Attachment Training

Fuck, have you ever look for an article online to send to someone else, but it doesn't exist (or maybe you didn't look hard enough) so then you go to turn on your computer to just write a post - but then the computer doesn't turn on cause it's dead so you say fuck it, plug it in, begin the 3,212 updates needed to make it functional again, and grab your Freewrite (aka overly expensive e-ink word processor that is really very cool but not used enough) because you have to write it down or you will get side tracked and do other things and you really want to write down what I think of as attachment training for service dogs so you don't fuck it up? Just me then, okay. sigh.  
sigh.
 
but, hey, at least I'm writing. dammit. 

Attachment Training: 
First off, do not do it all at once - like, c'mere doggo - you now go everywhere i go and do everything i do for the next 12 hours. Jeebus, that's a lot for anyone to handle - stuck next to another soul for a long time just all of a sudden. However, when you do this training, you will be so surprised at how much and how different of a bond it eventually creates. 

So, day 1 of attachment training, use a cross-body leash. You can make your own out of rope, you can MacGyver something out of things you have, or use a different method of attachment. I am going to share with you my favorite version of this - but everyone has to find their own path.
 
Personally, I find this leash from activedogs.com to be my favorite every day use leash. 
https://www.activedogs.com/product/1870/crossbody-hands-free-service-dog-leash/, I purchased the slightly more expensive version of this leash with the molded handle and it turned out, I didn't like it. It wasn't bad, just wasn't as convenient. To make it a little more weird, I add what is known as a horse trailer bungee tie out, which according to my horse-hearted friends is something that shouldn't be used by horses in trailers. However, it is basically a heavy duty 12 inch long bungee cord with dog leash clips on both ends, this allows for a bit of give on the end of the leash. Lastly, I personally enjoy using a harness on the dog rather than just a collar. It was always a great cue to the dog that it was work time and when the harness came off - it was doggo time. 

Anywhoodle, back to day 1 of attachment training - pick an hour, doesn't have to be any special time, but set an alarm for 60 minutes and harness and leash the dog. And then, this is super important, just do what you do. If that is watching tv, so be it. If it is cooking dinner or emptying the dishwasher, so be it. This is day 1, hour 1 and you will trip over each other and you will be in each others way. It will be awkward, but you need to embrace that shit. Whether you want to believe it or not, you AND the dog are learning a shit ton about each other. 

Then, and this is important - keep doing it. For the first week, try to do an hour a day.Time it and more importantly, LOG IT. (keeping a training log is super important if you ever have to "prove" you have a service dog)
 
For week 2, you can drop it to every other day, but increase the time if at all possible. Set a timer if you want to, but try to get at least 2 hours in. Same for week 3. try to get at least 2 hours of whatever you are doing while attached to your woofer. Its weird, but it becomes so beautiful over time, you become in tune with each other and move together. 

There is a small downside (miniscule, really) to this training. When the dog is no longer in your life, for a time, you will still move around them. The true loss of Herbert (my service dog) didn't hit home for me until I was seated at my desk and I moved my legs to allow him comfort....and he wasn't there. Yup, even now many years later I just had a tear roll down my face. 

But the smile I have in my heart when I think of how well we moved together, how well we knew each other's movements - that grief is just part of having a service dog and I miss that partnership every damn day; but I sure wouldn't' give up what I learned and what we had.

Anyway, that's attachment training in my mind. I hope this helps. 
-H. 

OMG!!! vol: 3,496.

All the dogs: “OMG, OMG!!! Everyone! This is not a drill. There are PEOPLE standing on a public road! And WORSE! There’s a big-digger-thing with them! It’s STILL happening! And they are digging with the big-digger! Everyone LOSE THEIR SHIT!!!”

FoodLady: “Jeeesus Fucking Tap Dancing Jackie Chan Christ! Shut up. They are working on the damn house next door. *Sigh*”

All the dogs: “*continues losing collective shit; occasionally rallying in the living room for chest bumping, snacks, and water breaks*”

Abused FoodLady

Y’all. I’m not superstitious, but in reality, I’m pretty superstitious and I tend to think things happen in threes (or they happen in threes because I believe they happen in threes, but whatever! All I’m saying is I’m doomed), and, in case you didn’t get this from the parenthetical, I’m doomed!

