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45. Vaccination time

Sir Oliver's Granny

Today we went to see the vet with sir Oliver to get his annual vaccine. A combination shot that contains: Parvo inactivated, Parvo live, liver disease and leptospirosis, that should prevent him from getting really sick. I Googled vaccines for dogs, to reassure myself that most dogs will not get really bad reactions from the vaccine. As with human vaccines there are large groups for and large groups against it. The information available is most often not enough to really make a well balanced choice, a choice not based in fear nor ignorance, which leaves me still a bit indecisive. And to fill that void of knowing, we did get sir Oliver his shot today.

Sir Oliver has been having his vaccinations throughout his entire life, in the laboratory and outside. He never has become dangerously sick of it, so that made me decide to vaccinate. Last week we postponed it, since sir Oliver had diarrhea. His stool has been solid for over 5 days now and another examination of the vet told us that his health is fine.

We had some questions about other things for the vet as well, so she asked us if we wanted to do the shot first or the questions. We choose the questions first, since we had no idea how sir Oliver would react to getting a shot.

Since we are going to travel by car for over an hour this weekend, we wanted to buy some anti-nausea tablets and ask if that is a good idea. We do not know if sir Oliver has car sickness, but when finding that out during our travel, it will be too late to medicate him. The vet agreed that it is best to prevent the nausea and give him a tablet an hour for departure. It also gives me some peace of mind, knowing that he at least will not become nauseous. Whether he will enjoy the ride, that is still questionable.

Another question we had was about sir Oliver, is rubbing himself against fences and walls when walking outside. He isn’t doing it always, but on some walks it seems he has to rub every fence, and we mostly walk by gardens with fences. Lucky enough for us he did it as well inside the vet’s practice, so she could observe how he rubs his shoulder first and then his first part of his back. Doing this very slowly and pressing himself very firm against the fence, wall or sometimes hedges.

My idea was that it is a way to release stress. Outside there are many city noises and new things that can be overwhelming from time to time. Sir Oliver seems to be immune for those noises, although his hearing is perfectly fine. So who knows, maybe it is his own reward after blocking out the noises to get himself a positive reward. The vet says that sir Oliver enjoys the rubbing, due to his facial expression. So stress might be one of the dimensions together with rubbing his scent on the fences, or taking other scents with him, or not being comfortable with the harness to simply enjoying the rub.

When she saw sir Oliver rubbing himself, she said he is one of a kind, a funny dog how he rubs himself. Well we do call him the clown, and there are reasons for that… At least it is not something to really worry about, unless he becomes obsessive with it.

So after our question time, I lifted sir Oliver onto the table, to get his shot. He had been more nervous than the 2 other times we went to the vet’s practice. I was almost certain that he felt our energy of: today is the day, and our not yet clear stance with vaccinations. It was not that I was noticeable nervous, though in the background I could feel there was a bit of energy going on. I tried to stabilize myself for the sake of sir Oliver.

He reacted to the shot just as we and the vet had expected, he simply stood there and let the vet do whatever needed to be done. She took a small needle which would cause less pain, just in case he would not visibly react to it.

In a year we have to go back for sir Oliver’s next shot. Lets see who I am within the whole vaccination point next year. A whole year to prepare and investigate, to figure out what is best for sir Oliver and his surroundings.

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43. The Dog Poo Piston

hondepoepzuiger

From the day on that we had sir Oliver in our lives, poop bags became one of my best friends. My philosophy is that everybody should clean up their own shit. And since we are the legal adopters of sir Oliver, we adopted his poo as well. It was all in the package, so to speak. Since day 1, I and my daughter have been taking care of sir Oliver’s shit. I’m very dedicated, seeing myself taking on the role of an living example within taking responsibility for one’s animal.

I mean cleaning up one’s own shit goes further than a pet, and the responsibility thereof. And that’s why I am sharing my story of today.

A few weeks ago I was sitting on my haunches in the grass, picking up sir Oliver’s poo with a poop bag. As I made a knot in the bag to close it off, an older man driving a scooter for disabled people approached me. I see the man almost everyday walking his dog with his scooter. We mostly chit chat for a few minutes and then move on. The man told to me to not bother with the poop bags. He said: they clean it after you. So I asked him, do they clean here with a dog poo piston? There was some hesitation and then he said yes.

