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47. Garbage Hunting

Sir Oliver's Granny

Litter Art

It’s on our morning walk that sir Oliver and I walk past houses who’s front door verge on the sidewalk. And it’s the third day that there is more litter on the street than normal. We had some storms and garbage day, and those 2 are not really best friends. There is one front door, where there is this crushed empty can of cat food, lying on the sidewalk. Every day sir Oliver sniffs it and goes crazy about it.

Also today I had to divert sir Oliver to get my attention and walk along with me. The front door of this house was open and a lady was busy to get herself ready to go to work by car. She almost stumbled over sir Oliver, who was in dog heaven of the scent that was still coming from the crushed can.

As always I spoke to sir Oliver telling him that it was no use to smell an empty can and we’d better move on. That moment the lady looked at the sidewalk and noticed the can. She said to sir Oliver: yummy! I looked at her, and apparently I gave her a certain look that made her straighten herself saying: or maybe not. She picked up the can and said: we better throw it away, and disappeared in the house.

Unexpected things happened within me, at first I became mad at her for saying yummy. Who says yummy, when there isn’t any yummy? And then when she picked up the crushed can, I was mad again that she hadn’t picked up the can days ago. I figured she must have stepped over the crushed can several days now when going to work or somewhere else.

In that moment she was, in my eyes, a terrible lady. Although it felt good that she was the bad guy, so to speak, something was off. It was too easy in a way, to get internally mad at someone I do not know. I had been building the anger up over those 3 days, wondering who let this litter out on the street. So I had been mad at someone and now all of a sudden this someone got a face and a body and I could divert my anger towards her through looking in an evil way at her.

Indeed I had been building up this anger about litter on the streets over time, and yes when litter lands in my front garden or on the sidewalk, I pick it up and throw it away. I want others to do the same thing, but others do not know I have this desire or wish.

And still this explanation was too easy for how I responded. I had to ask myself, who am I in this situation? Why do I get mad at others? Why am I disappointed in others? And why does it touch me so bad that I get angry?

So what if I am not angry at others for abdicating their responsibility and not picking up litter when it is actually in front of them? What if the anger  I experience is actually meant for myself? What am I then communicating with myself?

Thus I tried to get in touch with this anger and imagined it was anger towards myself. Where am I disappointing myself and am I angry at myself when it comes to litter and taking responsibility? I realized that I could as well, already 3 days ago, picked up the crushed can and throw it in the first bin I would see. Why did I not do anything, and pointed fingers at others? It was easier to let it be their problem and not mine. In fact I found that I was already taken responsibility for my own street and saw that as enough.

Then I pictured myself with a litter picker and a garbage bag and right away getting confused how I would manage that with walking sir Oliver as well. Not sure how I would be able ti rake responsibility here. So maybe, I should loosen up a bit. I can pick up things that sir Oliver goes crazy about and throw it in the next bin. I cannot de-litter my whole city by myself. What I can do, is being nicer to citizens and not give them a look that makes them shiver. I could have thanked the lady for picking up the crushed can, instead of thinking she’s 3 days late. I simply better focus on myself, see where I can improve myself and where I can be nicer and stimulate others to do the same.

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46. Traveling

Sir Oliver's Granny

We had to travel to visit family and we decided that it was a great moment to introduce a different home to sir Oliver. So far he only has been in our home and only a few people came over to see him, therefore it was time to expand his world, and see how easy he is with traveling.

The day we took him home things were quite confusing for him. All of a sudden he was with strangers and in a car. Then we travelled a bit by car with sir Oliver all within a 10 to 15 minute travel time. We really didn’t know how he is on longer car trips.

Last week at the vet’s we bought some car sickness pills. So an hour before traveling we gave him the pill with a bit of food. I took him for his afternoon walk while the rest of my family packed the car. It’s almost like traveling with a baby. We took his dog bed, blanket, toys, food bowls and food, his leash and harness. My daughter was already joking that she needed a diaper bag for all sir Oliver’s stuff.

After exactly an hour that sir Oliver had taken the pill we left for an hour and 15 minute drive. On the way there he wasn’t able to sit in a comfortable way and he was panting and trembling a lot. Even though he did decide to lay down after a while. I knew he wasn’t car sick, but he isn’t used to long car drives either. He’s never trained as a pup to be in a car and to learn to enjoy it.

