Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tovah turned 2 today!

Tovah turned 2 today! Yes, I made it Halloween day. Actually, I tried pretty hard to figure out her birth date by the age I found her. It's hard to believe she is another year older now. There are so many possibilities for her. My current interest is seeing whether she could make it as a search and rescue dog. This takes a lot of time and practice, but I think she has the potential. There's also the fun new sports of Canine Nosework and Treibball which are becoming quickly popular or maybe animal assisted therapy. Unfortunately, I will not be able to go through Delta Society since they instilled a new policy that no raw food dogs could be therapy dogs this past summer. However, I did learn of a new group called HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response which seems like a wonderful organization.

I think in some ways, I feel like I missed out with Baxter in not doing more with him when he had the potential for so much. I waited--hoping to find the right people to help guide me who used the same philosophy, when I should have just done it.

I have more knowledge and contacts now and people who can help me, so I feel a little less afraid to venture out than I used to. I'll just have to see where we all end up.

For Tovah's birthday, she received a Kong Wubba which I have named Rosie the Rabbit or as my cousin says, "Wosie da Wabbit." As you can tell, she really liked it. Rosie now has one ear torn.

In case you have never read Tovah's story, she was an unexpected find. The first two weeks with me were full of happiness and heartache too. But in the end, some things do have happy endings.

Adventures from Atlanta

Anyone remember me? I just checked the last time I posted, and it was two weeks ago. It feels like an eternity! I got back from the dog conference late Monday evening and have been trying to recuperate and catch up the rest of the week.

Overall, the conference itself was fabulous. There was a total of 1286 registered attendees throughout the 5 days. The feedback has been great so far, and some feel like it was one of the best conferences in several years.
It helped in that we had some new, fun things for attendees to do like a Bingo game for the conference puppies (1st time conference attendees) with great prizes and held a silent and live auction, raising over $20K for the new foundation. Who would have ever thought dog trainers had that type of money?

So here's a rundown of the conference:

  • Met some amazing, new people and reconnected with old, wonderful friends
  • Another conference staff person gave me chocolate in my box on the last day. It warmed my heart and made me feel kind of special.
  • There was no bickering or arguing with any of the conference staff people. This seemed a great feat with 18 of us. Everyone got along well and helped one another out
  • Seminars were top notch as always
  • Off-site workshops went really well. The feedback has been great from attendees. This one is dear to my heart, because I put a lot of work and effort into organizing everything.
  • Trade show was awesome as usual. I bought some new toys for the dogs, a toy and harness for Clover, and some books
  • Drank a new drink--a blueberry dream. This was funny, because I told the cash bar guy that I did not know drinks well but wanted something sweet and with vodka. So, he made me a pretty drink he called a blueberry dream. It was very good--had a bit of pina colada taste
  • Well known dog trainers recognized me from the conferences. I received an invite from one to visit her and hugs from others. It felt slightly star struck.
  • Several people fell at one of the off-site locations on my watch on the same set of stairs. Ugh! One had an abrasion to her head which required us to call the paramedics to have her checked out, the other skinned her elbow and knee.
  • I had to scold one attendee for trying to handle a dog when she had only paid to be an observer. I must have told her like 5 times, and she just rolled her eyes at me. I was not thrilled by this. I relayed the story to the rest of the staff when I got back which somehow turned into a story that I nose punched someone! LOL We all joked about this one.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • The food! (see below)
  • My friend's car broke down (see below)
  • My parent's fed Clover dog food, not her pellets all week! I was aghast by this. Luckily, she did not die and there is no major effect, but she was rounder than when I left. I was really upset with my parents by this since I had specific written out instructions. I guess next time, I will have to pre-package her food like I did with the dogs.
I was amazed that there were hardly any vegetarian options at all. Seriously, this was downtown Atlanta! My dinner on the first night was a chef salad without the meat or cheese (they put it on anyway). The portion size was not even big enough for Clover! I felt worse for another staff person who was a strict vegetarian and had even less options available.

It wasn't until Friday that I had a "real" meal. And that was only because I insisted with the other staff people that we needed to order in or something. We had Chinese delivered. The last day, we went to a very good seafood restaurant a few blocks away from the hotel.

Though I did bring clif/luna bars, animal crackers, granola bars, etc., it really wasn't enough. A few people did notice, including my new Canadian friend who stuffed a few bananas in my box when I complained there were no bananas! She told me had she been at the hotel all that day, my box would have been completely full! She was also the one who gave me the chocolates on the last day which wound up being my lunch on Sunday.

This trip did result in some weight loss and GI issues. I've been trying to get myself back on track this week. Slowly, I'm getting there but my GI issues have remained. It's annoying how just a week of crappy/non-substantial eating messed up my system.

The other thing I still recognize is that my body perception is still distorted. I mentioned to a staff person how dog trainer A and B were so small and thin, and they'd chime in, saying I was included in that group. I truly don't know if I will ever truly feel differently about my body. It's a terrible conundrum to still think you are fat when logically you know you really are not.

The other big negative issue was that my friend's car broke down on our way back from Atlanta to my house. It was 1:30 AM, and her car started to rumble with an oil light appearing. We pulled over. She added oil, but the car would not start at all. Fortunately, my mom kept the premier AAA membership, so they came to tow us to a nearby hotel. We got into the hotel about 3:30 AM and were whipped.

