It’s Finally Finished!

It’s done! Hallelujah, praise all the gods, drink and be merry, the match video is done!  I finally finished it Friday evening.  Since then, it’s been compiling into standard format files and uploading to the internet so I can share links with the trainers if something happens to the USB drive I’m going to Priority Mail to them tomorrow.  It is 7 hours and 45 minutes long, right about 20 GB of data in .mpeg format.  The Kender’s Match Video post has the outline of everything we put into the video.  I’ll be uploading a few pieces to YouTube and adding links to that post as I get them set up.  One of the more awesome clips I’m looking forward to sharing follows Brian and Kender through a parking lot and into the mall, and we discuss their particular style of using the mobility cane.  Not a lot of people are familiar with their constant contact technique or how and why they use it, so I’m excited to be able to share.

I started seriously working on the video again sometime around December 22.  That means I’ve spent more than a month consumed by the process of filming, editing, scripting, and captioning.  I can’t believe it’s finally over and we can move on with our life.

Next month, on February 8th, Brian and I will be renewing our marriage commitment to each other.  We’re having a big wedding and inviting all our friends and family because we practically eloped the first time around; this time, we want a big party.  I’m not planning anything fancy like your typical American movie wedding; I can’t afford that shit!  We’re going to have a ceremony full of meaning for us, though, cake and coffee to share with everybody, and a reception at home with our own homemade beer and gumbo and yummies.  We’re going to put our love on display for everybody to see and share.

Even though it will be done on a shoestring budget, there is still some planning to do.  I have two weeks now to make sure I have a dress, set up the few decorations I need, arrange for cakes or cupcakes or whatever, nail down the actual ceremony and go over it with my Priests, and book a hotel so we can run away after the reception instead of cleaning it up (Brian insisted!).

After the wedding, I will be giving my first two convention workshops ever at ConVocation later in the month.  I’m teaching two classes: Living Truth in the Face of Judgment and Fighting Perfectionism.  I need to script out the exercises I’m going to walk attendees through, make up fliers, pick and choose the stories I want to tell, etc.

Basically, I’m still going to be pretty busy for the next month!  All in a good cause, though!  Now if the weather would just warm up a teensy bit…

I Am So Sick of Kender’s Match Video

Still working on it.  I’m not the only one; posts about the horrors of making these videos are increasing on our Facebook group for the dog class.  Every time I think I’m nearing the end, that all I have to do is stitch what I have together, I think of half a dozen more things I should capture.  I hate the quality of the video, I hate the quality of the sound especially because you really can’t get a feel for how loud it can be around here.  I lost a bunch of footage from our Foster co-op last week, so I’ll have to redo that this Tuesday.  I just finished processing what I do have from last week, and I’m about to get back to work stitching it together.  In the meantime, here is what they are actually asking us for.  You can see why it’s been so hard, and why I kept hoping a professional would take pity and come save us!

The Handler: While the service dog may be for your child, you must remember that we train parents. It is important for us to know what parents are in the home and what your current and past relationships with dogs have been like. How comfortable you are with dogs and how extensive your knowledge is of them and their behavior or on the other end of the spectrum, if you are not familiar with dogs, are nervous about handling a dog, or if you feel that you may not be able manage maintenance of the dog’s training. Be assured we have worked with families who have little to no knowledge of dogs and those who have worked with them extensively. We just need to know in choosing a dog that the dog is one you can handle, and how we can best facilitate the placement of this dog. Again, our goal is to make the most successful placement possible for your child.

 

So, take a few minutes on tape to talk to us about your experience with dogs. Did you grow up with dogs? Have you had dogs in your adult family? Are there dogs in the home now? How did you relate to any of these dogs? Did you train with them at all? Were the dogs inside or outside? Are there dogs that make you nervous? If so, what behavior is it that does this? What do you like in a dog? What do you dislike in dogs? Do you have a size preference? How do you feel about handling the dog in public? Just tell us anything else you think will help us keeping in mind the two goals addressed above.

