Posts Tagged With: dog

Toy Review for Power Chewers

(Warning: This post has a ridiculous number of pix.)

For most puppy owners, choosing a new pet toy is simple. You head to the closest petropolis, make your way to the toy aisle, and stand there, staring at all the bright colors in wonder. Then you find something totally adorable, maybe a pink fluffy bunny that squeaks when you squeeze it, or a baby blue tennis ball with a bell inside. You buy the toy, take it home, little Sparky is overjoyed, and that’s that.

But for some of us, that’s just not how it works. Maybe Sparky aspires to be an agility champion when he grows up. For the rest of us, our dogs are aiming for a profession more along the lines of velociraptor, or Tasmanian Devil wrangler.

I keep seeing toy reviews that include things like flirt poles, and fancy stuffed animals. Here’s a review for the rest of our nutty dogs. The ones who don’t lick and nuzzle their toys, but who take it as a personal challenge to mangle their toys beyond recognition, and/or eat them for a midnight snack.

For those of you who aren’t up to speed on my little terror, she is a Border Collie pup. She is almost 9 months. We have very few toys in the house. I got her at 5 months old. By 7 months old, she had eaten over 60 toys, and Kedric’s beloved toy collection was gone. We are on a mission! Ked wants toys. And the only way to keep them around is to make sure that Rowan can’t kill them.

I have a small list of criteria:

1. It cannot do serious damage if swallowed. This means no hard plastic to break into sharp bits, no “string” type toys that can slice open intestines when swallowed whole (think rope toys), etc. No small, hard parts (choking hazards).

2. It cannot be so hard that it cracks teeth when bit down on. Β I have read way too many horror stories about hellacious vet bills from having to remove fractured teeth!

3. It cannot be so soft that she has it shredded and/or ingested within seconds of handing it to her. That means most stuffed, squeaky, and floppy toys are out. There’s really no point in even wasting my money on them.

So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve tried so far:

Grrriggles Chompy Romper ball

The reviews on this were pretty good. People said their dogs adored the balls and it was one of the only things their dogs hadn’t been able to eat. At just over $10 a ball, they weren’t too expensive (that’s velociraptor shopping for ya – a $10 ball is considered cheap!), so I gave it a shot. Handed it to Rowan, who looked delighted, and I feltΒ delighted until she bit down on it. Holy Jesus. Who designs the squeakers in these things?! Seriously one of the most annoying squeakers I have ever heard in my life. Not to worry though! She laid down and was chewing happily on it while I played on the computer. After maybe 3 minutes I realized I wasn’t hearing the squeaker anymore, so I turned around to check on her. She had the ball chewed in half and was chewing it into pieces small enough to eat. A quarter of the ball was already missing, down the hatch. I would include a picture of the ball, but it didn’t last long enough to take one.

FAIL.

West Paw Design Zogoflex Bumi

I kept hearing the word “zogoflex” when looking up tough dog toys. Turns out this company has some revolutionary new material that they “guarantee tough”. Okay, I laughed, but I’m game! πŸ™‚ I tried out the Bumi before any other toy in the Zogoflex line because it looked cool, and I didn’t want to get the dog nothing but boring, round balls. The Bumi can be used for fetch or tug. It bounces, it’s chewy, and it’s super springy! Since I bought it from Amazon, and not the West Paw site, I missed the fine print that said this is one of their Zogoflex “play” items, not one of the “chew” items. Still though. My puppy had this a couple weeks before she figured out the secret to putting scratches in it. She LOVES playing tug with it. We had it 3 months before enough pieces were chewed off that I figured it probably wasn’t safe for her to play with anymore and took it from her. West Paw Design is so cool though that they offer a one-time free replacement. So we are sending the Bumi back, and trying out one of the “chew” items to see if it holds up even longer. I plan to buy another Bumi again as well, because it was great for tug. It offers lots of grip to the human, and lots of bouncy, chewy goodness to the dog. I’ll just have to put it away after tug so it lasts longer this time around. Rowan was a fan, I was a fan. It didn’t last, but it lasted longer than everything we’d tried before, which is amazing! I plan to try all the toys in this line. Added bonus? Zogoflex floats! Any dog toy that floats gets added bonus points from me.