When we arrived we let him out on a lawn next to the parking lot, to make sure he would not pee in the house out of anxiety or being overly excited. Just to be sure he would not do any thing on the wooden floor of my family. The first time I brought my first kitten home, he climbed the lace curtains and basically destroyed them. So that memory had come up, now I was bringing home my daughter’s dog. Even though I knew nothing bad could really happen.

Sir Oliver was really relaxed in this new environment, he already knew the smell of the family that lives there, maybe that helped. After exploring the entire penthouse he slept on his dog bed and ate his dinner like normal. We took him for his evening walk in this unknown city, sir Oliver was really excited to be able to sniff new scents, following new trails and he was pulling the leash as never before.

I did not do the stop and stare to the sky method, he is doing very well on it at home, now he was just so overwhelmed with new things and excited that I didn’t want to stop after each few steps we did.

An hour before we thought we would leave we gave sir Oliver his car sickness pill, to make sure his car drive back home would be as nice or nicer than on the way there. With again a bit of food he had no problems taking the pill. And it almost seemed that he got a picture of what was going to happen. He jumped into the elevator and didn’t seem surprised about the feeling of going down. He almost jumped into the car as if he new what the drill was, but the car is a bit too high for a Beagle.

On the way back he didn’t pant and almost no trembling, he slept in between my daughter and I in the back seat. I really would love it if traveling by car would not be a problem and be able to take him to places.

After coming home we went straight onto his night walk. When finally home, he went to bed in his own dog bed with my daughter and he slept through the entire night and was even a bit sleepy the next morning. Although he had been having fun, it was as well a lot of new experiences he had gone through. I really enjoyed bringing him along and gradually expose him to more and more things. Sir Oliver is quite a social dog, so he deserves it to expand his world step by step. And we expand with him on his and our journey to life.

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41. The First Law Of The Beagle’s Constitution

Sir Oliver's Granny

The first law of the Beagle’s constitution is: eat whatever seems edible.

The moment we got sir Oliver, we were prepared for an eating machine, and almost the opposite was true. He had to be encouraged to eat. Only over the weeks he is getting more and more back in his Beagle expression. Which obviously means that he is now following us either with his eyes or physically when we go into the kitchen. At certain sounds of certain packages/bags he points his ears.

Now with sir Oliver having diarrhea over the last 3 days, his appetite was lessened as well. Knowing that he really likes chicken we used that to get him some nutrients. This morning, the fourth day of him being sick, he was far more dynamic than the last couple of days. So we gave him his breakfast before his walk, since he was a bit shaky. He didn’t care about the food at all, which I found odd. Yesterday evening he had started to eat a bit more and drank water instead of only broth.

I took sir Oliver on a walk to see if he liked some fresh air and some movement. The moment we were outside he pulled extremely on the leash. Every bit of green between the paving stones he investigated and sniffed. Then when we walked by a public lawn, I wasn’t able to get him to move on. Sir Oliver started biting the long grasses and eating it as well. I did not feel confident and comfortable to let him continue eating the grasses, and I decided to pul him away. Since I had no idea if eating grass is okay for a dog, and he was so obsessive about it.

Thoughts went through my mind of maybe sir Oliver’s body is telling him what is good for him, and maybe he is self-medicating himself. I had no idea at that time, if my mind was justifying whether it was okay he had already eaten some grass. I also had read that dogs eat as well rotten food, so that didn’t give me the impression that dogs really know what is best for their body. Which I found weird, since I like to believe that nature has everything in order and animals are self-directive and act upon what is best for them and their species. In the meanwhile sir Oliver seemed to calm down a bit, after eating the grasses.

We went into the park, while I was holding my breath, and hoping he was not going to eat the grass there as well. The very grass where all other dogs pee and poop on, the grass that probably is full of bacteria. So I was a bit paranoia about him eating more grasses. To my surprise sir Oliver had no intentions anymore to eat grass in the park and we walked our walk  like we always do. He defecated as well and his poo was normal again. That I found really great, after 3 days of watery poop.

When we came home sir Oliver’s stomach/intestines started to make bubbly sounds and he indicated that he wanted to go into the back yard. I let him and he started to eat from the grass the cats eat as well from. This to me was less dangerous, yet I felt really uncomfortable with not yet taking my full responsibility. I could Google it and know if it is okay for a dog to eat grass and when they do it. It almost seemed for a few minutes that I rather stayed in fear and not knowing than moving myself, still believing that there was a reason to why sir Oliver did this.

