Friday, 24 May 2013

Auction is ON!

I finally had time to get the auction up and running.  Both Asia and Sienna are having a much better week this week and I couldn't be happier.  We actually had a medical-free weekend for Victoria Day.  It was such a treat for all of us!

The auction has some amazing items up for bids.  Please check it out!  I will be posting a longer blog post about the auction and it's contributors very soon. In the meantime, please check it out!

Auction For Pups

Friday, 3 May 2013

Feeling Defeated

Recently, in the news we have heard a lot about parents of special needs children having trouble coping and finding help.  Here in Canada a brave mother had to drop her autistic son off at the Canadian Government offices.  She could no longer cope. My heart hurts for that family.  I wish there was more that could be done for families who are in crisis.
While we are by no means dropping our kids off anywhere, I have to say that I am feeling quite defeated right now.  Our crisis started last Wednesday when both girls seized at the same time.  I was on my own with Sienna, Asia, my baby Saige, and Jedi.  It's hard enough having them both seize at the same time, but in public all on my own... that is never fun.

Our week has been full of seizures for both girls.  Asthma emergencies for Asia and the stress has made me get mastitis for the first time in 18 years. Asia's nebulizer treatments are every 4 hours around the clock so I am not sleeping much. I had to close my daycare on Monday but have stayed open for the rest of the week.  You see, parents of special needs children can't take time off for long.  We have more bills than the average family...medical bills, therapy bills, dog training bills, etc.  I wish that there was more that could be done for families like ours.  There isn't so we all learn to juggle.

 I have this "May the 4th Be With You" auction that is supposed to start tomorrow but I just can't manage taking the pictures and posting them at this time.  I have the items and the auction will be running, but it will not be starting on time.  I am sorry about this. I just can't take on one more thing right now. I hope to get the auction up and running asap because I really need to raise the funds for Jedi's spay.  She isn't being spayed until mid June so I still have lots of time.  Thank you for understanding.  We are in a crisis here and informing all of you with one blog post is easier than texting everyone individually.

I am hoping for a restful weekend free of seizures, free of dystonia, free of migraines, and full of deep painless breaths of air for Asia.

I will let everyone know when I get the auction started.  Thank you for understanding.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

May the Forth Be With You Auction

Star Wars day!  May the 4th!  In honour of Jedi (and Griffin too) we are hosting our first on-line auction starting, guessed it...May the 4th.  Here is how it will work.  We will post pictures of items that are up for auction between now and May the 3rd.  The items will be posted on our facebook page Service Dog for Sienna.  Starting May the 4th you can bid on an item.  On May the 7th the auctions will close and winners will be notified.  ALL money raised with this auction will go towards Jedi and Griffin's training and their spay/neuter.
So far we have items donated by Chomper Pet Products, Petmate Homesitting, Kingston 4 Paws Academy, Iams Pet Foods, and individuals who have come to know Jedi and Griffin.  Thank you all for your donations of auction items.  We are still looking for products or services to offer during our "May the 4th Be with you Training Auction."  If you would like to donate an item we can include in our "May The Forth Be With You " Auction to help our pups with their training and vet bills please contact us at  Thanks and happy bidding!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Training for funds

Wow, I can't believe that Jedi and Griffin are now 6 months old! It's amazing how much they have learned and how much they have grown. We have owned these two beauties for only 4 months and I can't imagine life without them. Now that they are 6 months old we are now trying to get money together to have their spay/neuters done. Jedi will be spayed at 9 months and Griffin will be neutered at 12 months. I have decided to open up a few more dog training spots through my training company (Kingston 4 Paws Academy). The money earned by offering private dog training classes will go directly to the Jedi and Griffin fund. For available classes in Kingston, Ontario or surrounding area please email us at 100% of money received will go directly to The Jedi and Griffin Fund. You can also contribute by following the link to the right of this post. Have a great weekend!

