Love Yourself

“If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?”

“If you’ve had a thought once, it has no power over you. Repeat it again and again, especially with emotional intensity, feeling it, and over time, you’re creating a groove, a mental river. Then it controls you.”

“The goal here is to create a groove deeper than the ones laid down over the years – the ones that create disempowering feelings.”

These are all quotes from Kamal Ravidant, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”

painPeople who are going through a trauma, or a change, or trying to self improve know who they want to be, but usually they don’t know HOW to do it. How do I be better? Willpower. That’s how. Set goals. Stick to them. Oh, ok. Well, that’s easy…not.

Any action you do can either move you towards or away from your goals. Does this decision help me? How? I used to have self destructive patterns where I would fall into depressive emotional loops for days at a time. How did I stop? I literally refused to do it again. I refused to shut down and give up. Right, but how?

Find a thought. A goal. And stick it in your head. And repeat it. Over and over again. Every time you start down that path, say it out loud. Again and again, even if you don’t believe it. That’s what Kamal did in his book and that’s what I did. I refuse to let stress take over and send me back into those depressive, destructive ways. Those thoughts don’t have a place in my head anymore. Literally, I push them out. Ok, BUT HOW?! Willpower. I focused on that one thought. I made a deep, powerful vow to myself, just like Kamal did. One really late night, I just realized what I needed to do. It just came to me.

My thought was: “I am in control of my own state of mind. I will not let anyone or anything control how I feel or how I act. I am in control of my own life.”

I said this to myself a few times, and then I believed it. My brain works fast; it heals fast, it thinks fast, it works fast. It was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders immediately when I started to believe this. I felt free. Peaceful. What is, is. What will be, will be. I don’t control anything besides myself. I let everything else go. Just like that. For the first time in my life, not having any control doesn’t give me anxiety or fear. It just is. I just control my own feelings and my own actions. Nothing else in the world is as important as this. It is empowering to have this feeling, but not in a powerful “I can do anything” way. But more in a tranquil, carefree, zen-like way. I observe others without judgment, I listen without wanting to add my own stories, I enjoy each moment without worrying about what is going to happen or what others think. I just be, and I feel like my soul is a silent lake. No fish under the surface, no ripples, totally still without any interruption. I appreciate the little things more, and see how absolutely amazing the world is and how beautiful every person is.

“Memory is not set in stone. The more you remember something, especially if it’s emotionally charged, the more you will reinforce the pathways connecting the neurons.”

This also goes into something I have learned from years of therapy. Let yourself feel it. The emotions that are brought up in a memory shouldn’t be fought. Let yourself feel those emotions, and then let them go. Cry, be angry, be sad, scream, feel the anxiety, and let it pass. Don’t fight it, just let it go and move on. Take the time, every time (dog training reference). Take the time to understand the feelings, process them, and then ACTUALLY let them go. This is how we grow. Don’t fight or hide them. Fear and fighting always make it worse. Face it, and overcome the emotional block. Think about the emotions, the blocks, the challenge or whatever it is that is handicapping you, and ask yourself if it is real. Most of the time, it is our mind making it into something much bigger than it is. Let yourself take a step back and see the problem, then make a decision. Don’t get caught up in the ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what’s going to happen’ trap. Make a decision and move forward, or you will be in the same destructive pattern, and you won’t ever let go or process. Things don’t ‘just happen’ or ‘work out’, that’s not how the world works. When the mind is left to itself (dog training reference again), it repeats the same stories, memories and thoughts. Most of the time, these don’t serve us and get us stuck in yet another loop. Get out of the loop. The only way to get out is to fully commit with as much intensity as you can to your truth. Or your vow. Or whatever it is.

Easier said than done, but if you really want to change, you can do this. Set your goal, repeat it. Believe it. It worked for me, and I love myself. I love my life, and I love the world I live in. Because I choose to.

What Is Love?

soulbeautyI love everyone. Every single person I come in contact with is loved by me in some way. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to see beauty, and I see that everywhere I go. I see that in the mountains outside my house, the stars in the sky at night, in the personality of my dogs, and in the mechanics of my car. I choose to see beauty in absolutely everything. In people, I see their physical looks of course, but more importantly, I feel I can see the beauty of their soul. I start talking to people, and in just a few seconds of meeting them, I see them radiate their own special aura of beauty. I see their personality shine through when they speak, smile, work with their dog or interact with their family. And to me, every person is incredible and beautiful in their own unique way.

