I don’t want to keep being such a whingey baby about this. Winter hasn’t even begun and I know the moratorium on complaining about the weather must have been up weeks ago but it is so freaking cold! Like stupid cold. Eyelashes frozen together boots sticking to the pavement cold. Not that there is any pavement. It’s all covered in ice and snow. Just look at the forecast!
That’s Celsius, yo
It doesn’t help that my best friend, whom has been living in Edmonton so long she has lost all semblance of perspective, tells me this is nothing. That it’s going to get colder. This barely registers on the coldness scale of Edmontonian deep freeze.
There is no question. I am going to be lucky if I make it till spring. Which, by the way? Doesn’t usually arrive till June.
Not even the sight of Shiva in a reindeer sweater can warm me up
At least, this is what I thought until after I walked the dog tonight. Pretty sure the end was nigh, I figured I may as well suck it up and toss away all attempts to look cool. After tugging on my itchy purple hat that makes my hair stand on end and donning my overly-large winter coat, I reasoned I may as well dig out the ol’ fleece-lined pants too. Why not? It’s not like I was going to live much longer. May as well go out looking like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story.
Well. About ten minutes into the walk I realized something strange. I wasn’t frozen. Sure, I couldn’t feel my face but the rest of my body was downright toasty. It made no sense. The temperatures were lower than they were this morning. I shouldn’t feel warmer. The only thing that had changed was the addition of the bulky, tattered fleece-lined pants. Could they really be a game-changer?
I decided to conduct an utterly un-scientific experiment. Fifteen minutes after Shiva and I returned home, just enough time to get cozy, I decided to test my theory by going back outside for another walk.* This time, I didn’t wear my hat or my gigantic coat. That way I would be able to discern whether or not the pants really did have supernatural powers.**
As I trudged to the store two blocks away I noticed several things. 1. Hats really do have a purpose. 2. It’s impossible to look cool with a runny nose. 3. My body, and therefore by extension my limbs, remained reasonably warm. It was a Canadian Winter miracle! My life is saved! I might make it to the thaw after all!
So my Christmas wish list this year is simple. All I want is ten more pairs of fleece-lined pants. in multiple colours. If they come in work-appropriate styles, even better. Size eight, please. You know, just in case you had any extra on hand…
For those who are also dreading the deep freeze, are there any items you swear by to make it through?
*Okay, that’s a lie. I actually went back out because we were out of cat food*** and apparently letting TC starve is worse than facing the frigid wind-chill.
**This is another lie. The real reason is because I didn’t want the people in the store to judge me for my fly-away hair or ill-fitting parka. I’d rather be cold and “stylish” because evidently I am thirty-one going on twelve.
***Of course, I didn’t just get cat food. I didn’t want to look like some sort of crazy cat lady who risks hypothermia to make sure Mr. Whiskers has an emergency supply of crunchies. So I also bought jalapeno cheddar bread and a box of frozen egg rolls. I would have bought candy canes as well (because that would have looked less weird??) but they only had french vanilla flavoured ones and I find that appalling. Why is it so hard to find candy cane flavoured candy canes these days? No wonder the world is falling apart. But I digress.
It has come to my attention that I have not expressed in full the amount of anguish we experienced during the night of Shiva’s injury. It is true, I definitely held back. Many things occurred that Sunday evening which I could never divulge. It was just too personal and writing about the pain at this point would provide no benefit to myself or anyone else. However, there is an aspect to the horrific series of events that I do feel is worth imparting. Not in relation to the wound itself, in retrospect it wasn’t as serious as it could have been, more in relation to the treatment.Or the potential lack thereof.
Part of this withholding is no doubt due to shame. In order to be worthy of value in 2013 we are told three things: we must be forever 21, we must be thin, and we must be wealthy. To be anything else puts one in a place of derision. Well, it’s obvious I am not 21 and I wouldn’t be that age again even if it were possible. I am also not particularly thin. But I gave up caring about stupid things like the number on the scale a long time ago. Thinness rates as high on my radar as fashionable. Or being good at tennis. It just doesn’t matter. It’s the third requirement that pokes me in the side and reminds me I am not good enough.
