Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday?

I missed wordless Wednesday yesterday so today... here is my photo..
I really love this little boy.  <3

Monday, September 12, 2011

this is where I try to explain why I am a slacker...

I am a slacker. I haven't updated anything here in a very long time. A lot has happened too. Like I got older. My birthday was very calm and wonderful. I broke a tooth and had to have it fixed. Dentists are expensive. I've lost my voice for the past four days. Went camping back in August. Did an agility trial with Valkyrie in Vermont. It rained- what a surprise, it always rains on my outdoor trials. We had fun but it could have been better. Kieran is still being fostered with me. It's definitely not ideal but what choice do we have?  I'll be moving in a couple weeks and I've been packing.  I didn't realize how much stuff I had accumulated! I am moving into a smaller home with no basement.. I better start sorting through what is necessary to keep and what I can handle getting rid of! The stress of moving is starting to wear on both me and Valkyrie. But we'll pull through. Somehow. Neither of us likes change and that makes this hard. It's a good change though.
I will try to keep up to date around here.. No promises.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


I have taken Valkyrie hiking with me for years. She is an amazing hiker. In the past I have let her run off leash, even in places that say a dog needs to be leashed. I would try to find parks that had signs posted saying "dogs must be under owners control" so that we wouldn't be breaking the law. I figured she would expend more energy running loose than going at my much slower than canine pace. But recently I have had to face reality- Valkyrie does not get along with all dogs. We have been lucky that in the past we never had any really negative encounters with other dogs. But I am not willing to take that risk anymore. Valkyrie is a leashed dog now. Permanently. I love her too much to take chances with her life. There are way too many chances for circumstances beyond my control when out in the woods. I really thought that Valkyrie would pitch a fit when I kept her leash on her but she was a perfect little lady. No pulling at all. Perhaps she is finally growing up. Or perhaps it's all the hours spent on little walks near the house working on leash manners. Whatever the reasoning, I love it. I love hiking with my girl.
My nine year old dog still acts like a puppy. She has limitless amounts of energy. She could go all day as long as she is with me. Exercise is great for her anxiety too. The more tired she is the less likely she will be anxious when I leave the house. And the exercise is of course good for me too. I'm still slightly out of shape from my surgeries but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. I love working the hours that I do because it leaves my afternoons free to go hiking with Valkyrie. Crossing my fingers for beautiful weather the rest of the summer and fall. Not too hot and no rain on my days off. I'm not asking for much!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My best friend.

My best friend. She is a pit bull. But she is so much more- She is the other half of my heart.

Today is Valkyrie's gotcha-day. I don't normally celebrate this day since I know her exact birthday.  Nine years ago I took a really crazy adventure to pick up Valkyrie. She completed my heart when I met her. I wasn't exactly in a good place in my life then. I certainly wasn't in a good place to be getting a second dog, a puppy no less. But as soon as I met Valkyrie I knew we were meant to be together forever. We have been through so many tough times together. And we've been through good times too. Every moment of joy or sadness over the past nine years Valkyrie has been there with me. She is my heart. My constant companion.

Helping mommy heal after surgery.

"If you're alone, I'll be your shadow.  If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder.  If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow.  If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile.  But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me. "

Beautiful girl.

“Some dogs come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave pawprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”


"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet." 


Unconditional love.


 "Soul-mates are people who bring out the best in you.  They are not perfect but are always perfect for you."

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

Monday, June 20, 2011


Things here have been pretty quiet lately. That is because I have been thinking and deciding on something very difficult. Something that is completely heartbreaking- even if I know it is the right thing to do. I have officially decided to rehome Kieran. I love him enough to want to see him have a better quality of life. He shouldn't have to live in a crate&rotate situation. He deserves constant love and attention that I cannot provide for him. This decision wasn't made lightly. I do truly love him and that is why I am going to do what is right and best for my Special K.
It's been so ingrained into my mind that when you take in a dog that they are family. You don't just give up on family. Sometimes I honestly do feel like I am giving up on him. On us as a family. But sometimes you have to  provide your family with a better life by letting them go and be loved by a new family. I will never stop loving him. I know I am going to miss him. I love his spunky attitude. Valkyrie might even miss him- just not in the same way I will.
Valkyrie has shown to me that she would prefer to be an only dog. Her happiness has been compromised by Kieran's presence. I am just trying to restore a happy balance. Kieran won't suffer from the extra love and attention he is going to receive with his new family. Valkyrie will be happy to have her mom back 100% since she is a spoiled princess. My emotions go back and forth on this. My heart will break giving him up but it will be healed by the fact that he will be loved by a new family.

