Thursday, July 30, 2009

Texas Beach

For anyone in the Richmond area (or anyone whose visiting with a dog), I highly recommend a section of the James known as Texas Beach. This is by far the best dog beach I've ever been to. Hans and I went there a couple of weeks ago and just had a blast. Plus, Cody was exhausted. But before I tell you how great a time we had, I should probably describe what it's like.

When you get there, you first look at the neighborhood you're parking in (not the nicest), but then you see all the people around and figure it must be ok. Next, you'll start walking down a trail. Once you're on the trail, you can actually let your dogs off-leash!!!! This was a huge deal for me. Of course, I would only do this if your dog is well trained, and you know you won't lose him/her. The area is NOT fenced in. For those of you who are not water-inclined, there is a trail that lead uphill. It's actually a bike trail, but you can walk it as well. It's a good adventure spot. However, for those who like to get wet, take the trail down hill. Be warned that it is a little steep, so wear good shoes. I recommend old keds or something else you can walk in, but also wouldn't mind getting in the river.

Once you reach the base of the hill, you follow the path for a little ways farther, until you come to a slightly sandy area. There's not much of it, but this is the beach. I was thrilled by all the dogs there. The people who are there expect their stuff to get wet, so no one is upset when wet dogs kick sand on their towels. By the time we got there, the sandy area was filling up, so we just waded a bit into the water and found a nice rock to recline on. Then we sat back and watched Cody play.

We had a blast watching the dogs meet each other in water. They still try to circle and sniff each other, but only their heads are visible. We had even more fun watching Cody exhaust himself. Like I said, we were reclining on some rocks. The James is a bit rocky (hence why I recommend wearing shoes you can get wet), but that's what makes this river so great for dogs. Cody would jump into a deeper area, swim around a bit, and then climb out on a rock when he was tired. I actually think he made a game with the currents. He'd jump in, swim to the higher currents, paddle against them for a bit (like a water treadmill), let the current carry him for a few feet, and then swim back to us. Then, he'd start the process all over again. Of course, I had my eye on him the entire time to make sure he wasn't in danger, but he just seemed happy the entire time. When he got a little too tired, we put a life vest on him to help him out, but after only 2 hours at the beach he slept for 2 days.

So to get there take Meadow St all the way until it ends. Then turn left on Kansas, followed by a right on Texas. When you reach the end of Texas you're at the parking lot for the beach. Good luck, and enjoy!

What I Saw When I Woke Up Yesterday

Yes, that is our van, and yes, that is a tree on top of it.

To be a bit more precise, that's an ornamental pear on top of our car. They're apparently known for their weakness. Actually, that's the third (maybe fourth) limb we've seen fall from that tree. Nobody would park underneath it. We were actually three spaces away. Of course, this wasn't just a limb that fell this time, but rather half the tree.

Don't worry. It didn't actually do much damage. We have a couple of scratches and a slightly bent antennae, but there aren't any dents or serious injuries. Let's put it this way, though. Yesterday was a pain in the rear. I can only thank Dad for picking me up and driving me around. Thanks Dad!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Bit O' Law

A quote:

"Noise Ordinance Complaint: A complaint has been made alleging that the dog(s) being kept on this property are barking excessively and causing a disturbance to other residents. Please be aware that code section 10-73.3 of the Henrico County Noise Ordinance provides that it shall be unlawful for "any animal or bird" to cause 'frequent or long continued noise which disturbs any person in the vicinity.' This code is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to a year in the county jail. It is important that you make an effort to address the problem to avoid court action on this matter."

Basically, this says that if your pets annoy your neighbors you could go to jail for 1 year.

Another quote:

"Animal Care Violation: A complaint has been made alleging that the animal(s) being kept on this property are not being cared for properly. The investigating officer has found that you are in violation of the following requirements of State Code 3.1-796.68:

-Adequate food -Adequate Shelter -Adequate Care/Treatment
-Adequate Water -Adequate Space in Primary Enclosure
-Providing Veterinary Care When Needed

This code is punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $250. The investigating officer will follow up to see that corrective action has been taken."