PASS! πŸ™‚

Here is Ked with the Bumi. He is a 50-lb dog, and this is the Large Bumi, to give you a size reference.
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Petstages Orka Tire

I used to have an Orka ball about 10 years ago, and I thought it was the coolest material. Of course, I didn’t have a monster then, so I decided to give this a go to see how it would hold up. I bought the Tire in November, and it is February… Not a scratch on it. IMPRESSED, I am! The Tire is interesting. It feels very rubbery/flexible, like a giant LifeSavers Gummi candy, and has no nasty smell. It is hollow, but since the material is see-through, if the inside of it gets nasty, you can see it and easily clean it out. The way the tire is set up, I’m sure you could stuff treats into it to keep your dog occupied. The slit in the tire is on the inside of the ring, just like with a real tire. I think this is what keeps Rowan from being able to eat it. She tries hard to get her mouth inside of the tire, but rarely succeeds. If the seam was on the outside, I’m sure she would have eaten it by now. The Tire is AWESOME for tugging. Since it’s flexy and chewy, but has grip lines on the outside, Rowan can yank as hard as she wants, and the tire just keeps bouncing back. Also, IT FLOATS! Bonus points, ALWAYS, for floaty toys! πŸ™‚ I really want to get another ball from this company, as well as the Jack. I’ve seen good reviews for the Jack, so I’ve got some high hopes there.

PASS! πŸ™‚

The look on Rowan’s face when I picked up the Tire to take a picture of it. Haha!
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Here is the seam on the inside of the Tire:
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Super flexible, so you can stuff stuff in it:
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Good for tug!
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Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Recycle Balls

Planet Dog recycles all of their toy remnants into these awesome balls. They are hollow through the center, so I didn’t know how they would hold up, but they’re rank “5 out of 5 chompers” for toughness on the site, and I’d seen lots of protection-work trainers online raving about the Orbee-Tuff line, so I thought I’d give the crunchy-hippie balls a chance. πŸ™‚ You never know what colors you will get, as the balls are made from remnants of other toys. I got green and bright orange. The balls are tied together on a rope. You can untie them and use them separately, or tie them up however you’d like, to create interest. Well, Rowan’s interest was keen, and that rope was in about 10 pieces in under 2 minutes, so so much for that. *lol* I hadn’t expected the rope to last anyway, so I wasn’t heartbroken over it. The balls have a soft mint smell to them, which you won’t notice unless you put it to your nose and sniff. They are SUPER bouncy, and about the same size as a regular tennis ball. Both of my dogs love to chomp-chomp-chomp them because they are hollow and make an interesting collapsing/suction sound when they are squished flat and then released. I suppose you could put small treats inside if you wanted to. The hole on one end is larger than the hole on the other, so that could create some interest, as larger treats would only fall out one of the holes. The holes are NOT large enough to reach into though, so cleaning out isn’t as simple as it could be. We have played with these outside and got mud in them, and I found it simple enough to pour a drop of soap inside and clean out. The larger hole is big enough to fit a finger into, so you can “scrub” the inside to make sure all the junk is out. These toys ALSO float (what luck!!!), which is both awesome and not so awesome, since Rowan likes to drop them in the water bucket, let them fill with water, then slowly pull them out like she’s bobbing for apples, soaking my floor. Oh well, at least she’s entertained. πŸ™‚ She prefers the orange ball to the green ball. I think it’s easier to see when it lands on things, since it’s bright. After 3 months, these balls still look perfect. Not a single nibble taken out of them. Very impressive! And even though the rope didn’t last, I like that I can tie my own rope through the holes so it’s easy to throw without getting slobbery if I wanted to.

