Monday, December 12, 2011

Viva's Goes to School ALONE today....

I have spent the last month working with Viva in Madison's classroom. That meant driving to and from her school which is about 30 minutes away. Today was her first day riding in the van alone with Madison. I took this picture to show how excited Madison was to have her "buddy" with her.

The day however was much harder than the staff anticipated. It looks as if the bus driver undid her leash and the staff didn't put it back on right. Thus, they were dragged through the school to get to the classroom and the commands given were not obeyed. However, when I arrived at lunch time Viva was on her best behavior. When we returned to the classroom I noticed that the large jar of treats I sent into the classroom were almost gone (uh, poor belly on Viva).

Here's hoping Wednesday goes a bit smoother....positive note last Friday Viva detected another fever on Maddie. Super, super excited to not only realize what was happening but the classroom staff saw how Viva acted....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween -- Houdini Howlers Style

Day 7 of training started off with two tracks in the midst. Grandpa took Maddie by stroller through a baseball field and hid behind a shed and on the second trip he took her stroller through a dense wood trail and hid behind some brush. Via found her both times.....she is getting better and better at tracking Maddie. Then we went back to 4 Paws and worked on tethering Maddie to Viva....this is where Madison is hooked to Viva and she has to staying in a down position while Madison pulls on her or while we are walking Madison is walking next to her or behind her. Although both girls are about the same weight Viva is a strong dog and is able to keep Madison from running...yeah! Then if was off to the mall again to walk through the stores, ride in elevators, and meet huge stuffed tigers. Viva also tracked a trainer twice through the shoe department and did fabulous. We ended the day with a gathering of 5/10 service dogs at our house for a potluck and trick or treating through the neighborhood. Maddie was "Batgirl" and Viva was "Wonder dog." We didn't stay out to long for Madison is now on her second round of antibiotics for a sinus infection. Zachary on the other hand took advantage of the wonderful weather and stayed out for the two hours and collected a ton of candy. He was a "Pokemon" trainer.....Happy Halloween and to all a good night! Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself! The last picture I just took is of Madison and Viva laying in bed sleeping for the 3rd night in a row....Viva is doing great...I heard Madison the other night at 2am..."Viva, oh Viva girl." So much better than "Mommy, mommy I sleep here!"

Training days 2 - 6...time flies

Day 2 is over time to take Viva home and introduce her to the Harley and our neighbors....

Training Day 3 -- Another intense day of training Viva or should I say Viva's parents. We started out our AM session with a bit of tracking work. Maddie ran off with another trainer and Viva searched her out in about 5 minutes. Maddie was hiding behind a shed and Viva was so excited to "find" her. I started to tear up realizing that my greatest "fear" of losing Maddie has been lessened by the mere presence of Viva. Then we worked on basic obedience and then ended class with Viva teaching us how to “lap” (putting her paw or muzzle on Maddie) and “over” which is laying on Maddie for deep pressure input. Our evening ended with a fast pace 1 mile heel walk and then books in bed with Madison; where Viva stayed for 10minutes before jumping down. Our goal is for her to sleep all night in her bed. A wonderful day had by all. Now to attend to Maddie girl who has a cold. Thank you to all those who have left wonder posts of support.

Day 4 - tracking and outing to the mall. Viva did fantastic in finding M in the woods and was a trooper while we walked around the mall for 3+ hrs and no loot in hand! She even tolerated an extremely rude/uneducated woman (Mommy not so much)....and to top it off she laid on M while I gave meds and cleaned her screaming and she just spent an hour in her bed. Yippee a great day

Day 5 - Saturday morning started with Viva tracking Madison and Mommy. The first track was rough because Viva is still trying to memorize her Madison’s scent but she found us. Then onto basic obedience and lots of loving from Maddie. It is amazing to watch the bond form! We took Viva to Subway for lunch where she wasn’t even noticed while we ate our subs…and Madison was easily directed to sit back down “next to Viva” normally we would have to chase her around the restaurant a few times. Then back to the center where we learned about the feed/grooming of our service dog. Back home tonight and we tried our own tracking trek in the neighborhood tonight…and Viva did well until she meet a neighbor’s dog but she did find Maddie on a swing set and was super excited. Then at bedtime with protest from Maddie to brush her teeth I decided Viva needed her teeth brushed so we did that first and Maddie was then happy to comply! As I write this post Viva just came down the stairs after two hours of laying in bed with our little girl who is coughing up a lung!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Training Day

What a wonderful first day of training. We started the day off super excited to meet Viva girl. We arrived at 4 Paws with the other 9 families and had to wait forever to finally get her out of her cage. Madison kept saying "Let Viva out" over and over. She is a beautiful golden yellow color and is so lovable. Aftrer our family meeting with her it was down to the business of training. Although she already knows 40 commands we worked with her on sit, down and stay. It was an intense emotional day one. Side note the lead trainer saw her doing detection work "seizure alerting" on Madison at 11:48am and tonight she developed a runny nose and fever.....amazing already! (Pictures are in reverse order)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Columbus Marathon

I can mark another "life" goal completed. This past Sunday I ran in the Columbus Marathon for 26.2 miles...It was a difficult task but I finished. Mike and the kids greeted me at the 18 mile marker and then Zach ran me in at the finish line. The weather was great and the race course was great...lots of spectators and running through the campus was fun! Post-race: I am feeling good....toes hurt but I am thinking of signing up for a 1/2 marathon in the near future.
Kuddos goes out to Karen and Hollee for completing the race too! And to cousin, Lisa for running her first ever race and 1/2 marathon at that! Girl Power.....

