Memories to Cherish – a Memorial


God has placed in my life many who I consider God-Sisters. This past week, on February 10, 2021, one of my first God-sisters lost her life to Covid-19. I can’t think of my university days without thinking of Cathy (Thompson Jones Rueff). Cathy was a bright light in the world and our world is darker today, simply because she is no longer in it. Someone said she had the trifecta of beauty, brains and character and they were right. She lived her life in compassion for others.

When I was a freshman and unable to make it home my first Christmas, she took me home with her and made me part of her family. I’ll never forget that Christmas Eve, she joined me outside to dance in the snowflakes that fell, unexpectedly. I still have the Christmas stocking she made me. She and her parents welcomed me and made me a part of their family. Cathy introduced me to Rick Springfield, especially her favorite song, Jesse’s Girl; mentored me through relationships; and brought joy into the lives of all she met. She was wise, fun, serious, silly, and empathetic. We traveled, laughed, played, dated, and were a major part of each others lives. Despite being 2 years ahead of me in college, she treated me as an equal.

I haven’t seen Cathy since 1992, she got married, graduated, and had children while I came home to Canada. Twelve years ago, we reconnected through Facebook. Cathy is one of those people who stick with you in life. She was a part of my life when I was discovering who I was, and she became an integral piece of that discovery. She wasn’t alone, there was a whole group of men and women who contributed to who I became, but she was a huge influence.

One thing I’m realizing in my grief is that there are always regrets when someone dies. There will always be something we wish we had done or said. I wish I’d been able to make it back to Missouri to see her. I wish I’d called or messaged sooner and more often. I miss her already. I’ll miss knowing she’s there to call, there to share our moments with. I’ll miss seeing her happy Facebook posts. I’m thankful we made so many memories together, and I will cherish those.

Everything a Dog Needs


2018-08-23-13-02-00-e1535051169738.jpgWe purchased pet insurance from Pet Plan today.

I’m beginning to realize how buying the dog is just the first expense… now, this really isn’t a big surprise to me, but all the little things add up.

  • Leashes
  • Car seat cover
  • Car seatbelt leash
  • Travel water bowl
  • Pet bed
  • Training leash
  • Training treats
  • Dental care
  • Pet insurance
  • Toys
  • Chew toys/treats/bones
  • Treat/poop bag pouch
  • Poop bags


and this is just beginning.

Enty is missing her previous owner. I think she’s starting to realize she lives with us now, but every time the city bus goes by she watches it, I’m pretty sure it’s to see if he’s getting off and coming for her. My heart goes out to her… so much change and so hard to understand it’s permanent. How do I communicate to her that we are her people now?


Charlie has been feeling a little under the weather the last couple of days, so Enty and I have been doing more walking together while he rests and recuperates. She’s doing so well and stayed on heel for most of our half our walk this afternoon! She just adores other people and is learning to sit to meet them. The neighbourhood kids are intrigued and call her, but when she comes to them they run away, so there is some kid training that needs to be done as well. It will likely benefit us in the end, as it’s a great opportunity to teach her to not chase after them, and to ignore them even if they call to her.

The pictures for this post came from when we introduced her to the river this week, and she was cautious at first and then jumped right in! She made me laugh!

2018-08-23 13.05.45I’m teaching Enty the command “Go to Charlie”. I want to be able to send her over to him as soon as I see he needs her. I’m teaching Charlie to reward her when she comes to him, how to play with her, how to be consistent with his commands, etc. Sometimes I think we, the people, need more dog training than the dog does!

Next on the list is to meet with a regular trainer, and within the next month to meet with the service dog trainer. I still need to stop by the doctors office to pick up the medical letter for Enty as well, it’s waiting for me, I just need to make the trip there to get it.

Thanks for following our journey! We’re looking at fundraiser options again, if you have any ideas, please drop them in the comments!! I’m starting to look into a car wash before summer ends, and with this heat, maybe I’ll get the boys and Enty to sell some Freezies instead of having a lemonade stand!


Moving Forward


We’re moving forward with our plans, and our fundraising!

The biggest news to date is that we have found our dog!! Joining our family this last week is Enty, our beautiful rough collie/golden retriever cross girl. She’s 6 months old and so smart, eager to learn and friendly! We’re in love already.


Day 1 with Enty

I’m scheduling training sessions with our trainer and, while we wait for those to happen, we’re adjusting to having a dog in our lives.