 

The Child and Pets First talk to us a little. How does your child do with animals? What good experiences have they had? Has there ever been a bad experience? If so, explain. What type (personality wise) does your child seem to like best? Any dogs that the child is afraid of? Now, start to show us a little. If you have pets in the home let us meet them and tell us about them. Show how your child interacts with them. Do your friends have dogs? Okay, time to invite yourself for a visit or ask them to bring the dog over for dinner! Show us your child interacting with their dog (s). We talk about dogs a lot but show us all pets in the home and show how the child interacts with them. If you have a dog and can show the dog interacting with another dog(s) that would be best. Remember the dog we place has to get along with your dogs.

 

Your family Okay, let’s see the other kids. If they are old enough to introduce themselves and talk a little please let them. How do they feel about the dog? What do they hope for? What interactions would they like to have with the dog? Show us their interactions with family pets, or if there are none, borrow a friends. We would also like to know a little of their personality and things they like to do. Remember the dog will live with your family and family dynamics and interaction will affect the placement.

 

Your House Time to take a tour of the house. Start with the front yard and show us that and the outside of the front of the home before you enter the house. Take us on a tour through the house. Show each and every room. Talk to us. Where does your family spend most of their time? Where does the child getting the dog spend their time? Show us their room in particular. Where do they sleep? Will the dog sleep in bed with them? What does the room look like; what things does the child like to do while in this room? Once we have seen the whole house (include spaces you would not allow the dog and talk about furniture – will the dog be allowed on them?) we will now head out the back of the house to see the yard. Show us your fence or if you don’t have fence tell us how the dog will get exercise. Show us around the outside of the house and yard. The neighbors: What dogs live in the homes beside and behind you. Are their dogs through the fence that may interact with your new service dog? Do the neighbors dogs or cats ever enter your yard? What type of dogs (breed specific), live by you and what other neighbor pets might your dog encounter.

 

Family Activity We need to know how your family interacts during the normal course of the day so spend a day or so videotaping your daily routine. Show the kids playing together, arguing, any normal interactions. Start in the morning and go through say one weekday and one weekend.

Does your family have activities outside the house the dog may attend? Get these regular activities on tape. Sports events? (not the whole thing but a general idea of things like noise level, confusion, numbers of people), Church? Therapy? Routines – such as a daily walk? Any other activities you do that the dog will attend with you.

 

The Child Getting The Dog Okay, now we are ready to really get to know your child! Let’s start with a day in the life of your child. Show us the highlights of the day. Morning! How does he/she wake up and what is the morning routine. Show us how much of the morning routine the child can do for themselves. As you go through the day show what your child can do and what they need help with from physical assistance to emotional support, direction, and behavioral assistance.

 

Okay, what is next? Does the child stay home? What is the day at home like? Show us any therapies that happen during the day. Do you have people who come in and work with your child? Show us what that looks like. How does your child spend their day and what is the typical routine.

 

Now show us a routine that happens but maybe not daily such as a trip to the store. How is that? Does the child enter the car easily? How do they ride in the car? What is your typical routine in public? Does the child use a stroller or wheelchair? Put them in the basket? Keeping a death grip o the child while walking around? We need to see how your child acts in a public place such as a store or mall.

 

Does your child go to school? Get permission from the school to tape one day. Make sure they know why we need the tape, that you will try not to get the other kids, that no one but our staff will see it, and that we discard them after your placement has been made. Show a typical day and include time in more loud or crowded areas such as the halls, gym, and lunch.

 

Meltdowns: This may be tricky. Some parents find the child stops the meltdown when they see the video. You may need to make the video a part of your routine for a few weeks so the child is used to seeing it. Here, more than anywhere, we are asking you to be somewhat vulnerable. We understand meltdowns and need to see them at their worst. We understand the child may strike out or kick, or otherwise try to harm you or themselves and that they can’t help what they are doing. It is a part of the frustration of Autism. Please let us see the entire meltdown, bad language, screaming, physical aggression, slamming, breaking things, fighting, whatever your child does, it is okay, we understand ~you live with Autism everyday. We want to make sure that the dog who enters your house is ready to live with Autism as it affects your child.

 

Behaviors: Let us see any of the behaviors your child has as a result of Autism. For example: repetitive behaviors, self-stimulation, OCD, preservations, noises, physical activities. Anything the child does that are not things a typical peer would also be doing. What are the behaviors you hope the dog will help control?

