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Be Grateful For What You Have Now

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I’ve ever done in my life.

As Tootsie’s puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down our back stairs from their litter box room to the outside world. Then, eventually, I timed them as they did the stairs and kept records of their times. Later on, at that same house, with that same puppy, I played vet in the basement with dogs. And as most of you know, I began to train dogs there, which led me to where I am in my career today.

Bammer tied me to that house. To that life. To that me. She will be gone exactly one month tomorrow. It has undoubtedly been the hardest month of my life. She was euthanized 15 weeks to the day of Sarge. I honestly haven’t been able to even talk about it. I haven’t been able to grieve Sarge. I haven’t been able to process the shock of Bammer. Those dogs. They tie it all together. They truly complete the puzzle. Where do I go from here?

Fall 2018

I graduated from high school with this crew. Bammer was the one of the originals. She was the little one of that group. Bammer slept on the side of my head for at least a decade- right side; it was always the right side.

Lombard, IL photo by Kathleen Schaffer

When I was in college at University of Michigan, I toured around the country performing with dogs during my summer. Bammer was there with me every mile. Bammer closed shows!

Lombard, IL photo by Chris Perondi

After I met the love of my life and moved to Massachusetts and got my first Border Collie of my adult life, Bammer was there. Bammer was the princess then.

Wilmington, MA photo by Scott Williams

Before we moved to Maine, in our house in Massachusetts, with my now pregnant first adult Border Collie also with my adult heart dog and of course my Pants Pie. Bammer was there. Bammer ran the show there.

Amesbury, MA photo by Lisa Kronz

If I was there, Bammer was there. And now she’s not. We were permanent residents of 5 states together. Illinois. Michigan. Colorado. Massachusetts. And now Maine. I’m so glad she made it to Maine with me. With us. (That secretly was one of my goals.) Bammer set the tone here.

Dogs are funny. They seem to know to hang in until they know we will be okay. I found this to be true with Sarge too. Bammer briefly shared her life with my best friend from college, Kate. Frankly, Bam liked Kate more than me. Kate’s youngest son has been struggling with a serious health issue that was recently resolved, and, luckily, he continues to thrive. Kate seemed okay.

Kate and Bammer- Crestone, CO

Bammer stretched over an even longer time period with my best friend from high school, Brit. It is because of her, we named her Bammer. Bammer was the last of our original crew combined. Brit is now in love with this amazing person whom Scott and I love dearly, owns one of my dog’s puppies, and has recently had some amazing career path changes come her way. Britty seemed okay.

Starved Rock State Park Utica, IL

<<Also, admittedly (again), this was the most hiking Bammer has ever done in her entire life despite the scene that the above two pictures paint. Or maybe these were at least 2 of 6 hikes.>>

And then, there was Scott. My love. My everything. Bam’s favorite. And Bam was his favorite. Bam wasn’t a people person. Unless you knew her, you wouldn’t get it. But she loved Scott. Similar to how she loved Kate but more. Scott was amazing. And enlightened. And happy. And productive. And floating. And meditating. And tapping. And so many other good things. Scott seemed okay.

Below is Bam 1 month before she left us in Salisbury, MA and Bam a few days before she transitioned in Eliot, ME. Both times with her person.

But what about me? Am I okay? I’m blessed. Bam was 18 years old. We shared eighteen years together. Sarge was 13 years old. He was with us for thirteen of those eighteen years. These dogs led me to a life that is better than I ever could have imagined. With a husband who is more than I ever wanted. Learning more about training than I ever even could have fathomed existed.

My life is easier without the old dogs. I have no one to constantly care for anymore. Feeding is easier. Grooming is easier. Life is easier in many ways. But what I WOULDN’T GIVE TO CARE FOR ONE OR BOTH OF THEM AGAIN! Just for one night! Just in one dream! Just in one lifetime!

Sometimes I resent our current dogs. They aren’t them. My rocks. My core. But I had lunch with an old student and good friend yesterday who reminded me to be grateful for what I have now. And that may seem obvious to most of you. But with dogs… dogs like these. It’s hard to not miss them. To miss that.

