I had my first shift at the shelter last night. I’ve been there a few times for orientations, and to pick up our fosters, but this was my first day hanging out with the dogs in the shelter.
I’m in love.
Since it was my first shift, I had to stay with an experienced volunteer the entire night. We walked a very pregnant Momma, “Maggie”. She was tired. We had to entice her every step with treats. We finally made it outside to the grass and we weren’t sure we’d ever get her back inside.. it must have taken 45 minutes to go 200 meters. I wonder how many puppies she will have. Next, we did a bit of ‘doggy physio’ on a dog that was found with a badly broken leg. She had to have surgery to get her tail amputated and has about 20 staples up her leg. Her sad little eyes and underbite were magnified by the plastic cone around her head. Poor baby. We fed her treats, gave her lots of cuddles, and stretched her leg muscles out for her. She was unimpressed at first, but eventually realized that the pain in her leg was a fair trade-off for all the ear scratches. It’s amazing and beautiful to me how forgiving these animals can be, even after all they’ve been through. If only people could be more like dogs.
Now comes the part where I bring home another foster puppy (oops!). He was so sad, and all his brothers and sister’s were going to foster homes already. I couldn’t leave him all alone overnight in that scary kennel, could I? Nope. It was decided. I texted J and told him not to hate me..I think he knows what that means now. At the end of the night, little Sullivan and I packed a crate with all the supplies we will need for our short time together. We cruised home, with Sullivan whining periodically, and only stopping when I put my fingers through the tiny holes in the side of his crate. He is so, so small. Dont worry, little man, you’re safe now.
When we arrived home, J was sitting on the couch looking little more than unimpressed. I was prepared for him to be upset..but I had already decided that me and little man would do our absolute best to take care of ourselves, and wouldn’t ask J for any help (he loves puppies in moderation, and lately I’ve been giving him puppies in overload). I put the crate down and let the three current canine residents sniff him out for a bit while I walked over to the couch..he smiled at me. That same smile that I fell in love with, dimples and all. “Well, let’s see him,” he said, still smiling (although I could tell he was fighting it back ;)). God I love that man.
Welcome to your ‘for-now’ home, Sullivan! I can’t wait to meet your forever family.
P.S. If you think fostering might be something you’d be interested in, I highly recommend looking into it. Taking one dog out of a kennel, or run at a shelter makes room for them to save another life. Often times (as in our case) you are provided free of charge with everything you need: food, crates, toys, collars and leashes, even food and water bowls. All you need is to provide a loving, safe environment for the dog until they find their new family. Google it to find a rescue in your area! 🙂
Is there a secret?
I’m starting to think there are hundreds.
I’ll admit, I have only been married 34 days..and this is nothing in the grand scheme of life. While this may be true, boy am I devoting a lot of time to figuring it out. I’m sure we will spend the next 50+ years finding the true ‘secret’, and while I hope we love every minute of it, reality is that we probably will not.
We have already had a few arguements as a married couple. Whoever said “honeymoon stage” is a beautiful walk in the park with nothing but roses and butterflies was wrong (at least in our case). However, on the bright side, we both seem to have more patience, understanding, and interest in making arguments beneficial and productive. We have both discussed how this is due to many factors, one of which being my new found ability to just walk away and take a break.
Before we got married, we attended a marriage preparation course (highly recommended). While it was difficult to find said course without a religious affiliation, it was worth the hunt. One of the main things I took away from this was: it’s okay to take time apart in the middle of an arguement. When they told us this in class, I automatically tuned my brain into the “this is stupid” mode, and prepared to stop listening for the rest of the day ( I may be slightly synical..and bitter..). However, this was followed by them saying “as long as you let eachother know before the break starts”. I started listening again. “If you are in the middle of an argument, and you need a break, tell your spouse you need time to cool off and give them a time period as to when you will continue the arguement.” For all you men, J hates this approach, but it works so well for me that I think he is starting to see the benefit. The ‘rescheduling’ can be anywhere from 5 minutes to the next day. It seems so silly, but when he says to me “I’m going out to work on my truck. We can talk about this in an hour.” I don’t feel abandoned. I don’t feel like he is running away, I feel (probably how a man feels) like we are just taking a simple break. Woohoo! That little trick has got to make the list.
