It’s Never a Good Idea to Gorge Yourself on Gummy Bears and Cat Food

This week started in the ER on Monday night and proved itself complete tonight when I came home to gummy bear Cavalier ears.

I always feel as if I should present myself here as the perfect dog mom. Of course then I remember that anyone who’s read for any time at all would know the truth, I’m just a dog mom with Real Life on my hands too.

My dad ended up in the ER on Monday night. It was a very scary situation, the scariest my mom said she’d ever been in. After being awake with them all night in the ICU, I was exhausted when I finally got home on Tuesday afternoon. He’s stable now, though still in the hospital. Having family in the hospital tends to trump all else so other than work not much got done this week.

I’m always so grateful my dogs are so patient and can go without walks and training without going too crazy. Still the neglect showed itself in the typical way. Boredom struck them hard and they struck back. Of course it’s always the crazy weeks when things get neglected and this week was no different.

On Wednesday night the brand new bag of cat food got left on the bottom shelf. (The guilty party shall remain nameless, although in my defense I’ll say it wasn’t me. . . This time.) I can only imagine the glee Magnus felt when he pulled it down and gorged himself. To his utter delight, he ate about a third of the bag. At 4:00 AM he threw up and of course ate it before I could get awake enough to stop him. I’m pretty sure I dreamed telling him to leave it and he thoroughly laughed in my face. After he puked he started coughing. It sounded awful. Everything sounds awful at 4:00 AM, but this really sounded bad. The neighbor dog has a cough and I was sure he must have kennel cough on top of it all.

When I was in ICU on Monday night my dad was such a trooper until about 4:00 AM when the night started to seem as if it would never end. After absolutely no sleep we all started getting discouraged by then and the nurse said, “Just make it till morning. Everyone feels the worst this time of night. If you can just make it till morning I promise it will seem better.”

Those words came back to me at 4:00 AM on Thursday morning while I was laying on the floor next to Magnus, waiting for him to throw up again. Things look truly bleak at that time of morning and I certainly wasn’t amused. I finally decided I couldn’t let him be sick and eat it again and I couldn’t stand laying on the floor all night, so I did what any insane dog person would. I put a towel down and put him in bed next to me.

I’m sure in a google search of “What to do when your dog throws up in the middle of the night” One of the top answers would not be, “Take him to bed with you!” Yup, it’s official, I’ve totally lost it!

I must mention at this point that Mehusbandy is one of the most tolerant men alive to let the sick dog come to bed with us. (Let it also serve as a warning for anyone that leaves the cat food on the bottom shelf- you reap what you sow in the form of sick dog next to you in bed at 4:00 AM.)

So there I am with a sick boy puppy sleeping in the crook of my arm. Pretty soon he starts groooaaannning. There are not enough letters in the word groaning to describe the sound he was making. Need I mention I still wasn’t laughing? So I’m trying to sleep, even though I know it will be with one ear open, and Magnus is moaning and groaning. As my partner in crime at work later described it, “It’s that sound you make when you’ve eaten way to much ice-cream and ice-cream doesn’t agree with your body. And you’re thinking, “WHY? Oh WHY did I eat all that ice-cream?” I’ll never have a sick belly again without thinking of Magnus laying there, grooooaaaannning.

As if all of that wasn’t enough to prove to you I’m a normal, imperfect, although insane dog mom, today I was the guilty one. About three o’clock this afternoon I realized I left a package of red cinnamon gummy bears out on the side table. (Apparently this is the post where all my foibles are revealed. The more tired I am the more caffeine and sugar I consume. Isn’t that what all insane dog moms do when they’re stressed out and exhausted?) Well it didn’t do me any good to remember my bonehead move at three in the afternoon while I was at work. My dogs are good at not getting into things, but apparently gummy bears and cat food can not be resisted. Sure enough I got this text message on my way home from work tonight, “Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Maizy had 2 gummy bears stuck in her ear hairs. Ughh.” I was not amused at the thought.

Thus my week finished off with me bathing two sticky Cavaliers at 10:30 PM after a long day of work. They were not amused either.

The 4legged lesson in all of this? Perspective makes all the difference. Things often do seem bleak with not a funny side in sight, but later on you realize it’s laugh or cry. I choose laugh. It must be all my new found positivity that makes both of these things seem funny to me now. I wish I had video of Magnus diving head first into the cat food bag, I bet he was so happy. I just keep hearing him grroooaaaning and it makes me chuckle too. Of course maybe you had to be there. . .