This yes fucked with my mind. I live here now for 4 years, and I have never seen any dog poo piston as of yet. So my reaction was, when walking away from the man, he is just saying so. He wants to calm his own guilt. I mean how would he be able to get out of the scooter and pick up his dog’s poo? And thinking as well: why would this nice old man lie to me about a dog poo piston? I know in the city they have a piston, here in the outskirts I have never seen one.

Now this story about the municipality cleans up after our dogs, kept bothering me. I once had the idea of Googling it or call the municipality and ask them if it was true. Though I did not, I was actually fine with pondering about this question now and then.

I did not see immediately how I had labeled the old man as an silly old man, believing fairy tails about dog poo pistons. So then a few weeks later, the man told me how the dog leash had gone around his dog’s hind leg, and pulled so hard on the leg as he could not stop his scooter in time. The lower part of the dog’s leg was bruised. The dog was still not walking like he normally does.

I left the man after the conversation and moved on physically, but not mentally. Sentences went through my mind as: silly old man how can you let this happen? You do not deserve a dog, you should not have a dog, you’re simply a lazy man sitting in a scooter. Wow, I was really surprised by my ‘secret mind’ gossiping like my life was depending on it. Shit, am I such a horrible person, went through my mind. No, not really.

Over time I had accumulated the thoughts about the man, who told me I was doing a job that wasn’t necessary, according to him. And I had taken it personally. The man never said: you silly woman picking shit for nothing, are you trying to look like a good person? Although it felt like that when filtered through my mind. I simply had to face that I had allowed a certain form of gossip within me and not stopped it while I could and thus it accumulated.

Then 4 days ago the lawns were mowed. Probably the last time before winter, and all the leaves and all the dog poop was minced up and spread over the lawn. Now it was even dirtier to walk on the grass. So I thought maybe the old man was talking about mowing the lawns and mincing up all poo, and not so much about a dog poo piston. Imagine how silly the man became now within my mind.

Today while almost crossing a busy street, I heard a sound and I couldn’t recognize it immediately. So I looked around to see where it came from. And there it was, A DOG POO PISTON, man did I feel silly. For a moment my mind went: but he is not sucking anything, he is just driving around. As if that made any difference.

So next time when I meet the old man in his scooter and his dog, I will myself to disconnect the word ‘silly’ and all the accumulated thought that are attached to it and live the word ‘humbleness’.

 

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33. Dreaming

Sir Oliver's Granny

Day dreaming is for some of us a way to escape reality for a moment. For others dreaming is their worst nightmare when they close their eyes at night. Sir Oliver has no problems with sleeping, let alone dreaming. For dogs dreaming is a quick way to process their day to day experiences as well as traumatic experiences, which takes them longer of course to process. In the beginning sir Oliver dreamt a lot with a lot of movement throughout his entire body. Now he is fairly quiet when sleeping, except for his snoring of course.

For me sleeping, is touching my pillow with my head and I am gone to dreamland, and waking up 6-6,5 hours later to get up again. I hardly remember if or when I have been dreaming, and after last night I did remember my dream. It was such a nice example of how things come together and how we can learn from our own dreams, that I would like to share it.

There were 2 events that happened before the dream was fabricated. The first event was a question, one of the 2 men of the foundation, asked me. The question was whether I had ever let sir Oliver’s leash slip out of my hands? My answer was no, we’ve got quite a solid leash that goes around my wrist, and I absolutely try to avoid this from happening. I did notice that the question had touched upon a fear inside of me about loosing sir Oliver while he is following trails and I am not able to get him back to me. The foundation has been warning new caregivers that we better keep the Beagles on a leash, so that’s what we do. I had been suppressing this fear, saying to myself that it was not cool to scare myself off with having these thoughts, while it is not something that is already here yet to worry about.

Then the second event was the visit of my parents and them seeing sir Oliver for the first time. At a certain moment my mother wanted to go to her car to get her coat, she opened the front door with sir Oliver standing in the hallway, without any leash or someone holding him back. I was shocked of the sudden action of my mother and her not being aware of what was appropriate in that situation. As soon as I understood what was happening, I grabbed sir Oliver by the collar so nothing happened, though it scared me.

Subsequently I had the following dream last night:

I am rushing out of a house, walking into a front garden and seeing a platinum blonde middle aged woman holding my dog onto his collar, while he is pulling to escape her and the garden. She ends up holding the collar in her hand, while my dog goes off outside the garden.

The woman is now outside of the garden with my dog’s collar in her hand. I am standing inside the garden and a wooden bar fence, up until breast height, is in between the woman and I. The fence feels familiar and the whole scenery gives me the impression that it is my front yard and my home. Not that I recognized any of it.

