Tag Archives: pets

Keeping the wheels from falling off

28 Mar

Can you believe it’s almost the end of March? And that Easter is only a little more than a week away? Crazy, I tell ya.

Because of that, I thought I’d give another update on how my eating plan for Lent is going. When I first started tracking my food, I realized that my eating was haphazard. I already knew that I did well until about 4 pm and then ate everything in sight. A couple of weeks ago, I said that I was being more mindful of what I eat, but I was still struggling with emotional eating.

Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the wheels still fall off my eating habits around 4 pm, or more specifically, the minute I walk in the door after work. It probably doesn’t help that I plan what I’m going to eat on my drive home…

The problem is two-fold. The main issue is that I come home from work hungry. That is caused by either not bringing substantial enough snacks/lunch to work, or by eating my afternoon snack too soon after lunch, leaving me hungry by the time I go home. This whole ‘figuring out exactly what I will eat for the day at 8 am in the morning’ thing is tricky. Most days, I get it right. Other days, I totally underestimate (I guess I’m optimistic about my willpower early in the morning).

The other issue that causes the wheels to fall off is that I eat while trying to avoid doing what I know I should do. A couple of days this week, I came home from work and just didn’t want to run. While I was hemming and hawing and talking myself into putting my running clothes on already, I had a snack, almost always in the form of refined carbs. The things I crave the most often usually come in the form of cereal and white grains – bread, buns, tortillas. Usually topped with butter. Mmm…

My remedy to these issues is also two-fold. Stop coming home from work hungry and stop stalling by eating. (duh) To actually make these happen, I need to get creative. I’ve tried the whole “I’ll bring a snack for that afternoon slump” and eaten it at 10 am instead, because let’s face it, it’s the best snack I bring. I would totally be up for a salad then (because I’m still in love with salads right now) but my lungs vehemently disagree that a salad is good pre-run fuel. I’ve also thought about bringing a box of granola bars to stash in my office but that could be dangerous…

Anyway, the good news is that beyond my hunger-induced and distraction-providing eating snafus, I’ve been doing pretty well. Some victories: I went to a baby shower last Saturday, a situation which usually causes me to eat more than I should (I don’t know why, but for some reason, I eat more when I’m around people than I would by myself), and left feeling like I had eaten the perfect amount.

Travis wanted ice cream tonight and even though we went to Dairy Queen to get him something, I didn’t have anything because I honestly didn’t feel like ice cream. Funny how some people just naturally would choose that, but other people (like me) have to make that conscious choice – and it feels good.

And this isn’t a victory, per se, but more of an interesting observation. I’ve been keeping track of my calories since starting this journal (but not changing what I eat based on the number – it’s just for recording purposes) and have seen the amazing power of the body to regulate itself. Consider this: the average calorie intake for my “rough” week that involved quite a bit of emotional eating and made me feel gross was 2,398 calories a day. But that week was followed by a week that averaged 2,008 calories a day. The average for a month (2/27 – 3/25) was 2,203 calories a day. So even though I had a “bad” week, by listening to my hunger cues, my body corrected itself. That’s why I think it’s so easy for me to maintain the weight I’m at – it’s my “happy weight”, as they say.

Finally, to lighten up this copy-heavy post, here are some adorable pictures of my pooches:

Charlies likes to chew on blankets (naughty!), and she gets the blanket strands stuck in her floppy lips. It’s hilarious.

And Katy hates getting her picture taken. She refuses to look at the camera.

But she’s still cute.

That’s the blanket that Charlie gets stuck in her lips. It’s actually really cute because she likes to adjust her bed with her mouth. When I see her doing it, I’ll just sit there and watch her. If she sees me watching her, she’ll stop right away, like Crap, she saw me.

Do your pets have any quirky behaviors?

The Hooligan Twins

20 May

Katy and Charlie

One cause of my recent lack of blog posts has been the two dogs to the left. Cute, yes. Well-behaved, no.

It all started back on April 8th when I took Katy to our new vet at PetSmart for a routine checkup and a refill on her heartworm meds. Charlie was there, newly rescued from an indian reservation in Oklahoma. After several discussions with the rescuing vet and Travis, we adopted Charlie. We did not know what we were signing up for.

While some behaviors like guarding her food and putting her paws up on the kitchen counter were quickly remedied, other behaviors like peeing inside the house, waking up at god-awful hours like 2 and 4 a.m., and disappearing into the juniper bushes behind our house to avoid being disciplined are still works in progress.

In those first days, I wasn’t working yet so the most challenging aspect of having Charlie was that she didn’t like her kennel all that much and would start whining and banging around to be let out at the hour of 5:00 a.m. most days (and when you’re unemployed, that is a VERY early hour to rise). My initial ideas were to 1) let her out to pee, then put her back into her kennel and go back to bed; 2) leave her outside and go back to  bed; 3) leave her out of her kennel and go back to bed. Notice the familiar theme? Well, not a single one of those options worked. Putting her back into her kennel only caused her to whine and sometimes bark. Leaving her outside started a barking contest between her and the neighbor’s dog. And leaving her out invited either little surprises left around the house or her pawing at our bedroom door. So I finally sucked it up and realized that my reality was I just had to get up and stay up. During that period, I actually knew what was going on in the world from watching the morning news and I got a lot of curriculum editing done (both of which have dropped to nothing since I started my job).

Adding to the frustration of the early mornings was Charlie’s refusal to sit still or lay around for longer than 30 minutes at any given time. Therefore, my afternoon naps were also out of the question. I couldn’t let Charlie just wander around the house because she still didn’t quite understand that she needed to hold her bowels until we were outside. So I’d be just dropping off into a most glorious slumber when Charlie got up and walked off down the hall. I would call Charlie back, lay there for 10 seconds cursing my life, and then get up and follow after her. It didn’t work either to have Charlie lie with me on the couch but she is the squirmiest dog EVER. She will NOT lay still for anything but instead feels the need to stick her cold, wet nose on your cheek and lick your neck. Again, very cute, yes. Charming? No.

