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From here on out…

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Jingle’s going to be over on the main page with the rest of us. When we first got her it seemed like a good idea to have a separate page, but she’s such a part of things, it doesn’t make sense to keep her over here by her lonesome.

For the time being, I’ll leave this page up, for others who might stumble upon it searching for info on service dogs.


Jingle at the homeschool co-op

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011


Jingle is a big hit at the homeschool co-op. I’m teaching a class about dogs there and it is a very popular class.


Riley just amazes me, both in sharing about herself, (her Asperger’s) and also literally sharing her dog. The kids devour Jingle and Riley is happy to let them.

Jingle and Riley. Both such generous souls.

Happy Mix

Saturday, July 31st, 2010











Jingle met a new friend yesterday, another Aussie mix who is loved adored and spoiled rotten. His name is Gus and he’s my friend Lidi’s dog. Gus is old, and not so nimble anymore. He was cordial, but not really up for bouncy play. Still, it was thrilling for Jingle to meet him.  Gus and Jingle have similar faces. Looking at him, I see a preview of what Jingle will look like when she’s old and gray.

You don’t get to pick which dog you get at 4 Paws for Ability, but you do have some input. One of the reasons we put “mixed breed” as a choice on our application is because the vet said they tend to live longer and have good temperaments.

I imagine the people at 4 Paws are psyched to see the mixed breed box checked when so many people have their heart set on Standard Poodles, or Goldens, or whatever.

Riley and Jingle have a very tight bond. When we go for walks, and the kids take their scooters, Jingle has a nervous breakdown when they get too far ahead. She looks and sounds ridiculous, a shrieking kind of bark, tugging on the leash like a sled dog, not “good behavior” by most people’s standards.

But she wants to be near her girl. I can’t fault her for it.

We’ll take our mixed breed any day.

May she live a long, and happy life.

Heat Wave

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Someone make it stop!

Snip Tickle Snip

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010


snip tickle snip



Every so often, Jingle will start sliding across the hardwood floors. She’ll suddenly be afraid to go down un-carpeted steps. This tells us it is time for an in-between-the-paw-pads trim.

Everyone loves it.

Jingle lies on her side, the children take turns feeding her tiny pellets of special occasion treats.

I trim the fur with my sharp scissors. Jingle flinches with each cut, like her feet are ticklish.

We all tell her how beautiful she is. What a good dog she is.

“Who’s a good girl, who?”

“Thump, thump, thump,” answers her tail on the floor.

Eight Months Later, On Riley’s Birthday

Saturday, June 5th, 2010



One of the only drawbacks of receiving Jingle, was Riley’s beloved cat’s opposition to her. Tanya the calico had always slept on Riley’s bed, and as much as Riley loved her new dog, she really missed her cat.  After some initial drama, they slowly learned to tolerate each other in the house. Hissing rarely happens these days. Both are attention seekers and neither one can stand if the other is being pet, so I often find myself with a dog on one side, a cat on the other, scratching one of them with each hand.  

Yesterday, was Riley’s birthday. After our morning cupcakes, and sending Seth off to school, Todd and Riley and I snuggled up in bed, looking at a photo album from the day she was born. When we paused, we noticed this. Jingle and Tanya cuddled up at the foot of the bed. Tanya’s white mitten paw resting on Jingle, who is flat on her back. Both of them, zonked.  

Riley was beside herself.

It was a very happy day.

Jingle Tracks

Friday, May 28th, 2010



Last week, Riley ran away during her clay sculpture class. She went screaming down a long narrow hallway which led to several places. I followed with Jingle on the leash, but we weren’t quick enough. Riley took a corner and disappeared. We didn’t know if she had gone upstairs to the public library? Outside(not in the best neighborhood)?  To the bathroom, or if she was hiding somewhere in the studio which is in an old winding basement with lots of nooks and crannies and side rooms. Jingle went toward a side room. I poked my head in and looked around but she wasn’t in there, so I took Jingle with me to look all over. I went in one direction and the teacher went in another.  
Turns out Riley was hiding in the room Jingle led me to, but I  hadn’t let her go all the way in to find her. A lot of the dogs at 4 Paws for Ability are tracking dogs, but Jingle wasn’t trained for that. 

I didn’t pay attention to where Jingle was trying to go and actually led her away from Riley.
Their bond has increased so much since Riley started homeschooling in January. If we are out somewhere in public, and Riley walks away to use a restroom, Jingle cries until she comes back out. Riley has made up a “Jingle” voice, and she speaks to us from Jingle’s point of view. We learn a lot. Jingle has much to say.

Next time, I will listen to her.

Service Dogs Have Unlimited Supplies of Love

Thursday, May 13th, 2010


I got very sick with a flu bug on Monday. It was my Mother’s Day gift from HT. He’d gotten sick the day before and decided to share. On Tuesday Jingle stayed by my side, power napping as I laid in bed.

It was cozy.

It was nice of Riley to share her dog with her mom.

After all, sometimes moms need help too. 

Luckily, Jingle has more than enough love to go around.

Smiling Service Dog

Friday, April 30th, 2010


I love this photo of Jingle. She’s waiting at the side door, ready to go play with her canine BFF. Riley is her human BFF. This picture captures her absolute sweetness. She’s smiling, isn’t she? Can you get a feel for just how soft her muzzle is? Do you see how white her chest is? Her fur is thick, but it’s like silk.

Fluffy? Check.

Cute? Check.

Those were Riley’s only two wishes.

The smiling is a bonus.

Things to Consider Before Obtaining an Autism Service Dog

Monday, April 26th, 2010


1) It costs money to fund raise and go to service dog training. 

We obtained Riley’s dog through an organization called 4 Paws for Ability. Through the generosity of friends, family, neighbors, blog readers and our community we raised 11 thousand dollars in order to obtain Jingle for Riley. Free dog for us, right? Hold up.

We also paid almost $2500 out of pocket for our ten day hotel stay during training, fund raising efforts, hall rental for the benefit concert held, food and door prizes,(though much was also donated), and postage and supplies for several mass mailings. The list goes on and on.

Many families fund raise for these additional expenses. We had the means, and people had already been so generous we felt we could not ask for more donations. But Jingle did not come “free” to us.

2) A service dog is still a dog. They are not robots. They are not slaves. They will not behave perfectly all the time, especially if you don’t continue to work with them.

3) It will take a while for your child’s dog to respect you and trust you, and mind you consistently. 

4) Positive praise always works better than negative, (you know, like with children).

5) People will give you unsolicited advice, about whether they think your child needs the dog or not, and later about what training methods you are using with the dog. A thick skin is required.

6) People will stop you endlessly to ask questions once you have your child’s dog. This is mostly cool, but some days you won’t feel like being the service dog ambassador. Some days you’ll wish you could just read your book while your children take dance lessons.

7)  You don’t own your child’s dog. Technically, Jingle is the proud property of 4 Paws for Ability. We must send in yearly paperwork, complete with vet check reports and proof we’ve actually been working her as a service animal. If Jingle gets lost, her microchip doesn’t give our #, they call 4 paws.

8) There is no guarantee your dog will be allowed in your child’s school and you might face a big legal battle if you decide to go that route. We opted to homeschool for this and other reasons. 

9) Most people we meet are loving,curious, accepting,welcoming and thrilled about service dogs.

10) You will have no idea how great it is, watching your child bond with their dog. We find out a lot about what’s going on in Riley’s mind, by listening to her speak in “Jingle’s” voice. They get closer every day. It’s a beautiful thing, and totally worth it.

Lots of kids are still waiting for their dogs. Read their stories here if you’d like to help.