RIP Napoleon

Nappy and Heather

July 2013

My stomach is in my throat, and tears stream down my face as I’m grieving the loss of one of my oldest partners. Napoleon was my first dog, and my sidekick for the last 7 years. He helped me see the love of training dogs and helped me make the dream of owning my own business a reality. He was my demo dog for my clients and my service dog for working through PTSD. He taught me to be softer and how to ‘wait’ for what I wanted rather than to increase the amount of pressure I was applying. He taught me to trust, and he taught me what the human-dog relationship was all about.

The loss of my dog is that of the same as a loss of a child. An innocent, pure soul who we helped become something in the world. My heart is broken, but I feel it all throughout my body. Words are hard to form, and it’s difficult to get anything done. To find the motivation to even move or talk. This is a deep, deep loss and it feels like I left a little piece of heart in the vet’s office.

Milkbone NappyNapoleon lived with my mom since I broke my foot at the beginning of April ’15. She fell in love with him, just like everyone who met him. He was an amazing friend, and I enjoyed doing everything with him. He was an “American Dream Dog” as one of my client’s described him. After he had some training, he always listened, he was spot on with every command, he was 100% off leash reliable, and was polite with other dogs. I used that example with a lot of my clients because I believe any dog can be your “American Dream Dog” once you achieve this type of relationship with them. This won’t take the dog out of the dog, or change who they are.

I feel I have this type of relationship with all my dogs, but the one I had with Napoleon was different and special because he taught me this was possible. He taught me about living a life with a dog is one of the most fulfilling adventures. He was the reason I was introduced to Heather Beck from K9 Lifeline, and that started my entire journey on the path to becoming a dog trainer.
He stuck with me through flooding in my brand new house, the journey of me figuring out how to handle my PTSD, anxiety, depression, and my bipolar swings. He was there when I needed to get away from the world. He always greeted me like I was the best thing since sliced bread. He went through my divorce with me. I used him to help with evaluations and dogs who needed help. I used him as an example for nutrition, obedience, and behavior stories.

CGCnappyJust like all dogs, he has all kinds of happy, silly stories. I’m trying to remember them all, but the hurt is too much right now. Give me time. I feel this in my bones. My muscles hurt everywhere,  my head is going to explode, and my heart is in pieces. I hurt everywhere and all I want to do is sleep. But I have to be strong. The world keeps turning, and he wouldn’t want me to shut down. So, I’m working. Slowly, but I’m doing what needs to be done, and I’m teaching. I may break down in front of everyone, but I’m not stopping.

I don’t hide how I feel very well because it’s exhausting and takes way more energy than just being honest. So I’m being honest. My heart is broken and I’m on a roller coaster of emotions. I’m raw and fragile and I’m not a rock. I can’t be anyone’s rock for a while. I need to take care of me, and I promised I would be strong.

dirtynappyIf I didn’t make the decision, he would hang on as long as possible to be there for me, and he would be happy about it until the very end, regardless of how he felt. Rob told me Nappy would tell me when he was ready, and so I made the decision that as soon as I “heard” that, I would make a decision and I wouldn’t waiver. So, on Saturday night, he showed me. It was really hard all day watching him, and that night, it was unmistakable. I didn’t know if I would see him again when we went to sleep. I made the decision I would call as soon as everyone had a chance to say goodbye.
NappyHappysept2015This dog was very special, and helped me get over a lot of baggage. And maybe, he did his job. He helped me release a lot of things I was hanging onto and taught me how to handle emotions a little better, how to let things go a little faster, and how to teach everything I learned to others. And I absorbed that information, so his job was done and now it was time his soul went elsewhere and helped others learn.

I don’t believe in a Heaven or Hell. I don’t believe in God or Satan. I believe that when we die, pieces of our souls go where we are most needed. Usually to another broken soul, or to a new life. Napoleon has a pure, happy soul. He helped me realize I am also in charge of my own happiness, and external influences shouldn’t affect my happiness. I am in charge of my state of mind, and I can fight anxiety, frustration, anger, and sadness. I can choose to be happy. Right now, I am choosing to grieve the loss of my friend. Don’t worry, Poly, I’ll be happy again.

I miss you so much, and I’m so happy you chose me for a few years to teach me everything. I’m lucky to have had you in my life. You’re so special, and I hope your soul finds peace and happiness wherever it goes.

I love you, buddy.