I took sir Oliver inside and Googled my grass question and found out that dogs do this for several reasons. One of them is calming down nausea and bubbly intestines. So that was why sir Oliver had not yet eaten his breakfast, he had been nauseous! After eating some more grass the bubbling sounds stopped as well and some time later he ate his food.

So there was some truth in my self-medicating theory. Yet my fear that it would be bad for sir Oliver, without being able to back it up with proof/applied information from others, was quite big and in my face. I usually look things up right away and now it took me a bit longer fearing I had let him do something that possibly would make him even sicker. I was in fact for moments already living out, in my mind, a scenario that was not yet here, built on guilt and ignorance.

Next time I will trust my common sense and work with what is here. Bring my smart phone with me, which I mostly not do, so I can Google it on the fly. That way there is no need and no room for guilt and fear. I would simply know and act upon it.

 

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40. No Shot Today

ollie-bij-dierenarts1

The plan was to get sir Oliver his annual shots today, reality was a tiny bit different. Sir Oliver started having diarrhea 2 days ago, and it worsened over the next days. This afternoon on his walk it was as if he was spray painting in the color ochreous. It’s not that he’s been acting like a very sick dog, but he’s lying down far more than normal and needs to go into the garden to do his business, which he normally doesn’t do.

The vet assistant told us yesterday that if he wasn’t yet well enough to get his shots, to bring him in anyways. So that is what we did. She nevertheless checked the basic things, so sir Oliver could get used to being touched by the vet. He was really calm on the treatment table of the vet. After taking his temperature to see if he had a fever, sir Oliver was trembling of the stress that it gave him. However he didn’t move when she took his temperature, and lucky enough he had no fever.

Also today, like yesterday, he didn’t want any dog treats at the vet’s. As far as I could assess it, it didn’t seem to be a very stressful or even horrible experience for sir Oliver. And that is exactly what we wanted.

We agreed on coming back next week, if all is fine with sir Oliver, and do the shots in a weeks time. We didn’t have to pay today’s visit, only the medicine we took with us yesterday. I have to say that I do trust this practice as far as I can observe the practices of this group practice. The way they handle things are absolutely not done in a pushy way.

I can see how much more calm I was today in comparison to yesterday. It had everything to do with my view about vet’s in general, and how ‘bad experiences’ had been turned into ‘bad memories’ that set the tone for how I perceive vets and doctors for that matter. It’s quite tricky when one starts to generalize after one or maybe more bad experiences and yet we all accept the judging as normal within our lives.

It’s best, I found, to take each experience as a new experience and not mess it up from the start. It’s not really cool to mess up my own reality and get nervous when having to see a vet.

We spoke as well with the vet about sir Oliver’s diarrhea and how to handle it and we were so aligned with this vet. Simply using common sense and take it a step at a time. I made sir Oliver homemade chicken broth with pieces of chicken in it, that way he would drink and get some basic nutrients.

On the way to the vet, my daughter said, they might want to give sir Oliver antibiotics. Her friend got antibiotics for her pup after the pup was a bit less dynamic, without really examining the pup. We both are no big fans of the exaggerated use of antibiotics, and only use it when it is the last option. I rather put some colloidal silver in his drinking bowl, in case it is a bacterial infection. Though the vet never brought up antibiotics, which shows again to me their caring stance for the animals they treat.

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39. Exploring The Vet’s Practice

hond-rilt-bij-griep

We knew that at some point we had to take sir Oliver to the vet to get his annual shots. It was also a point that we tried to delay. Not knowing how sir Oliver would react to an medical environment, being a former laboratory Beagle. And I might find it more tensive than sir Oliver, who knows.

So I had made a phone call to a group practice of vets, a 5 minute drive from our home or a 15 minutes walk. The vet’s assistant took the call and told us that they only see animals by appointment. Which I found really reassuring knowing that we didn’t have to wait in a full waiting room with all kinds of animals. My only memory was one of about 40 years ago, maybe now all vets are doing there business by appointment.

The assistant suggested for us to come in the afternoon when it is in general less busy. She also suggested to come by a day earlier to look at his medical passport, weigh him and let him walk around a treatment room so he could sniff up all scents and not be excited about it when the vet would examine him. That sounded great, it gave me a sense of being taken of and real care, which seems to be the starting point of this practice. I had heard cool reviews about these vets and according to the phone call I had the impression that the animals are more important than their business model.