The next day, we had them tow us to a repair place. After they looked at it, they said it was an engine problem and there were some other issues as well. The cost was $5100 to replace the it. My poor friend was in tears. She called her family, I called my dad, and we found some other options available.

By late afternoon, we were on the road to my house in a rental and got there late that evening. It was great that my friend got to meet my doggie crew, my bunny, and my mom. Even though this was quite an unpredictable adventure, I am truly glad I was with my friend when her car broke down. I just think how awful it would have been to be broken down on the side of the road, late at night, having to sit and wait for a tow truck all alone. I think in the end, she was thankful too.

So now, it is back to reality and catching up on everything. Next year, the conference will be in San Diego! Hopefully, I'll be able to attend as I'd love to visit there.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One task crossed off

Today was pants shopping day. Surprisingly, I wasn't dreading it as much as I had anticipated. I went to a Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy outlet place that a friend had told me about. Overall, it was fairly nice. There was a good amount of decent clothes there that were cheap.

I perused the khaki pants aisle. After 2 1/2 hours and trying on at least 20 different pairs of khaki pants, nothing. Even the ones that were short or petite were not fitting correctly either. However, I did find a nice fitting pair of grey cargoish Gap pants which I think will work for the conference, a pair of Banana Republic jeans I liked, and another lightweight Banana Republic cargo pant. I also found a few V-neck sweaters as well, It was too bad I could not find a pair of Old Navy jeans in my size, because they were $2! Yes, you read that right.

The other cool thing was that I think we have a new client. Apparently, the cashier has 2 dogs who have some issues, so I gave her my card.

So all in all, it was an okay day. I'm relieved to have this done. Now, it's just getting everything else done. It's been confirmed that my parents will be visiting to take care of my animals and work on some house projects. This gives me peace of mind. And I surely need that after this week of last minute decisions and changes.

Thanks for everyone reading about my "whining" lately and the support given.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Less "funked" but still stressed

This week has been crazy and hectic. My emotions have been everywhere. Besides the funk I was in, the emotional roller coaster did not help. (hormones could have been at play here too) The biggest stressor has been finding someone to take care of my animals while I'm gone. Normally, I have this all planned in advance, but my plans fell through at the last minute. A. was originally going to take care of them, but with me being gone, the office assistant leaving (her last day is today), I did not want my own animals to be an extra burden.

The last three days I've racked my head through other people who I trust to take care of--neighbor will be gone, friend that has taken care of them before is too far away, office assistant starting a new job. So who steps up to the plate? My parents! There is a twinge of guilt as they are coming from a long distance. But at the same time, it sounds like they really want to. (they love my dogs and bunny!) Secretly, I think my mom uses this as an excuse to be able to help around here and finish projects that she began last August when she was here.

The other major stress has been the conference stuff. There have been changes, some mishaps, etc. I just pray that everything goes as smoothly as possible. This is the most ever workshops we have had, and I've done a considerable amount of the work. Thus, if it falls, it's on my head, or at least it feels that way.

The next several days I'll be doing last minute checklists, shopping, etc. I keep reminding myself that even though I am feeling stressed, anxious, etc. when I'm at the conference, I really do have a good time. The other big challenge at the conference will be eating well. Though I've done better the last few years, eating breakfast, having good dinners and desserts, I still have anxiety over it.

I'll try to post again before I leave.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In a funk

The last week I've been in a total funk.  Here are some of the reasons why I think I've felt this way:
  • My co-worker is leaving for a different job.  I spoke about her briefly here. The reasons were exactly what that post said--about benefits.  Her last day will be this Thursday.  I'm going to really miss seeing her at work.  We have become good friends and seem to think along the same wavelengths.
  • Work has been a bit dull lately.  Yes, I do enjoy watching dogs, but it isn't necessarily very challenging at times.
  • I've been stressed with my big conference looming around the corner--1 1/2 weeks away  I've been writing many work plans for the off-site workshops which has been both good and bad.  Good in the sense that I do feel like I've accomplished something, but bad in the sense that there have been many headaches along the way.  And I'm always worried that something is going to go completely wrong, I'll make someone upset, etc.
  • I still have not gone khaki pants shopping.  It'll have to be next weekend with my other #$^%#% things I need to do before the conference.
The next question is what can I do to bring myself out of this funk?  Beyond the logical things of continuing to eat well/not skimping on meals and getting enough rest, what I really want to say is that I  need to will myself out of this.  But truly I know you just can't will yourself out of certain moods. It isn't a snap of two fingers, and poof it disappears.  What I can do, however, is to keep vigilant as stress is a trigger for loss of appetite and sleep.  And probably one of the most important things is remind myself that I can only control and handle what is within my grasp, not what is in everyone else's.s.  

On a side note, you can view more photos from WEG here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fabulous weekend

I'm way too tired to write a full report, but I had an absolute fabulous weekend. I figured this was such a good way to celebrate my Americaversary that was this past Tuesday. I wasn't able to do anything special for it, but going to the World Equestrian Games was such a delight. Though I didn't have any event tickets, just being on the grounds was quite an experience. There was tons to look through and see. Some of the exhibits were very nicely done. And by chance, we sat in on a lecture about dogs and their great nose ability. I spoke with the speaker afterwards, and apparently, she is a certified FEMA search and rescue disaster relief handler. We got to talking, and she has invited me to come check out their training runs when they are in my area. I'm very excited about this.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from WEG: