Trust Your Instinct

Just an interesting little note from my morning walks with Isaac. We walk pretty early (7:15ish) but not insanely early. However, because it’s December, it’s definitely not completely light out at that time, especially on overcast days. We rarely run into other people and almost never see another dog (the lack of other dogs is ideal!) so it’s generally just me and Isaac.

"I love me a good walk!"

“I love me a good walk!”

So, sometimes when I see someone in the neighborhood that I don’t recognize while we’re on our walk, I’m a bit more on guard. And whoever said dogs can’t pick up on the emotions of their owners is dead wrong.

For instance, one morning last month we were walking down an alley when a very large African American man came walking towards us. First things first – I am an unbiased as they come. I grew up in a diverse area and I could not care less what color a person’s skin is. However, this guy had an odd gait, was WAY bigger and stronger than me and I could think of no real viable reason in my head he’d be walking down the alley away from his home at 7:15 in the morning dressed in sweats. And Isaac – who loves almost all people – just wasn’t that friendly to him. In fact, if I remember correctly, he actually growled at him. He didn’t lunge or make a move but I firmly believe he could tell I was a bit uncomfortable and reacted accordingly.

Then, this morning, a young white man in pajama pants, earrings up the wazoo (again, just a description, I’m not being a prejudiced jerk – people are allowed to have earrings) and a ski cap on was walking toward us. Ends up he lives in the house where two murderers used to live just a few months ago (not his fault, I know, but still skeeves me out). He wanted to pet Isaac and I let him, but Isaac’s ears were pinned back the entire time – a 100 percent clear sign Isaac wasn’t completely on board with this guy. Definitely NOT how Isaac greets 99 percent of people.

"I'm a nice guy...most of the time!"

“I’m a nice guy…most of the time!”

Really, this is a completely random post but the subject popped into my head today when Isaac reacted strangely for the second time in a month to random people. I think it’s fascinating that Isaac either did not like those people all on his own or he picked up on my uneasiness. I tend to think it’s the latter which is all the more fascinating. It makes me think twice about how I react to and around my dogs.

I must say though, having Isaac with me on walks makes me feel incredibly safe. He is strong and he can obviously tell when I’m uncomfortable. Not the worst walking buddy to have!

The Survey of Fours

Another survey! I know, a cop-out but I love reading these kinds of surveys so hopefully some of you will, as well.

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1. Katie (because my real name is Kathryn)
2. Kathryn Anne (my FULL real name)
3. A not-so-nice name my brother still calls me on occasion (rhymes with “witch”)
4. Nothing else I can think of.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Babysitter
2. Camp counselor
3. Ice cream scooper/take-out window girl at Friendly’s
4. Sports Information Director (various places)

Pretty much my favorite dessert ever.

Pretty much my favorite dessert ever.

(source)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. Clue
2. Robin Hood Men in Tights
3. White Christmas
4. Pretty Woman

"Tight tights!"

“Tight tights!”

(source)

Four books I’d recommend: 
1. Bet Me
2. The Great Gatsby
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (really, the entire series)
4. Chronicles of Calvin and Hobbes

Four places I’ve lived:
1. Morristown, N.J.
2. Ithaca, N.Y.
3. Easton, Pa.
4. Selinsgrove, Pa.

Four places I’ve visited:
1. Bahamas
2. Stone Harbor, N.J.
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Poconos

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. Bed
2. On the beach somewhere warm
3. In N.J. with my family
4. On the couch with the dogs

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Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Brussels sprouts
2. Spam
3. Oysters
4. Black licorice

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Wine (pinot grigio, to be exact)
2. Chocolate
3. Brownies
4. Chocolate chip cookies
5. Chocolate frosting (I couldn’t stop at four)

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

(source)

Four TV shows I watch:
1. Modern Family
2. 24 (does it count if it’s no longer on?!)
3. Say Yes to the Dress
4. What Not to Wear

Four things I’m looking forward to:
1. Officially graduating from Kansas State with my Master’s in academic advising
2. Christmas with my family
3. The birth of one of my best friend’s baby
4. A CrossFit competition? A half-marathon? One or both of those things will happen!

Four things I’m always saying:
1. I love you, too.
2. I love you, be good (to the dogs)
3. I’m tired.
4. Come on, Isaac.

Sometimes he likes to dawdle on walks.

Sometimes he likes to dawdle on walks.

Thankful

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Isaac is very, very thankful for walks.

Isaac is very, very thankful for walks.

Let me see, how can I sum up our four-day roadtrip? Well, we survived.

It was about as stressful as I thought it would be. Long car rides and two new environments caused a lot of excitement, stimulation and extra energy for Isaac and Lucy. The problem is that Isaac expresses his energy and excitement by humping Lucy. He saw more than his fair share of timeouts, especially since there was heavy rainfall all day Wednesday, meaning there were limited chances for Isaac to work off his energy outside.

