Today was one of those days when Maverick looked at me like I was the most horrible person he’d ever met, simply because I wasn’t amused with him playing tug of war with his leash in the middle of the field, and because I needed him to go in his crate so I could go to the dentist.

I’m not feeling great – a toothache has been lurking for a week, dentist appointment made on Monday, scheduled for today – it appears I have an abscess brewing and I need a root canal.    Not being able to bite is taking its toll, I don’t feel like eating and most of my energy is going to healing this thing – which will be easier on my body now with the help of antibiotics.

So I have little patience for puppy shenanigans.   On my way home from the dentist, I stopped at Walmart to fill the scrip.  I’ve never been to the Walmart pharmacy, because I truly do not like that store, but it’s where my insurance tells me to go, so there I was.   I dropped off the scrip, the girl told me they’d page me when it was ready, so I wandered about picking up and putting down things because I didn’t feel like shopping, I just wanted to get home.   After a while, I went back up to the counter, and sat on one of the handy, uncomfortable, benches.   The bench that was being roundly kicked by the little child behind me, whose mother didn’t stop talking on the phone long enough to do more than utter a few unapologetic sorrys my way.    When I realized that the line forming behind me was getting longer, I asked someone if they actually called you, or you just got in line.  Oh, I was informed, you just get in line.   Sigh.    So ten more minutes in line and I finally got my meds.

On the way home, I had a talk with Max.  One of his friends is scheduled to join him at the Bridge this week, and I wanted to make sure he was aware, and would help the little guy when he gets there.    He’s always relied on Max to be his protector, and I know that will continue at the Bridge.    Then I started talking to him about Maverick.   In the midst of my venting, I felt a bit of peace- and a remembrance of the days when Max drove me crazy with his puppy antics, and how I learned from him that those days are short, and even though they’re not fun at the time, you look back and remember with a smile, and remember the sweet puppy who gives you kisses when you ask, “do you love me?”  and has learned to jump up and give a hug when you say “up!”   You forget the demon dog who tries to knock you down and drag you through the field.   You remember that it won’t last forever.

Thank you, Max.   Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.   Never leave me, never leave you.

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Crazy Town

It seems that we have to visit Crazy Town once a week or so.   After a truly horrible day last Wednesday, I saw signs that training was starting to click, that things were improving, that there was light at the end of this teenage tunnel.

Yesterday we went back to Crazy Town.   It started with the snow.   My hardest task is not playing into the chaos and getting on the Crazy Town train, too.   The snow made Maverick giddy with energy and totally incapable of hearing anything.   I so wanted to be able to let him off leash, let him go zooming through the snow, run it out and play.   He can’t be trusted off leash just yet, though.

Max loved the snow.   Last March, we had our last snowstorm of the year.   I watched my recently diagnosed with cancer old boy run through the piles of snow, full of joy, young again and happy, smiling that Golden smile.   I watched with tears, thinking that if we were soon to lose him, he would have had one last snowstorm to play in.

Snow and memories, and a crazy puppy, all combined to put me in a dark place.   Maverick went there with me.   We had a 1/2 hour of cuddling, followed by a 1/2 hour of ankle biting, leash tug of war on a side hill in the snow, refusing to eat, refusing to nap, eating the walls, chewing the fur off any toy with any left, demand barking and general really obnoxious behavior.

I was very glad when the train out of Crazy Town arrived.    By evening, we were both worn out and sad.    Today we woke up with the sun shining, the snow melting, and the train to Crazy Town far away.    I think I’ll tear up the rails and maybe it will stay away.   🙂

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Napping is a wonderful thing.   I could get up at noon, and take a nap at 1, and then another at 3, and again at 5, and 7, and 9 and 11 and then go to bed at 1.    I love to sleep.   I am, as my mother once said, the Queen of Sleep.

However.    Maverick does not agree.    Apparently napping is the equivalent of having his toenails pulled out one by one.    It’s a major frustration for me.   I can see he’s tired.   I know he needs to nap for an hour or so.   He won’t go in his crate for me, and he’s now too big and strong for me to try to force him in – not that I would – and he’s too smart, he knows if I toss treats in, and he goes to get them, the door will close behind him.

I pretty much have to wait him out.   And pray that nothing moves or makes a sound,  and there are no doorbells on TV, and he’s finally settled and please let him sleep awhile!

We trained hard on “heel” yesterday.   It paid off when we went out to the field and he thought playing tug with the leash would be fun.   I told him to “circle” and signed for him to come around to my left, and holy carp, he did!    Then we did “forward” till he did his business, and back around and back home.    I think sometimes my husband thinks I’m nuts with the things I do for training – “you bought WHAT?”  at the can of spray cheese – but when  it works, it’s worth all the quizzical looks.