Meet the newest member of our family.....

We found out on Saturday that Madison's new service dog is a Golden Retriever. Her name is VIVA....she was born on 28 July 2010....I've attached her "puppy" picture and her most recent picture...she is just beautiful. Madison is soooo excited to meet her as are the rest of us! When I showed her the photos on my phone she started kisses my starts next Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Starts

Where did the summer go? Ashley started her junior year, Zachary is now in school full-time for 1st grade and Madison is in pre-k. What will I do to fill my days? We have six weeks left till we meet Madison's service dog....yeah!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ashley turns 16

Our little squirt turned 16. Ashley woke up to 16 helium in the dining room. We took her out to her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden and had cake, ice cream and opened up presents....

Ashley is a wonderful young lady and we can't wait to see what life has in store for you. Happy birthday, Ash!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Zachary turns 7!

To think seven years ago our baby boy came into this world, screaming his little head off....we thank God every day for you, Zachary. This year we decided to have a "movie star" themed party and it turned out that Kung Fu Panda 2 was making its debut. Zachary invited a few friends from his class over for pizza, cake (in the shape of a popcorn box), ice cream and an outing to the movie theatre. We had so much fun listening to them "chat" about the movie on the way home....the laughter and youth made us both reminisce about how fast he is growing up!

Ashley's First Job

Ashley's summer job....we are so proud of Ashley for getting her first job....

Mother's Day

My mother's day this year was truly "a mother's day." Maddie was sick so I got to sit and rock her all day....and be a mom! Ashley made me the most yummy mother's day dinner too...she spent hours in the kitchen cooking for was wonderful! Mike and the kids went overboard with wonderful gifts....loved my chimena and the smores we cooked were yummy!

Toothless Boy

In the last 2 months, Zachary has lost 4 teeth. He is growing up way to fast.
Tooth Number Two


We had a wonderful Easter this year. We were able to celebrate a day early with Uncle Tony and Uncle Jamie (Natalee's brothers). Natalee and Jamie cooked a yummy dinner, followed by playing Euchre late into the evening and then assisting the Easter bunny...we all know how busy he can get. Early the next morning not only did Natalee have a horrible case of food poisoning but Zachary found the golden egg. The kids enjoyed several egg hunts and Ashley even filled her basket.

A new driver on our roads

We can hardly believe the time has come for our Ashley to get her driver's license. Mike took her to get her temps (oh, the embarrassment) and took plenty of pictures for me to view. She didn't want her younger siblings to attend in this momentous occasion. Thankfully, she has to wait a bit of time and take drivers classes before the "real" license is issued.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Madison Turns FIVE!

I can't believe how fast time truly does go -- Madison turned 5 today! Here is a picture of her when she came home from the hospital and this morning before she left for school.

She started her day off by taking in cupcakes (shaped like buried dog bones) to her classmates. Then they sang the birthday "around" the world song and enjoyed a snack.

She came home to a house deocrated with 5's everywhere....Zachary even made her a 5 chandiler. Celebrating the fact that she will be getting a service dog, I made her the "doggie" cake.....We ate a yummy spagahgetti bake dinner followed by homemade ice cream and cake....thank you to everyone who sent a gift. It made her day that much more special. This is the first year that she said "more" after opening up each gift!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thank You - Thank You

Once again, we are amazed at the generosity of our family, friends and community members! Thank you to the following individuals who have made a difference in our little girl's future.
M. Wright
S. Cutting
T. Lord
Mr. Johnson (Bellbrook Snow and Salt)
W. Gardner-Courtney
Soeder Family
A.J & Sunny Scribante (OTTO J Investment Management Comapny)
Fromm Family
Vedra Family

WEDNESDAY -- March 16, 2010
A big thank you to the following families for contributing towards Madison's service dog fund. (Even though we have meet our goal, any additional funds will be posted to another child's fundraising goal)....THANK YOU!
The Arumugam Family
The Pope Family
The Myers Family
The Kossler Family
Eddie and Sherry Landers

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fundraising Goal Is Accomplished

We did it! We did it! As of today we have made our fundraising goal of $13K. Madison's class date is Oct 24....where we will have two intense weeks of training with her service dog. We will still have our last two fundraisers and that money will go toward another child's fundraising goal. Mike and I are incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful community, and generous friends and family. Our dream for Maddie is made possible by ALL OF YOU! We will keep you all informed...THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend at Camp Courageous

What a weekend we had.....the kids went fishing, bowling, swimming, played in the gym, horseback riding, made arts and crafts, got their nails painted, watched a movie (while mom/dad had a date night) and had ice cream whenever we wanted it!

