Today is a writing day. I was supposed to write with a friend, but he's feeling ill. I meant to shift gears to just write something else, but I started my period yesterday and serious blood loss (and PMS emo) always nixes out my creative side, so nothing sounds good.
In an effort to keep up the habit of writing twice a week, though, I finally decided I could do a life catch up, or something of the sort.
I'm going to have to get a new dog soon. Sounds weird, doesn't it? In my dog trainer work (go me, I'm now considered one of the top trainers in the south bay area, and I even have someone helping answer emails and whatnot) I use Cash and Lily two or three times a week. (Given I only train three days a week, this means pretty much always.) But Lily is 12, if you can believe that, and she gets tired quickly. I mean, she's the best dog I could ask for, and she's always willing if I ask her to work, but I can see it wears her out and even sometimes depresses her. She's done an awesome job for ten years now -- she deserves her retirement!
Cash is 8 now, 9 in August, and in the last few months he's slown down dramatically. Just in the last month he's having a hard time jumping back into the car if he's had to do it five or six times already (not uncommon in a single day), and he's nearly stopped playing "dad" to the young dogs I board. Neither dog plays with the boarders for more than a few minutes at a time, unless they LOVE the dog.
They're just... getting older. They're ready to relax and enjoy their retirement, and they certainly deserve it.
But in the meantime, I'm realizing how heavily I've come to rely on them. (Don't try to trouble shoot or fix anything for me; believe me, I've been through ALL the possible permutations of where to go from here. I'm just musing aloud right now.)
Initially, I thought I could borrow client's dogs. I don't want to; the one dog I think I might be able to rely on needs some serious training first. I love him, but he's a dork and needs tweaking. (At one point I considered adopting him, but now he'll be of retirement age in just a few years -- and lordy, I DON'T need four dogs when that happens!) That is my plan until anything else happens, but it's going to be a pain in the ass.
My other thought, and I might circle back to this at some point, is to foster pitties until I find the right one, and then just keep it. (I love pitties, and there are a surplus of them.) Various clients have offered to donate money toward any dogs I foster, so that would be nice. The Martinez animal shelter is only a couple of blocks from my house, and it's a high kill shelter. They might even just let me take dogs from there, knowing I would re-adopt them out. (They might not, but there are plenty of pitty rescues in the area to work with if not.)
But I don't really want to have a dog here constantly that I have to train/rehab. In part because I do board other dogs, and don't want them at further risk (than what they do to themselves), and in part because I don't want Tango at risk, nor do I want him cage-bound because of a dog I'm fostering.
My real hope is centered on a dog I boarded for five days a few weeks back. He's a 13 month pitty with congenital aggression issues (ie, he was born with something funny in his head), but with some structure and management I was quickly able to get him through it. He's in a bad situation right now, inherited by a family member, and the family member isn't willing to give him up. I'm hoping in the next few months, as my training undoubtedly unravels despite my best efforts (and they will be my best; I might want the dog, but ethically my job is to keep him with his owner) because the owner doesn't follow most of my advice. Lily loved him -- cuddled with him on the couch -- Cash quite liked him and played with him, he was good with people and learned quickly once I set some gentle boundaries down, and he didn't have much interest in Tango. I think he'd probably be really good here.
My biggest hope is that in another 2-6 months the owner will realize he can't keep the dog, and I'll get him. Preferably before he backslides enough to bite a person or is nearly impossible to rehabilitate. (Actually, my vet already told me what meds he should be on to help. The owner is refusing -- my vet did see them, and they said no -- but with her help I could get him rehabilitated even if he's gone REALLY downhill, it now occurrs to me.)
So... it's been three weeks. I see him this weekend for training, and will feel out the owner. (The more exhausted he is, the more likely he'll give up the pup sooner rather than later.)
Anyway. The thing is, I don't really want another dog. I think the dog I boarded would fit well, but the thought of a THIRD dog is my house is mentally exhausting. I'm getting things balanced, finally (at least when I'm not PMSy). I have two dogs who are nice and mellow, a parrot I adore, and I'm hoping to buy a horse this summer. A third dog, who will arrive with his or her own needs and requirements, who will upset the balance of my life? UGH.
And at the same time, a third dog might be a lot easier to deal with than boarders who need me to police them or picking up and dropping off a client's dog, which will extend my workday by an hour or more.
Basically, I have options but I only like the least likely one.
In the meantime, on another topic, my house is coming along. I put in a back patio, I've planted some trees and have a lot more in pots ready to be planted. I have a little vegetable garden, and I'm trying to get drought-resistant ground cover to grow in the yard. I have water barrels to collect the rain from the gutters, stepping stones where needed, a grown-up sized swing, and I'm constantly planning the next project. (Take out the wax privit that keeps covering the window, and spread woodchips where I don't want greenery are two of the current ones!) I love my little house. :) It's finally starting to feel like, yes, there's always something to be done, but it's nothing that needs to be done RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
I was also diagnosed with ADD this last winter. Between the ADD meds and the anti-anxiety meds, life makes a lot more sense. Also, it's nice to know that there was something wrong with my brain, as opposed to a lack of willpower that everyone else succeeds at.
In fact, it's really, really a relief to no longer feel like a failure just because I can't keep on task, or forget things constantly, or take three times as long to do something as everyone else does. Although I still get overwhelmed easily, it's not AS easily, and my self esteem has actually gone up dramatically. That feeling of worthlessness and constant failure is gone, replaced in fact by pride that I've done so much with my life with a fairly impressive disability. Now that I have medical help, oh my god, every day life is SO much easier.
And even when my meds wear off, or I haven't taken them yet, and I find myself falling into the ADD spirals, I can think, "This is a lack of the right brain chemicals, honey. Maximum effort (yes, I'm totally quoting Deadpool from now on), take your pill!" Then I also go easy on myself for the twenty minutes it takes it to kick in. I don't feel bad about that, either.
All in all, these days my problems are problems of success, and the every day problems of balance work, life, housework, etc. I'm getting better at it though, and better at not feeling like an utter failure when I don't get it all done. I'm one person, something I seem to realize now, and it's okay. And I also know that even the dog stuff will work out. I just want it to work out faster. ;)