Monday, March 15, 2010

This is it

Blogging is an interesting way to communicate with people and let others now what you are interested in or to just let others know what is on your mind. Sometimes you may blog because your frustrated and want to get others feedback about how you should go about the situation. Other times you just want to blog about something tha you feel strongly about, and to let others know your opinions and try to share them with the world. Some people may blog about things that are hard to talk about with people face to face but the person really just needs to get it off their chest.

People read blogs for many different reasons. Some of those reasons maybe that they want to learn more about something like animal assisted therapy. Others may read blogs because they need some inspiration. Maybe they or a family member of theirs is going through a really hard time and they want to see how someone else overcame the same or similar problem. Yet still others may read blogs because they want to be informed about the news and this is one of the easier ways that they know how to do that.

Blogging helps people stay connected. In the world that we live in there are so many different religions, cultures, ways that people do things in there daily lives. Blogging helps us all stay connected when sometimes our lives are so busy that it is really hard to be connected any other way. Some people think that blogging doesn't really serve a purpose and that it sometimes hinders our daily connections with people and the outside world. But in my honest opinion blogging brings us closer together in a way that without blogging it would be hard to do so.

To me bloggin was a big help. I didn't need the blogging to find out about the news or really to do research. Bloggin was a big help to me because it helped let me tell how I was feeling without really ever speaking the words. When my sister was sick I felt that if I just didn't talk about the problems and the fears then the problem wasn't really there, but as everyone knows the problem just doesn't go away. Every morning when I woke up my sister was still sick, and sometimes i didn't know how to deal with it, because everything was all bottled up inside of me. But by blogging I was able to get everything out and was able to talk about things without ever really having to speak the words. Blogging in my opinion is a very good thing, and I don't think that it is a waste of time or space.

Booth,Wayne."Animal Assisted Therapy."Dog Training Blogger.18 April 2008.Web.15 Mar 2010.

Rushkoff,Douglas."The Internet is not Killing off Conversation but Actively Encouraging it." 116-119. 15 Mar 2010.

The Most Remarkable Healers

I'm sure everyone has heard the phrase, "Dog is mans best friend." Sometimes people who say this dont really know how true that saying really is. Dogs can do so many things for someone. They can help you overcome your fears, give you someone to talk to when no one else is around, or they can just be something to cuddle up to, or sleep next to. In my younger sisters case the puppy that she recieved helped her learn to cope with her cancer.

Animal assisted therapy has some very interesting facts and findings that I found to be very fascinating. Animal assisted therapy is where animals, usually a dog or a cat, ( but in some cases the animal can be somthing else, Chapel Grove whis is an assisted living facility for older adults has a pot bellied pig,) that goes into a hospital or nursing home and gets to work with more than one of the residents or patients there. There are many different forms of animal therapies, but with animal assisted therapies the animal usually lives within the nursing home or the hospital, and the resident or patients each have a certain thing that they will do with the animal. Things that the resident will do with the animal include brushing, giving the animal a bath, taking the animal for walks, and feeding the animal. These different tasks are split up between many different residents, and they are preformed on certain days of the week.

Once of the reasons that animal work so well with the residents is because animals are very patient they don't make you feel rushed, they are non-judgmental, and then don't make you feel stupid if you don't get something right on the first or second try. Some people who have completely stopped talking for what ever reason have taken part in the animal assisted therapy program and have begun to speak again with the help of an animal. Aniamls seem to have an amazing way of connecting with people.

In the post Wayne Booth talks about how animals are non-judgmental and are very patient, and they just seeem to be there for ou without making you feel stupid for the things that you may say or do. After my sister was diagnosed with cancer she had a hard time talking to my family and I about certian things that she was feeling because she didn't want us to be more upset then we already were. When my sister was feeling this way she would talk to Cocoa , and she never had to worry about him feeling sorry for her and about making him more upset. I feel by my sister having her puppy to talk to she got to get things out in the open without really ever having to tell anyone.

Another thing that the author of the post talked about that I really agreed with was how animals don't have a set schedule, they never have to really be anywhere at a specific time and it doesn't bother them if they have to sit with you for a long period of time. My sister really loved to take care of her puppy, and she didn't really like to get help from other people. Sometimes though these tasks couls take a long time due to the fact that because of her illness she got tired out extremely easy, but Cocoa never seemed to mind he would just sit patiently with her until she was done brushing him.

Wayne Booth also talked about how animals in the animal assisted therapy can make out a schedule with the patients and people that they work with. For example on Mondays one person gets to brush the animal and take him or her for a walk, then on Wednesdays of the same week the same person repeats what they did with the dog on Monday, and the schedule repeats its selft. My sister had a schedule set up with the puppy and by having that schedule she always had something that she new she had to do.

