Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mixed Emotions...

I write this post with mixed emotions.  Mixed emotions as to what others will think along with all the other typical ones that come along with this story of ours.

It was three years ago that Jacey was diagnosed with Autism.  I was the mother that wanted to do everything for my child that I could possibly do.  Insurance denied providing ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy and she was leaving Part C services when she turned three.  I felt completely helpless.  We applied for two different waiver programs that I never felt we had a chance at getting Jacey on.  Shortly thereafter, we learned of Autism Service Dogs and how one could aid Jacey and our family in our journey of Autism.  Here was something that I could make happen.  Something that could help me deal with a little girl who had Autism.  When all other avenues seemed to be a dead end, here was something that could help us all. 

Talk about being a blessed little girl, she was chosen for both waiver programs (of which we could only choose one); and less than three weeks into what I thought would be at least a year of fundraising for a Autism Service Dog, we had met our fundraising requirement.  All of this made me feel overwhelmed with gratitude, both for my Heavenly Father who was watching out for Jacey from above, along with all the people throughout the country who had found a special place in their hearts for Jacey and our desire to get her a service dog.

Today, I am amazed at how far Jacey has come in such a short time.  I know without a doubt that Jacey would not be where she is today without the waiver she is on, along with the other interventions we put in place.  The waiver gives her twenty hours of ABA a week - one on one therapy specifically tailored to her needs!  Dublin has been an amazing service dog.  The first year having him, I felt relief at being able to tether Jacey to him in public.  I felt that when I didn't know how to deal with Jacey's meltdowns, Dublin could offer her something she didn't want from me - deep pressure and redirection. 

That feeling of helplessness has diminished SOOOO much as she has progressed in her ABA therapy and as we have learned and been taught how to handle Jacey during her difficult times.  The "bag of tricks" that we have now are exponentially greater than they were when she was first diagnosed.  Again, I credit this largely to her extensive therapy, the resources for us that have come along with the waiver, and to partly Jacey just growing older.

So where am I going with this?  And why the mixed emotions?  The reason for writing this post is to let you all know that we will be sending Dublin back to 4 Paws to be retrained and sent to a new family that needs him.  Dublin has grown extremely bored in our home.  He is not being utilized like he could be thanks to how much the ABA and other interventions have helped Jacey.  I feel that by sending him back to 4 Paws, it will give him the chance to do what he was raised to do - to work and to be needed.  He isn't getting that here anymore.

Some of the mixed emotions come from knowing that many of you may be concerned for Jacey's well-being over sending him back.  For the past several months, Jacey's only interaction with Dublin is feeding him morning and night.  She does not seek out his love or attention.  We have found many "tricks" in helping her during her hard times as well, as she doesn't want Dublin like she used to.  She will often come to us during her times of anxiety or stress, stating "I need....I need", to which we ask her different questions as to what she might need.  Most often times, she is needing a deep pressure hug from us. 

I created a "social story" (something that is often used for kids with Autism) to explain the changes that are going to occur.  We have been reading this story with her, and having her read it on her own time (yep, she's reading!!!) to help understand that Dublin will be leaving our home.  We ask her questions to see if she is comprehending what is going to happen and ask her how she feels about it.  No meltdowns or extreme sadness has come from reading the story or talking to her about it, which makes us more confident about sending him back.

We feel it is the best for Dublin to return to 4 Paws that he might live out his life as a true service dog, being needed for his trained skills. 

(I have attached the social story we have been reading with and to Jacey.  The only "page" that is out of order is "Dublin won't be bored anymore" is actually the last page of her story.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What a Nightmare!

I went to Dublin's vet appointment today and they told me they had forgotten some things that were done with the surgery and had updated his bill.  Some type of tissue that the vet's wife had pulled out thinking they would use and hadn't was being charged to me and some other unknown hidden costs all came to a total of $2000.  I freaked out!  Let's just say that I didn't sleep well after having had this horrible dream...

