Sunday, January 31, 2016

If I hadn't lost my grocery list . . .

As many of you know, I have been looking for another dog since I lost my dear Ayn Chee.  At first I thought, "No, no more dogs."  But both Tashi and I were suffering from the loss.  I know my depression was adding to hers.  She is very sensitive to my feelings.

I finally decided to get another dog.  There are a lot of dogs out there than need a home, right?  Well, yes, but . . .

My friend Zae works with Heartland Small Animal Rescue and told me about a hoarding situation, in which 166 dogs were found in deplorable conditions.  Zae is fostering one named Millicent, and I thought that might work.  There was a second one from that group, Yoda, that I was interested in as well.  In the meantime, I was looking through Pet Finder.  I found several terriers, but every time I tried to get in line for one, it was gone.  I decided that since the terriers all went so fast, I would concentrate on these bigger dogs from the hoarder that might be harder to find homes for.

Last Wednesday, we met Yoda.  Tashi let her know what she thought of her - she growled and lunged.  We did take a walk, with her foster parent keeping her a good ten feet away.  But any closer than that, and Tashi had her teeth bared.

Friday we met Millicent, this time on common ground in a park near Zae's home.  We walked on different sides of the street to the park, then entered the park together.  Same story - Tashi lunged, growled, bared her teeth.  We walked them for a bit, keeping some distance between them.  But it was no go.  I tended to agree with Zae that Tashi didn't really need a dog.

I gave it one more try, taking Tashi into the backyard and having my neighbors Georgia and Mike bring over their Aussie.  Tashi met Boogeloo when he was a pup just to make sure there would be no problem, given Tashi is an alpha, if he wandered into the yard in the future.  All went well when they met.  So how would she react to nearly full-grown Boo?  Is it ALL dogs, or just these two from the hoarders? Answer - after some initial friendliness, again Tashi growled and lunged.  Message received - no more dogs here.  Sigh . . .

I had made an appointment a couple of days ago to have Tashi meet a terrier, Figgy Pudding, at Pet Refuge on Sunday.  But given what had happened with the other three dogs, it seemed prudent to cancel it.  I had written the volunteer's personal cell phone number on a piece of paper so I could call her if I had to cancel for any reason.

Where was that paper?  Wasn't it written on the back of the grocery list?  Gone, gone, gone.  And so I packed Tashi in the car, went to Pet Refuge and went in to explain to Molly, the volunteer, that Tashi wasn't accepting any dogs.  I apologized for losing her number, told her I had Tashi in the car but I thought it was no-go.

Molly introduced me to Kristen.  She said Kristen had a way with animals, was very good at "meet and greets," and she had asked her to join us since I had told her that Tashi was an alpha dog when I first went there.  So I decided to give it a shot, although my hopes were not high.

First Kristen took Tashi in a room where she couldn't see me.  Then Molly joined her with Figgy, both dogs on a leash.  There was no excitement (that's a good thing!), and after a few minutes, they brought both dogs into the room where I was.  Then they handed Tashi over to me and we took a walk through the cat room.  One minor growl from Tashi when Figgy tried to get too personal on the first date, and he backed off.  No fighting.  Then we went outside.  After five or so minutes, we switched leashes and I walked Figgy while Kristen walked Tashi.  Still no problem.  Then we went into a large pen and we dropped Tashi's leash.  No problem.  Then we dropped Figgy's leash.  No problem.  Then they met and sniffed and peed on top of each other's spots.  No problem!  Then I picked up Figgy right in front of Tashi to see her reaction.  No problem!!  Tashi and I had a dog!!!!!

They are getting along beautifully.  We took a nice long walk with the two of them walking side by side, just like Ayn Chee and Tashi used to.

If I hadn't lost the grocery list, I would have called Molly and cancelled the appointment.  And I wouldn't have a dog.  You just never know where happenstance is going to lead you.  This time it led me to a very good place indeed!

They met and they got along!

Tashi and I have a dog!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I'm looking for a dog . . .

I miss Ayn Chee so much, and so does Tashi.  Not sure which of us needs a new pup more.  I have found several at various animal refuge places.  A friend has one dog from a rescue of 166 animals from a hoarder.  Good grief!  Why do people do that?  She works with Heartland, and they are taking 10 of the 166,  More are coming and in that 10, there might be the perfect dog for me and Tashi.

In the meantime, I am continuing to look.  I really liked one little guy who is at Pet Refuge, but I think someone beat me to him.  I am waiting to hear from them on TJ.  I liked his story, same as Ayn Chee's, being shuffled from place to place, wondering why no one wants him.  That really touched me.  No one wanted Ayn Chee, either.  But I did.