The thing that Wayne Booth wrote on his post that I definitely agreed with was, " Characteristics taht make for a good therapy dog are more about temperment than training." A lot of people told my dad and I that Cocoa would never work with my sister because he wasn't properly trained, and that he might hurt her more than help her. He always was checking up on her, and was always very calm around her. If you saw hime both when he was around and away from my sister, you would never guess that he was the same puppy.

Life with Cocoa

On Christmas day 2009 my sister sat on the ground by the overly decorated tree with one last present left to open. It was a medium sized box that was wrapped in green wrapping paper and had a huge red bow on top of it. I kept noticing that the box would move every now and then, and I was hoping that my sister would't notice it because I wanted her to be extra surprised at the gift when she finally got around to opening it.

You see my sister is only eleven years old and she is very sick. As she sits there beside the tree you would never have guessed that just seven months earlier my sister was 103lbs, athletic, and played many different sports. Now she looks ghostly pale, with sunken in cheeks, and barley weighs 70lbs. On April 13, 2009 my family recieved the most devastating news, we found out that my sister had cancer. She goes to chemo every week and never seems to get better, but worse. My sister never complains or wants anyone to feel sorry for her. In order to reward my sister for all of her bravery my parents finally caved in and got her a puppy for christmas.
I went with my parents to the pound in heath to pick out the puppy. We pulled up and parked outside, then my mother, father, and I walked inside and started looking at all the dogs. They had so many dogs in the pound, it was a little sad seeing all of them that noone wanted or couldn't afford to keep any longer. We walked around the cages and the last one we saw had the cutest puppy in it. When I put my hand up against the cage, the little puppy's body shook all over and his little tail was wagging a mile a minute. He was so cute jumping up against the cage door trying to get petted one more time. We all fell in love with the puppy the first second we saw him and we all knew that my sister would too.
As my sister went to open her last present the box gave a tiny bark and my sisters face lit up just like the lights on the overley decorated christmas tree. She looked at my mother, father, and I, and said, "Thank you, Thank you." Then she lifted the lid of the green box and out popped a tiny brown head. My sister looked at the puppy and said, " Hello there."
She was so happy that before she picked up the little puppy she slowly got up and walked to each of us and gave us a hug. Her hug was meant to be strong, but instead it was weak and I knew that it took her a lot of effort just to be doing the small action of giving a little hug. After she was done hugging everyone she went back and sat down by the green box that still held the little puppy.
She reached her pale fragile hand down into the box and pulled out the cutest puppy. He was all brown except for the tiniest white spot on his chest. He was a husky lab mix. My sister decided to name the puppy Cocoa, due to the fact that his fur color reminded her of the color of cocoa powder.

Cocoa got passed around a lot between the five of us and he was very shy. He didn't move around a lot he just sat quietly on who's ever lap he was sitting on. It didn't take Cocoa very long to warm up to my mom, dad, sister, and me. Soon he was jumping around, wagging his tail, and using those sharp little teeth of his to bite down on what ever he could find, which just happened to usually be someone's hand or other exposed body part. His teeth may have just been puppy teeth, but man were those suckers sharp. When he would bite one of us and we would go to say something to the puppy, my sister would but in and tell us in a stern voice that he was just a puppy and didn't realize what he was doing.

My little sister played with her puppy all day long. She just couldn't seem to get enough of the little puppy. Later that day when it was time to go to bed the little puppy layed right next to my sister, and wouldn't move. He just stayed curled up next to her all night long, just like he would for many nights to come.

Thank you

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who kept my family in your prayers and your thoughts. You will never know how much a simple act like that mean to my family and I. I just wanted to let everyone know that my sister passed away on Saturday afternoon at the hospital in Florida. It may sound a little bit morbid but I'm glad that my sister has no more pain, and that she is free from any more suffering. My only hope is that once she was taken she was once again reunited with her beloved puppy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Never Lose Faith

Last Tuesday my family got some really great news. A hospital in Florida wants to do an experimental treatment on my sister. They told my family that if my sisters takes the treatment it could save her life but even if it doesn't cure her like they would like it to, it will at least give her 6 more months to a year to live. No one can imagine how happy I was to hear this news. When my parents sat my sister Nikki and I down we were waiting for the worst, but then they told us that we would be going to Florida for mysister Kate. We were both so happy that we cried. I can't believe that my sister is going to have more time to be here. Now I don't have to worry that my sister won't be here when I wake up or go out to work. I don't have to say goodbye to her just yet. Time is all that I could ever ask for.

