I had my first day of class this past Saturday to become a Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist. First days are always a little nerve wracking but the other students are great and it was easy to settle in. We didn’t do a lot of work with dogs on Saturday because it was the first day of class for the dogs’ owners as well. We had more of an information session with them before they bring their dogs tomorrow. We did some work with one dog that is in a foster home. He has a bite history and needs some help to control some of his nervousness and aggression around new people. I know I’m going to love this class but I’m realizing how much work it is going to be. With the class I’m working six days a week and working with the rescue whenever I can or whenever they need me. My Sunday was much needed! This will be a tough year but I know it will be worth it. Eventually, I’ll be able to do more of what I love and have quite a bit to write about. I’m thankful to have understanding friends and family. I know that my relationships with them will be tried a bit during this time as well and I hope that after the year is up I’ll be able to make up for some of my absences! Maybe in dog training favors! I’m thankful for this opportunity and that I am able to follow another dream of mine. I’ve been very lucky to be able to further my education and understanding with something I love so much. I’m very interested to see what this will bring! The next class is tomorrow and we are working with the dogs! I’m sure I’ll have a lot to report!
For those of you who have Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen the specific day of the week posts that go around. Thursday is typically “Throwback Thursday” or TBT and I thought it would be fun to do Throwback Thursdays for the hounds (and Kitty) so you can all see these silly pets of mine throughout the years! And, of course, hear some of their stories from the past. I’ll start out with Soter’s TBT. Hope you enjoy these types of posts!
Our first Throwback Thursday post is, appropriately I think, the day I got Soter bear. I’ve briefly mentioned that Soter came to me at a very difficult point in my life. He got me through a very hard few months and gave me a reason to feel happy and joyful again. I’ve also mentioned previously that I will not “purchase” a pet again. After working for the rescue and years of seeing how many animals end up in shelters I will always adopt from here on out. That’s no judgment on those who have purebred dogs from a breeder, Soter is from a breeder and I, obviously, couldn’t be happier with the little dog. He’s my best friend! I just want to preface this story by saying, at the time, a Corgi was what I really wanted for reasons I just don’t feel I need to get into here. ANYWAY… I got Soter on May 7, 2008. It was on my final day of my Sophomore year of school at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. I had two finals that day and I have to admit, not a lot of studying went down on the days leading up to that day. I was too excited for my little guy. I had spent about a month getting ready for Soter. I bought him toys, a collar and my mom made him the cutest bed with horses on it! My mom was driving up that day to help me move out of my on campus apartment and help me move my stuff back home to Colorado for the summer.
The store where I got Soter found him for me. They knew I wanted a male corgi and why I wanted him. They knew I needed a very special dog so they found me the perfect breeder, who also learned about my story, and picked me the perfect little pup. When Soter arrived at the store, I received a call that he was there waiting for me.
I had an hour between exams and decided I absolutely had to go meet him. So between tests I went and met the little dog that would change my life. Soter was a tiny, perfect round ball of fur. He came to me with a little scratch on his forehead from one of his rambunctious brothers. I was told that “Soter is a lover not a fighter” and refused to participate in such silly puppy behavior. When I first got that little dog in my arms I knew we were destined to find each other. That may
sound ridiculous… how would I know that? Well how do people who claim they fell in love with their spouse at first sight know that for sure? It’s a feeling. I knew he was meant for me. I burst into tears the minute I got him in my arms. It was a mixture of sad and happy tears that day! There were also probably some tears of relief in there. It was so hard to make it back to school to take my final exam. Once I was finished my mom and I went and picked up the little bug. We spent our first night at a hotel in Lincoln. Soter was a rock star and only had to go out once that night. I can still see the little guy slowly, and sleepily crawling out of his dark kennel to me. We already trusted each other at that point. Isn’t it so wonderful to have someone just trust completely. Whether that is a human or a hound, it’s a
So that’s my first TBT, to the day that really started it all for me. If that day never happened my life wouldn’t be the same. I don’t think I would have Kitty and I don’t
think I’d be on the same career path. I know I would have found Patrick, because like Soter, Patrick and I were meant to find each other, but if you recall it was Patrick bringing Soter a toy on our second date that was a big deal maker for me. Who knows! So happy Thursday all! I hope you enjoy these throwbacks and some of the adorable pictures that accompany this post! Until next time!