This basically states that putting another animal's life in danger is only punishable with a very small fine.

Does anyone else have a problem with this? Annoying someone can send you to jail, but killing something gives you a tiny fine! All I can say is that's not right!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long Time No See

Wow, my posts are really becoming sporadic. I'm not quite sure why I haven't been posting lately, but I just haven't been in the mood. Not only that, but I don't feel there's really a lot of new stuff to talk about. Really, my last post was about dog food!

That being said, I do enjoy blogging. I'm finding, though, that any anxieties I may have or thoughts I want to share, I'd rather share with Hans or Jess or the dogs. I guess I just enjoy talking in person. Sorry blogland, but I'm not much a phone conversationalist either. I really just enjoy that face-to-face interaction. Like I just said, though, I do enjoy blogging, so I don't really plan to stop any time soon.

So, do I have anything to chat about? I suppose.

I've started jogging with Cody. I try to get out every day, but there have been a couple of days each week that I just can't. Hans is always welcome to join us, but I honestly enjoy the mornings best when I'm alone with Cody. It gives me time to think about my plans for the day and to spend some time alone with my boy. Plus, and I know this is weird, I find I can push myself better than anyone else can push me. I think when Hans is with me I feel self-consious and so I choose to only walk instead of really running (or jogging). Actually, for those of you who know me well, I'm not much of a jogger anyway. I really want to be, but I have a lot of work to do to get there. Cody's a big help because he always needs the exercise. I really love seeing him exhausted. He's so cute and I think he's happiest when he's super tired. Otherwise he's just bored.

That being said, I really need to start moving more. This week was kind of slow for me. I didn't jog as much or get much done around the apartment. I read a lot, but that only exercised my mind. So, when bedtime came around, my eyes and brain were exhausted but my body was ready to run. That meant that I didn't sleep well and I was that much more tired in the morning (which meant I didn't jog or get much done and the vicious cycle continued). I'm hoping I'll get more done this next week. I like feeling accomplished. Who doesn't? Honestly, while I'm sometimes overwhelmed by all there is to do in the apartment, there probably isn't more than a few hours of work. I mean, there are the last few boxes to unpack and then some basic cleaning. Easy stuff. I just have to get off this tub-o-lard I call a butt and work.

Alright, I'm being a bit harsh, but I do need to work a bit harder. Maybe I should get on that instead of blogging! Once it's all done, I'll post some pictures (before and after). Alright, I'm off!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dog Food and Exercise

What can I say when there's not much to say?

Business is still going great. I had my second last appointment yesterday, and it went quite well. I'm finding the more and more I do this, the more confident I get. I suppose that's natural. Also, I'm finding that I'm picking up more about dogs than I thought possible. I learn so much from every dog I work with. It's so interesting having to come up with new techniques and methods for different dogs. Just like people (or snowflakes or ears), no two dogs are alike.

I'm also finding that I'm able to answer questions I'd been asking myself for a while. For instance, what's the dog food equivalent of rocket fuel? Would I recognize this food if I saw it? If I did recognize it, would I be able to explain why it acts as rocket fuel to my clients? I'd been doing some research for awhile, but I hadn't really found a great answer. I could recommend a few dog foods based on what Cody likes (Eukanuba Naturally Wild) and what my vet recommends (Purina Pro-Plan). I could also tell you a few not-so-great foods, but I couldn't tell you which foods were just way too rich. Then I encountered the holistic foods.

Most holistic foods are great for your dog. They're filled with iron and protein and fun foods for your pet. Here's the issue, though. Imagine what protein bars do for you. They give you energy, right? Body builders and marathon runners across the world eat protein bars and protein shakes. They fill up on red meat to build those muscles. Dogs who aren't getting that much exercise don't need that much protein. They have way too much energy and no way to expell it.