I am grateful for what I have. And who I have. And for what’s to come! But I just wanted to give you a friendly reminder to be grateful for what you have as well. Even if it’s a difficult puppy. Even if it’s an intolerable rescue. Even if it’s an old dog that pees every damn day! Be grateful for what you have now. Because you will be $%*&ing eternally grateful for what was.

Gratitude is important. Mindfulness is important. This month is a good reminder of that. I hope my dark days can lighten yours. Mine slowly get brighter by the day mostly because of the gratitude for what I have. = )

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

Recently a young couple came into our facility with a high-energy hound mix. The dog was rescued in Tennessee and driven up to New England.  This is their first dog, and they want to provide him with the best care possible. 

Every morning around 6AM, one of them gets up early and takes the dog for a sunrise run. The morning run helps to quell the dog’s barking when they leave for work. Later in the morning, a dog walker comes and takes the dog out of a small mudroom for a 30 minute walk. 

At 3PM, another dog professional comes to the house and takes the dog for a pack walk in a wooded area, which the company claims is important for socialization. When the owners return home from work at 6PM, the dog is still rearing to go. The running shoes come back out, and the dog goes for another three to five mile jog. 

This routine seemed to calm the dog and worked for them for a few months, but now the dog is having more difficulty settling down at night. They shared how the dog violently protested his crate from the very beginning and sleeps in bed with them instead. Recently, the dog has begun waking up at 2AM and begins pacing. 

This behavior made the couple concerned that the dog may need to go out to pee, so one of them takes the dog outside. After a quick potty, the dog then wants to play. Now the couple is utterly exhausted. They are trying their absolute best to be good first time dog owners but feel that they should be doing more for the dog. However, there simply isn’t enough time in the day!

After working with the dog described above, it became very obvious that this couple was dealing with a rescue that was exhibiting anxiety. Exercise alone will do little to remedy this problem. You cannot outrun crazy! At best, you will create a highly fit canine athlete that will only be able to recover quicker and in fact begin to demand more from you. 

Giving the dog up was simply not an option for them. This couple is committed to saving the dog from a shelter and possible euthanasia. So, how much exercise does a young healthy dog need? The answer is not nearly as much as one might think. Thirty minutes a day of rigorous exercise like chasing a ball or going for a run is plenty for most dogs. And if you can’t do that every single day, you are not a terrible dog owner! 

Dogs sleep quite a bit! In a recent article, it was mentioned that many adult dogs sleep during half of our waking hours. A mentally stable adult dog will live in a state of rest until activated to engage from their environment. This goes for working breeds as well. Hunting dogs, herders, and working dogs will rest until it’s time to work. They are extreme in their working state, but when they are not working, they act similar to any other pet dog. And yes, the dogs that are bred for extremes will be more difficult to live with, but these extremes are on the outer fringe of the norm. Additionally, people who get involved with these types of dogs typically have a passion for fostering that type of working relationship with their dog(s). 

The reasons that dogs develop anxiety vary greatly. There is a huge difference between situational anxiety and a chronic disorder of the mind. However, fortunately, both can be helped! The road to recovery can be long, but the alternative is not an option for many. The owner must follow strict protocols, potentially for the entire life of the dog. A healthy diet, exercise, mental stimulation, and a structured lifestyle will go a long way in rehabilitating even the most difficult of cases.

There are also various drugs prescribed by veterinarians and behaviorists for dogs suffering from anxiety. If your dog is currently on medications and you have seen a night and day improvement, we would love to hear your story. We simply have not seen much, if any, success with the medications. We have been working with anxious dogs for years. It’s no picnic, but we have lived it and have seen the positive results through training and behavior modification over and over again. 

If you can personally resonate with any aspect of this couple’s story or if you are interested in learning more about this trending topic, SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE WEBINAR. We will be going live next Thursday, August 29th at 7PM EST to more deeply explore anxiety in dogs and provide you with some solutions to immediately begin helping your dog to become more calm. Look forward to seeing you there!

