Moving when you were in your 20's meant calling on the good graces of your friends with the promise of pizza and a case of beer. I have made many moves in my day. From across the country and back to across the hall in Lake Louise staff residence. None were super fun and typically a reminder of how much useless crap I had accumulated since the previous move. I am not one to hold on to stuff I do not need or use yet somehow I seem to accumulate and purge with every move. I have learned in my lifetime that I prefer a clean, clutter free environment. My brain is cluttered enough and if everything around me is messy and cluttered it becomes less manageable. Also with 5 dogs and 6 birds making as much mess as they possibly can daily I need to be able to clean as easily as possible. Where was I going with this? Right. The move. When we put our house up for sale this summer to pursue our dream of acreage life I knew the actual move would not be pretty. I expressed to Aaron that we are too old for beer and pizza movers and that if we made such a big move we had to budget for the full meal deal. Professional packers to pack our latest collection of useless crap, take furniture apart, move everything and put it where it needs to go in the new home. He agreed and thus our journey began. Tomorrow I will write a bit about what it is I love about small towns and why they suit and charm me. This is a tale of moving, why we should be more minimalistic and my first day of acreage life. We began our journey at a historical Church in tiny Water Valley. Rather we attempted to buy it. Yup there was and still IS a Church for sale there. I was instantly in love with the charming little home situated behind a beautiful little Church which had once been abandoned and neglected. A really cool and infinitely talented couple rescued it and spent 4 years pouring everything into restoring, rejuvenating and loving the property. The light and sound in that Church are amazing and living there, using it as a studio and running it as an event space would have suited me just perfectly. The lot was not the big acreage Aaron envisioned and the house was pretty small for the 13 of us but we went for it. Sadly there was more to it as a commercial property with zoning, not enough history as a profitable event space and lack of lenders willing to as one put it "risk foreclosing on God". Wow, ok. There were so many hoops to jump through that Aaron settled on a number that was the walk away point and it just didn't work for both parties so we walked away. I still adore that little Church and recommend anyone in this part of Alberta drive into Water Valley for a visit. I think the coolest little place to get married or have an event. In hind sight us living there would have been a disaster with no more space to run the dogs than we had in the city. Also we both like space for autonomy which is why we work. Living on top of each other with 5 dogs and 6 birds would have been tough. We wanted to be close to that area still as it was more affordable than our dream area of Bragg Creek, so the search continued. Our saint of a realtor Craig Smith (well deserved plug for him.. seriously if you need a realtor) showed us acreage after acreage and we even had an offer on one but our home in the city did not sell in time. Call it fate if you believe in that because ultimately it led us to this place exactly where we wanted to be. Nestled in the foothills and the gateway to Kananaskis mountains, Bragg Creek is my idea of heaven on earth. We got an amazing deal on 6 acres with the most perfect house with windows everywhere (perfect natural light studio) a beautiful forest, stunning views and 10 minute drive into my beloved mountains. Then came the wait for moving day. I booked packers on the 9th who would load it all up on the 10th and onto the newest chapter in life. I learned about wells and septic systems and satellite internet. We went shopping for a telephone. Like a real home phone as there is no cell phone coverage. We purged like a third of our stuff and took load after load to the dump. I miss the days in Lake Louise where I could move in an hour with a back pack and a few trips. Those were among the happiest days of my life. Everything I needed was outside. Aaron is amazing, truly wonderful in so many ways. However I would say a tad messier and more inclined to hold onto stuff 'in case'. Or I often suspect he loses stuff in mess and disorganization and buys the same type things over and over. My mom does that as well. I was determined not to bring useless stuff here with us. I am still mystified as to how all this stuff ends up existing and where it hides in my typically minimalistic and tidy home. I find that until you move you just don't realize how much stuff you actually have. As was the case of the lovely family we purchased this property from. Here is the day before we were to move in the following morning during our final walk-through. Uh oh I thought. There is no way that they were going to be out in time. Super Craig was on it though and has us contact the lawyer and got on the phone with their realtor. Rather than get