Nappy 2013

December 2013

This Old Dog

Napoleon, December 2015

Napoleon, December 2015

Napoleon and Mia -June 2012

Napoleon and Mia -June 2012

It’s never easy when your kids are sick and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s never easy when it’s your dog and they can’t tell you how they feel either. You know they aren’t doing well, but you can’t ask them what’s wrong. Your heart breaks, but you have to be strong for them. They stick with you for everything, and they love you no matter what. You sometimes lash out against them when you are upset, but they love you right after anyway. You teach them how to behave.

So when they are sick and you can’t do anything, it breaks your heart. At what point do you step in and start interfering? In the wild, animals would suffer for days, weeks, months, sometimes years until the reaper finally takes them. It’s “humane” to step in and prevent that from happening, right? Isn’t it? It feels like the “right” thing to do, but you don’t know when it’s the right time to make the call. You don’t know when. Unless they tell you. But listening to them say they are done is painful too. Because then that responsibility is yours alone. You have to take on the choice and make it for them. You would want that done for you, wouldn’t you? To be put out of your pain, or prevent the suffering from getting worse.

The day we brought him home. Fat Napoleon! May of 2011

The day we brought him home. Fat Napoleon! May of 2011

Every time for me is different. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in this position, nor the second or third. I’ve been here a lot. This seems harder for some reason. I’m losing my very first dog. He’s been through a divorce, a horrible breakup, job losses, me starting up my business, the sale of my old home, the purchase of a new one and everything in between, and he’s been my guinea pig for so much that I’ve learned. I made so many mistakes with him, but he was also the reason of why I even got started in the first place. He was my service dog. He got me through an incredibly difficult trauma, but also taught me I can’t use dogs to replace human relationships, and I needed to be strong for him. Weakness in a leader isn’t a good trait. So, I learned to be stronger. I learned how to protect myself, and how to handle my emotions and my bipolar better. I am the person I am today because of what he taught me.

Napoleon and Me

Napoleon and Me – July 2013

I’m watching him get old. Not only just get old though, but literally lose motor function every day. You see it in his eyes. You see it when he looks at you. And I am seeing what he’s showing me. I’m not being selfish here, I’m deciding what I want to do for him. Which course is the right answer for him? What can I do for him to make him happy at this point? The doctor thinks it’s a brain tumor at this point. Called him today and gave him an update on some changes since we started treatment. If it was what we originally thought, this wouldn’t be happening. We thought it was because he had distemper as a puppy. We thought this treatment would help. Every day, I visibly see him getting worse. It’s not a slow progression anymore.

Everybody

Right to Left:
Mamma (RIP), Marshall, Dante, Napoleon, Jinx
Dec, 2014

I want to be fair to him. I want to make the right choice for him. I’m stuck, I don’t know what to do. So I’m getting information. I won’t just give up. I don’t do that. But I want to make whatever decision is in his best interest. And I have a feeling I know the answer, but I’m not ready without all the information. The doctor said to wait until after the weekend so we can see if the new treatment is working. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m waiting. I hate waiting…

Napoleon and Jed

Jed (RIP) and Napoleon, hanging out while I shower.
Jan 2016

Mamma

I have some catching up to do. I’m going to backdate this post a bit.

I adopted a dog from a rescue. She was a “hospice foster”. I knew that when I got her. Her name was Esther. She was around 8 years old, a beautiful, gentle pitbull. She was underweight, had poor structure, had a mammary gland tumor, and really bad teeth. She had clearly been used for quite a bit of breeding. I didn’t like this name for her. Esther just didn’t fit her beautiful personality. I renamed her Mamma.

project_k9_rescue_pittie_mamma_pet_lossThis girl came into my life around the end of September last year. She was a sort of impulse decision. Her rescue posted online she only had a few hours to live unless she was pulled. They claimed no behavioral issues, she was solid around people and other dogs as well as cats. Basically, she just had medical issues.

I thought, I have the finances, the resources, and the space. I can help her. So, I pulled her in hopes of fostering her until I found her a forever home. After just a couple days, I realized how hard she was going to be to place. She did have quite a lot of medical problems and she deserved to just retire. So, I decided to keep her. Make her a permanent member of my pack, and have her retire with me.

She had a skin issue, making her super itchy, so when you pet/scratched her, she actually twerked to get more aggressive scratching on her backside. She would wag her tail happily and rub her back all over your fingers. She would look at you with those big brown eyes and you just had to smile.

project_k9_mamma_pet_loss_pitbullsShe played tug, but was too old to have any force behind it. We took her to the park last week, and she played tug and was acting like she was a puppy. She enjoyed herself so much, and you could see her eyes light up when we got there. We got home, and she crashed. She was so tired from all the excitement.