Warmest wags,
Samantha and Brian

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Trainer Fears

One thing that puppy raisers and service dog trainers have to do is socialize the pup they are working with to many different people and situations. It's fun to take a pup out and experience the world through their eyes, but it can be a bit stressful and worrisome for the trainer at times. No situation with a dog is 100% predictable. You don't know who you will meet or what you will see when you are out and especially when the outing is a "first" it can create some trainer anxiety. I don't often experience anxiety when working with dogs but I was a bit concerned when I took Jedi out to the pool the other day. Here I was with a 6 month old lab, a water dog. She LOVES water and she was going to be challenged right in front of more water than she has ever seen. She was expected to sit and stay or lie down and stay and wait for the splashing children to play in the water. I played it over in my head and decided what I would do if she barked, if she pulled towards the pool, or if she *gasp* pee'd on the floor. (since the sound of water can be a trigger for that kind of thing) I went prepared. Ready to deal with any situation. I knew she was ready but there is always that tiny bit of concern that things might not go as planned. I knew that Queen's University was large and that once we were at the pool that it would take some time to get out of the building for Jedi to pee if needed. I hoped that if she did need to go that we wouldn't get lost trying to leave the building. LOL Well, this outing really went as perfect as it could. There were no accidents, no pulling, absolutely no barking or whining. Jedi was perfect and I won't have an ounce of anxiety taking her to the pool again. She lay in a down-stay most of the time and even ignored the chocolate lab service dog that was also there. I couldn't be prouder of little Jedi. She conquered a pool, the sounds, the smells, the elevator, the stairs, whistles that the lifeguard blew, and balls from the dodgeball game that was going on. Everything was very interesting to her but the most important thing to her was pleasing me. She made sure to keep me at her side and her eyes were kept on Sienna. Jedi is true service dog worthy. She is doing a fabulous job with her training and takes away all of my trainer worries. It is such a pleasure to work with such a smart pup.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Raising Funds for the Pups

We need to start raising some money to help pay for Jedi and Griffin's spay and neuter, as well as some training equipment that we need.  Please share our fundraising page and help us raise the needed funds. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Product Review- Chomper Mongoose

As most people know, puppies CHEW.  They chew everything in their path.  Some dogs chew more than others and it's the owners responsibility to choose durable and safe toys that fill the chewing urge in puppies and dogs.
  Jedi and Griffin have tested multiple toys and usually we have to replace toys every month or so.  Yes, even the tough Kongs have had to be replaced.

Well, a few months ago Jedi and Griffin went to their favourite pet supply store Urban Paws here in Kingston and we found a new kind of stuffable dog toy.  It works just like the other popular tough-toys except that it's even better. I know, how could it be better than the wonderful Kong?  Well, first of all it is designed with a lovely flat bottom so that it doesn't roll away while you are trying to stuff it.  It's called a Mongoose and it is made by Chompers.  Jedi and Griffin have chomped these Mongoose toys for almost 3 months now and there is not even a bite mark.  Each day we fill them with peanut butter, freeze them and then they get one during the day to sooth their little teething mouths and to satisfy their natural chewing needs.
After realizing that The Mongoose by Chomper is the cream of the crop, the cherry on top, the best, most durable toy out there.... I visited their website to learn a little bit more about them.  I was THRILLED to see that they also have other toys that I have never even seen.  I am hoping that Urban Paws will bring in more of the Chomper products so that Jedi and Griffin can try those as well.  Finding a tough chew toy really is great because we were spending a lot of money having to replace the alternate brand of "tough Stuff toys".

Chomper's Mongoose Dog Toys are Jedi and Griffin APPROVED

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Happy 16th Birthday Asia

I can't believe that Asia is 16!  It's almost unbelievable!  16 years ago I was introduced to seizures, hospitals, and doctors.  I think I learned more in the first few years of Asia's life than I ever did.  I watched my daughter in a coma, I watched her struggle to breath, I watched her breathing slow and her little body seize.  I also witnessed nursing grabbing my sweet baby out of my arms and running, full speed, down the hall to ICU.  I've seen the tonic clonic seizures, the complex partial seizures, the absent seizures, you name it, I've seen it probably 1000 times over.  16 years ago was The Beginning.  The beginning of my life as it is now.