 

Interaction: Show us how your child typically interacts with others. Does he like deep pressure and hug tightly? Do they prefer not to be touched? Are there things they hate to touch them? Are there things they love to touch and play with? Favorite toys? If they are around animals: Do you think they would want to hug them tightly? Lay or sit on them? Grab their hair, tail, ears, mouth? Can you show any of this interaction?

 

What calms your child? Can you show this? What interactions or occurrences create frustration and meltdowns?

 

Limitations While many of our children have Autism and like issues, some do not and some children with Autism also have other disabilities. Here we want to see your child’s limitations. Any adaptive equipment used? What can’t they do that kids their age should be doing? What physical things can the dog help with? Can your child pick thing up from the floor? Get up from the floor if they fall? Need help with balance? Using a Wheelchair? Hearing impairment? Visual issues? What other physical problems does the child have? Does the child have any medical equipment as a part of their body – such as a trach, g-tube, hearing aide? Please show us anything you think the dog may be able to help with.

 

Therapy and regular medical visits: If your child attends therapy, (speech, physical, occupational, vocational, ABA, other) Please tape record a session of each therapy and ask the therapist to talk about where they thing the dog can help. If the child has daily or weekly medical procedures, appointments please video tape them if the dog will attend.

 

Other: Is there anything else we should see? Anything else you want to tell us, leave us with? Now is the time. Remember we would rather have too much information on your tape then not enough.

The Kender Report

I need to make it clear again that Kender’s dog is only an autism service dog.  We have never requested any special training regarding blindness from any agency.  4 Paws for Ability does not train dogs for blind people; they train dogs for autistic children.  Everything in our contract makes it clear that this dog is not intended to function in any way, shape, or form as a guide dog.  Every skill that our dog will be trained in has to do with autism, and nothing this dog is being trained to do is anything that is not done at every other agency we spoke with that trains autism service dogs.  The one and only reason we chose to work with 4 Paws for Ability is because they were the only agency willing to do this for a child who is also blind.  No other agency would do this, and we never requested any of those agencies to do any training for blindness.  Kender’s blindness is not relevant to what the dog will do.

I feel like I’m repeating myself over and over with this, but it keeps coming back again and again.  Everybody we talk to seems to have this misconception that there is something special about the dog being trained for Kender, something different from other autism service dogs.  No, there isn’t.  Please, when you talk about Kender and his dog, remember that it is an autism service dog.  It is not a therapy dog.  It is not a guide dog or a seeing eye dog.  It is not trained for blindness.  It is an autism service dog, nothing else.

On to other things, Kender had a fantastic day at our Foster Homeschool Day on Tuesday.  This week was our first week back after the holiday break, with a whole new roster of classes.  Kender decided to fill in with a whole new roster of habits and skills!  First, he decided that he was going to go potty all by himself.  That means he managed to disappear from the busy community room even though at least three of us were actively keeping an eye on him.  Even though he didn’t actually wander off like he usually would, it was good to catch this on camera while I was making videos for 4 Paws, as it showed how easily Kender gets away from us even when we’re looking for him, and how he doesn’t respond when we call for him.

Kender also got to spend more time with Mink, a former Paws with a Cause dog raised and living with one of our homeschool families.  They met each other last year, when Mink was still a puppy in training, and Vicky and I had to sit with Kender and Mink for at least half an hour before Kender would have anything to do with the dog.  This time, Kender fed Mink a treat (although I had to force him a bit) and laughed when she licked it off his hand.  He also reached out at least once, all on his own, to pet her on the back.  His posture was much more open than before, showing a little less fear, and we didn’t have to spend nearly as long for Kender to warm up to her.  This, along with some of the other times I’ve recorded Kender with our friends’ dogs recently, makes me feel much better about Kender’s prospects for bonding with his service dog.

Kender also showed much more interaction with the other kids at Foster than he ever has before.  Near the end of the day, he latched on to a 4-year-old we know and called him by name, a skill that Kender hardly ever shows, following the other boy around trying to play with him.  The other boy was so sweet about trying to help Kender take turns and not ignoring him, and the whole thing was just amazing for those who know Kender well.