Camp Courageous is a camp for families with disabilities. They provide a weekend of activities and respite care for the families. It was an absolutely gorgeous background in Scottsville, KY and we were so lucky to be given this opportunity. Thank you to the camp staff for your compassion and loving our "special" kids.

March 1st Fundraising Update

We are at $9,341.44.....outstanding! We are so close....a big thank you to everyone who has donated....we are only $3,658.56 away from our goal!!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feb 15th Fundraising Update

A HUGE thank you to the following organizations, friends and family members who have contributed to Madison's fundraising goal.....we are getting closer to our $13K goal! As of today we are at $8,000.....To read your letters and emails of generosity is what keeps me also warms my heart to see the kid's allowance donations sent in too! AMAZING STUFF.....

Brad and Tina Belischner
Ginger and Mike Hicks
Jean and David Adkinson
Living Hope Community Church of Nazarene
MDN Group
J. Chandler
Jasona and Marie Adkinson
Jamie and Charolotte Lininger
Pat and Allen Israel
Euline Millican
Tom and Roxanne Niedbalski
Nora Millican
Annette Lepkowski
Lisa Lachs
Michael and Tina Spaulding
Jay and Lisa Mossing
Aunt Joan and Uncle Daryl Elton
Tikyani Ruxamani
April and Mark Clawson
T. Johnson
Airscan Inc.
Rotramel boys
Z. Landers

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The RACE is ON!

4 Paws 5K Run/ Walk
April 16, 2011

All proceeds to benefit 4 Paws for Ability, an organization that trains and provides service animals to those who cannot obtain them through other organizations. The proceeds will be given in Madison Landers’ name and to her fundraising goal of attaining a service dog! Taking the “dis” out of disability:

Start: St. Francis of Assisi, 6245 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH 45459

Entry Fees (Non-Refundable):
$25 Pre-registration $20 Student/Youth Rate (18 & under)
$35 Day of Race (shirt cannot be guaranteed day of)
Free T-shirts to race participants who pre-register by March 16, 2011.

Make checks payable to: 4 Paws for Ability. Please indicate on your check that the donation is in honor of Madison Landers

Mail the bottom of the registration form to:
Natalee Landers, 9072 Academy View Court, Dayton, OH 45458

Check In & Registration: Packet pick up will on April 11th 4:00-6pm or on the morning of the race starting at 7:30am at St. Francis of Assisi…..

Dogs Welcome: Bring your SOCIAL DOGS for a great run/ walk.

Awards: Offered to the Top Three Overall Female, Male and Youth. Special awards will also be offered to the Top Three Overall Dogs!

Race Information & Route: Please visit our Facebook page: 4 Paws for Madison Landers or email or

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2nd Fundraising Event Update

Tonight we had our second fundraising event for Madison. Thanks to the folks of Tipp City, our neighbors, families and friends and the ladies from the various independent representatives from the Troy Direct Sales Network. They raised $600.50 for the service dog fund! Thank you, thank you! We are now at $3291.50 toward our $13,000 GOAL. Be on the look out for our upcoming 5K, Zumbathon and a golf outing.
Thank you to.....
The Independent representatives from the Troy Direct Sales Network
Lisa M. and girls
Chris D.
Teresa R.
Liz H.
Patty & Steve

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Post Fundraising Event

One word to describe Friday night's fundraising event - AWESOME! MDN (My Direct Network of Moraine) raised $565 dollars toward Madison's service dog fund. The night was filled with lots of quarters, laugh and merchandise. Thank you to all of the participating companies and community members who came out on that chilly evening for such a great cause! We are at $2691.00.....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Breaking News -- Fundraising Event Tomorrow Night

Just informed that there is another quarter auction being held for Madison service dog fund at:
Moraine Civic Center
3050 Kreitzer Road
Doors open at 6:30pm....
Please come on out and spend your quarters!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fundraising Update

Tonight I am completely overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our community, family and friends. I dropped off a neighbor's son's gift of his allowance to 4 Paws tonight and found out the total of funds raised on behalf of Madison are at a whopping $2, 126.00. I started to sob right there in their office. I believe that this dream of a service dog for Madison will be attained and that is only because of all of you! Thank you. On the first of every month I will receive an update as to our progress. As I receive your name and donation I will post it here.....

Thank you to.......
K& E Property Management LTD
Mr and Mrs Richard Trease
Mr and Mrs Bert Rummell
Michelle Durand
Bob & Mary Jo Lawson
Mark & Courtney Taylor
Dr Kathleen Grant
Christy Lepkowski-Johnson
Jenifer Wiles
John Henry Painting, LLC (Mr. John Henry)
C. Haley
Numerous anonymous donors