In the people closest to me; my friends and family and my clients, I have a very special opportunity to get to know them a little better. And in doing so, I get to know what makes them tick a little closer. I get to know their strengths, their weaknesses, and their fears. In working with my clients’ dogs, I build a sort of very personal relationship, and I do see habits and personalities that some of their closest friends don’t even notice. And I love this part of my job. I can help people with those weaknesses and build confidence, which is empowering to them. I see it and it brings me joy when the concepts click and they are proud of themselves. That is one of my very favorite parts about my job. That’s one of things that makes me tick.

With some of my clients, I become friends with them. I start to care about their families and what they are doing on a daily basis with their dogs. More so than just on a professional level. I try very hard to make sure boundaries don’t get crossed. Just like a therapist and their patient, it’s important to not encroach on their patients’ personal lives. I have met some of my very best friends through my career, but it’s always friend or dog trainer in those moments. I go into a zone on either one. This has taken some practice on how to “turn off” either side.

I am a transparent person. I never lie (I’m not very good at it anyway), and I expect the same from my clients and the people in my life. When I am lied to, it deeply damages my soul, and my ability to see the beauty in people. I have been lied to, betrayed, hurt, and broken in the darkest of ways. Repeatedly. So, my soul isn’t as beautiful as it used to be. It has pockmarks and scars throughout. Once again, I feel as if my soul is dark and twisty and broken.

I’m looking past the scars and sometimes gaping wounds of my clients when they come to me for help with their dogs, so I’m trying to look past my own. I won’t hide, I won’t retreat. I’ll just keep going and give the wounds time to heal. The wounds that other people keep inflicting on me. I protect myself, but eventually I get tired, and let my guard down. Then I get clubbed with ugliness and evil. I always get up, but I take on these new battle scars each time.

Regardless of my battle scars, I will never stop loving deeply, or seeing the beauty in every person I meet. No one can take this from me. I will always get up eventually. And no one else is in charge of my feelings but me. I choose to be happy, I choose to be in control of my emotions and my state of mind.

Sometimes, in helping another person through some of their problems, I heal a little bit of me. Sometimes, being broken in company is the best kind of remedy. I helped someone release a little bit of emotion today. And it made me see how absolutely beautiful they were. A little later in the same day, she was there for me when I needed to be healed. I’m hoping it did the same to her, as it did to me.

beauty

Today, I faced one of my biggest fears. I haven’t been inside of a church willingly in over 10 years. Walking up to the doors of the church took me 2 tries. I stalled and answered a phone call first, and then took some deep breaths, accepted it was going to hurt… and then let it go and moved on. And I walked in. I got a little nervous again walking down a long, narrow hallway with closed doors on either side. I felt very claustrophobic, but I kept walking. I just focused on my breathing, and how this is for a good cause. I needed to do this. I got to the end of the hallway and reached my destination. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment for just a few seconds. And then I realized where I was.

I was attending a client’s funeral. I was invited to attend this intimate event and robinjablonmourn the loss of this client with her family and friends. She was an incredibly beautiful person, and the way I remember her, she was always smiling and had a warm, inviting presence. She was there for me in my own time of loss, and was incredibly supportive. Nothing but loving energy from her, telling me everything will be ok, and that I’ll become stronger from my trials. She said she would pray for me, and that I deserve all the happiness in the world. I truly believe she meant that when she told me that, and I felt a sense of peace.

I helped her with her dog for about a year previously, but as she started to get sicker and sicker, her dog sensed that and became more and more possessive. I didn’t put together the dots on this until later, so we did more sessions, and I helped her with confidence and leadership building, but we weren’t making much progress. It was shortly after our last session that she was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was around midnight in early December that she messages me on my business page. She said she had a brain tumor and was losing her vision, and was so scared of death. She didn’t know what to do, but she felt like she wanted to reach out to me, that we had a connection and she wanted to tell me. I felt deep sadness for her, and I wish I could have teleported to where she was to hold her and give her the type of energy she gave me in my time of need.