I feel guilty. I feel selfish. I feel like crying. I feel like I am letting people down. I feel like I am giving up-taking the easy road. I feel like this is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Facing facts.

Sometimes life doesn't go the way you think it should or thought it would. When I adopted Kieran just over a year ago I had dreams of doggy bliss and a new agility star. Over the course of the past year reality has smacked me in the face more than once. Kieran is not physically healthy enough for agility. Maybe one day he will be but definitely not right now. And his poor little body has suffered from being down and out for so long I'm not exactly sure that it could handle the physical strains that agility might require of him.This disappointment I am handling very well. As long as Kieran is happy and healthy he can do what he wants. He doesn't have to be my next agility star he just needs to be my very good boy.
The disappointment I am having a really hard time dealing with is that my two dogs don't like each other. There. I said it. I put it out there for everyone to know. About seven weeks after Kieran came home Valkyrie started attacking him. I thought it was just over possessions/toys and took them all away. Valkyrie tolerated him a bit better for a while but I just never knew when she would snap. Inside the house, which is very small, I have been doing crate and rotate. Only one dog can be out at a time. I wish I could baby gate off sections of the house so they could both be out but Valkyrie has zero respect for the gates. Clearly I put the gates there to be jumped over multiple times.
Outside in the yard, as long as there were no toys, the dogs were getting along great. Running and zooming all over the place, mutually ignoring one another. Every once in a while there was the occasional game of chase. That all changed this past week. Both my dogs are resource guarders and I know it. I guess I just didn't know the full extent of it before. Valkyrie pooped in the yard and turned around and decided to eat it(ew!). Kieran came over to see what she was snacking on and she attacked him. Kieran didn't even have a chance. His arm was all chewed up and now he has antibiotics and some pain medicine. He is also recovering very nicely- you wouldn't even know that he had been bitten just a few days ago. Now my life is ruled by the crate&rotate situation. I have years of crate&rotate ahead of me. There is no way that I am willing to let both dogs out in the yard together. I can't put Kieran's life at risk. I am still hoping that some day I will be able to walk them both together. I'm not sure it will ever happen. I'm having a hard time facing facts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This photo was taken back in February but all this rainy weather makes it feel appropriate. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Goals. Especially in relation to my dogs. I have to be realistic. I have to.
Valkyrie- I really really wanted to have Valkyrie become NATCH Zell's Valkyrie CGC. I have to face facts. This is just not going to happen. I don't have the money for starters. I also lack the time. Agility trials are on weekends. I work weekends. It will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. And that's if we run clean on every single run from now on. There is just no way. So our goal is to go to as many agility trials as we can this year and run clean and have fun. I don't think we are striving for any more titles. I have to face reality even if I don't like it. I don't plan on retiring Valkyrie from agility until she shows me that she is ready to retire.

Kieran-  I adopted Kieran because I really wanted a second agility dog. I have learned a lot from working with Valkyrie but I made a lot of mistakes training with her because she is my first agility dog. Realistically Kieran will probably never compete in agility.  I am thinking that I'd really like to try either competition obedience or rally with him. He seems to enjoy working closely with me. But our goal for this year is to get him healthy. I want to get Kieran to a healthy weight and lifestyle before I will decide anything further for him. It doesn't mean that we won't be working on our obedience skills in the meantime.