I also got a ton of video for the official Match Video, so I’ll be processing that over the next couple of days and getting the final cuts assembled.  I still want to get this done and gone by this weekend, if I can!

Kender’s Match Video, A Day in the Life

Today I am filming everything I can, along with extra commentary.  It feels really strange and awkward to be filming commentary instead of typing it.  Speech is not my natural communication medium.  I do much better typing.  But a video has been asked, and a video they shall receive.  To be fair, insisting on filming everything means we will inadvertently show them lots of details that we probably wouldn’t even think of including otherwise.  They’ll hear the cats meow and see the mess on the floors (actually, on every surface right now).  They’ll hear me comment on smelling cat pee in a new place, and they’ll see what happens when Kender poops and it falls out his pants leg and gets stepped on before anybody notices.  They’ll hear the shouting and talking and singing in the background and see the other kids walking by.

I got Kender just getting up, and getting his eyedrops, and asking about Dad, and I talked about a few things here in there.  Later, I’ll get him gearing up to play in the snow, maybe even taking a walk around the block so we can look at his cane use.  I’ll get video of the yard and Jack’s yard and my imaginary gardens.

It still feels weird to pick up the camera and explain how unstructured our days are when we don’t have outside appointments, how slowly we move in the morning, how everybody in the house is naturally nocturnal, how easy it is to get derailed by my low blood sugar, or Kender’s poopy pants, or the way Kender just threw door panels to the floor, exposing the giant hole in the hallway wall and finally, completely, and utterly destroying the bookshelves in the entrance between the hallway and the dining room.  Not to mention the way Brenden is not in school because he threw up this morning, like Liam threw up yesterday morning, which means everybody will be throwing up soon, which may mean missing Foster tomorrow, which means completely missing a chance to film a pretty important part of our life.  Now I need to go out and buy bookshelves to replace that one, find a new storage space for the closet door panels, and find a way to fix the hole in the wall, which I will probably go ask Perfect Dave to do, which gives me an opportunity to do the interview with him anyway.  I wish I could say this was unusual, but this is a pretty typical day around here.  Shit hits the fan on a regular basis.

Here there no longer be shelving.

Here there no longer be shelving.

Kender’s Video, ad infinitum ad nauseum

Why, oh why, oh why did I put this off so long?  How did I manage to forget about it?  I have finally, as of this afternoon, completely processed all of the clips and random video I’ve collected over the past seven months.  Great, so now I have all these behaviors labeled and sorted and I know where to find them, and I can drop them into an interview or smoosh them all together, as needed for the main video.

That just leaves about seventy billion interviews to do.  All with my crappy little camera, I mean I’m going to need to send some anti-nausea pills along with this video it is so jerky, they’re going to be expecting the Blair Witch to jump out from around the corner or something.  Why didn’t I get video of the yard while it was still summer?  Why didn’t I get video the last time we went to Dr. Trese’s office, or had an eye exam under anesthesia? Why didn’t I get video of Foster days last term?  Why didn’t I get any video of going for walks in the cemetery, or going to the store with Daddy?

I need interviews with Brenden, my mother, and at least 3 more dog people in the neighborhood, plus I’ve asked for more selfie interviews from various friends who know Kender well and can offer insight.  I need to get video of Kender eating breakfast, doing Circle Time, brushing his hair and teeth, getting eyedrops, reading a book, taking a bath, going to bed, getting in and out of the car, going to the store, going for a walk, patting people to say hello.  I don’t care how much detail they think they want, I am not going to get video of Kender getting his poopy butt changed.  I need video of Kender going to Foster, how he behaves in the main room, the way he reacts when Beth asks him to go for a walk or Patti asks him for a hug, the way he tries to steal everybody’s food, the way he runs out the door all the time.  I still need video of Kender with Midnight and Max.  I need videos of all the kids with all the pets.  I have to tour the front and back of the house, showing the yards and porches and play equipment, and why in hell didn’t I get that before it was completely buried under feet of snow?  I need to show what happens when it’s chore time and the kids don’t want to do their chores.  I could use some more video of Impression 5. I need specific video looking at how Kender uses his cane, preferably with shots of Daddy and maybe Beth using their canes and talking about how it works.  I need to show how Kender is developmentally delayed.  I need to talk about the surgical eye exams, since I won’t have video of that, no way to get it before the deadline.

