Monday, January 16, 2017

Time


This sweet girl is approaching her 17th birthday. It seems just like yesterday that I brought her home from CARE as a foster dog. Missy was to have been a foster. A dog that I would care for, love and then let go to her forever home. But Missy had other ideas. She came into my home with a lot of baggage. She would take treats and hide them. I would find bags of treats and food hidden under my bed. It took time and trust on Missy's part to realize that she would want for nothing in my home. I took her to lots of adoption events and when I would come back to get her, I would be told that "she didn't show well". Apparently as soon as I left, Missy would hide under a chair and not be interested in anyone or anything. She once almost got adopted by an older family. I left her for the day. She was friendly and happy when I was there. Molly and I left and went home. I got a phone call later that day. The family told me they couldn't catch her and she was a different dog than what I had left. I quickly drove to get her and found her in their yard. She was so happy to see me. I remember the lady saying "She has found her family". It was true. Missy found Molly and me. We were meant to be her family.

As time does, it kept moving. And moving. No matter how much I want to stop time, it won't happen. Now 14 years later, she is still a happy, healthy pup. Missy still looks like a puppy. The other day when Hazel picked her up from grooming, someone asked how old was her puppy.


Missy is my little diva. She doesn't believe in getting dirty, or going out in the rain. She wants her dinner brought to her. She would prefer if you came to her to love on her. Missy is a princess. She is the first to try any new pillow, blanket or dog bed. She loves to lay on the back of the sofa and she can fit her little body into a window sill. I had a neighbor when I lived in Little Rock that used to tell me, "That dog there isn't far removed from the wild". At the time I was kind of offended, but now I can look back and laugh. Missy is cat like and a little feral, but she's my Missy and I'm so glad she picked me.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WHY DO THEY HAVE TO GET OLD?

Why do they have to get old? Both Molly and Missy are well into their senior years. Molly is 15 and Missy is 16.5. These two have been by my side through a lot of ups and downs. This post is about Molly.



Molly was my first dog I got as an adult. She has taught me so much about being a pet parent. I look back now and think of things I wish I had known or done differently. But I didn’t know and Molly lived my experience with me. She was a sickly puppy and we were in and out of vets offices the first two years of her life. I have often wondered if I had been more educated about dogs, maybe I would have used a different food or tried a different vet. Maybe she wouldn't have had to endure so much sickness. Molly also got to be my first dog that I trained. We did basic obedience and she hated it. We tried agility because she was so active. She liked it ok, however I loved it. I overlooked Molly’s happiness and pursued my hobby. I drug her along for the ride. When she didn’t want to do it, I would get so mad at her. I didn’t stop. I just kept pushing her and she responded my pushing back. She didn’t want to do it. Her very last agility run, I set her up at the start jump and told her to ‘jump’. She turned and ran off the course towards the exit. And just like that, her career was over. She had to be brutally obvious with me. She didn’t want to do it and she wasn’t going to anymore. I relented on the agility.


 After we moved into the country, I let Molly be what she always wanted to be. A free dog with lots of acreage and time to explore. She went out every night ‘on patrol’. I don’t know where she went or what she did but she always came home happy. Some nights she would be gone for hours and would return home hungry and ready for bed. The next day as soon as I would get home from work, she wanted back out to ‘patrol’.  On the really hot days, I would have to keep her in until the sun went down. To which she would repay me for the wait by staying out even longer. But Molly was happy. She was getting to be who she was.


Unfortunately time kept moving and Molly was the victim of a GSD attack on several occasions. I had to stop her ‘patrols’ before she was killed doing what she loved doing. It broke my heart to not let her be free but her safety was my top priority. Molly is still my side kick. She loves a car ride! Whether it is to the mailbox or a long afternoon running errands, she always wants to go. She gets so much pleasure hanging her head out the window and breathing in life. We have been together so much, that she can tell the days I’m off work and somehow knows she will get to go with me.