So officially the goals are:
Valkyrie- Run clean&have fun at as many trials as possible.
Kieran- Get fat&healthy. Practice obedience.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Return to work

So this week I officially return to work. I can't believe how quickly the time passed while I was out on my medical leave. I certainly haven't been 100% healthy the entire time but it's been nice to be home with the dogs and my family. I think in some ways I am looking forward to returning to work. I like having a routine. The dogs like having a routine. Things have been crazy for all of us since the beginning of the year. Constant moving from my house to my sisters house and then back here again. It's been hard on everyone. I don't miss the work itself but sometimes I miss the people and the environment. Mostly I miss my routine. I know it sounds crazy but I really enjoy working nights so that I have all day to spend with the dogs. Once it warms up a bit more I can't wait to start my morning walking routine again. It's surprisingly relaxing to walk at 6am when everyone else is just waking up to start their day. I think my body will adjust back to being awake all night fairly quickly. I've been working nights for the last 6 years and it is definitely what I am used to and enjoy.
I have to admit that I am a bit nervous returning to work. I've worked there a long time with mostly the same people. But it's scary. I've been out of work this year for a total of 13 weeks. That's a lot of time. I am returning from a 6 week medical leave and I wonder how much has changed. I work somewhere that things change all the time. Rules and policies change. It's not normally anything drastic but sometimes the subtle changes are the hardest to deal with.
Another thing that is going to be difficult to deal with is not having any time off other than my two days for a weekend. I have been out of work so much this year that I won't be able to afford to take long weekends like I have in the past. I also haven't accumulated the hours to take the personal time I so enjoy. Going back to work with no vacations/time off in sight is a little scary to me. Back to the grind I guess. It won't be that bad. Hopefully.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Click it!

Ok, I have known the benefits of clicker training for a long time, but oh my goodness! I am seriously loving clicker training! Kieran and I have been working on clicker training for the past week and it's beautiful. Valkyrie has learned some new tricks with the clicker too. I got a whole bunch of clicker training books from I originally got the books so that I could teach both dogs some novelty tricks. However, since reading a couple of them, I have decided to teach Kieran to loose leash walk using a clicker and no head halter. He is doing a fantastic job! WE are doing a fantastic job. Sometimes I find it difficult to manage everything- the clicker, treats and leash. But most times it's really not so hard. We haven't taken a real walk yet since I am not physically up to it yet. But while I am still recovering is a great time for Kieran and I to work on the learning process. I realized that with the head halter I jumped right into full walks once Kieran adjusted to having it on. I stopped really training him on good behavior while wearing it because I was all about getting in some exercise. This time I hope to get it right with the clicker.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My sisters wedding.

Last weekend, on April 30th, my sister married a wonderful man. He loves her and her children. She loves him and his daughter. They make a wonderful family. I couldn't be any happier for her. For them.
My absolute favorite part of their non-conventional ceremony was when the officiant said "I now pronounce you... a family!" It brought tears to my eyes. They have been a family for a long time but to have it announced to everyone was just touching.

My niece wrote: "Mommy, I love you so much. You have been there for me always and now I am going to be there for you on your big day. Thank you, for being an amazing mom and a wonderful bestfriend ♥ Glen, I love you too. Even though I yell at you sometimes and tell you I don't need you in my life, that is a lie. I will always need there for me and my I am proud to say that you, Abigail, Mamaw, and the rest of your family will always be and are now my family. I love you Glen, thank you for believing in me and still loving me even though I wasn't always so nice, "Dad". Love you Mom and Glen, wish you luck on your big day ♥ "

They also did an amazing sand ceremony. Each color is an individual but together they are a family held together by love. 
Trish&Glen's Wedding. 
I love all of you with all my heart. I wish you the best in love and family.  

(Thank you Melissa for the amazing photos)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Home sweet home

Home at last!!  Ok- it's not that I don't love my family- cause I really do. But to be in my own house with my things and my dogs and my fenced back yard.. Heaven I tell you. But this reunion is short. I came home yesterday afternoon and will be leaving again on Thursday morning. My sister is getting married this coming weekend and it's easiest for everyone if I am close at hand for any crisis that might arise- which it won't. Also, tomorrow morning I go to see my surgeon for a follow up appointment. Hopefully, she will be able to explain and alleviate the pain I am getting in my right leg. Maybe she will be able to give me a medical extension for work as well since I definitely don't feel like I am ready to go back to work yet.
My father is staying with me for the next couple days. It is so nice to have him here. Normally, when dad is here we work on projects around the house. Right now I am not able to help so dad is doing work around my house by himself. I love this man. I am finally getting molding in the kitchen and bathroom. Maybe projects will finally get finished around here. MAYBE.
Overall things are ok. I am exhausted and in some pain. Both dogs are doing really well. I haven't done any training with either of them in almost a month now. I am a slacker. I still need to work on a reliable recall for Kieran. Stubborn little guy won't even acknowledge me when I call him. Need to start over. Completely. He's had over a year to learn how to ignore me. But things are going to change! For the better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Surgery update