There’s probably even more that I really should have and can’t even think of right now.  The original deadline we were told about was 4 months prior to the class date.  Class starts on May 12th, which would make today the 4 month deadline.  4 Paws was late in getting paperwork out to everybody, so they told us last month that the deadline was the end of January.  If we don’t get this video done and to them, Kender will not be able to go to the May class.  He’ll get bumped to the next available class, which could be as much as an entire year later!  So my wish is to get this video finished no later than this Friday, January 17th, and posted online as well as shipped on a jump drive.  That way, there will be next week for the trainers to look at my video, declare it totally worthless, and demand I make another one in less than 24 hours or Kender will forfeit his dog.  Or something like that.

I’ve spent hours and hours today working on this, and I’m just ready to cry right now.  And I’m afraid to stop working on it, because there is so damn much to do.

Snowmageddon!!!!

The Snowmageddon is upon us!  Forecasters earlier last week started issuing watches and warnings about heavy snowfall and bitter cold.  When predicted snow totals rose over 10″ and warnings were issued for “life-threatening wind chills,” people started to lose it a bit.  I didn’t venture into the major stores like Meijer or Kroger on Saturday, but everybody I spoke to said they were packed, every register open with lines 7-10 people long.  It was so crazy it made the evening news!

It’s a little understandable.  I’m a bit scared myself when I see graphics like this one:polar vortex

That map looks like something out of the Day After Tomorrow, and it’s centered right over where I’m living!!!  Visions of ice creeping along hallways and people frozen solid before they can finish taking a breath start playing in my mind when I look at that.  I start wondering where we can set up a bonfire in the living room and how long our books will hold out.

I happen to be keeping my mother’s dog this week while she takes a trip to Aspen.  (Incidentally, she’s going to be warmer over there in the Rockies than we will be here in Michigan this week.)  When the warnings started talking about wind chills approaching -35F, I got concerned about Pixie.  So I started knitting her a snowsuit to keep her poor tootsies warm when she has to go outside.  Temperatures are currently hovering around 21F; hopefully I can finish it before they get to be dangerously cold tomorrow.

It started snowing around 7pm last night, and it hasn’t really stopped except for a brief interlude around 10am this morning.  We’d go out to shovel, and an hour later you couldn’t tell.  Traffic was getting stuck in the street in front of our house.  One guy plowed our street and the driveways across the way during the interlude, but by this afternoon you couldn’t tell anymore.  When Tamara walked the dog after lunch, she said the snow was up to her knees in places.  Around 5pm, governments and businesses started calling a snow day for tomorrow.  Jackson National Life told employees to work from home.  MSU closed, and Mason schools closed.  The City of Lansing declared a Snow Emergency (better than their handling of the ice storm last month).

So here we are, stuck inside.  I have three projects to work on: shoveling snow, knitting Pixie’s snowsuit, and working on Kender’s video.  My plan for the day has been to roll the dice and work on one of those for 40 minutes, then spend 20 minutes on things like eating and daily chores (or blogging).  So far, the dice have come up for Kender with every throw.  That’s okay.  I’ve gotten a lot done today, getting the hang of all the controls, learning how to paste clips together, and making a dent in the long list of videos I need to review.  I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of the editing software and am making progress.

Hopefully everything will continue to be homey and quiet around here.  No roof collapses, no power outages, no deaths from anything for any reason.  Maybe another snow day on Tuesday so we don’t have to go anywhere on my birthday, that would be nice.

Stay warm!!

 

Kender’s Match Video, Day 4

Today sucked for Kender’s video work.  I had hoped to get at least my own interview taped, but alas, time ran out.  Two hours of shoveling snow may have contributed to that a bit!  However, I did do something today.  I confirmed that it is possible to fast forward in the editor I am using, and I learned that as well as several other key commands that I can use to edit pretty quickly.  I also set up my next batch of conversions, this one for the set of videos recorded at an incompatible fps rate.

