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Adventures in Dog Training, Part Two

22 Jan

So, the last post was before training started and Bean’s behavior since adopting him in June. I decided he needed training due to his high energy level, that’s when I signed him up for training at Petsmart ( like a month after adopting him).  Fast forward to our first training session went so wonderfully (add in the most amount of sarcasm). We learned the proper way to not approach a strange dog (seriously who goes towards a dogs collar at first meeting… NO ONE) way to set my dog up for success. Beans is a velcro dog when he is overwhelmed. Oh, he nipped the trainer once. I made the decision to cancel the rest of the classes because it was not the right fit for me dog, nor was the trainer. The trainer labeled my dog as aggressive.

Sorry this was not meant to sound like a diss to Petsmart training. For dogs that need simple obedience training it is a great class. It was not the right training class for my dog, as he has a lot more to work on besides the basics. So I started research on private training, and found one that seemed hopeful. We spoke on the phone and talked about Beans and what was going on with him and whether to do in home training or at her training facility, we decided training at her facility would be best. And we were starting training the week of Thanksgiving. I think this is where I will leave you until the next post.


Adventures in Dog Training, Part One

30 Dec

I have been wanting to write about this for a while. I got a dog in June. Super freaking exciting that I am weirdly at a point in my life where I thought I wouldn’t be able to ever have one. Sometime before June I started looking at local dog rescues, and came across a huge adoption event that happens two times a year in Rhode Island and after multiple discussions okay maybe one conversation with my wonderfully supportive boyfriend, I decided to apply for pre-approval for this event. I made a solid list of dogs that I was interested in and as soon as I was pre-approved for the event I reached out to the rescues that had dogs I was interested in… Initially my top choice of dog was an 80 pound black German Shepard. Fast forward to June, found out this dog would not be at the event and I had never heard back from the rescue. Oddly, the next dog apparently on my list was this supposed corgi/border collie mix named Burney, his photograph on pet finder he had the sweetest face. I went to the area where he was with and I almost put the brakes on and kept walking because I had never wanted a small dog. Ha! Well I met Burney and I sat on the floor his handler at the event put him down and he came over and let me pet him. Next thing I know we walk outside and with one of the lovely trainers introduced him to Jim to make sure it would be a potential good match. Which it was! And after that and very quickly I was in line to pay his adoption fee. Whole thing happened in probably an hour maybe less. I was honestly shocked at how quickly the process went for me. We have been through a lot in the almost 7 months I have had him, which I will be writing more about.

So we renamed him Beans, honestly fits his personality fantastically. He is absurdly energetic and also loves him some belly rubs and cuddles. Now to his issues we are working on and what this blog series is going to focus on. My sweet Beans slowly became food, resource and stranger aggressive. Before we noticed any aggression I signed up for basic obedience training at Petsmart, as I needed to find a way curb his energy levels. Let’s just say it did not go well at all, and we did not go back after that first class, it was not the right program for him. I found a private trainer and we started right before Thanksgiving… more about that on the next post.


27 Dec

So as most of I have been back in Rhode Island since October. For the record, I did not give up on living in California, I made the difficult decision to move back home because it was financially the smartest thing for me to do. Honestly, there is a lot I could write here, and if you’ve been a frequent visitor here you have read it all before.

This post is more about my experience in California. You all only saw the parts I wanted to share, the edited parts that masked how the year actually went. If you noticed the only photographs I posted were of cups of tea with the mountain background and of the sunsets, there were hardly ever people in the photographs. Frankly, that is all I did while living on the mountain the last year. I spent most of the year feeling alone, being forced to invite myself to things when I heard about them last minute, because truthfully I was not actually wanted. I had all of maybe three friends that at least tried to make me feel included. California was rough.

I have this problem, where I somehow soak up peoples negative energy like a sponge. And this is part of the problem I had the beginning half of the school year. All it took was one person constantly being negative to ruin my entire year. Maybe it is also because when I am nervous and anxious I talk too much, and I get excited about nature related things. I have a hard time having conversations with people and with people never taking me seriously or thinking that I am not intelligent. Who knows, this is part of the reason why I have a issues with trusting people and opening up.

There will be people who might be offended by the things I write, but that doesn’t mean I should not speak up and say the things I often keep bottled up inside. Because we all know that isn’t healthy either.

This coming year I am going to start making changes, because I don’t want to feel alone and like I don’t have a place where I belong. I am going to ignore the people and things those people say that contribute to me being unhappy. This year I am going to focus on me and worry less about the people around me and what they think of me. So, what do I need from you my amazingly loving friends, I need encouragement throughout this year, I need people to make an effort, because I have put more effort into my friendships and it seems like I am the only one trying. I want to keep in touch with the people who I know are there and have been a huge support. And finally, if you’ve read this entire post thank you. Stay beautiful you wonderful humans.


5 Jan

This blog post is going to be every blunt. I have tried to write this post multiple times over the last few years with the crippling fear that I would lose friends over a few truthful words. So here is my story, one that I won’t regret writing, because no one should ever have to keep how they feel quiet.

For years… (probably since middle school) so close to twenty years I have had issues making and keeping friends. This seems to have followed me into adulthood seeing as I will be thirty in six months. Elementary school was easy everyone was friends and it wasn’t difficult to fit in with everyone. However, once middle school hit, my friends from elementary school just seemed to become popular while I had not many people. I was bullied during gym class for how I looked, was called monkey girl for not shaving my legs and having absurdly dark and thick hair and I was also asked if I had an eating disorder because I was small. It hurt and I don’t really talk about these things to anyone, I still am self conscious about these things and lack a lot of confidence. I continued through middle school feeling like I never fit in, which followed me into high school.