Last week I had a schwannoma tumor removed from my abdomen. The surgery was a little bit more complicated than the doctor originally thought it would be. Can't do anything the easy way around here. The tumor was inflamed and had attached itself to my spine and my kidney. They scraped the tumor off my spine and removed it from my kidney- leaving me with just a few extra internal stitches.  This time around I felt much better than I did with the first surgery. However, recovery isn't easy for me. Vomiting, nausea and headaches every day that I was in the hospital. Now I am at my parents and I am still recovering. Tired most days but OK for the most part. I am not even close to 100% but I will get there. And it's so reassuring that I don't have to go through this again. It's over. The tumor is gone and I can move on with my life.

The best part of coming home to my parents house- We pulled in the driveway and I was walking up the path to the back door. My sister's step-daughter was walking Valkyrie up the hill. I could tell Valkyrie saw me because her ears shot straight up on top of her head and her tail started wagging frantically. Then the crying to get to me started. And the wiggling. I think my girl missed me. I know I missed her. (I missed the little K man too- but don't tell Valkyrie that)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I hurt. But I hurt less than last surgery. 
Now sleep to recover. Will maybe update more tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I've been quiet here for almost a week. I even missed last weeks "Wordless Wednesday."  Geez. I am a slacker. Ok, probably not. I have been having serious nervous energy about my upcoming surgery. Nervous energy is not conducive to sitting in front of the computer typing up an update. So my house is practically spotless because of all the cleaning I have been doing. Maybe not spotless- less cluttered is more like it. I just want to come home from the hospital to a clean house and nothing to worry about.
This update is brought to you by nervous energy and randomness all thrown together. 
A lot has been happening in the last week that I just don't have time to write about. Training with the dogs is on hold for now. Both dogs have been making progress on loose leash walking so we will have to see if they remember anything when I am able to work with them again. Valkyrie and I probably won't make it out to any agility trials until the fall. Bummer. But we'll get over that. She enjoys training and so do I.
I did switch Kieran's food to Bravo raw chicken blend. Actually we are still in the process of switching. It hasn't been great but it hasn't been awful either. Crossing my fingers that it gets better. Especially since my sister is going to be taking care of him for at least the next week maybe a bit longer.
Maybe when I am sitting around the house doing nothing but recovering from surgery I will do a real update. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hate IBD

I hate IBD. I am tired of diarrhea with unknown causes. I am just tired.Poor Kieran must be tired of the diarrhea too. It sucks. For all of us.
That is all the whining I am going to do. For now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's all about me.

Ok. Just this one post.
I just need to get it out there. I am scared.
There I said it. Maybe it won't have so much power over me anymore.

I have to give the back story in order for my fears to make sense to others.. Back in December I went to the doctor for a stomach ache that just wouldn't go away. A couple days before christmas I had an ultra sound. A couple days after christmas my doctor contacted me to let me know I had a small mass on my right ovary and that was what was causing me pain. So I called an obgyn to make an appointment about how to proceed with treatment. On new years I was in so much pain that I almost went to the emergency room. A few days later I went to the obgyn and he told me that I had an 8cm cyst on my right ovary. 8cm?? That's about the size of a baseball!  Decidedly not small. It had to go.

I made a follow up appointment for another ultrasound with the obgyn. However, before I went in for the second ultra sound, I was in so much pain that I decided to go to the ER on January 13th . At the ER they did an ultrasound and found that the cyst had not grown any larger. They also discovered that I am allergic to morphine.Fun times. Surgery with my obgyn was scheduled for January 20th.
On January 20th I had surgery to remove the cyst on my ovary as well as my right ovary. I expected to wake up and know that I was going to be feeling better in just 6weeks. What I heard instead was that it wasn't a cyst on my ovary at all and I still had a very large mass in my abdomen. WHAT!? I was angry. Biopsies were done to determine what we were dealing with. The obgyn also measured my tumor while he was in there and it was determined to be almost 10cm.