Last night, I took another e-tour through Pet Finder, and there was a new pic of a small older dog who could be Ayn Chee's twin.  He is at the Humane Society right here in Mishawaka.  He looks so much like her that it is uncanny.  The family he who brought him there has a new baby who is allergic to him.  His name is Brady.

I am going to go to see him as soon as possible, knowing there is some danger in getting a "replacement" dog.  No animal could truly replace Ayn Chee, but I also know that the Humane Society does not keep animals long, and he is in danger of being euthanized quickly.  I know from experience.

Tashi was a runaway (or was dumped) who showed up on the doorstep of a friend of a friend.  She already had two large dogs and didn't want her.  Being a dog groomer, she cleaned her up and took her to the Humane Society in Plymouth. The mutual friend had already tried to get me to take her, and I refused.  At the time, I had two dogs, two cats and a parakeet and didn't need another animal to care for.  According to the mutual friend who brought her to me (after illegally adopting her from the Humane Society knowing he wouldn't keep her and knowing I would probably bend when confronted with her impending death), they were going to euthanize her after only three days there.  That seems a pretty short time to try to find a home. And of course, I bent, and Tashi came into my life.  Here is a pic of her right after I got her, in October of 2007.  Vet thought her to be about a year old, which means she will be turning 10 soon.

Tashi is sleeping at my feet right now, snoring softly.  She rarely leaves me since Ayn Chee crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  She is lonesome.  Last night, she again slept with her head on my shoulder for part of the night.  This is new behavior, just since Ayn Chee is gone.  Before that, she slept on the floor beside the bed, or sometimes on the foot of the bed.  She needs to be very close to me now.

There are so many dogs that need homes. I can only take one.  Wish I could take them all.  It is so heartbreaking to think of all of these unwanted dogs in the world.  All they need is love.  If you have room in your home and your heart, think about taking one in.

Monday, January 18, 2016

An experiment

Most people who know me know that I am on a ketogenic diet.  In a nutshell, this means that I eat so few carbohydrates that my body uses fat for energy, putting the body in ketosis, at which time the body will throw off ketones (which can be measured).  This is what makes the Atkins diet work - and why I eat an unbelievable amount of fat and remain at a normal weight.  If you are interested in getting to the real nuts and bolts of why it works, try this book.  The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Phillips and Volek is thorough and has plenty of footnotes to follow in case you doubt.
This month, I am celebrating six years in ketosis, and five and a half years without the med that prompted me to try a keto diet. While I am very happy not to have to take lamotrigine anymore, the book's in-depth explanations of how our brain functions when in ketosis gave me food for thought. Could there be another added bonus, other than the weight loss that I initially experienced?
I'm doing Pimsleur to learn French, will graduate to level 3 in a couple of days. I do a half hour lesson most days. Some days it comes pretty easily, others I am backing up so often that I spend an hour getting through that 30 minute lesson. After reading the details of our brains on carbs in said book, I decided to start tracking my keto reading (which measures my carb intake from the previous day) against the time it takes me to do a lesson. Obviously there is a lot of backing up and replaying on a bad day, so the time it takes me to complete the lesson is an approximate indication of how easy it was for me. Does my brain work better when the keto stick reads 45 rather than when it reads 5?
Starting today, I am making a chart with my keto reading, and the French lesson start and stop times.  I figured that using the minutes was objective, whereas writing down whether lesson was easy, hard or in-between leaves too much room for subjectivity.  I already know that I feel considerably better (and more focused) on days when the keto reading hits at least 15.  And I know that I feel pretty rotten if I drop totally out of ketosis.  So this is an opportunity to have a fairly objective measure of how my brain is working day today.  How many minutes does it take me to finish my lesson on a 45 day?  a 15 day? a 5 day? 

It will be interesting to see where this goes.  I am already finding it easier to turn away from a carb laden treat when I think that eating it might make that French lesson a real pain the next morning.

Just an aside - I have been trying to learn to speak French since 1984.  I had two years in college, went to Alliance Francaise, took a course at Berlitz, had a private tutor and have many books and CDs on my shelf.  Wouldn't it be something if eating butter, the national food of France, helped me to finally learn this language? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It's so quiet . . .

Tonight marks one week since Ayn Chee crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I miss her.  It is so quiet around here.  She certainly made herself known.

Tashi is doing okay, but I can tell she misses her.  Tashi has never snuggled with me, but last night she got up close to me and laid her head on my shoulder.  That is just where Ayn Chee slept before she got sick.  It felt good to have her head resting there, to smell that sweet doggy smell.  It is helping both of us to heal, this new found closeness.

I invited the neighbors over for dinner.  Randy dug the hole in my rose garden for her burial.  So this is in part sort of a thanks for helping out, but also to have company in the house so that I can forget this brutal silence.