The Story of Sarge

The Story of Sarge

The Story Of Sarge

My wife and I are lying in bed; it’s 6:30am. It’s the first morning that our old dog Sarge (a 13yr old Belgian Malinois) is not in bed with us. Every morning for the past few months, my wife, Jess, would check on Sarge around 5am, listening for him to drink water or begin to stir. Then she would quickly encourage him with “C’mon Boy!” and spring to her feet to help him. After taking him to pee, Sarge would get his old dog pills and spend the next hour sleeping between us. Getting up onto the bed went from a hop up to using steps to a ramp to my wife picking up a 75 pound Malinois and putting him on the bed. We clung to small rituals as though they would hold off the inevitable. We wanted our old dog to feel as though life was ok even if he needed a little help here and there. His strength and proprioception were slipping away, but his spirit and attitude were strong.

Sarge was diagnosed with an aortic tumor 11 months ago. It was found through an ultrasound when we were trying to figure out why his liver was close to failing. At that time, Sarge was 12 years old. We were told by our western vet that there weren’t a lot of options. We decided to treat Sarge holistically. I would urge any skeptics of TCVM or even energy healing to consider this perspective. Alternative therapies work similarly to western medicine when it comes to terminal conditions. Some are cured, others see noticeable results, and some see no benefit. I recently had a doctor tell me this, and it helped me understand and better accept alternative treatments. Up to this point in my life, my perception of many things was very black and white. It works or it’s bullshit. If it’s fake then these ‘doctors’ are quacks; they are just taking people’s money, selling herbs and hope to desperate people.

I can tell you as a side note that my mom passed away from cancer a few years ago, and she went the conventional route for treatment. After many chemotherapy treatments, steroids, weeks of dialysis, and hundreds of doctor visits, she didn’t get cured. My mom responded to the treatments, and they did prolong her life. But, her ‘end of life’ stage was brutal, and I’d never put one of my dogs through that hell. We all will be faced with hard choices when we commit to caring for a dog. There are difficult emotional decisions that will need to be made along the way as well as various ethical and financial responsibilities. Regardless of the type of medicine you choose, the days will come when we all need to be there for our old dogs.

When Sarge began having trouble with pain, we tried CBD. It didn’t show any measurable results. We decided to make the leap to using cannabis oil that contained THC as well as CBD. We made it ourselves at home and began giving him tiny doses. It helped a great deal. He slept better and the muscles in his shoulders stopped twitching. It was really impressive. We started giving him the oil twice a day. It was well worth the expense and hassle of making it. Over the past year we also did acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, acupressure, laser therapy, underwater treadmill, biking, walking, swimming, Tong Ren healing, and many other treatments on a regular basis. It was a whirlwind of appointments with more good days than bad. We also spoiled the old boy rotten. He got more pizza crust and Puppuccinos than I’m comfortable admitting. In the end, we would not have changed a thing. We were determined to focus on quality of life. Sarge had a great life!

His younger years were spent with his mom traveling the country doing canine entertainment at state fairs and halftime shows at sporting events. He could jump over a 58” hurdle! He was more athletic than many Malinois that I have seen, but more importantly, he was a sweet dog. I found that unusual for a Malinois. I had raised and trained several before I met Sarge. None were as social or as outgoing as he was. My dogs were always hard, edgy, and a bit dangerous to be honest. Thankfully, he wound up with my wife. They were really the perfect pair. She understood his nature and his needs. He protected her while she pumped gas alone at truck stops across the country.

Now all the rituals and routines have come to an abrupt end. Yesterday
Sarge woke up and had a good drink of water. He seemed to be on yet another upswing. But later in the morning, he lost all feeling in his back legs. He likely threw a blood clot, but it doesn’t matter why. The time had come for us to make that final trip. Now he’s gone. There is an emptiness. We had to pick up all his soiled bedding. The place where he slept for the past year is now just open floor. My heart is broken. I miss him so much. But I am a better person because of that dog. He brought out the best in me as a person. I will never forget the love he gave us. I needed a dog like Sarge in my life. He taught me how to be a kinder person and to accept real feelings of love, empathy, and compassion. Thanks, Sarge, for coming into my life and sharing so many beautiful moments. You have touched my life deeply, and I am forever changed. Thank you also to all the vets, practitioners, and friends for your constant and heartfelt support throughout his journey.

Peace,
Scott

Follow Us

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The Story of Sarge

The Story Of Sarge My wife and I are lying in bed; it’s 6:30am. It’s the first morning that our old dog Sarge (a 13yr old Belgian Malinois) is not in bed with us. Every morning for the past few months, my wife, Jess, would check on Sarge around 5am, listening for...