When I am in front of the fence I tell the woman, who is still standing on the other side of my fence on a dirt road, to go after my dog and fix the situation. Somehow I feel restricted by the fence and order the woman to go after my dog. The woman starts running, which makes me all of a sudden decide, to follow her and my dog. After 200m/656ft the road turns into a bridge over a wide and wild river. Brown water with chambers and splashing white foam is underneath us. My dog runs over the bridge and then jumps into the river. I yell at the woman that she has to go after him. I somehow had the impression that she will have a better chance in succeeding. I hear bystanders say that the dog has no chance to survive in such cold water.The overall feeling  I have is one of loss and not being able to fix the problem myself, feeling restricted, and following the woman to make sure things are okay. And then I woke up from the alarm of my phone.

What I can see and take with me from this dream is my fear to lose sir Oliver. I can see that the blonde woman I am as well, only the version of me I would like to be, with a wooden fence in between me and who I want to be as a temporarily restriction. Where in my dream I am looking through the eyes of the person that I consider to be me, I order the woman around, check her and want her to do miracles for me, in order to force my control onto the situation.  Here I can see my bossy character that is sometimes in my way, this character is in the process of change. As where the woman indeed let sir Oliver escape, and I did blame her for that, while at the same time she took responsibility for it without hesitating one moment, not panicking and blaming others, doing what was needed without being a rebel like I mostly are, and not doing it her own way. Somehow I had faith in this woman, as she was quiet and doing what needed to be done, even though she had fucked up, when she lost sir Oliver.

Looking back on my dream, there is one wooden fence in between me and who I want to be, so it’s time to not paint the fence again, but disassemble the fence, a bar at a time. My fear of losing sir Oliver brought me in a way a gift, through dreaming about it and sending myself the message to have trust within myself. I had faith/trust in this blonde woman, the woman I want to be, so I do trust myself as long as I do not let the fence be up and let fear make me bossy, dominant and in control. So I will gift myself the word ‘self-trust’, as I have seen who I can be in a stressful situation when I trust myself.

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21. Underweight

Sir Oliver's Granny

After sir Oliver was with us for a few days, we could see that he had not much fat on his bones. We decided to weigh him and check with the foundation what his minimum weight should be. His weight was 12 kilos/26,46 pound and the weight of a Beagle should at least be 15-17 kilos/33-37 pounds. The advise was to give him some cooked chicken breast on top of his cold pressed dog food. Now after 5 weeks he gained 1 kilo/2,20 pounds and there is some more fat on his chest.

We weigh sir Oliver every week to keep track of his weight, since we do not know if the underweight is an outflow of disease or simply due to not keeping up with the other dogs, in the lab and boarding kennel, when it was diner time. He is eating his breakfast and dinner mostly in one go now, he’s still a slow eater, but that is fine.

Sir Oliver is skinny and underweight and already many times people have told us how beautiful his physique is. Most of the Beagles we saw thus far in real time had overweight or were obese. Even for me a skinny dog is more attractive than one that is tubby. It is in our preprogramming, it is the media that over decades have convinced us that skinny is hot and tubby is out and bad.

When I gain some weight I feel guilty and I feel the need to get the extra weight off. It’s all about the picture and we are way past health or practicality. It’s the dress or pair of trousers we want to fit in and who cares about what’s in the dress or trousers.

I was kind of shocked when I had to admit that I liked sir Oliver’s physique over the tubby dogs. How could I like something that was a health risk? We all love the women in magazines or on the catwalks, and we desire to be like that, instead of seeing that having anorexia or bulimia is nothing to be jealous of. Isn’t it sick to think that too skinny is okay and being normal is grose and ugly. The large amounts of people that are obese are the other side of the weight coin. When you can’t get like the women and men in the magazines and you can’t walk around as your Photoshopped self, you will eventually start stuffing yourself out of frustration and not being able to reach your desirable picture, whispered in your ear by the media. Don’t get me wrong, there are many reasons for why one becomes obese, while living within modern society.

We no longer learn what it is to be healthy and how a healthy body feels like. Parents can no longer teach it to their children, school is not teaching it and society is giving signals that stimulates going into extremes. We’ve got all what is needed, within science and natural medicine, and yet we massively choose to go for pictures and unreachable desires.

