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Penny reminded me of the fact that I haven't written much about our post-Maxie life here. Yes, it is still sad not to have her. It sucks actually. A lot.  Occasionally one of the dogs lets out a bark that sounds just like hers, or their nails on the hard floor sound just like hers, and it is such a familiar sound that I expect to see her there but she's not and my brain gets confused. In the first few months after we lost her, I had dreams almost every night that she hadn't died after all. I would dream that I would come home from school and she'd be there. My mom would say "We thought we lost her, but she recovered!" It's weird, I've never had recurring dreams before that.



But I can't say that post-Maxie life has been all bad, particularly in regards to Toby. If it hasn't been clear on my blog over the years, Toby is not a huge part of my life, and I know that I've never really written much about that. There's a twofold reason for that, it is both highly embarrassing and very painful to recall. But I do feel like I'm ready to write about it, and that I need to write about it. Toby is a big factor in where I am today and I don't want to forget why that happened.



Toby came to us at around 11 months from a cock fighting farm in southern Kentucky. We don't know much about that. We know he was in a pin with several other dogs, mostly large shepherds. He is and always has been my mom's dog. I don't know if imprinting is a real actual thing in dogs, but I do know that my mom was the one who picked up him from the shelter and brought him home, and from that moment on he has been her dog through and through. When we got him, I wanted desperately to show in agility with him. After all, I couldn't do it with Maxie because I was told AKC was the only venue that offered it. I tried, and tried, and tried. His stress levels were always so high that I could never get him to do much with me outside of the back yard. As a 12 year old with very limited dog training experience, I didn't understand anything about stress and fear in dogs. My instructors just told me he was "unmotivated". I tried to "motivate" him. They told me that my mom should hide whenever I did agility with him because he would just want to run to her. Nothing worked. I had to drag him out of the car to get him to come to agility class. One day in particular is etched into my memory. I was dragging Toby out of the car and he was desperately clawing to get back in, and in the process gouged huge claw marks into my leg. I was bleeding everywhere.

Oh my gosh, I would cry. Once I discovered agility with Maxie a few years before, there was literally nothing else in the world I enjoyed more. I couldn't understand why other people had dogs that would actually do things with them but I couldn't get Toby to work with me. I cried. I got angry. Eventually I gave up and decided Toby should just be a dog. I started working only with Maxie , although I still didn't realize that USDAA existed. I decided most of all that I needed a border collie.



Cliffhanger! pt. 2 will come soon.
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Every time I come home from school Panic looks wiser, like while I'm away learning in an institution he is here learning as well, from the earth, from the universe, I'm not quite sure, but there is some kind of wisdom there that is deepening all the time.



As much as I hate being away for so long, there is something very awesome about getting to learn so many new things about each other each time we are together. He is getting older. So am I.

This is the first time I've been home since we lost Maxie. It is strangely the same and strangely different. Her absence didn't hit me as strongly as I thought it would, but it has been hard in the smallest ways. Getting myself a late-night snack without her tapping nails and inquisitive ears right behind me, watching a person walk by our house without her high-pitched alarm barking, grabbing my car keys without her bouncing up and down next to me. She was such a huge presence in our lives. This weekend at our show Panic and I will definitely be running for her. Last night at practice we certainly were--a whole lot of fun and just a bit of naughtiness.

Snow

Feb. 11th, 2014 04:17 pm
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Snow, looks like just about all of us have some. I'm not sure I've seen this much snow in my living memory.



Last year was a mild winter in the Midwest. I do love the snow this year, although admittedly much of the joy found in snow is fleeting in the absence of a dog. My dogs absolutely love it. Well, Maxie never did. She was a warm weather dog for sure. I had actually been doing a bit of research on getting her a little coat. She always got so cold and shivery. At least now she can always be warm.

Grief is a funny thing. It sneaks up on you in ways you would never expect. Lately, I've been feeling like a child. Timid, dependent, easily overwhelmed. I've been having strange flashbacks to various moments of my childhood upon a random sound, a taste, a smell, a word. This always happens to me on occasion, but the frequency of it lately is throwing me off. I'm trying my hardest to focus on the present and I keep getting transported backwards. Maybe it's good for me to reflect in such a sensory way.

Maxie

Jan. 21st, 2014 11:58 am
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June 2000-January 20th 2014

DSC_0064

No Content

Jan. 11th, 2014 11:15 pm
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Yum, ice. We've certainly had enough of it around here.



Toby loves it.


Cute.


And cute.


Heading back to school tomorrow. It's been a good month in Louisville with good dogs. 
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I think Maxie and Panic were reading over my shoulder when I commented on Heather's adorable cuddly post complaining about my non-cuddlers.

Well, they're not touching me or each other, but this is still pretty cuddly, right? Right?

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Yesterday when I got home, I let all the dogs out in the yard. Maxie was too busy to come in when the others did, so I left her out longer, went to do something else, forgot about her, and let her in about 15 minutes later.

Once I let her in, something was clearly wrong. Ears back, tail down, shivering. She tried to jump in my bed but couldn't. I was thinking hypothermia, so I put her in bed and threw blankets on top of her, including one fresh out of the dryer. She shivered for an hour straight and wouldn't take food. A few hours later she got up to get a drink of water and was dragging her legs a bit. She perked up when my mom got home, but mostly just wanted to lay down and be left alone. She started eating, but wouldn't eat from her bowl unless it was elevated. Yelps when we try to pick her up. We're thinking a slipped disk maybe?

She seems to be getting a bit better. We're torn between waiting a few days and taking her to the vet immediately. We worry that transporting her would do more harm than good. She seems to be feeling a bit better this evening.

On top of that, last night I got a horrible migraine to ring in the new year. I don't get them too often, but man do they suck when they arrive. Finally totally dissipated around 2 this afternoon.

All in all, not a GREAT start to the new year...but I don't think this will set the tone for 2014.

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I recently got a new lens, the 50mm f/1.4, upgraded from the 1.8 which I've had for about 7 years. Still a fantastic lens but I'm excited about this new one.





Maxie will be 14 next summer, I can't believe it. I probably mention her age a lot, but it's just very hard to wrap my head around. She still gets around SO well. Very lucky to have such a cute, healthy, active old dog.



And this boy, well there are no words.

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