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

Recently a young couple came into our facility with a high-energy hound mix. The dog was rescued in Tennessee and driven up to New England.  This is their first dog, and they want to provide him with the best care possible.  Every morning around 6AM, one of them...

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On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about the steps to take when you bring a new puppy into your household that already has other dogs.

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I've ever done in my life. As Tootsie's puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down...

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On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips. Topics discussed include: • Dog tip of the day • Trick or Treaters can trigger territorial dogs •...

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause. Topics discussed include: • Dog tip of the day• Using pee pads delays housebreaking• Jess and Scott talk about...

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog

Dogs are extremely influenced by our emotions. If we are feeling slightly anxious, it is likely that our dogs will in turn display some anxious behavior as well. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a therapeutic treatment that uses acupressure points to relieve pain and stress. Below is a way to use EFT to relieve your stress brought on by your dog’s behavior.

Step 1: Assess your subjective unit of distress as it relates to your dog’s behavior using a 0-10 scale. Zero would signify no problem while ten would indicate extreme distress. Be sure to pick a number before moving on to step two.

Step 2: Create a “set up a statement” that is specific to your dog’ behavior and how it affects you. An example of a set up statement pertaining to your dog could be, “Even though my dog [Rover] is anxious in his crate, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” You also could make the set up statement reflect yourself. For example, “Even though I’m feeling [anxious] because [Rover] is in his crate, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Repeat this statement three times while tapping the karate chop point shown below with four fingers from your opposite hand.

Step 3: Come up with a “reminder phrase” from the above set up statement. This phrase will describe how you are feeling. For instance, your reminder phrase might be “I’m so anxious” or “Rover is so anxious.” Tap on all seven points shown below on your body below while repeating your reminder phrase. The abbreviated points correspond to the body as follows: top of head, eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin, chest bone, and under arm.

Step 4: After you have tapped on all seven points below while repeating your reminder phrase each time, take a deep relaxing breath.

Step 5: Now go back and reassess your level of distress again on a 0-10 scale. Your number will ideally be lower. Repeat the above steps until you are at a zero. You will experience a calmer state of mind and feel better. Repeat this process a few times per day until the emotional effects of the problem you are dealing with are gone. Here is a video below with Gary Craig, founder of EFT, walking you through the process.

New to EFT? Did this blogpost inspire you to try tapping on your stress for the first time? Comment on your experience below!

   Follow Us

Why Water Intake Matters?

If your dog is always thirsty, it could be a sign of mental instability. When obsessive behaviors like drinking begin to control your dog, it’s important you intervene. There may be a hidden message in your dog’s drinking habits. 

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog Dogs are extremely influenced by our emotions. If we are feeling slightly anxious, it is likely that our dogs will in turn display some anxious behavior as well. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a therapeutic treatment that uses...

The Story of Sarge

The Story Of Sarge My wife and I are lying in bed; it’s 6:30am. It’s the first morning that our old dog Sarge (a 13yr old Belgian Malinois) is not in bed with us. Every morning for the past few months, my wife, Jess, would check on Sarge around 5am, listening for...

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

Recently a young couple came into our facility with a high-energy hound mix. The dog was rescued in Tennessee and driven up to New England.  This is their first dog, and they want to provide him with the best care possible.  Every morning around 6AM, one of them...

The Importance of Handling Your Dog

Scott and Jess talk about how important it is for you to get your dog used to letting you handle them. This includes brushing, tooth brushing, nail clipping and other activities.

The Care of Senior Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about how to care for your senior dog. They discuss issues they have seen with older dogs and offer valuable advice about how to avoid and deal with the problems you may encounter.

Introducing A New Puppy Into A Household With Other Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about the steps to take when you bring a new puppy into your household that already has other dogs.

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I've ever done in my life. As Tootsie's puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down...

Dogs and Halloween

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips. Topics discussed include: • Dog tip of the day • Trick or Treaters can trigger territorial dogs •...

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause. Topics discussed include: • Dog tip of the day• Using pee pads delays housebreaking• Jess and Scott talk about...