Saturday, November 12, 2011

Couch Pain and Icy Rain

My son took this picture.  It has been wet and cold.  The kind of cold that gets to your bones and especially that area in your back that won't get warm no mater how many blankets you TRY and cover it with, (because your furry loving family is cuddling up to stay warm too!)  So you fall asleep knowing they are safe and warm, (oh my back is cold!), and wake to BLAST the heat for your morning java.
I imagine someone snapping a photo as my son cuddles in, (we found a NASTY, sleepy wasp in his room the other night, AND he read about some false SPIDER disease that lays spiders in your bloodstream that I PROMISED to read first thing with my java this am), my kitty plopped on my cramping arm and my beloved Idunn who has stolen my pillow and declared this warm spot of my bed to be her own.  I would not have it any other way, it is warm, (sort of), and it is love.

Since this past sad summer, when time stood still with Rosie's illness, I cannot believe how time is now going so fast! I have begun this blog many times in my head and had to rearrange my head because SO many things have happened since Rosie's Great niece, Idunn, has come into my life.  My son played a video of Rosie yesterday and I broke into tears not knowing why it affected me so instantly and brutally.  Such is the love a service dog.

Idunn is giving this love of life back to me with every second I breath. The last five days though, I don't want to get up. I know it is my disease returning after the 'high' of getting Idunn, because I feel the devastating, 'drop'.  I feel the couch eating me up, the television turned on at 10:00 am, drapes closed and shameful hiding from the world, total disgust at what I have not cleaned or the shameful person I am.  Never goes away, I know this.  Manic is a very hard thing to come down from.
I hope your chasing squirrels my angel, I miss you Rosie.
 My housecoat has been my forever, heavy blanket and it pins me to my house, bed and couch with the weight of a vise squeezing at first on my  head and then all the way down to my ankles. Why has this come back? I have so much to DO! And I cancel all of it, I cannot do anything, the shackles have returned.  I HATE this disease, I hate me, I miss Rosie.
 I cannot look outside of the prison that has returned to paralyze me on the couch, sleep. Can't move, don't want to, and 4 days go by drowning in self hatred. I do not know why, I don't. Today is Saturday.  PLEASE let me wake up to Idunn's sweet kissies and make it go away!!

Good Morning sweet girl. It's Saturday.  I'm back! Sort of, but the squeezing housecoat has gone away for now, god I hate that housecoat. I am going to think of all the things I have done this month, AMAZING, wonderful and numerous things!! wow! (housecoat sneeking back...GO AWAY!)...mental illness sucks, even I don't understand it after over fifty years of living it, I sure know that it hurts and hurts enough to kill. But, I don't want to die.
There's my smiley girl!!
We went on the bus to Donny's, (my son's), school for his poetry class.  Rainy, dark icky day and we made it.  That is what Idunn helps me do, make it! Today was a better day, and the day before, a better day. I know that my illness will never go away and that some days it will grab a hold and  squeeze me paralyzed, but the days it does this are decreasing, to only maybe 4 days a month. This was my every day life before service dogs.  I never really lived before my service dogs, I never felt alive.
Idunn gets the reality separate from the disassociation, (getting lost in your own reality or self), and brings me back, from the couch, she 'wakes' me up, even when I don't want to be woken up. The reality is, I have been EVERYWHERE with Idunn :):):), Tradex Dog Show, Puppy training class, my son's school for numerous classes, buses, parks, always with confidence and a calm demeanor, beautiful~  So I never expected the return of my depression after a manic, then subdued, peaceful and most welcome period in my life. Just looking and loving my Idunn was taking me to a higher level of loving myself and appreciating everything that was happening, there was no 'numb feeling', but a renewed sparkle, just look at her, wow!

I was doing extremely well. Ya, well that's when the disease get's ya, full force, SLAMS ya down, no mercy, 'couch land' with shackles for you. And believe me, you stay shackled.

