Saturday, June 9, 2018

Technically Jesus

My body has been going through some changes lately; hormonal changes. Though I'm not in menopause yet, I'm in peri-menopause, which in my opinion, is worse than menopause, because you suffer all the side effects of menopause but you still have to deal with your period. (Sorry, male readers.) Peri-menopause and "life" just doesn't go together.

The joys of per-menopause screw with your sanity and emotions, making you feel like some days you are literally going crazy. And I do mean literally. Sometimes I  feel angry but I have no idea why. I'm just angry.. I'm angry at the world. Those days I try to hide.

And sometimes I'm sad but again, I have no idea why. I'm just sad. I'm weepy. I'm angry and sad. Those days I try to hide too. Those that seek me out are warned they don't want to deal with me, but they whine at my door anyway (obviously talking about my kids here.)

Today was one of those days. Angry. Sad. Angry. Sad. The weather did not help. It rained all day. At first, I liked it, it was kind of peaceful. But then it began to feel a little crowded in here with all the kids home on their first day of summer vacation (ok, it's Saturday so they would've been home anyway, but for kids, the first day of summer vacation doesn't matter what day it's on!) And then Otis the dog came to be boarded for the week, along with Baby Ruth (also a dog, not an actual baby) and things really began to feel crowded. I had to do the whole switching dogs out thing and walking in the rain again.

I decided to run to the store and pick up and umbrella so I wouldn't have to get soaked every time I took the dogs for a walk. I picked up a few other things and then went home, only to realize the lady never put the umbrella into the bag. So I had to go back to the store and get the umbrella and then just as I opened the umbrealla to take the dogs for their walk, the rain subsided and the sun began to shine. For real!!

And then my phone began to malfunction. Oh, my hopeless phone, which has been dropped at least five times and has cracks all over the screen, to the point that I can now see wires. I forget sometimes that I no longer bring it out when it's raining, and it began to malfunction all day. It looked like it was possessed by a phone addicted demon; different apps would open and close. Some apps I didn't even know I had would suddenly pop on and then pop off. Every time I tried to use the phone for email or messaging or calling, it would fly apps all over the place or else turn on the key board and start typing all sorts of crazy things (thankfully it never hit "send"). Dennis and I talked about getting me a new phone but now it was imperative. So he told me that I should start shopping for phones and let him know which one I would like. After looking through many phones and finding one that didn't seem too expensive and still had great reviews, I copied and pasted it to my email....and just as I was about to send it to Dennis, the phone suddenly hit "delete"!!

This was the last straw. I threw the phone as hard as I could and it shattered. I am now officially phoneless. Yes, I regret it but at the same time, I don't. It had to be finished off.

At the same time, I knew I had to get myself under control somehow. I was snapping at the kids, grumpy with the dogs, and kenneled them more than usual to try to get some breaks, but nothing seemed to be helping my mood. I was just frustrated because nothing seemed to be going right.

And then, I have no idea why or what prompted me to do this, but I suddenly remembered that some chapels put adoration online and live for people across the world. I logged on and instantly, there was Jesus--in "real time" with the candles flickering, showing me that I was indeed looking at Him in real time, not just a still picture.

At first I felt a little awkward about it but then figured, that people skype all the time, so why not with Jesus? I sat at the table talking to Jesus through the computer and it was as though I were talking with Him the way I do when I see Him in adoration at my own church. And almost instantaneously, the anger and frustration melted away. I felt peace in my heart for the first time all day.

I kept the screen up for a while so that I could "tune in" whenever I was beginning to feel testy again. When I had to close the laptop for a while, I would just open it to see if Jesus was still there in the Blessed Sacrament, and yep, there He was.

I truly hate technology with malfunctioning phones and everything, but I'm glad that we've learned to use it to our advantage too, for the times when we feel we're going a little bit crazy. I bet whoever thought up this idea of putting adoration up "live" for anyone to see would be happy to hear that a hormonal and frustrated mother found solace in finding Jesus in technology.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Six dogs

Over the weekend, I had five dogs (including my own) to take care of. None of the dogs were trustworthy to be around other dogs.

There was Sebastian the Chihuahua mix, who was very protective of his space, which meant he didn't like to be around people or dogs...(although he did warm up to us but not to dogs.)

And Baby Ruth, the Pitt/Boxer mix who took forever to warm up to everyone. She stuck by me like glue (like what she is doing in the picture!) She was/is afraid of men, reactive to dogs and cautious around children.