PASS! πŸ™‚

Recycle Ball in action:
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Ruff Dawg Peanut and Stick

I have Ruff Dawg’s rubber bowl for traveling, and it works great. I also have a plethora of their K9 Flyers. I lovelovelove the K9 Flyers! They come in standard or mini. When we were training for agility, many moons ago, we discovered these. They can be rolled up and put into your pocket like a burrito for training purposes, and they are soft, so if you fly one right into the side of your dog’s head, they won’t hurt him. They are one of the only frisbees that Kedric will catch. With hard ones, he ducks as they fly by, then picks them up off the ground. They are also one of the only frisbees that he doesn’t destroy the second he catches them. Regular frisbees are gone as soon as they hit his mouth. He holds them down and crunches them into scary splinters, so they don’t even last a single session. That being said though, he CAN chew through them if you let him use them as a chew toy. Knowing this, I looked into the rest of Ruff Dawg’s products. The Stick had good reviews as a fetch toy, and the Peanut had great reviews as a chew toy. I found the 3-pack online, which offered a Stick, a Peanut, and a K9 Flyer. I can always use more K9 Flyers! πŸ™‚ So these arrived, and I was excited to try them. Ruff Dawg’s products smell like rubber. Makes sense, right? They ARE rubber. But if you’re not expecting them to SMELL like rubber, you might be surprised when you first pull them out of the package. On top of the smell, they also do not float. That kind of sucks, since lots of people who play fetch do so around water. Well, long story short there. Rowan loved the stick. She held it down and had several pieces chewed off and swallowed within probably 2 minutes. That sucks. It does, however, work great as a tug toy. It’s really flexible and bouncy, and doesn’t seem like it will fall apart with vigorous tugging. Unfortunately, I have to keep it hidden in the closet outside of tug, because it’s way too easy for Rowan to eat like a big corn-on-the-cob. So I handed her the peanut. Higher hopes there, since so many people online said their dogs chewed the crap out of it and it held up well. I was hoping the shape/design would stop her from eating it. Well, maybe 3 minutes into that, and she had the end chewed off and swallowed. Luckily the material is soft enough that it passed through her just fine, but… Yeah, big waste of $20! (Except, you know, that I got a new K9 Flyer out of the deal… It was the same price to buy a Peanut and a Stick as it was to buy the 3-pack, so happy new K9 Flyer to me!)

Fail. 😦

The Peanut after just a few minutes with Rowan:
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The Stick, when it was still in one piece:
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Kong Senior

I have a regular Kong, which used to be a Kong Tug, until Rowan ate all the firehose tug straps off. Now that it’s firehose-less and squeaker-less, she mostly shrugs at it. I think because it just isn’t very soft to chew on. So I bought a Kong Senior. It’s a bit softer than the regular Kong, but still tough. While she likes this toy, and she hasn’t chewed it to pieces yet, she’s just not very interested in it. Sometimes I find her holding it down and gnawing on it, which is more than I can say for the original Kong, but all in all, it doesn’t hold her attention too much. Ked, on the other hand, thinks it’s awesome. He gets worked up and holds it down and tries to tear it up. Other pros: You can put stuff in it. One of the holes is large enough to let you clean inside (with just a little hassle). You can also tie a rope through it, for easier throwing. Cons: Doesn’t float. 😦

Pass. πŸ™‚

Kedric waiting for me to throw the ball for Rowan:
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Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snowball

The Snowball is made out of the same material that the Recycle Balls are, so I was expecting it to be pretty much exactly the same thing, but it’s not. This is a first-run product, not a product made of first-run product remains. The mint smell is much stronger. When you play fetch with your dog, your hands will smell minty afterward. It’s also thicker than the Recycle Balls. I was not expecting it to be hollow and have holes on both ends like the Recycle Balls, but it does. So cool points there for a design that allows you to tie a rope through it or put random little treats inside. Because it is thicker than the Recycle Balls, it also weighs a little more. It is also slightly larger than them. And I’m not sure exactly what the difference between this and the Recycle Balls is, but it almost has a sticky texture. I’m wondering if it’s from the mint. It seems to be lessening as they play with it more, and it still smells minty though, so I’m really not sure. We’ve had this ball probably a month, and it’s holding up perfectly. Again, added bonus points for buoyancy! πŸ™‚

Pass! πŸ™‚

The Snowball in action:
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Here the greedy beast is with her loot:
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And this is how I gauge success… A dog worn out from playing, with her toys still in one piece:
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The next company I really have my eye on to try is Goughnuts. I really want their green doughnut, and yellow stick.