too upset I felt kinda bad for them and figured that like many of us they just did not realize how much stuff they accumulated. I really try not to give negative thought any real estate in ......um there is someone walking around outside in the dark with a flashlight Ok a little scare there. Wow. I do not scare easily but that was terrifying. Turns out Aaron let Dudley and Radish out for potty and thought they would follow him to the temporary dog run (sigh) and instead they went on an acreage adventure. Now where was I. Negative thought....no real estate in my brain. Sooo watching all the packers pack up our stuff 3 days ago was a real eye opener. I felt shocked at how much crap we still had and when I saw this house in shambles I knew the family were just overwhelmed in the vast sea of their own piles of accumulated crap. They however went old school, and thought they could move 4 people and the better part of a decade worth of stuff with some friends and perhaps the promise of pizza and endless beer. Between their struggle to get out in time and our movers deciding to do 2 loads we decided that we would move the dogs and birds the next day. Aaron stayed in the city with all of them while I directed movers and tried to clear out some boxes. The movers finally left sometime in the evening as did cleaners who blessedly came out on short notice once I realized not only would we be moving in as they moved out but that they would not have time to clean. I finished cleaning and started the momentous task of unpacking. I hoped to have everything a little less chaotic for Aaron and the furramily the next day. At about midnight I decided to take a bath and relax for the first time in weeks. I noticed a slightly unpleasant odour and realized it was me. I was clever enough to set aside some extra underwear but had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days and working like a maniac. Ew. I had the most relaxing bath ever and went about trying to find which boxes may contain some clothing and bedding. I couldnt find either. There was one wardrobe box that made it into my closet. It was filled with fancy dresses and one polka dot blouse. I remembered seeing my fav old pair of navy sweat pants with the big white UBC across my bum. Perfect. For bedding I reluctantly opened the gorgeous basket my cousin/realtor had brought for us. It was so beautiful I did not want to take it apart. Made by Craig's delightful wife they are most stunning and thoughtful gift baskets ever. I saw it had a throw blanket in it so it had to be done. I spent the first night blissfully alone using the sweatpants rolled up as a pillow and covering myself with the throw blanket from our gift basket. I awoke to the silence of the country and a spectacular sunrise. I did not have any food and had to get in and help move the pets and plants. I threw on my pillow/pants, my pretty blouse and the open foot shoes I had and headed out to clear the snow from my truck. The end. I have to go finish unpacking and a million other things. Stay tuned tomorrow for some inside info and hope you had a fantabulous weekend.
I am going to start by saying that it is my belief that one of the things we have to do as dog owners or dog owner educators, is manage our expectations. I am an optimist and also a realist. This is the story of how I got a serious dog bite from my own balanced pack and why it was my fault. Lovely, snowy, Thursday morning. I post a cute animation about waiting until it is socially acceptable to play Christmas music. I giggle and immediately put some on Google play.
I have A TON to do today but decide to spend an extra hour in bed reading blogs and resting my throbbing tooth abscess. I was given antibiotics not to be taken on an empty stomach so I head to the kitchen to find something quick and easy. Apples and cheese? Yes please. Perfect. I cut both up, put them on a plate and head to the downstairs bedroom to chill while I read and snack. The 5 doggos join me and Elsa Mae sits down and relaxes by my side.
Now I KNOW BETTER. Elsa will ALWAYS have a food guarding or reactivity response somewhere inside her. It is MILES better and she can now have strange dogs into our space and even eat in the same room as certain dogs. That is a huge win. I will write her full story soon and include words from the team of people who collaborated in saving her life and getting her to Canada. That is a whole story in itself. The short form... she was starving. Like really almost starved to death. She fought for every scrap of food she managed to get, often taking it to her steep, rocky den on the side of a cliff. She was a baby herself but had puppies after her first heat and would try to bring the still-born pups some of the few bits of food she managed to obtain.
A realistic training goal for her is to manage and improve her reactivity around food. It was so severe I would never make it a goal to ELIMINATE it all together. It won't happen so why set both of us up for failure? It is my job as a dog family member to read their communication signals and protect them from harm. I know her thresholds and triggers, as I should.