The other 4legged lesson? You reap what you sow wether its with a bad case of indigestion or a really long bath- it never pays off to gorge yourself on cat food and gummy bears.


The Journey of Blogging

I have so many posts started. Posts about really interesting things like what to consider before you get a Cavalier, an update to my One Little Word of 2012, updates about Maizey, stories about walks, oh you name it I’ve started a post about it. But as you know other than Wordless Wednesday I haven’t posted since April 22.

The truth is I’ve had some negative experiences with people I know may read here and my trust is shaken. I’m having a hard time being positive about being vulnerable in blogging. Do you find blogging to be an act of vulnerability? I do. And knowing I have some people out there who are not fans of mine or the people I’m fans of has shaken me. I over-evaluate every word, questioning how it will be received and interpreted.

Training professionally has changed my attitude towards writing too. I know some of my clients read here and I feel an obligation to keep it professional. But this is a personal blog and I’m tired of feeling stifled by fear of what other trainers will read and disapprove of or how customers will perceive my experience level, or lack thereof. This has always been a place for me to collect my day to day stories and experiences. It’s not a training blog. Oh sure, back when I started writing I thought I had something to share as far as training knowledge. That’s before I realized how much I had to learn and all I didn’t know. Now I know the value of my blog is in my journey of learning and the personality of this blog has changed to just be our thoughts and experiences.

I guess this is my disclaimer post. This is not a professional trainers blog, it’s a personal blog, a personal story. I have found some wonderful friends through blogging and I miss them. I miss logging on to see your comments and thoughts and encouragements. I miss sharing those comments on your blogs.

Then this morning I read Tomatoes In Heaven, Sara’s story about DAD. Then I read Dawn’s reminders to not miss a minute of life. I never read DAD’s blog, Dad’s Tomato Garden. Now I wish I had. I’m sure I’ll be wading through the archives catching up on what I missed. I already started and you know what I found? DAD’s blog is not a smooth, fancy layout with “professional” sounding tips (all the things I pressure myself about), it’s his thoughts and musings. It was what he found useful and thought would be helpful to share. It made me smile and enjoy seeing through this 90 something, kind man’s ideas. It reminded me what I love about blogging is the exchange of ideas with people we would never otherwise cross paths with.

DAD passed away yesterday. From the Sara and Dawns’ posts and from all the lovely comments it’s clear he’ll be missed. I extend my sympathy to all those grieving his loss today. Through his blog he lives on. DAD posted over 1000 posts. That’s a beautiful record of his thoughts and ideas. I’m sure his family and friends are glad to have it.

I started blogging for what I could bring to others. I grew into blogging for me and enjoying the input of others. Now I don’t blog because of others.

I used to blog in anonymity. My family, friends and not so friendly’s didn’t read. At least I didn’t know if they read. I know they do now and instead of worrying about what everyone thinks I invite you all to come out of the woodwork and comment. If you’re a customer I’d love your feedback. If you disagree with something you read, let me know. This has always been an open forum for discussion. If you are tied down by your own negativity I sympathize, I’m hiking through my own journey with positivity vs. negativity right now.

If you think this post is wacko, that’s okay too! It is a bit funny. But I feel better after posting it and will leave you with a little nonprofessional, personal Cavalier silliness from our last load up the suitcase session:

"I give you squinchy face at this suitcase trick!"

"Can you see me?"


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!


The Roller Coaster Ride of Life

I know when I’m getting tired from the daily do’s- I always end up writing as a way of sorting out all the going-on’s. Really it’s just a fancy sort of procrastination.

The pup’s are doing well. I’ve been so busy, but we’re getting in a ton of training time. I’m taking a CAP class. CAP is The Competency Assessment Program by Kay Laurence. We have one of the only accredited instructors in the States working at my training center so it’s an amazing chance to get to take CAP class in person. If you want to improve your training skills I’d highly recommend it. I can’t believe the things I’ve learned in just two weeks. I think we want to train all the “sexier” things, tricks and Rally and stuff, but CAP has taken me back to basics and since it’s really about what I’m learning not what the dogs are learning I’m using a lot of foundation behaviors to practice with. The result is I’m cleaning up a lot of things in their training that I let get sloppy and when we train the funner things they’re doing so much better. I LOVE CAP class!