I wanted to remember this client as the beautiful soul she was, so I didn’t want to see her in the open casket. I could still see her face, and the top of her head. And even though I didn’t go up to see her closely, she was radiant. She was beautiful, even while sleeping eternally. And she was loved deeply. Everyone had such wonderful things to say about her, and it made me think about her husband and her family a lot. They had such touching words to share about him as well. “Her boys were her greatest accomplishments”, “Her family was the best gift she could ever receive in this life”, “She loved her family with all her heart”… And then the things they were saying about her husband. “He gave her the life she always wanted, and she lived it to her fullest”, “He was the perfect husband”, “Not once did I ever hear her complain about him, or say you two had an argument”, “You were her best friend and treated her with such kindness”, “Billy, you were her guardian angel. She always did like the thrill rides and did scary things at 59 like white water rapids”, “Billy, she’s waiting for you in Heaven”. I’m not religious, but these words got me more than anything else said. I am very spiritual, and when I die, I hope someone is saying those things to my partner. Life is too short and precious. I want my life to be filled with beauty and love. This was a bittersweet reminder of what I have been missing.

It also got me thinking to what I would do if I suddenly died. What’s most important to me, and who? Who deserves to make decisions for me in death? What type of service do I want? Let’s be clear. I don’t want to be buried in an expensive box. I want to go back to the Earth. Let me decompose and be born again into a tree. I want to be part of the beauty that is this world. I want my friends and family to bring their dogs to my service. I don’t want sad music or churches. I want to have a gathering of everyone I love (which, as I said…is everyone) come and talk about silly, funny, happy stories about my life. Tears are fine, but I want people to be more happy than mourning. I want my dogs to be taken care of by people who love them as deeply as I do. I want my business to be sold to someone who has a passion for training and teaching, or be shut down and have the money go towards my friends and family who have helped me get to where I am (“am” meaning at my time of death).

So, to conclude this very long blog post, I am choosing to be happy. I am in charge of my life and how I feel. I choose to see beauty in everyone. I hope that this blog post finds everyone healthy and happy, and if not, choose to see the beauty in the world. It won’t show itself to you unless you are receptive enough to pay attention. Be mindful of the world and its’ energies and make it a better place. CHOOSE to be happy. CHOOSE to see beauty. Only you can make this happen for yourself.  Be the change you wish to see in the world. Those words were never as clear to me as they are now. It’s like I’m hearing them for the first time.

bethechange

Fear and Excitement

Next Big Thing

Two of my worst enemies in the emotional world are fear and excitement. And on opposite ends of my brain, naturally. Fear is usually accompanied by the feeling of being overwhelmed and sometimes depression, but always anxiety. Excitement comes with it’s own set of interesting challenges. Tunnel vision of the future without realizing the now is a ‘symptom’. For example, the potential house I wanted to buy. Yes, the land was great. However, the house itself was a total shithole. I knew it needed work, but I saw what it could be, and didn’t see the $400,000 of work and 3-5 years of time it would take to make it into my dream house. It was a giant money pit. I walked away. Because I’m smart. Be like me. Hehehe

scareexciteAnyway, it’s rare when I feel both fear and excitement at the same time, and these are very hard emotions to work through. I feel major anxiety without the depression. This is the hardest mania I have to work through. I think extra hard, my brain doesn’t stop, I can’t sleep, I talk a mile a minute, I clean like crazy, I can’t sort through my thoughts, I can’t talk to anyone because I just frustrate them because I’m all over the place. I think about all the possibilities of what could be. Then I think “Oh, I don’t want to get stuck in the tunnel vision trap” and try to slow down. Then I try to pick holes and find the bad parts so that I don’t overlook anything. Then I start to get anxiety because I’m now thinking about all the bad parts. Remember my last post about how I’m scared and doing it anyway? Well, this is me… on the edge of the cliff, doing it anyway. I’m moving forward no matter how it feels because I have to. I see my long-term end goal. I see my short-term goal… and I see the inkling of my very long-term goal. Every time I try to look ahead, I lose something in the now and lose a little perspective. There’s so much going on, so I have to just focus on the short-term while being mindful of the other goals. It’s exhausting.

