The Dog Trainer We Go to

The dog trainer we go to has unlimited class options once you pay the base fee. Today we have gone on a Field Trip walk around an area park. We got a lot of free advice for how to do things better. We will try going on these Field Trips on a regular basis as well as attend an Introductory Agility Training class.

Our pup is very smart because she’s part poodle and she means to please because she’s part lab. Together it makes for a lively combination and she always keeps us on our toes…!

This is a Brief Introduction to Our Pup Parsnip

I am writing a new blog featuring our pup Parsnip. We adopted her a little over a year ago. Here she is at six months. The idea behind the blog is that owning a pup (or other pet) helps to keep you in the moment and is good for your mental health. In addition, walking the pup multiple times a week is also good for general health and well-being.

I will be posting blogs in the upcoming weeks featuring Parsnip and how she is doing in her training. I would like her to be able to participate in a program where dogs visit patients in the hospital. Some day. But we are a far ways away from that right now. 🙂

Thanks in advance for your interest in our pup and her progress!

I Have Never Had Much Luck with Self-Talk Until Now

I have a 35 years plus history of bipolar illness and I have never had much luck with self-talk. It used to feel like I was just putting a drop in the proverbial bucket when I would tell myself that my anxiety was destructive and not needed and I could do without.

Then somehow something changed quite recently and I don’t know precisely what that was or is.

Up to a week or so ago, I have decided not to let waking thoughts of anxiety over-influence my day. I have given myself (as a goal) coffee time and coffee time alone as the time when I can feel anxious. After that hour or so, I have told myself and keep telling myself there is no more room for anxiety.

Also during this time I have begun to get a two mile walk in almost every day of the week with my husband and my puppy. The two mile walk is also helping a great deal with the anxiety.

In terms of telling myself there is no room for anxiety in my day I have also had somewhat of a revelation (for me). The more time I feel being anxious the less time I spend enjoying life and the relationships in my life. The more I let anxiety in the less room there is for building relationships and experiencing pleasure and joy in my life. There is only so much I can experience in a day. If I am experiencing anxiety, I am not experiencing love, joy, companionship, well-being or success.

That said, it is easier for me to accept self-talk when I am replacing one behavior or one thought with another. Not sure why? I have never really been able to do away with a negative thought before it occurs (or after it occurs). But I find if I can substitute a new thought for an old thought, my self-talk is that much more effective. Instead of wishing anxiety away, I am trying to replace anxiety with the thought that I am not getting any younger and my days to live in love and joy are limited. If I allow anxiety to be infinite and all-encompassing I am robbing myself of love and of life.

And I am not getting any younger. At fifty-nine I feel like I am coming to terms with my own mortality and am more able to tell myself, this (life full of anxiety) is not how you want to live out the rest of your days. This (life full of anxiety) is not the legacy you wish to leave your child or your family. Even if the change away from anxiety is small, it makes a huge difference in my life and in the lives of others. I don’t need anxiety to rob me of my good days. Not any more.

For whatever reasons, this self-talk appears to be working now and has not really worked that well in the past over the years. I think it does have something to do with confronting my own mortality and realizing the time for feeling anxious is over. It is time to feel love and joy. I also think the two-mile walk most days of the week is helping tremendously. Hoorah for high energy pups needing a walk!

How does self-talk work for you? How does regular exercise work for you? If self-talk hasn’t worked that well in the past, do you feel it might work if you try substituting the old thought or the old behavior with a new one? What might help you to start or keep at an exercise regime?

Keeping in the Moment – Puppy Talk…

We adopted an 8 to 10 week old puppy last December before Christmas. A lot of fun but a lot of work. At five months, she has just come back a week or so ago from her spaying surgery which also included a surgery to address a herniated umbilical cord. I had never heard of this but the hernia at her belly button is fairly common and they do the surgery for it at the same time they do the spaying.

I have always vowed that I am a pet person but not to the exclusion of all other things. It always strikes me as funny how attached people get to their animals to the point where the pets are almost treated as human 🙂 But now I find myself in that same boat!

The last twelve days have been exhausting giving the pup pain medicine for 5 days and trazadone for two weeks to date and also an additional week this coming week. This includes taking her out first thing in the morning which occurred at 4:00am this morning. The trazadone is very sedating but in between doses the pup is a wild child with eyeballs all dilated and that seem to roll around in her head like marbles.

Today, after a vet visit we were allowed to take the plastic cone collar off her. Finally! It has been 13 days and she is sick of it. The first thing we did this afternoon was give her a bath. She looks so much smaller without her big furry coat I almost did not recognize her as our pup.

The vet/doctor said her incision looks good so the collar can come off but to keep her sedated for another five days or so. With all this puppy talk, I find myself to be somewhat of a hypocrite. I am completely immersed in puppy care from tracking her pees and poops to being sure she stays sedated 24 hours a day to prevent tearing the incision to hand feeding her canned food when she would not eat after the anesthesia. My husband has been singing the song by the Ramones around the house for days – “24 24 hours to go, I wanna be sedated.” (“I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones).

So I find myself completely preoccupied with caring for the pup. I think it is somewhat a case of transference as my daughter will be graduating high school in a matter of weeks and leaving the nest for college this summer. I tend to put all my extra “caring” into care for the pup.

Also, puppy training has been on hold for the last 12 to 13 days as it does not seem fair to have “school” lessons all jacked up or laid low on trazadone. Jacked up is what it feels like just after giving her a dose before the sedating qualities kick in.

Anybody else found they were “catching themselves in the act” of treating their pets like humans? Thankfully, I do recognize that it is an ultimate luxury to do so in this day and age with so much going on against humanity much less the animals?