Trick 2: A few months ago (prior to being married), J and I had had an argument the night before. I honestly don’t even remember what it was about now, but at the time it was a sadness inducing, day-ruining, all out cry-fest (it’s funny how that works, isn’t it?). I was sitting in my office, feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on the situation when a male co-worker (he’s happily married and seems to know lots of said ‘secrets’) came into my office. We have a good relationship and so I explained the situation to him (leaving out all the crazy woman details of how my heart was never going to recover and how I just wanted to eat a tub of vanilla bean ice cream), and he paused for a second. I was waiting for him to come back at me with some kind of silly comment about how I needed to calm down, give him space, or stop nagging… but instead, he walked over to the white board in my office and wrote “CALM COMMUNICATION”, all in capital letters. “It’s so simple,” he explained “as soon as my wife comes at me with a complaint and she’s mad or upset or crying, I automatically don’t want to listen.” Jerk, I thought (cynical, bitter me emerged once again). He then continued “if you approach him calmly, he’ll be more likely to want to listen. Don’t yell, or cry, or sound ‘bitchy’, just relax, and explain.”. Guess what? It works. It works so freaking well that it HAS to be a secret. But not anymore, you’re welcome 😉
And that is why it has remained on my white board for the past 6+ months….
And, because it’s Friday and these little guys are going to be adopted really, really soon ( 😥 ), here’s a daily dose of cuteness:
I’ve been back to work since Monday. I’ve gone through the natural progressions, as expected upon return to work after a full month off:
- Denial – “I’m not going back to work. It’s simply not possible. It must be some kind of misunderstanding. “
- Hope – “Maybe there will be a mass power outage and I’ll get just one. more. day. off.”
- Panic – “I have to work tomorrow. This was my vacation and the house still isn’t spotless! I should have scrubbed the baseboards.” (pet peeve..I need a house cleaner)
- Acceptance – Usually occurs on the actual drive to work.. “I can do this. Only 5 more days until the weekend”
- Panic – I re-visited this stage on Day 2. I am just not destined for this “full time employment” thing.
- Acceptance – “I can do this”
- Panic – “NO I CAN’T! I want to be a stay at home dog Momma and take in strays and save the world, one snuggly baby puppy at a time.”
- Well, you get the jist….
Day 4 and I’m still alive. I haven’t quit, or walked out, or had a mental break down, things are okay. So, on to the point!
Yesterday, I’m sitting at work, pondering life (litearlly, I need a career change, but that’s another story), and I get an e-mail from the animal rescue I volunteer with. Well, what’da you know..they desperately need foster homes for some dogs. Can I take one?
Okay, call husband.
“Look, babe, these dogs desperately need fosters.”
Nope, we can’t get another dog.
Okay, let’s try this again:
“But all they need is love, and understanding. And you only have to keep them until they get adopted. And they provide everything. It’s no cost to us!”
He informs me that, APPARENTLY, we already have two dogs.. (duhh)
“Okay, well that’s a great reason to foster! What difference will one more make?”
Apparently we also don’t have time for another dog. And who is going to clean up it’s poop?
“I will. And maybe it will get the idea of having three dogs out of my mind. Maybe it will be a wake up call for me and I will learn my lesson without consequence. I will be happy with only our two.”
That did it! Gosh, that’s reverse psychology if I ever used it. It’s my new tactic (#crazywife?).
With a little “I’m going to be right” chuckle, he reluctantly agreed.
Woohoo! We will take one! But did we want a dog or a puppy? Who doesn’t want a cute little puppy? (someone who wants to sleep and have a clean floor…)
But an older dog could have house-training issues, too.
I let the coordinator decide: we would take whatever they needed us to.
Next thing you know I’m setting up a time (same day!) to pick up a puppy. I could have my ‘pick of the litter from Kennel 4’, and take any supplies I needed. Holy smokes, didn’t see that coming so fast.
We showed up at 7pm, and walked down the hall along the individual kennels towards Kennel 4. Little noses and longing eyes peered at us as we walked by: “are you gonna pat me?!”
Oh. My. Goodness. Kennel 4 where have you been all my life?!?! Cute little puppies snuggled eachother in every corner of the room. One was awake and walked up to the gate to greet us. Ahh!! After a solid 15 minutes of trying to pick, the coordinator stopped by:
Is there any way you can take two?
Jamie looked at me with eyes, in a way to say “You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you?”
Next thing you know, we’re loading up two puppies in a tiny crate, grabbing a second set of supplies from the shelves, and being told constantly “two is way easier than one..”. I’ll admit, I started to panic at this point. We now have four dogs.
These little monster’s have been great (granted, it hasn’t been 24 hours yet..). The shelter said we could name them for their time with us, but they would be listed on the website by their provided names, so they could keep track easier. James told me not to name them. He said I would get too attached… I think he’s right, but this little guy is definitely “Tiny Tank”:
His brother, will remain nameless (or be called AJ, I suppose), until the mood strikes me:
From the whole crew. 😉
I never had dogs growing up. I had a cat: Tang. I remember one day in Grade 10 my friend’s cat had babies and I brought one home once they were ready. My Mom was..not impressed, but she let me keep him. He was a sickly little dude, and we spent a lot of money getting him all spruced up, but he’s now the best cat ever. I still love to snuggle him everytime we visit home.
