Saturday, April 18, 2015

Raising a More Natural Dog.

(Meatball in hand and I get any pose I want ;] )

I haven't spent the past several years ditching chemicals and bad ingredients in my life to start Emmy out on a bad commercial dog food. You've seen the ones, the ones with all kinds of grains, corn, animal by-products, etc. in them. That's just so disturbing to me. Some dog foods have the worst things in them yet the companies have no problem sending them out to be consumed by your best friend. I decided to try to keep Emmy as natural as possible, and I read her labels as closely as I read mine.
I mean, you can't deny her shiny coat and clear eyes after just 3 weeks of being here!

She's currently obsessed with the Kong Chicken Meatballs which is cool with me because all they are, are chicken, oats, rosemary, and a preservative.

I'm low on the jerky but she's in love with that. Also cool with me because it's just beef, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, flavoring, ACV, paprika, celery powder, and a preservative. Literally might eat some myself. Okay, probably not. But I could which is my point of feeding her what I do.

The Blue Buffalo is a really good product, but I found her food ingredients to be better in the Wellness Core. Plus, it's cheaper than BB.

 She does love something on her kibble though and these Blue Buffalo Wilderness packs are about $1.50 each and I can get away using one pack on 2-3 meals. I would like to eventually switch her from these packs to something I cook up just to save some $$.

I've found that her food is pricey (a little cheaper online) but the treats are really reasonable - especially if you have a HomeGoods in your area. Hit them up! Their pet section is SO good and most of the treats have great ingredients - for like 60% off the usual price. The jerky was $2.99!
I got her shampoo there for like $5 and the ingredients are amazing and it has essential oils to naturally repel fleas and ticks. She smells like a tropical island right now. LOVE.

Now if we can just get this whole bonding thing kickstarted!


Meatball obsessed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raising Emmy: Week 2

Week two highlights:

Is becoming slightly more affectionate
Got her stitches out from being spayed
Still screams and gets sick in car
LOVED two lunge lines worth of leash at a local school to run and smell/track (no safe place to be off-leash)
Still does not come when called more times than not
Does well off-leash with my grandma's dogs
Is finally learning her name
Now sleeps in living room/my room while my door stays open (which I HATE) without destroying anything - as long as she's not confined
Hasn't had an accident in the house since we compromised sleeping arrangement - wakes me up by whining by my bed if she needs out
Hasn't been left home alone because she HATES the crate with a passion
Still loves howling with us
LOVES chasing a larger ball around the yard


Come (kind of)
Stay (from a short distance)

Working on:

Dog park manners soon

 Keeping her so far. I think we can make this work if I change my mindset. It's just been such a huge change. I went from getting a 10 week old puppy with an almost immediate bond to basically a dog teenager with behavioral/abandonment issues. It's a big adjustment.
Part of me thinks she's too smart for sit/stay and needs to be taught something challenging. I'm looking into an obstacle course to see how she does there, because I got a tunnel of my niece's out and she was SO proud of herself for doing it.

Also, she likes drinking water outside more than in. She learned quickly if she stands on our pool cover that water will come up and she can drink it. No idea how she'll do once the cover is off.
But right now it's been like 9,000 times of "No!" or "Off!" because she does NOT need to be standing on the pool cover OR drinking that nasty water, but this little heathen got in the middle of the cover where I couldn't reach her, waited until the water was almost chest deep and then LAID DOWN in the water. The Retriever in her, I suppose.
What. A. Handful.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Raising Emmy.

I deleted my initial post about Emmy, my 6 month old rescue Beago I got not even two weeks ago because there were 48 hours where I was very seriously considering taking her back to the shelter. She's a sweet, fairly well-mannered dog downstairs but from night one we had her, all hell broke loose at bedtime. She screams nonstop in the crate overnight no matter if it's downstairs or in the bedroom next to me. So I blocked off part of my room where she couldn't destroy anything and could still walk some but also sleep. That was a little better for maybe two nights and then she figured out how to get around/over my barricade. That resulted in her digging the floor to get out, scratching the walls, yanking the curtains - and the rod - down on all my stuff, knocking bookshelves over, breaking a vase, jumping on my nightstand and knocking everything off, etc., etc..
I get maybe two hours of sleep with her unless I give in and we sleep downstairs - then she'll let me get a full night.
I can't even take a shower without her barking non-stop and beginning to chew things.
Some is separation anxiety probably, but still. :/

I haven't had a dog since Titus died over three years ago and have not had a puppy in 13 years. When my dad finally agreed on getting another dog I was so desperately wanting one that was happy to be with me, sleep in my room, go on rides, etc., and this little Emmy is the exact opposite.
Half the time I feel like she hates me. When parents come home or my grandma visits, Emmy is SO happy to see them and wants affection. When I come home I get a glance and then she lays down. I think it's partly because I'm the "bad cop" by saying, 'no' and setting boundaries. But I also train, feed, and walk her so I thought bonding was happening.
It does not feel like it at all. I wish everyone else in the house would help me set rules for her because right now I'm the horrible step-mother and everyone else is the fun aunt. And that's really frustrating and I know she picks up on that energy, so it's just been really hard.
Even when I take her in the car to somewhere fun like an empty schoolyard so she can track and run, she screams bloody murder the entire rides there and back - and I've been working on exposure therapy and shit isn't working yet.
Then all the fun she had at the yard with me is gone, and she glares at me like I'm the devil when we're home and she gets out of the car.

