Monday, March 15, 2010
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.
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.
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.
Monday, March 8, 2010
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
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
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.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
We then walked back up to my grandparents house so we could get my mom and help my sister out so she could bury her puppy properly. My grandparents own a farm out in Granville and by there barn they have a pet cemetery for all of our families pets that have passed away. Once I was back into the house I walked over to my sister and told her that it was time. She leaned over and hugged me and started crying a whole new set of tears. Seeing her this way and knowing how much that puppy meant to her made me cry right along with her. I kept wondering what kind of person runs over a dog and just keeps on driving. I wondered if maybe it would have made a difference in the persons heart if he or she would have known that the puppy belonged to a sick dying little girl. None of that mattered though because what had been done was done and nothing could ever change that.
After I got my sister calmed down a little I asked her if she was ready, and she nodded yes so I helped get her coat, boots, gloves, and scarf on. When everyone was bundled up we all started to walk while my dad carried my sister to the place where the grave awaited Cocoa. Seeing this hole in the ground made a lump grow in my throat but I new that I needed to be strong for my sister who's heart had already been hurt more than enough times for a girl her age.
Once we arrived at the grave I read a poem called Rainbow Bridge, it's a poem for the animals that we have lost. After I finished reading the poem my sister said a few words and then placed Cocoa in his grave. My dad and Papaw finished filling in the hole and we all started back to the house. When we got back to the house my sister asked where Buddy was, and I looked out the window and saw Buddy just laying down my Cocoa's grave. Seeing Buddy and my little sister was one of the saddest things that I have had to see. I hope to never see anything this sad again, because it truly does hurt your heart.
Monday, February 8, 2010
This past weekend was not one of my favorites. I wish that I could have just skipped this weekend all together. On Friday after all of the snow had hit and we were practically snowed into the house my sister thought it would be fun to see how Cocoa did with the snow since he had never been around the snow before. So, my dad and I got her out of the bed and put in a chair so she could watch out of the window and watch Cocoa while he was outside.
Now our back yard is fenced in so we weren't worried about Cocoa escaping, but just to be on the safe side my dad and I bundled up and went outside with Cocoa. He and the other dog Buddy went nuts. They went nuts Cocoa couldn't get enough of the snow he kept running and jumping into it and throwing it up into the air. After about 30 minuets I looked inside and saw that my sister was getting a little tired so we took both of the dogs back inside. Later that night while my dad and I went out to shovel Cocoa got out. He ran out into the road and before my dad or I could catch him he disappeared.
My dad and I both searched our neighbor hood for hours shouting his name, but he never came. We both went back to the house with a heavy heart because we had to tell my little sister that her dog was gone. My little sister cried and cried when we told her about Cocoa. She got mad at us and yelled but we understood that my little sister was in pain. Cocoa was her best friend he was the one that cuddled with her when she was to weak to even try to play with her.
My dad and I were still optimistic though that Cocoa would show up. After all Cocoa new where our house was he had been walked around out neighborhood several times. Plus we new that Cocoa loved my little sister to much to just leave her.
By Saturday afternoon though Cocoa had still not returned. Later that day my dad was shoveling snow when I heard him call my name. I ran outside thinking he may have found Cocoa. I new that my sister would be so happy. However, when I finally reached where my dad was standing I saw him holding Cocoas lifeless body, and I saw my dad actually shed a tear. I won't lie when I saw Cocoa I broke down and cried. I wondered how my sister would take this news. It appeared that someone had hit Cocoa when he was returning home and didn't have the decency to stop and tell us. Instead they left him out in the snow.
Telling my little sister that Cocoa was dead was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I had to see my sister break down in tears and morn her puppy. I guess someone our there really does care about my sister and if you believe in God you could say that he was looking our for her. Just a week earlier Buddy showed up on our door step and right now he is helping my sister. All day Sunday Buddy laid in bed with my sister and just sat there in silence. You can tell that he misses his friend just like my sister misses hers.
Monday, February 1, 2010
My sister finally came back from the hospital on Thursday. She was kept a little longer than she was supposed to, but that was only because we wanted to make sure that she was really okay before she came back to our house. The day she came back to the house Cocoa went nuts. He was so excited to see her he jumped up and down, let out little happy barks, and so much more. On the flip side he somehow could tell that my sister was feeling worse than usually so he didn't go to over the top.
When my sister got home she was so excited to see her puppy. She hadn't seen him since she was rushed to the hospital. Although, if you would have seen her you wouldn't have thought she was that excited, but that is just because her energy level isn't like yours or mine. Her chemotherapy sucks down her energy level, sometimes it wears her out for her just to lift her arm.
Anyways Cocoa was the best little puppy I have ever seen. He just laid there by my sister and didn't move unless he had to get up and use his puppy pad or to eat or drink. He did this from the time my sister got home on Thursday to the time a new dog showed up on our door step on Saturday.
Yes, on Saturday morning Cocoa came across a playing buddy. My sister was sitting in her bed eating what she could of her breakfast when Cocoa started barking and becoming his hyper self again. She asked me to look outside and see what Cocoa was barking at so I did, and sitting on our door step was a basset hound. He didn't have a collar on him but he seemed friendly enough so we let him in the house. As soon as the dog walked into the house he took no time at all to become comfortable with his surroundings. However, Cocoa decided that this new dog was going to be a playmate.