The next morning is when the problems started. She couldn’t get up to go potty, and I had to carry her up the stairs. She had a seizure that morning. Throughout the week, she continued to have seizures, and couldn’t stand all the way to potty. She started to fall, or rest her knees on the ground to squat. She couldn’t do the stairs, and she stopped eating. I decided instead of pumping her full of meds, knowing full well she wasn’t going to get any better, I made the decision. I knew this time was coming, but I didn’t realize it was going to be so soon.

project_k9_park_day_mamma_pet_lossThe whole week, she got to spend time on the furniture, sleep in my bed, eat a cheeseburger, and go on a walk alone with me. Just me and her. She got playtime just with me. And the morning of her appointment, I let her shred her tug rope. I normally don’t allow any of those things. I wasn’t a trainer that day. I was a dog mom who was losing one of her ‘kids’. But I had to keep it together for her. I had to be strong. I couldn’t show her I was weak. Even though my heart was breaking, all she saw was my smiling face, and positive energy. I battled it all morning.

The vet gives her the pink juice… she’s gone before they even finish the injection. She was ready. I ordered a paw print for her. I hope now she doesn’t feel any pain.

I feel sad and heartbroken, but also relieved and happy. I was able to spend the last few months showing her what it’s like to be loved and cared for, and to be part of a family. The love of a rescued elderly dog is very much a different story.

I’m sad I had to say goodbye, but I’m glad she was with me for the final days of her life. Everyone who met her loved her. She loved people. I’m happy I didn’t adopt her out and the new family had to make this decision a few months after falling in love with her like I did.

Goodbye, Mamma. I love you always. Rest in peace now girl, the pain is gone.

project_k9_rescue_pitties_mamma_loss

RIP Coba

Merry Christmas. The holidays are sometimes hard for people. I don’t normally get depressed around the holidays. This year, I did. I failed. I did everything I could. I caught up by writing back logs for this year, but I didn’t write about this. A confidence crusher. A mistake.

Project K9 Heather Rose CobaI got a call from a guy who got my number from a friend of a guy who adopted a dog from me a few months previously. Yeah, I know. Complicated. Anyway, he called me to surrender a puppy to me. A little black and white pitbull puppy. I took him in and realized shortly after I began training this kid that there were serious problems. He would seem perfectly fine, playing with other dogs, and then would escalate and try to latch on and attack the other dog he was playing with. If you gave him any sort of correction, he would redirect on you. That’s not all though. Even when I kept him calm and below his threshold, he couldn’t handle pressure from the leash, so no way was I going to use spatial pressure on this dog. He was responsive to the whip… when he wasn’t redirecting on it and trying to attack it. Same with the pet convincer. This guy was 3 months old when I got him.

Those are the more serious behaviors. He didn’t have a name, so I gave him one. Coba. Like the steps of Coba in Mexico. I had gone to Cancun earlier in the year, and the ruins of Coba resonated with me. I named him Coba because I wanted to climb to the top with this dog and find him a good home. I tried. I really did. He also had some minor behaviors as well. Like jumping, barking at you for attention, pulling on the leash, barking in the kennel, destroying crates, and a super fun one: eating other dogs’ shit. And then throwing it up and eating it again. Nice, huh?

So, I started him on the strict boot camp, working with him 3-5x a day on socialization, obedience, leash work, calm state of mind, tie back training, place, perception modification, pressure/release, ecollar, halti work (he tried to eat me), prong collar work, treadmill (again, tried to eat me), etc. He would be totally 100% doing wonderful, and then a feeling would change. No warning signs, just a feeling. And he would go after another dog, a toy, or a person. Aggression: Wanting to cause harm. He wanted this. He went from happy go lucky/calm state of mind to snarling, biting, snapping, and baring teeth. I kept at it, working with him, being patient, and waiting until we got to a better state of mind before finishing the session.