If you know of any other awesome products out there for power chewers, please leave a note!

When I try out new products in the future, I will leave more reviews on them. I’m always on the lookout for cool new “indestructible” (ha!) toys.

Categories: dogs, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intermission

Whoa, okay. So that absence was unexpected. The lowdown of the hoedown is…

I can’t even remember what I was doing the first week of my absence here, but I’m SURE it was something amazing (okay, maybe not). I then got sick because… well, germs. And inconsiderate people. And then I got a puppy.

I couldn’t find what I was wanting through rescue. Every dog I seemed to like had aggression issues. And I have a roommate, and he has two cats. So bringing home a dog with aggression issues didn’t feel like something I could take on, while being a considerate roommate. I considered waiting another 6 months for a puppy from a breeder who would be having a litter I really wanted a pup from, but that would then be a full year of Kedric being alone. And honestly, at this point, getting a puppy was mostly for him, because he’s been so lonely. I figured we could get over the annoying stuff now, so he could enjoy his retirement with a well-trained companion.

So there was a breeder nearby whose dogs I really like. Her males are all eye tested, and she’s working on getting all her breeding stock hip tested, which is more than I can say for the majority of the breeders out there… And she had a pup that I’d been checking out since she was little, but was never sure about… She also had a pup last year that I really loved, but didn’t go get because it was a boy and I knew I’d be wanting a girl next. And I saw how gorgeous that dog turned out, and I feel like I missed out on a good thing there. So rather than waiting until this pup had been picked up by someone else, or until she was a year old and I was kicking myself, I decided to go for it.

I went out a week ago, and we talked, and I decided that I was for sure taking the pup home, so money and paperwork changed hands, and I had myself a new dog. She was a dream the whole (very long) car ride home, and was fine that night in her crate… And then the next day came. And my adorable puppy turned into a lunatic. She had lived the first 4 1/2 months of her life in the country. Not much happens out there. She had no exposure to skateboards, bicycles, runners, traffic – nothing. The breeder suggested I just let her chill and get used to me, but I couldn’t just leave this high-drive puppy locked in a kennel for 8 hours while I was at work without burning off some of her energy, so I started taking her on walks in the morning. She is super reactive and fearful. Within a couple days, she had tried to bite my coworker, my roommate (twice), and his best friend. Everything was freaking her out. Strangers and children were not on her happy list. Pretty much everything was triggering her. I figured it was basically just sensory overload. Over-stimulation triggering just extreme fight or flight reactions.

I was a wreck the first few days, thinking that I’d finally made a decision to bring this dog home, thinking it was the best thing for all of us, and I’d bought a psychopathic biting machine instead. So I did what I do best, and got online to research things. Fearful dogs. Reactive behavior. Fear aggression. On and on… Hours of videos and papers about training. Some articles said that since she was older than 3 months, she would never be “normal” again. Some articles talked about how BAT had turned their own nutjobs into normal, sane dogs. I was just frustrated that I could have picked up an aggressive rescue for a fraction of the price, and instead I paid more for an aggressive puppy from a breeder. Of course, she was sane when I picked her up, because she was in her own familiar environment. So to me, the problem was twofold: that she’d never been socialized, and that she was being exposed to everything at once. But I can’t pick and choose what she is exposed to in the city. I never know when I will run into a longboarder or a sprinter. It’s the luck of the draw. I am not going to the park. We are walking on quiet streets. But everything is still so new to her.

So I started doing some modified BAT with her. I can’t turn and walk the other way every time someone approaches or we would never get our walks completed. So I step off the sidewalk, far enough away that she isn’t feeling too triggered, and she gets rewarded when she breaks contact with the trigger and checks in with me. I’m allowing her to check out the things that scare her, rather than continuing to make her walk with me, because I feel like in order for her to stop reacting when she sees things, she needs to have come to a conclusion about whether or not they are scary in the past. It seems to be working. I let her investigate the scary things (some things I have to approach myself, and then lure her to them with a treat), and then she’s like, “Oh, just kidding… It was only a garbage can,” or whatever. And then the next scary thing we run into, she is like, “Oh, yep, seen that before.” Within 3 days, she was no longer reacting to scary Halloween decorations in yards along our route because I’d let her check them out, and then praise her when she looked relaxed and satisfied that they weren’t as scary as she first thought.