I even had thoughts about keeping sir Oliver on a strict diet, so when he gains the weight needed he will then stay that way. While it is more about finding a balance between keeping healthy and not being prone to disease due to a weak immune system when being too skinny, and being able to move around freely. It’s not about polarity, where skinny is good and tubby is bad. Therefore we will add some more fat chicken thighs to sir Oliver’s diet instead of chicken breast only. He needs to gain weight slowly and not becoming fat over night.

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5. The Father And The Son

Labrador retriever dog outdoors in the nature on grass meadow on a summer day.

Labrador retriever dog outdoors in the nature on grass meadow on a summer day.

Over the last days we have been searching for a few different walks to which Oliver can get used to. So today we decided to go through the park. The park is an area open for humans and unleashed dogs. For Oliver a nice area to walk and at the same time an exciting area where unleashed dogs approach him while he is on a leash. Sir Oliver is sociable and loves other dogs as long as they know there place and not get overexcited or bossy.

I had no idea how crowded the park would be and after going there a few times we found out that our walking times were perfect for an almost empty park. Especially in the morning at 8:15AM it is a silent and calm place to be.

One morning a lady asked me why my dog was on a leash in an area where dogs are allowed to walk free. I explained to her that we just adopted Oliver and due to him being a beagle and a laboratory beagle it would not be wise to let him walk free and follow the trails that he finds. The lady understood and at the same time I could see that the concept of lab dogs is something we simply do not think about, let alone how these dogs are doing when they get out of the lab. I was at that same place before my daughter adopted sir Oliver. I felt horribly guilty for not being aware that dogs are used for medical experiments. In the old days the cigarette industry used beagles as well putting caps with tubes on their nose and mouth, smoking away all day. God, I felt sick to my stomach when I let those pictures in of what was done to these animals. Did I do anyone a favor with this stance? No, absolutely not. Looking forward and walking the consequences of animal testing is what is right in front of me. Therefore that will be my main focus for now and love sir Oliver to the moon and back.

So today we decided to try out the park during our afternoon walk. Empty again, until we saw in the distance two running labradors. I became a bit nervous, since the two men that were with them were not watching the dogs. So these big labradors came running towards Oliver, they were absolutely excited and started sniffing sir Oliver’s face, his butt, all normal dog behavior. And at the same time quite intimidating for sir Oliver. The man came closer and I asked the oldest man, the father, if he could call his dogs. “Why “, said the guy. Because our dog is scared and intimidated by your dogs and I am not in a position to direct your dogs behavior. The father ensured us that his dogs were the sweetest dogs ever and everything was fine. At that point sir Oliver’s tail was between his legs and although we had protected him with our bodies from these dogs, it was too much for him. So my daughter decided to lift sir Oliver up and keep him in her arms till the dogs would no longer be interested. I explained to the father and his son that our dog is a laboratory dog and needs to get used to new things in a slow pace. “So this is actually could for him interacting with other dogs”, the man said. Well obviously now it was not, since a dog with his tail between his legs is not a happy animal. “Well then you should not come here, because it is always crowded with dogs in this park”, the man said. I told him that my experience was different and saw myself going into a discussion I didn’t want to get into. So my daughter and I decided to move on and free sir Oliver and ourselves from this interaction. It was clear the men were not going to take responsibility for their dogs, from a point of empathy with another living being.

When moving away from the father and the son I saw myself continuing the discussion in my mind with them. Where I said all the right things and in a way getting back at them. I stopped for a moment. I’m not going through with this mind discussion I said to myself, I know this habit of mine, this pattern of feeling powerless within the real situation and then playing it out with me as the hero within my mind. The outcome in reality didn’t change through my mind discussion other than me despising them even more when I would continue.

I could see as well that I felt mad and disappointed and  I could see that I had believed that all pet owners were loving and empathic people. Reality is another story. How many people I already have seen shouting at their dogs or being convinced that their dog is doing something to irritate them, is devastated. It’s obvious that having a pet is not necessarily saying anything about the owner being a responsible and loving person, I need to get myself out of this fairytale land and see where the owner is right now,  in his stance towards animals and responsibility if I want them to understand me. I cannot assume that they see right away that what they are doing is not benefitting others and themselves, when I tell them without being empathic of their situation. So a lot of slowing down and breathing myself through situations to see where I can stand as an example. Like I do with picking up sir Oliver’s poop in a plastic bag and throw it away in the designated trash bin or not shouting at him when I like to go to the right and he’s got other plans, just divert his attention by touching him and guide him with a stable voice.