It was frustrating to say the least because in every other way he was the perfect house guest. He just got overly excited with all the new faces, noises, etc. and Lucy bore the brunt of that.

We were able to get him out for a super long walk on Thanksgiving afternoon since the rain had moved out. While it didn’t immediately zap him of his energy, by the time we headed to my parents’ on Friday morning he had slowed down at least a bit.

"Walks? I love walks!"

“Walks? I love walks!”

Things were slightly more manageable at my parents’ house. We were only there 24 hours and the weather was cold but nice enough for plenty of walks with my mom. We even got Lucy and Isaac to share the dog bed on Friday night, which goes to show how tired they both were because that has never even come close to happening before.

Of course, he was back to Mr. Humpty on Saturday morning and found himself in timeout twice in the span of an hour. Sigh.

"But I'm so cute!"

“But I’m so cute!”

But, we’re home now, Lucy has the safety of her couch and both dogs are still on the tired side.

Now to survive the next holiday – Christmas!

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

A Day in the Life

A lot of bloggers (and I actually read mostly health/fitness blogs, not dog blogs, believe it or not) write “day in the life” posts and I find them pretty interesting. Maybe it’s just because I’m super nosy. Anyway, I thought I’d document a normal day in my life. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes it’s really easy to forget the little things that separate one foster from another, such as our daily routines so I thought this would be kind of interesting.

For instance, we always took Lucy and Snowy (Violet) and Lucy and Cindy (Nellie) out together. Neither dog ran off and all of those dogs enjoyed being outside together. Not so much with Isaac since he A: runs away and B: only wants to hump Lucy when they’re together.

So here we go…

5 a.m. – Alarm goes off. Since I started going to 6 a.m. CrossFit classes, I can actually press snooze once or twice. When I ran in the mornings, I had to make sure I was actually up at five so I could warm-up and still have time for a decent run.

5:15 a.m. – Roll out of bed.

5:20 a.m. – Take the doggies out one by one, Lucy first (this way Isaac has a spot to mark quickly…otherwise we wander aimlessly as he searches for the perfect spot to mark).

5:50 a.m. – Leave for CrossFit. While I’m gone, Marty eventually gets up and feeds the dogs.

7:10 a.m. – Walk Isaac. No matter the weather, we walk. And now he has a glorious sweater to wear when it’s super cold :-)

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8:30 a.m. – Leave for work. Marty leaves for work later than I do so he takes them out again before he leaves.

12 p.m. – Come home for lunch. I work less than a mile away so I always get home for lunch. I eat and then take the dogs out. I spend 10-15 minutes walking Isaac who gets increasingly pissed when he realizes it’s going to be a very short walk. Then I spend 10-15 minutes while Lucy sits in the yard doing nothing productive. Both dogs then get some peanut butter in the their Kongs and I head back to work.

5-5:30 p.m. – Usually get home from work. (On days we have a home athletic event, I get home at 4:30, feed the dogs, then head back to work until 10 or so). The dogs are fed, I change into junk clothes and Isaac and I head out for a long walk.

6 p.m. – Wine time. Always.

7-9 p.m. – Bum time, as Marty and I call it. It’s usually me and the dogs for a while; Marty usually leaves work around 7:30. I spend the time before Marty gets home making sure Isaac doesn’t constantly hump Lucy and trying to divide up toys since Lucy seems to ONLY want whatever toy Isaac has (sounds like children…).

See? This was the new toy meat for Isaac that wound up in Lucy's mouth...

See? This was the new toy meant for Isaac that wound up in Lucy’s mouth…

9 p.m. – Bedtime for me. Marty’s up way later so he takes them out again.

Pretty exciting life, huh?

"Fascinating story, mom."

“Fascinating story, mom.”

Christmas Came Early

Isaac got some wonderful early Christmas gifts from his secret SNORT Santa!

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He literally got everything on his wish list! A sweater (because he’s half bald and it’s getting cold on our walks!), a bone, treats and coconut oil!

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He literally grabbed the bone – still in the plastic – right from the box.

Of course, who somehow wound up with the bone?

Shocking.

Shocking.

The best part to me, though? THE SWEATER. I can’t handle the handsomeness.

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It’s funny to say Isaac is lucky because he still hasn’t found his perfect forever home but today he is one extra-loved dog.

Phoning It In

Susquehanna is hosting eight basketball games this weekend. Yup, eight. We had two last night, four today and two more on Sunday. It’s an annual men’s and women’s tournament and it makes for an ungodly long and tiring weekend. Probably the worst weekend of the year in regards to hours worked. Plus Marty has been gone since Thursday morning (he’s back tonight) so it’s been me and the doggies plus some REALLY awesome dogsitters. Absolutely could not get through this weekend without their help.