She has a remarkable memory, but she reminds me so much of Shannon in how she does things. She doesn’t care a WHOLE lot about treats. I mean, all puppies like treats, but they are not her driving force. She wants to see things. That’s what Border Collies do, they look at the world around them. There are commands that she already knows, that she will just brush me off on, because she just doesn’t give a shit that I’ve asked it of her. Just a hard-headed little shit. But when you have a treat and she wants the treat, the behavior you ask for is done in milliseconds. Within 3 days of moving in, she knew No, Let’s Go, Off, and Leave It. I taught her Sit in about 15 seconds. 24 hours later, after not having repeated Sit a single time in that many hours, she gave me the behavior the first time I asked for it. She’s smart as a whip, this one. Today we started on With Me. It’s more of a mouthful than Here, but I just really dislike how closely Here and Heel sound to each other. All my Borders have been able to tell the difference just fine, but I really want something that sounds different, so I’ll be phasing out Here (although I still let it slip from time to time, since it was Kedric’s command).

So I’ve really got my work cut out for me with this one. She has that typical headstrong bitch personality that Shannon had. I see it and it makes me smile at the same time I want to give her a shake for giving me the finger. What drove Shannon was not food, nor was it toys. It was love, and drive. The day after coming home, this puppy challenged Andy’s dog because it approached me for some pets, so I know she’s becoming attached already. It’s only a matter of time before I can turn that into something constructive, I think.

She hasn’t tried to bite anyone in the last 2 days, and she actually had positive interactions with two strangers today – women who she decided just out of the blue that she wanted to be buddies with. She also met and had good interactions with two dogs she did not know. She then had a not-so-positive interaction with Andy’s new dog, who comes from the same breeder. He was very excited to see her and wanted to sniff her girly region, and then play with her while she was rolling around on the lawn. She was not having either interaction, so she got reprimanded for her bad reactions. I don’t mind a lip curl or something to tell another dog she is not pleased with their actions, but snarling and trying to bite are both big no-nos. A snarl at the wrong dog can land her in the doggie ER, so she’s gotta learn to keep that attitude in check.

But with all good things come the bad… On Friday, she chewed up my phone charger cable. So I am without a phone until the new one arrives. Then the next day, she chewed my internet cable in half. $40 and two days later, the internet was up and going again. Then this morning she chewed the new cable in half. Rather than spend another $40 on a new cable, I spent the morning splicing cables and connecting each itty bitty wire in the CAT-5 line together one by one, and patching it all with a generous supply of electrical tape. I was beyond delighted when it actually worked. *lol* I knew that degree wasn’t worthless! πŸ˜›

So yeah, my mind is kind of exploding with puppy training crap. I can’t have a biter or a lunatic, so we’re working on lots of stuff, and my poor brain is spinning. But I was totally stoked today when she had the good interactions with the strange people and dogs. She even offered up the sit after a few go-rounds of me stepping off the path of strangers. “This is what you want, right? Hand me the hot dog!”

I have toys shredded all over my room. It looks like a plastic and stuffed animal massacre. I am beyond tired. It is like having an infant, needing out at crazy times of the night. I have already thrown at least 6 mangled toys away this week.

At the same time, I am trying to get back on the exercise wagon after being sick for like 2 weeks and doing nothing during that time. I also still have not finished the outside of the RV, and I want that done before the snow season hits (it has already snowed a few times, but not for long). I plan to finish the caulking tomorrow, and try to get the windshield washer fluid issue figured out. Then my friend Emily is coming out next week, and she is going to help me finish the roof. Once the roof is done, I have a tarp I want to put on it for the winter. It won’t cover the sides, just the roof, so I can continue to go in and out of it, working on random things throughout the winter – like getting the cushions reupholstered, and doing some basic cleaning. I was going to work on it this morning, but I ended up spending the morning on that cable, and then I had a City & Colour concert to go to tonight.