Cujo, who has been with us before but this time was here for boarding. He is a good dog that is great with kids and other dogs, but tends to be hyper.

And Otis, the happy-go-lucky Labradoodle who is great with kids and dogs, but a counter-surfer and jumper. Otis didn't come until Monday.

And then of course, Joey and Ace make six.

Basically, I had to switch off dogs every hour (with the exception of Joey and Ace, who just hung out with the kids in their rooms.) So I would have Cujo upstairs with me for an hour (he had to be first because he was the highest energy and would rip things up if too long in the kennel) and then Baby Ruth, and then Sebastian and so on. Every hour, a dog.

Because they were kenneled so much, I had to take them for a walk. Each dog.

Friday rained half the day. I took nine walks that day. Nine! I have never walked so much! I had Max take Joey and Ace for their walks.

On Saturday, I had to do all the walks again but I wasn't sure I could do so many two days in a row. So with Sebastian (the Chihuahua) I began to exercise him in the backyard with the kids instead. All I had to do was hold onto the leash while he chased the kids back and forth. One walk eliminated!

Later, Dennis took Cujo for a bike ride, (one bike ride for Cujo is like two walks!)  but he didn't come home until later so I had to take Cujo for walks in the meantime.

By Saturday night, I felt (and looked) like the walking dead.

Sunday was Corpus Christi and we had to be at the church because Anna was part of the procession (she was a First Communicant.) This was an 8:00 mass and one we normally don't go to it because it's too hard to get everyone up and ready on time. But we had to go and so we went.

I was so tired that morning, I can't remember the last time I was so tired. And trying to get five dogs peed and fed in one hour, plus five kids ready for church--one of them needing to be back in her first Communion dress, it's no wonder that I forgot to get myself ready.

Yep, I forgot to get dressed.  I just threw on what I was wearing the day before and, being so worried about being late (which we nearly were), I didn't even realize that I was wearing my jeans Capri with my dirty tennis shoes and no socks!! To church! On a feast day!

I didn't even realize this until I watched a video that I took of the procession (I was so moved, I decided to take a short video) that when I directed the camera downward to show the rose petals on the ground, I saw my dirty white tennis shoes! Pretty embarrassing! Everyone in their nice clothes and me, in my dog training clothes!

Did I mention that I hadn't showered for three days???

Later that day, my body demanded a break whether I wanted to take a break or not. I felt dizzy and everything would get hazy every once in a while. I kenneled up all the dogs and slept. Then I felt better.

Monday was when Otis came and so that meant six dogs all at once. Lucky for me, Otis and Cujo hit it off and that saved me from taking Cujo for multiple walks for his high energy needs.

Finally, I get to use that kennel!

And then, at 4:00, Cujo's owners came to pick him up. And then at 7:30, Sebastian's owners came. And life got a little easier.

Otis too, is here only for Day Training, so he was picked up at 3:30. That left us with just Baby Ruth. And of course, our dogs. But it was much more doable.

So now, I have Otis for Day Training and later this week, Baby Ruth will be going home. I'm not sure I will take that many dogs at once again, but at the same time, if I ever find myself in that position again, it's nice to know that I'm able to do it.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The fence is done, whoo-hoo!!

I can't help it, I am so happy (and proud), this is my first real investment toward my dog business to make it more efficient and professional! I had some doubts that I would make enough money to make it happen but it did!

The last few pieces to finish the fence. Overall, it only cost a little over $400 to make the whole thing!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Progress on the licking sores!

Not that anyone would or should care about this....but Joey's licking sore is nearly healed! I'm excited about this because it proves that dogs *can* get over these habits. I want to write an article about it on my dog website.

A recap: his licking wound started from a mosquito bite from last year. He chewed and licked it because it itched, but then it turned into a licking habit. And so, a licking habit wound was formed.

The one on top is the original licking sore, the one on bottom is a new one. What took a year of licking on the first sore, he managed to make just as bad, if not worse, on the second sore, in just a few days. This is because he didn't lick, he began to literally dig in with his teeth and pull out skin. Gross and yuck. And ouch.

It was getting to be a concern to me because he was making these sores everywhere! It wasn't good for him health-wise and I will be honest, it was disgusting to watch. I mean, can you imagine watching a dog literally eat himself to death??

I tried covering it with bandages which of course, either fell off or he chewed off. I tried Bitterspray, which he licked off (a little at a time.) I tried horse radish. Sort of worked but it made a mess both on him and wherever he laid down.

