Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My new "normal"

I was trying to think of a cute way to structure this blog post (or even a creative title for crying out loud), but the truth is that just isn't how my brain is functioning right now.  I had to take a muscle relaxant last week (my back went out in class last week and I ended up with a pinched sciatica nerve) and then I've had a migraine since Friday (which was only made better by going to Purim celebrations at the temple - Purim is a holiday we celebrate by eating sweets and giving children noisemakers).

My brain is fuzzy - I can do straightforward things, but my brain isn't being creative right now.

But I said I was going to do this post today and I want to do it.  I will try and be as creative as possible as today wears on, and if inspiration strikes (pray that it does) I may update the post to be creative later today.

All I have right now (and this is a stretch) is what I'm going to call the "24" format.  Remember that show a while back where each episode was supposed to be one hour of the guy's life and the whole season was supposed to add up to one day?  Well, imagine that horrid beeping noise that they had every time they showed you the time on the show as I continue to update this post today.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

8:30 - Wake up.  Yeah yeah yeah, it's late.  I stayed up way too late last night for no other reason than I can (and I found the latest season of a favorite show online that doesn't air in the states, so I was stuck watching just one more episode.  It's a problem.).  Owen is still sleeping in the crate at night - he was sleeping in bed for about a week, before he threw a party at night without me (the cat let him out of the bedroom) so I have Owen sleeping in the crate for now.  I sleep much better at night without him constantly getting in and out of bed and he doesn't seem to care at all.  We've gone on walks the last few days, but I want to make sure he is consistently tired before letting him sleep in bed at night, instead of kind of tired for a few days and then no walk due to weather problems.  (on a quick side note I found the dog park last night, and I think it may work - as long as the other dogs who go there aren't mean...).

Toby's spot while I try to get ready in the morning.  Gee thanks, Toby.

Our morning routine is pretty simple; probably close to what a lot of people's looks like.  I get up and get myself ready enough to take Owen outside (apartment complex, no taking Owen out in pajamas).  Then we come back in and I get Owen's breakfast ready.  After he eats breakfast I finish getting ready and figure out what we are doing for the rest of the day.  Or I blog.  Like today.

This is a picture of Owen's stash of supplements in the laundry room closet.  I will definitely be looking for extra storage space when we move this summer; there is not enough storage space in our apartment for all of Owen's stuff and my stuff.  We have so many supplements right now because I am now officially a member of the IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dogs and Partners) and as a member I can have our vet request certain products for us.  They all arrived last week, so now we have a 6-month supply of Welactin (fish oil), Dasuquin (for his joints), and flea/tick medication - somebody goofed and asked for the wrong thing (either me in the appointment or the vet tech when they phoned it in), I wanted the heartworm product because we will be going to Texas, but I'll just buy Heartguard when we go, and once we find a vet in Texas, we'll order the right stuff through the IAADP.

I was asked if Owen gets a special diet, the quick answer is "YES!"

The long answer is that Owen eats Acana, which is a high grade kibble that is made in North America and only from ingredients in North America.  He gets the grain free kind because too many carbs give him ear infections.  He also gets Honest Kitchen, which is a dehydrated "raw" (not really, because they have to dehydrate it and things get heated during the process - but it's as raw as anything will ever be in our apartment) food; it's made in a human-safe food facility and they list exactly where all of the ingredients come from on their website.  Not all from the US, but they know where they come from and that's good enough for me.  The Honest Kitchen, while unbearably expensive, has vitamins that kibble doesn't have, no matter how good it is.  He doesn't eat the grain free HK, but it's relatively low in grain and he eats so little of it that it's okay for him.  The HK has to be hydrated before Owen eats it - because of this, it expands in volume and helps him feel more full throughout the day (it also greatly reduces the chance that he may bloat).  On top of that, Owen gets fish oil and dasuquin as well as probiotics at every meal.

After Owen's breakfast, we go on a walk in the morning (it's length is determined by when we have to be somewhere).  For example, today we don't have anywhere to be in the morning, so we're about to go on a long walk and hope the sun comes out a little bit more.  Check in soon!

Beep.  Beep.  Beep. Beep.  (Apparently there are four beeps)

11:00 - Change in plans from what I thought we would do.  I got a lot of work done yesterday afternoon and didn't have much schoolwork that desperately needed doing today.  I still have some I need to get done, but not enough to warrant going somewhere to increase productivity.  So instead, this morning, we stayed home.  I worked on yarn projects (for the Etsy store; I swear I'll put it online soon) and Owen napped.

1:00 - Owen and I are about to step out the door, but I thought I'd give you a quick view of what we have to take with us. Owen and I together have a lot more stuff than I do alone, and I have to actively think about what we're bringing with us every time we go somewhere.