Sorry readers, for my language, but F**K YO*, dam mental illness...I have a life to lead and the sweetest service dog that awakens me every morning with loving kisses.  If you don't go away she will paw me and kiss me some more. If you persist on bringing me down, she will bark and jump on me! Idunn's love will bring YOU DOWN.  She does every morning, I forget the prison when her cold nose touches my face. Then, a friendly paw, then, (if I STILL do not get out of bed), a JUMP on the bed and INSISTENCE nose nudges till I get out of bed, Idunn is the BEST and most loving way to wake up, only Idunn could push away the demons with such a sparkle, so simply, they are gone.
This blog has not really been about all the adventures and life Idunn has made possible for me the last month and a half but more about living with mental illness and how Idunn helps me with it, I could not live the life I do without her. The monsters that chain me to the couch still take hold but Idunn's sweet and loving nudges bring me back to life and dissolve them for me. Every human being I encounter, I encounter with nervousness but with Idunn there, I'm special again, I count, I matter.  I always have existed, but without her by my side, to my mind, I don't.


'Who You are Makes a Difference', you matter to me special and most loved readers. I hope you know how much.

Forever Hugs and Love,

Leanne and Idunn

Sunday, October 9, 2011

From Rosie my love to Idunn my future, my beloved and bright future..Life goes on with the love of a service dog

Dear Friends and Family, Happy Thanksgiving!

I believed that this post would be difficult and heartbreaking.  This is the farthest thing from the truth. The hardest experience was to be with my ill friend and say goodbye to her, the joy comes with the precious gift she, and I am sure had some VERY special connections in heaven, gave to me with the help of family here. I shed many tears even as I write this blog as Rosie was the first miracle in my life.  I will never forget her or miss her every second of my life.  Rosie, my girl, you taught me to believe in life.

Rosie is proud to announce her successor for me, Rosie's Great niece, a perfect fit, Idunn.

Idunn, pronounced, Eden, (like the garden of Eden!) is my new psychiatric assistance dog.  Rosie is looking down from heaven with endless love and approval.  She does not want me to cry but to love Idunn with all that is in my heart for Idunn is my new best friend and way to a brighter future.  I will do you proud Rosie my girl, I promise.

Rosie passed away peacefully in my arms after a summer of much hope that her body would heal and she would recover.  This was not to be so and her golden heart stopped beating on Sept. 15, 2011.  I hugged her and was so happy that her suffering had ended.  Then came the sorrow, guilt and loneliness, despair, darkness and surprising extremely manic episode that followed.  I have NEVER cleaned 24/7 as after Rosie passed, and thank you Rosie girl, my house sure needed it!  Rosie, God has a very special place for you and I am so joyful in my heart that you are there.  I treasure the day I see you again, my special girl.  Now, I must live and carry on with LIFE! I closed the doors till Idunn arrived and celebrate her arrival my Rosie girl! Look what has been going on!
(click on any photo to enlarge :)

'One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar'
Helen Keller

  Idunn is all of this and no other dog could envelope my heart like Idunn does. The day we met Marlene,  I loved her so and you for allowing me to take Idunn home.  I knew the second Idunn jumped out of her car that I loved her.  We went for a long walk up the field and towards the pond.  There we had a long talk.  She looked into my eyes, I looked in hers and all was well. We knew we did not know each other to well but we also knew that we could touch deep within our souls and make it work. I do not know if any of you my friends have ever known a Collie but when you feel them within your heart there is nothing else like it, this is how it was with Idunn.

'I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship'
Helen Keller

Thank you Marlene for the Beagles love and cuddles, after weeks of loneliness, they were the very best medicine, Idunn being the most comforting of all. I was at peace after a very long and sad time, I felt life anew!
 I am blessed to add that my ship is stronger,  with a most tremendous strong base, and filled with the years of Rosie's love, devotion and loyalty.  With Idunn, I am confident I will experience the  most life has to offer in all its beauty and opportunities. Our service dogs and the life they give us carries on to successor dogs that can only enrich the knowledge that  we have already learned and cherish. Thank you Rosie, forever in my heart.