The biopsies came back that I have a schwannoma tumor.  It's basically a benign tumor made up of schwann cells(part of the nervous system). The tumor sits behind my ovaries and is resting on, maybe even connected to, the base of my spine. Once the tumor was identified the hunt was on for a specialist to remove it. An oncologist in Boston was recommended to me. She doesn't think most of my symptoms are from the tumor but I am still hopeful that I will feel better once it is removed.
In eleven days- not including today- I go in to have surgery. Again. I am scared. I wasn't scared the first time around. I was so happy that I would actually be out of pain once I healed from surgery. This surgery I have had plenty of time to think about. And worry about. I know I will be fine. I like my doctor and she is good at what she does. I will be in the hospital for a maximum of five days- not including the day of surgery.

I feel guilty too. My sister and her fiance are taking on full responsibility of my dogs while I am recovering. Again. I feel like I am abusing the kindness of my family. Like I am asking too much and not giving anything in return. I don't know how I can or will ever repay their generosity.

I need to take control of these emotions. I will be fine. And some how, some way I will find an appropriate way to show my thanks to my sister and her fiance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finding the right food.

Finding the right food for Kieran is going to be an ongoing struggle and probably something I will talk about on a regular basis. Kieran was diagnosed last October with having Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD). Basically what this means is that his intestines don't always work right due to inflammation and cause him to have diarrhea. Kieran has food allergies as well- beef, soy, carrots, flax, oats and white potatoes. His food allergies certainly set off inflammation in his intestines. But right now he is having serious bouts of diarrhea and there has been no change in his diet for months. Something is causing his IBD to act up.

I am thinking about switching Kieran's food. Currently he is eating Evo 95% salmon and herring canned food. It has done wonders for him. He has been eating this food since November and it stopped his diarrhea and helped him to gain six pounds since early December. However, with no recent change in his diet I am wondering if I should try something different. Maybe he has developed a reaction to this food over time. It certainly is possible. IBD is a mean disease that doesn't have any real defined course of development. It does it's own thing and Kieran and I have to suffer the consequences.

The food I am considering switching Kieran to is Bravo.  I can't decide between Bravo basic chicken and Bravo boneless buffalo.  I can't decide for selfish reasons. Ideally Kieran should be on a novel protein- something he hasn't previously had- like buffalo. However, Kieran hasn't had chicken since October. The terrible selfish reason behind my wanting to try the chicken based food is that it is a little cheaper than the buffalo. Also, it is more accessible. I am a bad mother trying to save a few dollars at the potential expense of Kieran's intestines.

I am really going to have to think this over for a while. I can't make spit second decisions when it comes to Kieran and his diet. I need to weigh my decision carefully and take into consideration what is really best for Kieran. I'm also going to call Kieran's vet over at Smith Ridge Vet Center. Maybe he will have some insight on what I should do about Kieran's diet. For now I will do quite a bit of research and hope for the best.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Every bully deserves a home.

Some of my friends decided to do an awesome thing and start their own rescue. Rescue-a-Bull. I cannot even begin to express how proud I am of all of them. I wish I was better with words because I could go on and on about how wonderful each and every one of these people are that started this rescue. But if I did try to put it in writing it would just be crazy ramblings with the words- wonderful, amazing, selfless, groovy, thoughtful, remarkable, sensational, devoted, courageous, etc.- all thrown together. Because all those words apply to every single member, volunteer and supporter of this rescue. Truly phenomenal people.

I can't even imagine how difficult it is to start and run an organization like this. This rescue has no central location/shelter(although it is based in the northeast)- all the dogs are kept in foster homes until their forever home is found. This means that the rescue is completely dependent on volunteers. People that are willing to step up and open their homes and hearts to dogs in need for an unknown amount of time. Those that foster are some of the most selfless people around. They put so much into their fosters that these dogs literally are their family. I guess it is similar to raising a child and watching them go out in to the world on their own. But better- because they know their fosters are going to amazing homes. I wish I was in a position to foster. Unfortunately, right now is not the right time. Maybe some day in the future. But in the meantime I will definitely support my friends over at Rescue-a-bull.
One thing that Rescue-a-Bull will never lack is pit bulls in need of loving homes. 