I’ve had a couple of questions about this training program that I am starting next weekend. I am not leaving either of my jobs, instead I am adding one more thing to my plate. It will be a lot of work but I cannot wait for the challenge! I’ll be working my regular 40 hours, Monday through Friday at the doggie daycare and my random on call hours for the rescue. I will have seven hours of class for my training program on Saturdays for the next year
until I graduate next March. When I write it all out or when I glance in my planner it looks very busy and a bit overwhelming. When will I get things done? When will I see my family? But, thankfully, I didn’t have to ask for my family and friends to be supportive. They all know this is what I love and how I enjoy spending my days. Sure it looks like a lot of work but I get to spend six days a week playing and working with dogs. I love my job. Aside from being at home with my husband and my own hounds work is my favorite place to be. The dogs at work have become a second hound family for me and I’m sure I will establish that same feeling with the dogs I begin training. I’m so blessed to be able to come to a job I love with dogs that I love and it’s amazing that I get to spend six days a week doing what I enjoy. I woke up this morning and came downstairs to my husband telling me about the terrorist attacks in Belgium. The news broke my heart and one of the first things that came to mind is I am so thankful I get to go to work today. Listening to the radio and hearing about all of the pain and sadness in our human world made me long to spend the day with the dogs in their uncomplicated and loving dog world. We briefly discussed it at work and went back to enjoying our work with the dogs. I realize that may sound selfish. Of course we all care and feel terrible for the horrible situation but we also all find comfort in being there.
I’ve mentioned many many times that dogs have it all figured out. They rarely have a bad day and when they do they shake it off and wake up happy the next morning. They occasionally have problems with one or two dogs but many just stay away from the dogs they don’t like and are fine. I’m thankful to have these dogs to teach me the important things in life. They don’t sweat the small stuff and they don’t hold grudges. I plan to watch the news tonight to stay up to date on what is happening in the world but you can bet I will be surrounding myself with my three hounds and hugging them tight throughout the night.
All I can say is love and respect one another. Be kind to others and learn to approach life more like our dogs. And when all else fails, take the time to hug your loved ones, both human and hound.
Hi Friends! I’ve been waiting to say anything about this until it was a sure thing! Now that I have had my application accepted, I want to share that I will be attending school (yes… more school) to become a certified dog trainer and behavior specialist. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I think it will really help me reach my end goal of eventually fostering dogs and, hopefully, opening my own animal rescue. I’ve learned a lot in the past year working for the rescue and also in the doggie daycare. I’ve always known how much I love dogs but working with them daily has really shown me that I don’t know as much about them as I would like to. I think that’s why I am so excited about this program. I will learn the tools to do basic obedience training but this program works specifically with rescue dogs, anxious and fearful dogs, and dogs needing homes. I’m sure learning more about dog behavior will help me tremendously in my career. I’m also excited about what it will do for my blog. I’ll have more stories to tell and doggie friends to talk about! I’m hoping I can learn how to manage some of the less than desirable behaviors that my own hounds possess! I’m thrilled about the way my career has grown and changed over the past seven years. I’ve gone in many different directions with many different plans. I’ve always had one consistent goal, however, to have a career that allows me to protect and benefit animals. I’m finally getting there and I love watching it happen. I’m very fortunate for the education I have received in my undergraduate and graduate school programs and I am so lucky to now have this opportunity to expand my knowledge even further. I hope this experience allows me to make even more of a positive change in the lives of animals. I’ll keep you all updated on my journey. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!
I promised a second part to my story to let you know how Kitty and I are doing so here we go!
Me: When I came home from the hospital I really struggled to get back to normal. I took a few days off of work and really just tried to rest and relax. I spent a lot of time sleeping and cuddling with Kitty. I ended up back at the doctor and then back at the ER the week after all of this happened. I was struggling to find an antibiotic that worked for me and that I didn’t have an allergy or intolerance to. Finally, three antibiotics later, I found something to work. My arm looks SIGNIFICANTLY better. Just a few little puncture scars that will need some time to heal. The pain is still there every once and a while, mostly after a long day at work, but I’m so thankful to have the majority of the pain gone. I still get really tired but I’m told that’s normal after fighting an infection. I’m hopeful I’ll be good as new this coming weekend! When I came home i I had absolutely no anger or ill feelings towards Kitty whatsoever. The first thing I did when I came home was check on Kitty and see how he was doing.