I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m insane manic right now, and my heart is beating so fast. I wanted to get all this out of my system and then I’m going to do deep breathing exercises to try to calm down. This weekend is going to be pretty stressful for me, and I need to find a way to keep it together. I’ve literally had one panic attack in the last few months. I’ve been doing so well, I’m not going to lose it now. And I’m not going to back down. One-I literally don’t have a choice. And two..I’m not a coward. I’m seeing this through all the way. I’m finishing this ‘project’.

todayWhat’s so scary? I know, I know! I’m being really vague. Ok, let me lay it on you. My house sold, and my closing date is on February 10th. I found a temporary place to live and I went out to see it today. It’s way better than living in a trailer for a few months and running my company that way (which is what I was planning on doing). It’s a little studio, and I can run my company and have all my dogs. I’m looking at a new place, and possibly building. I’m not going to get too much into detail because it will jinx it. But I can say it’s a big deal, it’s all new territory for me, and I’m having to learn about running power, water, septic, and gas lines to an undeveloped property, buying water rights, building licensing, costs of building, time frames, city ordinances/codes, and finding out what it takes to really get in there and make it happen. I’m usually on the phone for hours every day with realtors, lenders, the city mayor, utility companies, storage facilities, my builder, and a ton of other companies trying to get everything in order. I’m still seeing clients and training dogs every day too. Long days make for one frazzled Heather near the end of the day. But at the end of the day, I can say I am doing everything I can. I’m giving it my all, even though I’m overwhelmed. And that gives me a sense of peace. I won’t give up. I know what I want, I have a vision, and it will work out. I just have to keep learning and trying. I’m so incredibly determined to do this, I won’t take no for an answer. This is happening. It’s real. BIG, EXCITING, SCARY things are happening right now. Business is booming, and it will just continue to keep getting better!

I have my calm piano music going already, and all my dogs are asleep, curled up together next to my bed. I’m diffusing essential oils, I’m fed, watered, and ready to fall asleep after I calm myself down. I have to get rid of the mania or I’ll crash just as hard. This is one of the biggest things I’ve been working on the last few months with my therapist is handling the cycling. I’ve been pretty damn good at it lately. So goodnight, and I hope you have exciting, scary things happening in your life too.

Do or Do Not. There is no try.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

yodaHad an epiphany today when doing some house hunting. The place I had in mind fell through. That’s ok, hakuna matata. I’ll find something else, and something better. I won’t let the little things like this get me down. I’m always looking for the ‘next big thing’. And this place is where I will make my footprint. It’s a little strange thinking about how I’m leaving this house and moving on… a lot of emotions on that. I’ll deal with those later (compartmentalizing), and I’m focusing on my big picture goal. Which is to get a place up and running where I can live and work, and leave work at work.

My epiphany had to do with the quote above. There have been many areas of my life where I’ve said ‘I’m trying’. ‘I’m trying to get better at ____’. ‘I’m trying to work things out’. ‘I’m trying!’ Stop. I’m done trying. I’m DOING. I’m not TRYING to find a place. I AM finding a place. I’m not TRYING to work things out. I AM working things out. I’m not TRYING to run an Ironman at the end of the year. I AM running an Ironman at the end of the year. It’s too hard for me to be half assed, in the middle or just trying. I’m better than that.

“The only failure is not to try.” – George Clooney

But what holds up back from giving it our all? Fear. Of what? I’ll tell you. It’s fear of failing. Everyone is scared of this in one sense or another. So… I’m scared. And I’m doing it anyway. I was nervous about working horses (I’ve always had a healthy fear of animals bigger than me). I’ve started working with them and learning a little about horsemanship. I’m scared of going through big milestones by myself. I’m doing it alone – like selling my house and buying a new one, moving into a temporary location. Let’s be honest, I think everyone is a little scared of doing big things like this alone. Starting my business somewhere else terrifies me. I did it before, yes… but I had the support of my ex husband. Now, I really am on my own and have the support of myself. Relocating is scary, but I’m doing it. I was/am afraid of guns. I went shooting (And I did really good!). I’m scared about doing big house projects. Guess what? Yeah, I’ve done some big ones recently. And I think my biggest fear of everything… I am scared of putting myself out there emotionally. I’m trying again – cautiously, but I’m doing it. To receive the type of emotional support and love I deserve, I need to put myself out there too. So, I’m in. And I’m putting all of me out there. I’m all about doing things that scare me lately.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard

success
So, I’m done ‘trying’. I’m DOING now. If I want something, I’m working on my big goals. Even if it means I fail. Hard. I’m in. All the way. Failure doesn’t mean the world is ending, it just means there’s an opportunity to learn and grow. The fear of the unknown totally scares me. When I don’t know what is going to happen, I usually have horrible anxiety. I’m going with the flow this time, and just letting what happens, happen.