I have made mistakes, there is no question. I own them. It is entirely my fault I am in the financial situation I am in. There were decisions that were made and they probably weren’t the right ones. Kicking myself in the head about them does not solve my current problems. Ducking my head and getting to work does. This is what I think we are doing but it’s going to take some time. Do I wish I could go back and change things so life would be easier now? Sure. I can’t. Does this make me a horrible, worthless human being?
According to some, yes. According to some, maybe I shouldn’t even own a dog at all.
This brings me to that terrifying evening three weeks ago when all of my greatest fears came to a head. Standing in the small examination room, looking down at the quote from the emergency vet, knowing we simply did not have the money to pay. There was no way around it. Could we get the money in the future? Of course. We both have solid jobs, we can sacrifice. But before the vet lifted a hand to stitch Shiva back up, they needed the cash in hand. That second. The clock was ticking.
It was one of the most excruciating moments of my life, knowing that I may not be able to help my poor puppy simply because I didn’t have the money.
Embarrassing? Hell, yes. Mortifying. My tears only made me feel worse but I couldn’t stop them. I had always feared the moment would come and when it did, I was unable to control myself. It felt so hopeless. I mean, what were our options? We either magically came up with $1,300 or… Or, what? There was no second option.
Luckily, we are connected with some pretty amazing people. It took but a few text messages for family and friends to offer their help. I will be grateful for the rest of my life to my practically mother-in-law and my two close friends for being there in a time of desperation. If not for them, I don’t know what we would have done. My mind draws a blank. Now that Shiva’s ordeal is over, this aspect of that night still plagues me. What if we hadn’t had friends or family to whom we could turn? What if we had been alone? What would we have done?
I don’t know. All sudden I felt no different to those who surrender their pets to shelters simply because they can’t afford veterinary care. If we hadn’t been able to pay for Shiva’s surgery that night, that may have been an option. We would have had to bring her home, maybe try to stitch her up ourselves without pain medication and then hope for the best. Euthanasia as a concept was unthinkable. I’d like to think the vet would have forbid it.
But perhaps we wouldn’t have had the wherewithal for even that. Perhaps the only option would have been to bandage Shiva up and drive her to the nearest shelter, pretending we had found her running at large. Perhaps we would have had to lie and pray that someone else could help her. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. But it’s a possibility that breaks my heart.
I don’t blame the vet clinic. I want to be clear on that. They do what they have to do and I completely understand why they need the money right away. Even in the depths of despair I did not question this. As the kind assistant explained why they would need financial approval ahead of time, I told her over and over again that I understood, I just didn’t have the money. No amount of pet insurance would have helped, either. Please correct me if I am wrong, but per insurance companies act much like dental insurance. One needs to pay upfront and than receives reimbursement later. It isn’t much help when you don’t have the payment ability in the first place.
Who is to blame? No one.Ourselves, I guess, for being in this situation in the first place. But I know we are not alone.
After going through this nigh traumatizing experience I have to wonder how many other loving pet owners have gone through the same thing. How many others were either forced to euthanize because it was the cheaper option or who felt compelled to abandon their pets outside of a shelter in the hope they would find help in the morning. I can only imagine the fear, and the shame.
For the first time in my entire life, I think I might have a goal. If I ever have money or if I am ever in a place where I can start something, I finally know what I would do. It is now my dream, fantasy, lala land imagining, to start an organization to help people pay for emergency veterinary expenses. I won’t ask questions, I won’t require proof of income or ask to see credit card statements. If someone calls in the middle of the night, saying their dog or cat or bird or guinea pig needs veterinary help and they can’t afford to pay right away, I want to be there to say it will be okay, your pet will be okay.
How many pets would have been kept out of the shelters if such an organization existed? I can’t help but wonder. It’s a huge gap that needs to be filled. One day, I hope I can do my part to lay some concrete.
