Sierra went swimming again on Monday. She was a little reluctant to get into the pool, but swam pretty good in the pool. She still gravitates towards the steps. I am teaching her to wait while standing on the steps. This will allow her a break as she is able to swim longer- take a break then do “more”. I use a lot of the same cues with Sierra that I use with the developmentally delayed children that I work with. Short phrases or one word cues help her understand what is expected, “go swimming”, “car ride”, “up”, “step”, “wait”, “more” and “all done” are her swimming words. I figure in 6-8 swims I will know if she is happy swimming or it she doesn’t like it. If I say, “go swimming” and her ears perk up- then all is good, if I say it and she goes and hides or starts shaking then no more swimming for us.

I FINALLY got that last Eddies’ Wheels measurement and called it in this week. The lady was very nice in taking the measurement and told me they just had a call about a great dane cart that was being returned. It was for a dog that almost matches Sierra’s size perfectly, there are two measurements that are different by 1/2 inch. The dog in CA was an amputee, but got strong enough to not need her cart anymore. I don’t know what the cost will be yet, but it’s worth a try and it will be less then ordering a brand new cart. I think that the cart will allow her to walk further.

I have been slacking off on her exercises since starting swimming. As a caregiver I find that I can devote “X” amount of energy to her DM. I am 100% more careful and compassionate to Sierra since finding out about her DM. Shortly before her diagnosis I was getting pretty annoyed at her stepping on me and walking into me, she wouldn’t “back up” or “move” when asked. This meant there was 115lbs of dog in my way and it seemed as though she was ignoring me. Now I understand that she is unable to “get out of the way” quickly and when she steps or falls on me it’s because of the DM, not clumsiness. However, I have added the swimming, but lost some of the exercises. She is still on the nutritional diet, but I ran out of carrots last week and haven’t replaced them. It’s like a gain ground in one area only to lose some in another area. I have been working on tips for owner of dogs with DM and have a section about coping/caregiving. It brings the skills and emotions involved to the forefront. Caregiver is an emotionally and psychologically complicated job.