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Sunday, February 1, 2015

A night of hockey, dogs and Zambonis

I've blogged before about our decision to get a service dog for Korban. We started the process in April 2014 with a wonderful organization called Retrieving Freedom, which is located in Senatobia MS. 

On Friday the River Kings (hockey team in Olive Branch MS) honored RFI at their Hero's Night. A portion of the ticket sales went to RFI and Mr. Charles and his family was there with a table of information set up as well as some dogs! There were also some veterans with their dogs that we got to meet and hang out with.  

We were so excited that we got to go. We went to see Ole Miss and State play hockey in Tupelo for Brad's birthday and we all loved it. That was the kids' first hockey game, and this was their second. 

We had great seats too, with a good view of the action. The River Kings played (and beat!) the Pensacola Ice Flyers. 

This was Korban's reaction to the game. He loves sports and hockey is exciting. He wants to learn to skate. It was loud, especially when they scored a goal, but Korban refused to wear his noise canceling headphones. It's a toss up for him as to which is worse--loud noises or something touching his face!  But he did really well that night and I was so thankful. 

When we were at the Ole Miss/State hockey game, Korban was amazed with the Zamboni and wanted to drive one. I posted about it on Facebook, and Mr. Charles remembered. So guess what he arranged for Korban to do?!?  

That's right!
He got to ride a Zamboni!!!  

How cool is that?!?  They wanted to get one of the dogs to ride too, but there wasn't enough room. I was a little worried that Selah would feel left out and was already working on a plan to make it up to her. But after we got Korban and Brad all settled on their Zamboni, the representative from the River Kings that was helping us turned to me and Selah and said "Are y'all ready to go see the one you'll be riding?" 😳

So then this happened!  

It was so much fun. Selah was a little shy at first but she got really into it and was waving at people with both hands before too long. Both kids were really amazed with how it worked to smooth the ice. Korban told me "it spit out ice!" He was so impressed.  Brad said he called it a "trumboni" because they sat right behind its big "horn" (pipe). He also liked when it dumped the ice out at the end...I never thought of what happened to the ice after if left the floor, did you?

Getting ready to go! 

A Zamboni selfie--notice Korban is covering his ears. It was sort of loud and he struggled a little but still refused the noise-canceling headphones.  He kept putting Brad's hands over his ears instead.  He was still happy though, even with the anxiety.  He wanted off but then wanted back on after it was over; he's so funny.

The only real trouble came when it was time to get off the Zamboni. And the struggle wasn't with Korban, it was ME. Let's just say I had a little issue with my dismount. We all know I'm not exactly the most graceful person, but I didn't fall. That's been done before.  No, I like to embarrass myself in new and different ways!  The Zamboni driver drove off the ice and parked and the nice man who had been helping us came over and helped Selah down. He asked me if I needed help and I said "Oh, I've got it!" And then I proceeded to prove that I did not, in fact, have it. I managed to snag my sweater dress on a pipe as I was climbing down, succeeding in pulling my sweater dress plum up my back. And then I was stuck standing there with my dress over my head because I couldn't reach up high enough to unhook it. The very nice man politely averted his eyes and released my dress for me. This is reason #941 I am thankful for leggings. 😜

After I got my clothes situated, we got to visit with some sweet service dogs. 

This is Diesel--we've met him a couple of times before and he is precious. He's  a golden doodle (cross between a standard poodle and a golden retriever.) Diesel is an autism service dog. 

He's a big dog!  I love his feet. :)

Selah is amazed that he has curly hair like her. 

We got to visit with some interesting people too. :)

Photo booth fun! 

Selah took this picture. She loves to play with the camera on my phone. Not sure what she did with the lighting on this one but she's getting better! 

We had such a good time. I was a little worried about going because Korban was really tired. He has started going for PT in Tupelo 2x a week in addition to his other therapies. (He's having trouble with his muscles, particularly in his legs, so we are having to do some intensive therapy to work on that.) So we are all adjusting to a new routine, and I knew he was exhausted so I was unsure how good his behavior would be. He was whiny and loud in the van on the way there. But once we got there it was great and I was so glad we went. Even though he was tired and anxious I know he had a good time. He is still asking to go back!  He told me yesterday that he wants some "hockey shoes" so he can play hockey. I think he is looking for ice skates. Ha!  I love to hear him talk about things we've done and ask to do them again. He also asks frequently about "Mr. Charles and his doggies," when we can go see them, and if he can feed the dogs. :)

What I'm saying is, it's not always easy to go places. It can be scary to try new things because we aren't sure how Korban will react, or how others will react to him. But we've been working his entire life to stretch him (and ourselves!) out of our comfort zones bit by bit. It's been hard but most importantly it's been WORTH IT!!!  

When I was watching Korban ride that Zamboni, I was thinking about how that was a once in a lifetime experience and how blessed we are to have such good people in our lives and that we've made some many wonderful memories as a family. It was a very big "Thank You Jesus!" moment for me. 

Mr. Charles, thank you for all that you do and for caring so much about the dogs and the families you pair them with. Korban says we are coming to see you soon so have some dog treats ready! 😊

This was Korban after the game, pretty much as soon as he got in his car seat. Good night! 

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