Thanks Karalee!

(I forgot the nick you usually go by, sorry!!!)

But I wanted to let you know what your donation paid for, I think you’ll approve.

As I mentioned a while back Keegan is now on arthritis meds for both her front feet. You just paid for one month of my best buddy’s pain meds. Thank you thank you!
Keegan would just lick your nose but that might be enough enough yeah? πŸ˜€

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Old doggy

Keegan is now taking tramadol for arthritis pain.

The vet gave us a two week supply and said come back in two weeks and she’d refill it.

I gave Keegan a pill at lunch time as soon as we got back to the dorm; she perked up considerably.
She still walks with a slight limp but she seems in much better spirits.

Chronic pain is no fun. 😦

Taking Keegan to the vet

She’s been limping worse every night and she’s lost far too much weight.

No peer group yet

I went to the VA appt, it was supposed to be a peer group meeting of women who are or have been homeless. But I was the only one that was there. I wasn’t surprised, I wouldn’t have been there if I was still homeless, I wouldn’t have even known about it.

Still, I have hopes it was worth something.

I did not get any practicing done but I have been busy.
I’m trying to increase my daily walking amount. But I need to do it at small amounts over the afternoon so I don’t give myself shin splints.
It does come back and I have hope that if I stay smart about how much I increase that I’ll start getting in shape again.

Keegan got a mostly empty peanut butter jar this evening, partially to distract her from possible thunderstorms tonight, partially just because I love her and there’s little happier than a dog with a peanut butter jar.

One thing that always surprises me is the exclamation of “she’s so soft!” when people touch her. Well of course she is! She’s a long haired fuzzy dog who gets brushed regularly and lots of water and good food. What else would she be!

Saturday

Today has been good. I’ve slept a fair bit, read some, taken a bit more of the camper apart, spoiled the Keegan, and watched Real Madrid outplay Barcelona 😦 .

I’ve started measuring the wood panels I took off my camper for use on my new school desk.
Tomorrow, if I’m not too worn out from my friends engagement party tonight. It looks to be quite the shindig, with lots of people and noise. I hope to be able to stay for at least 30 minutes!

People seem to be surprised I’m taking the camper apart. Even though they’ve been watching it come apart in the parking lot over the past week they all stop and so “what you building?” When I say I’m taking it apart they all gasp and say “but why?!”.
It just surprises me.

It’s awesome to see my truck as a truck again, at least more of a truck, than a camper. It will take another week to get the top off, I’ll have to cut it off because I can’t get to the screws under all the layers of paint.

apartment update

Yesterday I finally got in touch with the property manager of a little dorm styled room downtown for an affordable price.

The room was fine. But the manager seemed to be having difficulty with Keegan. Great difficulty. Ah well. Not everyone is a dog person (even when the law says no discrimination against service animals).

My view is that if the property manager is that uncomfortable with Keegan then I most likely don’t want to live there and deal with him being defensive all the time, that wouldn’t be conducive to a peaceful living situation.

Keegan on the train…

Looking happy πŸ˜ƒ

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Update

I haven’t been writing much I know. Too much happening.

First, my VA claim has gone through. So for the next year I’ll get a monthly stipend and medical care. The review the claim every year so I could very well lose benefits next year.
But, for now, my past week has been non-stop medical appts and catching up on everything that will need to be done.

I’m looking for a place but I still have to find a place under $600 max, preferably $500. Because I’ll have utilities and food and auto insurance and all those other things. Rent is supposed to be no more than 1/3 of your monthly income but I’m looking at more like 1/2 of my income.
So send positive vibes or whatever you believe in to help me find a place under $500. I should be getting a place that’s no more than $400 but that just doesn’t exist here.

I’m looking at dogs for a new service dog. I have one I’m interested in at a rescue org a couple hours away. I’ve filled out all the paperwork and such but I haven’t heard back yet. I had to do all the paperwork and references before I could even meet the dog. I won’t know if she’s a good fit until I get to meet her and hopefully spend a couple hours with her.