 I cherish every car ride we have together. I may have to help her in and out of the car, but she gets so excited to go that her aging little body doesn’t care. I may have to carry her across the parking lot into stores, but once she's inside, she's ready to explore.He favorite stores are Tractor Supply and Bass Pro Shop. I often take her to the bank for cash just so she can get a cookie, when I could have just used the ATM. The pharmacy is another one of her favorite stops.


Deafness may have robbed her hearing, but she doesn't let it stand in her way. We use a lot of hand signals with her and it works out well. Molly still has her bossy attitude. When she wants a piece of Pupperoni or more food, she will stand in front of the cabinet and bark in a way that means business! She loves to go outside every night and smell the air and bark. Then she will come back in and dig the carpet. After barking and digging all night, she will sleep all day. Just like me, a little night owl. 

I love every moment I have with her. I know one day a decision will have to be made and just the thought of that brings tears to my eyes. I don't know when that fateful day will come, but I pray it will be easy on her. I hope I have given her the life she deserved because she didn't deserve anything less. I know my heart will be fractured into a thousand pieces when she goes, but I know she will get to be with my mom and that makes me smile. My mom will get the see the 'black and white' again. And they will both be so happy to see each other again. 

WHY DO THEY HAVE TO GET OLD?

Why do they have to get old? Both Molly and Missy are well into their senior years. Molly is 15 and Missy is 16.5. These two have been by my side through a lot of ups and downs. This post is about Molly.



Molly was my first dog I got as an adult. She has taught me so much about being a pet parent. I look back now and think of things I wish I had known or done differently. But I didn’t know and Molly lived my experience with me. She was a sickly puppy and we were in and out of vets offices the first two years of her life. I have often wondered if I had been more educated about dogs, maybe I would have used a different food or tried a different vet. Maybe she wouldn't have had to endure so much sickness. Molly also got to be my first dog that I trained. We did basic obedience and she hated it. We tried agility because she was so active. She liked it ok, however I loved it. I overlooked Molly’s happiness and pursued my hobby. I drug her along for the ride. When she didn’t want to do it, I would get so mad at her. I didn’t stop. I just kept pushing her and she responded my pushing back. She didn’t want to do it. Her very last agility run, I set her up at the start jump and told her to ‘jump’. She turned and ran off the course towards the exit. And just like that, her career was over. She had to be brutally obvious with me. She didn’t want to do it and she wasn’t going to anymore. I relented on the agility.



 After we moved into the country, I let Molly be what she always wanted to be. A free dog with lots of acreage and time to explore. She went out every night ‘on patrol’. I don’t know where she went or what she did but she always came home happy. Some nights she would be gone for hours and would return home hungry and ready for bed. The next day as soon as I would get home from work, she wanted back out to ‘patrol’.  On the really hot days, I would have to keep her in until the sun went down. To which she would repay me for the wait by staying out even longer. But Molly was happy. She was getting to be who she was.



Unfortunately time kept moving and Molly was the victim of a GSD attack on several occasions. I had to stop her ‘patrols’ before she was killed doing what she loved doing. It broke my heart to not let her be free but her safety was my top priority. Molly is still my side kick. She loves a car ride! Whether it is to the mailbox or a long afternoon running errands, she always wants to go. She gets so much pleasure hanging her head out the window and breathing in life. We have been together so much, that she can tell the days I’m off work and somehow knows she will get to go with me.

 I cherish every car ride we have together. I may have to help her in and out of the car, but she gets so excited to go that her aging little body doesn’t care. I may have to carry her across the parking lot into stores, but once she's inside, she's ready to explore.He favorite stores are Tractor Supply and Bass Pro Shop. I often take her to the bank for cash just so she can get a cookie, when I could have just used the ATM. The pharmacy is another one of her favorite stops.

Deafness may have robbed her hearing, but she doesn't let it stand in her way. We use a lot of hand signals with her and it works out well. Molly still has her bossy attitude. When she wants a piece of Pupperoni or more food, she will stand in front of the cabinet and bark in a way that means business! She loves to go outside every night and smell the air and bark. Then she will come back in and dig the carpet. After barking and digging all night, she will sleep all day. Just like me, a little night owl. 