I'm still not sure we're keeping her. It's barely been two weeks and I know it can take months for them to adjust, but this is not what I signed up for, as horrible as that sounds.
I wanted a companion, a dog to help with my anxiety, to want to be with me and play and have fun. And I don't have that right now. I know rescues can be harder, but maybe I rushed this because I wanted a dog so badly. Maybe I should have waited for a shelter to have a much younger puppy, like 10 weeks instead of 6 months.

Right now, I have a dog who seems to be hardly interested in me during the day and HATES me at night when I try to keep her in the bedroom. She may need another sleeping arrangement, but I can't figure out what that is yet. I don't know if she'll adjust and someday bond with me and sleep in my room.
There's just too many 'maybes' and 'somedays' with her that I'm not sure she's the right match for me.

I'll hang in there for now and just hope something changes, but if nothing does in there next few weeks I may be looking at re-homing her again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's That Sound? It's So Loud...

The past couple weeks have been odd. I've had some high-stressors the past few months like graduating college, job hunting, the future, a bit of a quarter-life crisis, a ton of personal stuff like my LDR boyfriend - whom you've met! - deciding to move here very soon (eep!), etc., and if you know anything about people with the health issues like I have - adrenal fatigue for instance - you know stress depletes our bodies more than a 'normal' person's. So high stress for months + me = nervous breakdown. 

I thought I had an OK grip on my anxiety and stress even though I couldn't sleep until 5am and only for a couple hours before I was awake and tossing and turning, only to get up and fake being OK while I put pressure on myself to find a job, get better, do exposure therapy, deal with people, relationships, food, etc., and I knew I was stressed out and not a normal amount, but I just kept thinking things would get better. So I pushed myself to "relax" with harder exercise and distractions, thinking I was doing the right thing. I have to be careful with exercise because my adrenal glands barely function so they get stressed out easily. But, again, I thought I was doing better so I could increase my exercise.

Wrong-O. I could feel the symptoms of adrenal fatigue more than ever and it didn't seem to matter what supplements I took or what I ate/drank. Nothing felt OK. Nothing felt 'normal.' I was always tired and irritable but I kept telling myself I was just stressed and a bath or movie would fix it. It helped temporarily, but then I was back to constantly worrying, random panic attacks that I hadn't had since I was 15, and an increase in my alcohol consumption because no doctor here prescribes anything temporarily, they go straight to long-term SSRIs.

Me and my family tried taking a self-defense class and while I really liked the intro, I was stressed as hell about going, and about going back up to 4 times a week. Just the thought of new people, different people in every class, leveling up and testing, etc., etc., made my stomach clench so tight that it ached constantly.

Finally, pretty much overnight, I broke. It was all just too much even though I thought I could handle it. And still, as I sat on the kitchen floor in my robe sobbing uncontrollably (wish someone had filmed that) while trying to explain to my parents what was happening, I thought I could handle it and just suck it up. But there was no controlling that. I completely lost it. I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't control the panic attacks, I couldn't stop shaking, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I felt like I was actually losing my mind.

It took a couple days and Google to find out what had happened but there it was. Every physical and emotional symptom I had in a list underneath "Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown." It was comforting to see because if I know what it is I can better understand how to fix it. But fixing it is hard. I'm still insanely over-emotional to the point where someone can say something and I hear the tone wrong and I start crying. It's like hyper PMS, y'all. Jesus. It's exhausting and annoying. But I still can't fully control my mind. I've barely left the house. The thought of going places, going shopping, to appointments, eating much, etc., still makes me really panicky. Which is such a bummer because over the years I've worked so hard to move past all of that and get better.

So this has been a huge personal disappointment. I'm disappointed in myself, greatly. I'm too hard on myself, and I know this, but I can't just turn off my own expectations. The next step for me is to slowly start going places again and to be kinder to myself. Because I'm kind of a bitch to myself.

I would like to be recovered by now and better, but that's going to take some time. And lucky you, you get to be here for recovery! How psyched are you?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why I Quit Being a "Health Coach."