Idunn, you are more than worthy to accompany me into my future.  You are my kisses, BIG kisses!

You are my life, my love and my connection to the real world. My beautiful Idunn, I already love you more than you will ever know! Welcome to my home, you forever loving home my new girl! I love the fun you are having and the wiggle in your tail! I love your attentive look and the way we need each other.  Most of all, I love that you are you, and that you fit into my little quiet family the way you do.

Thank you Idunn for making me laugh and smile and live life!!! Rosie is woofn from heaven above!!
Just to be around you is life.
All my love, 

'Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows'
Helen Keller

Rolling in my new home grass!

~A furry and close little family is what life is all about~
~Cherish it always~

I give thanks for a paw to hold, a heart to cherish, a friend to love.
My new friend Idunn has already drawn me to new friends, experiences and most importantly the ability to function in life.  Life is born again as I never thought it would be, thank you Idunn, all my new friends and my beloved West Coast Assistance Teams Family.
All my most special readers, I truly hope you enjoy our new adventures as Rosie would want us too and Idunn is very eager to share!! Love you all, never forget, 

Who you are makes a Difference!!!

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble
'Helen Keller'

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

This will not be a sad, lonely post but a thank you to my Rosie's spirit who has carried me on, and still pushes me, every day, and it's not a mild push! It will be a week tomorrow since my beloved angel passed to her rainbow bridge and I want this post to be her inspiration to anyone who has lost a beloved best friend.  If you happen to share my sorrow or have lost a service dog, I only know that you must believe, life goes on.  It just does.

Your best friend is gone, your way of life, your way of coping, surviving, loving life, and just plain every day functioning.  There was actually nothing plain about it, miracle is a better word.

 I have not stopped cleaning, (FEROCIOUSLY cleaning), since the day Rosie passed, and it is a good thing.  I have enveloped my kitty and son in loving attention, Rosie would approve. Although, every second of every day is different, quiet, surreal and very, very, numb.  At first I tried to see Rosie in everything I saw, felt, touched, smelled and experienced. I had to let that go.

  Rosie was not to be in any moment of my life that I wanted her to be in, she was gone.  The finality of her passing, I denied for days.  I looked at pictures, many, many pictures, over and over again.  Maybe she was just at my sisters? Your brain plays comforting tricks on you when your reality tells you that Rosie would never be anywhere without you.
Shock and Denial and I would add SURREAL, to this list. I felt a familiar loss of reality when my Mom died, a disconnection, a denial.
  Then, I tried to walk to the store.  I stopped breathing with loss.  I turned back twice, I vomited  not the first time since Rosie died, but,  I made it.

I promised myself to NEVER do that again, too freaking scary!! A nightmare! I tried again today, pushing myself is something I rather admire about myself and I was blessed enough that BOTH times a friend saw me and helped me, must of looked a mess!
Denial, shock, downright hell on earth.  Just sucks.
Life just sucks. Clean, cry, clean, cry, clean, cry, sleep, wake up and cry. All around you, life goes on, people say their blessings and forget, life goes on.  Cars drive by, people phone, (I don't answer), kids scream outside, SHUTUP!!! Grief takes it toll. Anger is a stage, and I fully realize this because I wanted to hurt myself, for hurting Rosie, for not helping her, for not saving her. Grief, guilt and blame.

Thinking of Buddy saved me, and thinking of the Rainbow Bridge.  Time saved me. Thinking I wanted to bop the bitchy young girl at the gas station that was so MEAN to me saved me. I have NO time for people now, I do not even LOOK at them if they are not family or close friends, terrified of them to tell the truth. Grief..anger, betrayal.

The last two days, I have not pressured myself so much to see Rosie in the clouds or believe that she is coming back, because you do.  I saw her die, but dreamed that the veterinarian did something wrong and I hired a detective to get her back. I dreamed she was in a corral with a horse that was hurting her, I could not save her. Grief, denial, blame.