But, I’ve also been in contact with a service dog training organization based out of san antonio/austin who help train PTSD dogs. If my chosen dog doesn’t work out they’ll help me find another dog. So I *will* get a dog in the end. They also help the “old” dog (Keegan) adjust to the new dog. I asked specifically because Keegan gets so upset when she doesn’t go with me that I was concerned she’d just lay down and die if a new working dog came into the picture. But the trainers said that’s very unlikely and they’ll help me show Keegan that she’s still top dog but that now she can relax and spend her days sleeping instead of working. (She sleeps a lot these days, at 14 years old).

Keegan is snoring.

That is all.

the benefits of a “case worker”

I wrote this as an email to a friend but thought I should post it here. It outlines pretty much where I’m at and what the next/current steps are.

I starting to see that the case worker I have might be pretty good at his job!
__________________________

I’ve been working with this caseworker as you know. He has told me to go ahead and apply to the residential program in Temple. That requires my psych filling out the paperwork and submitting it for me. My psych has said “no problem”, he thinks I should take advantage of the program as well if I can. So I’m waiting on this. I’ll follow up again with him end of this week.

I don’t *know* if I will qualify or not as the VA has so many different definitions/levels of “veteran”, another 4-6 weeks probably before I know if I would qualify unreservedly. But… I think the case worker is trying to maneuver many individual pieces so that he can play them off of each other.

If I qualify for the residential program and I’m “just waiting” on the claim to finish processing but the group is starting now, then maybe they’ll go ahead and let me start. Then my presence in the residential program can be used as an additional data fact to support my VA claim.

Again, if I’m accepted into the residential program but I need “suitable living arrangements” then he can take that data to the various housing groups around town and show all the needed qualities to succeed and fast track me in their programs.

But, while we don’t know for certain yet, my case worker thinks that if I’m able to say “yes, I have a friend(s) that I’m staying with until I can find a place of my own” on my residential application that they will accept that as a working answer. They may require more by the time I leave the program, they may not, we don’t know. But then again.. if I get accepted into the program.. see previous paragraph.

Right now is another “wait and see” stage.

Keegan got her first non-owner grooming!

So Keegan went to doggy daycare today while I was at the hospital.

My friends wanted to surprise me with a grooming but then they weren’t sure since she’s a service dog so they asked me, so it wasn’t a complete surprise when I saw her (which is better in this case I think). I said “sure!”

So Keegan got a shampoo, a thorough brushing and trimming (they trimmed her feathers so she looks a bit funny but it’s no biggy because I’ve done the same thing at times, especially when she’s swimming a lot). And they smoothed her toenails (which were cut at the vets office the other day but still had rough edges).
And she got a matching bandana. πŸ˜€

So now she’s all fluffy!

Keegan’s getting old…

..so I’ve accepted the inevitable and started browsing around for a new dog that might be suitable for a service dog.

I expect that Keegan will have another 12-18 months in her before she says “enough” or before she gets so feeble that she won’t want to go anywhere or do anything.

That means I need to start training a dog sometime in the next 6-12 months. Or so.

I’m checking out service dog organizations here in TX, checking for new rules, regulations, “accepted opinions”, etc etc.

I’ve found one dog that I’m seriously interested in but I haven’t had the guts to email them and see if she’s still available.
I’m not set up to where I can take in a new dog yet. That may happen soon but it hasn’t happened yet (and soon is such a wide open variable).

Maybe the fates I refuse to believe in will throw the dice my way and keep her available for me.

catching up.

A few days ago I emailed an old rowing friend who has a business in town asking him if I could park on the street outside his business while I bussed over to the hospital for my biopsies, and if he would check on Keegan when he took lunch just to verify that she was okay.

He said to come by the office on Monday and we’d see how to arrange things.

So Sunday evening I trundled off to the street by his business (no fee for parking on the street where he’s at, its far enough from downtown) and settled in for the night.