Ps. I think I may have to get one of these T-shirts.
Edit: They have an incredibly helpful forum too!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Loose leash

Kieran and I went to a loose leash training class offered by the pet store near us. It was useless. I was very disappointed. Thankfully it was only ten dollars and Kieran got some exercise and sunshine out of it. Kieran, of course, was an angel on his leash. I even had him on just the flat collar. I was hoping for lots of doggy distractions but there was only one other dog in the class. A deaf dalmatian puppy. The trainer worked mostly with the other dog because she was a serious puller. Everything the trainer said to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash I already knew- stopping forward progress when the leash gets tight, turning and walking the other way, rewards for walking with a loose leash, etc.  I guess we are just going to have to work really hard on this by ourselves.

It's very hard for me to train with Kieran since he has so many food allergies and has a seriously sensitive stomach. Any little change gives him an upset tummy. He has little to no toy drive so finding the right reward is tough. Then one of my rescue friends mentioned that I should try baking Kieran's canned dog food(Evo 95% salmon&herring) to make into treats since I already know that it doesn't upset his stomach. Brilliant! I wish I had thought of this myself months ago. I am currently trying to find the right way to bake it so that it doesn't stay all mushy. Eventually I will find the perfect formula.

I made a small amount of baked treats for Kieran and we went out for our afternoon walk. My goodness! What a difference. I know that food rewards are an amazing thing but Kieran probably could have gotten some amazing scores for competition heeling. He walked almost the entire walk by my side. The next day I did the same thing but apparently food appeal can only go so far. Kieran didn't pull but he wasn't glued to my side either. He would wander out front for a few strides and then jump back into position at my side. I'll take it. I am verbally praising him as well when he is in a position I like. I am still using the head halter with him just in case of serious distractions on our walks. Dogs, people and little critters(birds and squirrels) are going to be hard for him to overcome. Kieran spins and whines when he sees any of these things on our walks. Having food has definitely helped. People became a lot less interesting and dogs became a little less interesting (depending partly on Valkyrie's reaction to the other dog). Food had absolutely no effect on the squirrels and birds. But I have seen some amazing progress with food on just two walks. We could be on our way to a very blissful walking relationship.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


One year ago today in a crazy madness filled day I brought home my little Special K!!  I can't even believe that it has been a full year. I also can't believe it has only been a year. This past year has had it's ups and downs(more downs than ups- but that is for another time- this post is going to be full of happy!)
Baby Kieran was just a fun little guy. Happy and confident and full of potential. Kieran is still such a baby in so many ways. He is still so full of potential. He hasn't had the chance to experience life to it's fullest- yet!  So here is a year in photo review.
First night home

Agility star

Super Kieran!
I left out a lot of pictures because some of them just break my heart. So these are the ones that over the past year have really made me smile. Happy Gotcha Day Kieran!!!
2010 Christmas
Playing ball

Friday, March 11, 2011


One year ago today a now dear friend let me know I was approved to adopt Kieran- then he was known as Justice. The second dog! Finally! I'd been hunting for so long for that perfect match for my little family. Kieran sounded like what I was looking for. Playful, energetic, interested in toys, mellow around the house and got along with other dogs and cats.  And this photo was what helped me decide.
Who could resist such a cute face?

We had seven weeks of total bliss.  Then the honeymoon was over. It's so hard for me to believe that I have two of the most wonderful dogs out there and that they can't seem to get along. Valkyrie is still a very good girl. She just hates her brother. Kieran is a very good boy. He is still learning but he learns quickly. We live in a crate and rotate situation now. One dog must be crated if the other is loose in the house. Not at all what I expected when I adopted the second dog. Thankfully I can walk both dogs together. I am hoping to try to do slow reintroductions over the summer- once Kieran and I are both feeling better.
I do not regret choosing to bring Kieran home. He needed me. We had a long troubled road last year. But he has brought me unbelievable amounts of joy in that time too. He has connected me to an amazing group of friends that I might not have otherwise met. My little family is so loved and supported by so many now. And I love all of those that have been there for us and helped us through some very tough times.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Yesterday my dad came home from the hospital. It was his fifth hospital in less than 12 months. I hope that this time is permanent.  I am glad dad is home but I am scared to get my hopes up that this time it is for good. Or even a really long time. I don't feel up to emotionally rehashing the whole thing right now. So here is a very basic list of his medical issues-
1. Blood on the brain(Bilateral subdural hematoma)
2. Hole in spinal cord
3. Low brain pressure due to hole in spinal cord
4. Intestinal cancer
5. Heart conditions found while prepping for cancer surgery. 
6. Some complications from abdominal surgery.

