21weeks and still fresh and clean
What better way to spend Sunday than a trip to the Doggie Spa? Well really anyway I suppose but Freyja and Yarrow were pretty smelly so off we went to the self serve dog wash to get them smelling fresh and clean. Little Miss Yarrow was on her best (well at least close) behavior.
She politely greeted new dogs and people, allowed herself to be carried by strangers (I cannot lift her so the grooming staff was kind enough to help me to save my back and joints), and did not bark or fuss. She sat nicely while waiting for her turn, was polite in the tub and on the grooming table while I dried her. She even showed off her tricks wiping her own paws on command (everyone thought she was pretty amazing with that one). I got many compliments on what a sweet and well behaved puppy she is. Freyja on the other hand was told she did not act her age, not that she is ill behaved, just very happy and bouncy. Reminding me that she will probably never make it as an out of home SD. She is very friendly though.
Today we took a trip to PetSmart. It was mostly a socialization outing. I did want to get Yarrow on the scale to see how she is growing and I also wanted to buy her some booties to protect her paws from the hot pavement (she doesn’t fit in the ones I have yet).
Yarrow did very well. She was a little skeptical of the automatic doors at first but since Tim and I weren’t afraid she decided they must not be too frightening. She walked pretty calmly down the aisles to the scale to be weighed. Unfortunately she is only 35lbs at 20weeks. Naturally this is a huge trigger for my anxiety. She needs to put on about 55lbs to be large enough. To say I am worried would be an understatement. I am in love with this puppy, I don’t know what I will do if I have to wash her. If she is truly the breeds I was told she should be large enough, so I’m trying to be patient. Her mother was over 100lbs. Just hoping she is one of those dogs that grows very slow and steady. Not sure how long I can wait “patiently”.
The rest of the trip was great. She had her puppy moments, sniffing the floor and checking things out, but I wanted her to do those things. She was not overly social with people which is fine. I just want her to see that people aren’t scary and other dogs are ok too. We saw the small animals, she didn’t seem interested at all, checked out the toys, and bought the booties. She had no issue with the doors on the way out but was a little nervous crossing the street when a truck drove by (still a little nervous of running cars but I can respect that).
Today was my first Physical Therapy appt. It was rough and left me sore and tired. My hips and back hurt and my joints feel more unstable than usual. I didn’t feel up for much training today.
I did take Yarrow to the park across the street to work on some socializing. I really didn’t expect much more than watching the kids and maybe some other dogs. She did reasonably well walking across the street on leash, not saying it was perfect but I will take what I can get. She recognized the command “here” and obeyed so YAY! At the park we sat on the bench and relaxed. She was a little antsy at first just checking stuff out (looking for things to chew on, she is teething). We did a few commands and she settled again. We watched some one walk by with a dog, I rewarded her for looking and then looking at me. Lots of positive. Then some “boys” arrived on dirt bikes. It was really loud but she didn’t react at all which was great. We stuck around while they road the bikes and I rewarded her for focusing on me. When everyone seemed to be gone we walked home. She was a little more excited and wanted to sniff the grass but still walked reasonably well.
Just spending time working on some basics and a few new commands. Trying not to push too fast, Yarrow has been a little spazzy but she gets bored easily. So far she is looking pretty solid on her basics, sit, down, touch, and come. Leave it is tough but she is getting it. She is doing very well with “go to mat” even from across the room as well as “wipe your paws”, “go to bed”, and “target” even from a distance. We have had some success with putting the retrieval dumbbell actually in her mouth but she will not hold it at all or pick it up so retrieval isn’t progressing very quickly. I wonder if I should introduce retrieve through a different method or just keep going with it. She is also doing pretty well with pivoting. I’m hoping I can get some rear end awareness going so she will put her back end up on things before she gets much larger and climbing gets harder for her. I should probably get her a box to play with and break out the balance boards.
This amuses me more than it should. Freyja has always been a bit of a brat, all of the other dogs just put up with her shenanigans. She hoarded all of the toys, stole toys, insisted on laying on top of the other dogs while she chewed, was just really really bratty. Duke let her get away with anything, and Lad was just happy to have her attention. Now her is baby Yarrow and wouldn’t you know she is up to all of Freyja’s tricks. Sorry girly, this puppy is totally your Karmic retribution.