Wish the phone wasn’t dead, so I could share some pix or videos from the concert, but it is, so a few pictures of the new pup will have to do.

Here’s one the breeder took of her… Her eyes are two different colors currently, but look like they’re changing. Her right eye is currently gold on the top, and brown on the bottom. Her left eye is gold and has some green hazely thing going on.

rubyaltered

Here she is, walking with Kedric. Their markings are kind of cool, I think. They have the same white shoulder, but their hips are opposites. She has a spot on her left hip, and a white streak up the right – he has a spot on his right and a streak up the left.

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And here’s what she looks like when she’s being good: πŸ˜›

rubysleep

So there’s that.

And since it’s Monday, I suppose I’ll include this, to help get the ball rolling…

Starting weight: 272
Lost this week: Who knows?
Total lost: 20.6
Currently: 251.4

Starting BMI: 43.9
Lost this week: ?
Total lost: 3.3
Currently: 40.6

Hope everyone’s having a great week. πŸ™‚

Categories: dog training, dogs, goals, lifestyle change, RV maintenance, weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something else I’m working on…

So this has not much at all to do with RVing, but everything to do with getting to where I want to be in life. After deciding that I wanted to re-seal Flash’s roof, I realized that I was scared to actually get up on it. No, I don’t have issues with heights. The fact is that she’s a 1978 model, and I have no idea what water damage could be hiding up there in the roof, which means I don’t want to risk falling through the roof and ruining it, if there is any structural damage which I can’t see from the outside. Let’s be clear about something from the get-go: I am not a small girl. I look at that lovely expanse of previously-sealed aluminum roof, and I can vividly imagine my fat ass falling right through into the kitchen sink. Yeahhhhh… Not so pretty. So I went to Lowe’s to buy a ladder. I was looking for a 7′ ladder, which would be the perfect height. 8′ was too tall to secure to the back of the RV without creating added clearance issues, and 6′ was too short. Did you know that there are no 7′ ladders to be found, like… anywhere? I ended up at Home Depot, and they had the exact same selection as Lowe’s. 6′ seemed to be the only real option, although it was a bit too short. Ladders are rated by weight. Before deciding I needed to buy a ladder, I would have never known this. My happy ass just tromps up whatever ladder is handy. I never realized I was jeopardizing my life by not looking for the weight limit. So the options laid themselves out: a green one for skinny people, a blue one for overweight people, and a red one for what I can only imagine are huge, burly dudes who do a lot of roofing. I hate the color red. I know, it doesn’t make much sense. You buy a ladder to get a job done, not to look cute. But really, I just can’t stand red, and stood in the ladder aisle of Home Depot for probably a good 20 minutes, wondering if I should buy the blue ladder (which I ALMOST qualified for) or the hideous red one (which sadly, was made just for my big ass – not just burly roofers). I threw down my gloves. Fuck that red ladder. I’ve been wanting to get back to eating right and exercising every day anyway, so now I had something to work toward: not breaking my ladder (and dying in the process). I grabbed the blue ladder and triumphantly headed to the front to buy it.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been using the blue ladder, despite the fact that the giant sticker on the side of it warns me that I could possibly die by doing so. I guess it’s a warning not just about the ladder, but about my weight in general. My current weight can and might kill me, whether or not there’s a ladder involved.

So not only do I need to lose weight just so I can actually enjoy more activities, but ever since I gained all this weight in the first place, my knees have been rebeling. I feel lethargic and depressed. And this isn’t to say that I went from thin to fat all at once. I’ve been a big girl most of my life. But after college, when I moved back home, I put on a whopping 72 lbs. Holy. Shit. The day I got on the scale to see just how much I weighed after my knees started giving me shit, I just couldn’t believe how fat I’d become. I mean, knowing you’re fat and seeing the numbers are two different things.