On Friday night we took Shiva back to the V-E-T with our hearts in our throats. I was positive it was too early but figured it was worth a free check-up at any rate. My PH went into the clinic while I waited with the dog outside. Naturally, she was ultra-hyped by the presence of a doorway, especially a doorway one of her people disappeared through. My nerves probably didn’t help.
Within a minute or so, he came out with a form for us to fill out. Within a minute or so after that, all three of us were inside the clinic and Shiva was being whisked away by a vet tech, all too reminiscent of that panic-filled night less than two weeks before. All that was left for us to do was wait. And wait. And wait.
It wasn’t very long, not ten minutes – maybe not even five. We spent it cooing over the resident clinic cat, named “Fox”, who decided to curl up at my PH’s side, much to the vet assistant’s surprise.
“Wow!” she exclaimed. “He never sits with clients like that.”
I wasn’t surprised. My PH is the cat whisperer. Calm in all scenarios, he puts most animals at ease. Many dogs who hate men will warm to him quickly. He seems to just know instinctively how to behave. Whereas I, as soon as I saw the cat with the slight limp, was crouching down and calling to him, my PH sat back in his chair in the reception area, making no eye contact. Fox recognized a kindred spirit and responded immediately. Ignoring me, he padded over the chairs and laid down on my PH’s coat, purring softly. Once he was down he didn’t reject my chin scratches but he made it clear whose attentions he preferred.
It was precisely what we needed.
Eons later – or more like 120 seconds – another vet tech emerged from behind the swinging door with Shiva by her side. The two of us stood, Fox long forgotten. Given the speed of the turnaround time I assumed the worst: Shiva’s sutures just weren’t healed enough. The vet tech smiled and it was our turn to be stunned.
“All done!” she said. “Shiva’s stitches are out and she should be just fine!
I couldn’t believe it. “What about the cone?” I asked. “Can she take the stairs on her own?” my PH chimed in.
The cone could be removed after twelve hours, we were told, and Shiva was more than capable of walking on her own. It seemed too much all at once. Too much happiness. Neither of us knew how to handle it.
“Are you sure?” we questioned. “She is really okay?”
The tech seemed confused. “Well, you might want to wait a little while before you take her to the dog park, but yes, she is fine.”
So Shiva is fine and has been coneless since Saturday morning. It seems like too much. Two short weeks and we can almost pretend it never happened. Well, almost. She will have a scar for the rest of her life, for one thing, and for another… Let’s just say while Shiva was the perfect patient, all that energy had to go somewhere…
This brings me to the title of this post. It’s really not fair that the first day Shiva was finally able to go on a real walk, our city faced a blizzard. I’m talking twenty centimetres of snow, bloody cold, big mess all over the sidewalks blizzard. For evidence, see below.
Poor Sheevs, so much for the 30 minute walk I promised her on Saturday morning…
It seems the doggy spirits are against us. There was no long walk in celebration of Shiva’s return to a coneless existence. That’s okay. We celebrated in our own way, on the inside. Where it counts the most.
Cancer sucks. And that’s putting it mildly. I challenge you to name one person who hasn’t been affected by this brutal disease. We all know someone: a family member, friend, co-worker. It touches all of us in the most critical way. Tragically, cancer is so insidious, so evil, it doesn’t even leave our pets alone. In fact, just as many furry relatives are forced to deal with the unfair consequences. This is why Peggy’s Pet Place has teamed up with Pooch Smooches for the Give Cancer the Paw Blog Hop to help prevent this killer and save our four-legged snuggle buddies.
Since this is me, I can’t write about even cancer campaigns without a bit of a rant and a major digression. If we’re going to take about such a sensitive subject I reckon I may as well put it all out there.
I hate awareness campaigns. Loathe them, if I am to be completely honest. Every October I shudder as the Breast Cancer troops march out with their “Save the Boobs” slogans and their silly social media tricks. Don’t even get me started on “Movember”. If even half of these people were working to make an actual difference, I would be all in favour. From what I can tell, most of the dudes are just looking for an excuse to look like a porn star for thirty days and most of the women just think it’s fun to wear pink.