I even tried a pony tail made out of cloth, not elastic, and it was actually working! It didn't fall off and he didn't chew it off. I had it on for a full day and we were making progress. But then he must have been pulling at it because suddenly his paw had swollen up three times it's original size and I rushed him into the vet clinic, convinced I had just cost him his paw.

I was thankful to hear that his paw would be just fine (they didn't even charge me for the visit, for which I was grateful) and that this sort of thing happens all the time to dog owners and even in the vet, because dogs chew and pull their bandages so much that it makes a tourniquet. Made me feel less of a jerk.

But when we talked about what to do about Joey's licking sore, they told me there was really nothing that could be done. They suggested everything I had already tried--they even suggested anti-anxiety meds. But they never suggested a cone. In fact, I brought up the cone idea and they vetoed it. They said it would be "too uncomfortable."

Ok, so this is my biggest pet peeve in dog training. I have only been doing this for a year, but I see too many bad decisions made based on emotion and not common sense. Uncomfortable?? Which is more uncomfortable--a cone on the head or bleeding sores all over the body?? I just get very impatient with this sort of thing, as you can see.

I decided to put the cone on Joey anyway. We kept it on for two weeks straight (with small breaks here and there.) He slept with it on as well, since his biggest licking time was when he was in the kennel by himself (dogs normally don't sleep the whole night through because they nap so much during the day.) He did fine with it on. Yes, he had some problems getting through doorways sometimes, and we had to help him in his kennel since he would get stuck in there (sort of funny, actually.) But he was able to eat, drink and sleep with it just fine.

And guess what? It totally broke him of his licking habit! His wound that he's had for a year now is completely healed (just a little calloused) and even has fur growing over it.

One month later
His second licking wound is much better as well, but because it was larger and deeper, it still needs more healing. However, Joey hasn't needed his cone since. He's learned that he's not to lick these two wounds or the cone goes back on.

In the beginning when Joey would lick at his wounds (when we gave him short breaks from the cone) I would jump at him (literally) with a loud "No!"  This was not really any sort of training technique, but more like frustration. Watching all that work of healing come undone while your dog literally gorges himself can turn you into an over-reactive crazy person. Like bringing in your kid for stitches and watching him take them all out as soon as he gets home.

But my extreme reaction along with the cone immediately going back on actually helped Joey make the connection: I lick my sores, I get yelled at and the cone goes back on. No more licking sores.

That doesn't mean that Joey no longer licks. He is licking his groin area now, and yes, it is red. But it's not so bad, because the cone goes on when he does it too much.

He does suffer from allergies as well but his obsessing licking actually stems from anxiety. You know what helps anxiety? Exercise! A well exercised dog will be too tired to lick.

Anyway, not that anyone should really care--this sort of post would do better on my dog website and I probably will write one up. But still, it makes me happy to have finally solved this problem! And a little bit proud too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A depressing post with a somewhat hopeful ending.

I'm feeling a little down today. Maybe it's partly because of the weather (another cloudy day), but it's also because of the non-stop, ongoing depressing news in our world. Tragic bus accidents. Plane crashes. Volcano eruptions. Suicide bombings. Another school shooting. Cars driving into crowds. And the worst of all, simply because it involved a mother and child, a mother taking her own life and forcing her little boy to take his as well.

I try to stay away from it all. Off of Facebook and away from the news. But it finds me anyway. I hear about it from others in conversation. It weighs heavy on my heart.

I hear people say that they love dogs because dogs love unconditionally. These people usually follow up this comment with saying how they hate people because people are evil and let others down.

Raising up dogs over people isn't going to solve anything. We need love. I've talked about this before and I guess it's the only conclusion that I come to that makes sense. These people that treat dogs better than their own,  are selfish, angry people, and they aren't helping this world become a better place.

I'm sorry--this post is a downer post and probably not going to uplift anyone. I have to let it out somewhere. I have prayed about this and will have to pray again.

We need God. That is the only way the shootings will stop, the bombings will stop, the violence. I read somewhere that some middle school is forcing the students to recognize Allah as their leader. I don't know if this is true or not. But if it is, it is strange how the world will choose any other god except the real God.

Despite all the evil that is happening in the world, I believe in God more than ever. I have seen a world without God in it. I know He is there, I know He is with those that still want Him in their lives. I know that God hasn't abandoned us. But sometimes it feels like He has. But it's the world that has abandoned Him.

And so, this is where I'm going to end this depressing post. A reminder to anyone that wants to listen to me that we need to pray a little harder, maybe pray a little more often. Perhaps start fasting again. We need conversions of heart. We need miracles. There is nothing anyone can do to make peace. We are at the mercy of God. Nothing will change--nothing--until we start praying again.