After a truly horrible day this week, I’m starting to see light at the end of this long, long tunnel

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Ignoring him

Someone will not settle down and someone needs a nap.   Maverick is the first, I think I’m the second.   I can deal with the “I will not take a nap” thing, most days.   What I can’t deal with is the whining.   This is new  – previously he’s barked at me for attention, or for his ball, and the only time he whined was when he really had to go potty, or when the ball was put away and he wanted to play.   Yesterday he started whining for attention.   This is not only annoying, it’s stressful – I don’t know why he’s doing it, I don’t know if he actually needs something – went potty 5 minutes ago, not that – has food in bowl, not hungry – played with ball for 20 minutes, over that.

So I’m attempting to ignore it.   Normally, when he’s tired, if I ignore him, he’ll finally take a nap.

So shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – don’t make a noise!

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Puppies are so much fun

I’ve been up for 4 hours.    During that time, I’ve accomplished this much – I read a few pages about creating something for my class, I read emails for my class and I tossed a ball, endlessly tossed a ball, tossed a ball over and over and over.

That’s what I’ve done.    Because someone will not only NOT take a nap, he can’t be more than an inch away from me while he’s awake, unless he’s chasing the above mentioned ball.

I love this puppy.    I have loved him from the day he crawled into my lap and wrapped his paws around my arm and made me his.    But I could so seriously use a break sometimes.

I never had kids because I knew I was way too selfish for that.   I need me time, I am the princess and the high maintenance soul in this house.   It’s been a struggle for me to so rarely get that me time anymore.     I know he’ll outgrow the intense need to have the ball tossed constantly, that at some point he’ll learn to settle at my feet and once again I’ll have time to read, knit, write, whatever – without having a ball spit at me, and him barking in my face.

I’m not one to wish away time, except for Winter, that can go to Hell in a hot minute and be over now, every single year, but I really can’t wait for the day when he’s dog and not so much puppy.

Also, this is just me venting.   🙂

Training will commence when he wakes up – because he FINALLY gave in!

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Late nights and keyboard catastrophes

Note to self – do not attempt to edit your online courses after 2 am.

I teach online, and on campus.  I am an adjunct, which translates as “peon.”   I have basically no rights and nothing is guaranteed.   I was assigned two classes online and one on campus this semester.   There’s some work involved in getting a class ready to go, even if it’s one you’ve taught a hundred times.   Two weeks before the start of the semester, I got a phone call.  The Dean was calling to tell me that she had to take one of my online classes away because someone who is probably full-time needed one to fill out their contracted number.   I wasn’t happy, but there’s nothing I can do about it.   The sop that was thrown to me was a late start class – if enough students registered for it to run.   I’m a really good online instructor.  I don’t say that just because I like to pat myself on the back, I say it because of feedback I’ve gotten from students.  They love my class.   I put a lot of myself into it, I try to be very present, I try to make it as much like an on campus course as I can.   I really love my job.  So I kept watching the late start class and yay, there are enough students signed up that it will run.

Okay, that’s the good part.   The bad part is that I have a week to get everything in THAT class ready.   So last night, being the night owl and good professor I try to be, I spent an hour working in that class “shell” fixing dates.

Only problem was that I was in the wrong class.   I changed the dates in the class that started this week.

Ooops!   Many emails and messages came my way.   I fixed things as soon as I realized my mistake and handed out bonus points to make up for any stress caused by it.

I hope that the students will learn a couple of things.   First, even professors make mistakes.  Second, it’s not a bad thing to own up to those mistakes.   Third, if you ask someone what happened, instead of accusing, you get bonus points.   Bonus points are always a good thing, and measured in many ways.

My job is teaching accounting.   My vocation is teaching.

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It snowed last night.   It was only about an inch, there’s talk of a blizzard this weekend, and so my winter anxiety begins along with the talk of snow.

Classes start tomorrow.  I have an afternoon class this semester.  Afternoon classes tend to be more difficult than evening classes for me.   Maybe it’s because I’m a night owl, so a class that starts at noon is an early class for me.   Maybe it’s just a different mix of students – evening students tend to be older and more serious, day students tend to be younger and less interested in the subject, and more interested in their phones.

This isn’t a blanket description – some of my most difficult students have been women in their 40’s and one veteran who told me I couldn’t fail him because he was a veteran.   I respect and admire all those who serve and keep our country safe – but that doesn’t guarantee you an A in my class if you never show up, never do any homework and never take an exam.   Some of my best students have been millenials, those kids who are working hard every day and wondering why they don’t have what their parents and grandparents have – because no one has told them that you don’t get all the “stuff” till you’re in your 30’s or probably your 40’s, unless you’re really lucky.

But I do get a plethora of “Mom and Dad are paying my tuition and I don’t give a flip” students during the day.   I’m not terribly patient with them.   Put your damned phone down and pay attention, or don’t cry to me when you don’t understand the material that I covered 10 minutes ago while you were texting your friends about how boring this class is.

So I go into the first class with high hopes and the full expectation of those hopes being dashed by the second week.   Also, weather is predicted, something like 18 inches of snow for next Wednesday.   If that holds, we will have one week of classes, Monday off for MLK and probably Wednesday for snow.   I love starting off already behind!

Meanwhile, Maverick and I continue to work on heel in our own way.   He is very quick to get into position on my left side.   He is also very quick to grab treats from my hand when we go “forward.”   Baby steps – a few steps without a treat, around a corner, start over, and I’m a happy woman.