Only today did I stop pushing, (except for yet another trip by myself that a friend saved me from, my mental illness, not my tears), and I felt a warm, tender ray of sunshine push through to me. I had to let it come to me and stop so desperately looking for Rosie in my life, she no longer lives in my life, but in the sunshine and HER life.  I had to let it be. I saw her smile in the clouds.

The stages of grief go on and around and upside down and sideways, all through your emotions and physical body like a roller coaster.  Sometimes calm and serene, sometimes like a bulldozer. I know that the bulldozer hits you when you least expect it, a smell, a song, any remembering moment in your life cascades a flood of memories that leave you breathless, stunned, sad.  It's like your lost one is right there, but you can't touch them, it's like their life has returned to you, but you can't get it. Grief, your alone.

Your very precious reason for living, IS very precious and has been returned to their home. I believe now that Rosie was sent to me, little insignificant me, as a very treasured gift.  I could not keep her forever.

She had to return to her home where she will run and play and not feel any pain, she deserves that. I must not own her, she has a place to go. I was given a gift and so loved that gift that I never, ever wanted to let it go, it was mine! Rosie came to me to teach me, to let me enrich my life and cherish what she taught me. Most importantly, what she taught me must carry on because that is why she became a part of my life. This must be the HARDEST part of letting someone so miraculous go, to take what they taught you and carry on in life, because life goes on.  Grief, acceptance, purpose.

Rosie was a miracle.  She truly was.  A very wise person told me that what a service dog does is make the service dog's person a miracle.  The dog makes the person truly believe in their self. The spiritual and physical connection between a person and their service dog is infinitely 'healing'. It is like the service dog has brought their person back home.

 I still feel the 'home' Rosie taught me but of course everything is different now. When someone you love is gone, every molecule of what you see is gone, though everything is still there.  Grief, sometimes you just do not know what stage you are in and do not care.  I do know that I am feeling ever bit of it and hope that sharing this with you might help you when you are lonely or in need of a loving story of hope.
Rosie taught me hope, to carry on, get off the couch!
I have forgotten how very miraculous that was for me to just get off the dam couch! It was my prison.

I wrote in a previous post that I could not clean my bathroom because it smelled of Rosie and her many baths because of her illness this summer.  My bathroom had a dark blue shower curtain and dark blue towels.

Today I bought a white curtain with what I think, is on it, a tree of life.  To some...ya, a shower curtain with a stuffy toy, to me a celebration of life with my Rosie above it all.  Maybe kind of silly and crazy? Well, never said I was sane, and starting to love myself just the way I am.  My life is becoming increasingly brighter every day with the light of Rosie's spirit and all she taught me about living life.

 I am feeling better now, even though I know the stages of grief can grip you like a vice and not let go, they still do, especially at night. When it is time to stop moving, everything is done and there is only time to think, to miss someone.  Night time is very hard.

When sleep finally arrives and a good dream dissolves into my morning, I awake with only the medicinal smell of Rosie. No Rosie to bath, medicate and comfort. Thank you God, I know there must be many squirrels at the Rainbow Bridge for her.
There are so many people to talk to, to help, to let them know the miracle that is life, they can live it!
Many more adventures to come my friends, I hope there is something, somewhere in this post that may light your way to some comfort and peace. Our loved ones want us to keep learning till we see them again.

Much love and peace

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Angel Returns to Heaven

My Rosie passed away in my arms Thursday Sept. 15, 2011. This will be Rosie's last post but never the end of her story or mine.  I only wish I could have had the gift of her grace, devotion and endless love for much longer but the years I spent with her by my side were the best years I have ever had.
She LOVED to steal my pillow and give me that look that said, ' I know ya love me mom, I love you too'.
Rosie and I battled this summer to keep her well, but lost the battle and Rosie needed to stop hurting. I will not cry for her because she is no longer in a body that  turned against her, she was so very brave. She never whined or complained, I knew she would walk a million miles if I asked her too. I miss her so much. I cannot clean the bathroom tonight, maybe tomorrow because I can smell her coat and shampoo from the many baths she needed this summer. I will try and let you go Rosie girl, I promise.