There are two things I always tell clients. 1) A tired dog is a happy dog. 2) What goes in must come out. Basically, these dogs are getting enough exercise, so they're not that happy, and what's going in has no way of coming out. That's why these dogs are jumping and biting and causing all sorts of trouble. That's where I come in. Consider me Richmond's own dog whisperer! Ok, so I'm not being very modest there. And my methods are a bit different from Cesar Milan's. That being said, his ideas are too far off the mark. People really just need to realize what their dogs need to be happy.

That being said, I've really been working with Cody and exercise. I said earlier he's on Eukanuba Naturally Wild. I'm finding it seems to settle better on his stomach, and he seems much healthier. However, he also has a lot more energy. So, we've been working on that. I've started walking / jogging with him every morning. I can't go extremely far just yet, but I hope to go further soon. Plus I'm taking him to the dog park when I can, and if he's really lucky he gets to come with me to appointments. I think Hans and I will take him to the river tomorrow. Swimming always wears his butt out. I'm finding it's great for both my health and his. Before you know it, we'll be running marathons together!

Anyway, now you know. If you want a healthy dog feel free to feed him protein-rich food. Be prepared, however, to run and run and run and to give him tons of exercise!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brief Updates

Hi all! I just thought I'd give you an update as to how things are going here. I had written a funny, thoughtful blog a few days ago, but my internet was acting funny and the blog didn't save, and I lost it. It was a very sad thing to have happen. Anyway, updates!

Tuesday was Hans' and my two year anniversary. We had a lovely dinner out followed by a stroll in the park. We so rarely have such quiet down time. It was bitter-sweet not having Cody with us. I couldn't wait to get home to see him, but it was nice just having the time with Hans. Really, though, the entire day gave me the opportunity to think about what a wonderful man I'm married to. Of course he has his quirks, and, like any guy, he can be a bit of a dufus sometimes, but I love him, not in spite of it all, but because of it all. Really, he wouldn't be the same guy without those quirks.

Yesterday was a bit busier of a day. I had my first last lesson. It went well I thought, and I was able to get some good feedback. Friday is my second last lesson, and I hope it goes just as well. That being said, the business is doing fabulously. I'm two clients away from max-fill and am loving every second of it. Are there some clients I like more than others? Of course! The funny thing is, I'm not finding that there are dogs I like more than others, just their owners. That's yet another reason why I can't wait to open a kennel. I figure it'll just be a few more years. At least, that's what I'm hoping. That being said, if anyone needs me to train a dog, please call!

The last thing we did yesterday (and it carried to this morning) was see Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. I highly recommend. Does it veer from the book? Of course. Is it still a great movie? Definitely. I thought it was filled with lots of humor, and it's Harry Potter, so it has to be good.

Anyway, not much else happening. I hope all of you in blogland are having some a good day!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Diary of a Mad Cat a.k.a Adventures of Demon Kitty

Day Two of My Adventures:

Mo and I are here in this new and exciting territory. The woman who goes by Juanita (a.k.a. Mom, a.k.a. Grandma) left us here the other night with my people (the ones who raised me). There was some sort of celebratory ritual involving an odd dish the locals call "pizza," and then we were left alone.

At first we were frightened. This space is smaller, and it is much harder to escape out a door. There is only one canine here, and he is still young and a little too interested in me for my taste. I sense he wants to play, but I must not let my guard down. His "playful attitude" may only be him luring me into a false sense of security so he may have me for dinner. This belief is supported by the fact that he becomes so excited whenever I get angry with him.

My people surprise me by allowing me outside, which I thoroughly enjoy. I thought I might escape, but we are slightly too high up. That being said, I believe they want me to practice jumping. They have supplied me with a climbing tower which they keep placing me on, and whenever I jump onto counters they run at me to force me to jump off. I am trying to make them proud, so I have started jumping higher before I jump to the ground.

