Golden Nuggets from a Golden
After having Louie as my guide dog for a little more than six months, I have learned some important lessons from him. Here are some nuggets of wisdom from Louie, my leader and my guide, in his own words:
1. Taking a nap every day can be a good thing. Rest and refreshment can restore the body as well as the soul.
2. Stick close to those who love you. A little pat on the head or tummy rub when it’s been a difficult day can bring contentment.
3. Always take the time each day to play, laugh, and wag your tail.
4. Enjoy each moment in life. Let the wind blow your ears, enjoy the new smells in the park, and eat a dandelion in the Spring.
5. Be willing to forgive—-even if it’s the 7th time your tail was stepped on.
6. Sometimes “sit” and “stay” are the best actions when commotion and busy days surround you. Or just chase your tail and enjoy yourself!
7. Flop on your back, look up at your owner with that cute little open-mouth grin, and you’ll receive a lot of attention!
8. My all-time favorite advice, spoken with lots of experience: Follow the Leader who knows the way. Your Guide can keep you on the right path and will help you to avoid stumbling.
I can apply some of his wisdom to my life and especially his last point about following my Guide, my Shepherd, my Lord. I am certainly not in control most of my days. I need guidance and leadership. How about you?
Louie sends his love to you…and a big tail wag!
God’s blessings and hope,
Kathy & Louie
Wishing you many Christmas blessings!
Louie and the Tripcony’s send our love to you in this blessed season of Christ’s birth. This is Louie’s first Christmas with us as a guide dog, and his exuberance for life is reflected in his puppy-type play and his outstanding work when he guides me in and out of the busy stores and the bustle of shoppers trying to get last minute gifts and groceries. We are thankful for this fur-ball gift this year, but most of all we thank God for the gift of His Son!
Peace, Hope, Joy
We wish you the PEACE that the tiny baby Jesus brings to calm our troubled hearts, the HOPE that nothing can ever separate us from Christ’s love that He brought on that Christmas morning, and the JOY that Jesus gives, knowing that He left his throne on high specifically for YOU and for me. Let this comfort soak into your heart this Christmas.
With furry love and best wishes for a love-filled Christmas,
Louie & Kathy
Release of Podcast Interview
I am happy to share the release today of the podcast interview I had with Andrea Constantine on “Community for the Soul”. Andrea was the designer for the interior of my book, Voice of Suicide, Voice of Hope. She honored me by asking if I would be a guest on her podcast. I agreed, because I felt it’s important to discuss this difficult but important subject of suicide. She brings to light during the interview the need for awareness of the increase of suicide in our community and nation. She also realizes the need for sincerely listening to each other, to our kids, to our families, to our friends, because she, too, was touched by the suicide of her own father when she was very young.
To listen to this podcast, click here.
Here are some of the highpoints and questions that were explored during the podcast:
- Take the time to really listen, to hear the story, to hear what’s going on with those you care about.
- Ask the question, have you ever thought about harming yourself? Have you thought about suicide?
- Up until now we haven’t had the tools to talk about suicide.
- Who is that safe person I can talk to? Where is that safe place that I can go?
- Move from quiet desperation to an honest conversation.
- Take time with each other, our spouses, our friends, and our kiddos. We need time with them to do that.
- One note about some information that was shared by Andrea: She mentions that I work with the “Comfort Guide Dog Ministry”. Easy to confuse the two. I work with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry through Redeemer Lutheran Church. I also have a personal guide dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind that assists me, since I am legally blind.
My hope is that you’ll be able to take the time to listen to the podcast, listen with new ears to those you love, and find encouragement and hope at this time of year from Jesus, the Savior born for you and for me.
Wishing you a very blessed Christmas,
I am pleased to introduce you to Louie, a purebred 22-month old Golden Retriever, who was specifically trained and matched to my needs and personality by Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. If you’ve been following my blog for many months, you know the anticipation of receiving this precious gift.
Training in California
I flew out to the west coast on October 28. The very next day Guide Dogs for the Blind came to my room (which is right on their campus) and introduced me to the softest, sweetest bundle of fur, who looked me in the eyes connecting his heart to mine.
Together we trained for two weeks, bonding with each other, learning the correct commands, and trusting each other to maneuver the streets of San Rafael, managing intersections, going around obstructions, and dealing with distractions. He was a pro at all of that…not so for me! I had so much to learn from him, from my instructors, from the trainers, and from other students that were in my class. The picture of Louie is in the hallway of my dorm, with a special display of a Braille saying by Helen Keller, with rocks strung to form the words.
So many people were instrumental in preparing this outstanding dog who will be my guide, my freedom, my wings, my trusted friend. The one I truly thank for raising Louie for over a year since he was 8 weeks old, exposing him to numerous situations, implanting her love into his heart, and giving all her time and energy is Katherine Juhl. She now is part of our family as Louie’s first “momma”.
The first day home for Louie was exciting for him! He was raised in Texas and California, so he had very little exposure to snow. Wouldn’t you know it, when he awoke to his first day in our home in Colorado, it snowed….just for him! He loved running, pouncing and snow-plowing with his nose in the fluffy whiteness! To see him in action, just click on the arrow below.
Louie and I are already a team. He knows my moves, my commands, and I know him. When his harness is on, he knows he’s working. But take that harness off, and he’s a playful, spunky, energetic puppy. I love that about him. Together we’ll work at three public schools in Fort Collins and Timnath. And we’ll make our community a little more joyful with Louie’s smile!
I thank Guide Dogs for the Blind for this remarkable 4-legged gift that has already changed my life, given me hope, and helped me sprout my wings to fly on new adventures!
Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving,
Kathy & Louie
The Packing Begins
Here we go, friends! My suitcase is beginning to fill up as I start the packing process. My flight arrangements have been made. You’ve been with me for many, many months since I was accepted to receive a dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind. You’ve watched as I went through the many weeks of mobility training with my white cane. You’ve prayed for me as my eyesight continually deteriorated and encouraged me as I endured the injections in my one good eye. And now, together we’re “seeing” the light at the end of the tunnel…in nine days I will fly out to San Rafael for the 2-week training with my 4-legged hero.
Photo courtesy of Guide Dogs for the Blind
Bravo to Guide Dogs for the Blind
During this whole lengthy process, Guide Dogs for the Blind has kept in touch, encouraged me, and in their call today repeated that they want to make sure that my dog will be perfectly suited just for me, including the personality. Because of their professionalism and high standards, I want to share a bit from their website, www. guidedogs.com
Why a guide dog?
Guide dogs are far more than excellent mobility aids: they provide companionship as well as enhance confidence and independence
Choosing to live the guide dog lifestyle is a big decision, so finding the right partner to help you along the way is critical. We are committed to the success of our students before, during, and long after the time they spend with us in class:
- All services are provided at no cost to you — this includes your guide, transportation to and from our campuses in California and Oregon, instruction, and more.
- Our classes are two weeks long, minimizing disruption to your personal and professional commitments.
- We provide highly customized instruction; classes generally have 6-8 students and the ratio of students to instructors is 2:1.
- During your stay with us, you will enjoy a private hotel-style room. Our beautiful student residences have libraries, music, computer, and exercise rooms.
- GDB provides our alumni with a lifetime of support. You will become part of a world-class alumni association and also receive the following benefits: financial assistance for veterinary care, as needed; in-person follow-up visits; access to a dedicated support center, and when the time comes for a guide to retire, we can discuss the potential for a successor dog.
Next Week…Off We Go!
I’ll include you in the last-minute preparations next week. Then look for Facebook and blog entries about the training and some of the details. Together we’ll experience this adventure of hope!
May God fill your heart with His hope,