My Mom is taking Kate and Nikki to Florida on Wednesday so that Kate can start receiving her treatments as soon as possible. My dad and I are going to follow them out on Monday and stay with her for about two weeks. Kate is so excited to go, she keeps talking about it. I haven't seen her this excited in a long long time. She is smiling and laughing, and those are two things that have been in short supply in our house hold for a while now. Hopefully the laughing and smiling sticks around for a while because it makes our house seem a little less morbid, and when everyone is smiling and not so depressed it makes it seem like things aren't really as bad as they really are.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shutting Down

I thought I was doing pretty well with everything that has been happening, but last week when we finally got to bring my sister home I lost it. My family and I said that we all wanted to have my sister home to stay instead having her spend however many days she has left in the hospital. So, my parents arranged for hospice to come into our house so that they could take care of my sister when our family wasn't able to. When we went to pick her up I was excited to see her smiling face. To the outside world you may not have been able to tell just how excited she truly was, but when she saw us coming through her hospital room doors to come and finally take her home for good her whole face lit and some color came into her pale sunken in cheeks.

She was already in the wheel chair and ready to go when we arrived so my dad grabbed the few things that she had and I took a hold of her wheel chair and we left the hospital. The whole ride home I was overjoyed with the fact that my little sister was coming home to stay, but it wasn't until we got into our home and into her room that I saw her room looked just like the hospital room she had just left. The only things that seemed to be different were that her walls were painted her two favorite colors green and purple instead of the off white color. My sister never missing a beat said I am so glad to be home, it didn't even seem to faze her that she would really never be alone she would always have a nurse or someone by her side constantly. She was just so over joyed to be out of the hospital hopefully once and for all.

I know that seeing her this happy should have made me feel so happy, I should have been excited, but I wasn't. All I could think about was how my little sister was being taken from me, and that one day very soon I won't get see her smile or hear laugh, I won't get to hear her voice and talk to her. All I could think about was how much I am going to miss her. I didn't want her to see me cry because I knew that it would make her feel sad, and I don't want her to spend how ever long she has left being sad. She is always telling my family and I to not stop our everyday lives just for her but it's so hard not too do that. When I go out with friends, my classes, or even to work all I can seem to think about is did I tell her I love her, and will she be alive when I get back home.

I this past week I didn't leave my house at all I was just to overwhelmed by all of the grief hitting me all at once it seemed like. My little sister was feeling it too, because on Thursday she told my step mom, Nikki, and I to get out of the house and go see a movie. We agreed for my little sisters sake just to make her happy none of us really wanting to leave. We decided to eat dinner there at the mall and as we were sitting in the eating area a group of 14 and 15 year old sat down next to us, and I over heard one of them say that they wished that they never had any siblings, that they hated them. You have no idea how much that statement ripped my heart out. That person has no idea how it feels to be on the brink of losing a sibling. At that moment I broke down in tears. Sometimes when I'm in a crowded place I just want to yell," My sister is eleven years old and she is dying." Her and Nikki's birthday is in a few weeks and I pray every night that she makes it to see twelve years old.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life's Not Fair

My little sister was finally told that she wasn't responding to her chemo, and that our family should should take time and spend it with her because they don't know exactly how much time she has left to live. People have told me all my life that life isn't fair and that I should just get used to it. Not everything goes the way that you want it and sometimes you just need to accept that. However, I don't think it is fair that an eleven year old has to say goodbye to a world that she hasn't really been able to live in a get a good experience.

She will never get to experience high school, and I know that some people say that high school was nothing great, but to a little girl who knows that she will never get the chance to be a high school freshman it really sucks. She will never get to go out on a first date, or experience a high school prom. I know it kills my dad to think that he will never get to walk his daughter down the isle.

The one person in our family that is really taking this whole thing the hardest is my little sisters twin Nikki. Nikki has stopped doing anything with her friends and does nothing but sit by her sisters side. All Nikki does is cry when she isn't around her sister. She doesn't want to cry in front of her because she doesn't want to make her more upset than she already is. I don't think anyone will ever understand why a girl that young and that still has everything in her life yet to live for is being taken from the people that love her the most.

It sounds weird but my grandpa gave our family a song to listen to called " Streets of Heaven" by Sherrie Austin. The song helps us hope that my sister goes somewhere peaceful and that just because her life here on earth is coming to end that her spirit will live on and be happy. She deserves to be happy she has been so great through the whole thing. It seems like she is the glue that is hold our family together so that we don't all fall apart in grief. I try to spend as much time as I can with her and try to make up for the time that I wont have. But for now I am taking it day by day and being thankful for each day that I am being given to be with her.