As we celebrate Asia today I can't imagine my life any different.  Yes, the seizures are no fun, but without them I wouldn't have gotten into training dogs.  Without these seizures I would never have met some special mamas, Jennifer and Allison.  The bad brought the good.  Here I am, 16 years later celebrating Asia's 16th.  16 years ago we said goodbye to our baby, since the doctors were sure she wasn't going to make it through the night.  Here she is..beating all odds.  Way to go Asia.  Happy 16th Birthday beautiful girl.  Enjoy your new camera.  Show the world your life through that lens.  Show the world your strength and fighting power.  Most of all, never give up.  You are stronger than those seizures and migraines.  We love you!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Pennies for Pups

Here in Canada the government is fading out the penny.  Stores will no longer take these little coins so what in the world can you do with them?  Well, we are starting a new fundraising campaign and collecting as many pennies as we can.  We would like to fill a large water jug with pennies and then have a rolling party.  We have some donated penny wrappers and now we just need some donated pennies.

What will we do with the pennies?

The pennies we collect will be counted and rolled and then taken to the bank to deposit into Jedi and Griffin's trust fund.  Yes, the pups have a bank account!  We are keeping all money seperate for the pups and using their account to purchase things we need for them.  For example, we already need new Kongs for the pups.  These labs have power jaws and a Kong filled with treats really satisfy their chewing needs.  We are also saving up for the spay and neuter that will need to be done when the pups get a bit older.  We just purchased a new grooming table which is such a wonderful tool to have.  This table was purchased out of our own money because our fundraised money is running a little low right now.  

Please don't throw out those beautiful pennies... we would be thrilled to take them off your hands.  There is no need to roll them since we are going to have a rolling party with local friends and family once we fill our large water jug.

Sienna has been nominated as the official penny dropper.  She LOVES the sound a penny makes when it drops into a bottle.  Right now the bottle is empty.  Do you have any pennies kicking around that you'd like to donate to Pennies for Pups?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Goodnight Dad

I haven't had an update in a while and I apologize for that.  Things have been quite busy over here.  The pups have grown incredibly and I will post pictures and updates soon.
  I would like to take a moment to say goodbye to my Dad today.  Sidney GEORGE Fredrick COOPER, my dad, died last Friday very suddenly.  It has been quite the shock and the last week has gone by in such a blur.

I didn't get a lot of time with my father but the time I did have was very magical.  He taught me a lot over the years, things I am so thankful for.  I'll always remember the trip to Ottawa that we took, to the Children's Hospital with Asia and Sienna.  He sat there in the waiting room next to a special-needs child who was quite loud.  He never stared, he never made comments, all he did was smile at that child.  Everyone else in that room ignored the child or stared...Dad shared a smile with that child.  He didn't judge.  He just did his own thing and moved forward in his life.  We got lost on the way home that day and I was getting nervous because I had 2 children with seizures in the car and no idea where we were.  Dad's words were very comforting, "Don't worry, nobody's ever been lost forever". This made us both laugh.
  Then there were the memories of my dad in his shop riding around on a bicycle with no tires, just rims, with me perched on his lap.  He'd sing, "It's a Long way to Piccadily" over and over.  That was a very long time ago.  I have other just as important memories like when he fell through the ice on Lake Ontario and pretended that he wasn't cold as we took the almost mile walk back home.  He was brave even though he must have been afraid that day.  He went right under the ice and had trouble finding the hole to get back up.  Now that I'm an adult I can only imagine how scary that must have been with me, barely 7, standing there watching him under the ice. 
  I wish that I had more time with my dad but it was just never in the cards.  I will miss is sense of humour, his compassion, and his apple pie.  Rest well Dad, I have missed you for many years but never more than I do now.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Wonderful Training Today

There's always something special about taking a pup out on his/her first trip to stores.  I love the reactions a pup gets as she prances around the store in the heel position wearing a "Service Dog in Training" jacket that is miles too big.  There is something about a dog that changes people.  It turns grumpy people happy, it puts a smile on the most unexpected face, and just brings joy to everyone young and old.  This was my experience today.  How many times have you gone to the pharmacy and seen the people working there sitting right down on the floor?  Dogs bring people to the floor.