The thing is, cancer is ubiquitous. No one escapes. Awareness has been spread. There is no one out there right now, in North America anyway, who is flummoxed by the thought of a self-exam. These drives to “get the word out” are useless at best and offensive at worst.When I think of my grandmother, who did not survive from breast cancer, I shudder to think what she would make of these Facebook campaigns to post the colour of your bra or share a picture of your unencumbered breasts.
If the individuals who were joining in with these memes were also donating to the cause or volunteering their time, I’d be all for it. I’m not a complete prude. I’d even be all in if they were just talking about where they “like it” – if anyone remembers that subtle social media joke – for a good time. Whatever, have at it! It’s the idea that they are posting these things and joining these sexist drives for the sake of raising awareness about cancer. As if nobody knows it exists. Cancer somehow justifies it and makes it above questioning.
Well, it doesn’t. If you want to make cupcakes in the shape of boobs, then make cupcakes in the shape of boobs. But don’t say it’s to spread awareness about breast cancer. Unless you are working to raise money to help people who are suffering, I don’t want to hear it. I will roll my eyes at your mustache and I will spurn your pink jersey. Because I don’t know a single woman who wouldn’t gladly hack off her breasts if it meant she got to live.
But here’s the thing. This Give Cancer the Paw campaign? It’s the real deal. It’s is not only about sharing vital information that might help you prevent cancer in your pets and detect it early to make treatment easier, it is also about making an actual difference.
Peggy’s Pet Place is joining in with blogs Dogtipper, All Things Dog Blog, and dog treat company Zukes to take action. On Monday November 18th, they will be offering a giveaway of delicious treats for six winners. Zukes will be donating $5.00 per rafflecopter entry to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund. This is an organization dedicated to helping dog and cat owners with pets who are suffering from cancer. Now that’s walking the walk.
Thank you all very much for your kind inquiries after Shiva’s health. She is alive and well – mostly. I don’t have the energy to share the full story with you yet but I sincerely appreciate your warm concern. It has meant the universe to me to know that other people get it. Co-workers try to understand but unless you have a pet who is your reason for getting up before the sun every day, you’ll never truly understand the trauma.
Quite frankly, all I can think is that Shiva has brilliant timing. In all the years we’ve had her she chooses now, during NaBloPoMo, when I am trying to regain my writing mojo, to get herself into a pathetic situation. Dang animals, they’ve always got to take centre stage, eh?
I might have had four hours of sleep in the last two days, so, if I babble, this is my excuse.
Having never been to an emergency vet before and having never had a dog on two weeks of kennel rest, I am stumbling blindly on unfamiliar ground. This ground is especially tumultuous in that it is paved by a tornado with no sense of self-preservation.
In times like these, I just have to be grateful for lessons learned that are now – finally – paying off.
- Never, ever, underestimate the value of a wicked “stay” cue.
- Kennel training. If you haven’t started it now, get on it. It may not seem necessary, but the crate can be what ensures your dog heals with minimal stress.
- Find your dog’s currency, STAT. You never know when you’ll need a well-placed bribe.
- You might want to keep the address and phone number of your closest 24-hour veterinary clinic on your refrigerator. Googling in a panic is not a good time. Especially when the clinic doesn’t have an address on the main page of its website. What’s up with that, yo?
- Seriously, I can’t over-emphasize the value of a “stay”.
- Find your people. In a brutal moment, when my PH had to leave my side, I was so grateful for my friends who “got it”, who didn’t need me to explain, who just understood that I needed to feel like everything was going to be okay.
- Be prepared to bawl your eyes out in front of the emergency vet. It’s okay. No one is judging you. And if they are, that says more about them than it does about you.
- In stressful moments like these, it can be so easy to forget simple things, like your own name and phone number, let alone the name and number of your veterinarian in a different province on the other side of the country. You might want to have this kind of information on hand in your wallet, just in case.
- “Stay” works. Just make sure your dog has learned “stay”. You won’t regret it.