I love every moment I have with her. I know one day a decision will have to be made and just the thought of that brings tears to my eyes. I don't know when that fateful day will come, but I pray it will be easy on her. I hope I have given her the life she deserved because she didn't deserve anything less. I know my heart will be fractured into a thousand pieces when she goes, but I know she will get to be with my mom and that makes me smile. My mom will get the see the 'black and white' again. And they will both be so happy to see each other again. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

THE DOOR CLOSED

While it has not been a secret that I had shoulder surgery in December, I had chosen to be quiet about the circumstances that encircled my recovery. Writing is cathartic for me and it is my outlet for expressing myself. So it's time for me to let people know how 'the door closed' on me.

I had been working in hospice and loved it. I saw myself staying with hospice for the rest of my nursing career. It was very rewarding for me and I loved my patients. But my hospice career quickly unraveled when I got my shoulder diagnosis. A completely torn rotator cuff with a bicep tendon tear that required surgery and would put me out of commission for 12 weeks. Surgery happened the week of Christmas and I had originally volunteered to do Christmas call. But my health was more important to me. Apparently to my coworkers I ruined their Christmas. I guess they forgot I did Thanksgiving call too. But it didn't matter to them. They had the audacity to include me in a group text where they discussed how they would 'never burn' each other like I apparently was doing to them. Then the morning of surgery as I was walking into the hospital, one of the nurses sent me a text saying I had '@#@#@#' up their Christmas. These were my coworkers. People I had helped out. Switched up call and saw their patients when they couldn't get to them and I had the time. They were supposed to be my coworkers. And I had actually thought of them as friends. But clearly they weren't my friend.

Not one person from my previous job ever texted, called, or even sent me a FB message asking how I was. This includes my supervisor. My supervisor, who had even been in my home, never bothered to see if I lived or died. Not a word. Even when I had to send weekly updates as a condition of my leave of absence terms, she wouldn't even respond. The social workers and chaplain who boasted proudly in meetings at their profound ability to help and nurture others, also never lifted a finger to send a text. Complete radio silence. Needless to say, I took this very personally. It hurt that people you worked with on a daily basis, didn't even bother to see how you were after surgery. Everyday I would think surely one of them would call. But my phone never rang. It is mind blowing on how self centered adults in the healthcare world are. We work in a 'caring' environment, but I never saw that from my coworkers.

It was a hard pill to swallow. I thought I mattered to my coworkers. I thought we were a team. I thought we had each others backs.I thought I mattered. It took me a long time and a lot of Hazel telling me I needed to accept the reality of the situation before I could finally close the door on that chapter of my nursing career. It was added psychological pain to go along with the physical pain of my shoulder. It was just a painful time in my career.

Two people did check on me. The spouses of former patients. They cared enough to check on me. Even though they were dealing with their own issues, they took the time to call. So the time I spent in the field doing hospice nursing did make a difference...to my patients. Maybe not to my coworkers, but to my patients. And that is what truly matters.




Saturday, July 30, 2016

GOAL TIME



June and July mark the only time of the year we make it to Springfield, MO for agility. I love the opportunity to run NADAC agility in the summer, on turf. I also like that we get to take the RV and camp out.

The June trial was good for us. But KK and I weren't in sync. She was having some bratty moments and I wasn't going to allow her to develop that pattern. So she got escorted off the course each time she decided not to listen. We actually left the trial early, forfeiting a few runs. KK and I just weren't working together and it was pointless to force it. So we packed up and went home.

July was a much better trial. KK and I were coming off an USDAA weekend where we had worked well together, so we were more in tune for this trial. KK ended up finishing 4 titles: Open Touch n Go, Open Weavers, Open Chances and Open Versatility. She's in all Elite now. So now I can see that NATCH in the horizon. I've already counted how many Q's we need...much to Hazel's advise against it. But once you get close, it's hard not to count. The big title will come in time. I just have to be patient and keep up our training.