In a coffee shop the usual scene is a line-up of people waiting for their drinks, looking down texting or checking Facebook.  Rarely do we get to know the names of the neighbours in line.  Today Jedi entered Starbucks for the first time.  8 people were in line and each of them turned around and smiled at Jedi.  Many of them asked me questions about her.  It was our lucky day today because in line there were two fully-uniformed paramedics.  Jedi got to meet some heroes today.  They ordered their drinks and stood aside and waited for me.  They both introduced themselves to me and allowed me to take their picture with Jedi.  What a lovely outing for this pup in training.  She not only experienced shopping carts, wet floor signs, people, kids, smells, but she also made people smile. A gift that only a dog seems to be able to do.
Today Jedi did so well with her first "real" social training.  She enjoyed everyone and showed no signs of fear at all.  I walked her through the smelly fish area at Loblaws and she stayed focused on me even through the smell.  Dogs are such a gift to humans.  They change the aura of society and help people smile more.  Have you hugged a dog today?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Dog Training for Funds

We have been so blessed by the help we have received for the purchase of Jedi and Griffin.  We have been amazed at the support we have been shown by local and not-so-local friends and family.  As you know, the cost of raising two service dogs in training is quite high and we would like to fundraise some more money to help pay for their next set of shots, Jedi's spay that will be done in June or July, and Griffin's neuter that will be done in September sometime. I have added a new "Chip-In" button along the right side of this page for people interested in helping out.

I have had a great deal of interest in my dog training abilities so I have decided to offer my dog training skills to local families for a reduced rate of $25 per hour visit.  As a student of Animal Behaviour College I have the skills to help in all different situations.  What I would like to do is book some sessions with local people and put the money into a seperate account for Jedi and Griffin needs.

We have had a great deal of difficult medical problems over the holidays and even though it's not good news to have these problems, there is a silver lining.  We did find out that Griffin has the ability to detect seizures before they happen.  As mentioned before, we were waiting to go to emergency and Asia starting telling me that Griffin was sniffing around her and whining.  I looked up to see what was going on and then Asia had a seizure.  The seizure was no fun but the joy I felt when I realized that we had chosen the right dog for Asia was overwhelming. I am confident that Jedi has the same abilities since we have seen nothing but gentle compassion from her towards Sienna.  She likes to stay near Sienna when Sienna isn't feeling well.  Watching these puppies grow and learn is such a joy!

If you are interested in booking my dog training services and you are located in the Kingston, ON area please email me at  I am only booking weekend in-home classes at this time because I work long hours during the week.  100% of the $25 per session goes to Griffin and Jedi.  Thank you for your support.

Have a tail-wagging weekend!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Product Review Time

When training a dog it is important to have treats in three different categories.  Treats that they like, treats that they love, and treats that make them go crazy.  Usually the "like" treats are their regular kibble, the love treats are perhaps small pieces of cookie, and the "go crazy" treats are treats that really make their mouth water.  Having treats in 3 different categories helps teach the dog that certain behaviours pay better.  Slowly sitting brings on a small piece of kibble, quickly sitting may give a better tasting reward, and a quick sit with eye contact with the trainer gets the "go crazy" reward.  Well, we just found our "go crazy" reward for Griffin and Jedi.  I would like to introduce you to a new family-run business that runs out of Inverary, ON.  They have a website for ordering and I guarantee you will find your dog's "go crazy" treats for training.

We purchased dehydrated liver treats and snipped them into pea-sized training rewards.  The cookies are made from pumpkin and all of the treats at I Kiss My Dog are wheat-free.  We highly suggest that you purchase your dog treats at this "go crazy" company.

Thank you Lynda for the home delivery too!  Next time you get to meet the pups!