Enty is pretty awesome. I’m already seeing benefits to having her in Charlie’s life. He’s outside more often, he’s spending time with her off the computer, and today… Today he went for a walk alone with her. While he was on the walk, he ran into one of our respite workers and stopped to talk with her and her daughter!!!  She messaged me later to tell me he spent about 5 minutes talking with them and answering questions about Enty. I’m pretty impressed and pleased!!

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Look at that smile!

He’s also helping with training Enty. He is helping teach her to heel, working on recall, and doing awesome at rewarding her when she does a great job! He’s picked up the responsibilities of dog ownership quite well, even picking up after her when needed. It’s such a delight to watch the two of them together. She is quickly bonding to him and sleeps in his room at night. They are becoming great friends!

Owning a dog is a big job, training her to be his service dog is also a big job, but the journey will definitely be worth it!

I posted a fundraiser on Facebook last week, and within 24 hours we had received another $675! What a huge blessing! We are getting closer to our goal every day and I thank you very much for your support!!! We’ve used some of the fundraising to pay for Enty and get some dog essentials for her, but it feels great to see our bank account growing!

Goal! (6)

Game-a-thon follow-up


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Starting to set up the room

The game-a-thon is over.


Snacks ready for eating!

It was good. It was long. It was enlightening. It was helpful!

Thank you to Autism Calgary and March of Dimes for allowing us the use of your space!

Thank you to Keen Software House for donating Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers to the players!

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Excitement and enthusiasm was high at the start!


You can see the exhaustion starting to take over.


A new friend arrived Sunday morning, infusing new life into the room!

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Exhaustion still reigns.

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Space Engineers to finish the event!

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Multiple screens for live-streaming games!

Thank you to each and every one of our players, for their sponsors and donations. We don’t have all the numbers in yet, but we were able to raise approximately $600 towards Charlie’s service dog! WOW! That’s a huge success!! There’s still a long journey ahead, but we definitely have a great start!

Goal! (4)

We were reminded that Charlie does not do exhaustion well. We learned that his younger brother does better with staying awake all night than Charlie does… both accomplished it, both played all night, with the exception of about 30 minutes each to lay down for a rest (neither slept), but Charlie is still recovering a week later while his brother has bounced back.

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Both boys fell asleep in the car during the 10 minute ride home… they were asleep by 6pm!

The boys learned that video games for 24 hours can get boring, even if they really enjoy the games being played and have the option of switching between games.

It was a good night.

Thank you!

Gaming has commenced!


The games have commenced. Charlie has been playing (or trying to play) for 1.5 hours already! Right now we have 4 players in the room and one playing online… You can follow the Stream on YouTube at

They’re having fun, they’re learning how to deal with technological glitches… practicing patience.

We’re set up with food, drinks and computers.  Even have one spare computer if someone shows up and wants to play! My laptop could also be used if 2 people show up and want to play. 🙂

It’s going to be a long night, but for now… everyone is full of energy!

It’s Time!


person holding game pads

Photo by EVG photos on

I’ve been bad at keeping this blog updated. There are so many things demanding my attention, and while this blog is important, so is everything else and I feel pulled in many different directions.

The Game-a-thon is tomorrow.  Keen Software has generously given us 8 bundle packs of Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers — wow! This gives the participants a few more options to play tomorrow. Charlie has been a faithful and loyal player of these games for years, so he’s very excited to share the games at the event!

I spent the week preparing. We have the key for Autism Calgary so we can get into the venue. We picked up groceries for snacks, meals and drinks. I’m ready to feed people for 24 hours.


We have about nine players joining us tomorrow. Many are playing remotely, from home or even on vacation. About $200 has been pledged and $100 has been collected already. Many players will bring in their pledges when they play tomorrow. Charlie’s service dog account is growing, and he’s received at least one bonus from a Tangerine referral account.

We’re getting closer to our goal. We’re excited to see how the next 36 hours go… it will be fun, it will be exhausting and it is already a blessing.

Thanks for following our journey — and check out Keen Software’s games… They’re pretty awesome! You can buy them on Steam or on the links below.

Space Engineers Purchase Link
Medieval Engineers Purchase Link

Watch for us on YouTube … We’re still trying to work out the kinks, but plan to either live-stream or post it at TruckingLikeCrazy


A Change of Plans


hand pen writing plant

Photo by Natalie B on

It is with a saddened and frustrated heart that I share with you today. I recently discovered that SDWR has been charged, by the Virginia State Attorney’s Office, with fraudulent practice and misrepresentation. You can read fully about the court case here.


We are, however, continuing to fundraise for Charlie, this is an essential need for him.