He showed up outside my camper on Sunday night.
Turns out he and his fiance always go out to dinner on Sunday night and this one place has a special two for one deal. So they always take the extra one (piping hot) and hand it to a a homeless person somewhere on their route home.
And then he thought to himself (as he told me), “I bet Rachel is already there at the office!” so he swung by the office and there I was.
So he dropped off three meals worth of lasagna and ravioli and bread and oh my!

So I settle in with my yummies, sharing with Keegan in small judicious bits as I didn’t want the richness to unsettle her stomach.

Thirty minutes later he’s outside my camper again.

Men!

So I open up and say “what’s up?” and he said, “I called Caryl (his fiance) and you need to come home with us.”
Hmmmm…. errrr…. why??
But who am I to look friendship and gifts in the mouth?? πŸ™‚ And I like them both (so that made it easier). And they are sincere people (like you guys), not judgmental or preachy or anything like so many people seem to be.
So I followed him to their place.
And they said I should stay the week while I’m dealing with the biopsies. And I could train their dogs while I was at it. πŸ˜€ (they have 3) I like training dogs. It’s their owners I had problems training. Today we worked on Pepper’s licking everything/one within reach of her tongue. She’s a smart dog, she’ll come up and you can watch her head and face… she wants to lick.. it’s a struggle.. twitch.. and which point I praise her for being such a good dog and not licking. She’s catching on really well. One of the dogs goes absolutely bonkers whenever a car goes by or a person comes in, or when a door opens, he’s going to take a bit more work but I think he’ll figure it out pretty quick once we start working on it. Then the third one needs some reinforcement on “come”, which is actually the easiest of the three issues to work with.

It’s awesome.
All the dogs are getting settled together. They have dog blankets for all the furniture so the dogs are allowed on the beds and couch as long as the blanket is out (the dogs know blanket means “me!” and no blanket means “floor..”)
Keegan is on the doggy blanket on the bed with me. Sacked out. Happy as she can be.

I’ve had great conversations with fiance, getting to know her better. Which I haven’t had much opportunity to do before now.

And Keegan got her shots up to date today; Wednesday while I’m in getting cored and sliced, Keegan will go to doggy daycare with their 3 dogs (though she’ll have her own space) and then get picked up after I’m done to come home with me to either sleep off the rest of the anesthesia or help me commiserate a few more scars.

So today I took Keegan to the vet but other than that.. lounged about, watched a Premier League game on the giant TV, talked to fiance, ate good food, trained dogs… that’s about it.

Tomorrow is take Keegan back to vet to get the one shot we didn’t get today (oops), then go see caseworker, then take Keegan by doggy daycare so they can meet her and get an idea of how much private time vs play time she needs/wants and get an idea of where to crate her so she isn’t stressed.
Busy day tomorrow.

With the good…

…comes the silly.

I mentioned a while back that Keegan has learned to get in and out of the hammock.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to type with a dog sitting in your lap staring at you? Not to mention the nose prints on the screen… Yes, a dogs nose will work on an iPad.

So now I spend my down time with that pathetic look (the look thats so pathetic you cant help but laugh) hanging over the edge of the hammock begging to come up or I have a 50lb dog in my lap.

She also keeps getting her feet tangled in the yarn when I’m knitting. Or her ears, or nose. We’re working on that.

On the plus side, we’re warm and I always know exactly where she is.

busy day, maybe something useful

I started my day with a visit to my psych, who is a good guy and actually helpful.

Then I wandered over to the brand new organization here that is tailored to homeless women veterans. They may be able to help, may not. But it wasn’t a bad thing. Went much better than I expected though I was frazzled and low on reserves.

Then I went by a local food bank at a church. Chaos. Noise. People. Crowds. Tears. Keegan thank G-d.

Then I dropped off the itty bitty backpack I knitted for my wee cousin. No trauma there, drop and go. I hope she likes it!

Then I stopped by the school to try and do some online homework and got an email that a friend’s visit that I’d been using as a reason to get through this quarter has been canceled. Not the friends fault I had placed such importance on it but talk about having the pier suddenly disappear and ending up in the surf.

So now.. well.. yup… I gotta find something to grab on to damned fast cause I’ve got no more air left.

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