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

VENUES

We have done a couple of agility trials this year. I managed to trial in 3 different venues, but have decided to only concentrate on 2. Hence, I've only set short term goals in both USDAA and NADAC. The one AKC trial we did reiterated my feelings on that venue. It's not for us right now. I'm not saying we won't be back, but I don't see it in our future anytime soon. I'm not happy at AKC trials and my feelings travel right down the leash to KK and she acts on it. It's not worth my money and even more importantly my emotional well being to compete in that venue. Agility is a fun hobby, but the fun for me is nonexistent at AKC trials.

We recently started doing NADAC trials. I have found it to be a very supportive, encouraging group of people. It is so nice to finish a run, good or bad, and people applaud or take the time to give you an encouraging word. After competing in a venue that is very competitive, it's nice to run agility without all the pressure. I have found it easier to work on KK's distance and independent skills. Some people may think NADAC is hokey, but let me tell you, that Chances is the real deal. Chances is some serious independent distance agility. And don't forget the obstacle discrimination that is thrown in too. I don't think I've ever yelled, "get out" or "walk, walk, walk" so much in my life.

As we have done more NADAC, KK has quickly rose up through the levels. That has caused me to feel pressure. As her Championship Title looms closer, I sometimes forget the fun of agility. I let the pressure of Q-ing determine how our weekend is going to go. I will go into a trial saying I need this many Q's,and then if something goes wrong, it frustrates me to no end. Hazel often has to remind me that agility is a game and to have fun. She does a great job of calming me down and helping me to refocus.

My favorite venue has always been USDAA. It makes you draw upon all of your skills to compete. Your dog has to be able to work on their own (Gamblers), you must have strategic skills (Snooker), and your dog must be able to run with another dog and both teams have to run clean (Pairs). Of course there is the self explanatory Jumpers and Standard, with its 'down' on the table. I love the versatility of USDAA.

There are the naysayers about USDAA. They complain about the jump heights, the fast course times, the height of the A frame, chute length, and the complaints go on. Here is my feeling about it. If you don't like the venue, then don't trial in it. Don't bash the venue because you don't like the rules or you don't have the skill set to compete.  It's not like AKC where you can just chip away at a MACH. In USDAA, you have to be at the top of your game. You need to be able to compete with the fastest and most precise agility dogs.

I read this somewhere and for me it says it all.
"What I love about USDAA and what distinguishes it, is that to EARN an ADCH is distinguishing yourself and your team...on specific days, you were among the best."

ADCH or NATCH. The titles may or may not happen, but we will keep playing the game in the venues we love. It's our hobby and we love the game!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

MOTHERLESS

Another Mother's Day has come and went without my mom. Holidays are still very hard on me. I try to avoid Facebook so I don't see pictures of everyone with their mom, knowing I'll never be able to do that again. This is the first year I didn't go to my mom's FB page and post. I just couldn't do it. It's too hard.

People always say time heals. Time only makes the loss more bearable. If you haven't lost your mom, you have no idea of what the feeling is like. Knowing that I can never call her and hear her voice again. Not being able to tell her about my day. Not being able to share the highs and lows of my life. Sometimes I want to call her and tell her something about the girls and I can't. I want so much for her to see me now and share this part of my life with her. But it will never happen. I get so mad at myself because I can't remember the entire last conversation I had with her. I can only remember pieces. If I had only known that was the last time I would talk to her, I would have recorded her voice.

This week my mom will celebrate another birthday in heaven. While I know she's whole and happy, I'm left here to live without her and that breaks my heart. The tears flow easily at any memory of her. I find it hard to look at pictures of her or talk about her without crying.  Sometimes I think that avoiding talking about her is unfair to her but it's the only way I can cope with losing her. Recent events in my life have really tested my strength and I wish so bad I could talk to my mom about everything. But that wasn't how my life was laid out to live. There's a reason I was given this life. And I have to dig deep to find the strength to live it.