Stormii (the NOT-MY-DOG mama dog) is feeling much better and is getting more and more affectionate every day, to the point where she leaped into my arms on the couch and then joyfully swung her heavy, meaty head and clocked my right in my orbital socket with her closed mouth. Holy shit, I saw stars. They were sparkly.πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

Then, to add insult to physical injury, I was laying upside down on the bed and Humphrey decided to join me. Instead of jumping ANYWHERE else on a king-sized bed, he jumped up right over my head. He realized his mistake as soon as he jumped so he froze as soon as he landed. Unfortunately, he froze with his, um, boy parts, on my forehead. He paused like a gargoyle, just right over my head.Β 
So, yeah……Humphrey mushroom stamped my forehead. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜”πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€£πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ


Darrin was of NO help at all as he was collapsed in wheezing laughter. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

But y’all, I’m low-key paranoid to go to work today! If dogs that love me are punching me in the face and assaulting my forehead with their junk, what’s going to happen with dogs & cats that don’t even KNOW me yet?!Β  😨
Wish me luck. ❀️

FoodLady Chronicles – Nekkid Mole Rat Part Deux Edition:

Y’all. Y’aalllllllllll. Listen! I’ve been tired. Like, capital T, Tired. Depressed? – sure, but doing alright. Anxiety? – well, yeah. No more than anyone else what with the global pandemic (or global pandemania as I like to say) and all. Physical pain? – yup, it’s been a fucker, but I’m working on it. Anywhoodle, all I’m saying is that just like all y’all, I’m doing the best I can.

However, a good thing happened, so I’m forcing myself to sit here and write about Mr. Antonio, because writing helps me and if anyone deserves to be written about it’s Mr. Antonio, or Tony, as he is now called.

Mr. Tony was found on island by a lovely (and straight-up dedicated!) human. She was impressed with his majestic 19 hairs just a’blowin in the wind, overcome by his magnificent natural aroma and pebbled scabtastic skin (of demodectic mange and associated infections), and let us not forget, his impressive knee-length testicles which probably could have been literally, 🎢 thrown o’er his shoulder like a continental soldier🎢. What’s NOT to love?!?

I could spend a lot of time writing about the hectic 3-4 days from meeting Tony to actually getting Tony to his final destination (which, btw, was Alaska πŸ₯Ά) and/or the never ending logistical nightmare of attempting to move a dog that weighs greater than 18lbs off-island these days – but I don’t want to; this is a post about an amazingly lucky dog and my deep gratitude and appreciation for some beloved and wonderful people in my life who kept me going during a rough time and how I was (hopefully) able to pass that forward.

About seven years ago I was traveling to the great arctic midwest with my service dog, Herbert. He and I were delicate tropical flowers and two wonderful people provided me with winter wear for Herbert. Debra bought him a jacket-type coat that he ended up using a lot even after our winter trip was over for over-air-conditioned buildings (again, delicate tropical flower). Kristin, an amazing artist/designer/seamstress, made Herbert a GORGEOUS quilted cape type coat with embroidered vines that kept him warm and safe during the insane snowmageddon we encountered during our travels. During the coldest times, he wore both VERY happily.

After Herbert passed away, I couldn’t bring myself to let go of a lot of his things, some of them because my practical butt thought they could still be used, but some, like these coats, because they were *his* and I still miss him every day. When I met Mr. Tony, I knew where those coats had to go – Alaska.

Mr. Half-a-Floof Tony, his nekkid mole rat-looking self went from in the living in the tropical Caribbean sun, eating trash with his hot mess of broken teeth and his skin rotting gently from infection while itching everywhere ALL of the time, to meeting a few ladies who lured him with delicious turkey, (I have this interaction pictured in my head like the siren scene from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but with turkey instead of laundry 🀣 | https://youtu.be/SJmZtn8vmt8), to visiting a vet clinic for 4 days where he was bathed, medicated, and walked on a leash, to then being dressed in toddler pajamas which were made crotchless by a lady in overalls who spent way too much time laughing over his crotchless pajamas (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it, they REALLY highlighted his, um, testicles and I have a *very* lowbrow sense of humor), to then flying on a plane to Miami, and then ANOTHER plane to Alaska with *his* turkey-providing FoodLady.

