Monday, November 5, 2012

So, where was I?

To those of you who may have noticed, sorry for the unplanned/unexplained hiatus. Things have been a little crazy in Bella's hu-mom's life as of late. But I'm not even sure that's the real reason I disappeared from writing for a couple of weeks. I think the reason I disappeared is...

I'm not really sure how to proceed?

When last we spoke, I had finished telling you all about our visit with Dr. Dodman at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Animal Behavior Clinic and the track we were going to take to try and heal Bella. We were making changes to her diet, her exercise routine and our communication with her.

The continuing pieces of the puzzle would be Bella's Agility for Reactive Dogs classes and the medications prescribed for her. I want to tell you about both but haven't yet figured out the tack I want to take to do so. Do I approach this chronologically, inter-mingling both as they arise in the timeline? Or perhaps it makes more sense to tell stories about each one separately?

I think I'm going to take a combined approach picking up chronologically from where we left off interspersing stories from her reaction to the meds in with her reactions to the agility class.

The blog is still running about 1 year behind 'current life' and I'm anxious to catch up with real life soon but I don't want to short-change these stories in my attempt to get to "today".

Part of me is very sensitive to losing sight of those stories in my memory though, and I feel at times like I'm living a dual life - the one we lived a year ago and the one we live today. (Admittedly, I've got to get better at keeping a journal for Bella than I am but that's why I started the blog in the first place...)

So anyway...

That's been my dilemma for a few weeks. Crazy days at the office, little time after work for sorting all this out and an unpredictable Mother Nature throwing everything into a blender just to add to the delight.

But in an effort to get things started, and force my muse to finally make an appearance again, tonight I'm just going to share a few details of what Bella's life was like a little over a year ago.

Bella began her medications on September 2, 2011:
Soloxine - 0.4 mg 2x/day (for thyroid)
Fluoxetine - 10 mg in AM and 20 mg in PM (for anxiety/aggression)
Clonidine - 2 to 4 0.2 mg tablets as needed up to 2x/day (thunderstorms and anxiety) ***
Bella's first week on the meds made for an inauspicious start: she was completely exhausted from the visit with Dr. Dodman, snarked at Gus when we took her to visit him and Molly at the dog park, got sprayed by a skunk and had to deal with thunderstorms. It's no wonder I remark in my notes that she seems "a little dejected".

And it went downhill from there. Yay us.

I mentioned in my first post about medication that meds are not a magic pill. And life with Bella after starting them has not been a straight line of progress. I'm glad I kept a daily journal so I could refer back to exactly what we were seeing with her when. I referred to it often in my follow up conversations with Dr. Dodman. The last year has been filled with ups and downs and sometimes we've just shrugged and decided we have no idea what drives her.

I've made adjustments in my expectations and desires for her:

  • She doesn't have to be social, she just has to survive a visit to the vet without causing World War III in the waiting room.
  • She's never really going to 'do agility' but she has so much fun running around the ring and the obstacles when there are no other dogs around that we will continue to take the class.
  • And she's never going to be a therapy dog but she can survive family get-togethers.

She's still a wonderful, sweet and playful little dog who charms everyone she meets. So long as they don't try to pet her. ;)

I promise, next week will be more interesting...

*** I should note, as this will be important in her future, we gave Bella 2 Clonidine pills on 9/4 to deal with the thunderstorms and I noted in her journal: "Bella slept very soundly last night. Lots of dreams, didn't wake even when I put my hand on her chest to make sure she was breathing. Not like her."

Do I LOOK playful?

A question to the writers among us - have you ever gotten so completed muddled in what you wanted to say that you couldn't say anything at all? If so, how did you manage to break free of it and what helped you do so?

Snoopy's Dog BlogThanks to Snoopy, Alfie, Luna and My Brown Newfies for hosting the blog hop!


  1. Just testing something folks, please ignore.

  2. It sounds like Bella's life has been a big project this past year.

    I suppose I have gotten overwhelmed by what I wanted to write or say at times, but I try to stay dedicated to a regular posting schedule.  If there's something I can't express the way I want to, I'll give it a start, put it aside as a draft and work on other stories for a little while as I digest what I want to say about that other story in the back of my mind.  Sometimes I go back to it all in one sitting and sometimes I go back to it a little at a time.

  3. What a project!

    If I get stuck, I'll either just sit and write for a while, or put  each thought apart from each other and then string em together
    Nola's mom

  4. Poor Bella. Doggies WANT to be the best they can be for us but sometimes they just can't be what we want. As you did, sometimes we have to adjust OUR expectations.

    As for writing, I don't get blocks about what I want to write but I do get blocks when I try to communicate and it doesn't get received the way I hoped (especially when it is received negatively and not meant that way at all). THAT can sure put a damper on my motivation to write for the blog.

  5. I really commend you and Jan for the devotion you have put in for helping Bella.  You will get there.

    As for the block, it happens to me.  When it does I try to jot down the idea and move on to something else.  I pick it up from time to time and find that usually it writes itself.

    Good luck!!

  6. So glad you're back :)

    Sometimes when it all gets confusing my Mum uses the time when we run to work things out in her head - and just tries to be patient, as not all the bits come together at once, but do in the end.

    It may also be useful to do a kind of mind map on paper, as it might help to put things in some kind of order?

    Love the pictures of Bella and looking forward to the rest of the story however it emerges :)

    Wags to all,  

    Your pal Snoopy :) 

  7. I just found your blog and can relate to many aspects of it. We have a rescued dog who was pulled from a house in Tenessee by Animal Control. I don't mean to reinforce stereotypes, but if Animal Control in TN says, "you have too many dogs" and convinces you to let go of the "ones that are too old to sell", well, you know our dog didn't have a great start in life (no socialization with people).

    But yes, I can relate to having so much jumbled up in your head that its hard to explain it all. Our dogs are multi-faceted creatures and we don't want to only show the good sides or the bad sides of them. Even as I wrote that first paragraph I was thinking,"but he is SO good with other dogs and can get along with almost any dog he meets" and wondering "should I include the count of how many dogs he was living with to explain why he never saw people? Or just mention that he is a spitz-mix so genetically wired to mistrust strangers?"

    We are considering medication to help "take the edge off" and make it easier for him to be among people and new situations. Like you, I don't want to sacrifice who he is today on the altar of "who he should be to mimic Lassie." Your journey is helpful to follow. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Well Bella it sounds like you win BOL! We all have our quirks. That's part of what makes us unique and interesting :) Glad your Mom is still gonna take you to agility. Wish we had that kind of class here. I think I'd enjoy that a lot! :)

    Waggin at ya,