Kitty: Kitty had a bit of a hard time right after I got home from the hospital. He didn’t come very close to me for the first couple of days and he jumped every time he heard a noise. It broke my heart watching him. I decided to give him some space and let him come to me when he felt comfortable. After a few days he was back to laying near me on the couch but stayed away from my arm and didn’t sleep with me like he usually does. He occasionally sniffed my arm and ran off quickly afterwards. I did a little research and found out that cats can smell infection and changes in your body chemistry so I’m chalking up his running away to that. I was concerned for a few days because Kitty continued to run and puff up every time he heard Soter in the hall or when we opened the bedroom door. He was constantly watching his back and seemed to be on high alert. But I’m happy to report that he seems almost back to normal now, three weeks later. He still seems a bit jumpy but he is back to sleeping smashed against my face at night and doesn’t run when the doors open. I don’t think we will be trying any more meet and greets for a little while but I’m still hopeful we can all be a happy family soon!
Thank you all for your love and support that past few weeks. It’s been a slow go but we are both so much better and happy to be moving on with our lives!
Hello friends! I’m back! My apologies for being away for so long. I was looking at my last post and it looks like it has been a few weeks since I was able to write a blog. I have a very good excuse but I still feel bad for being gone so long. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me, unfortunately. I know this story will be long so I am going to break it up into a couple of parts over the next couple of days so as not to bombard you with information in one sitting! So here we go… the reason I’ve been gone so long part one!
As you all know we are still struggling to introduce Kitty to Gunner and Lily. We have been making many attempts and they were doing better each time. Kitty was getting more adventurous and coming closer and closer to the gate. Kitty and Gunner would lay inches from each other and sniff one another. Lily was still showing zero interest in Kitty. She doesn’t understand what the big deal is and just lays down to observe Kitty and Gunner’s meet and greets. Two weeks ago I was upstairs in my office with Soter and Kitty. We had Gunner and Lily behind a gate downstairs so I let Kitty run around upstairs with me instead of being locked in our room. Unfortunately, I didn’t communicate that fact with Patrick. Patrick was vacuuming our downstairs and put Gunner and Lily on the other side of the gate. Lily began making her way up the stairs to find me. Just as she came up the stairs, Kitty made his way to the top of the stairs. My instincts jumped in and I grabbed Kitty. In hindsight I regret this decision but at the time it was just my first response. Once I picked up Kitty, he panicked. I can only think he thought I was Lily and he proceeded to sink his teeth into my bicep a couple of times, it seemed as though he was biting me to save his life. I still firmly believe he wouldn’t have done this if he’d recognized it was me. I have no anger or fear with Kitty, this was my mistake 100%, he was just protecting himself from what he thought was a dog attacking him. Kitty was so scared that he went to the bathroom in the process. I cried out rather loudly which I’m sure also didn’t help the situation. Both Patrick, Gunner and Soter came running to find Kitty hiding in the bathroom tub and me in tears, bleeding, trying to comfort him. I’m sure it was a pretty confusing scene for Patrick and the dogs! Soter and I sat in the bathroom trying to comfort my poor, terrified Kitty. After I calmed down I cleaned my arm and found that I had seven punctures in my arm and scratches on my hands, chest and shoulder. Working with cats at the rescue has taught me that cat bites are nothing to mess around with. I spoke with my mom, a nurse, and my aunt, a doctor, and they both told me I needed to see a doctor. Patrick and I went to the doctor and I received a dose of antibiotics and a tetanus shot and was sent home. By the next morning my arm was swollen, red and very very hot. It definitely didn’t look healthy. We made another appointment and went back to the doctor. Once there, we were told to go to the emergency room to potentially have the wounds opened to be drained and cleaned… yeesh I was certainly not looking forward to that. Once we got to the hospital the redness, swelling and pain were intense. The doctor made the call to admit me to the hospital to receive IV antibiotics. Who would have known a cat bite could cause so many problems.
I spent two nights in the hospital receiving round the clock IV antibiotics in attempts to beat the infection in my arm. The entire experience left me a physical and emotional wreck. I felt terrible for Kitty. Thinking about the experience from his perspective, he defended himself from a “dog attack” but somehow ended up wounding me in the process, he heard me screaming and in tears during the entire thing. Then Patrick and I were gone for two days and nights (and Soter was gone at my parent’s house) and he was left alone. Laying in the hospital bed and looking at my arm made me incredibly sad for him and also a little sad for me. I stand by the fact that I wasn’t mad at Kitty, I didn’t blame him and I understood what happened in that situation. But a small part of me was a little saddened by it. I had rescued this cat and protected him from harm for seven years. Yet, somehow we ended up in this situation, with me in a hospital bed from bites he gave me due to an incident I caused. I’m still sad about it two weeks later. I still hug him and cuddle him every chance I get. I wish I could go back and handle things differently. I should have just let him run off and the entire ordeal would have been avoided. I’m hoping some of that regret will diminish and we can all just move on and be friends but I’m not so sure that will happen for Kitty.
