It rained last night. A lot. Sometimes there was thunder which is something that always gets little Katie going. Where Bonnie (the sister sheltie Katie never met) would tremble and cry, then curl up in the smallest possible ball and wait a storm out, Katie takes it on. She squares her shoulders, plants her feet and barks hysterically at the ceiling or the window, wherever she feels the danger might be coming from because she’s got a family to protect! Nobody in this family got a lot of sleep last night.
This morning Katie and I did a bit of walking around the yard. We got completely drenched. Katie’s fur does the prettiest thing when it gets wet. It gets curly! (click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see her curly fur!) This is the closest she wants to get to a bath!
But what I really wanted to talk about was a different kind of ‘coming clean.’ The one where you’re honest about what’s really happening. I need to tell you how it’s going with two commitments I’ve made; one is to do 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days, and the other is to write at least one letter a week every week from sometime in March (I can’t remember the exact date) until Memorial Day.
I’m happy to say the letter writing campaign is still going, though it’s become more difficult to find people to write to as the weeks go by. I still have some ideas though and should be able to finish this challenge. If I get a letter out today that is. I made Wednesdays my letter writing days…but recently it’s suddenly been Saturday and I realize I have to write to someone RIGHT NOW! Still it’s been fun. And I’ve been using some lovely cards that Bree at “Wipe Your Paws” made for me. They are one of a kind and I’m sure people love to receive them!
The 30 minutes for 30 days commitment? Not going as well. For the first 10 days I managed to get myself outside to walk at lunch or weekend mornings. Then the world seemed to get in the way. Horrible weather, crazy work days, lack of motivation seemed to overwhelm me. I missed one day, and committed to adding an additional day on the back of the 30 days. Then I missed another day. I tell myself there are no excuses.
Now I’m working on convincing myself that a day lost should not sink the entire program. Just like a diet, when you fall off the wagon the worst thing you can do is give up completely. So maybe I need to make that goal a bit smaller, so that I can achieve something and not beat myself up so much. I remind myself that in dog training we set tasks simple enough so that the dog can be rewarded. We try not to set the dog up to fail. That positive reinforcement works better than negative talking. What works for my dog should work for me, right?
So I need to figure out a way to get myself into the habit of daily exercise with smaller, baby step tasks, so that I gradually make exercise a priority in my sometimes hectic life. Any suggestions? I welcome all ideas!
Meanwhile, soggy Katie and I are going to make time for an adventure this Easter weekend. We hope all of you have time for adventures too!
Riley, over at his blog has a contest going where we’re to tell the story about how our dogs got their names and we’re almost late with our entry! Katie says I should get in gear and tell her story…tell how she became our Katie.
It’s not that exciting a story…but it does go to show you how the best laid plans of …well…dog owners…sometimes just go by the wayside.
When our sheltie-girl Bonnie died at age 15 we were heartbroken and we decided to take a break from owning a dog to let our hearts heal. We lasted 2 months. I’d been in touch with a small breeder but had told her we weren’t ready for a new puppy yet. Then she emailed me and said she had a youngster she’d been keeping to see how she grew, intending to use her for a show dog, but that she had to find a home for her now. The little girl was four months old. And we were ready.
The day before we were going to go meet the newbie I made a list of all the possible names. You know, names like Maddie and Maggie, Gracie and Gidget, Phoebe and Penny. Girlie names. I had maybe twenty choices and I left the list out on the counter for my husband when I left for the day. I knew the breeder had named her Izzy and I liked that name too.
When I got home from work my husband said he wanted to name her Kate, after a dog he had when he was growing up. Kate sounded like a nice Scottish name, appropriate for a Shetland Sheepdog, so I agreed.
When we went to “meet” her (as if there was any doubt we’d be bringing her home!) she hid behind a big chair and wouldn’t come to us. The breeder was also a day care and the place was full of toddlers whose hands and highchair trays were full of hot dogs that Katie was more interested in than us. Plus we’re pretty sure she wasn’t used to being around people very much, that she lived outside in the kennels. Knowing her as I do now, the whole “meet the folks” thing was probably pretty traumatic.