Do something that scares you every day. It will help build you into an unstoppable entity of power and confidence. Just do it in the right away so you don’t become an asshole. At least, I believe that. I have more drive every day where everything else is telling me I’ll fail. Sometimes I get knocked down. Hard. But it seems the harder I fall, the stronger I become.

Ok life…. it’s time to BEAST MODE!!!!

“Experience teachings slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.” – James A. Froude.

Christmas Cycle

PK9 Dogs

A few of my kids all curled up

thorinChristmas day started with white, beautiful snow on the ground outside. A lot of it – almost an obscene amount which made me glow with happiness since I LOVE snow and I love that we had so much. Especially on Christmas. I started a fire in the fireplace and watched the snow fall outside. I watch this particular serene beauty blanket the world. It really does look like peace on Earth. Dogs are snoring, asleep curled up in their beds. Dirty dishes in the sink, wrapping paper littering the floor, and I’m curled up on the couch in my comfiest pjs with my coffee. These are the little moments where I miss having someone the most. To curl up, drink coffee in front of the fire with the sleeping dogs, watching the snow. That’s my vision of a perfect Christmas. I better get used to having these alone from now on.

dishesI don’t miss the bullshit, it’s not worth it. Loneliness hurt < Betrayal/Trust broken hurt. Not worth it. But these are the moments where I really love spending it with someone special. These moments are the ones that tear me up inside and it takes a while for me to sew myself back together every single time. This wasn’t supposed to be this way. Not just anyone, but THAT person. Once I feel the hurt and the loneliness set in, the feeling immediately after is hurt and anger and betrayal. Seems I have a lot of that in my life. Seems people love to make me feel this collection of feelings. So, I’ll deal with the loneliness and I’ll compartmentalize these into a box that will remind me to leave my heart there. I have a hard enough time letting people in. Trust takes so long for me… then if it’s broken, it takes years to get it back. Just ask my ex napoleonhusband. He made one mistake that really hurt me years ago, and it took me a little over 2 years to be able to trust him again. It’s not my place to talk about the details of what happened, it’s his story too. After all that’s gone down between us, he’s still one of my best friends. I trust him. I don’t want to put myself out there to trust new people, it just seems to remind me every single fucking time why I don’t bring new people into my life. So, I’m sticking with the friends I know and who I know I can trust. I’m done with taking risks on people. I’ll meet people, sure. But they aren’t getting any pieces of my heart. Emotionally, I’m putting all that into a box. Doesn’t stop me from randomly crying about it though. I can’t stop it, don’t tell me to. Bipolar doesn’t work like that. ‘Just be happy’ doesn’t work for us. Sorry.

christmasmorningAnyway, my family came over, and we spent the morning together. I love spending time with my family, and I wish I had a little more flexibility to go visit them sometimes, but with my business, I can’t leave the dogs that long. And holidays are one of our busiest times because people go out of town. I love what I do, but I’m in the process of trying to make big changes so maybe I can go on vacation sometimes, or take a full day off, or visit my family. I feel a little guilty because Christmas snuck up on me this year, and I didn’t get any gifts for my family. I still plan on getting something really nice, but it’s hard because my dad has EVERYTHING! And gift cards are too mainstream. Anyway, I’ll figure it out! I was also invited to spend Christmas dinner with a client who has turned into a friend. I love her and her dog, and she gifted me a super awesome Jack Skellington shot glass. It means a lot, considering she wanted to keep it, and she absolutely loves it. I love Jack stuff, and she always finds the coolest little NMBC knick knacks!

danteI know I’m going through rapid cycling, because I’ve been really happy, and then really sad within a few minutes of each other. Went snowboarding on Christmas Eve, and that whole day I was off. I didn’t enjoy myself, and would rather just drink coffee, listen to music and watch everyone else ride. So, I did. That’s a rare occurrence when I don’t want to be up there on the mountain. Same thing though-snowy mountains with snow falling, Christmas Eve, and I’m by myself. First ‘single Christmas’ in about 10 years. It’s a much different feeling than I have ever had on Christmas. As I said, I better get used to it since I’m done with letting people in. No, I’m not self wallowing, just reflecting. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m not asking for sympathy. Just want to explain feelings, and maybe someone else feels the same.

jinxAnyway, I have a showing for my house in a few hours, so I do need to clean up the wrapping paper, do the dishes, and sweep up all the dog hair. So I better get to it. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

 

snowboard

Difficult Dog Workshop 2015

k9Lifeline__heather_beck_difficult_dog_workshop_heather_hamilton_projectk9After an incredible weekend learning new things at the Difficult Dog Workshop at K9 Lifeline, I’m refreshed and refocused. For some reason, this time was different. It seemed every single thing we discussed, every question, every demo, every quote meant something to me. I’m exhausted, but also re-energized and I’m excited to practice all the new thing I learned. I have picked out a few bad habits I need to adjust, and quite a few new things to add to my toolbox of awesome skills. This was quite an emotional weekend for me.