I signed up to be a health coach for BeachBody and thought, 'Finally! Some income!' as I've been struggling with finding a job.
But it turned out to be way-not-fit for my personality, and the people were a little off to me. It just didn't feel right. It is a bit of a pyramid "scheme" except you do make money - but only if you're one heck of a people person, which I am not. And once I thought, 'Oh, shit, I don't want to do this. This is stressing me out MORE!' I found out quickly that everyone in my 'fit family' was really only there if I was on board with all the salesy stuff. Take, for example, the Shakeology Beach Body offers. I'm allergic to stuff in every variety of it. What did the "fit fam" tell me? "Try the vegan version! Ask your doc, I'm sure it'll be ok! You need this and/or a program to sell to people!" OK...but I'm allergic. After that red flag #1, not many people talked to me because I guess I wasn't "on board" enough.
I couldn't land any clients because you have to talk and pitch and talk and get to know them and talk some more. All my conversations came to dead ends or "no" when I would mention them signing on with me. That's just not in my personality. I'm an introvert. I don't like small talk. I don't want to talk to strangers and then try to sell them something. It was stressing me out beyond belief, trying to land clients and work through the bootcamp. They made it sound so easy in the boot camp and in reality it shouldn't be that hard to land some clients. Well, it is. And during the bootcamp you're supposed to sign up for all these trips and retreats which would've cost me like $300 at least...that I don't have. So I opted out of that.

They claim that they help and motivate and coach, etc., but every. single. time. I asked HOW they help, HOW they coach, WHAT DO THEY DO WITH THEIR CLIENTS I got the same very scripted reply. 'We help and motivate! We're a family! We encourage!' and so on. Okay...but WHAT DO YOU DO? No one would ever answer me. I could see the encouraging on Facebook, but never coaching. It was all just about signing on more members to make money, get more people to sign up, get clients to advance because you make a profit off of them advancing. No one would ever actually tell me HOW they coach. Red flag #2. You literally need no health knowledge at all to do this - you just have to want money.

I e-mailed my 'mentor' that I was having doubts and thinking of pulling out - because if you do within 30 days you can get a refund. Well, the mentor went from taking hours to reply to me to days. Like once she made money off of me, I wasn't a priority anymore. It took her four days to get back to me. She claimed she had "unplugged" for a long weekend but she was active on Instagram, so that was just an excuse. Red flag #3. And when she replied it was another scripted 'how can I change your mind' thing.

Well, shit, she took four days and by that time I decided to cancel my account. So I replied to her telling her that this just wasn't for me, thank you for being so nice - she really was - but this isn't what I want to do.

And it took her two weeks - two weeks - to answer me. Mentor my ass. She was on to other "clients" by then and since I was no longer making her money there was no need to answer me in any kind of timely fashion. Huge ass red flag #4.

Can you make money doing this? Yes. But you have to SELL, SELL, SELL. Like, message everyone on your FB feed and start conversations that end with you trying to sell them Beachbody programs, shakes, coaching spots, etc. OK, yeah, because my 70 year old family members really want to try P90X. Then you're onto strangers. Because that's not awkward.

If you're very people-oriented and you're a huge extrovert, this could be good for you.

Are you actually doing health coaching? I'm thinking no, but how would I know because NO ONE WOULD ANSWER ME. This is not like talking to someone about health issues and how can you help. This would be, "You're overweight? You should try this Beachbody product!" Granted, you are a face of Beachbody and you are selling a product of theirs. But "coaching" to me is more than a program. It's knowledge and nutrition and life-long health. And no one I came into contact with had any of this. It was a bunch of girls wanting to make money. And if they're determined, they probably will.

But for me, I wanted to actually coach. I see these women on Instagram with programs of amazing nutrition and support and that's what I wanted to do. And this was not it. It was a money pit.

And I didn't want this to be "IT" for my life. Most of the women I met that make good money doing this, it's their full time job. It's their life. I was looking for something fulfilling, like health coaching, that I could do while I continued to write. Because writing is what I want to do. But this would've progressed and I would have leveled which means more clients and time and I think writing would've slowly been pushed on the back burner.

So, I quit. And the knot in my stomach loosened. When that happens, you know you made the right decision.

So, that's why I quit being a "Health Coach." Because there are major flaws in the program, espeically some of the people, and it's a little frightening that you need no health knowledge to coach people on their health.

Good luck to you if decide to try it out, but, no, thanks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Blink: Anna Dressed in Blood/Girl of Nightmares

Book #3 of my reading challenge is book #13 on the list: A Book With a Female Heroine - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

I'm also including its sequel, Girl of Nightmares, as well.

Original, captivating, and strongly written. First book was better than the sequel, but this was an amazing duo. Blake lets the reader into a secret world you won't want to quite leave. 4/4 bones.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Blink: Six Feet Over It.

Book #2 of my reading challenge is book #6 on the list: A Book By An Author You've Never Read Before - Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo.


Makes me want to buy and live in a cemetery - almost. Characters were very well-written and likeable.  However, I think this could've been about half the length it was and it would've been even better. 3/4 bones.