How Living With A Dog Has Changed My Life

It has been close to a year where I have been back and forth on if a dog in my life was something I wanted or if it just more used energy than I currently had to provide.

I did my research, I had a long list of requirements and to be honest, it would have been easier if I could have made a magic potion to create "the perfect" dog. I wanted one that listened well, took well to apartment life, did not leave balls of fur on my clothes, did not drool, behaved well, trained easily... the list went on and on.

I did find in my research some dog breeds that matched most of my criteria, but they appeared to be either very expensive to obtain OR nearly extinct!

I was on a path of "okay, the world is saying not right now" and I went with it.

Then I left for one of the most rewarding vacations thus far, a camping trip through the Smoky Mountains, TN. While in one of the many cell service dead-zones, I started getting bits and pieces of messages from my mom noting that my dad may have found the perfect dog.

First, was this dog for me or my parents? How long did I have to decide? Was she up to date on shots? What was she like? Hold old?

But with few details and strong encouragement from my sister, I said - it'll be what it will be and I said, go for it! If when you go to pick her up things don't seem right, then don't bring her home and in worse case scenario, she can move back home with my parents - te-he-hehe.

Our way back to my parents was exhausting, it was a good 7 hours of driving and the whole trip was starting to catch up with me. I could barely keep my eyes open the last couple of hours of the drive.

The last thing I needed was to meet a dog that needed my attention - I had my fingers crossed that my mom was okay with taking "ownership" for another night until I could settle in. Thankfully, she was!

I stayed at my parent's for about a week to help the new family member get acclimated and not feel abandoned by all owners as we would be her 3rdish round of ownership. I took my time in renaming her, I really didn't find the name Abbey to fit her and I don't consider myself very good at creative names but considering they claimed she was mainly Australian Shepherd and I was camping when she came into my life, I decided to do some research and find a name that I could pronounce and felt it worked with who she was. I tried a couple of names but didn't love any of them until I came to Lutana (the Australian word for moon).

I purchased all of the essentials for her and was ready to head to my place.

The first week in and I just wanted to cry. Lutana was having numerous accidents in my rented and fully-carpeted apartment, she was walking on leash horribly and sometimes, it would take a full 30-minute walk to get her to do her needs. She was not listening and I was beyond worn out! I felt like I had failed, I was reading every article I could find online and asking other dog-mommies what they do. I was getting nowhere - Was it me? Was it Lutana?

I decided to take a step back and remind both myself and Lutana that we are still both very new to this and we need to find one another and the way in which we can communicate - it's just like any other relationship, right?

How has my life changed now that I am responsible for another living-being than myself?

  1. Naming her myself gave me, even more, pride in being a part of her family
  2. Even when she is BOLD (I am careful not to say the word bad, she makes bad choices, but she is never bad), she makes me smile and share love
  3. I have become less selfish- I adjust my schedule to meet her needs and I have learned the hard way that if I do not do this, she has accidents and it's my own fault and now I have to clean it and can't get upset with Lutana!
  4. I have come to terms with the fact that I can no longer have the "perfectly" cleaned apartment. Dog fur is going to happen and I need to live with it and stop trying to upkeep the house to please others, so long as it is clean enough to live in - let it be a little dirty / lived in rather than a museum. 
  5. I am even more inclined to stay in rather than go out - but I engage with people a lot more than I have in the past because we take long walks and we meet and greet lots of dog lovers on our journeys. 
  6. I am getting many more steps in each day. I used to average around maybe 7,000 steps a day and now we are closer to 12,000 steps per day. 
  7. I am learning to love more. I have also become that crazy proud mommy shoving photos and progress steps with all social media outlets. 
  8. I am feeling less alone because my shadow is always by my side! 
How has my healing changed since becoming a puppy-mommy?
  1. I realize I am not alone
  2. I realize that everyone is miserable and finds things to complain about and I am choosing not to. Sure, we all have some negatives that we would like to change, but it's all good and there are much more things in life to happy about. 
  3. I am letting go. I am letting go of some of my routine, fears, and negative thoughts
  4. I am learning I am human and that not every day will be a good day for me. 
A recent Reiki session learning

I wanted to share with you one of my recent Reiki sessions. It was about 3-years ago that I met the lovely Leslie in my life. She is an amazing woman who puts others first and is just amazes me how willing and happy she is to serve others! Anyhow, this wonderful woman was my Reiki Level I teacher and continues to be my Reiki practitioner.  The week, I was blessed with a quick treatment and together we are very open and share how we are feeling and what we are experiencing through the treatment. This particular day, my intention was "to open my heart". Leslie shared with me that she could see an angel was working on my head (likely trying to keep only positive thoughts in my head) and that it was an old tiny woman. My initial thought was, it must be someone related to Grandma and I felt so safe, loved, and embraced every feeling that was rushing in at this time! See, I am NEVER alone! 

Leslie then shared with me, that for the first time in our treatment history, I was allowing her to "cut the cords". Meaning, she was taking a layer away from negative thoughts, feelings, and past occurrences. It was at this time that I felt validation that I really am healing - while it is a slow process, it is happening and I should, as always, take pride in my progress. 

xoxo to the lovely Leslie!

What I feed Lutana
Okay, I am that crazy mommy, but I read all the generic dog food labels and wanted to barf! It is full of fake food and the dog food choices that seemed reasonable to me will make me go broke! What other decision did I have than to just make her food myself?

I did some research to determine what was and was not safe for her and then how much should I feed her and how often, etc. 

Here is the basic recipe:
- Rice
- Beans
- Vegetables (typically orange ones, sweet potatoes, carrots...)
- Additional vegetables (greens, zucchini,...)
- Coconut Oil
- Garlic
- Tumeric
- Cinnamon
- Fruit (apples, pears, banana, mango...)

I cook all ingredients until mushy. I feed her twice a day about 1 1/2 -2 cups per meal. 
Before serving it to Lutana, I am careful to heat it to room temperature. 

Lutana loves it and she is maintaining a healthy weight and health!

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