Oct 26

Imagine having a dog that picks up what you drop, opens doors and even helps unload your laundry if you ask her.

Tim & ShilohTen to 12 of those dogs are trained annually at WAGS - the Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs - one of a handful of such centers in North America.

After tallying vet bills, employee salaries and the costs to run WAGS facilities, it costs between $12,000 and $16,000 to train a dog, with the money coming from fundraisers, personal donations and the United Way.

For clients, it costs $6,000 to buy a service dog and $2,000 for a home helpmate, which are dogs that work around the house but don’t go out in public. (Low-income clients receive help from WAGS to offset some of that cost.)

WAGS and similar organizations are always in need of volunteers to help raise puppies, help with events and promote the word about the valuable service these dogs provide.

The WAGS Web site is loaded with more information about these dogs and similar centers that may be near you.

Oct 23

Imagine what MacGyver could do with the combination of Mr. 7 Hands and Rescue Tape.

Cait discovered Rescue Tape at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisc. where dairy people from around the world gather to show off their cows and trade innovative ideas on making farming easier.

Rescue Tape works like liquid rubber, yet in a solid form. When wrapped around a pen, door handle, bicycle handle, etc., Rescue Tape fuses to itself in minutes and feels like it was dipped in rubber. This silicone-based tape works even in water and never unravels or gets gummy or sticky like electrical and duct tape.

Farmers, mechanics and plumbers use Rescue Tape for hose and pipe repair, wire insulation and for a sturdier and more comfortable grip on tool handles.

Cait wrapped the grips of her hammers and canes with Rescue Tape and repaired the chain in her toilet tank to keep it from tangling.

She loves how much easier it is to hold tools wrapped in Rescue Tape and also reccommends it for the grips on walkers and to pad the metal rails of wheelchairs for a firmer, easier and more comfortable grip.

A word of caution: a little Rescue Tape goes a long way. It stretches so use it sparingly.

Click here to order Rescue tape.

Oct 18

This adjustable shower caddy by SimpleHuman makes room for tall bottles and accommodates plumbing with its movable shelves.

caddySimply flip the tabs and slide shelves up and down or side to side. Bottles can be stored upside down for easier dispensing and the caddy’s multiple compartments include a soap dish, toothbrush/razor holder, and two hooks.

A rubberized clamp and pivoting suction cup ensure secure installation to the wall at the bottom of the caddy.

The shelves are rust-proof stainless steel while the frame is lightweight anodized aluminum and rubber. Fits shower heads with necks of 3/4″ to 1″ in diameter

Click here to learn more

Oct 17

shortKutaways provides wheelchair users fashionable and comfortable garments that make dressing for the outdoors easy.

Kutaways’ long coats and short jackets have removable backs, side zippers to the cuff, zippered extensions from the lap to the ankle and come in a variety of great colors.

The Commander is made of water-resistant, machine-washable fabric that breathes, while their Fleece coats trap warmth inside and offer excellent protection against wind and cold.

longThe garments are well thought out and the people who make them accommodating, friendly and at the ready to answer questions. The people at Kutaways mean it when they say their coats are well-designed for people in motion.

Click here for a closer look at Kutaways, a Whitby, Ontario, Canada, company.

Oct 12

At first glance, Cait was iffy about this paper slitter, but now she uses it for many jobs where she used to use conventional scissors.

slitting-demo.pngCait finds it comfortable to hold and faster, easier and more accurate than using scissors - making clean cuts even if your hand isn’t so steady.

This German-made paper slitter, with recessed blades, pushes easily through wrapping paper - as quickly as you can move your hand - and eliminates the hand-fatigue produced by even spring-loaded scissors during a long gift-wrapping session.

Cait pushed the slitter to its limits, testing it on various kinds of paper, including art paper, where it worked well. The slitter met its match, however, against her thick handmade paper, where it pushed through with difficulty and left a ragged edge.

Replacement blades are available so you can use it year after year. Cait enthusiastically recommends it for the holiday wrapping season and beyond. amazon.com to learn more.

Oct 10

The Towel Grabber puts a cloth right where you need it in the kitchen, bath, garage, nursery, tool shop, etc.

Towel GrabberSimple, space-saving and sturdy, the towel grabber comes with strong adhesive tape that attaches easily to any unpapered wall.

It works by tucking a small piece of the towel into the jaws with your index finger.

A quick pull removes the cloth and the jaws snap out for easy cleaning.

A great stocking stuffer at $2.99 for a pair.

Oct 10

We turned to electric kettles after too many tea kettles burned up on the stove. (Marty’s attention span is the length of a gnat.)

BrevilleWe tried other models before settling on the amazon.com

The Breville, made of brushed stainless steel, quietly and quickly boils up to 1-4/5 quarts of water for coffee, tea, instant soups, etc., and shuts off at boiling, ringing a bell to tell you it’s ready.

The Breville’s safety features won’t let it boil without water and a removable scale filter ensures better taste.

The Breville has an LED-illuminated water gauge for ease in seeing how much water is in the kettle, an ergonomic soft-grip handle and a swivel base, which saves your hands.

The Breville has lasted longer than any previous electric kettle and proved impervious to repeated, and sometimes abusive, use. The downside to the Breville is its price, about $69, and its weight - it is a solid little beast.
Krup’s stainless-steel kettle, for about the same price, has gotten good reviews but we haven’t owned one and can’t vouch for it.

Oct 6

Secure a cordThis is a clever item for anyone, but especially for people with mobility issues who need to count on the cord staying put in the wall.

Angel Guard’s Secure-A-Cord screws into the wall outlet and plugs fit underneath, preventing you from inadvertently yanking out the cord while you work.

Simply screws in. Yet another perfect job for Mr. 7 Hands.

(Eds. note: For safety’s sake, just make sure the cord you’re bending is in solid shape and not frayed.)

Oct 5

Being in the hospital is bad enough without having to wear those odious, prison garb, hospital gowns that literally leave so little to the imagination.

Hospital GownHealing Threads was borne of the dreams - and illnesses - of three sisters, two of whom, Peg and Claire, were undergoing chemotherapy at the same time - Peg for breast cancer, Claire for colon cancer.

The sisters designed four styles of tops and two styles of pants with an arrangement of soft closures that allow parts of the body to be exposed while covering everything else.

Functional and fashionable, the sisters’ hospital clothes let patients retain their dignity and modesty and feel more like themselves.

Peg now has been cancer free since 2002. Claire despite 35 months of chemo, holistic remedies and prayer died on Jan. 21, 2006. She is missed by many, especially her sisters and her daughter, Lilly.

Click here to learn more about the clothes and the sisters - whose motto is “Believe. Live. Thrive.” - and to see a video of Peg showing their collection.

Oct 1

The most agile among us sometimes don’t know when the water heater, a plumbing connection, or the pipe under the sink develop a leak.

And if you have mobility issues, you’re even less likely to spend time checking for moisture in out of the way or difficult to reach areas.

LeakFrogamazon.com

The LeakFrog’s alarm alerts you as soon as its stainless sensors detect moisture.

We find the frog cute, but if you prefer something louder, or more discreet, amazon.com