I’ve done the yo-yo routine for a long time, and I’m done with it. I want to get to a healthier weight so I can do more without feeling like someone just kicked my ass… Not just more physical activities, but things like being able to stand on my RV roof without worrying that I’m going to cave it in. I really want to have a healthier lifestyle firmly in place by the time I move full-time into the RV. In a not-so-related note, I’ve been using up all of the chemicals in my house, and replacing them with natural products. Everything from shampoo to toilet bowl cleaner has been getting switched out. I used to work for an herbal processing company, and I could get all my organic body care stuff for super dirt cheap, but since I stopped working there, and it was easier to just buy stuff at any old store, I’ve gotten lazy about buying things that are better for myself and the environment. So I’ve stopped that too. The only cleaning products I’ve bought for inside the RV are natural ones. I obviously can’t find a tree-huggin’, hippie-ass roof seal or seam caulk… But everything that there is a healthier, better option for, I’m going the healthy way. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

So, speaking of pounds… (I do so babble sometimes…)

Last Monday, I weighed myself. I was down 10.4 lbs from my max, which is to say that I weighed in at 261.6 lbs. *cringe* For those of you bad at math, my max weight was 272 lbs. My BMI was 42.2. In non-tech speak: 42.2 is morbidly obese. That means that I am 100+ lbs over my ideal body weight. ONE HUNDRED PLUS POUNDS! I cannot overstate the horror of this fact. What the hell?

Anyway, I plan to leave that number in the past and never approach it again. I am doing a Couch-to-5K (C25K) program for running, which is a simple run/walk program that starts you out walking a lot and running a little, and every week you increase the amount you’re running, and decrease the amount you’re walking. It is set up in intervals, so you aren’t killing yourself. I’ve done the program in the past, but always end up quitting when I get to week 7 or so of the 10-week plan. Just because… ya know… laziness, depression, fill-in-the-blank… So now I’m posting about it here, so quitting would be kind of awkward, wouldn’t it? I don’t actually plan to RUN any 5K’s, mind you… I just want to get my endurance up, and the C25K plan will get me from couch potato to running 30 minutes straight without stopping in 10 weeks.

I also have dumbbells in various sizes, and am putting those to use with set exercises that I do 5x/week (the same 5 days I run on)… I also increase the reps I’m doing with those every week. And to top it off, I am walking my dog every day. He has severe hip dysplasia on his right hip joint, so I can’t do strenuous stuff with him (as much as he’d love to run all day, he pays for it later, and I hate to see him in pain). Before I got lazy the last time, we were walking 2 miles a day… So I’ve started him off at a mile a day, and every week I will up him a quarter mile, and then see where we’re at with how he feels when we reach 2 miles. If all is well there, I may just keep adding more on. He is currently on Adequan once a month, and gets a supplement of MSM/glucosamine/chondroitin every morning, along with 50mg of Rimadyl in his breakfast. He technically should be on twice as much Rimadyl per day, but I don’t want to max him out if I don’t need to, because when he gets worse, what will there be to switch him to? I’m trying to be proactive there. I plan to start him on fish oil as well, and hope that I can keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible on the combination (including walking, which also helps lubricate the joints).

So here’s the number breakdown:

Starting weight: 272
Lost this week: 4.8
Total lost: 15.2
Currently: 256.8

Starting BMI: 43.9
Lost this week: .8
Total lost: 2.5
Currently: 41.4

So I am currently 6.8 lbs too heavy for my ladder… Hopefully I’ll be skinny enough (“skinny” being relative here *lol*) in the next two weeks to officially use it. πŸ˜‰

I plan to put an update here every Monday with my weekly progress. If you don’t see an update, feel free to kick me in the ass and shake your fist at me.

Categories: dogs, goals, lifestyle change, weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

And so it begins…

Life is short. You sit around, thinking about what you could be, or what you could do, and suddenly years have passed by and you have nothing to show for the wasted hours. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We’re not even guaranteed a minute from now. You could die before you finish reading this sentence, and that’s that.

I’ve been struggling in this rip tide for years. It drags me out, I let the current take me, and then I decide I want to change, so I start swimming hard. And at some point, although I know I will eventually be allowed back in to shore, Β swimming parallel to it just feels like I’m getting nowhere, so I flip onto my back and let the current carry me along again. All that progress, lost.Β At some point though, I decided to fight the current. Sometimes the waves suck me under, but I feel like I’m actually making progress. I can see the shoreline now.