I look up into the sky and try to see her in the clouds, just a wisp of her tail or beautiful eyes, but I do not see her. Maybe tonight she will be in my dreams so I can touch her one more time, I hope so.

The very first day Sharon brought Rosie to my house, she bounced through the house! So happy! I truly believe she saved my life. My son fell in love, his first best friend, Rosie and Donny loved to hug.
Rosie was my healer, my inspiration, my way to connect with the outside world. Her gentleness and beauty taught me that the world would not hurt me. When I walked with Rosie the whole world stopped to smile, she healed so many and gave her gift to countless children, adults and her furry best friend, Kessa.
My heart physically hurts and I'm shedding tears for my loss, her pain is over and that brings me joy and peace. Such a gentle soul never deserved to hurt.

I have years of happy memories with Rosie that I will cherish forever and I will try to not cry so much my angel girl. I would love to hold you just one more time as you were before you got sick, I wouldn't have you suffer any longer.
My kitty is looking for Rosie and sometimes for a moment I forget she is not here, but not for long. When a leaf twirls down from my tree out back, I remember her in the leaves, her coat the color of  golden autumn.
I miss you too much right now my little girl and will write more soon of your unique and gentle gifts.

Rosie would have been nine in November, gone too soon, anytime would of been to soon for my family and me. I'll miss you at Christmas little girl, you so loved the snow! I will never forget your ENDLESS patience posing for me so many times with your Santa hat on, thank you Rosie.

Rosie took me to beautiful lakes and rivers, the beach, she took me to the sky. She took me to life and made me feel like a star. Rosie was the shining star, on television and radio but mostly she was the shining star in my heart that my illness had dulled to a very faint flicker.
Rosie illuminated that flicker to a bright, loving, white light that trusted the world again, she taught me love.

Cheryl from Cherfire Collies where Rosie was born sent me some pictures of her that I would love to share. Even as a little tiny girl she was a star, third from the left in the picture of her siblings. She was a Mom, and I am positive a very loving and devoted one.
Thank you all for sharing some of the millions of memories I have of my very special service dog, Rosie. She was a part of my every thought and second of my life. She still is and always will be.  I pray that she has a very peaceful, special place at the Rainbow Bridge and will cherish the day I can be with her again. 

Goodbye my little girl, thank you for my life and your love, Hugs and kisses forever from your Mom.
I promise to try and be strong without you and make you proud of me
I miss you Rosie, play and rest at your Rainbow Bridge

November 6, 2002 - September 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011



We have been busy! I would love for you to take a walk with me, today was warm and I helped Mom take Donny to the dentist. Donny, my youngest pack member is VERY afraid of the dentist. Now he has a wonderful dentist and with Mom and I there he did GREAT!  Proud of you Donny! 

Sunday, I was so excited! West Coast Assistance Teams arranged an interview for Mom and I with BCIT Broadcast Journalism students, Sarah Massah and Jessica Rivers.  The interview was for the BCIT radio station, Evolution 107.9 and will be airing this summer. Sarah and Jessica wanted to know all about how I help Mom with her disability and how her life is enriched because of wonderful me! Mom and I were very impressed with Sarah and Jessica's professional manner, organized questions and calming presence.  I think they will both become successful journalists in the future, all the best Sarah and Jessica! Thank you for your sincere interest in psychiatric assistance dogs and West Coast Assistance Teams, you are welcome at our home anytime!

My KITTY member of my pack, (yes, I adore him too!), became very ill recently and Mom thought we were going to have to say goodbye.  It just wouldn't be the same without Leeta meowing me off the bed every night!  Somehow, (I said a little prayer), he pulled through for one of his endless lives and I can chase him again through the house! Love you Leeta!