Anyway, the gist of my rambling is that I have barely seen the dogs which means I’ve got nothing in regards to new content so I thought I’d take the easy route and fill out a survey I saw on another blog. Enjoy!

What are you into lately?

Crossfit. I’ve become mildly obsessed.

Celeb on Instagram?

Does Magoo count? I say yes.

B26-bMUCcAA0fFI

Cocktail?

Not big into cocktails. Just give me wine. But if I had to choose, tequila sunrise. (I actually prefer straight tequila but obviously that’s not a cocktail!).

Food Indulgence?

Chocolate. Duh.

Beauty products?

I was actually REALLY impressed with the Sally Hansen gel nail polish. It doesn’t require an LED light and it truly doesn’t chip.

Way to wind down?

See above – wine, chocolate. Time with the dogs, too, obviously.

Piece of jewelry?

I’m not big into jewelry. I pretty much just wear earrings and a ring. So my favorite piece of jewelry is my mom’s childhood ring. It actually fits me and I wear it a LOT.

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It’s That Time of Year Again

I LOVE the holidays. Love them. I love them as much now as I did when I was a kid, albeit in different ways now that I’m an adult (even if I don’t feel like one). One of the only pitfalls is holiday travel. Even without adding dogs into the mix, the travel isn’t easy. It’s two-and-a-half hours from here to to my parents’ house, anywhere from three-and-a-half to four hours from here to Marty’s parents’ house and it’s a good two-and-a-half hours from my parents’ house to Marty’s parents’ house.

Got that?

No matter where we spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, we always make sure to visit both families over the course of each holiday weekend. For the first two years it was just Marty and me or just Marty, me and Lucy. Since last year, it’s been Marty, me, Lucy and whatever foster dog we currently have! Last year it was Snowy (now Violet):

Relaxing during Christmas in South Jersey.

Relaxing during Christmas in South Jersey.

The logistics aren’t easy because we have to pack ourselves, dogs, gifts, dog supplies and Marty’s bike (heaven forbid he not travel with his bike). Last year was stressful because Snowy was still only partially housetrained and I was petrified we’d be cleaning up messes left and right. The actual car ride, though, could not have gone better.

They loved each other so much.

They loved each other so much.

And she never even had one accident so it was a highly successful trip!

This year, we have Isaac…

Hi!

Hi!

For those who don’t watch or appreciate Modern Family, this is how I envision a three-hour car ride with Lucy and Isaac would go, only inside the car, not on the roof:

modern family
(source)

One solution? I drive a CR-V so we could put him the back but I don’t think would go over well because I don’t think he’d take kindly – to put it mildly – to being separated from everyone.

So, we’ll be taking two cars to drive to the same exact places. And then I’ll spend Thanksgiving (and potentially Christmas if we still have the big lug) as one ball of stress as I try to stop Isaac from humping Lucy every chance he gets.

Fun times, for sure.

A No-Update Update

The title of this post really says it all. There aren’t updates of any significance to report. Isaac is still with us and still being Isaac, meaning we spend walks dodging other dogs (and apparently tall black men…he flipped out today on our morning walk. Although maybe he was just protecting me and he’s not really a racist since we were walking down a side street at 6:45 a.m. in the semi-dark – by the way, I’m being sarcastic).

"Just protecting my only source of food!"

“Just protecting my only source of food!”

Anyway, I digress. We’re certainly trying our hardest to find him a home with the “we” being myself and S.N.O.R.T. He’s the group’s featured foster this month so I’m hoping we generate more apps which will only increase our odds of finding him the perfect home.

It’s hard not to discouraged because of the big factors working against him: his age and his incompatibility with other dogs. However, when I look back to our first foster, Cindy (now Nellie), I know Isaac can find his perfect home. Nellie was not young, either, had just gotten over heartworm and lyme treatment, had (has) bad joints and was not spayed. She was a puppy mill survivor who had all the odds stacked against her; a lifetime of abuse and neglect didn’t lend themselves to a long, happy life for her. But we were patient and she found a better home than I could have dreamed and is thriving.

Oh man, I miss her.

Oh man, I miss her.

Lucy, meanwhile, is still putting up with Isaac’s bouts of completely unwanted affection. She’s being a trooper, that’s for sure, but we definitely need to find Isaac a forever home soon so Lucy can go back to peace and quiet, at least until we foster again. :-)

I was able to take her with me to my Crossfit box last Friday for a nutrition lecture (for humans, not dogs!). It was an informal event and because all I do is talk about my dogs, everyone there knows about Lucy anyway so she was made more than welcome! She was hilarious with her butt-wiggling, bone-chewing and general cuteness :-) I’m trying to take her more places by herself so she can get away from Isaac on occasion!

