to do some work. I'm having small gardens dug in the corners of the fence. I've got seeds from Burpee waiting to be planted. Flowers and herbs and carrots for the gardens, flowers and herbs and patio tomatoes for the deck. I love growing things from seed.

Our next-door neighbor has put her house up for sale. She has a two-story home, and has lived in it for 30 years. But her health is bad and her husband died last year, she said the home is just a house now that she can't keep up by herself. We will miss this neighbor. When we moved in, she brought over a pot of stew. She's like that. The neighbor across the street (also a sweet woman) has moved to another state and is getting married. She has rented out her house to a young girl. Haven't met her yet, she just moved in this weekend. She planted some flowers. I hope she's nice...and quiet, too!