I am going to take a moment to talk about something other than training my dogs. I would like to talk about why I need a service dog. I have been “sick” for a very long time. As a child I had stomach problems and joint pain, my doctors could never really put it all together so I just sort of got brushed off. These things run in my family in different types. We have RA, Lupus, Gout, Marfans, Crohn’s, GERD, IBS, Osteoarthristis, and a host of other issues. I have been tested for Juvenile Arthritis, Lupus, RA, and Gout many times. I was eventually diagnosed with GERD and “growing pains” and sent on my way. Over time I added a host of psychiatric diagnoses, Bipolar I, GAD, SAD, SPD, OCD, ODD. I continued to have stomach and joint pain but I was ignored or told there was nothing that could be done. There is something that goes on in the medical field that is not largely talked about, perhaps doctors do not realize they do it or perhaps they just don’t care about their biases. You see, physicians will talk a great deal about non-compliance in their psychiatric patients but what they fail to mention (or perhaps address in themselves) is how they treat their patients.
No one believes the “crazy person.” Sadly this is pretty much what it seems to come down to. I spent years saying “my stomach hurts” only to hear about how anxiety causes that or just to be blown off completely. I mentioned my joints and was ignored. I stopped seeing primary care doctors completely and I won’t even mention how many psychiatrists treat their bipolar and anxiety patients. When I first started having seizures my doctor told me it was probably anxiety, but just in case sent me to a neurologist to be looked at. This is how most psychiatric patients are treated, it is always in your mind first. As it happens, I have epilepsy and the “episodes” were in fact partial complex seizures not stress or anxiety at all (despite having a long list of psychiatric disorders and two special needs children, yes I get it I do have stress).
I had hoped treating the epilepsy would be the end of it. Unfortunately that was just not the case. Over time things have become progressively worse. I had blamed many symptoms on my medication, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, falling, slow healing, bruising, tingling in my hands and feet. While many of those are probably related to the medication some are not. My stomach issues also continued to get worse, as did my joints. I quit martial arts and have been unable to participate in many of the other activities I used to enjoy. My joints hurt to much and I become fatigued quickly. I found a new doctor and we started testing, again.
Now it would take several paragraphs to describe all of the medical mess I have been through in the last 8 months. My initial blood work once again did not show RA, Lupus, or Gout but I was severely anemic. I was referred out to a gastroenterologist and obgyn initially. The OBGYN was quick to diagnose me and get me set for surgery. My ablation was done to stop the bleeding, hopefully I will not need a hysterectomy and we are on watch as I have recurrent cysts (right now they are just painful not dangerous). The process was far longer with the gastroenterologist though after thorough and invasive testing we came up with nothing more than IBS, Diverticulitis, capillaries in the small intestines, and Gastritis. I had iron infusions and for right now my iron and blood counts are back to normal but my b12 is low so I’m taking B12 supplements. My newest referral was to a rheumatologist. He checked my blood work and looked at my joints. He was quickly able to put the pieces together with my history and diagnose me (wish I had been sent to him ages ago) I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hyper Mobility Type. Everything fits together.
So I will be going to physical therapy to see what I can do to help strengthen my body. I will also be getting a referral for X-rays and an MRI for my ankle and possibly knee as they are the most effected of my joints right now. I may look into chiropractic or massage for my back, neck, and shoulders. I probably need a brace for my ankle. I also have some medication to take for when my joints are bad. Hopefully Yarrow will grow big and strong with the correct temperament to help me when I need her. I will be needing her.
Since our trip to Florida Yarrow has had a bit of backsliding in her training. Not really any surprise there. Her basics still look good but we had a couple of rough nights with her barking in her crate and a few crazy romps round the yard when she refused to come when called. It could just be coincidence, she is going through new phases of course and we have had several summer storms keeping us all cooped up inside so she is a bit rambunctious. It does leave me needing to implement new management techniques when taking her out to do her business and working harder on her recall training. Her basics are still strong and we are working on some new tricks.
Sit, Down (with added duration), Come, Touch, Target, and Leave It, all look good. We are now working on “Go to Bed”, “Wipe Your Paws” which is looking good but I’m trying to make clearer, “Chin” which is also pretty good, “Paw”, “under”, “here”, and yesterday we added “Pivot” to work on back end awareness. The retrieval dumbbell arrived but she is still refusing to put it in her mouth, I am unsure as to how to proceed from here with it. I did get her to put the clicker in her mouth so we may drop the dumbbell and try a different item.
We also made another trip to Denia for socialization. She is shy with new people but warms up with time. She still does not like the car ride which unfortunately causes her to balk at approaching the car and means I have to carry her which is becoming much harder for me to do as she becomes heavier and heavier. I need to work with her on this. I also found that she barks a bit at new dogs so we will need to work on counter conditioning her with dogs. She was very well behaved at practice mostly laying at my feet, chewing a bit on her Himalayan chew or just watching the kids skate. The skates don’t bother her and she seems to actually like the kids better when they are wearing them than not.