Thursday, September 19, 2013

It has been a long 9 months!!!

Wrangler at second meeting
It has been so long since I have updated this thing...mid year resolution is to get better about that. However...I do have a few...excuses, as to why this hasn't been happening as frequently as Id like.

Getting bigger

The first reason is this little guy...we purchased a new puppy at the beginning of March!! His name is Wrangler and he is a purebred Golden Retriever puppy. He is the very first dog I have ever had, so it has been quite an adventure for me to say the least!!  I have had cats my whole life, so having to train a puppy to go potty outside was a big change for me, since cats you can generally just show them their box and they get the picture.

4 months?

We also put Wrangler through his first round of puppy school from early July through August. I also never knew there was so much in training a puppy properly, and how hard it is to train a dog to do what you want them to do. It makes me really respect and stand in awe of what people can do with their dogs, because I sometimes wonder if we will ever get there!

8 months
Another thing I never really had gotten to experience was what I will call "dog culture". There is an amazing subculture within my city of people who just love dogs! Since I have been a cat person since birth, I never really understood what it was about, but since getting a dog, I have tried to immerse myself in the subculture and it is awesome!

In addition to all this fun stuff with our little guy, we are also going to train him to do something very serious...we are going to train him to be a therapy dog. Therapy dogs differ from service animals, in that we won't have to give Wrangler up to someone else once he is fully trained. He will stay with us, and I (or my husband) will take him to hospitals, nursing homes, group care facilities, basically wherever we are needed, and Wrangler will get to provide therapy to those in need. This is why his training, and our training too, is so critical. Wrangler needs to learn to do more than the average family pet, or rather, what NOT to do. He can't go into a nursing home and jump on all of the residents, for example, so we have to train these behaviors out of him. This means he should, and will, go through more classes until we take the Canine Good Citizen test. They recommend waiting to take this test until after a year, so I think that is probably what we will do.

Related to Wrangler is my work with a non profit organization in my hometown called a Pet Food Pantry. Basically, we provide food to people who cannot afford to feed their pets, thereby keeping their pets at home with them and out of shelters in our area. I started working with them in May, and I absolutely love the work they are doing.

Second is that we finally moved into our new home early June! The first two weeks of possession the home was under construction, and then we moved in, and the home continued to be under construction :). The initial, planned construction included new flooring on our second floor, moving lighting from our old home and putting up some new lighting, and finally paint. Then came round one of our unplanned construction. We had to replace an ejection pit in our basement, basically its a pump that is used in basements to remove waste water when the basement is below the sewer line. That was..well..a big unexpected expense. In addition to that, we had yet another (minor) flood on June 1, when our city had 5 inches of rain water within a fairly minimal period of time. The entire carpet in our basement was flooded, and we had JUST moved furniture down there a couple of days before. It was almost 3 months before we were able to use our couch/entertainment center again, between the move and flood. Next, we had to replace our garage door and door opener...the door opener was a fiasco I won't really get into, but let's just say it took us almost 3 weeks to get a door opener that was supposed to be next day install. The door purchase and installation went much more smoothly :). The final unexpected project of the summer was converting our home from well to city water! When we bought the home, we had no idea that city water was available, until we got a letter. Needless to say, I am ECSTATIC to have my city water back!!! Also, I am happy to say that what I thought might be a nightmare home is turning back into our dream, slowly but surely.

Finally, this semester I am ecstatic to be back in the classroom once again, teaching 3 classes! This is the largest group I have ever had, and they are just as phenomenal as those who have come before them. I am loving having 78 students, and I am happy to say that I am as excited to be in the classroom as I was when I received the position in 2011.

I think this is enough of a catch up, for now. Also, if you are as obsessed with animals as I am, look at see if your city has a Pet Food Pantry to volunteer with. I am sure they could use your help!!