Spring Walks

We took a lovely, although unusual, walk yesterday and lest you all think all the dogs do is be bored anymore I thought I’d better post some pictures.

Things are rolling along here, work is busy, busy. Real life is. . . Real, with a capitol R. Magnus is doing pretty well. We haven’t had an appointment with rehab therapist in almost two weeks now. She felt he was doing well enough to cut back to every other week. I’ve been a bit worried about his eyes. We don’t have a recheck for another few weeks but if they keep looking like they do we might be headed in sooner than that. Oddly enough, he was the cause of the unusual aspect of our walk.

Magnus' best imitation of a speed bump in the road

He hates to be hot. When he gets to hot he will just lay down and refuse to move. It’s a little funny, but just a little. It was the longest walk we’ve taken and his back seems fine, but I when he pulled his lump in the middle of the trail routine I was a little worried we’d pushed it too far. Maizey has been walking more on the last two walks so I put Magnus in the stroller. It was pretty funny actually, I thought he’d hate it, but he just rode along like a pasha being escorted to his castle. Of course the Princessface had to ride in style too so they both ended up in the stroller.

I tried to tell them it was humiliating to take two dogs for a “walk” where neither of them were actually walking. They didn’t care. So I kept teasing them yesterday I was going to go out and get a “real” dog who could keep up with me. I don’t really care though and man am I getting good exercise pushing all that extra weight around!

I’m a bit concerned that all our winter of limited activity has made Magnus’ stamina be weak. I sure hope at one point we can take a walk without worrying so much. Until then I guess I have a another reason to be glad I have the stroller. I’m seriously considering investing in a bike trailer. If he’s going to want to ride some then I want to actually get some exercise and that we we could go farther.

While I’m concerned Magnus’ stamina has decreased, I think cutting back the length of our walks and the methodical way we’ve been increasing just 5 minutes ever two to three days has helped Maizey’s stamina increase. She’s doing really well that way. Spring is proving to be a stimulating time for her and I’ve increased her Fluexetine back to .75 mg a day. If we need to go up one more time we will. There is just more sensory input in spring and as usual she’s found several things more triggering. It’s been super rainy, the neighbors building projects, all compounded by the windows being open more when the weathers nice all set her off. Last night she retreated to the bathroom for the first time. I sure hope we don’t seen a huge dive from her like last year. We’re headed to the vet on tuesday to see what we can do preventively. I’ve been playing Through a Dog’s Ear for her. I can’t tell it has a huge effect but it makes me sleepy so it can’t hurt!

So life’s rolling along, in more than just the metaphorical sense. I’ve got the puppy bug and have been dreaming of what it would be like to have a third dog. I’ve had three dogs before and know it’s much more work. I also know it’s much more love and fun so I’m thinking seriously about it. For those of you with three dogs what’s you’re greatest challenge and your greatest joy? I read a poem about Cav’s the other day that said one is never enough- I guess they’re kinda like potato chips!

Can't you just picture a little black and tan face with these two? I can!


Wordless Wednesday: Boring Mom!


One Little Word

Life throws you curve balls sometimes and then it just seems to keep on throwing them. So in a completely vulnerable moment I’d like to digress from 4legged lessons to just a plain lesson.

Do you know who Brene Brown is? She’s a vulnerability and shame researcher. Feel like clicking off and not reading anymore already? I’ve found some people react to her that way, but I think she’s amazing.

Brene Brown introduced me to the necessity of vulnerability for connection, and now she’s introduced me to One Little Word of 2012. It’s taken me over 4 months of 2012 to accept my word and three weeks to write this blog post. I wanted my word to be fight, strength, brave. . . STRONG words. Words that say I won’t give up no matter what curve balls come at me, no matter how fast and hard they hit.

Those aren’t my word. My word is Positivity. There is a part of me that’s still fighting that word. It’s so trite. I mean I’m a positive reinforcement trainer doesn’t it seem redundant to take the word positivity for me for a whole year? Perhaps, but I can’t argue with it. It just keeps coming up. It keeps appearing. So I’m embracing it and you know what I’ve found?

I like myself better as positivity in life just as much as I like myself better as a positive reinforcement trainer. But you know what else I found? Positivity in life doesn’t make me any more popular with some people than being a positive reinforcement trainer makes me in some circles.

It embraces much more meaning than just the “think positive” affirmations that conquer the negative brouhaha. It’s not just all Guy Smiley and that guy on Saturday Night Live that believes, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”

Positivity is “composed of or possessing actual or specific qualities.” I think it’s the R+ quadrant that defines what we want our dogs TO do instead of just what we DON’T want them to do. It’s what lets us tell our friends thank you for the specific good they do while letting go of what we don’t like. It doesn’t ignore the reality, but identifies the good in the reality and acknowledges it.

This is another reason I can’t deny the word, it’s also defined as: “tending towards progress or improvement; moving in a beneficial direction.”

I had a client thank me for not judging her for previously using a choke chain on her dog. As soon as she said it I had to think, “What is there to judge? You are ‘moving in a beneficial direction.’” Isn’t that all we can ask of ourselves, our clients, our dogs? Positivity lets me see forward movement.

It lets me be, “constructive rather than skeptical” and see hope in the face of apparent hopelessness. At one time I thought Maizey’s progress was hopeless, positivity let me accept her where she is now and see the beneficial direction she’s going. We are so much happier together now. We are enjoying each other and she is making better process without all the pressure.

And my favorite part of my One Little Word? Positivity is, “tending to emphasize what is good or laudable; constructive.” I know everyone that knows me is laughing at this post. I’m not a “glass half full” type of girl. I’m a realist and I tend to see the hard part of the reality before ever acknowledging the positive parts. The truth is there is a lot of negative to almost every situation. You don’t have to look hard to find con’s to put on a pro’s and con’s list. It’s often much harder to find the pro’s, but they are there. And you know what? Usually there are more there than we tend to pay attention to.

This is my year to see the good, to emphasize what is possible, “good and laudable.” I can’t ever be that person who doesn’t see the reality, but this is my year to not only see the harsh realities.

You know what’s funny is that reading this back to myself it does sound sort of all Guy Smiley and positive affirmations, but I think I’m okay with that. I know this isn’t a word I sit in comfortably, it’s not a word I stay grounded in easily. It’s a word that I’m finding takes effort to remember to do, and each time I lose my grip on positivity (which is often) I have to find a way to get back to that perspective. In that way positivity is a strong word. It’s a word I’m putting out there for myself to learn from for this year and at the end of the year maybe I’ll give it up and go back to being my grumpy self, who knows?

All I know is I agree with what a friend told me last night, “I have to stop seeing only what I CAN’T do and start seeing what I CAN.” I agree. Seeing what’s possible and positive doesn’t change reality, but it does make it more enjoyable. So here’s to the journey!