I have three classes of my own now. I have a 12 different dogs I’m teaching and boy does it push my brain! Dog training is amazing. Each dog is an individual and has individual needs, but you also have the handlers needs to consider then it gets really complicated when you start adding in families and family dynamics. 12 dogs represents way more than 12 students when you put it all together. My biggest class is only 6 dogs and I really appreciate the chance to work in more depth with the smaller classes. It sure presents challenges in dog training I’ve never run into.

My dogs each have their own set of talents and challenges and the dogs I teach are no different. I have to say there’s a huge difference between studying and writing up a behavioral plan and actually teaching someone how to apply it. Dog trainers need to think on the fly and adjust second to second as the dog responds. It’s not as easy as it looks!

Then there’s the amazing amount of paperwork that comes with training. You’d never believe the behind the scenes stuff that goes into a class or session. Rosters to maintain, lesson plans to write, lesson plans to adjust to each classes needs, issues to research, the list goes on and on. Writing it all out sounds sorta droll and dreadful, but it’s not! It’s wonderful and though I worried the more I trained at work the less I’d train at home, it’s exactly opposite. Of course my dogs end up being Guinea Pigs, but they like it, it means we play a lot more games.

Magnus gets to go to work with me sometimes now. He makes a very boring shop dog, but boy does he love it! You can see in the pictures the main job he wants is napping! Everyone that was worried about the torturous snoods will be glad to know he doesn’t hate it anymore. Association is a powerful tool in the dogs brain and now he’s diving into it, just like Mary Beth said he would. He even brought it to me the other day like, “MOM! Here’s the good snood now where’s my good stuff!” He just keeps me laughing.

I’m still keeping up with everyones blogs, just don’t have time to comment much. We’re still here though. Just adjusting as life changes. Isn’t life like a roller coaster that never ends? You strap in and there’s no getting off. You just take the highs with the lows and ride the ride. Scream loud when it gets too crazy and try to take a breath in between. At least my life. It makes me love the quiet moments with me Monkey’s snuggling close and keeping my company.

The most exciting news is we get to shoot with Seth Casteel of Little Friends Photo’s. He’s hard to miss lately as his underwater stuff has gone viral and is everywhere, I saw his stuff on GMA this morning. We get a couple of hours with him and I’m just thrilled. I’m worried about how Maizey will handle two hours of that much stimulation, but it was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. Can’t believe it but our shoot is next friday so I better start getting prepared!

All in all we’re good. Taking the ride as it comes for us and hoping it wasn’t designed by a maniacal roller coaster builder. It’s a hope I think we all share!


An Overhaul?

I am loving this blog: Ruffly Speaking. I mean I am go back and pour through all the archives until the middle of the night as if you were reading a best seller loving it. It’s simple, clean, written by a writer and filled with beautiful images. All things I wish my blog was.

So I thought in January I am going to overhaul my blog. I am going to get back to words and images and messages that inspire me. I am going to take the time to let words flow like waterfalls onto the page.

Then I remembered that in January Maizey starts Fiesty Fido class. In January Magnus finishes Beyond Basics class. Okay, so it might not happen till February.

Oh, but wait, in February Maizey still has two weeks of Fiesty Fido and I start CAP Class. Yes I said CAP, as in Kay Laurence, hardly anyone gets to take this, has always been my dream to take, Competency Assessment Program class. I am THRILLED and OVERJOYED! (In all caps since I am THAT THRILLED and THAT OVERJOYED to even have the chance to take it.)

Hmm. . . the flowing words like waterfalls may not happen when I am working 5 days a week, taking my dream class, praying Maizey can even handle Feisty Fido’s and . . . the best part of all?

Also in February I hope to have a day of wonderful dog fun and photo’s with a Seth Casteel photo shoot. Can you hear me squealing in delight? It’s not paid for yet, but it’s in the works and I can’t believe I have the chance to have him shoot my dogs.

Of course on top of all that I promised myself I would sit for CPDT in the fall and I have to apply to sit for it by July. Which means I have to have a reasonable amount of my recommended reading list read by then to even bother applying, let alone testing. And somehow that reading doesn’t get done when I read wonderful, simple beautiful blogs till the middle of the night.

The moral of the story?