In the second part of this story I will update you on my recovery and how all of this has affected Kitty and what has changed between the two of us. I apologize again for being gone so long but I’m back now and can’t wait to move on and get back to my life with my hounds (and Kitty).
I’ve been a bit absent this week. I had a great weekend that I wanted to blog about but then our niece was born on Monday and made it an even better weekend/week! We had our other two nieces staying with us and they kept us quite busy for a few days! So I am getting an opportunity now to tell you all about what I did this weekend! On Sunday I had an opportunity to go to a TNR clinic in Fort Collins. TNR stands for trap, neuter release. The organization I was able to work with regularly traps feral cats, spays and neuters them and releases them back to their colony. I think there is a lot of confusion and discussion about the TNR method. I know when I first heard about it I was
confused and wondering why cats are released back into their original colonies and not sent to rescues. After the year I have worked with the rescue I have learned that feral cats are close to impossible to find homes for and it’s difficult to find fosters who are able to take them in as well. Feral cats have a strong fight (and flight) instinct and will try to scale walls to get away from people if they have to. I saw this first hand on Sunday! I know all of you have heard of the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. Cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age. They can have litters of up to eight, and sometimes more, and can have two to three litters a year. In feral colonies, these cats reproduce like crazy and something has to be done to change it. I still struggle with the idea of releasing these cats back out to their colonies because I know their lifespan isn’t that of a tame and well-loved house cat. I also understand, however, that if we are able to make a difference in the number of spayed and neutered cats, maybe one day we won’t have to do this at all because all cats will have homes and no colonies will exist outside. The clinic was incredibly interesting and informative. I learned a lot about the different cats and how the process of TNR works. We had vets conducting the spay and neuters, of course, and we assisted in vaccinating and checking
the cats for illness or injuries. It really made me realize how many cats are out there that need to be spayed and neutered. This day alone, we fixed 59 cats. In the summer they can see up to 120 cats in one weekend for TNR.
If you ever see a cat outside that has a squared off ear, this is a cat that has been through a TNR clinic or has been spayed or neutered by another vet source. It means the cat is feral but cannot reproduce. If anyone has any questions I am happy to answer to the best of my ability or I can get the answers for you! We were able to find a few cats out of the group that were tame and who we were able to handle. We took those and placed them in foster homes with our rescue. We named a large, orange male Peyton because the TNR clinic was on Super Bowl Sunday here in Colorado. We believe our cat Peyton was a good luck charm for the real Peyton Manning! GO BRONCOS!
Have a nice week all!
I like to believe that the majority of people are good, in fact, I’m quite sure that that is the case. However, sometimes it’s hard to stick to that idea when you work with animals. You see a lot of terrible things and hear a lot of stories that make you lose a bit of faith in the human race. Why do people ditch their pets for not being completely perfect? In my profession, it’s something that is becoming more expected in my day to day life but it never gets easier to accept. I received a phone call at the rescue earlier this week from a man looking to “give us back” a cat he and his family had adopted two years ago. He said their old cat died, they got a new kitten and the cat they want to return doesn’t get along with the kitten. She has been urinating inappropriately and instead of working with her, or getting the all clear from the vet they just decided to return her to us. So we go and pick her up this weekend and can hopefully do right by her and find her her true forever home. She was easily replaced and easily forgotten.