Today we had the appointment with the vet’s assistant. The idea was to walk sir Oliver to the practice. However this morning we found out that his one time diarrhea was not a one time event. It had become worse and this morning he didn’t want to eat all of his breakfast and no dog treats either. He was pacing throughout the ground floor and at a certain moment he started to pant. He never had done that for no obvious reason. My daughter took him for a short walk and see if he had to defecate, but with no success.

We decided to go to the vet anyway, since that is the place to ask and find assistance if needed. My daughter and I went by car, to not let sir Oliver walk 15 minutes back and forth in the rain. Sitting on the backseat of the car has become less exciting for sir Oliver. I however felt a certain level of tension within me, hoping things would went well, so going to the vet would eventually become a positive experience for sir Oliver.

I could see that my suspicion for doctors in general played it’s own movie in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure and be assured that we were doing the best thing by bringing sir Oliver to this vet practice. All I could do was breathe through it and be aware of the thoughts that flashed at a high speed through my mind.

We went inside with sir Oliver, which he seemed to find odd. We so far never go into other’s houses with him. So he hesitated, but walked with us inside, where the doors automatically closed after some time. Since he had his harness on and was walking on a leash, his primary response was to track down new scents. Standing or sitting was no option, when there was so much to smell. We were allowed to explore the room and talk with the assistant at the same time. We tried to let him be at stop on the animal scale, which was pretty much a tough thing to do. He will sit if we ask him inside the house, maybe in the back yard, but that is it for now. His weight was less than on our own scale, so the assistant suggested to come by every now and then to weigh him and they put it in his records and be able to see if things are not okay.

I was impressed with how they run the practice, where employees are allowed to bring their own dogs to work. How great is that? The people were kind and not pushy at all. I explained about sir Oliver’s diarrhea and we got some pills to get back to normal stool. No need to pay them now, we can pay them tomorrow if the vet says he is healthy enough to get his annual shots. They are not allowed to vaccinate animals that are not healthy. And that is exactly where my fear of vets comes from.

We once had 3 stray kittens from a pet shelter, just a few weeks old. We brought them to the one and only vet in the village. He gave them without examination a lot of shots and deworming medicine. One kitten didn’t make it and the vet admitted that it was of the heavy medicines. So my trust in the credibility and professionalism of vets was lower than ever after that experience.

I can see that these are bad memories and at the same time not likely something that will repeat itself. So being aware that I make the right choice in vets, is the one thing I should focus on. Understanding that my mind will take me to places that are no longer relevant, is important as well, because then I know I have a choice. Do I follow my negative thoughts about vets and generalize all vets and all their actions? Or do I not follow these thoughts and work with what is here? And the last thing I chose to do, excepting my nervousness, knowing where it comes from and at the same time not let it direct me and the choices I make.

Lets see the vet tomorrow and get things done. The main focus is sir Oliver and making things as comfortable for him as possible. And that can only happen when I do not stress myself. Sir Oliver seemed pretty okay with this vet practice, just like us.

 

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34. Playing Playful Play

Sir Oliver's Granny

The period in which we prepared for sir Oliver to come and live with us, my daughter bought several dog toys. It became quite clear early on, that he had not really an idea what to do with the toys. He simply ignored the toys at first. We then found out, by doing some research, that playing with toys is important for dogs to not fall prey to boredom.

After maybe a week sir Oliver started to relocate his toys from his dog bed to the doormat. We thought that was cute. We also tried to engage ourselves in his play, but it seemed that we were more interrupting him than playfully communicating. We now and then took a toy from the doormat and placed it somewhere else to see what he would do. Mostly he would not do anything.

At a certain point sir Oliver started relocating my daughters socks or occasionally a hoody. He brought it all to the doormat again. So whenever my daughter was missing something, most of the time she found it on the doormat.

This relocating was not a systemized and frequent pattern he portrait, so he could go without doing anything for days or even 2 weeks. We started to try and get his attention when playing with balls, dental balls or kong balls with treats in it, he was and is not interested in it. I also understood that some dogs are simply not into playing with dog toys. So we decided to give it time and have patience, we do not see that sir Oliver is bored, so for now there is no problem other than us wanting to play with him.

It almost seems as if sir Oliver is more into playfulness than plain playing with toys. He likes to be pet, he likes to learn some general and new commands. He likes to be a funny dog, while we call him a clown. Collecting pieces of paper out of the one and only open bin in the living room and shred them up even faster than a shredder. Which we then made him stop doing,  due to seeing that this could end up not being so funny, when next time it is our mail or an important print.