A lot of the smaller issues had been improving immensely, and I was hopeful I could get this kid into a home. But I had doubts. For one thing, placing dogs with any MINOR issues can be harder. Let’s add the fact he’s a pitbull on top of that. Oh yeah, and he sometimes tries to bite dogs and people. So.. I was hesitant to place him in a home with other dogs or kids. We’re in Utah. Good luck with that. Oh, I also needed to find someone who was willing to continue bringing him to socials and who would continue doing training. Probably for a long time. Someone who could understand treats and love could not help this kid. He needed much more than that.  Anyway, I was advertising him, but I was thinking about other options. I had to make a decision… I normally adopt fosters out a few days to a month after  they are surrendered to me. This guy, I had for 11 weeks..I needed to do something. Training wasn’t making a difference. He didn’t have a home to go to, I was spending my time working with a dog who wasn’t showing any progress. In the time I worked with him, I could have saved 2-3 other fosters. I’m thinking of all these things, as I continue to stall to make a decision.

Project K9 Heather Rose CobaThe final straw was when I was working on a ‘place’ command with him. This is a ‘get on your bed’ equivalent, where you control the space, and teach the dog to calm down without moving from a particular place. This is a psychological exercise. Anyway, he was doing great and laying calmly on the bed. I was ready to release him, so I walked over calmly and kneeled down to give him some calm affection. He had soft, loose body language, and I pet him on the chin and the side of his face. He seemed to be doing well, so I reached down to get the leash and he lunged at me, snapped at my face. I stepped on the leash at the last second, and prevented him from biting my face. He kept snapping and lunging at me, while snarling and baring teeth. I can’t correct at this point, so I just waited him out by applying pressure on the leash while I was standing on it. Eventually, he stopped, and was panting. Worn out from trying to attack me. I waited until I was calm to put him back in the crate. End on a … decent.. note, I guess.

Later, I let dogs out of the kennels like I always do for potty time. I had been working with him for 11 weeks at this point. Never in that time had he ever gone after a smaller dog. Usually it was when they were playing and it got too rough. This day, he grabbed my chihuahua and shook him. I yelled at him, grabbed him, and he let go. But there was no warning before that incident occurred.

I made the call. I decided I could not rehome this dog. I couldn’t surrender him to a shelter or a rescue and be honest with them. They would just put him down. And if that was the case, I would just do it myself. So I made the call. I made the appointment. He was to be put down the day after Christmas. I was on the fence about the decision for so, so long. I know this sometimes happens, but this doesn’t make it any easier.

It was not this dog’s fault. I felt there was something going on in this guy’s head. A mental issue. I don’t believe he deserved to be killed, but in the training world, we see it as a kindness. He wasn’t physically sick, but mentally, his brain had something wrong with it. It never gets easier. Coba was around 6 months when I sent him to the land of eternal dreams. I felt I killed a puppy. But now, I think I saved him.

The feeling of loss, and then the feeling of release. Like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Then guilt, because I feel better. And then I feel worse because I’m thinking about my feelings, and not mourning the loss of this puppy. I hate this feeling. It hurts. I’m starting to get used to hurt. Seems it’s a recurring theme in my life.

I hope you are healthy now.

RIP Coba. June 2014-Dec 2014

RIP Mamma 2006-2015 (click here for her memorial)

Project K9 Heather Rose Mamma Coba

Rest in peace, Coba and Mamma

 

PTSD Waiting Game

Yesterday, a coworker asked me about Ryder’s progress. Unaware of the depth of this answer, he was genuinely curious.

I repeated the same story I have told a hundred times. And then we started talking about me and where I am in all of this. Which got me thinking about where I actually am in all of this. Am I ‘over it’? Am I still ‘in the thick of all these feelings’? Where am I exactly?

He asked me, “What makes a professional cyclist continue on?” Since I don’t cycle professionally, nor follow the sport, I had no idea. So, I guessed and said ‘determination’. He said no. He then asked me if I have ever seen a professional cyclist who has never fallen off a bike. I knew where he was going with this. It was obvious.

Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up.

Get back up on that horse.

If you fail, try, try again.

It’s not like I haven’t heard these before. I’m a smart individual, so I know what he was saying. Then, he asked me ‘Are you going to let yourself be a great trainer?’. Will you let yourself be good?

That’s a great question. Why did this event affect me this way? Was it because I had to watch Ryder die? Was it because I had to make the decision with the family to put him to sleep? As much as that was awful, it isn’t because of that. It’s because I wasn’t good enough for him. I couldn’t fix him.

But, I also know the same fate would have happened if he was with another trainer. I know that. Why do I still feel like I failed? It comes and goes. Sometimes, I know I did the right thing. Other times, there is that ‘what if’ voice in my head saying I have learned so much since I started working with him.

