Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Enthusiastic Girl

Now for something a bit more light hearted...
One of the things that I instantly appreciated about Nala when we were matched, two years ago, was her enthusiasm for everything. And, I mean everything.
You ask her to sit, she sits with enthusiasm.
You ask her to "find the button" she finds the cross walk pole with enthusiasm.
You ask her to "bring it" she brings whatever she has in her mouth, whether she is supposed to have it or not, with enthusiasm.
She even "waits" with enthusiasm. Now, that is talented.
Her latest thing she does with enthusiasm is her workout on the treadmill.
Before getting on I have her sit and wait while I get the treadmill going. As usual, she waits with enthusiasm. Once the treadmill is going I say "Nala, on" and she springs up and trots proudly on to the moving belt. (I gently hold her collar for safety). After about a minute at the slower "warm-up" pace, she tries to start trotting. It's her signal to me that she is certainly not going fast enough.
Once she gives me this signal, I slowly increase the speed a bit and she trots guessed it, enthusiastically; tail wagging, head bobbing up and down.
However, her enthusiasm does not stop there.
After another few minutes, she starts trotting faster again; another signal for me to crank up the speed.
The first time I had no idea what she was doing, but after I tried increasing the speed and she seemed satisfied with this arrangement, I've let her dictate the speed of her own workouts. The first time she did it I nearly fell over laughing. It was like she was saying,
"hey lady! I'm an athlete here. Let's go!"
Her enthusiasm for life, including her treadmill workouts, is infectious and I can't think of any other partner I'd like to have for the past two years; and hopefully many, many more.
Here's to Nala and her beautiful enthusiasm for life.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Rage, Rage, Rage!

Poor Mr. K has heard me rant about this topic for about 24 hours now. So in the spirit of giving him a break, you get to hear about it instead. :)
As most of you will know I am currently in my second semester of my master's in social work. For the most part I have really enjoyed my program. Of course there are certain topics that I may find a bit tedious and there are also some areas that I think the program could do a better job of addressing, but on the whole I feel like I am getting a quality education. However, yesterday I became very angry.
One of the areas that I think the program is lacking in thus far, is the ways in which they address disability. Mostly because they don't address it at all. There are entire units on so many social issues which is fantastic, but I have yet to come across a unit that talks about disability which to me is slightly shocking. We are in a master's of social work program. How is an entire population ignored? If my Sociology under Grad could present disability topics in a plethora of courses, then why doesn't my Graduate program? However, this is not what made me so upset. That said, it is relevant and you'll see why.
Yesterday I was working on a unit that was demonstrating the importance of community and how a supportive community can improve the quality of life for its citizens. At the end of the unit there was a video we were required to watch. I got three minutes in, shut it off and wrote an email to the professor; explaining how inappropriate the video was and that I would absolutely not watch it.
In the first three minutes that video used the "R" word six times, referring to a person with a cognitive disability. This word has been removed from all American legislation, how is it that a social work program is comfortable with this word? How is that no one has challenged this before?
Not only was the word used repeatedly, but the video was also offensive in how it portrayed the individual with the cognitive disability. This person was "one of those people" and "we" (people without disabilities) are so special and should pat ourselves on our backs because "we helped this sad little person blossom and grow."
Well, let me tell you!
It is the sociological barriers that has oppressed this person and has made independence nearly impossible. So, by you deciding to remove those barriers, you aren't special. Not even one little bit!
What makes this even worse was the little paragraph written before you got to the screen where you could view the video. It was this little blurb patting the producer on the back and touting that this producer and another person involved were from this particular educational institution.
I would not be proud of that, (insert name of university here).
We have had so many units on racism and the language surrounding those issues have been appropriate. The material focused on the strengths of populations and how our society oppresses minorities; however, when it comes to disabilities, it is a population completely ignored. At least, until now, and it is not the type of material that should be presented as it is not representative.
There are two words in the english language that make my skin crawl and the "R" word is one of them. If you know me, you'll know what the other is.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Five Miles

This won't be a long post, but I wanted to document somewhere that I have managed to work up to running five miles in about a month and a half; or a bit less. I'm really excited about this since I have officially signed up for my first ever half marathon. I can't believe this is going to actually happen. I'm still working on guides to train with o a regular basis, but I have a few volunteers from other cities who seem to be willing to run the race with me. I feel like this has been a long time coming and I am super excited and slightly terrified all at once. I'd feel much better if I could get outside and run with a guide, working hills, but that may take some more time. Not only do I not have a definite commitment from people to be my training guides, but we're also experiencing a serious deep freeze right now. I think that could be part of the hesitation. People might feel more inclined to be a bit more urgent about guiding me outside if we could actually run outside. Regardless, I'm going to keep putting the miles on my treadmill, for me and furry ones alike, and pray to the running Gods that they send me some training partners soon. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Treadmill Trotters

Getting out and walking the dogs this winter has been a challenge. I know they are going as stir crazy as I am and so I thought I needed to find a way to relieve some of that energy. I had heard of people teaching their dogs to walk on the treadmill; so after a few articles, training videos and a few adjustments, I am happy to say that I have three out of four of my dogs walking on the treadmill.
Otis is the only one I haven't trained for a few reasons. First, he is just way to terrified of the treadmill. I could probably work through that with him because Hermione was pretty unsure of it as well. However, I also don't think he's aware he has back legs. I'm afraid that he would hurt himself if he did actually get on the treadmill and then he would be even more terrified of it. Franchise are known to have weak rear ends and I don't want to damage his hips or knees. Also, when he runs, he canters. Two front legs together and two back legs together. That really doesn't work for a treadmill. So, he can continue doing his own Zoomies chasing the cats and Hermione around and he'll be fine until the snow melts and the temperatures become a bit more tolerable.
Everyone else has taken quite well to the treadmill. They are each walking/trotting for about ten minutes each; even Hermione. It takes me about forty minutes to get through everyone each day, but it's definitely worth it. I know they are getting some much needed exercise and it gives me some bonding time with each of them.

