Monday, October 28, 2019

Who's Training Whom?

So we've had this little terror, Raven Sky Bleu, for almost two months now and are in the throes of training her to be a civilized member of our family. If you think getting a dog to pee and poop outside is the hardest and only behavior you need to perfect, you'd better NEVER decide to bring a puppy home. Raven was house-broken in less than a week. Seriously, she had one major poop in her cage and a pee on the kitchen floor....she now goes to the door signaling me that she needs to go out and has been doing her 'business' in the yard ever since.

It's the jumping up on you, scratching your arms, legs, and any other part of your body exposed, nipping your fingers and toes, putting holes in every piece of clothing you're wearing at any given time, gnawing on furniture you prize, running off your property to meet-and-greet every person or animal who happens to be walking by before you can hook her up!

I purchased two cords, a sixty footer and a twenty-fiver...hooked them together so that Raven could pretty much have the run of the backyard and still be able to join us on the patio. Two problems arose immediately...#1 no matter what, our sweet girl got wrapped around a tree, bush, chair, stump, rock, etc. and ended up crying to be released, and #2 I had to be out there the entire time to unwrap her!

After talking to a few folks about how they confined their puppies, I was convinced an electric fence was the answer...actually ordering one from Walmart. However by the time it reached the store, I had decided to return it and stick with the 85 ft cord until next spring. Dumb decision! Back to the same old, same old...wrapping, stuck, unwrapping, wrapping, stuck, crying, unwrapping, etc.!

Upon searching online for some 'miracle' device, I found this little gadget that sends out a high-pitched sound undetectable by humans, but highly annoying to dogs. No lie, within two days Raven knew her outside boundaries and adheres to them about 99% of the time. Only when my one neighbor came out whom she adores did Raven cross the line...ONCE! Now much to Raven's delight, the neighbor comes across the road to visit.

Although we're still working on some of the bad behaviors mentioned above, for the most part all I need to do is show Raven the device and she immediately ceases and desists doing whatever it is she shouldn't be doing.

I spend a lot of time training my little buddy to fetch, sit, stay, come, and a number of other appropriate actions. She's very smart and picks up these commands in a very short time.

I was patting myself on the shoulder for doing such an amazing job when something hit me...who's training whom?

Raven has taught me to get up off my butt when she stands at the door, Raven has taught me to unwrap her when she gets caught by whining and crying, Raven has taught me I needed to find an effective method of keeping her within outside boundaries, Raven has taught me how to use the device sparingly to nip her other unacceptable behaviors in the bud as well.

What I didn't realize until yesterday was that Raven has taught me that being outside playing with her for hours is so much more fun than watching the boob tube or punching computer keys! Getting exercise and fresh air is healthier too!

Now I truly believe both Raven and I have trained each other and will continue to do so for years to come!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Definitely Worth Repeating!

I first wrote this post on December 11, 2017 to help someone very dear to me deal with the devastating symptoms of depression. I believed then as I do now that by sharing difficult stories of my life gives others the opportunity to learn that they are not alone and if I could overcome debilitating conditions, they certainly could too.  Unfortunately we've been taught that speaking about unmentionables such as mental illness is not appropriate and would be better to suffer in silence than expose ourselves to humiliation and isolation. Because of this societal practice today's young people are choosing suicide instead of seeking help. If they had only known that their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, etc. might have suffered in the same way, perhaps these bright lights would not have been prematurely extinguished.

I urge all of you that read my post today to share it with your family and friends. Have the courage to add your own experiences to mine so together we can offer the much needed support that can literally save lives...we must start this conversation NOW!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, October 7, 2019

Mama, Don't Let Your Boy Play Football!

After seeing Mason Rudolph get knocked out cold by #23 something Thomas of the Baltimore Ravens, I decided parents who allow their boys to engage in that kind of sport, especially at a young age, are asking for trouble. These kids idolize the home team's stars and want to emulate them before they turn four! Out of my six grandsons, three of them play football, but I'm not their mom or dad, so I can't say anything about their choices. I wish I could though.

When the camera focused on Rudolph, he wasn't moving at all. I looked at his chest and didn't see any signs of breathing. In that fleeting moment, my heart dropped, I actually thought he was dead. It took at least five minutes to revive him and two strong men to carry him off the field. According to reports, the Steeler's QB was hospitalized with concussion symptoms and his return to the team was up in the air.

I have been a football fan for over 40 years. I've cheered for the Steelers and had favorite players that, in my opinion, were unstoppable. Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, John Stallworth, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Big Ben were just a few of the players I ranked at the top of my 'all-time favorites' list! In the beginning of my love affair with this sport, the action was mesmerizing, Watching Stallworth catch a Bradshaw pass and gallop into the end zone was thrilling. I will never forget seeing Franco pluck the ball out of thin air, which later became known as the 'Immaculate Reception' and score a touchdown in the cold dead of winter! Heather Miller was one of the best tight ends the game ever had! For many years, he was mostly used for blocking. Miller never complained and did his job flawlessly. Towards the end of his career, Heather served as a receiver and did so with humility and grace. What a guy!

During those years, hauling a player off the field due to unsportsmanlike conduct was unheard of. I'm not even sure such a call was part of the ref's repetoire! Sure guys got hurt, a few even losing their careers due to serious injury, but their misfortune wasn't the result of intentional dirty play like it is today. There are rivalries in the league today, like the Steelers vs Ravens, where certain players intent to 'take out' their opponent even before the 60 minutes begins! These guys are huge, strong brutes who will do whatever they deem necessary to maim and mutilate, behavior not only unbecoming to a professional athlete, but disgusting to say the least! For this reason, watching football isn't fun anymore, and playing it is downright stupid!

Hopefully Mason Rudolph will recover, but I wouldn't hold it against him if he hung up his cleats for good, actually it would make me very happy to see a young man value his health more than his uncertain career. If he decides to continue, Mason will be in my prayers each time he takes the field.

As for my three grandsons, I can only hope their interests in the game will gradually wane, and they will consider being artists, scientists, entrepeneurs, forest rangers, or whatever makes them happy...and doesn't cripple them or worse!

Blessings and Peace!