Today I spoke with one of my favorite new clients at the doggie daycare. She started bringing her dog to us because he has some separation anxiety. She just adopted him three weeks ago and told me today she needed to find a trainer. She mentioned that the pup is nervous when they leave and isn’t potty trained yet. I suspect he was never in a household that taught him how. He is a young dog, and a corgi mix, so you know I’m a sucker for him. She told me today that they may be giving him up for adoption. She has already contacted rescues who are unable to take him. It’s been bugging me all day because I know if I didn’t already have three hounds of my own, I would take him in a second. Later in the day we had a couple bring in one of their dogs, out of the blue, to board with us for the weekend. We came to discover that they gave up their other dog two days ago because their HOA told them they could only have one dog. I’m just blown away today. Why do people even adopt animals. I understand that occasionally there are circumstances that warrant a family needing to surrender a pet. But these three situations were completely ridiculous to me. Instead of investing time and love in working with the first two, the owners decided it was just too hard and are relinquishing these wonderful animals. The third story really gets to me because not only did they give up a dog, but they separated a pair of dogs who have lived together and relied on each other for over a year. I know that if Patrick and I were in this situation we would move before giving up a dog!!!! It makes me thankful for my own hounds and the love we have for them. They are true members of our family and we would never imagine giving them up because they aren’t perfect. If dogs did that to us, no human would ever have a dog because we are a completely imperfect species.
Happy Monday friends! Well Colorado is expected to get slammed with snow today into tomorrow. It started snowing lightly yesterday but, in typical Colorado fashion, it was 55 degrees on Saturday! So Patrick and I decided we should take the hounds (not Kitty this time) for a really good walk in the beautiful weather while we still had some. We took the three to an open space area that occasionally hosts rodeos. I guess it was a pretty popular rodeo spot back in the day. All of the equipment and fencing is still up. They still have a small arena for barrel racing and a large corral for what I believe used to be for auctions. It’s a pretty cool area! I’m hoping we can find a schedule and attend one of the small rodeos that still take place there this summer. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that all of our hounds have very unique personalities. Some of their funny quirks seem to come out when we take them on walks or to new places. About ten minutes into our walk, Gunner walked up to a large log in hopes that he could pick it up. Gunner always has to carry something with him when we go for walks. We are constantly finding pinecones or sticks in our garage, outside our front door, or occasionally in our house! So this giant log must have looked like a jackpot item to carry around. He dug at it and realized that maybe it was a bit unrealistic and he settled for a piece of the log that had broken off! He carried that stick the rest of the walk and left it by the fence next to the car for some other stick-carrying dog to enjoy.
I am quite confident that Soter hates being clean. This little dog has a knack for finding puddles, mud or anything else disgusting to play around in. On this walk, it was poop. Good old coyote poop with pieces of dead animals rotting away in it. Yep! That’s my boy! I turned around to find him rubbing his face and neck in it then turning on his back and really getting that nasty smell deep into his fur. When I finally got to him to move him away he had the happiest look on his face. Darn dog! While waiting for me to get Soter away from his nasty new discovery, Gunner proceeded to lay down in the mud with his stick. Of course, Lily looked on at these two like they were completely fowl boys and she pranced around in all of her clean and good smelling glory.
The funny thing is I really loved that walk. We laughed the majority of the time and even though we walked away with dirty dogs we got some great memories out of the deal. In addition to a great walk, Soter and Gunner got a much needed bath!
Hope you all stay warm. Have an awesome week.
So I have to be completely honest with you friends, I have failed at my new year’s resolution and I haven’t posted the three blogs a week like I swore I would (I believe I also mentioned I’ve never held true to a resolution so this should have been expected)! I’m sorry! I love my blog and I really enjoy writing so it’s been a disappointment for me to only post around two a week. I’ve written three blogs this week that I’ve ditched because I realized I don’t want to write three sub-par blogs just to meet some “quota” I’ve set for myself! I would rather dazzle you with two if need be. But it is still my goal to bust out three a week once I am able to manage my time a bit better. Now, I have to be honest again… this week I have had a severe case of writer’s block. I like to call it brain lock because I’ve lacked all kinds of creativity this week, my brain has locked me out of its creative sector. I think part of it is that nothing terribly dramatic has happened to the hounds this week! I know it’s a blessing that we haven’t had any drama or emergency vet visits but it sure does make for a boring week of blogging! Gunner has an ear infection and is going to the vet tomorrow so I suppose there is something and Kitty has a follow up vet appointment on Monday so we can weigh him! Yikes! Our vet is a family friend and he has been really getting after me to start exercising this cat. I need some serious finger crossing and good wishes that kitty has lost more weight since his surgery or I will have the scary doctor giving me a lecture. So that’s pretty much all that’s been going on with the hounds! Pretty boring, SO to make up for a very boring blog this week I am posting lots of cute hound pictures! My dad always says his favorite blogs are the ones with pictures, so I’m hoping I can distract all of you from the lack of writing with an overwhelming amount of pictures! Here’s hoping my creativity lockdown is lifted soon and I can get back to it!