The way she looks when she does this makes me melt

Then there were the walks. Being a rescue from a reservation as well as a puppy with loads of energy, Charlie did not (and still doesn’t) understand the concept of a leash. Taking two dogs on a walk would be a challenge regardless, even if one of those wasn’t swerving back and forth the entire time, trying to get to things beyond the reach of her leash, and running into the other dog as if they weren’t even there. On those walks, I admire Katy’s patience – instead of snapping, growling or barking, she just steps around Charlie, going on her merry little way. I, on the other hand, wanted to kick Charlie. I’m not a good doggy mommy.

Ah, and then there have been the times when Charlie peed on the floor in our house right in front of me. First, she went into the corner behind the chair in our living room. Then, I walked into our bedroom just as she was squatting down. Then, I was laying on the couch attempting to take a nap and she decided that right in the middle of the room was the best place to relieve herself. On every one of these occasions, as soon as it clicked in my head what she was doing, I spastically yelled “NOOOOOOO!!!!”, scaring the living daylights out of her so much that she promptly stopped long enough for me to get her outside to finish what she started. (Although now, for some reason, Charlie can’t hold her bladder when she’s scared, and she’s scared of us often – our own doing – so we find little puddles of pee around.)

I tell these tales (slightly) light-heartedly now but let me assure you, there have been many angry, enraged outbursts from both me and Travis. This dog (and Katy, who I will get to shortly) has tested our patience, kindness, longsuffering, and sanity more than I ever thought she would. It is only by God’s grace that both of these dogs are still alive (I’m serious). To deal with the frustration, I have locked the dogs outside or locked myself in another room. I have lectured them (which actually made them scared of me – now whenever I lecture them, Charlie runs and sits in her kennel). I have smacked them both on the heads, grabbed their collars and dragged them forcefully when they wouldn’t come willingly, and shook their heads with force. I have also ignored them, shouted at them, and been a little rougher than I would if I wasn’t mad. I’m not proud to admit these things and I do not think it is ok to treat dogs, even though they’re animals, like this. In Charlie’s case, she doesn’t know better.

But Katy does. Katy is a smart dog and she’s not a puppy so she has been trained, taught and disciplined. When she grabs a pair of my pants from our bedroom and drags them out into the living room (but doesn’t chew them), all you have to do is hold them up in front of her and she cowers. She knows that’s naughty. Katy has also removed and chewed up items from our bathroom garbage can (some more disgusting than others), relocated shoes from the garage to outside, and slept directly on my bedroom pillow. But while I worked at home, and then was unemployed, these episodes were at a minimum.

But then we got Charlie. We don’t leave Charlie out of her kennel while we’re gone for potty-training reasons, which has caused Katy to seriously go berserk. She has started chewing blankets up again and pulling stuff out of the bathroom garbage. We started putting all of our blankets into a wicker basket but I came home one day to find Katy had dumped the wicker basket over, pulled out all the blankets and chewed up a few she hadn’t gotten to before. She’s tipped over potted plants, picture frames, and coasters. But in the past 3 weeks (since I started working), she has taken her mischievousness to new heights.

Don't let that sweet face fool you... she's a very naughty dog.

It really started the weekend we got a “new” couch. We bought it from a girl I used to work with for $25. It wasn’t in perfect condition but it was a nice couch – a dark tannish brown microsuede with seats that didn’t get pushed out when you sat on it. I was pretty excited.  That was Saturday. Monday at lunch, Travis came home to let the dogs out and discovered that Katy had chewed two giant holes in the couch and pulled out a bunch of stuffing. The holes also happened to be in locations where they can neither be repaired, nor re-covered. The couch is toast. While we were thinking about what to do (luckily we kept our old couch), I decided to put the old couch cover on the new couch, hoping to dupe Katy into thinking it was the old one again. But like I said, she’s smart. When Travis came home on Tuesday, he found Katy had chewed through the cover in the exact same spots to the holes she had created the day before and once again pulled out stuffing. Thus we began locking her into the laundry room while we’re at work. It hurts us to do so, but she absolutely cannot be trusted anymore.

A couple times this past week, though, we have felt crazy and ventured the risk to trust them. Charlie has gotten much better with the potty-training and both times we’ve left both of them out, Charlie hasn’t done anything inside – except perhaps to follow Katy’s lead in destroying everything in sight. Yesterday, Travis came home from work to find that the dogs had somehow pulled down the curtains and curtain rod in the living room – hooks, sheetrock anchors and all – as well as knocked over everything sitting on the windowsill (things we had on there to teach them to NOT walk on it), pulled stuffing out from the couch,and grabbed cardboard boxes from the kitchen and chewed them to little shreds, which they scattered everywhere. Travis said that it looked like a bomb had gone off. It took him 45 minutes to clean up the mess.

So once again, we’re back to both dogs being locked up all day long. We hate to do that but it’s necessary if we want to protect the limited possessions we have left untainted. I’m sure that Katy’s rebellion is the result of my returning to work. At first, we thought she was acting out because Charlie was locked up. Well, her behavior with Charlie has proven to us that that is not the case. If anything, she coaxes Charlie into being an accomplice. I’m hoping that this will get better with time, as Katy readjusts to this schedule and we are more intentional about taking them on walks and runs. But in the meantime, I am praying for God to give us grace because this has been a huge test of our patience and love for our pooches. Travis calls them Pooches O’Hoolihan (like Patches O’Hoolihan from Dodgeball). I call them The Hooligan Twins. They are a handful to say the least.