Then & Now: Happy Retirement Walker

I wanted to take a moment and talk about Walker’s retirement this year. Walker is my Hearing Ear Dog guide from Lions Foundation of Canada Dogguides. He just retired earlier this year after 13 years of service!

When I first got walker in 2003, he was full of life, happy and eager to please. In September of 2003, I spent 2 weeks at the National Training School in Oakville, Ontario, bonding with him, learning how to make him work (he had already spent 6 months with a trainer there).

When I first got home, I had to stick to the original sounds he’d been trained for: Doorbell, door knocking, alarm clock, fire alarm, name calling before introducing new sounds.  After a while, Walker would alert to most sounds in the home, including: babies crying (I had a daycare), microwave, kettle, sizzle (when stuff boils over on the stove) etc… I felt so safe knowing that when I went to sleep at night (and took out my hearing aids) that Walker would alert me to sounds I could not hear.

During these past 13 years Walker’s been on a several train rides, flown to Vancouver & Toronto, taken the bus to work with me, taken the Voyageur bus to Kingston (when Kristine was at Queens), attended a birth with @domesticdoula, been to the Blue Mountain Spa (the folks were real nice there, they even gave him his own bowl of water), been in the paper (a few times), met Spartacat, camping with family, volunteered for many activities.

Fast forward 13 years…he’s been an absolutely amazing worker and my bestest buddy! We’ve had a lot of fun times!!  We’ve gone everywhere together but in the last few years, I chose to start leaving him at home as the cold Ottawa winters would take its toll on him.  I have also seen a decline in his work but he still tried to kept at it. Today, his hearing is not so good and his cataracts really hinder his ability to see well (especially at night). I have since adopted him and am giving him a very comfortable retirement with me.

I am quite thankful for everything the Lions Foundation of Canada has done for us over the years! I sure hope you can join us in this years Ottawa Purina Walk for Dogguides on September 25th, 2016, if not would you consider making a donation?

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2015 Ottawa Purina Walk for Dog Guides

Thanks!

Michèle & Walker & George paw prints 2

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CLOSING 2015

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Here’s to an amazing 2016!

Paulo Coelho

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Beautiful day = Beautiful results

purina walk signThank you to everyone that came out to the walk and also those that sponsored me in this year’s Purina Walk for Dogguides 2015. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and it was so nice to reconnect with some of my friends.  Throughout Canada the walk raised $1,195,201.70 pretty impressive!! In Ottawa we raised a total of $15,038.30 which is equally impressive considering there were 32 registered walkers (online).

 

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Beautiful walk along the river

 

 

 

 

 

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9 week old yellow lab.

 

 

 

 

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Being a puppy is exhausting!

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A much needed drink during the walk. It was a beautiful day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some of my amazing lady friends and our guides: (L->R) Nadia, Me, Angele and Lise

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Purina Walk for Dog Guides – Sept 27th

Purina logo

Walker (my Hearing Ear dog) and I will take part in the Purina walk for Dog guides on September 27th, 2015 . We have participated in this walk many times and look forward to meeting new people and their Guide dogs and pets and also making new friends.

 

 

Why walk and support Dog Guides:

  • To help provide Dog Guides at no cost to the growing number of Canadians who need them. Thanks in part to the National sponsors, 100% of the funds raised from this walk go directly to Lions Foundation six Dog Guide training programs.
  • To enjoy a fun day out in your community. Walk with your friends, family and co-workers. The event is pet friendly but you don’t need a dog to participate.
  • Everyone is welcome – all ages and abilities – and you are not required to complete the route to participate.
  • Everyone is a winner! The money you raise goes towards this important program and you could earn an incentive prize.

Walker and I have been together for 12 years this month and it has been an incredible journey for both of us. He is actually due to retire soon and I plan on giving him a most relaxed and comfortable retirement in my home.

We would love your support. Here is a link to our fundraising page: https://www.purinawalkfordogguides.com/locations/walk.cfm?ID=510

Thanks again and hope to see you there.

Michèle & Walker 🐾

Walker - HED

 

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Captiview at the Movies

Tonight I was finally able to enjoy a big theatre experience with captioning! We went to see The Monument Men at Cineplex Southkeys and I was thrilled to be able to watch the movie with captioning. You see, when I watch a movie or TV I miss so much of the dialogue without captioning on. It can get pretty tiring and frustrating to rely only on lip reading. On the other hand, it’s sometimes funny and embarrassing when people around me all start laughing as I have no idea what was said.