When we moved to Alberta we rented the cutest little basement suite. We had our own little yard and patio, and it had the most wonderful pond. I was in heaven. Our landlord (the sweetest elderly gentleman who had just lost his wife) explained to us that there were no pets allowed in the suite as he was afraid of dogs, and cats were ‘dirty’. As time went by, we became pretty close with Roger. He would give us birthday gifts, christmas gifts, and I would bake him cookies. 🙂 He was great.
Once we started looking at buying our own place, we simultaneously started going to the animal shelter to “look” at dogs. Yeah, right. When we met Rein, she was a big giant pit bull, and, having little experience with dogs, I was a bit nervous. I remember asking Jamie “how do you know if a dog is going to bite your face off?”. He laughed at me. He had been around dogs his entire life–Rein was amazing, and he knew it. We met her, cuddled her, and I got a bit more comfortable, but I still had the notion in the back of my mind that if I made any sudden movements, she was going to rip me apart…Looking back, we probably shouldn’t have been visiting the shelter when we couldn’t even have an animal–it was emotional every time we left. We went home, and for the next few weeks I researched dogs and pit bulls, and rescues, and behaviour. I looked into dog classes, and dog psychology, and I read Cesear Milan books..I wanted a dog.
Two weeks later, we went back to the shelter, and there she was. Still in the same kennel, Rein sat further back from the glass viewing window then before, and she barely looked up at us. She looked defeated. My poor girl… we asked to visit with her again and the staff showed us her tricks. She could sit, stay, roll over, shake a paw, and she LOVED fetch. The way she interacted with the lady was amazing–that was her person. Everyone at the shelter loved her. I cried the entire way home that we couldn’t get her. Jamie said it was for the best though, she was ‘way too big…and scary looking’, and told me we weren’t going to go anymore until we had our own place.
That night I went to Roger’s front door, knocked, and watched him walk slowly down the stairs through the tiny front window. My heart was beating fast. I told him that I knew we weren’t allowed dogs, but I found one that was very special. And we could do a larger damage deposit, and it wouldn’t be long (he knew we were looking for a house to buy). There I was, standing on the front porch of a man who was terrified of dogs, asking him if I could bring a 75 pound rescue pit bull into his safe, beautiful little home.
“Oh, Ashley. Of course you can have a dog.”
I felt so guilty. I knew he wouldn’t say no…but I also knew I wouldn’t screw this up.
“What kind of dog is it, anyways?”
My heart sank. Oh no..here we go. I told him it was a pit bull…and guess what he said?
“Oh, I don’t know that kind.”
We went to the shelter the next day and adopted her. It ended up costing us $575 dollars as she needed a special class as an adoption condition (she was a pit bull, afterall). I didn’t care. We paid the money and were told we could pick her up in two days, as she needed to be spayed.
When we went to pick her up, she had just finished surgery and she was so sleepy. I sat in the back seat with her and I was so happy. She made herself right at home, walked over to her bed we had for her, and layed right down. I spent the entire first night laying on her bed with her, rubbing her head softly (I still had no idea about dogs).
The first few days of leaving her at home I was pretty sure we’d come home to a ripped apart front door, or a chewed up couch, but we never did. She has still never chewed a thing. She’s had a few accidents inside, but man does she feel bad (you can tell by the look in her eyes..and she cowers when you see it). She’s so well behaved, and so smart (we taught her to crawl, and high-10). I’m so glad Roger made an exception for us.
Fast forward to 6 months into home ownership…guess who came home with puppy #2? This girl!! Benjamin Button (Ben, for when we are in public) was just a tiny, tiny little baby (see first picture). Our family is complete, for now, until we are ready for babies (or another puppy..).
I usually spend a good 2 minutes trying to think of a witty blog title, but today this just seems fitting.. because it’s Monday and that is all. I don’t like Mondays (surprise)… I’m just not destined to be employed (bahaha…I wish).
Friday I met up with my trainer. I weighed in at 2.5 pounds lost (nevermind that this morning I am back to my regular, static weight that just won’t budge), and I lost 0.9% body fat. I am pretty sure that the margin of error is greater than 1%, but I’ll take it.. small victories.
As for my measurements, someone please try and explain THIS sequence of events:
My last round of measurements (with one month difference in between):
- Gained a 1/2″ around my chest.. I found a way to be happy with this (what girl wouldn’t be?!)
- Lost 2″ around my waist (woohoo!!)