But he is home. For now. And I can breath easy for a bit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Valkyrie&Tori

I've seen many other bloggers with this. I like it.

Valkyrie DOES snuggle with other people.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2 dogs- 2 walking styles

Well actually that isn't true. They both pull, I mean walk, the same. Even though neither dog weighs very much I feel like I am being pulled apart at the seams when I try and walk them on a flat collar. 

I have never been able to teach Valkyrie to walk politely on a leash. This is probably more my fault than hers. As I have stated before- I had no idea about dog training when I brought Valkyrie home. I don't even think I made an effort to train her to do anything at all until she was nearly two years old.  I didn't make a serious effort to train her to do anything until she was four years old and all hell broke loose and a training intervention was desperately needed. Somehow I have put agility titles on this dog and can't manage to teach her to walk nicely on a leash? There is something very wrong with this picture. 
Quite a few years ago I bought a gentle leader for Valkyrie. She nearly ripped her face off. No amount of cookies was going to be good enough to properly acclimate her to this new head halter. I needed a way to walk her without having my shoulder pulled out of its socket. I tried a choke collar. And it worked. But I felt terrible about using it. Once Valkyrie figured out that I wasn't going to follow through with the "pop" of the choke collar she leaned in real hard and would choke herself. For a long time I just left her on a flat collar and let her yank me around. Last summer I discovered the sense-ation harness. I decided to try it out. Valkyrie certainly isn't a saint on a leash now(also more my fault than hers) but I can walk her without injuring myself.  She doesn't pull as much as before and now I have more control when she does pull. I plan on working more with her in this harness and maybe by summertime we will have mastered the art of loose leash walking. 

Kieran is also a master puller. He has had a rough start- he's been very sick with inflammatory bowel disease(IBD) but that topic is a whole other post or ten by itself- but that certainly doesn't break his pulling spirit. He has places to go and people to meet and it all has to be done before the end of the walk. I planned to buy Kieran a sense-ation harness since I liked how well it worked with Valkyrie. But money has been tight so I decided to try the gentle leader on Kieran. He certainly was not thrilled with it initially. However, he can be bought. Just a few minutes each day over the course of a couple days I was able to convince him that every time the head halter went on he would get something very yummy. Yesterday we went on our first walk. I won't call it a phenomenal success but it was definitely progress. I know I need to work with him by himself to get it just right. He didn't pull once he realized that it wasn't going to get him anywhere. Right now with the limited amount of daylight I walk the dogs together. Once there is more daylight I plan to walk the dogs individually to work on their loose leash walking. Kieran and I are also going to attend a loose leash walking seminar next weekend. Crossing fingers and paws that we learn something(and then apply it!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

9 years ago.

Nine years ago my beautiful Valkyrie was born. I am still truly amazed that she is nine years old. She came to me a few months after she was born.  My life at that time was turmoil but in a good way(I can say that NOW that time has passed). I was transitioning from one point in my life to another. My life feels like it is still in transition. But I have my Valkyrie. She has been with me through so much. Always there for me.
Valkyrie is my slightly neurotic American Pit Bull Terrier(APBT). I had no idea what I was doing in regards to training a dog when I got her- even though I already had an older pit bull/boxer mix, Peanut. Valkyrie has an official name and everything. How fancy! Zell's Valkyrie CGC, NAC, NJC, TN-O, NCC, TG-N. All those letters after her name each have meaning. They stand for different agility titles she has earned over the past few years as well as her CGC(Canine Good Citizen award). Each of those titles have personal meaning to me too. We worked hard as a team to earn these titles but mostly we had a lot of fun getting there.
This blog is just a space for me to rant and rave about my life and adventures with my dogs. Yes, I said dogs. I have a second dog, Kieran. He is a little pit bull mix. But today's post is about Valkyrie. Because she is my princess.
Happy birthday my beautiful Valkyrie-bean!

 Baby Valkyrie.

Valkyrie the day I brought her home.

Valkyrie last week.