When Life Gets in the Way

Let’s face it, this is a pretty superficial blog. I don’t dive into anything serious, life-changing, thought-provoking, etc. I mean, I hope people enjoy it for what it is – a dog blog. I love my dogs and I love to write. But the mindset behind just about every post I write is generally, “how does this topic relate to my dogs?” Even personal posts, if you can call them that, tie back to the dogs because, well, it’s a dog blog, not a diary.

Sure, every once in a while I dive into personal stuff but even then it’s not really about me. It’s about events that happen.

You may have noticed that for the past few weeks the blog has been relatively quiet; part of it because work is insanely busy; part of it is because there isn’t anything of note related to the dogs to write about. I took Lucy to Petsmart last night to get her nails ground down – not exactly good blog fodder, wouldn’t you agree?

But a big part is that I have a life going on outside of this blog which, at times, affects my motivation to write. While I’m contradicting my previous statement about not writing about anything personal, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve struggled with an eating disorder and depression/anxiety for a good part of the last 10 years. Through a lot of work I’ve been able to (mostly) get past the eating disorder (and CrossFit has had a TON to do with that). But the funny thing about depression is that, even if on medication, just when you think you have it under control, it rears its ugly head.

A small part of me hesitates to put this out there; depression has such a stigma but I’m also beyond that. If people have a stigma against it, that’s their problem.

Anyway, obviously I’m implying the past few weeks have been one of those down times. There have been issues in my personal life (not related to work) which have forced this most recent bout of depression. There was serious thought to a complete upheaval of my current situation (again, not work related) but I made the decision to seek help to get through this most recent down time and then reevaluate when I’m in a better frame of mind.

Fortunately, my dogs always put a smile on my face and in a few weeks, once the spring semester is over, there will be a lot more time to spend with them!
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Seeking Answers

I hesitate to post too much about Isaac because, while very few people read this blog, I don’t want to taint anyone’s opinion of Isaac (or anything about my life) by reading small snippets. Most posts are written because at the time of writing them, a certain issue is really bothering me. Writing as always been therapeutic for me. But as happens in life, a few weeks later what was really bothering is now in the rear view mirror. But here we go anyway…

Something in Isaac’s behavior lately indicates that he needs some help. What kind of help is the million dollar question. His aggression (outside the home – always outside the home) has gotten a bit worse and now we need to figure out why – is it behavioral and therefore able to be alleviated through training or is it health-related? Is there something going on in his little peabrain that’s making him act differently?
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His thyroid tests came back and while the base levels are slightly low, his TSH (thyroid stimulation hormone) levels are perfectly normal, meaning his thyroid is actually functioning at a normal level. Our vet believes that the next step is behavioral training. If we keep up with training we should see a difference.

The elephant in the room? What if we don’t see a difference in his behavior? Then what? Then we have to continue digging. I’m hoping to see the behavioral trainer within the next 7-10 days and really buckle down on training. A SNORT board member sent me this article which is a training technique I can – and will – immediately implement.

Our walks might look a little different from now on...

Our walks might look a little different from now on…

I’m not going to go into the possibilities if we find out we’re dealing with something that can’t be rectified with behavioral training. That’s too far down the road. But I love Isaac and I so desperately want to help him. While he can be aggressive, do you know what I found out last week? Big, rough, tough Isaac is petrified of thunder storms. He was shaking so hard the other night he woke me up! I can hug and kiss him (and frequently do, more than is normal or acceptable) and smother him with love. I can take random chicken wing bones he picks up on our walks (I know, gross) right out of his mouth without so much as a snap from him. I know he is a sweet dog and I want everyone else to know that, too.

Oh, I love him.

Oh, I love him.

Determined

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not that there isn’t stuff going on but nothing terribly interesting. For a week or so the weather was gorgeous so we had the dogs outside a lot for walks and playtime, the latter of which Lucy enjoys.

Strutting her stuff at the dog park.

Strutting her stuff at the dog park.

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We spent a quiet Easter at home; with our work schedules we weren’t able to make a trip back to New Jersey to see family so we had a surprisingly relaxing weekend at home.

But now for the title of this post. Isaac is of course still with us and there isn’t an adoption in his near future from what I know of the applications (or lack thereof) that have come in for him. We’re closing in on nine months with him and there are still parts of his behavior that I’m convinced have to be “fixed” or at least alleviated before he’ll be a successful adoption story.

Isaac definitely needs more obedience training; while he loves to walk, he loves to walk where he wants to walk. And if I try to guide him toward the route I want to take, it’s a no go. Obviously I’m supposed to be the one leading Isaac, not the other way around, so there’s one area on which we can improve.

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But what I’m most concerned with, honestly, is his behavior. He has never, ever been friendly toward other dogs (except Lucy, but we all know that Isaac’s version of friendly doesn’t go over well with Lucy…). From day one we picked up on that and I chalked it up to him allegedly having been attacked as a puppy.

Lately, though, he’s been hit or miss with people for no reason I can determine and I’m not going to let him continue being that way. I took Isaac to the vet today for some routine bloodwork to make sure there isn’t an underlying health concern that’s making him crankier than normal and then I’m going to try my best to enroll him in a behavior training session (or two, or three).

Hamming it up at the vet.

Hamming it up at the vet.

I’ve never met a sweeter dog when he’s inside his home. Around myself and Marty he’s a total marshmallow. He cuddles with us, lets us get close to his face, give him hugs and kisses, etc. Outside the home, though, he’s too hot and cold for my liking. I refuse to believe he can’t change so I’m going to exhaust all options. I love him to death and that’s why I’m determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on inside that head of his!