As I mentioned in my blog post, Why SDWR, there are no organizations who provide service dogs in western Canada to children over the age of 12. This means we will be moving forward with an accredited, private organization to train our own dog. I have already reached out to a couple of training companies on the Alberta government accredited list. One of these companies has said she would be willing to help us choose a dog with an appropriate temperament before we begin training.

In light of this recent news, we are no longer seeking a dog through SDWR.

I feel a little like we’re back to the drawing board. There’s a lot of work to do, a lot of research to do, and, still, a lot of fundraising to be done.

golden retriever

Photo by Leah Kelley on

The good news is, by moving forward privately, Charlie is likely to get his service dog sooner. It will take 6-8 months to fully train a service dog. It may even cost us less, if we can find a dog between 9-18 months with the right temperament and size at a good price.

I will do everything I can to make this happen for Charlie.

Thank you for continuing to support us and following our journey. God bless you.

Event Progress



I was able to connect with our potential game-a-thon venue today and it looks like we have a place to play! I’m waiting to hear back from him about an available date and we’ll be that much closer to making it happen! I’ll let you know when it’s finalized!

It was a blessed conversation in more ways than one, because he’s also traveled this journey and was able to give me some ideas and tips on who to reach out for donations. I’ll be working on that for the rest of this week.

The boys spent the day at their father’s house today, after a trip to the orthodontist. This appointment was for my younger son, not Charlie, but it ends up being a full family affair. I was proud of both my boys for their patience during the appointment, especially Charlie for staying calm. This trip to the orthodontist included, as always, an elevator ride, and lots of waiting. Elevators are hard for Charlie. We’ve worked for years to enable him to ride an elevator with other people. We’ve learned to move him into a far corner from the buttons, and then his brother and stand in front of him to provide a wall of sorts. He likes it when I lean back against him for deep pressure. I can see his service dog providing this for him in the future!  During the appointment, he was able to play games on his dad’s phone to distract himself.

I miss the boys when they are not home, but I was able to get some things accomplished that are hard to manage when they are here — like the conversation about the game-a-thon venue.


I hope you had a great day!

Thank you for following and supporting our journey! If you’d like to follow the progress, or donate directly, you can visit us at our donor page at SDWR, or on Facebook.



(after use, please put it backin its proper place)It was on this day, five years ago, that I officially received Charlie’s Autism diagnosis. That was an emotional day starting us on a journey of a million things. Learning about therapies, FSCD policies, doctors, self-care, and other resources available to us. It’s been fraught with frustrations, with denied therapies, resources out of reach because of disagreements from my ex, income, or local availability. I looked into service dogs shortly after he was diagnosed, but didn’t follow through. I prayed therapies would help him to be more functioning, to reach a place where he would not need the assistance. I wanted to believe it wasn’t necessary for him.


I have had many people ask me why I chose to apply for a dog with Service Dogs with Warren Retrievers. Why not a more local organization? Why not one we don’t have to commit to fundraising for?

I’ll start by saying I don’t mind raising money for SDWR. It offers a fabulous service and does good things for many families, not just my own. That said, here are some of the reasons we chose to apply for a service dog with SDWR:

  1. SDWR will come to our home to help finalize the training of the dog, in our community, in our home, to our schedule. The cost of travel for the training is not billed to me, rather than requiring me to bear the expense of going to a training facility, as most other organizations require.
  2. They also do follow-up training for 12-18 months, making sure that Charlie and his dog are working well together.
  3. SDWR guarantees the dogs training for the life of the dog, offering re-training if required. This is important as Charlie transitions to adulthood, to education or employment. Hopefully we won’t need the re-training, but I’m glad to know it’s available should it be required.
  4. In the unlikely circumstances our dog has a genetic health problem, SDWR carries a health guarantee and gives us the choice to replace the dog.
  5. The local organizations restrict the ages of applicants. All of them require the child to be under the age of 12, though some say under 10 years.
  6. Except… the local organizations also closed their wait lists a couple years ago. You cannot even apply for a service dog through the Service Dog providers in my area.
  7. Most other organizations only offer service dogs to a select area, and if you live outside of it, you do not qualify.
  8. Many organizations also do not train autism service dogs, they only train therapy dogs for PTSD (usually for military or police vets), or seeing eye dogs.

(after use, please put it backin its proper place) (1)Honestly, I had given up hope that I could find a service dog for Charlie. I thought we had missed the window of opportunity, until I found SDWR. Hope returned. I’m impressed by their working model, their training program, and their organization. Feel free to check out their webpage at if you want more information!

Again, thank you for following and supporting our journey! If you’d like to follow the progress, or donate directly, you can visit us at our donor page at SDWR, or on Facebook.