Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Getting Back to Business

Most of my friends and family can tell you that I successfully lost about 34 lbs. last year.  I measured it from mid-to-late April to about mid-September.

Since then, progress has been slow or non-existent.

Two major things hit me in the fall of 2009 that contributed to the slow down.  I had the unexpected, but wonderful, addition of Ghilley to my household.

Added to that was a very demanding budget season at work.  Yes, work is always stressful but seemed to be more so with some of the newer personnel we had in some positions (outside of my group).

I decided, then, that I would just hold steady and not sweat trying to lose anymore but concentrate on not gaining either.

My regular workouts, though, started to wane with the pressure of work, a puppy and my oldest dog, MacDuff, who seemed off somehow.

Things did cruise along okay for a couple months.

Then, what has really turned out to be a devastating blow to me occurred.  I was suddenly faced with the reality that I was going to lose my 14-year old dog, MacDuff.  I knew before I went to see my vet on Dec. 11th that whatever was going on with him was very bad.  I did not know, then, that I would have to make my choice in 2 days following that visit, however.

I have been through a blog post on losing my superstar already.

What I have not posted on is how deeply it has affected me.  Oh, I have cried, but not in big sobbing tears as I have seen from others.

Instead, it seems to be a slow burning sense of loss that does not want to shake loose.

People often talk about their "heart dog".  I know I struggled to understand what that was when I first heard it.  I know I talked to my friend, Hope, about it and we figured we did not really have one.  We love all of our dogs, one is not more special than the other.

But now I wonder.  Duff is my standard in comparing dogs.  I do not mean that I measure my dogs against him in a way of downgrading Robbie and Ghilley.  But he is an anchor point for me.  Like Ghilley, Duff was a very confident puppy.  Some things she does remind me of him.  But, Ghilley is a bit more cautious.  She is also more sociable.  Duff was a social butterfly but he was so sure of himself that he would puff himself up like a big dog when meeting other dogs, almost challenging them.  Ghilley is a bouncing little bundle of fur that just wants to play.

Ghilley is starting out in agility training.  I will build a foundation with her that will be stronger than that built with either Duff or Robbie.  But I have been told to expect her to be somewhere in between Duff & Robbie in her approach to things.

I am cool with that but I will honestly write that I want my superstar.  MacDuff was a superstar.  I have not seen many Border Terriers with his enthusiasm and speed in agility, similar to a Parson Russell Terrier.

I mistakenly held Robbie to Duff's agility standard.  It was unfair to both of us.  I will not do that to Ghilley.

I do not miss the tension that existed in my household, at times, with Robbie.  It was not a constant stress as others may have with dogs who have tangled before.  However, the potential for locking horns was always present when some outside influence (e.g., another dog, vacuum cleaner, etc.) was around.  Anything that heightened the arousal level could set them off.  More often then not, I stopped them with a verbal command before they made eye contact.

Robbie is a nervous guy.  I wish he was a little more laid back but he is not.  Ghilley, however, takes his nervousness in stride, she pretty much ignores it.  Either that or she tries to engage him in play.

When I move around in the kitchen, I sometimes have Ghilley with me, hanging out to the side.  But, often, she is wrestling with Robbie in the adjoining room.

Duff was almost always my constant sentry and companion.  I typically did not need to look for him.  He was always at my side.  We shared the same temper, it seems.  I have a firecracker temper and so did he.  If I was stressed out, he would share that.

I miss pressing my nose into his broad topskull.  He had the most wonderful smelling head.  Robbie has a smokey smell.  Ghilley sometimes is spicey-smelling.  Duff smelled like that comfortable blanket you wanted to curl up with.  Trust me, you can ask my family and friends, they all loved what they called the "Duff smell".

I have kind of plodded through the past couple months, attending training with Ghilley but only going through the motions.  I have also fallen back into bad habits of stress eating and drinking more than 1 Coke Classic a day.

I am feeling the fire come back into my head to train again.  I keep a daily log of my training with Ghilley now.  She will benefit from the patience I now have in using positive reinforcement and clicker training.  Robbie was my guinea-pig with that.

I also feel the fire to get back to tracking my calorie intake again.  I have remained with Weight Watchers the entire time, but the past two months have been spent watching (and tracking) a small weight increase.  Time to get back at it and aim for my goal of a 60-lb. weight reduction.  I will get there.  I want it enough.

I needed to acknowledge, however, that as much as I may not have outwardly shown it, I hurt for the loss of my superstar.  He meant so much to me and I feel his absence at every agility trial right now.

I will journey on and enjoy myself with my new pack, Robbie & Ghilley.  They are a terrific pair together and with me.  I love them dearly.

I loved Duff too.  Miss you buddy.  Yeah, I felt your presence that afternoon on December 14th.  I know you are with Grandpa (my beloved dad).

courtesy of Great Dane


At March 04, 2010 5:36 AM , Blogger marley said...

Hello for you Robbie and Ghilley. Just realised today I had not heard about you in a liong time and then realised I had acidentally unfollowed you on twitter. Hope to hear from you soon. Marley. woof


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