I should make more mention of my travelling companion. Mo is slightly more weary of this place. He has found a comfortable spot under the bed and spends a good part of the days there. He is not, however, as scared as he may seem. At night he will venture out and show his affection to my people by rubbing them as they sleep. He may be trying to annoy them, but they so far seem pleased. Even Mo is starting to adapt to these people. At seven years old he is starting to act like a young kitten.

I think both Mo and I are still nervous for the future, but we are finding this new place to be fun. There are still areas that my people do not seem to want me to venture into, but this makes life all the more exciting. My mission: Explore all uncharted territories. Find out what the hairy canine wants. Make my people happy so as to avoid any mistreatment (or being fed to the canine).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's Been A Long Time

It seems like forever since I last posted, but in reality it hasn't even been a week. This week just seems to be crazy.

Hans and I are still in the midst of unpacking, and there just seems to always be another box. Not everything is out of Dad's yet, and there's still tons of stuff at Mom's. Hans and I are going through the great give away, and are just trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Honestly, though, a lot of what we have isn't junk. Sure, there's some stuff we don't have to keep (wedding dress, etc.) but is it really so wrong that we are? The problem comes in putting it somewhere.

Part of me feels that everything which used to be in storage should be given away, but then we'd be giving away Hans' trains, and that seems like a super BAD idea. Then, what about things from vacations. We have some really nice things from Asia, but no place to put them. Do we keep them for later or get rid of them now? And DVDs; how do you decide what to keep?

I'm trying my best to not be a pack rat, but that's difficult for me. I used to be really bad at it, but have definitely reformed (small college dorms will do that). Still, though, any tips on storage and organizing would be greatly appreciated!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

For the Love of a Grocery Store

Hans and I went shopping last night, and I started thinking about my obsession with food. When I say obsession, I mean obsession. I love food. I think about it so much I actually dream about it. There's a wonderful picture of me and Hans at our wedding that perfectly describes my relationship with food. I'm giving Hans a kiss, but if you look in my hands I'm still holding the roll I'd just picked up. I definitely wasn't about to set it down.

While my love of food has caused me to face some weight issues, I really wanted to know where my love of food came from. Not everyone dreams about food the way I do (last night I had a great dream about a wedding feast), and certainly not everyone sees it as their personal goal to try every, single thing in a buffet. Even Hans, who enjoys food, does not appreciate it the way I do. So where does my love come from?

Like any good psychiatrist will tell you, it's best to blame your mother. :P Sorry Mom! Yes, my parents made me try everything that was on my plate, but they didn't make me enjoy it. That being said, though, they definitely helped me enjoy it.

I remember going to the grocery store when I was younger. I LOVED the grocery store! As if all those colorful boxes weren't enough, they even gave you a cart to ride in. Then, to make matters worse, Mom would make that cart even more fun. She'd give that cart a push down the aisle, and I'd go soaring. Of course, she was always right there to make sure I didn't crash, but it didn't feel that way to me. It felt like flying. So, instead of seeing the grocery store as a boring, weekly chore, that I HAD to do with Mom, I saw it as a chance to play and have fun. And, if I was really good, I might walk out of the store with a candy bar. Do you see what I mean? Mom made me love food!

Now that I'm grown, I don't ride in the carts or walk out with candy bars (that caused enough issues), but I do still love the store. Getting there can be a chore, but once I'm there I can spend an hour just getting a bottle of milk. There are too many wonderful things to look at and enjoy for me to just walk past them.

So, what's my daily struggle? I must constantly balance my love of food with my love of a healthy body. I must be able to enjoy and savor my food without gorging myself on it. What's the point of gorging anyway? You never really taste your food when you do that. Most importantly, I must go to the grocery store for a bottle of milk, and only come out with a bottle of milk. When people ask, "What's so wrong with buying something extra?" I just tell them, "I love food."