Yes, it was just a dream but I woke up this morning nervous for Dublin's actual appointment and what I was going to find there.  It was a simple appointment to have his staples removed but after this dream, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Well...I am home now with a "shadeless" dog.  He had his staples removed and his "cone of shame" was allowed to be removed and left behind.  It was really quite a simple visit where the vet wanted him to lay down.  He physically wanted to help Dublin sit.  I asked him if he wanted him to lay down and so I told Dublin down and down he went.  The vet said he wasn't used to dogs that cooperated so well.  :o)  I told him that if he really wanted Dublin to lay on his side which he had already helped Dublin do, all I would have had to say was "BANG BANG" and he would have gone down.  I guess the vet didn't know all of our tricks we've got up our sleeves!  Kenna and Trevin were there as standard operating procedure.  Dublin did well laying on his side even though the vet was taking staples out and Trevin kept moving about his upper region.

Dublin is officially cleared to be a "real" dog again - free to run and jump throughout the backyard as he pleases.  This not only excites Dublin, but Judd and I as well.  For the past ten days, we have had to take him on leash outback (which is fenced) to take him potty.  While he carried the "cone of shame" around, he would poutfully walk around the house, following us wherever we went like there was some invisible string attached to us, hoping that we would save him from it.  Then there were the countless episodes of Dublin running into and knocking over kids because of the lovely lampshade.  We had to leave Dublin behind the baby gate in the kitchen at night so that he wouldn't wander aimlessly around at night near sleeping babes bedroom doors and collide with the wall with the lampshade.  And of course the whining to be fed his third or fourth "mini meal" of the day or whining to be let outside off leash.  ::Sigh::  Who knew ten days could be soooo miserable and finally being set "free" feel like you're floating on air. 

Thank you so much for your concern for Dublin and our family.  It is greatly until the next post...  (Which had better be filled with more good news and not of how the stars misaligned causing craziness to ensue, right?!)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Update on Dublin

Okay.  I'm sure everyone has been wanting an update just as much as we have!  I first want to thank everyone who spread the word and prayed for Dublin's recovery.  It means a lot to us...thank you.

We just got home from the vet clinic after a whopping $1091 bill.  However, the prognosis for Dublin is looking MUCH better than his bill!  :o)  He's actually kind of a clown (lampshade maybe) right now!  It was good to visit with the vet and to hear his positive thoughts regarding Dublin.  Dublin came out from where they had him as happy as could be, with tail wagging madly back and forth.  He's a clown for the fact that he doesn't maneuver very well with this lovely lampshade around his head. 

The vet feels that Dublin is out of the woods and should have a good recovery...IF we can keep him calm and not pop his staples out!  The vet said that he figured Dublin probably didn't have another twelve hours in him with the condition he was in.  His incision goes the length of his abdomen and we need to keep him from jumping, running, etc. to make sure his staples don't pop.  We were sent home with antibiotics and anti-nausea medication with a strict, bland diet.  They provided us with cans of dog food to give to him throughout the day, broken up into quarters - one can a day.  This is to help his digestive system slowly work its way back into functioning order.  After four days on the can, we can begin to add a little bit of his normal dog food into the quarters we give him to help him ease back into his regular diet.  Dublin may have diarrhea for a while until things start running at full speed again, especially knowing that his colon had been hemorrhaging and is very bruised.  The colon may sluff off some of what was within it as the healing process continues.  We do have to watch for any sudden changes in Dublin's demeanor as that obviously doesn't bode well considering how happy and lively he is now.  The vet feels good about where Dublin is especially considering he checked on him yesterday and Dublin was still feeling pretty cruddy.  Between yesterday and today is a big change, hoping to signify a full and easy recovery.  The vet figures we won't see him for another ten days, when he will then take the staples out. 

I feel relieved that I made the decision to take Dublin to the vet when I did, especially knowing now just how bad off he was.  It is nice to see Dublin back to his vibrant self, only being frustrated at running into everything with his lampshade.  I've got a busy ten days ahead of me with a dog that is going to have a lampshade around his head and feeding him four times a day. 

The kids were excited to see him when he came home.  Jacey gave him a big hug and Trevin keeps going up to him, patting him on his head and giggling.  And with Dublin's collar on him for the next ten days while he is home, I think Jacey is going to have a heyday hauling him around the house!  Thank you again so much for everyones concern and prayers.