Take Your Pet to Work Day

Just checking in with an adorable photo from today! Around 11 a.m. I found out today (June 26) was not only Derek Jeter’s birthday but also Take Your Pet to Work Day! On Fridays during the summer I try to leave the office by mid-afternoon so I figured if I brought Isaac back to the office with me after lunch he could hang out and meet people before calling it a day.

He got antsy quickly since I had to shut my office door so he wouldn’t escape but I got him to sit still long enough in front of our official athletics backdrop to snap a quick photo (or five!).

The next SU mascot.

The next SU mascot.

Of course Lucy was jealous Isaac got to go for a car ride so after work she got a ride to PetSmart to get her nails ground down; let’s just say the car ride was the highlight of that trip. She’s not a fan of the groomers although they’re certainly fans of her.

I figured we’d do as many activities as possible today since the weekend is just about guaranteed to be a washout and neither dog ventures outside in the rain. Wish us luck with our soggy weather!

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The Best Week Ever

Just a few hours ago, Marty and I returned from what I deem the best week ever. My parents take semi-frequent vacations to various U.S. Virgin Islands and on their most recent booking to St. Croix, they offered to let myself and Marty come with them. They were renting a two bedroom house and they obviously only needed one of those bedrooms so when they posed the question of whether we were interested in occupying the other bedroom, the answer was a very emphatic YES!
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For the past 9-10 days, I have been completely disconnected. I did not bring my laptop, only sporadically turned my phone on and pretty much avoided any talk of work 99% of the time.

Because it was such a perfect week, I wanted to document it so that I could remember it for a very, very long time:

We flew out of Newark early Saturday morning and had a brief layover in Puerto Rico before flying into St. Croix late Saturday afternoon.

Saturday night after we got settled in, we went to a local brewpub for dinner. I just had wine so I can’t speak to the beer, but the food was shockingly good. And the view (we were right on the boardwalk) was spectacular.

Beginning Sunday morning, Marty and I began each day around 6 a.m. For the first few days I was awake at 5 or 5:30 a.m. but there’s something about laying in bed with a fabulous view, strong breeze and warm air that makes it impossible to actually get out of bed at that time. Eventually Marty would brew coffee and we’d have a cup on our own personal deck prior to getting our day started.
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Most mornings we picked a place to run; I say most mornings because before leaving on vacation, I tweaked my back during deadlifts and gave myself permission to take days off to make sure my back didn’t bother me too much. And with nothing but hills and mountains around, my back wasn’t exactly keen on running each morning.

After our (or just Marty’s run), everyone would spend the rest of the morning having breakfast, drinking coffee, reading books and floating in the pool.
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Lunch was around noon and usually eaten at home; cold cut sandwiches just taste better on vacation. 🙂

After lunch we’d decide how to spend our afternoons.

On Sunday, we went to Point Udall for some photos and then spent two or so hours at a beach (Shoy Beach) which was my one and only requirement for the trip – multiple trips to a beach. It has been a very, very long time since I’ve been that relaxed. The water was calm, warm and clear. I could have spent all day in the water – it was perfection. I haven’t been truly happy in years but I was pretty darn close on Sunday. My dad cooked some delicious chicken thighs that night and we spent the rest of the night relaxing.

Point Udall

Point Udall

Shoy Beach.

Shoy Beach.

Monday afternoon was spent walking around Chistiansted, the “biggest” city/town on the island. We stopped in tons of little shops, picked up some trinkets and I found the perfect ring – a gift from some of the early birthday money Marty’s family was kind enough to give me before leaving.

Fort Christiansted

Fort Christiansted

Christiansted

Christiansted

That night I treated my parents (and Marty) to dinner out along the coastline at eat @ cane bay. I normally stick to wine but my mom and I both decided to order one (ok, two) “Sex in the Champagne Room” – vanilla run, cranberry juice, maybe pineapple juice and champagne. Beyond good.

Tuesday we started the day with another run and then spent the afternoon playing tourist. We had lunch in Frederiksted and then toured the Cruzan Rum Factory and the St. Croix Botanical Garden. Both were worth the visit but the rum factory was the definite highlight.

RUM

RUM

Botanical gardens

Botanical gardens

Wednesday we went to Chanay Bay for another beach day; this time we broke out the snorkels and it was awesome. Starfish, fish, sea urchins. Wednesday night dinner was at Off the Wall – casual dining with the sand literally between our toes.

My more than generous parents.

My more than generous parents.

Thursday we visited Cane Bay – my least favorite of the three beaches we visited. The water was rougher and the water not deep enough for my liking. We also got sandblasted and I think I stepped on a sea urchin. But any beach in St. Croix is still fabulous.

Our final full day was Friday. We went back to Christiansted that morning to pick up some final gifts and mementos and then headed back to Shoy Beach for the afternoon. I spent a ton of time snorkeling and relaxing in the water, soaking it all up. It was definitely my favorite of the three beaches and the weather, while hot, was gorgeous. We capped off the night at Cheeseburgers in American Paradise – another perfect atmosphere with great food (and company!).
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Again, I could not have asked for a better week. I was beyond relaxed and exploring an entirely new place was utterly fascinating. From driving on the “wrong” side of the road to asking if we wanted rum in our morning smoothies from the local coffee place, it was more than I could have hoped for. I know this isn’t a trip we’ll be repeating for a very long time so I more than soaked up everything we experienced the past week.