- Gained 3/4″ around my hips (I have been squating like CRAZY and I had virtually zero bum to begin with…so I also found a way to accept this..)
This month of measurements (as taken on Friday with one month difference in between):
- Lost 1/2″ around my bust
- Gained 1″ around my waist ( 😐 )
- Lost 3/4″ around hips
Okay, what in the hell is going on?! I swear I go into these weigh/measure/body fat days and I am feeling soo great, and then I come out wanting to cry (and being SO confused). I don’t have a copy of my pictures yet, so I will post them as soon as she sends them over..but part of me doesn’t even want to look. UGH!
Part of me wonders if I am simply not working hard enough, do all these girls that look amazing really work THAT much harder than me? I mean, I work out to the point of absolute exhaustion and wanting to puke AT LEAST 4 times a week (I aim for 5-6), and I eat PRETTY FREAKING GOOD!! I dont want to make excuses and thyroid this, thyroid that..but I just don’t get it..
Well, I sucked it up and resisted the urge to go home and cry in my bed. I went home, got my gym stuff on and headed out. In order to combat my I HATE CARDIO attitude, I have been running to the gym and getting Jamie to pick me up after he’s done work. This gives me a solid 15-20 minute run, and a good 45-60 minutes at the gym. Friday night workout = lots of space at the gym. I was literally the only girl there. I was lifting hard and angry, I was sweating like crazy and I had a sad, empty feeling in my stomach. I had taken up shop in the corner of the gym and I was hoarding gym equipment in a cute little array next to me on the bench (in a way you can only do on a Friday night), when a guy started walking towards me. Oh god, I thought, I have too much stuff….I’m an ass. *panic*. BUT GUESS WHAT HE SAID?!?
“I don’t know how to say this in a non creepy way…but I saw you here a few months ago and you are looking REALLY good. I have really noticed a big change and you must be working really, really hard.”
Seriously, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. I must have said thank you 15 times.. I NEEDED that. I probably needed that worse than I’ve needed it in my entire journey. 70+ pounds lost and this was the time that I really, really NEEDED to hear this…and it happened. I definitely took it as a sign that everything is going to be okay.
HAPPY MONDAY everyone! Thanks for reading.
Oh, and just because I love this picture, here’s Ben yesterday with his new bandana.. Can you say crazy dog lady??
It was a long, hot day. I got home around 6pm and had mentally prepared myself for the gym the entire ride home. I was hot, sweaty, and my feet hurt. “Why can’t it just be Saturday?” crossed my mind more than once (rest day!). I got home, opened the door, and my two crazy monkeys came running over to see Mom. My goodness they make me happy beyond words (that’s another post..or seven).. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
After our workout, we came home and devoured these delicious, extra-lean, grass-fed beef burgers on lettuce buns (something you wouldn’t have caught him dead doing when we met) that my wonderful man made for us. The patties were weighed out and ready to grill! He isn’t 100% ready to be a passenger on my ‘ I weigh my food ‘ train, but he does what he can to support me and for that I am grateful. So, so good…and worth the workout, even after my long day. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, but that’s just the way it is for me some days. Some weeks I sleep for probably about 70 hours..others I sleep for about 35. Hashimoto’s you’re silly..and a pain in my ass.
On another note: Today marks exactly 45 days until I walk down the aisle! I’ve decided to spend the next 45 days doing WHATEVER it takes to feel like (at least) 2- million bucks on that day. It’s time to step it up a knotch! I’ve always struggled with my body image, and although I am now at a ‘healthy’ weight, I still feel like I am that 220-pound girl who was too shy to even glance up from my own little world. I know that for myself, the better I feel about myself, the happier I am. I want to ROCK that honeymoon bikini with NO fear, no regrets, and a huge smile on my face.
My lunch today was DELICIOUS. I tend to get sick of salads, especially since I don’t eat salad dressing, but this was just perfect. It’s really just a normal salad..but the avacado ‘dressing’ is TO DIE FOR (and guilt free!!)
- Cut up half a ripe avocado and “mix” it with your greens ( I used spring mix and baby kale) until they’re ‘coated’..I find it easiest if you use your hands for this 🙂
- Add some lemon juice (I used half a lemon), salt, and pepper (this made a delicious, creamy, guilt-free “dressing”)
- I also added some basil from my garden into the greens..this is optional, as you have to like basil. I LOVE basil..
- I also added 3/4 of an apple as my carb (the other 1/4 went directly into my belly while chopping..apples are my weakness!)
I also used snap peas, cucumber, baby tomatos and orange peppers, but just throw in whatever you have/like. That’s the beauty of salads.. haha
(I ate this along with a leftover burger patty with mustard and sirracha–PROTEIN is important 🙂 )