Y’all, Tony has just accepted every weird-ass change in his life with the same look on his face, “Okie dokie, I guess this is happening.”

Look as his majestic hairs!
Okie dokie, so I wear pajamas now…….?
Okie dokie! I snooze on planes now.
Okie dokie! So, this is Miami.
Okie dokie! Alaska’s not so cold.
Okie dokie! I was wrong! Alaska is cold. πŸ₯Ά
Okie dokie, frozen pee is new.

Today I received a text from Tony’s FoodLady. He LOVES his extra-warm cape coat and he knows it’s his because he picks it up and carries it to his kennel by himself. He likes to keep his special treasures with him all the time and would take them all with him everywhere if someone could please provide him with a Tony-sized shopping cart. 🀣

Mr. Tony is on day 9 post-heartworm treatment and doing okay. He is tentatively scheduled for neuter and tooth-extraction on Thursday.

Okie dokie then!
My new brother smells funny; also, why does he say okie dokie so much?

Baxter – Foster Dog

Poor Baxter. Poor, ridiculously-cute, half-a-floof, skin-falling-off, learning how-to-be-a-dog Baxter. Please enjoy his story thus far….

Baxter’s story began on December 3rd when a wonderful person was told by a worker at the dump that someone had dumped a puppy and he thought it was still alive. The puppy was found lying motionless, hidden between the dumpsters at the concrete wall. (The pup would not have been seen if not for the workman.) They scooped his near lifeless body up and cradled him in their arms as they rushed him to the shelter.

At the shelter he was named Baxter and treated for parasites and vaccinated. It was finally determined that due to his extreme parasite load he was severely anemic and required a blood transfusion. That helped a lot, but he was still frozen in fear and you could just tell he felt horrible. So, he went into foster with prescribed antibiotics.

He lived in my guest bathroom for almost a week, just feeling craptastic. Eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally (on pee pads – he was and is an impressively fastidious little dude), but he just had no energy.

The sad Baxter.

After a week of him looking like hell, I was concerned, was he going to become interested in life? Then, finally, we received a very clear indication he was ready to live: joyful puppy destruction!

Baxter made SQUISHIES!

Yay! It was time to integrate him into my pack because nothing teaches a puppy how to puppy like a pack. It has been constant and consistent improvement every single day as he continues to build muscle and gain weight. He has been introduced to, and played very well with, new and different people, dogs, puppies, and one cat. All went very well and he has the potential to become a wonderful companion.

Baxter being handsome on December 25, 2019
Proud of his digging skills!
Tired and happy after a full day of play and digging fun!

As Baxter began to develop into a puppy (as opposed to the saddest statue you’ve ever seen) he developed some hilarious habits, my favorite of which is his love of sitting on my dog Jane. Jane is the best puppy raiser I’ve ever had, she guards them, loves them, is patient with them, but still teaches them what is (and is not) okay. Baxter really likes to sit on her as if she were a pony, Jane doesn’t like it – but wow does it make me giggle!

Oh Baxter!
Jane is really very patient! β™₯️
Baxter with foster sister Ziesa.
Baxter with foster brother Dobby.
Baxter with friend Sansa, “We killed a pillow together! Let’s eat each other’s faces! 😍😍😍”
Baxter loves squishy beds, nylabones, paper, and shoes. Thankfully he has never done any damage to the shoes, but he is a bit of a kleptomaniac about them. All paper (obviously) must be destroyed and shaped into new squishy bed. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Baxter still becomes nervous and stressed in new environments, however his reaction to stress is to freeze and become still and quiet; if you’re holding him he squishes into you. Baxter is a very easy dog to love. He really relaxes most easily when their are other dogs around. Thankfully he is very food motivated which makes training a lot easier. He has excellent manners and sits to say please. He has become potty-trained to go to the bathroom outside on his own, however I have allowed him free access to the outside as often as possible. He uses pee pads like a champ if they are his only option.

Belly skritches are the BEST!