Odds and Ends from the Week:

The poverty on the island is depressing. Nothing I didn’t expect but still sad.

In relation to the above point, the number of homeless/stray dogs and their conditions hit home the most. We saw one dog outside one of the grocery stores we visited with a severe limp and a massive tumor growing near her front right armpit. She was just sitting outside the grocery store watching people come in and out. My heart just about broke. And she was just one of the many strays we saw.

The wild life here is different. Very different. Horses that don’t appear to actually belong to anyone. Goats, chickens, roosters and baby chicks everywhere. Teeny, tiny lizards. Big iguanas. Crabs. Birds unlike those in the States.

Just a random horse hanging out right by the road.

Just a random horse hanging out right by the road.

Island time is real. We went to a parking lot that was supposed to open at 8:30 a.m. It definitely opened no earlier than 8:35.

The prices. Oh. My. God. $7 for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? $6.99 for a regular-sized box of cereal? I genuinely have no idea how people afford to eat on this island and we weren’t exactly suffering from the impoverished conditions in which many of the locals live.

Obviously a big “thank you” to our dogsitters. Without them there’s obviously no way we make this trip.

And an even bigger thank you to my parents for taking us along. Seriously more than we deserved and I appreciate it.

My Little Helper

On Friday, I was able to give Lucy a few hours peace from Isaac when she accompanied me on a home visit for S.N.O.R.T.!

I’m not able to do a ton of home visits because of my location (I’m really not near anything) and because they usually happen on the weekends – except I don’t really have weekends from late August through May. Anyway, this home visit was for a potential adopter (no, not of Isaac, sadly) for one of S.N.O.R.T.’s fosters and it was only an hour away in Harrisburg.

Lucy loves car rides and I knew Isaac would get a car ride on Saturday when I took him to the group dog walk so I loaded her in and off we went!

Yeah, she enjoyed the car ride.

Yeah, she enjoyed the car ride.

The family I was doing the home visit for had a Boston Terrier, Tank. Unfortunately Tank wasn’t a huge fan of Lucy – although apparently he adored his pug sister that passed just recently – but Lucy was too excited to care. She helped herself to some dry cat food and found a rawhide that, in true Lucy fashion, she became obsessed with. Seriously – Tank could have been ready to rip her head off (which he wasn’t, by the way) and she wouldn’t have noticed. She was happy as a clam. Once she shoved the rawhide so far under the coffee table she couldn’t get to it, I took it as a sign that the home visit was done.

All in all, a brief but fun outing for both of us. Hopefully I can do a few more this summer while I have the time and Lucy can “help” out again.

Happy (?) Ten Months

Two days ago marked 10 months of fostering Isaac.

"Ten months already? Time is flying by!"

“Ten months already? Time is flying by!”

When we first got Isaac I never imagined we’d have him for 10 months but I was also unaware of the myriad of behavior problems we were taking on. Once I realized we had some issues to deal with, I knew we were in for the long haul. I didn’t think the long haul would be 10 months but here we are.

When I really sit down and think about it, I feel horrendous that 10 months (and still going…) of Lucy’s life have been spent with a dog that she not only dislikes, but is semi-fearful of. For the 10 days Isaac was adopted Lucy was a different, i.e. happier, dog.

"Woe is me."

“Woe is me.”

We’ve definitely got a new “normal” with Isaac around and Lucy is coping just fine. But I do desperately want her to be as happy as she was B.I. (Before Isaac). Unfortunately, Isaac is going to be very difficult to find an adopter as he’ll be nine in August. A nine-year-old bulldog isn’t exactly in high demand. Especially one who needs to be an only dog and has, um, aggression issues toward other dogs.

How can anyone not want this handsome face?

How can anyone not want this handsome face?

But that’s the negative stuff. And I don’t want that to overshadow the fact that I freaking love this dog. He’s funny, healthy, active, handsome. His eyes kill me – they’re just so sweet. They’re so sweet I don’t mind when he comes over to my side of the bed at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, rests his head on the bed and stares at me (all while breathing heavily) until I wake up. Somehow it’s not as endearing when Marty does that.

I love our walks, just the two of us. Granted, they’re sometimes stressful when we run into other dogs, but for the most part it’s a great way to relax and I swear it kept me sane this past year.

I love how his nubbin shakes so hard when we come home, when we talk to him, even when we just look at him. He’s one happy dog with us.

I love how he stares at me while I’m using my computer; I don’t quite know what he wants, but it’s adorable.

"I'm always watching."

“I’m always watching.”

The unfortunate part of the whole thing is that Isaac would make an absolutely perfect only dog. He’s house trained, is fine being on his own during the day (although obviously he loves it better when we’re home), is HEALTHY, active and quite simply, adores his people. Once he realizes he’s “yours,” you could not ask for a better dog.

Well, here’s to hoping that for Isaac’s sake (and Lucy’s!), I’m not writing a post in 10 more months celebrating 20 months of life with Isaac.