- Coffee. Always have lots of coffee on hand. You never know when you’ll have to stay up all night with a dog coming down from anaesthesia. It’s not a good time.
Did I miss anything? Have you ever had to make a trip to emergency with your puppy? I’d love to read about your experiences.
For a long time I have been preoccupied by the concept of human and animal perception. It is fascinating in all its forms: both the simple – how others see the colour blue – and the random – what my dog thinks I am doing with my hair dryer every morning.
Who cares about that noisemaker? I’d rather understand why you keep pointing that blinky thing at me.
No doubt I spend more time than is mentally healthy thinking about the inner workings of my dog’s brain. I never said I was sane. Being a bit overly prone to abstract thinking and excessively fond of thought experiments in general, I can’t help but wonder what Shiva’s opinions are of our daily activities. Does she wonder why I spend so much time with a plastic black box on my lap instead of playing with her? What does she think of the clothing we’re always wearing? Does she ever question where we go every day when we leave her alone? If Shiva ponders any of these things, she doesn’t share with me. Given how much time I spend with her and how much time I spend in my head, it is impossible not to let my thoughts drift to the cranial wranglings of the Sheevs.
What are the limits of a dog’s imagination?
None of these questions have accessible answers. Until dogs learn to talk I don’t know if we’ll ever know what goes through their adorable brains. I know they are smarter than I understand and assume their minds work in ways we probably wouldn’t be able to comprehend even if we had all the information.
Regardless, one of my favourite things to think about is how Shiva perceives our walks. I know she knows we embark on a ramble outside once in the morning and once in the evening. After four years it’s just fact for her. She shows me this each morning by following me around the house and nudging me toward the door. In the evenings she will lay on the floor directly in front of me and stare until I give in and grab the leash. She can’t relax until this step in her routine is complete.
But does Shiva ever wonder why we walk?
Does she know the walk is essentially for the sake of giving her exercise and calming her down? Does she think there is a higher purpose? I sometimes imagine she envisions us patrolling the area, making sure everything is safe and in order. Perhaps she sees it as some sort of scavenging practice – hence why she gobbles up every bit of garbage or haphazard edible she finds on the sidewalk. Dogs have been accustomed to travelling on foot with their humans since the beginning of domestication. Hunting and gathering were a large a part of these journeys and it is something dogs would do on their own without us. As Shiva is almost always given her breakfast and dinner once we arrive back home, it is possible she might think we are out for the purpose of food.
Or maybe she thinks we walk to communicate with other people and dogs, to sniff and mark, and secure our territory. She certainly does a lot of that as well. Walking for her could be similar to me checking my phone for messages.
It’s something I think about a lot as we meander down the trails of the river valley before the sun rises. Most likely Shiva just enjoys the experience and doesn’t bother with the reasons behind it. Dogs are good at being grateful for what they have in the moment. They don’t need to worry about silly things like overarching motivations. I am sure Shiva primarily accepts our walks as something we do and nothing more. Sure, she takes advantage of the time outdoors to sniff, and scarf, and stretch her legs, but she probably doesn’t need a reason for it all. She just enjoys the positive of what she has, when she has it.
If this is the truth, I am jealous. Like so many other things about my dog, I hope if spend enough time with her, one day this attitude will rub off on me. It’s worth a shot, right?
Can I just say I am having a really bad morning? First, I cut myself in the shower. Second, Shiva jumped into someone else’s car at the dog park and stared fighting in the back seat with the dog in said car. Third, I was able to call Shiva out of the car only to have her jump right back in again before I could get her leash snapped. Whereupon the two dogs started fighting again.
Fourth, I wake up the kittens to discover they are covered in poop. For the second day in a row. Then, I realize not only are the kittens covered but so is every piece of bedding. The last of the bedding I have available as they have already pooped on every clean towel in the house that I have yet to wash. The only thing I have left to give them is a tablecloth left over from my single days. I knew it would come in handy.
Fifth, I spill litter and water all over myself when trying to close the door of the kitten room before Shiva can burst in to terrify the poopy furballs.