He now weighs a whopping almost 16lbs! All of his hair has grown back in and he is getting TALL! He flies away today (I am meeting the travelers around 2pm.) and although we are all going to miss him, he deserves the best forever home in the world – preferably with at least one additional packmate. β™₯️

Mr. Baxter derpily snoozing a couple hours before leaving for airport after a morning of play and fun. β™₯️

Writers Block & Revenge

So……I’ve had horrible writers block since my father passed away. Like, I’m avoiding writing and am not letting myself take the time to even write a few things down. ☹️ It is super weird AND annoying. But, I’m working on it. 🀞

Also, I have a SUPER clingy dog whose name is Humphrey. He is SO clingy and needy that he just forces his 90lb butt into laps and tries to pin people down and slurp-lick them with his creepily large (and moist) tongue while staring at them with slightly bulgy but INTENSE eyes. It’s just A LOT.

So, please forgive my rather inappropriate joy at forcing Mr. Humphrey into a full spoony cuddle and when he wants to wiggle to freedom I just soothe him and hold him tighter until he starts looking at me like, “dang lady, this is kind of A LOT!” while I giggle and laugh. 🀣🀣🀣

I’m still alive!

Short update from an exhausted Heather; I know it has been a while:

– so far, my new job is going well. I keep trying to make a positive difference there, and every once in a great while, I do. There are things I dream of for my new workplace and the dream that keeps bobbing to the top of my brain is a donation of a commercially-rated propane-fueled clothes dryer and installation. πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

– I’ve been working too much. My dogs are clearly letting me know they are neglected and today, the lovely gentleman who owns the giant yard next door where I (used to) play/work the dogs daily, called to see if we were alive. He was worried because the tenants in his building hadn’t seen me in a while and the ripe coconuts he told me to take at will haven’t been taken. He really is a great neighbor. 😍 It reminded me of the time the bar called the refinery because they hadn’t seen me in two weeks. πŸ˜‚ I used to eat breakfast there every Saturday. ❀️

– part of the reason I’ve been working too much is because my wonderful husband has had to drop me off at work at 06:30 on his way to his job and then pick me up on his way home at about 19:00. My beloved Jeep has a computer and/or transmission problem (after we just fixed the front end suspension problems) and it is time to find a new (to me) daily driver and get the Jeep fixed up properly. πŸš—

– three years ago today was the day I had to let my Herbert (Diabetic Alert Dog) go. It amazes me how much my life has changed in that time and that I still miss him every day. πŸΎπŸ’”πŸΎ

Well, that was descriptive!

I’m trying to tame a feral puppy. It’s a very happy feral puppy who is impeccably clean and loves other dogs, but I can’t touch her for love nor treats.

I just used the term, “Elmer-Fudding” to describe how I was moving around the house trying to touch a Sally.

“Elmer-fudding” might be the best descriptor I have ever written.

Overheard: Nipples

The other day was a fairly quiet day, and there I was a’ tippy tappy-ing on my ‘puter trying to learn how to do my new job whilst allowing my subconscious to deal with the ongoing anxiety about insurance costs and how not to lose medical coverage and figuring out how to quit my old job when I realize I am over-hearing a man attempting to explain to the vet tech that the cat he has at home is a female because it has nipples.

*****Record scratch*****

…..say what now?

It was like beautiful theater. I couldn’t look away. A very small part of my brain was SUPER excited to see where this was going to go.

Vet Tech explains that male cats have nipples. Man agrees, but counters that they don’t have as many nipples as female cats. Vet Tech asks a volunteer go and grab friendly male cat.

Vet Tech showed him the male cat’s nipples and counted them one at a time (he was a VERY friendly cat). CatNippleMan still seemed to think this was malarkey, but you could tell he had started to think.

I couldn’t help it, I had to ask, “Sir, do female humans have more nipples than male humans?”

After everyone giggled and chatted for a while about mammalian nipple counts, it all finally clicked for him, and for a beautiful few minutes much happy laughter was had by all, including the poor man who will always be thought of (to me, anyway) as CatNippleMan.

Be Your Own Hero!

There is a LOT to unpack in this story, but I am stressed, so please forgive me for the excessive stream of consciousness that is about to vomit into this post.

So, while trying to fight the never ending entropy of mess that is the front porch, I saw the pathetic kitchen knife that the festering pustule on the taint of society brought to stab me or Darrin or whomever laying on the tile. I realized I needed to write this down.

I know, there’s a LOT more story to be told.