If we disappear it’s not that I ignored your encouraging words of comfort and abandoned blogging all together, but that I decided to redo and ran out of time to compete the project. Never fear, we shall return. . .

Of course it may be in March after all our classes are over.

As a nod to aforementioned beautiful images I leave you with a contemplative Princessface.


A Little of This and a Little of That

It has been hard to find time to post lately and I really miss blogging. Between writing my lesson plans for the classes I’m assisting and hope to teach one day soon, writing the column for the local paper, reading my reference books for my CPDT, working, walking, and life. . . Whew! Blogging just seems to get neglected. So prepare yourself for one of these chatty posts that contain little useful info, but I always enjoy going back and reading.

First I want to send thoughts to our blogging friend Gizmo. He was just diagnosed  with osteosarcoma and needs all the well wishes we can send him. Having lost a Rottie to this awful disease, my heart goes out to him and his family. maybe you can hope over and leave him and his mom a note or send some kind thoughts his way. The end is the worst part of having a dog and I know we’ve all been through it.

"Do you have to go again??"

On a lighter and less important note, my last column was about how to choose the best dog for you, which is funny cause lately I’ve been puppy dreaming over a totally new breed. I love my Cav’s, but I’m fascinated by the differences on breeds. This week we had a 10 week old French Bulldog in puppy class. I’m now obsessed with Frenchies. That little dog is so funny! He’s totally a big dog in a little, teeny, tiny body. The AKC describes them as, “a clown in the cloak of a philosopher.” I love puppy dreaming. It’s totally unrealistic, but it fun.

The dogs aren’t loving me working. They really can’t understand why Crazymomlady is gone so much, but I think they’re loving the perks of all the good stuff I keep bringing home.

I’m reading Patricia McConnell’s Fiesty Fido Help For the Leash Reactive Dog. It’s interesting, as all of her stuff is. She talks about why dogs react on leash. Of course she presents the reason most of us are familiar with, the “I’ll scare you before you scare me” train of thought.

She also talks about exuberant frustration, where a dog is not afraid, but overly friendly and after so many times of being stopped from greeting the other dog by the leash he develops a negative association with the approach of another dog. These dogs often play nice when off leash, but the years of frustration of being denied what they want boils over into aggression when on leash.

One idea I had never thought of was that a dog who barks and lunges to the end of his collar associates the pain caused by the a collar check with the approach of another dog. You can imagine how this would be exacerbated by a training or prong collar.

On a totally different note, remember when I was worried about Magnus being ginormous? Well he is! We had to go to the vet last week and he weighs 19 pounds! I don’t know why but just in the last week or so he started looking really grown up to me. That’s probably why I’ve been so puppy hungry. I was always worried if he weighed that much he would look fat, but the bet said he was perfect for his structure. He really is a sold boy, but I think the thing that makes him look more grownup than anything is he’s finally getting his ears on him. I love Cavalier ears, and his are going to be great. Sometimes he just looks like a little lion with is read hair all fluffy.

Obviously I fell off the Relaxation Protocol band wagon. Now of course I regret letting myself slack cause Maizey’s stress level has been higher this week than in the last month combined. I intend to remedy that today.

So all in all we’re doing good. I’m Working on a monday miles post now so start getting your miles ready for tomorrow. I’d love to hear from every member of the Challenge.  So there’s my chatty post. Lots going on and still more to do as usual. I hope you all keep checking by!


Relaxation Protocol Day 4 Session 2

Taking a step back was a good idea. Today’s RP was uneventful and gave Maizey a chance to have some success. Now we can build on that success tomorrow.

Going to be a busy day though. I work and have my normal Tuesday night meeting, so Magnus and I need to walk early. Real early. My mom gets the pin out of her toe tomorrow and I just don’t want her to go do that alone so add in a doctors visit. I need to pick up a new bottle of Maizey’s Fluoxetine which means a trip to Costco. (Have you ever bought Prozac for a dog from your pharmacy? It’s pretty funny. They always say, “Is this for a K9?” With that look non-dog people reserve for really crazy dog people. It cracks me up.) Anyways, with all that I guess RP will be fit in there sometime after work and before the evening gets busy. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it!

It’s my 4legged lesson for today though: When Real Life gets crazy and you already have those daily dog do’s planned into your day it provides such a calm time to slow down and enjoy your pups. It’s yet another reason dogs are good for stress relief,

And on that convoluted thought I’m going to sleep!