On top of learning a bunch of new things and attending this workshop, I had to deal with my first ever training dog emergency. Of course it happened on the first day of the workshop. I had a training dog, a boxer, who wasn’t doing so great. He started to get lethargic the morning of the workshop, and had refused food for the last few days. He lost some weight, and also had blood in his stool. He was also vomiting. There was blood in his vomit. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him for a few hours, so I called the owners to tell them about the situation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hold of them. I made a judgment call, called the emergency contact, and got this kid to the vet. Pretty much all morning, I was on the phone with vet techs, my client, the emergency contact, and the vet, trying to figure out what was going on. I decided to send this guy home and we would do training when he was healthy. What an eventful way to handle the first day of the workshop. Updates on the dog now are looking much better, but we still don’t have any answers. We are unsure on what is happening health-wise with this guy.

k9Lifeline_difficult_dog_workshop_heather_hamilton_projectk9Alright, back to the workshop, I realized I do ask for advice, but I don’t always hear the answers. Some stories were shared today about mistakes other people have made, and there were consequences. And I realized all of a sudden, that can happen to any one of us. A little mistake can mean fatal consequences. As I have my own stories of things that have happened, some of the stories I heard were worse than my own.  I won’t get into details, but we all start to deal with the hard stuff at some point. I am changing the way I do things a little to make things even safer than they were before. Just in case. It wasn’t advice I heard in these stories… It was a warning. And I’m going to abide by it.

Whenever I hear other people’s hard stories, and realize I’m not the only one who lost something besides a very special dog… I feel a little less guilty. However, it makes me miss Ryder a lot. He wasn’t ‘just a dog’ to me. He was a milestone in my career. I fell in love with this dog, but I also took it upon myself to fix it. It was my mission, and I failed. I talk about my failures. I’m not ashamed. The scars are how we learn. Damn, this was a hard day. Being at K9 Lifeline, hearing about other people’s stories, remembering my own like it was yesterday… just too much. Lots of tears today. I was very close to having an anxiety attack. It felt like the wound of losing him was ripped open again.

I have to remember to put my emotional side on the back burner and buck up and make dog trainer decisions sometimes. One my clients struggle with is unnecessary affection. Affection is never the answer. I had to learn this too. No petting, talking, or food rewards for dogs who don’t deserve it. I learned this a long time ago, and it took me a long time to realize I wasn’t following the “you get what you pet” rule. Now, I love on my dogs, but only when they are 100% deserving. Just because they want attention, doesn’t mean they deserve it. I have learned to respect dogs’ space by not giving them eye contact, affection, or verbal attention until they are deserving. The hardest part is telling people to ignore my dogs. I have started teaching my clients the “no talk, no touch, no eye contact” when they walk into my house. It’s quite hard for the majority of my clients. Respect their space like you want them to respect your space.

I was able to experience what it feels like to be a decoy for bite dogs. It was AMAZING! It was so fun, and I learned so much about this sport. I have decided I want to get a few of my dogs involved in this, and play. Dante and Jinx. Dante loves any game, but he has a high drive, and a lot of energy. Jinx has the drive, the energy, and she loves to bite. Now, don’t confuse this with aggression. Dogs with aggression should not participate in this sport at all. I realized I don’t know much about bite work, but I’m going to learn. I won’t get too much into this, as that’s a whole new blog post!

Anyway, I’m feeling invigorated by this weekend, and today was the first day I was able to put into practice my new daily routine, the new skills I learned, and focus on my energy a lot more when I’m working with dogs. Today was exhausting too, but I’m so happy. Finishing the day off with what I love to do is the most rewarding thing I could ask for. I absolutely love my life!

k9Lifeline_difficult_dog_workshop_decoy_heather_hamilton_projectk9

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.

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