Monday, 10 April 2017

Sadness and a Success Story: In Which You Win Some, You Lose Some

That's what I'm strongly feeling right now: In life... you win some, you lose some.

I've been keeping busy, which is satisfyingly productive. I'm improving my skills, I'm helping people, and just generally getting on with life.

But I still live with depression.

I suspect anyone with chronic illness who has been fortunate enough to experience recovery has discovered the same thing: 'recovery' presents its own challenges. You start having expectations (other people's and your own), you start having dreams (your own mostly - others probably never had to give theirs up), and it hurts when you realise your illness hasn't gone anywhere. You're allowed to dream, but you know that most of those are still just -- a dream.

* * * 

But this is a dog blog, so let's share a "win" from the dog side of things.


I was asked to visit Tiger, the 6 year old Pomeranian, twice a week for a month while his owners were away. He was being fed and visited by his neighbours, who are extended family, but they felt he needed more attention and weren't sure how to give it to him.

I was told he doesn't like strangers -- which was true. Although I was let in by a family member, Tiger continued to bark at me inside the house. I had arrived prepared and immediately started counterconditioning his view of me. I tossed treats away from me when he approached me, always letting him move away from me to get them. Soon he was coming toward me of his own accord. I never reached toward him, as it was obvious it would startle him.

It wasn't long before we got along much better. Tiger turned out to be a very alert, responsive little dog.

Tiger is lying on the grass in the sun, with his muzzle under a black-and-white cow toy.
Can you see me?

While toys were number one on his list, I used his love of food to teach him a few new tricks, too.

My dogsitting job is over as his family is home. I never walked him as part of the house visits as I was told he was both human and dog reactive, but the owners might contact me in future if they want to do a behavioural modification program.

Tiger proved to be very bright and extremely trainable, so I have high hopes for him if they choose to go down that path. In the meantime, this cute dude has a few new tricks to show his friends!

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