Friday, June 27, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 7

Here we are at a week. Daisy is now fully integrated with the dogs. This was pretty easy since I learned that she has no interest in them whatsoever.  Her separation anxiety (from me) has kicked in full force and she spends much of the time whining or howling if she is not right with me. The only time she shows any dog aggression is if she is near me or in what she considers her crate. She is possessive more than aggressive if I had to define it.   We are on day three of her homeopathic remedy and I am wondering if maybe it isn't the right one for her.  This was more of an observational post because I haven't figured out which direction to go with her. Certainly she will need a home that either wants to work through separation anxiety or someone who wants a velcro companion. I'd like to see some improvements in this before she is placed. I'll have to think on what the best approach will be for her. Ok, she is crying pathetically at the back door now....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 5

Daisy continues to impress us with her sweet and gentle nature, however she did show us the 'dog aggression' reported to us by her previous owners.  Any of our other dogs going near her crate or at a gate elicits a very demonstrative display of teeth from Daisy.  I suspect that she is truly a lover and not a fighter, that she may be in conflict with forces in her previous life that told her she was the Goddess of War. Where she clearly was the sponge  that absorbed the negativity that generally exists prior to a divorce. Being tremendously affectionate and devoted to Ian and I and showing separation anxiety when we leave the room, I think she would really enjoy canine companions if she could only get past her animosity towards them.

For a start with her transition, I approached my homeopath about doing some pro bono work for CDRN. She agreed and today she took Daisy's case and very quickly we identified the remedy to start her on. She received her first dose today. I am hoping this helps ease her transition here so she can release some of these unhealthy behavior patterns.

After some more screaming and howling when left alone, I decided she needed to meet the dogs.  First I brought her down to the pens and let her meet them through the fence. There was a lot of barking and growling, but I did manage to let her know which were good approaches and which were not going to make her any friends. She so wants to please me. She gazes up with these big round brown eyes and I can see how much she hopes she can trust me as she accepts the behavior I am asking her to do (or not do.)  Next I crated all the dogs and let her out in the dog yard to sniff around and also to leave her own scent.  Finally, I let Isaac out.

A word about Isaac. I don't think before today have I every really appreciated his gifts. He is the canine equivalent of a really good counselor.  Throughout his 10 years he has been so purely content with his own place as a happy dog that he has no emotional baggage ready to do battle with the emotional troubles of any dog I introduce him to. Being a retired alpha of our often large pack, he is no stranger to expecting and commanding respect when needed, yet he was always a benevolent leader. He's always been the one to teach puppies the ways of the world, giving each lesson at just the right time in a gentle way the puppies understand.  He's always been the only dog I could put with ANY transient or troubled dog...even the most aggressive are not inspired to engage with Isaac. He puts them at ease, by allowing them to be. He creates the safe space for them to have their troubles in his presence and accepts them.  Imagine the world if more people could do this.  Reserve judgement and practice the art of non-reaction and acceptance.  Isaac, the laughing one, you're a good dog.

Back to the story, Isaac came out and immediately went to greet Daisy. Instinctually he froze for inspection, usually the job of the new or lower ranking dog, however Isaac sensed that he needed to tell Daisy he was not a threat.  Daisy sniffed then scurried away.  He accepts her need to be the way she is and does not engage in an unhealthy way.  So, he gave her space and played fetch with me .  I stayed out for a few more minutes and noticed that Daisy would try to hide behind me and then if Isaac came close she would shove her head between my calves and snarl ferociously.  Right then I refused to let her use me as her shield or reason. Without me near, she was not nearly so demonstrative.  Once I was confident that there would be no bloodshed, I decided it would be best if I left the yard and watched from afar.

Ian and I played outside and I watched the dynamic unfold.  If Ian went to close to the fence, then Daisy felt it more necessary to defend her little space bubble. The further away we were the less of a show she put on and the closer she would allow Isaac to get to her.  Watching Isaac carefully ignore her, it allowed her the space and time to approach him.  Isaac brilliantly allowed her to come close and then he moved away. He was allowing her to come close so he could demonstrate that he was not a threat to her by moving away from her.  He wasn't moving away out of fear, he would just casually turn his back to her. Once he even laid down showing her that she could approach him and he was calm and cool. In a way telling her that she could relax too.  In on adorable moment she offered a single playful bounce towards him, but he didn't see it. 

It's really sad that she doesn't know how to be a social dog but I see the desire in her.  A willingness to find her way to a place where she knows how to socialize with other dogs. A place that won't be so lonely for her.  So she doesn't need to whimper in isolation. Where she no longer plays the role and carries the burden of the Goddess of War. Where she can be a delicate flower to cherish. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm In Love

I am head over heels for a new love.

He's big, he's black, he's got buttons that I know just how to push to make him groan.

He's everything I ever wanted and didn't know I wanted. 

The way he makes me feel, like I can accomplish things before I never thought possible.