Four years ago, I moved out of the black hole that nobody ever seems to be able to get away from. Maybe it’s the magnetic pull in the area or maybe it’s simply that people without a lot of hope just simply tend to keep doing what they’re doing, rather than jumping ship and following their dreams. I felt like the longer I stayed there, the more depressed I became, and the more pointless my life was. I decided to make Salt Lake City my stepping stone. Not where I want to be in life, but far enough away from where I was to break out of that mindset and feeling of hopelessness.

It’s taken me a few years, but I downsized from an insane amount of stuff to a very small amount, and started to think about what I wanted from life as I began to realize that living my dream was possible.

So… what do I want from life?

  • To be surrounded by people who make me feel good. People with drive, passion, kind hearts, and easy laughter. People who encourage me to live my dreams, and who have great energy. People who communicate well and can reciprocate good friendship. Friendly neighbors. People with positivity, who are increasingly hard to find in this jaded world.
  • To be on the coast again. There is nothing that rejuvenates the soul like crashing waves, enormous trees, and great energy.
  • To have a farm. I miss my animals. I want to plant trees. I want to go back to raising gardens and canning food. I would love to be able to turn my love of farming into a business. That is the ultimate goal and dream.

So now that I know what I want, and feel like it’s actually possible to get it, what now? I decided I wanted an RV. I can pick up and simply move somewhere else, but what if it’s not the place for me? Then I’m stuck until I can raise up money to move again… I decided that I’d rather just live in my home. Then I could travel around and find the place where I want to be without having to make a commitment to a certain city, a certain house. I could stop into towns and get a feel for them, see if they have what I’m looking for… You just know when some things feel right, and I’m hoping to find that city or town that I just don’t want to leave. The only catch with this plan is that I’d have to stay put for some time in order to hold down a job to pay for additional gas money, or I’d have to make money somehow on the road. I do tie-dyeing for fun, and I also hand-braid dog leashes. The dog leashes are very popular among people I know in the real world, but I would have to actually set up a site online, or join a site where I could sell them. And until they got really popular, I’d still be living on money I’d saved or having to hold down a job somewhere. I’ve been kind of wishy-washy, not sure of what I’m doing, but saving up money for when the right opportunity came along, and then… it arrived.

On June 1st, I bought a motorhome. I’d been wanting something over 18′, since they were the smallest, and had zero storage room, and smaller than 23′, which had pretty much everything I wanted, but seemed like a lot of space to pay to haul around just for the extra storage. I really have to think about the cost of things, since I’ll be alone on this journey. I’d been watching the classifieds like a hawk, checking them day and night, when a 20′ model popped up. 1978, only 40,000 miles on the engine. Bunk beds (read: extra storage) and a decent floorplan… I texted the owner, and our schedules were all wrong, but the person who was supposed to show up that night fell through, and it was still available the next morning. The owner texted me to let me know it was still there, and Andy whisked me down to the south end of the valley to test drive it. A couple hours later, and I handed my savings over for a set of keys and a piece of paper.

So now I have the RV in the driveway, and a list of things that need to be done for me to feel 100% about taking off in her. That does not include setting up the dog leash business so that I can start getting some happy customers and putting money in savings for the journey. I want to document all the steps I’m taking to get where I’m going. From fixing up the RV to what I’m doing with my days while on the road. I’m thinking it would be fun to include roadtrip recipes (I’m greatly looking forward to lots of grilling and campfire cooking, as well as the learning curve with learning to use a tiny RV oven). I also love to take pictures of everything, but I do not have a high-pixel, GOOD camera. So I have added that to the list. And I think videos every now and then would be great too, because I know that I love seeing videos from travelers’ wanderings. I recently looked into getting a GoPro. I thought, from how much people talk about them, that they’d be a few grand. I was pretty surprised to find that they’re only a few hundred bucks. I also will be traveling with my dog (and more than one at some point), so there will be info on traveling/RVing/camping with pets… So basically, all I have at this point are ideas. But the means is in the driveway. The rest is just a puzzle to be sorted into place as I go. And this blog will be the journal of how I make it happen. πŸ™‚ Wish me luck!

Categories: dreams, goals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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