Since playing a bit rough with dog toys can help him release excess energy, dog play kept being on my mind. We cannot let sir Oliver run free without a leash and biking while him being on the leash is still too premature to do. He need to release some energy before he will channel it into bad behavior. This is of course a fear of mine, that he will eventually develop bad behavior if we do not facilitate that what he needs.

I wanted him so much to play and I tried to throw his rope toy, held it before his mouth and had no idea how to get him to play with it. This rope toy is a dental toy as well, where he can maintain his teeth and get them free of plaque. I felt a bit helpless, sitting there being funny and sir Oliver looking at me, with a look saying, what are you doing human?

Yesterday when cleaning the house, sir Oliver was following me everywhere I was dusting. Then in my son’s room he got hold of a plastic casing of a package of paper handkerchiefs. When I heard and saw him pick up the plastic casing with his lips and teeth, he ran away quickly down the stairs and dropped it on the doormat. I had followed him quickly downstairs with an fearful energy of, he may not shred it up and eat from it. So I came after him as if I would take his prey. He let me take it, and it felt like playing for the first time. Then he hurried upstairs again and took a small plastic bag from my son’s room and went almost off to bring it downstairs again. I did not know what was in the bag, so I took it from sir Oliver before he could leave the room.

I then got the idea to place his rope toy at the same spot where he was getting his preys from. And yes! He took the rope downstairs onto the doormat and that was it.

By now I knew there is a puppy still in sir Oliver who wants to play, but never learned to play as a laboratory dog and never got the opportunity to play. We have to learn him how to play, just like we took him to the park for the first time, got him all wet in his first rain shower and learned him some commands. I cannot expect from sir Oliver that he knows how to play with dog toys, we have to guide him to enjoy playing with us and his toys. It’s a long way where I need to live patience and acceptance to move one breath at a time to not overcharge sir Oliver just like I wouldn’t want to overcharge myself.

I probably going to make a toy with rabbit skin that he can play with only when we offer it to him and gradually get him acquainted with it and get him excited about it. Who knows what side of him we’ll get to know and who knows what side of myself I get to know. It’s a great opportunity to explore play and expand the word play with another living being.

 

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32. Great Grandparents Visiting

Sir Oliver's Granny

Sir Oliver is now living with us for 8 weeks and the only strangers he has seen in the home, were the men of the foundation with 6 weeks. It was advised to not have a lot of new people in the home, before the dog had settled in a bit. My parents decided to come over at our place, after their holiday, and with 8 weeks we considered sir Oliver as settled in.

When we saw my parents arrive, we closed off the hallway so sir Oliver wasn’t able to peep out off the front door. I instructed my parents to enter the living room as usual without focussing on the dog. Have a seat and let sir Oliver come up to them, smell them and get acquainted to them. My mother has the tendency to go up to animals and speak to them with a high pitch voice and I wanted to see if I could change her behavior with these new rules. of not paying attention at first.

Everybody was calm and so was sir Oliver, after he had checked my parents out, he went back to his dog bed and snore some more. Even when the conversations got a bit louder and more people speaking with each other at the same time, sir Oliver couldn’t care less.

After lunch we normally walk sir Oliver and this time we were with 4, so a real pack of dog-mans. When walking with the men of the foundation I had seen that sir Oliver liked as well walking with more people at once, who talk with each other and enjoy being together. My mother wanted to get her coat out of her car for the walk, and opened the front door without realizing that sir Oliver was in the hallway as well. I felt a shock going through my body. The 4 of us are all instructed to not open the front door before checking where sir Oliver is, and being sure he cannot follow the person going outside. Our front yard is not closed off, which means that he can go onto the street and walk away easily. That is a scenario that I do not like to happen, not knowing if we are capable to get him back into the house once he is hunting trails. The walk itself went quite well and sir Oliver behaved perfectly, no problems with people walking behind him, which was a problem before.

For dinner we placed the dining table in the middle of the room so 6 people could have a seat at the table. Moving around furniture didn’t bother sir Oliver at all. Having meat at the table is never a problem, he does not beg for food. The entire meal he stayed on his bed.

Also after dinner we went for a walk with 4 people, even my son went along, who had not yet been with us on our walks in the past 8 weeks. Again a smooth walk, where sir Oliver didn’t stop and refuse to walk, like we had in the past.

Later that evening my mother was even able to pet sir Oliver without using the high pitch voice. It couldn’t go better. I would say bring them on those visitors, sir Oliver is ready for it.