After a few weeks I have finally decided to make it official and public; Toki is officially retired as of today.
Since I have had Toki I have made leaps and bounds in my recovery and I really don’t think I could have come this far without her. I have had many group sessions with learning to cope with anxiety which has helped me immensely as well. Toki proved me with the extra step I needed to bring myself back into society. Since having her I have got a part-time job and am now looking for full-time work. Something I would have never seen myself doing ever again.
Don’t worry, Toki is still my family dog and she has been transitioned slowly into full retirement. She does really well being at home alone now and she seems to enjoy the retired life. I still take her out to the park as much as I can. She is a normal dog now, no more working but that leaves plenty of time for Timbits and walks.
I am going to keep this blog and her Facebook page available for any other service dog owners or people looking into a service dog. I am always wiling to share my experience with my SD and share the knowledge I have about them. It will also be a place that people can still see photos and updates on her.
Toki is still a huge part of my life and I am so thankful for her everyday. Here’s to a new chapter for the both of us.
I hope you will continue to follow our adventures.
Good news has finally come to me as of yesterday. I was finally approved for ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) after waiting 2 years and going through mountains of paperwork. I am so happy that I don’t have to worry about my financial situation now. It’s always nice to get a lump sum of money that is deserved too and be able to take care of the bills I have had piling up.
However, there was an issue that was brought up while I was filling out the paperwork with my caseworker. ODSP offers an amount to help with the care of service dogs. The amount is something like $75/month to help and would be helpful with caring for a Service Dog. I was pretty happy about this until I found out that it is only available to “certified” service dogs. That means only dogs that have come from a school or organization are eligible for the credit. However, to have a service dog in Ontario there is no “certification” required. Service Dogs in Ontario can be owner trained and all that is needed as proof is a doctors note/prescription. So the whole situation is really messed up and I think ODSP needs to look into the actual laws as to what a “Service Dog” is listed as. I would appeal the decision but at this point I am so tired of dealing with lawyers and paperwork. The $75 is not worth me getting upset over but the principle of the matter is. I have heard many other owners having to go through this battle and it is quite sad. I thought I would mention this though so other SD owners can read into the issue.
Going forward, I am quite excited to see what the future has in store for me now that all this is over with and I can breathe a little easier. Toki has made my life so much better and I hope she knows that.
Here is a little photo from the other day. We now have an instagram you can follow us on!
Toki enjoyed her first Christmas with us on Friday. She seemed quite nervous and unsure of what was going on in the morning when we woke up to open our gifts. I managed to snap a shot of her in front of her adorable stocking before she got into it. She got a new fuzzy pink sweater with teddy bear ears on the hood, one of her favourite treats and a grumpy bear toy. She had a great time opening her gifts and watching the rest of the family with our gifts.
We spent the rest of the day out visiting family and she was well behaved the whole time. Everyone commented on what a good little dog she was and were surprised that she did not beg for food when dinner time came.
I am looking forward to many more Christmas’ to come with my little girl and I know she is looking forward to them as well.
The other day I bought some cute Christmas fabric while shopping and thought it would make something cute. I needed something to do today and decided to sit down and make an adorable bandana for Toki to wear during the holidays. It was pretty simple and I think next time I will make adjustments so it sits better on her neck but other than that I think it turned out pretty cute and festive. I am hoping to make her some more to wear everyday while working.
A routine is something that has been recommended in my group therapy to help with stress and my mood disorder. I never realised how much of a difference it makes in my daily mood, it’s nice to know what I am going to do with my day.
Toki and I have been going to the park everyday now (when the weather permits) to get in some sun. I also make it a challenge to say ‘hello’ to every person who walks by us. Toki is getting her daily exercise and is also learning to be more social with the other dogs. She has met so many dogs on our walks and is less nervous than she used to be around them.
I have also been put into an acupuncture group through the hospital and I go with Toki every Monday. It seems to be helping with my mood and I also look forward to having something to do on Mondays. Toki likes to sit on the floor and sleep while listening to the relaxing music that is on. Everyone in my group always comments on how quiet and well behaved she is.
I am looking forward to our next trip to the park and coming up with other things to do during the day.
I am currently out enjoying a walk with Toki in our favourite park. I snapped a few photos to share. I am really thinking of starting an Instagram for our adventures as well, just because I can show a lot more photos.
This Saturday Toki and I geared up for Hamilton Comic Con. I knew it was a busy place so I made sure to keep Toki’s safety in mind as well. We steered clear of crowds as best as we could and I had Cory with me to pick her up for me when I was nervous of situations where there were larger crowds (especially in high traffic areas like enterances). I was a little uncomfortable at first with people pointing at me or saying things to each other about myself or Toki. I eventually learned to ignore it and just have fun with my day as best I could. The one thing that really upset me though was the number of parents who just let their kids run up to my dog and pet her. I had one kid in particular who when I was stopped looking at something, decided it was a good time to sit on the floor and start petting Toki. His mother was completely oblivious to the situation and was over looking at something else. I tried to explain to the child that my dog was working and to please leave her alone. The kid decided to just look at me and then continue to pet Toki. I really was on the verge of screaming at the kids mother but instead just left the situation. It really annoyed me with the amount of parents who seemed like my dog was there for their kids entertainment. I will say though, there were a lot of parents there who made up for the others. I could hear them explaining Toki as a working dog and I even heard a few kids sound super excited to have seen a working dog. It definitely made me feel a lot better knowing that most people understood her role. We stayed for a few hours and even bought a few things. It was a great time and I look forward to our next adventure together. For now we are enjoying a relaxing Sunday!