High school was the worst, I had friends but never fit into any groups of people. The only time I ever really talked to anyone of my friends was during school and pretty much no other time. Like a month before sophomore year started my mom passed away. I took it pretty hard which most of the hurt I internalized, until I opened up to one of my closest college friends. But after summer ended and school started, not one of my friends would ever ask me how I was, in fact my friendships got more strained with people. I once told one of my friends how I felt about the way I was treated by classmates, they told me that I should speak up and put more effort into trying to push myself into groups. What they obviously never saw was that every single time I tried participating I would literally be closed out of the conversation, I was never invited to do anything which led to arguments with my dad. So I eventually just stuck with spending all my free time either in the art room, in my bedroom doing art, or occasionally doing after school theatre. When it came time to apply for college I decided to not pursue art but instead wanting to major in Equestrian Studies. I decided on a tiny school in Bristol, Virginia. It was a clean slate that I wanted, it was not without its challenges. I made friends quickly with some people in the Christian Student Union, within my first month of school I had a group of people that for once I felt accepted. To this day one of these friends I made that first month I can comfortably called a best friend. During my first semester I had a difficult time making friends within my major and decided that was not how I wanted my years to be, so I talked with my freshman advisor about my options because I didn’t want to go through the challenge of applying to new schools, so I switched my major to Photography which in the long run would have more career options after graduating. During college I made a decent amount of friends but still had the feeling a never really truly fit in and felt like I had to invite myself to things and that I was never really wanted. The first group social group I left was the Christian Student Union because it was no longer a healthy group for me to be a part of, the sad thing is they saw it coming. The positive part of that I got out of college besides a decent education was that I learned to love dancing. But even over the years I have felt as if I was kind of pushed away from that group as well. The worst part is in all this people feel as if the easiest why of interacting with me is to pick on me, and trying to talk to people is nearly impossible because I also am constantly being corrected and told that I am not right, even when it has been a subject in which I have a decent amount of knowledge.

So why were all these words necessary? Well it comes down to a conversation I had with one of my former employers. One day a couple of years ago my boss pulled me aside to talk about something he had observed. And after he mentioned it I realized that was he not only correct in his observation but I could immediately tell him what the cause was and that it was something I could fix, but would take a long while. I have a difficult time having conversations with people. The cause: I spent so long trying to force myself into conversations and forcing people to get to know me by only ever really talking about myself. Over twenty years of having to do this ruined my ability to actually be able to talk to other humans. It has been a difficult thing to work on, but I am making progress… I hope.

My mentality going into this year is to be myself, to feel as if I fit in while fighting with my anxiety and sometimes depression, to not take my work so personally and just to have more fun. Thank you for reading you beautiful humans!

9,920 Hours

7 Aug

For twenty summers I spent at least one week at Camp Canonicus. Ten years as a camper and another ten on staff. The very first time I went to Canonicus at the age of eight I knew that I wanted to be a counselor there, and sure enough the summer I graduated high school I was moving into a cabin for the next nine weeks. Over the ten years I was on staff, I held many different jobs, the last few years my official title should have been Swiss Army Knife. Each summer held its own challenges, whether they were personal or one that the entire staff had to work through. I believe that the twenty years I spent at this place made me the person that I am today.

So when do you know when it is time to step away from a place that has been home for so long? Is it when you realize you are there because you had no other options? Or when you know that it is just time to let others take care of the place you hold closest to your heart. This summer was my summer to take a break, how did I know I made the right decision? I visited the staff during their training week and saw that all but four members of staff I had as campers. Seeing that not only made me feel old but I also felt happy knowing that Canonicus was left in the hands of former campers who understand what the camp provides and allows its campers and staff to grow into beautiful humans. The staff all hold this wonderful chance to help shape and inspire the next generation of campers to be their best selves. I hope that is the sort of counselor I was to these new counselors.

Flying Free

24 Jul

Have you ever felt that one particular place holds you back from doing the things you want to be doing. I feel like Rhode Island is that place for me… maybe New England as a whole. After high school I went to college in Virginia, I think those four years were good for me and I did a lot of growing. However, Rhode Island has just continually felt like this magnet that keeps me from moving on and doing better, even this summer, I was supposed to be able to get babysitting jobs, and I am now doing temp jobs. I am hoping that moving to California this fall will result in nothing but success and allow me to bigger and better things. I decided to apply for Environmental Education jobs just to get out there, with hopes that I will have the opportunity to start to make contacts within the art community because ultimately that is the type of employment I would like to find there. I want to find that place and people who will allow me to spread my wings and shine instead of feeling invisible. Because everyone needs the chance to leave the past in the past and start new.

My 29th Trip Around the Sun…

3 Jul

Well, I am ending my 29th birthday happy and relaxed. What is weird about this birthday is that for the first time in ten years I am not working at camp. It was simple and relaxing. I started my day making my usual egg sandwich for breakfast, actually went to yoga, then I came home and this afternoon I played Scrabble with my aunt and grandmother, drank wine, ate dinner, and then made home butter cream frosting for the Chocolate, Cayenne pepper, cinnamon cupcakes I made yesterday.

Like most years I have felt that that year was going to be great, but have always been incorrect in that feeling. Usually it is because I have had high hopes in finding work in my degree field and then being unemployed for the next years. However, this year I know is going to be different. Why? Well I am moving to California to work at an Outdoor Science School! While not in my degree field, I am excited about the program that I will be working within for the coming school year. I am also excited for the opportunities that this job gives me to start over, to connect with other artists to not have the feeling of being held back by the people around me. I need this year to explore. To find inspiration. This is going to be my year to start a new adventure. I am going to smile more and shine a little more brightly than my previous 28 years.

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