Hitting the Wall End of my LeashThen, I hear the words from my mentor. ‘You did the right thing. I would have done the same.’ And then, when I had my totally embarrassing day 4 breakdown during my certification course, she said ‘You need to get over it’. Not in a mean way or make things worse, but still – I need to get over it.

The pain is gone. The pain from putting him to sleep, the pain of losing him. That’s gone. The feeling of failure, regret, feeling over my head, not knowing what else to do, and ultimately FAILING…. Is still there.

We have decided not to get a great dane right now. I wanted a blue merle great dane to add to our family. Right now, we have decided to put this off. I also haven’t taken on another difficult case since Ryder. It’s not like I’m avoiding them, just… haven’t had one come along.

I know I’ll have to make this decision again, but how can I move on? How can I get over it when I’m feeling like I could have done more. Will this ever go away? It’s been almost 3 months since we put him to sleep.

My therapist says I have PTSD regarding this situation. She says it will take as long as it takes. But why won’t it just hurry up? I mean, I’m trying to get over it, and triggers keep pulling me back.

All great danes used to get to me after this happened. Then, just merle great danes. Then the name ‘Ryder’. Then stories of unpredictable aggression. Then, I was faced with working in the same facility with Ryder before he died. The same technique I was working on, the same words were spoken to me. I broke down, but I moved past it. Once I moved past these triggers, it’s driving past the pet hospital that gets me sometimes. And then, when I feel I’m stable and getting over it, something else triggers me. Like someone who didn’t know the whole story, asking me about his progress. And I’m back to where I was.

WHY CAN’T I MOVE ON?! I just want to learn from it and move on.

I’m frustrated because it feels like I’m hitting a wall over and over again.  It doesn’t affect my work, I don’t freak out at clients’ houses, but it’s all inside. I’m very good at hiding what I’m feeling in person. People don’t know there is a hurricane of emotions happening on the inside. But there is. And even when people ask me about Ryder or I hit a trigger, I have been able to handle it. Until my workshop. It hit me like a tidal wave, and I couldn’t stop from shaking, hyperventilating, and panicking in front of everyone.

PTSD Drowning End of My LeashIt feels like I’m climbing out of a deep hole, and every time I start to see the light and climb out, the hole grows and I’m climbing again. The hole keeps getting deeper, and it feels I’ll never get out.

Or maybe I’m drowning, and every time I swim to the top, water pours down on me and pushes me to the bottom again. How can I ever get back anything if I keep getting pushed back down?

I have this internal wound that won’t heal. Every time it starts to mend, it gets ripped open again, and I’m trying to hard to stop the emotional bleeding. I’m trying to stitch it up the best I can and say ‘it happened, get over it’, ‘suck It up, it was right’, ‘everyone else would have done the same’, ‘he’s at peace now’, etc. But it doesn’t help. Those stitches don’t seem to be enough.

I don’t cry, I don’t show I’m upset, and when people ask me, I put on a smile and say I’m doing fine. I’m faking it to make it. I’ve tried screaming, I’ve tried forcing myself into situations where I have to interact with my triggers. What else can I do?

Just wait. Waiting sucks.

I Saved Him…

I read this today, and though I’m not feeling this way TODAY, I feel this way on occasion. I just wanted to share a fellow blogger’s thoughts.

mymegaedog

I was feeling pretty down today. Too many homeless dogs, not enough people interested in them. But why? I kept asking myself. Why? Why? Why? This one loves balls, this one likes to snuggle, this one is the friendliest dog I have ever met, this one loves to play Frisbee, this one loves to learn new tricks, this one kisses children right on the face. Why? Panzer and Shelby wouldn’t stand a chance in a shelter, but I love them like crazy. Surely, someone, somewhere, must want to love these dogs, right?

As I was driving home, I started to tear up. I turned up the radio and tried not to think about it. I called my dad and he helped talk me through some of it, but only some. I went to the grocery store, numb, I picked up what I was going there for, having memorized the aisles…

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Life Lessons

life-lessons-no-school-taughtToday, I feel like I need to sort out some of my feelings based on the decision I had to make recently. Yes, it has been about a month or so, but I’m not ‘over it’. I’m fine for a couple days now, and then I’m caught off guard by someone checking in. “Hey, how’s the training going with Ryder?” “I heard what happened with Ryder…”

So, I’m finding big decision quotes and how they relate to what I’m going through. It’s helping, because I feel like a bigger person for making this decision. Even though it sucks, it was right. I’m having dreams… and I wake up, thinking I’m boarding Ryder, and I actually walk all the way downstairs to the kennel he used to sleep in, and he’s not there. I think if he was actually there, I would check myself into a mental hospital, but that’s’ not the point.