He's the one I have been waiting for, the one I can't live without.

So goodbye old reliable, you've been great while I was waiting for The One. 

But even you know you don't compare.

He's a machine. 

He's beautiful.

My mother-in-law can have her little one back.

My Vita-Mix is here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 2

Evan got up early with Ian this morning so, theoretically, I could sleep in or at least lie in bed and maybe read.  The first order of business every morning is to feed the dogs. This was to be Daisy's first meal here and first raw meat/bone meal ever.  As I was laying in bed listening to the early morning noises, dog bowls clanking, Camber whining for her breakfast, the coffee pot being turned on, I remembered that the form Daisy's owner filled out said "food aggressive."  I hopped out of bed and ran down to make sure Evan was aware of this warning for our newest resident.  He told me she had her food already and was not eating it.  I walked into the dining room and she was lying in her crate staring at her bowl.  (We keep our temporary residents in a crate on the first floor for the first two weeks, then when the other dogs and her finally are together they are already familiar with each other. This system works well for us.)
I sat down and opened her crate.  I reached in, she wagged gently and looked at me sheepishly.

I gave her a few encouraging words and told her how good she is.  She licked the chicken back.

I pet her and talked to her and she started licking it a bit more curiously, discovering that maybe this strange looking concoction in the bowl was actually edible.  

I picked up the chicken back and kept speaking quietly to her and soon enough she starting eating the whole thing.  I can't get over how mild mannered this dog is so far...granted its only been 24 hours.  Generally it can take about 2 weeks to really see a dog's personality.

She ended up eating her whole meal with a little encouragement. I sat outside her crate and fed her by hand and Ian sat on my lap, I did not see the slightest indication of food aggression today which is a good sign.

This evening we took our usual walk around the corner to see the horses with Ian.  Daisy was with us and our neighbors invited us in.  She met the horses, calmly and cautiously nose to nose with their newest lease - a gray thoroughbred gelding who was much more anxious about his new accommodations than Daisy has been about hers.  She also wagged furiously for their teenage son and happily received the pets from the whole family, including the father. Her form specifically says, "shows fear and aggression towards strangers, especially men." I guess Daisy didn't read up on how she was expected to behave because fortunately we have not seen any indication of this yet. The most difficult thing I think we need to work on his her leash manners and tendency to bark too much but she's so soft, I think she'll be easy to train.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 1

Today we received a dog via the Canaan Dog Rescue Network.  This is a non-profit organization I co-founded in 2004. I currently serve as Vice President. Evan and I do a lot of work for this group and right now, that contribution is in the form of a 36 lb dog.  I thought it might be interesting to document her transition and growth with us from now until she is adopted by a new home.

She came to us with the name "Athena."  It is a general practice for us to change the name of a dog as soon as they come to us, particularly if they may not have been coming from a happy place.  Athena, being the Greek Goddess of War is much much too harsh a name for this delicate little flower of a dog, whom I now call Daisy.  Daisy's previous owners are getting divorced and unfortunately this sometimes means the dog needs a new home.   Canaan Dogs are not the easiest dogs in the world to own. Most of your typical dog breeds, labs, goldens, poodles, and so forth are bred purposely to be companions of humans meaning their wild dog tendencies have been selectively bred out of their temperament. Canaan Dogs are natural dogs and for thousands of years their temperaments evolved in the Negev Desert.  When people collected them and started breeding them purposely, there has been some genuine effort to keep the wild, feral dog temperament intact.  Semi-wild dogs are extremely intelligent, wary of new people and places, and extremely territorial. Canaan Dogs retain a lot of these characteristics but most can be mitigated with proper handling and adequate socialization. Not everyone who gets a cute Canaan Dog puppy knows what they are in for and fast forward, three years later, we take in dogs like Daisy.  Dogs like Daisy who barked too much and received a shock collar to try to stop it.  For a soft dog, a shock collar likely
 packed the same punch as if she was beaten. 

So today Daisy came to us. Her owners stayed very briefly, only long enough to hand us her paperwork , bring in her crate and kiss her goodbye.  She was given a very heavy sedative for the car ride and still isn't quite recovered from that yet.  I'm interested in seeing her drug-free personality.  We took some pictures of her upon he arrival so that we can look back and compare what she looks like in a few weeks. 

We will be immediately switching her to a raw food diet, the diet all of our own dogs have been on exclusively 
since 2001.  I fear she is going to go through a significant detoxification. We expect the tartar and bad breath will be gone very quickly though.  Once she is acclimated with us and our dogs she might be able to run in the fenced yard which should help her muscle tone.  Dogs fed raw food raises the bar on what a dog in radiant health looks like.  We'll see how Miss Daisy does as she gets used to life at here for the short term.  I hope to keep up a blog on how she blossoms.