I have a neighbor, her name shall be J. J has a BF/ExBF who beats her. He is a festering pustule on the taint of society, but for the sake of brevity, his name shall be Pustule. J has issues and has a history of an abusive exs. And, like many people trapped in this shitty cycle, an unwillingness to press charges. I made it very clear that she has to save herself, to be her own hero. That she is worth saving, but that she HAS to be the one to do it.

Honestly, I don’t think it would have affected me so strongly if I hadn’t heard from an acquaintance that he beat one of their dogs to death. I do NOT like bullies.

I’ve learned a lot in just a few short days, I’ve learned:

  1. I still become incredibly clear and calm during emergencies.
  2. I have no hesitation when attempting to defend/avenge an animal. I was doing the whole smart safe we stay inside and call police approach. He came to the door and screamed and ranted and I did the whole, “you are unwelcome and need to leave. I’m calling police and if you refuse to leave I’m releasing the dogs (who were going batshit at that point).” He left, heading towards their home saying J would pay and she cried saying he was going to kill her dogs. To which I said, “okay, let’s go get the dogs.”
  3. He went in their house and came back out with a knife (pathetic kitchen knife). I finally got dog loose (fucking rope fought me). He didn’t come after me, went towards vehicle and husband. He punched awkwardly at husband’s head and hit his ear (?!). I called police, he snatched and threw my phone fully destroying it and stomped back towards our house. I suggested hitting him with vehicle…..husband said no (he really *is* better than me in many ways).
  4. Backing up my phone to a Gmail account and saving NOTHING locally just saves so much frustration. [Aside, I was making the mistake of saving web links on my homepage. Now I save everything as a bookmark.]
  5. Once home, while the Pustule dragged his girlfriend back and forth demanding the keys to her vehicle, Darrin went in to call police. She had left the keys on the porch. I had hid them in the grill.
  6. I really hate bullies and taunting that little shit to get his attention off J as he dragged that abused woman down my driveway by asking as to whether these were the keys the the pathetic little man wanted while jingling said keys was WAY more satisfying than it should have been.
  7. I tried to remove the vehicle keys from the rest of the keys and he snatched them from me so I punched him. Seeing that Pustule’s absolutely stunned expression that someone would dare to hit back was soul-restoringly beautiful.
  8. I’m still clutzy! That gods-forsaken bunched up rug on my front porch tripped me, but I took the Pustule down with me. ::grin::
  9. My husband LOVES me. I mean like, WOWSA loves me. I know this because of his deep rage voice shaking the rafters with a “GET OFF MY WIFE!!!” right before the Pustule flew. (Husband was inside locating his phone and calling police; that stopped when he saw I was fighting.)
  10. I know I’m my mother’s daughter because as I tripped over that muddaskunt rug on my front porch (that must be burned) and dragged Pustule down with me I thought, “right thumb in eye socket” and did it.
  11. I know I’m an overthinker because I also thought, probably shouldn’t blind him permanently (hindsight: should have) and just slid right thumb into medial canthus instead.
  12. My left hand was heading towards his testicles for destruction when the husband made him fly. I find it just a little disturbing that I had a very clear moment of regret when he flew that I didn’t get to maim him.
  13. I know I LOVE my husband. I mean like, WOWSA love him. I know this because when Pustule attacked him post flight, I got close and bit the Pustule on the forehead (no, I don’t know why. But I couldn’t get to any other part of him and it seemed the thing to do. SMH). While they continued tussling I punched Pustule repeatedly in the kidneys. I’ve never claimed to fight fairly and cheap shots are acceptable while fighting a coked out abusive asshole.
  14. I didn’t use my dogs. Could have, maybe should have… but I secured them in the bedroom because I didn’t want them to get hurt.

So, here I am one week and one day later, I believe Pustule is still un-captured. J posted two days ago that someone broke her windshield and she didn’t know who would have done such a thing (I have a guess ::eyeroll::). My phone has been replaced (yay insurance!) and my life appears to have gotten back to normal.

But a small part of me is sure this isn’t done, so if it isn’t and Pustule tries something stupid please know I will use every skill I have to protect me and mine while doing my damnedest to make that little pathetic bully pays some karmic debt.

Love y’all,

H.