So, here’s to you, Ryder. Because I did what was best.

 

“There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After…I knew there would be no turning back if I designated this moment as my own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured.”
― Justina ChenNorth of Beautiful

This decision was life changing for me. It changed my personally, emotionally, and it has changed the way I see aggression. It has changed the way I train, and how I interact with people with difficult dogs. And it changes the way I evaluate dogs. I will not set myself or the dog up to fail by taking on a case too difficult for me for my current skill set. I am more reserved as a person, and I have taken a step back from the ‘Let’s go do this’ attitude I usually have.

 

“Waiting hurts. Forgetting hurts. But not knowing which decision to take can sometimes be the most painful…” 
― José N. Harris

 “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” 
― Elbert Hubbard

“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.
” 
― Jarod KintzThis Book Title is Invisible

All 3 of these quotes represent what I felt like before it happened. This is what I felt when we were weighing the option of rehoming or euthanasia. Waiting on the family to make a decision. Then, the procrastinating to make the appointment. Then, making the appointment and hoping a miracle would happen. Then, after it happened, the healing process. At least I made a decision.

 

“If you always make the right decision, the safe decision,
the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else.” 
― Paul Arden

I am not the same. And I never will be ‘normal’. My experience with this situation has been life changing, and I will never be the same again, either.

 
“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” 
― Shauna NiequistBittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

I have sacrificed time with my husband, my free time, and my mental health to make this transition. Not necessarily because of Ryder, but he helped me overcome this career obstacle that every trainer needs to go through. And going through this fueled my fire to not give up. I am sad and crushed that it had to come to this, but he is at peace now. I have given up sleep on weekdays, and sleeping in on weekends to be able to switch my career and do what I love. I love my husband for being so patient with me, as when I find something I want, I go for it. I can’t stop. It’s a curse, and a blessing.

So I’m still in the process of grieving. But I’m fine, and I’m healthy, and I will be ok.  I really miss him though. Sometimes, when I don’t have any boarding dogs, I feel like he’s at my house in his kennel. I wake up at nighttime sometimes and hear his bark. A few times, I have really thought he was there.

I’m able to talk about him more and more. People who follow me on my blog, or know me in person, people who love great danes, people who have been interested in hearing my progress with my new career… they ask about him. They sympathize and understand. People who have had aggressive dogs or dogs with mental illnesses have reached out and given me their support.

People who know me know this will haunt me for a while. Out of respect, out of love, out of concern, they won’t say anything, but they are thinking it. And I want all of you to know – I’m ok. I will be fine. Sometimes, I’m a rock. Other times, I’m so fragile, just a caring look will break me. Professionally – I am put together and you will not see this while I am working. Putting on this armor sometimes helps me take my mind off of it.

I write this blog and keep a log of how I feel for a few reasons.

1)       I want people to know I’m human too. I succeed, I fail, I feel. Just like everyone else.

2)      I have a mental disorder I have chosen to not be medicated for. I am an emotionally passionate person with bipolar Type II, so when I feel sad or happy, it’s on either side of the spectrum. When I’m sad, I’m devastated. When I’m happy, I’m annoyingly joyful (ask my husband!) I am living with this. It’s a choice I have made that I am proud of. I can do it without medicine.

3)      I want to help people realize they can do whatever they want. I want to train dogs. I’m doing it. I am changing my destiny and improving my quality of life.

4)      I use this as a therapy tool – it helps to put all these feelings somewhere. I choose to make this public. I am not hiding anything. I write about the good, the bad, and sometimes, the funny. Sometimes, it’s personal. Other times, educational. And occasionally, just downright sad. I  write about my journey. This is what my blog is about.

5)      Education. I do occasionally write educational articles on this blog about dog training. Many people can benefit from just reading about what I go through to learn how to better communicate with their canine friends.

6a0133f351a1fb970b0191030616ca970c-500wiSo, in short. Ask me, don’t ask me. Read, don’t read.  Love me or don’t. But if you get anything from the journey I have taken so far, please – get this: Live and be passionate. Life hurts and it knocks you down, and you are MEANT TO FEEL. So feel!! Crying, being sad, being joyful and being angry are all parts of being human. Embrace this, but don’t let it rule you. Get back up after you have been brought down. Don’t let it stop you from being a great person.