Crossfit doggie!

Crossfit doggie!

At this point, it sure looks like we’ll still have two dogs for the holidays, or at least for Thanksgiving, which means it will take a great deal of planning to make that trip feasible and not a complete disaster.

“I Get To”

I really don’t talk publicly about some of the deeper issues with which I’ve dealt over the past…10 years? (Wow, hard to believe it’s been that long). I suffered from an eating disorder and anxiety/depression and to a certain extent still do. These issues are almost always under control now but they’re issues I always fear will return. There are some days I forget what it was like to live through that and other days where I feel exactly how I felt for all those years. But as the years have passed, I’m not really afraid or embarrassed to talk about these issues; I don’t go around speaking unprompted about them, but they’re not things I hide anymore.

Anyway, one thing that gets me to readjust my thinking on those “my life s*cks” days is to repeat the simple phrase, “I get to.” I was thinking about it today while I was home for lunch break and walked in to this sweet mush of a face:

lucy_couch_tongue

Instead of letting every negative thought cross my mind – like “Lucy will take forever to do her business” or “Isaac is going to pee on every single bush on our walk and I’ll barely have to eat lunch” – I think to myself, “I get to.” I get to come home every single day for lunch. I get to take care of these two doggies that I love. I get to come home to them every night. I get to take them for walks. I get to exercise. I get to go to work. Those are all things not everyone gets to do.

A quick change of words from “I have to” to “I get to” shifts everything. Things seem less like a burden and more like a privilege when you phrase it this way.

I’m not a patient person by nature but this phrase also helps to calm me down when I’m about to lose it. It’s become particularly helpful since I got dogs because, even though I love them, they do routinely  test my patience.

I have no idea where this post really came from as it’s not directly bulldog-related but maybe it can help someone having a rough time of it.

“Screw You”

That’s pretty much what Isaac said to me yesterday.

Ok, so I know I’m going to scare S.N.O.R.T. with this story but all is well that ends well!

Yesterday I had no plans after work and I realized Lucy needed her nails filed down at Petsmart so I figured after I fed Lucy and Isaac dinner, I’d take Lucy over to Petsmart. I fed the dogs, leashed up Lucy, nudged her out the door and quickly blocked the door to keep Isaac inside. Yeah, well, that plan failed because Isaac pushed his large noggin right past my legs and made a mad dash into the karate school parking lot in front of our apartment.

Uh oh.

(A key point to the story – there was a man sitting in his pickup truck, presumably killing time until karate lessons were over).

As Isaac made a mad dash through the parking lot, I shouted his name and he turned around. That’s when he looked me dead in the eyes, silently said “screw you,” turned around and continued on his merry way. Yes, screw me indeed.

"Haha!"

“Haha!”

The man in the pickup truck watched the whole thing unravel and tried to coax Isaac over to him but Isaac was having none of that.

Isaac proceeded to cross the street (heart attack #1) and run right down the sidewalk (at least he was on the sidewalk?) on what is one of our normal walking routes. All while taking pee breaks. Priorities, I suppose.

Keep in mind, though, Lucy was with me as she was already out on the porch ready for her car ride when Isaac dashed past us. I also had my purse with me and heels on since I had just gotten home from work. So I literally dragged Lucy through the parking lot, trying to keep Isaac in eye sight. Several times Lucy stopped dead in her tracks (remember, she hates walks so asking her to run was asking the impossible) but I had no choice but continue dragging her along. I thought for sure her dinner was going to make a reappearance with all her running.

Isaac turned the corner toward Dominos (smart dog) and a busy Market Street (dumb dog and heart attack #2). However, at that moment, the guy in the pickup truck turned the corner. He had hopped back in his car and followed us!! Isaac was busy peeing on a lamp post when the guy stopped his truck on the side of the road. Now Isaac was in a dilemma. He clearly had no desire to come back with me but he LOVES cars. And strangers, apparently, because he went over to the guy and hopped right into the driver’s seat.

The man drove back to our apartment and when I finally got back with Lucy still in tow, there was Isaac, happy as a clam in the back seat of the truck, grinning at me from between the front seats.

Not my shining moment, nor Isaac’s, although I’m sure he’d disagree. I swear I’m not an irresponsible pet owner; I take Lucy out every day without him sneaking out the door. I guess he just really wanted to go on a car ride with us.

Without going into details, the night spiraled downward from there (freshly-cleaned socks that fell into the dogs’ water bowl, a brand new skirt shrunken in the dryer…I could go on).

Isaac simultaneously makes me so angry and so happy. It’s a special gift he has.

PS – Happy Halloween! Here’s the doggies’ treat for the day!

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