If we are already praying, we've got to pray harder. I believe that things can change from a single prayer. I believe this because we hear about these stories of just one person who believed enough to rise someone from the dead.

Speaking of which, it is interesting, isn't it, that Jesus chose so many of these miracles of dead people rising? There isn't any situation that is worse than someone that has died--nothing so impossible than to rise someone back to life.

If it is possible, and Jesus showed that it is--rising many back to life, including Himself--then He must be trying to tell us something. He must be telling us to pray for miracles and hope for the possible to happen even when it feels impossible. And it does--it truly does. But God isn't gone. He is still there. And I believe He is waiting. Waiting for us to let Him know when we are ready for Him to change the world and bring things back into order.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fence project

The fence project is finally underway! While I can't say that it's moving very fast (lack of materials, time for cement drying and weather delays) it is finally getting started. I'm hoping this will help with a place to put the dogs when we need a break from them as well as a place to exercise them without them being tied to a cable or leash, which isn't safe or practical.

Cujo, the dog that is staying with us.

Stretching out the fence

There is an actual tool for this called the "fence stretcher". It makes it nice and tight. We don't have that tool, so we had to use our hands to stretch it out. Not easy!

This is as far as we've gotten, but we don't have much farther to go. We just need to set up two more sides and we'll be done!

I've gotten the door and need one more roll of fencing...we have more dogs lined up in the next few weeks so I can't wait to use it!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there that feel like they shouldn't be mothers, but they are anyway. That God must have made a mistake when making you a mom, because you feel like you are a terrible mom, but here you are, a mom. Or for those moms that feel like your kids deserve better than what you can give them--but you are still their mom so God must have thought you would be a good mom because here you are--a mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all those moms who want to give up but keep trying rather than teach a bad lesson to their kids. To those moms who sometimes have been selfish but are trying to learn generosity for the sake of their kids. For those moms who clearly see their shortcomings but will do whatever it takes to overcome them to be a better example for their kids.

And happy Mother's Day to those mothers who weren't planning on being mothers but chose to keep the life of their children rather than end it. Those moms are heroes to their children. Those mothers have made the first of many sacrifices for their children.

I've always said it and I'll say it again. Motherhood is designed for sainthood. Although I believe you can become a saint in any vocation, I think Motherhood is probably the fastest way. There is simply no other station in life that pushes you like motherhood. Pushes you to be better, to work harder, to pray more often. I find myself saying more rosaries for my kids than I ever used to. The older they get, the more I pray. I've never shed so many tears before becoming a mother. I've also never gone to confession as often as I do now, until I became a mother--finding and recognizing weaknesses where I don't love when I should. Trying harder to do better and then just to fail again in love.

I don't think I've ever said the words "I give up!" until I became a Mother. Only to make another resolve to try again. My heart has been broken being a mother. But it's also rejoiced over little things and big things--first smiles, first steps, first day of school, first piano recital.

Things have changed since I've become a mother. I've changed since I've become a mother. The world says that you need to "put yourself first" but you can't do that when you're a mother. You don't want to do that. You are happier giving up the bigger portion, or holding off on that hair cut so that your kid can get a needed pair of shoes. You are happy being last if your family is fed and well and looks well cared for.

But do I think God made me a mother because He thought I would be good at it? No. I think He made me a mother because frankly, I'm terrible at it. I'm not naturally self-giving, or selfless. I am not affectionate and I hate losing my sleep (not to mention I'm not a morning person.) I hate making school lunches and never think to put little notes in lunch boxes. I am not the type to volunteer to be a school chaperone just so I can go with my kid on a field trip.

Yet, I love my kids dearly, and God works with that.

I think God made me a mother because it's the best way to learn how to love. It is the best way to learn not to be selfish. It is the best way to be happy with "the better part" which is often the smallest part. He made me a mother, not because He thought I would be good at it, but because it would be good for me. Being a mother will be my way to heaven. Perhaps even, a saint one day. It better be--there's gotta be a crown for this!

I don't think I have ever felt like I've been a good mother. But I do know that I've tried hard to be one. I think that is all God is asking of me. I have to ask for His help often because motherhood is all about love and that is not always easy, to love.

So happy Mother's Day to all you mothers who work so hard to be the best person you can be for your kids. Even when you fail and feel like your the worst mother ever but choose to go on rather than give up on your family. Your kids will learn how to love because of you.