Also, 65 days till Spring!   Not that I’m counting!   (damn skippy I’m counting!)

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Randomly ranting about rescue

I think, if I see one more “adopt, don’t shop” post, I am going to throw up, loudly, explosively, and messily.

In the past few days, I’ve had 3 encounters with dogs at the park that have not gone well.  I am no expert in dog behavior, see previous posts about training with Maverick if there’s any doubt about that, but I know enough to know that what you don’t know can get you bitten.   I always ask, from a good distance, if it’s okay to approach a dog I’ve never met.  If the owner says no, I smile, thank them, and keep moving.  They know their dog, I don’t.  I will never ever say, “it’s okay, all dogs love me,” even though most of them do.   I will never approach a dog I don’t know unless I know it’s okay to do so.

Two little dogs and one German Shepherd – each time I asked and was told that it was fine to say hi.   Two little dogs and one German Shepherd have sniffed my hand, and then snarled and snapped – I am old but quick in the face of danger and damn, I can move fast when teeth are approaching.   In each case, the owners have said, “OH!  I didn’t expect that, but he (or she) is a rescue and we think was abused so we’re not sure what the triggers might be.  You might smell wrong, or maybe it’s your hat, scarf, underwear, who knows?”

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!   You DON’T know, so don’t TELL ME it’s OKAY to approach your dog when you have no clue what will set him or her off.

My best friend rescued a yellow Lab.   He was abused, we know this and we know some of what was done, but not all.   He is an amazing, wonderful dog – now.   It’s taken a lot of training, a lot of love, and a lot of patience to get him to where he is.   I would not recommend approaching him without doing exactly what she tells you because you may lose a hand.   When I met him, a bond clicked into place and there is little that I can’t do with him – I can hug him, when no one else dares – I was one of the first people he gave a kiss – and I love him as much as I love Maverick, and as much as I loved Max.

I am not opposed to “rescuing” a dog.   I am opposed to people acting like they’re sainted because they didn’t go to a breeder, because they took in an animal whose background they know nothing about, and then exposing other people and the dog to situations where they have no clue about how that dog will react.   Was it my underwear that set off the German Shepherd?  I have no idea.  AND NEITHER DO THEY!   Telling me, after I was nearly bitten, that “oh, she’s weird like that sometimes” is not going to make me feel better if I’m bleeding.

We don’t meet the criteria for most rescues.   We also knew what kind of dog we wanted, both with Max and with Maverick.   We wanted the temperament of a Golden Retriever.  We went to a breeder and we bought a puppy.   There was no better dog on this planet than Max.   Maverick, right now, is a handful and a half, but I know that when he’s grown, he will be equally as awesome as Max was.   I know that because I know his pedigree, his bloodlines, his history – what he likes, what will make him scared, what will make him uncomfortable.    I knew in my soul that Max would never bite anyone.   I know that Maverick will put up with far less than Max would, and I know the signs that he’s had enough and it’s time to leave a situation.   I know this, because I’ve known him since he was a few weeks old.

Don’t judge me for shopping.  I won’t judge you for adopting as long as you know what you’re doing and don’t put me, or my puppy, in danger.


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Stupid weather

We were scheduled to start tomorrow with a private trainer but the weather is not co-operating.   I hate Winter.

So after a great deal of thought, we’re going to start over.  Again.

And I think it’s going to be mostly on me.   That’s okay, I trained Max with little help, I can train Maverick.   I’m still grieving, I miss Max more than most people can imagine.   Maverick is not replacement.   I love him as hard as I loved Max, maybe more.   I felt that bond snap into place the first time I picked him up, just as I felt it with Max.   Max was independent – he loved me but he didn’t need me.  Maverick most definitely needs me.   And I need him.

Tomorrow we’re going to start slowly working on “heel.”   We’re going to do crate games – because he doesn’t want to go in for me and it makes me sad that he seems to view it as something awful.   So, setting goals, and having low expectations, key words for awhile.

Where’s my planner?  I need to write down our routine!

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And a wonderful walk was had

by me.   It seems some days that training a puppy is two steps forward and three steps back.   Lately, walking has been singularly unsuccessful.  After another day of having my arm yanked out of the socket, or so it seemed, I decided it was time to take a break.   Maybe I expect too much.  Maybe he’s not ready.   Maybe there are too many distractions.  Whatever the reason, it’s become less than joyful to take a walk with Maverick, for both of us.

So today, I took myself to the park.  I walked 4 miles, down from my previous 6 before Maverick came home, but up from my recent 1 or 2 with him.   It was a good walk – something I’ve missed, a time to just be with myself and solve the problems of the world and feel good about sweating off some pounds.

When I got home, it was an hour of ball playing to make up for the lack of exercise for Maverick, but aside from him barking at me the whole time, it was a good hour, too.

I’ll figure out the walking thing, but not today.   And probably not tomorrow either.  I need my walks, and we need to enjoy them, not have them be an exercise in frustration.   We’ll get there.

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