Kender’s Match Video, Day 3

Today I started playing around a bit with the Lightworks software.  I think with a little more play I will be able to quickly get up and running.  It has a really nice setup with lots of “rooms” and “bins” that will allow me to work on pieces of my screenplay at a time.  I’ll be able to work through each video and cut pieces out, label them, and store them for later use, or immediately drop them into a segment if I want.  All of that from a few minutes this evening.  Now I just need to learn how to add pictures and voiceovers, and I’ll be off and running.

I also started work on converting videos.  The videos that were taken with my tablet are in the .3gp format, and even Lightworks doesn’t want to open it.  I am using Any Video Converter to convert these to the same .mp4 format that my phone uses.  In addition, some of the videos from my phone are using a different fps (frames per second) rate, and Lightworks doesn’t want to mix fps rates in a single project.  So my next conversion will be to get all of those files at the same 29.97 or 30 fps.

I had an idea for capturing better video than my tablet over longer time periods:  use a laptop.  (Although a webcam attached to the main dining room computer would be even better, I don’t have one.)  I can set up a laptop to record and just leave it running all day.  I can do this again in the living room, and at Foster, and during a Beer Night party.  Then I can catch more of those behaviors that are so important but too fleeting to capture.  If I can run constant video for a week, I should be able to catch everything.  Then I can just fill it out with the interviews.

The tedious part is going to be running through the hours and hours of those videos to pull out the important bits.  I haven’t yet figured out how to fast-forward through these things so I can do this more quickly.  There must be a way to do that either in Lightworks or something else.

Kender’s Match Video, day 2

I’ve been learning a lot just in the past week of working on this.  I suspect I’m going to learn a lot more before it’s done.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do it.  I know I can.  I just want to whine and say, “I don’t wanna!”

I got some more video recorded yesterday.  I took Kender to a friend’s house to video him with the dogs.  We got to see him tolerating the dogs as they greeted him at the door, moving to ignoring the dogs after just a few minutes, and loudly refusing to help give the dogs treats.  We got him checking out (and banging!) a bird’s cage, generally exploring an unfamiliar house. Then we caught a spectacular refusal on his part to put his coat back on and leave.  Much thanks to my friend Su for letting us invade and do that; I know she’s not been feeling her best the past few days!

Before bedtime last night, we got some more video of Kender’s singing.  I got an interview with Tamara, we introduced Max and Teddy Bear to the camera, and we got a little bit of Kender petting the cats (and poking her ears).

I’ve taken a fair amount of video over this year.  In fact, I have hours and hours of it, all of it needing review.  I need to watch each video and take notes, like “1:36 Kender pats the cats, 2:45 Kender kicks the dishwasher,” so I can find segments for putting into the main video.  This will probably take up quite a few evenings over the next week.

Before I can review the videos, though, I have to watch them, and that is turning out to be trickier than I expected.  (This is what I get for putting this off for so long!) My phone and my tablet record in specialized formats, one in *.3gp and the other in *.mp4.  Neither of these would play with the default Windows Vista programs. (I’m not working on the Linux computer because I need to do a lot of this during the day, when the kids are up, and the Linux box is in the basement where I can’t keep an eye on things.)  After some digging around, I found Final Media Player that at least would let me watch the videos in these formats.

I need more than watching, though. I need editing, cut and paste, voiceover. I found Lightworks for that.  The free version may be limited, but there is a 30-day trial on the Pro version, and 30 days should be more than I need.  Hopefully the learning curve on it is not too steep.  There are some active forums I can dip into for help.

I have learned that the longest my tablet will record video is about 1 hour 22 minutes.  I wish that I could set up cameras in every room, constantly streaming to the main computer.  I wish I could get a head-mounted camera, or a cameraman to follow me around all day.  It’s so hard to catch things on video.  Some behaviors just don’t last long enough.  I think I will need to deputize one of the older kids each day to follow Kender around with a camera, filming until the battery runs out and then starting over.  That may be the only way to get some of this.

Today is New Year’s Eve, and we are expected company for our annual party.  I have cleaning and cooking to do, so my time on this may be limited today.  I plan to get more video recorded and start testing out the Lightworks editor.

Kender’s Match Video, day 1

It’s time to seriously start working on the “match video” for Kender’s service dog.  The packet telling us how to do this is five pages long, packed full of questions.  They need to know absolutely everything, from our previous history with dogs to every quirk of Kender’s personality.