Back to my day. I see Dudley the dane approaching the narrow space between bed and wall and fleetingly think 'is this going to end poorly?'. I feel like shit and am super into this blog I am reading and lose focus. Bang.
Elsa does exactly what she does when feeling threatened around food. She always looks and sounds some fierce when protecting her food, but that was her survival tactic. Fair enough. Dudley then does what Dudley does when he is threatened or in a confrontation with no exit. Especially in confined areas where there is no chance for flight. The other option is fight. Fuck.
Dudley's story will also be written soon. Short version. I did not protect him enough when he was a big, happy gangly pup. He was attacked a few times. Not by my choosing he was not allowed to grow up with his siblings and mama through some very important developmental stages. He is a sweet softie but has no bite inhibition. I have told clients over the past decade that I would take a dog with a bite history of 100 other dogs if none dies, gets stitches, or requires veterinarian care. That vs. a dog who has one or 2 bites only but one or both ended up in a trip to the vet, stitches or worse. Ian Dunbar is one of the basis and roots of my 'not one size fits all' beliefs and practices. He has inspired me for 2 decades.. hmm... maybe longer? I have studied every bit of information, theories and practices there are out there from every source and trainer, educator possible. Plus more.
Back to the present. Elsa does what she does, Dudley does what he does and I jump in to break up the fight, worried even if Elsa started it that the damage Dudley is capable of is formidable. #sizematters ?
Right. Getting side tracked again. So I break it up. Broken up literally hundreds of dog fights in my life and am known to be quite effective at it. They go back at one another. I break it up again. Get in between them and Dudley retreats. I am sick, feverish and not as alert as I typically am. I go to grab the food, cursing myself whilst turning my back on the usual best of friends. Dang. Game on again. This time I do not follow my own rules and again worried about the potential damage, I dive on to them and try to separate their heads from one another. Does not matter which one got me. The point is it was my fault.
I finish breaking them up with the help of my super chill, surfer dude dog and calm, fearless leader Radish. Separate them so I can assess the damage and yikes. Pain sets in. I think I mentioned I have had s few dog bites in my day. Way larger than this one. I even had one on my thigh that turned into ...hmm.. cellulitus? (please correct me lol). It took 8 mos and a hospital stay to fully heal as I have a high pain tolerance and ignored it until it was too late. There was no ignoring this one. Perfect, clean, deep punctures in the muscle, bone and nerves of my RIGHT HAND... I am a leftie but I shoot (photos) with my right.
No way I can drive. Clean it best I can while choke back tears, cursing my stupidity and try to find someone to take me to emerg. My awesome neighbor bundles up her 3 kiddos and off we go in the snowstorm. I arrive apparently pale and dripping cold sweat and shaking. I am taken right in. 6 needles to freeze it then the lovely staff do their thing. Now I am back at home after lots of needles, stitches, xray as the puncture hit bone and a prescription for some pain stuff and anti biotics.
I am supposed to be packing, purging and orchestrating the move for our house, Aaron, myself, 5 dogs and 6 parrots. We are going to be on the acreage in one WEEK. I am not sure if I should share videos and photos here or save them to show while I help you understand canine communication etc. I will post a few images and a video then explain them at a later date. I am still in a ton of pain after painkillers and I anticipate a long night of discomfort and regret.
How many stress and communication signals do you see in this video?! I will post a verbal play by play of what is happening and what they are saying soon!
Just a visual view into my week. I will do this every Sunday and hopefully has SOMETHING to make every one have a Sunday Smile https://photos.app.goo.gl/TP1Ccm7SSQjd37bF3
[video data-wpid="66" src="https://camerasandcanines.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/20171029_102706.mp4" class="size-full"]
Tried finger waves again! #epicfail
I am in LOVE with Blue Red Lipsense Lipstick. I am using almost exclusively Senegence makeup on myself and my clients [mailchimp_subscriber_popup baseUrl='mc.us17.list-manage.com' uuid='6bcb96276412b7aad0da439ec' lid='d7fbba6ccd' usePlainJson='true' isDebug='false']