The breeder watched with some worry on her face as we tried to coax Izzy to us without much luck. I sat in the big chair and we waited quietly for her to come to us. The breeder went into another room to get paperwork and I let my hand dangle down. Izzy came to sniff and she let me pick her up!
When the breeder came back we were cuddling and all was right with the world. The breeder was relieved. We were in love. Katie slept, upside down, in a crate in the back all the way home. And she never cried once.
In retrospect Izzy might have been the perfect name, as it rhymes with dizzy, which she certainly is. But now she’s our strong Katie-girl, all tough bravado and bark, and I can picture her on a cold, hard Shetland Island taking charge of the thunder and lightening just like she does here at home. Except here she gets her own pillow (and often ours too) to retreat to when things get a bit overwhelming.
So she’s our Katie. Named after a childhood pet, but very much her own personality.
So we went to week 8 of novice obedience school tonight. Katie is much more comfortable in class now, as long as those other dogs and all those other people don’t get too close. She’ll even stand for exam and let strangers touch her as long as I’m at the other end of the leash.
She was perfect on her sits and downs tonight. We had a substitute teacher who did lots of distracting things.
Like putting a piece of cheese on the floor in front of each dog. I knew we were safe there as Katie won’t take treats from anyone but me. Still, I was proud of her for not moving or even looking at it. She was staring at me because “The lady was sort of close Mom!”
And on the long downs the lady walked back and forth in front of the dogs squeaking toys and throwing them around. She walked behind dogs too, which I knew would totally freak Katie out…but the good news is that Katie had scooted back so far there wasn’t any room for the lady to walk behind her…so she sat still as a mouse while the lady marched back and forth in front of her. Katie never took her eyes off of me. I guess she knows she’s safe as long as she can see me. That might be a problem if we ever progress past novice and I have to leave the room during the sits and downs. But for now as long as we concentrate on each other we’re cool.
There’s another (perhaps the last?) cold front coming through now. Katie and I watched the weather on the news this morning and decided we would try to squeeze in a small adventure before the storm hit.
We just made it.
It was cold. And windy.
And the park people had recently done a controlled burn of acres and acres of fields.
It smelled pretty bad to me, probably worse to Katie.
But we had fun anyway, and made it home just as the first spits of sleet hit the windshield. I’d tell you what it’s doing now but I promised not to talk about s*&! anymore.
Here it’s only Tuesday and I’m already overwhelmed. I had an hour between work and community band rehearsal tonight and I sat in the car and watched people coming and going from the grocery store wishing I just had grocery shopping to do. Sometimes getting to rehearsal seems so hard, but once I’m there I’m usually glad I went. But not tonight. Tonight we got all new music for our last concert which is in 6 weeks. I didn’t like any of it, and it all looks like a lot of work. And I’m too tired to think about it.
Last night Katie and I went to school. The instructor is getting more accepting of us, and occasionally we get a “good job with the Sheltie.” But we also still get “the Sheltie is lagging!” Which of course she is. I think it has more to do with where my shoulder is than a problem with Katie. It’s hardly ever the dog’s fault you know. She did great on her sits and downs this week; last week she kept lying down on the sits. But her recalls were really horrible. She’d come when I called, but she’d run past me and hide behind my legs. She was worried about the shadows from the overhead lights, though they are the same as they’ve always been. She didn’t like the conformation class in the next ring because one of the little hairless something or others kept squealing. I didn’t like that noise either. The highlight of my whole week so far is that Katie allowed the instructor to touch her on the stand for exam! 🙂
So that’s my week in a nutshell so far…on day two. Tomorrow night I have book club and I haven’t finished the book yet. Guess that’s not going to happen. But dinner and conversation that doesn’t revolve around work or the dog will be good!
Hope everyone else is having a great week! I’m with Carol…no more talk about snow!