For the rest of the day Saturday all day Sunday and Monday the two dogs have done nothing but run around and play with each other. The only time they aren't playing is when they are sleeping or eating. Even though Cocoa has a new playmate he still hasn't forgotten about my sister. Every ten or twenty minuets he would go into my sisters room and check up on her, and once he saw that she was still in her room and doing okay he would go right back to playing with his new found friend. Those two dogs have more energy than I have ever seen.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I was baby sitting my sister and she was playing with cocoa. Everything seemed to be perfectly fine. Then I heard my sister run to the bathroom and slam the door shut. At first I didn't think anything of it because my sister is always getting sick due to the chemotherapy. However, I new something was wrong when Cocoa was pawing at the bathroom door and she was still in the bathroom after 15mins..
So I went to the bathroom and found my sister laying on the floor crying, and telling me that she didn't feel good. I panicked because I had mentioned earlier her immune system is very weak and any kind of anything could become very deadly . I didn't have time to wait so I put my sister in my car and drover her to Licking Memorial Hospital. From there she was life flighted to Childrens Hospital.
My sister has been in the hospital since Wednesday, and I am taking care of Cocoa. Cocoa seemed to know that something wasn't right because he wasn't his normal self. Instead of being his normal self ( which includes chewing on shoes, barking at anything he see's outside, running around in circles to entertain himself when everyone else is busy, and much more), he just seemed to mope. Cocoa would just lie around only getting up long enough to go outside and eat. He was very lifeless. By Friday he was starting to scare me and I new my little sister would be very upset if anything happened to him. So, I took him to the vet.
The vet said that Cocoa was going to be okay. He was just probably depressed because he new that something was wrong with my sister, but he didn't know what. He told me to have him listen to my sister voice on the telephone and he should seem to perk back up to more of his normal self. So, that night I called my moms cell phone and had her put my sister on the phone. I told my sister that I was going to put Cocoa on the phone so that he could hear her voice because he missed her. When I put Cocoa near the phone and he heard my little sisters voice his whole body shook with excitment. I had to keep a very good hold on him because he was shaking so hard I thought I would drop him.
After talking to my sister Cocoa seemed to become his normal self. My sister is still in the hospital, but if everything goes as good as it is they are saying she can come home on Tuesday. I can't wait to see Cocoa when he finally gets to see my sister. I still have Cocoa listen to my sisters voice everynight, but I couldn't believe how muched he missed her when she first left. Dogs really are Mans Best Friend. Just like I know that Cocoa is my sisters Best Friend.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
My sister gets hot flashes a lot so she has four fans in her room that are usually always on. Whenever I go into her room I always have to wear a sweatshirt and I always have to have at least one blanket on me at all times. My sister has to go to chemo due to her illness, and one of the side effects of the chemo is that it gives my sister really bad hot flashes. ( Which for those of you who aren't sure what a hot flash is I'll tell you. A hot flash is when you get really hot no matter what the temperature may be outside, and in my sisters case she has to have a bunch of fans blowing on her before she can be comfortable in a room)
Anyways, I'm sitting in my sisters room with her right now as I'm posting this and personally I thinks it's freezing, but my sister thinks it feels just perfect but what can I do it's her room. Cocoa is also in her room,( as usual) and he is laying right in front of one of the fans in her room. He is laying on his back with his legs in the air and his tongue is hanging out of his mouth. He looks so content and happy.
I told my sister to look at the dog, because right now he looks pretty funny, and she said that he does that every time that she has the fans turned on. She calls him her little fan hog. He would rather sleep on the floor in front of one of the fans then sleep in her bed. She also said that when she turns the fans off Cocoa will sit up and look at the fan like, " what the hell just happened, where did all the cold air go?" She said that if she doesn't turn the fan back on the dog will then proceed to bark at the fan and start to chew on it till my sister turns it back on for him. He is such a spoiled little puppy.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
At first Cocoa was shy and just sat on my sisters or someones lap. Then he gradually became comfortable with his surroundings and started sniffing and exploring the house. My mother has a malti-poo and a pomeranian who have been living with us now for about seven years, and for those seven years they have been the only two dogs in the house. So, as you can imagine they were not happy with the new addition to the family. When my mother would play with the new puppy the other two dogs would get jealous and try to steal my mothers attention, but as everyone knows that's not an easy thing to do when a new puppy is in the house.
Throughout the day and many days after we had to keep a close eye on Cocoa because he wasn't potty trained yet and if he did anything in the house my mother would probably have a heart attack( she suffers from OCD).
Because of my sisters illness she can't always take him outside. Her chemotherapy sometimes makes her sick to her stomach and getting up to let the dog out is sometimes just not an option for her. So, she decided too train Cocoa to use a puppy pad. That way if she is unable to take the dog outside and there is no one else in the house to do it the dog won't have an accident on the floor. Training Cocoa to use the puppy pad was not a very difficult thing to do luckily.Which was a good thing because sometimes it can be a little difficult to train a dog to use a puppy pad. The pad has a scent on it that makes the dog want to use it. Also my sister put the pad in her room because that is where the dog will spend a lot of his time do to the fact that my sister doesn't really get to do much.
There are other methods to potty training your dog, but using the puppy pads was just one of the methods that suited our situation best.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Recently my family found out that my sister Kate ( my sisters name has been changed for privacy reasons) has cancer. We were all shocked by the news, but my sister at eleven years old seemed to take the news a lot better than the rest of us which to me was a little surprising, because she is the one that is fighting this terrible illness that no person should ever have to experience. She had to stop playing sports which I know was very hard for her because she plays sports all year long, but once again she surprised me by not complaining, but taking everything all in stride.
So, for christmas our family got her a puppy. She had been asking our parents for one for the past couple of years, and they finally gave her one becaus of how brave she was being. This is how Cocoa came to be a part of my family.