News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Lost and Found

This weekend’s gospel reading at church was about Jesus staying in the temple area, while Mary and Joseph started home thinking Jesus was with other relatives in their caravan. They returned and found Jesus there, and despite their worry about loosing him, he really wasn’t that apologetic.
I listened to an ABC podcast about a man who fathered twins and then they and their mother disappeared for 40 years. The man and his twins were reunited, and tears streamed down my face, as I heard the reunion.
I have an uncanny ability to lose things, despite my good intentions. Luckily, I’m married to Phil who has the uncanny ability to find lost things. I recently lost a pair of sound activated light-up glasses I wear for my performances. Because of how they were plugged in to be charged, both of us had a feeling they were behind our bed, but between Phil’s injured arms from some successful skin cancer surgery and my arms which were too big to get between the slats, we didn’t know how we were going to retrieve them. A couple of weeks ago, Phil pulled out the night stand and somehow got them out, along with something else I lost. I don’t even remember what that was anymore.
Then there was the “wearable art”, a trinket with sound activated lights Phil gave me around the same time as the glasses. It was gone for months, and then there was this little nudge which said, “Open the bottom nightstand drawer, and look one more time”. Of course, there it was! I was used to the nudges from God telling me to play a particular song. I had several experiences in which someone comes up and names that song as something they needed to hear after I received a nudge to play that particular song.. But it’s rare that I have the nudge tell me exactly where to find something. When I lose things, I tend to simmer, particularly if I drop them, and they roll. Phil gets super loud and cusses out his frustration saying it helps him get rid of it before bending down to find the lost object.
Without a dog, I feel lost sometimes. I feel clumsy and dislike accidentally tripping or hitting someone with my cane. Then there are those situations when we realize just how much a dog does. I was traveling with a friend and his guide dog in the lead. I was unfamiliar with the block, but I usually do OK with my cane trailing buildings if they are there. I didn’t realize the sidewalk jogged in under a building, until I could barely keep both feet on the sidewalk, because it became so narrow! Fortunately a police officer got me straightened out and helped me get through the jog and out from under the building. My friend’s dog just took care of the jog without having to be coached. These incidents make me look forward to the day I’ll hold a harness and not encounter the obstacles I do today with my cane. 
Throughout December, we had something we lost, which didn’t become apparent to us until Saturday night. For the past two winters, we’ve hired a wonderful snow shoveler named Ray to shovel our front and back walks, ramp,, deck and driveway. We thought we heard him out there during the very small snows we had, only to be frustrated when nothing was done at all. Phil and I were getting frustrated with the situation and a little with each other too. Finally he asked me to go check to see whether the cash we left at the beginning of the month had been taken from its spot. We found the cash and found the problem when calls were no longer taken at Ray’s number. So then we had a new problem on our hands. Who were we going to hire to take care of our snow? I sent some texts, but then Phil had a fabulous idea! He’d spoken at an alternative high school in the area, so he called the friend of a friend who asked him to speak. Not only did Phil’s speaker recruiter promise to look for high school students in our area. He and his wife needed to walk their dog and came to our place. They took care of the little snow from yesterday, and Phil and I had a little fur to stroke. Most promising of all, we may have found some neighborhood friends, as the couple live only five blocks from us. They already texted us to get a date for dinner and then games at our house.
There are several things on the horizon about which I’m really worried! but there’s only so much I can do to help these situations. I keep having to remind myself of the “lost-andfound cycles”, and that I’m currently in the lost part. After doing all I can do to make it work, it’s really God who gives me the nudges or sends police officers, friends, and eventually dogs to help us go from lost to found.

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Comments on: "Lost and Found" (5)

  1. This was a very interesting blog post. I really enjoyed it. Thank you!

    When do you plan on applying for another dog? Are you waiting for a specific reason – weather, for Phil to be walking, for the two of you to get dogs at the same time, etc?

    I have often thought what a huge difference a dog makes in your life. And this post really helped me understand it.

    • Oh, I sent in my application even before Zane left. Then I had my Juno walk in late September. A Juno walk is when the instructor acts as the dog and pulls the end of the harness where the dog will be. This gives them a sense of pace, pull, gait, etc. While walking, the instructor asks questions about the type of personality you want and the circumstances under which the dog will be working. For example, I need a dog who can just lie still for 3 hours withou getting too restless, because of my public gigs. I’m not a fan of a rambunctious dog in the house. Usually Phil’s Shepherds have enough of that. It’s called a Juno walk, because that’s the dog’s name for using commands as in “Juno Forward”.Because of the Minnesota winter, the instructor thinks it’s probably best to get the dog in the spring. Apparently I’m a bit of a difficult match, too. I’m unsure if it’s because I walk slowly or what the issue is.

      • That is so interesting how the process works. I’m sorry it has to take so long. But it sounds like they do everything to ensure the best possible match. Hopefully they will have found a great match by early Spring. Do you use Juno vs your own dog’s name when giving commands?

      • On the Juno walk, yes. The instructor simulates the dog as much as possible, and we use Juno’s name to communicate commands. “Juno forward. Juno Right”. Generally we don’t tell the instructor he’s a good boy though. Lol!!! Actually, Phil talks about telling his female instructor she was a good boy before receiving his first dog. That actually told the instructor a boy was probably the best match at that time. The match is so important for success, so even though it’s frustrating, I understand taking the time to find the best possible match.

      • Ah yes, patience. So important, but so difficult…

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