Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm a person who trudges through chores and banalities and can only relax after all that needs to be done is done.  Generally I'll feel agitated until all these things are completed.  For example, each day when I come home, I immediately walk and feed everyone, pick up after everyone, put the trash out and make or have dinner (depending on how ambitious I'm feeling) and then finally relax into my own interests - TV, a movie, reading.

The other night, I was so overwhelmed with these responsibilities, add the daily task of caring for a high maintenance 13 year old, that I just lost it.  I crumpled into tears and pitiful helplessness - not a state I'm at all used to or remotely comfortable with.  In fact, admitting this to you all is a bit, well, embarrassing.  Matt, my loving partner of 10 years, reminded me of an important metaphor:

You're on a plane, when an emergency's declared.  The oxygen masks drop and are suspended above you.  Do you put a mask on your child or on yourself first?  If you get theirs on first, you might be overcome with smoke, and then the child is left to cope alone.  If you put yours on first, you are then readily prepared to help everyone around you!  So the lesson here is you have to help yourself first before you can be of use to another.

This realization gave birth to the notion of Utterly Indulgent Me Day!  I went to the store, took Arwen for a training walk, took Nyxie to the dog park (yup, I sure did), worked out, and made myself a yummy lunch.  It was a wonderful day!  I've been meaning to start loose-leash-walk training with Arwen, but just haven't felt   motivated enough.  It's been incredibly annoying, but I fought my frustrations, and I did it!  By about the middle of our walk, she understood what was asked of her - if she pulled, I halted all forward motion.  I'm sure she was wondering at first what was wrong with mom- was she hurt?  Clueless?  "Just smell that amazing tree and all the pee-mail scattered about!  I can a-l-m-o-s-t reach it..."  We'll have to keep training ongoing, but it was a great start.  The most important aspect of our walk was my mental state - calm and assertive.

I wanted to have fun with Nyxie and it suddenly occurred to me that we hadn't been to the new dog park in my city since it opened.  Not that this is shocking - Nyxie has rejected her own kind for years now.  This is something I'm working on with her, but it's taking time and the very patience I've lacked recently.  The park was clean, and divided into 4 separate fields.  When we arrived, Nyxie sniffed the air and even though she'd never been there, she began to whine excitedly.  She never barked at anyone or their dogs, and when we walked through the gates to the airlock, her whining intensified.  She remembered what a dog park is and what it signified - running, fun, and freedom!!  She dashed around, over and over running straight at me and veering right or left at the last possible second.  What a blast!  We ran together until we sank exhausted into the grass.

Who needs an oxygen mask when you have dogs to save you from yourself!


  1. I save my mom evFURRYday!

    Here's to Arwen and Nyxie!


  2. Great post - you are a woman after our Mom's heart - she is the same way. But we do our best to keep her in line. Phantom is almost 12 and is a born puller - he will never learn. Thunder walks beautifully on a leash, and Ciara is doing much better. She loves to walk with one of the other dogs, but Mom says she really needs to spend more time taking her by herself.

    Hoping your weekend is as great as today.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  3. We totally agree! Dogs are the best life savers there are.

  4. Sometimes you just need a "me" day, and what better way to spend it then with the pups?


  5. Glad that you had some good fun with Arwen and Nyxie!

  6. Fred is a puller... damn hound dog should have been a husky, he gets worse when my other dog is with us. I still walk them together every day - it takes aobut 15 mins till he settles in really good and stops pulling. No matter how tired he is if he catches a scent he pulls. I gave up on LLW with him. Haylie is a breeze and great on the lead. I am glad you took some time out and spent it with the dogs. That one on one time with them is something I have to remind myself to do.

  7. Your post hit home with me. I just finished an emotional meltdown - complete with many tears - so I'm thrilled to hear that you took your meltdown and turned into something good. An utterly indulgent Friday sounded like EXACTLY what you needed.

    You're right. Our dogs know what we need better than we do. If we imitate them, we'll be alright.

    Finally, isn't it amazing how well your simple method for teaching a dog not to pull works? It takes patience at first but most dogs "get it" really fast. Way to go!

  8. Sounds like you needed a day of indulgence! Definitely important to pamper yourself on occasion. :)


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