Friday, February 06, 2015

First Published Article!

Guess what?!
My real for a multi-dog household article was finally posted on
I am so excited.
I'm not really sure where the "pack" language came from because I don't use that, but at least the article got published.
Even if you don't read the article, go over to see photos of my gang. There is one photo of Jetta and one of Flash as well. Lala isn't in any of the photos though, but you can the adorableness that is Otis and Her Royal Highness, Princess Hermione Sophia.
If you do like the article, don't forget to click the "like" button so that hopefully they'll want me to write for them again.
Thanks in advanced for your support. :)

Monday, February 02, 2015

Happy Ground Hog Day!

You wouldn't know it by looking outside, but today is the day our little friends across North America-well, at least Canada and the United States-poke their little heads out of their winter burrows to let us hopeful humans know whether spring will come early or not. Judging by the snow drift that is residing outside my back door this morning, I am going to say we probably have six weeks more of winter. If I could hardly get the dogs out to go potty due to all of the snow that was so kindly dumped on us yesterday and last night, then there is no way a ground hog is going to be able to get out of his or her hole. I'm going to bet all ground hogs are snowed in, just like the rest of us.
Now that my little ground hog opinion piece is over: I can't believe it's February already.
This week marks the start of my fifth week of classes and the assignments have already started piling up. In the next week I have a ten page paper, two presentations and a twelve page take home midterm exam to complete. And, of course, I still have to go to placement and be a contributing and non-grumpy citizen.
Sometimes I wonder what I've gotten myself into, but then I remind myself that it's only sixteen months. And, now, it's only ten. That's really not a lot of time.
As for my placement: I am still really enjoying it. I've been doing some work on advocacy stuff for better public transit and I've been put on the state wide ADA 25th anniversary celebration committee. The big shindig is to take place on July 26th, 25 years after Bush Senior signed the ADA (American's with Disabilities Act) into active status. It's pretty exciting stuff.
I've also taken it upon myself to get a program started up to encourage fitness, more specifically running, in this area for people with disabilities. At first, my supervisor wasn't impressed with the program that I suggested as a starting point, but then she reread the website I sent her and my ideas and changed her mind-she missed a pretty integral part. Now that I have the green light I'm not really sure what to do next. However, there's another staff member who is pretty excited about the idea and so I'm hoping she'll help give me some direction.
How might the Fuzzies be?
Otis is Otis. A happy, jolly little bull dozer of a dog whose favorite indoor activity as of late is running Zoomies from our bedroom into our "office" as fast as he can. All by himself, nonetheless.
Nala is still my little worker bee. I think she likes going to placement as much as I do. We're currently taking a door to door bus service because it would appear that no one in this city owns a shovel and hence the sidewalks are never cleared. Once the snow melts off, we'll be taking fixed bus routes because I would enjoy the extra walk, Nala would too and it will be the fraction of the cost.
Hermione is continuing to work on her nose work. Her problem solving skills are coming along and she seems to be able to find a single kibble much faster than before. I can even hear her nose working nine times out of ten now and so I think she is relying more on her sniffer than her eyeballs.
Old Man Roscoe is also learning a new trick.
A few days ago I started training him to walk on my treadmill. We've only practiced three times, but each day he's gotten better. I watched a few more informational videos last night and realized I was doing one step of the process differently than everyone else. From what I watched last night, the dog got on to the treadmill while it was moving on low. I've been putting Roscoe on and then starting it. I'm wondering if it will be less startling to step it on while it is slowly moving than to be standing on a surface and have it shoot out, no matter how slowly, from under your feet. Today I'm going to try walking him on while it's already moving and see how that goes..
The kitties are doing well. Spock has made himself right at home and is one of the chattiest kitties I've ever met. I suspect his last family gave him people food because he becomes a pest when you are eating/cooking. However, he learns fast and is quickly learning that he certainly does not eat pizza/porkchops/roasted chicken Etc. He follows you around yapping away and he's really good at letting you know when he's upset with you. He really likes being a part of the family and makes sure to add himself to the puppy pile. He and Kira have Kitten Olympics every morning, and I think at night too. Once we accidentally shut Kira out of the bedroom when Spock was in with us and Kira made quite the fuss, yelling her head off until we let her in. She went straight to Spock to make sure he was okay.
We had a little scare with Kira a few days back. She was lying on my lap and I happened to rub her back haunch and feel a giant, solid lump. Of course my mind went to the worse thing possible and thought cancer. She didn't like if you pushed on it, but other than the lump itself and her dislike of you pushing on it, she was fine. She was and is still eating fine and using the litter box fine. She plays with Spock without any problems and she is moving fine. She jumps on to and off of high places and gallops around. We've been checking on the lump every day and it seems to be dissipating. All I can figure is that she bruised her muscle tissue. Or, maybe it was a fatty deposit. She gained a lot of weight really fast because we didn't rrealize she was eating Spock's leftovers. I've cut back her portions and stand guard while Spock eats to make sure she's not getting more than she needs. It seems to be working.
So, there you have it. I don't blog for a few weeks and it all comes out in one shot. I'll stop writing now so you can go get a snack because I'm sure you're starving after reading all of that. I know I am after writing all of that.