First up is an interview with both myself and Brian about our personal history with dogs.

“Take a few minutes on tape to talk to us about your experience with dogs. Did you grow up with dogs? Have you had dogs in your adult family? Are there dogs in the home now? How did you relate to any of these dogs? Did you train with them at all? Were the dogs inside or outside? Are there dogs that make you nervous? If so, what behavior is it that does this? What do you like in a dog? What do you dislike in dogs? Do you have a size preference? How do you feel about handling the dog in public?

I’ve written out most of this already for myself.  I just need to get somebody to video me saying it.  Then I need to get Brian’s interview done and see if there are any pictures or video to add to his.  Next up is a section on Kender and our pets.

First talk to us a little. How does your child do with animals? What good experiences have they had? Has there ever been a bad experience? If so, explain. What type (personality wise) does your child seem to like best? Any dogs that the child is afraid of? Now, start to show us a little. If you have pets in the home, let us meet them and tell us about them. Show how your child interacts with them. Do your friends have dogs? Okay, time to invite yourself for a visit or ask them to bring the dog over for dinner! Show us your child interacting with their dog(s). We talk about dogs a lot, but show us all pets in the home and show how the child interacts with them. If you have a dog and can show the dog interacting with another dog(s) that would be best.

Time to get some friends over here!  I tried to get Kender to interact with Pixie the other day, but it didn’t work out that time.  I do have video of Kender feeding our bunny.  I need some video of Kender petting the bunny and the cats, and also of him trying to toss the cats down the stairs, I suppose.  (They do say in the beginning to include all the things we would normally hide from the world!)  I’ve asked my friends to get together with me and Kender this week so we can do some videotaping, especially with larger dogs and the lady I know who fosters future service dogs.  I’ll make another attempt with Pixie, as well.

Next up, The Family:

Okay, let’s see the other kids. If they are old enough to introduce themselves and talk a little please let them. How do they feel about the dog? What do they hope for? What interactions would they like to have with the dog? Show us their interactions with family pets, or if there are none, borrow a friend’s. We would also like to know a little of their personality and things they like to do.

Some of this I can get from friends along with Kender’s dog interactions, but pretty much this entire section still needs to be filmed.  Individual interviews with everybody, plus shots of them with all the animals.  I can feel the minutes of video already adding up!!

Now we get into the boring stuff that is not going to be up for public consumption, I think!

Time to take a tour of the house. Start with the front yard and show us that and the outside of the front of the home before you enter the house. Take us on a tour through the house. Show each and every room. Talk to us. Where does your family spend most of their time? Where does the child getting the dog spend their time? Show us their room in particular. Where do they sleep? Will the dog sleep in bed with them? What does the room look like; what things does the child like to do while in this room? Once we have seen the whole house (include spaces you would not allow the dog and talk about furniture — will the dog be allowed on it?) we will now head out the back of the house to see the yard. Show us your fence or if you don’t have fence tell us how the dog will get exercise. Show us around the outside of the house and yard. The neighbors: What dogs live in the homes beside and behind you. Are their dogs through the fence that may interact with your new service dog? Do the neighbors dogs or cats ever enter your yard? What type of dogs (breed specific) live by you and what other neighbor pets might your dog encounter?

I hate the thought of doing this, but do it I must.  I must put the state of my home on video for these people to see.  Hopefully I will have time to make at least two videos of each room, showing the clean and dirty states, but if the rooms don’t hit “clean” in time it will have to be dirty.  So be it, because unfortunately that’s just the way it is here.

As for neighbors, I already have one neighborhood girl and her little chihuahua on video to plug into this section.  I need to talk to the lady up the block who owns a great big dog, the family next door to my mother who breed chihuahuas, and Perfect Dave and his little dog Harley.  I also need to finally introduce myself better to the family whose chihuahuas bit Jarod so long ago (what is it with chihuahuas in this neighborhood, anyway?), and I need to see if Angela’s family still has their 3-legged chihuahua (another one!).  I’m not sure if I should talk to Dave’s tenants; their kids play with mine, and I know they have dogs, but I’ve never actually seen their dogs.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the form.  Today I have dumped my camera and transferred all my images to a separate video folder, where I am reviewing and labeling them.