I had tried the Captiview system once before, but it hadn’t worked. Not wanting to miss the beginning of the movie I had just turned it off and then returned it after the movie. I’m so glad I gave it another try tonight, it was so worth it!

CaptiView is a Closed Caption Viewing System for hearing impaired movie audiences.

The CaptiView system transmits and receives AES-128 encrypted closed captions on a wireless band frequency. With an 80 meter signal range, CaptiView can be used from ANY seat in the theatre. The CaptiView system consists of a small, OLED display on a bendable support arm that fits into the theater seat cup holder. The high contrast display comes with a privacy visor so it can be positioned directly in front the movie patron with minimal impact or distraction to neighboring patrons.

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Flash Alerts

I recently inherited an iPhone from my daughter and was having a look at all the accessibility features when I stumbled across LED flash for alerts. Just like my home alerting system when you turn on LED flash for alerts you get a bright alert when there is an incoming call. I don’t normally hear the phone unless the volume is maxed out (even at that, it’s basically a hit and miss), so when a call came in tonight the flash quickly caught my eye and I was able to grab the call. So glad I did because I got to share in someone’s amazing news!!

There are many more features available here.

So how do you make technology work for you?

Watch this!!

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Traveling Safety tips

I was reading my friend Edwards blog today and thought I would share this valuable information.  Having been in a full-fledged house fire at the age of 12, I am well aware of the dangers of fire and am always very inquisitive and alert to my surroundings while I’m away from home.

This section really hit home: Most of us do not pay attention to the hotel’s fire suppression system but trust me this one is important. Make sure your room is equipped with a smoke detector and that each room (and the hallways) have visible sprinkler systems. In many countries the fire response teams are not as fast, well equipped or trained as in North America.

11 years ago I was paired up with my first Hearing ear dog.  Walker and I are a great team, and should there ever be a fire, he is trained to alert me (by jumping on me, barking) and then take me outside. Pretty cool eh! I do however, have as back up plan at home. Walker is very close to retirement, so last year I installed a home alerting system which makes me feel quite safe.  We must always be diligent when away from home.

Read Edwards full blog here.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasChristmas time is always a very happy time for me. I love spending time with my family and extended family. On boxing day we are all gathering at my home to spend the day together. It’s really nice to be able to do that!

We’ll exchange gifts, catch up, hug and laugh. Life is good!

Here are some great communication tips for big gatherings (applies to grown ups too):

  • Keep your face in view
  • Speak clearly
  • Avoid background noise (not going to happen, but nice to keep in mind)
  • When all else fails – use Sign Language

http://www.oticon.com/children/parents-and-relatives/tips-for-daily-life/tips-on-better-communication.aspx

Hope you and yours have a wonderful family Christmas…..if you know of a neighbor that is alone, invite them over! (I’ve done that before and it is such a treat to be able to make someone feel loved and welcome PLUS, it’s hilarious to watch them fall asleep on the couch after a turkey dinner).

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Laughter is the best medecine

Our friend was celebrating his 50th birthday and we were invited to join him, along with a bunch of friends for an evening at Absolute Comedy on Preston street. We had no idea who was headlining, but we sure had some great laughs.

Joe Bronzi was the 2nd act and he specializes in unplanned comedy, he makes it up as he goes, he was absolutely hilarious. He finds humour from everyone’s life, quite naturally. I found myself laughing uncontrollably and it felt really good!

When was the last time you laughed, like really laughed that you had tears in your eyes? According to the Mayo clinic you can relieve stress with laughter, it’s no joke!

The Short-term benefits:
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Read the entire article here.

Check out Joe’s Unplanned in Ottawa on YouTube

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Michèle’s Helpdesk

I was at a customer appreciation evening  tonight hosted by my realtor Adam Mills @ottawaishome. As I was handing out business cards and trying to drum up business,  I got into a conversation about computers. Did you know support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014? What does end of support mean, read this.  If you’re running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) after support ends you will not receive all important security updates for Windows, you’ll need to upgrade to a later version, such as Windows Vista,  7 or 8.  In the IT corporate world a lot of businesses have successful made the transition to Windows 7…we are in the process of doing that at my office.

All the end of support dates are listed here. It’s always important to stay up to date with all the Service packs.

Windows support

What do I do when I finish helping my guy  or someone else with computer stuff,  I always say “Thanks for calling Michèle’s helpdesk”.

Remember to stay up to date and as always contact me if you have any questions.

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