Finding Bliss on a Motorcycle

Today was a lovely day; sunny and warm. Ian and I went to yard sales first thing this morning so Evan could sleep in. When we returned, Evan's mom picked Ian up to go to an art show and out to lunch, so there we were with a whole day to ourselves.  I don't know if it was the weather or the opportunity of having a day without Ian, but I really wanted to take a ride on the motorcycle.  

At about 2 pm, we were ready to go and in a departure from things organic, vegan and health conscience, I suggested that the ride be to go get ice cream at Buttonwood Farm in CT.  For all of you Rhode Islanders, this is CTs answer to Brickley's in RI with the added bonus of ambience. In late summer the whole place is surrounded by massive sunflower fields. It's really impressive. The ice cream is almost as good too. 

Off we went. Evan donned his red handkerchief on his head, a look I find very sexy, and I climbed on the bike for the first time since the Summer of 2005 when I was pregnant with Ian.  The ride to Griswold, CT from here is a beautiful one on tree lined roads. The sun was warm, the breeze was refreshing.  Riding there, so close to Evan and free from parental responsibilities I remembered what it felt like when I was falling in love with him.  At the same time I was envisioning our future together as well as being present at that moment.  I felt our eternity in every direction, our past, our future, and the depth of that wondrous present moment. It was indescribably perfect.

My life is rich. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who I find unbelievably attractive and enjoy spending time with.  We have an intelligent and loving son, a beautiful home and a joyful life together.  Its funny how a simple Saturday afternoon ride on a motorcycle can all of a sudden be one of those moments. Those moments where everything in my life is in perfect alignment and the feeling of deep inner peace. Of joy. Of immeasurable bliss. 

 I love you Evan.   

And you can't sell the bike. 

Favorite Salad

Made one of my favorite summer salads for lunch today.

2 av0cados, diced large
2-4 tomatoes, diced large
corn from 2 cobs (uncooked)
a handful of cilantro
a squeeze from half a lime
a drizzle of your favorite oil (I used Hemp Oil today)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Toss and enjoy!

Dinner Yum

Last night was a perfect summer evening. It was Friday. Evan came home from work early and we went out for a family bike ride. When we got home, I pulled together a quick evening meal.

At about 3 pm, I had marinated portabello mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and set them in the sun to warm up. I stuffed those with my homemade (raw, vegan) garlic cheese made from cashews (similar to the recipe in the link, but not exactly) and placed them on top of a bed of fresh romaine from our weekly CSA haul. I topped the salad with diced red peppers and zucchini and sliced tomatoes. We finished it off with a drizzle of more balsamic vinaigrette. On the side was raw corn on the cob (cooked for Evan). Ian's plate consisted of a few salad ingredients wrapped in rice paper.

Ian ate about 4 of these style veggie wraps the other night, but tonight wouldn't touch it. When corn is available, he often doesn't see anything else as food. He usually happily eats raw corn, but he had to be like Daddy so he ended up asking me to cook his too. When I was pregnant with him, corn on the cob was one of my cravings and I ate a lot of it. It must have imprinted on him.

We washed it all down with herbal ice tea made from half fresh pressed apple juice and half herbal tea (lemon zinger and rasberry zinger). It was a light and refreshing meal that we enjoyed on our porch. If you have never tried corn on the cob raw, you don't know what you are missing. When it is in season and fresh, it is delicious, crunchy, sweet and needs no condiments. It is also easier to digest than cooked corn and digests as a vegetable instead of a carb. (Note to those who are carb conscious!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Miraculous Messages From Water

I am particularly fascinated with Quantum Physics (Quantum Mechanics) as it is one in the same as spirituality. Or, you could say, it is the science of spirituality. Last night re-watched "What The Bleep Do We Know!?". The first time I tried to watch this 2 years ago, I lost interest shortly into it. I wasn't ready. I didn't understand. This time, I made it through the whole movie. Now, I wouldn't say it is a fantastic must-see, but it had some interesting parts. I prefer books on Quantum theory better than this movie. However, there was small reference to something very interesting. A brief scene that pointed to the research of Dr. Masuru Emoto.

Check this this site on the Miraculous Messages from Water. Dr. Emoto took pictures of frozen water. Big deal, right? Well he also took bottles of water and taped words (thoughts) to them and left them overnight, then photographed them to illustrate how thoughts (vibrational energy) can influence the molecular structure of this basic molecule vital to our existence; water. Since our bodies are 60-70% water, mirroring perfectly the 60-70% water that makes up our planet, how much do the vibrational thoughts we offer as an individual and as the collective humanity effect our experience? I mean, if a single person's thought projected onto a bottle of spring water can make beautiful organized molecules and disorganized ones, depending on the thought, think of how we can effect our own experience, such as our own health and happiness. Cool stuff.

Our thoughts precede the manifestation of physical experiences in our lives.

Choose wisely. Choose consciously.

Please feel free to leave comments!

Photo: What water looks like when offered thoughts of love and appreciation.