Sixth, I bang my toe on the baby gate we use to prevent Shiva from getting downstairs. It still kinda hurts.
Seventh, apparently the post I thought I published last night didn’t actually publish at all. Which means either WordPress deleted it or I was dreaming when I wrote it.
Eighth, my hair is not behaving and pieces are standing on end and everything I do to fix it only makes it look worse and I know I need a hair cut but it costs so much money and I would cut it myself but I don’t have any good scissors and aahhhhhhhhhhhhh!
This was all before my first cup of coffee.
When it comes down to it, it’s all really just one big justification to show another baby goat video.
Dear Driver of the Ford Ranger That Almost Hit Me and My Dog While You Ran a Red Light,
Terrified Dog Walker Who is Just Grateful to be Alive
Dear Foster Kittens,
I am new to this fostering deal. Really, this is only the second time I’ve done this. I have absolutely nothing to base this on but I gotta say, all three of you are the cutest little bundles of fur I have ever cuddled. You are sweet, you are funny, and you have yet to insert your sharp teeth into my skin. You are proof that three are definitely better than one. You all validate everything I’ve ever said about early socialization being crucial to developing stable personalities.
It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye when you are big enough for adoption. In a perfect world, I would keep you all. You were the best Valentine’s gift a girl could have. I am going to miss you.
Your Temporary Litter Box Cleaner
I want to thank you for your patience. I haven’t made things easy on you lately and have instead put a lot of weight on your well-muscled shoulders. You’ve handled it with style. Despite not getting to do as much together as we normally do, you’ve retained your sanity. I promise a lot of fun is on the way.
I love your silliness and, secretly, I don’t even really mind it when you jump on me in the morning, spilling my coffee everywhere. Okay, I do mind the coffee all over my pants. I only have so many pairs suitable for the office and laundry is my least favourite chore. But then you wag your tail and lean your head against me and all is forgiven.
It is my unshakeable belief that as long as you keep wiggling your bum and jumping on registration tables, everything will be okay. Don’t ever change.
Your Hopeful Human
Dear Kind Dog Park Man,
I’m sorry I doubted you. I should have known that someone who is willing to slip on icy paths at six in the morning is automatically a kindred spirit. You are a fellow member of the pre-dawn dog walking society. You live in Pretentiousville and yet you proudly show off your goofy mixed-breed pals. We should be instant friends. You, of all people, get it.
I am even more sorry to hear your smaller dog was attacked. I am a selfish heel for not looking beyond my own issues. Obviously there could be many reasons you stayed away from us at the park. It’s awful that this time was one in which the little guy was hurt. I am so glad he is okay. And not just because he is Shiva’s favourite little buddy.
It was great to see all three of your again this morning. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your walk.
It is too bad you felt the need to denigrate a presenter’s business simply because it was about helping senior dogs. Many of you didn’t even bother to ask questions about the entrepreneur’s financials. The fact that it was a business that involved selling diapers for dogs was enough for you to say no.
I wish you hadn’t felt the need to draw a line between helping people and helping animals. I don’t understand why the two have to be mutually exclusive. To help animals isn’t to ignore the needs of humans. The two intersect much more often than you are aware. It’s too bad you can’t see that.
In the end, it’s your loss. The pet industry is growing exponentially. No doubt the business owner is better off without you anyway. More money for her.
2013 is living up to its unlucky number. It’s been one bully of a month and it’s not over yet. Posting here has been sporadic and half-hearted at best and I apologize sincerely for that. The last thing I want is to turn this place into a vacuum for my selfish whining. Annoyingly, all I feel like doing is indulging in a childish tantrum. So to preserve what modicum of respect you may have for me, I’ve been pretty silent.
You deserve better. This blog deserves better. I’ve never been very good at pretending to be something I’m not. I think one of the best things I have to offer is my authentic truth. It just sucks when said truth isn’t very motivating. Or entertaining.