For example, today we are bringing: my backpack for school (thesis binder, text books, and laptop), Owen's harness (which has my wallet), snacks for me, a bone for Owen, Owen's water bottle (It has a special top so he drink out of it)... In the car I always have towels and a first aid kit. As well as extra water bottles. Think that's everything! I hope. :)

1:05 - Grooming time!  I think Owen is blowing out his coat now; Labradors are double coated and apparently twice yearly they "blow out" the undercoat.  Which basically means non-stop shedding until it's done.  I use a rake on Owen to pull out his undercoat and I use a slicker brush afterwards; about two weeks ago I was getting a little hair, but not much.  Now we get multiple clumps of hair every time I brush him.  Sometimes he's getting brushed twice daily.  I can't seem to keep up.  I hope this is him blowing out his coat because if this isn't, then it's going to really suck when he does blow out his coat.

Here's the balcony after only two days of brushing.  I have to take the vacuum out there every couple of days to clean it up.

Bonus points if you can spot the cat.

1:30 - We went to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy.  This is how Owen rides in the truck!  He has the whole back of the truck to himself, I folded the seats down to make a level area and it's padded with towels and blankets (this also makes sure I always have spare towels with us in case of emergency).  When I get a new car though (after graduation and hopefully with my first job), I'm going to get a car that has a trunk for Owen.  As much as I love my truck (and believe me, I do), it's so much easier having Owen in the trunk of the car because that way I don't have to worry about parking.  We've managed to get in and out of the truck in some pretty tight spaces, but with a car we wouldn't have to worry about somebody boxing us in.  The things we give up for our service dogs...

2:00 - Time to get my nails done.  Not Owen's, because he's still being a stinker about it.  Owen's a rockstar at the nail salon, it's pretty small and he has to squeeze in real small under the desk and stay there for a long time.  Poor Owen got glitter spilled on him while we were there so he was very sparkly the rest of the day!  I took pity on him and tried to wipe most of it off.

4:05 - Potty break for Owen outside the chiropractor's office.  This is a typical Owen attitude, I'm doing what you told me to do, just not in a way that makes it easy for you.  Oh well!

Of course the leash snagged about a dozen times while I kept trying to get him to go around the bush instead of further down the hill.  Once he finally meandered back up to where I was standing, he looked all innocent like he didn't know why I was frustrated!

4:15 - Chiropractor appointment, thank goodness!  My back has been bad all week and I was so thankful that I had an appointment scheduled.

Actual quotes from my chiropractor during my visit yesterday: "Hallelujah!" & "It's like Orville Redenbacher in there!" (referencing how badly my back was popping)

4:30 - How to drive your service dog crazy and waste 30 minutes in the process.

1. Get a horrible migraine craving for good coffee.  Don't ask me why, it just happened.
2. Decide the only coffee that will be good enough is the coffee from this bakery that you've never actually been in (although you know their cookies are great).
3.  Ask Siri where the bakery is.  (She lies.)
4.  Drive around aimlessly in an area of Spokane you have never been in before, find the sign for the bakery but not the actual bakery.
5.  Give up because now you're going to be late for class.
6.  Drive 30 more minutes to get back to campus, fuming the whole way about how there is no good coffee in the entire city of Spokane.  Pass about 20 corner coffee stands on your way to school.
7.  Arrive at campus grumpy, hungry, and with a headache.  Make your service dog accompany you to get dinner.
8.  Done.

6:00 - Time for class!  (By this point I had eaten dinner and was feeling considerably less grumpy).  Owen got a potty break before class started, but don't think I'm above saying I have to take my dog out to go potty if I need a stretch break in class!  He gets his comfy mat on days where I know we'll be in class a long time, but he chose to sleep on my feet instead.  He keeps his gear on in this class, in tomorrow nights' class he gets to go "naked" and visit with his friends.  I keep telling Owen he needs to learn how to pay attention to the lecture and take notes so I can take naps under the table!

When I say Owen goes everywhere with me, I mean it.  He's hanging out in the corner of the bathroom stall here; we have to use the handicap stall because there is no way we fit in any others.  Owen has to stand up in the bathroom, even when he thinks he'd rather lay down.  I'm sure it leads to some interesting experiences for other bathroom goers to hear me hissing at him, "Stand up!"  Once, Owen kept laying down in the bathroom and sliding under the barrier into the stall next to us where there was a little girl and every time he did there was a cry of "doggie doggie doggie".  I was thoroughly embarrassed.  I think Owen was doing it on purpose.

I don't know what Owen did, but class really wore him out!  He snored the whole way home.
9:00 - We finally arrive home after being gone almost 8 hours.  Owen's a great travel companion, I have no worries about driving back to California with him when I'm done with school (first stop on the way to Texas).  Luckily, both of my animals are great in the car...  Just not sure how they'll do together.

9:15 - Time for Owen's dinner! 

Yes, he is sticking his tongue out at me while I make him "wait" to eat his dinner.

He has to sit and wait every time he eats, he's very good at this and he hasn't tested me since the very first time I fed him dinner during team training.

10:00 - Good night from Owen.  Owen likes to pester Toby after he eats and chew a bone, but by 10:00 he is out.  I practically have to beg him to get up at 11:00 or 12:00 to go "last out".  He's a happy boy when I finally decide to go to bed and turn out the lights!

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