'Fortes Deus beatos efficiat'

'May God Bless the Brave Ones'

Welcome my friends and loved ones to a land my paws gently and cautiously walked upon.  Vancouver, East Side.  Seven pm on a Monday night. 

My beloved pack seemed to be aware of a movie they were watching outside of the window, all were in good spirits and yet a gnawing aura of detachment was present.  I had a feeling my Mom wanted to lock the car door, and yet she was content.  My pack chatted but became increasingly confident in the warm atmosphere INSIDE our magical moving space.  I looked up to Mom, she was intrigued looking outside, yet out of her comfort space, all my pack was.  My youngest pack member, Donny was afraid. I gave Donny a look of gratitude for his fear, and let the other pack members continue with their understandable human layers of this and that.  

Mom gave me dinner from the magical thing that moves when it stopped, and I was thirsty! I was not hungry then, I am now! Mel leaned over for a loving pat, 'Hey Mel, thanks! I love you too!' My most beloved humans, I feel you are so passionate and present at the reality outside the window.  The movie rolls on for them, strange.  I treasure their layers of this and that!

I smell scents of damp cement, human sadness, old sweat and old clothes.  I smell the ocean.
I smell very old bricks and ancient ghosts. I strain to smell grass and the sky has gotten smaller.  The door we try to enter is locked, and there is a fleeting sense of hidden panic from Mom, very strange indeed! I resign myself to the fact that there is no scent of grass to leave my..ahem..mark upon and concentrate on being lovingly by Mom's side....

Downtown, East Side..Co op Radio.  West Coast Assistance Team's live, (yes, LIVE), radio interview! WOO HOO! All the human emotions layers of this and that gave way to a little nervousness and true woofing excitement! Mom soaked in the character of this historic brick building with love and remembering, she was loving the present! Ryan and Donny were off to explore, drive and take pictures. My Mom, Sharon and Matt, (he is one in a million!) prepared for our interview.  Thank you Ryan for touring Donny around Vancouver, his photography passion was in full bloom! Mom tells me you and Sharon are family, I knew that of course..big loving woof!

(Outstanding photo's courtesy of Donny Bazinet, Professional Photographer Entrepreneur!)

I breathed in the warm flowing wave of  smells; the loft and studios, the passion of the people, the headphones, wires, countless voices, humming radio hopes and opinions, I love this place.  Mom is giddy. Mom is CONFIDENT! well....until the Mic goes live..woof! 

Content under the table of microphones and 'on air' lights, my heart glowing for Mom, I let out a sigh, (those that know me, heard it on the live broadcast!) 

Outside the lonely cry, the desperate seek relief from devastating pain, drug deals are inches away and the homeless huddle as they have for lifetimes. The mentally ill wander the streets in clothes worn forever, their hair wild and untamed.  The derelict dark alleys blanket needles, despair and are dungeons for the dammed. 

We are not as far away as if we are watching a movie.  There is a very fine line between us. The personality and ancient, familiar hold of the east side stays with you, it makes a home in your soul, we have all been there. To have the opportunity to speak about mental illness this evening was something my Mom will never forget and is one of the most important evenings of her life, I know this.  She carries a piece of the east side with her now, not in sorrow or disgust but with respect and hope. 

We left Co op Radio and opened the door outside to Donny and Ryan running towards us with pens and paper in hand. 'Can we have your autograph!' they yelled! Woof! well..of course! Woof! WOOF!

 We left the East Side in search of 'donuts', (a human treat, makes my pack AWAKE and ALERT, how charming!) We left knowing in all of our hearts that, everyone, everywhere knows..

'Who I am makes a Difference'

These puppy paws are pooped! Sweet dreams my friends..zzzzzzzz woof..zzzzzzzz..woof........zzzzzzz...Love always..zzzzzzzz