Instead of penning one more self-indulgent post that no one should read, I am working hard to channel my inner Shiva. After an altercation or stressful situation, she runs in a circle, shakes herself off, and then gets back in the game. I’d like to do the same. Consider this ramble my version of running around with my head cut off.
Or you could just play with me!
Here’s the thing. Ever since BarkWorld I’ve had this gift card for Petco that I can’t use. You see, there are no Petco’s in Canada. It’s a downer for sure. I’ve been hanging on to it anyway in hopes of staging an awesome giveaway. From the looks of things, that’s not going to happen. Instead, I am going to use it in the hopes of making myself feel better. Wanna play along?
All you have to do for a chance to win is share your favourite animal video! I’m thinking I just need a mega cuteness fix. There is no problem an adorable fuzzy creature can’t solve, right? This is my theory, anyway. Share your go-to happy video in the comments below and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $10 at Petco. It’s a win-win for us all! You’ll have until, say, Saturday, to post the link and I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Does that work?
Though running with an injury is much, much harder. So hard that I am beginning to wonder if athletic activity and I are fated to be enemies. For those that remember, the last time I attempted to train for my very first running event, my ankles gave out on me. Evidently this year, when I am training for an even longer race, my natural un-coordination is going to be my downfall. My ankles are fine. Over ten days after falling down the stairs (no, I wasn’t drunk), my bruised tailbone – still – is not.
I normally wouldn’t think a little tailbone pain would have anything to do with running. But it is both uncomfortable to sit and to move around. This makes completing the 30/30 Challenge, well, challenging. Here I was assuming the icy sidewalks and heavy snow boots would be getting in my way of blog challenge victory. In truth, heavy footwear isn’t nearly as much an impediment to agility as you’d think. I’d take a little thumpiness over sitting on a doughnut any day.
Besides, the coccyx jokes are, as I am sure you can imagine, getting a little tired.
I have managed to keep walking my usual amount, or pretty close to it. Shiva and I have been getting at least sixty minutes in outside each day. It’s less than what she would like but about as much as I can handle right now. Considering the freezing temperatures and aforementioned ice, I am not going to be too hard on myself. Though we will not achieve my goal of running thirty minutes a day, we are still getting out there. Not a total loss. Once I heal up I vow to try again. Maybe February will prove a kinder month?
The injury unfortunate has proved to be helpful in other ways. For instance, it has provided me with inspiration and opportunity for working on another blog challenge: Train Your Dog Month. There is nothing like a sore butt to motivate you to work with your dog on heeling.
All that treacherous ice puts fear in my heart these days. I am terrified of the idea of prolonging my pain by injuring myself further. Shiva is pretty good while walking on a leash these days but every now and then the nose will drive her forward. No amount of “ack! I’m gonna fall!” gets in her way of a good garbage scarf.
To save my battered behind, as well as my sensitive pride, we’ve been working on a new cue. When I say “slippy”, Shiva is learning to move closer to my side and slow her trot to a slow walk. She is to keep up the slowed pace until I give her a release. So far, she is picking it up pretty well. Treats help, of course. As does the fact she struggles on the icy paths almost as much as I do. If it’s super dangerous, I will put her in a sit-stay and walk ahead alone, only calling her to join me once I am past the deadly fall zone.
Foundation training. It never gets old.
Furthermore, because we haven’t been getting out during the week as much as she would like, I am working with Shiva a lot more inside the house as well. If I can’t run her to exhaustion outdoors, I’d better work her brain into a sleepy stupor in. We have a few new tricks in the works. I don’t want to give them away just yet in case they come to nothing. We’ve also made some headway with the whole Shiva holding objects in her mouth thing. She still doesn’t love it, though. It’s hard to eat when holding a leash in her jaws.
When all else fails there is the toilet paper roll game. And the never-ending fun of tossing kibble to the other side of the house while watching Shiva scramble. That’s always good times. I recently found this great article on 50 ways to use a Kong. Number twenty-two might give us some variety, and save me from cleaning up a mess of paper.
With a little luck and a lot of patience, we’ll get through this injury together. I hope.