Posts Tagged With: dogs

New Beginnings

So I’m not sure where to begin. It’s been a while since I kept a hand-written journal, but until I get a laptop, this is how I’ll be rolling. I’ll just have to upload entries as I get access to a computer.

I still feel kind of torn on what I’m doing. I have the opportunity to go work up at the lake with Em this summer but I feel like it would be better for me to stick around Salt Lake and find a higher-paying job. This is our first day chilling at the park and I’m really seeing how much work Rowan needs. She has developed some very bad habits while I was living at the house from being in the backyard without me. The two dogs in the alley behind us had fence aggression, so she has learned that attacking the fence is an acceptable way to say hello to strange dogs. I have also found that she is now trying to nip strangers through the fence as well. Morons who see her acting a fool who think if they just try to pet her through the fence, she’ll like them. Yeah… no. So she got reprimanded for that yesterday.

Anywho, so I think that the constant exposure to strangers, cyclists, runners, skaters, and strange dogs could definitely be good for her in the long run. I also have more opportunities for getting the RV worked on here in the city, and I think it’s good for me to learn how to do things with as little help as possible, to prepare myself for being in another state. Not to mention,  it’s just easier to exercise here. But mannn, does it sound inviting to go live in the forest for the summer! I would get paid more to work there than at my current job, but not as much as if I switched jobs here in the city.

Man, my carpal tunnel is acting up something fierce with this writing by hand stuff. I spent several days this week finishing around 60 tie-dyes, and kneading them on the rinse-out process just about killed my wrists. Add to that all the moving and hauling stuff, and my poor hands have had it.

So of course, the first few days I had in the RV, my phone was mostly dead so I don’t have many/any good pix, but I’ll try to find some so these entries aren’t just babbling. My phone is on the charger right now, so no cute pix of the dogs in the park.

I am quite delighted that my RV fits perfectly into the parking spots here. I don’t have as much tail-swing as I thought I would,  but it is quite wide,  so it won’t be all that different from driving the FedEx van.

The little things are the ones that I’m learning on the fly. With the phone being dead, I couldn’t set an alarm this morning, so I just woke up when I woke up. That will have to change. The holder to put the spare tire on the back bumper was going to be put to use today, but then I realized the lug nuts were missing, so now I have the spare on my already-crowded floor. Since I was running late, I didn’t get breakfast on time, so I had my breakfast for lunch and skipped lunch. I had to figure out this morning where to spit my toothpaste other than on the ground in the driveway where I’m parking at night, since I don’t want to use my grey water tanks right now. I didn’t have the window cover up,  so I had to fugue out how to change my clothes without flashing the neighbors… *lol* Yeah, lots of learning curves!

I know I haven’t written during the whole moving process, so let me just say this – holy shit! If you don’t think you have much, the way to prove that theory wrong is to move! I completely filled my 15’x5′ storage shed. Now I’ve got to think about what I own, and what I want to keep of it all. Another entry for that one will be upcoming, for sure. In the meantime, I have too much stuff in the RV, and can’t wait to get a computer so that I can manage my Etsy page easily, to get rid of all my tie-dye backstock. I also plan to be working on a lot of yarn projects, as I have 1 1/2 totes full of yarn in here. 2 1/2 if you count the tote of half-completed projects! Eek! I also have way too many t-shirts. A lifetime of t-shirt love has given me 1 1/2 totes of t-shirts… and that’s not including the tote of “skinny clothes” I have in my storage shed that is mostly tees I can’t even fit into! *lol* Oh well… those things will be downsized in time as I use them up and wear them out.

I am so scatter-brained this week. Too much going on, too much to figure out. But I got my security deposit back on the house, and I have current tags and insurance on the RV. I have food, the dogs have food and meds… We all have our vitamins. Hopefully Flash will hold up until I can get her worked on. And hopefully the universe will continue to smile upon us, because I could really use the good luck and positive vibes right now. The past few days, I’ve woken up and laid there, thinking – I don’t have to pay for rent anymore! Of course, my “rent” for the first little while will be getting Flash fixed and spiffed up, so that she’s happy.

It’s inspiring to see so many people running and walking their dogs here in the middle of the day. We’re starting out slow so we don’t hurt Ked’s hip, and then in a week, I’ll be adding my running routine (a C25K) to the mix, and letting Ked relax while Rowan runs with me. It will be good for her to have something else to concentrate on (heeling/running) when we’re out exercising, so she can start relaxing about the random passing dogs.

Anywho. That’s enough babbling for now. I’m sure there will be plenty more later, but hopefully as I settle into a new routine, I’ll become more organized with these posts! πŸ™‚ Hope everyone is well, and living their dream! πŸ™‚

Note: I realized there was a WordPress app, so I’m giving that a try. Please excuse all the crazy sentences wherein my autocorrect just made crazy shit up. πŸ™‚ I also need to figure out how to embed videos with the app, and check out how big these pictures are on an actual computer. Sorry, you’re part of my learning curve! πŸ™‚

Pretty eyes…

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My view…

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Tired kids…

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Vince Vaccaro – Here Is Now

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Categories: dogs, lifestyle change, RV life, weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who We Are

This week, my vet was back in the country, so we scheduled Ked for his ultrasounds. They came back clear of cancer, or any other kinds of bladder/kidney/liver/stomach disease, so that was awesome. The only un-awesome part is that we still don’t know exactly what his issue is, so we’ll be going back for more tests in the future. They thought it was possible that he had an infection in the bladder lining (since his is a bit thicker than normal), which is hard to diagnose, and doesn’t show up on tests very well, and although she thinks the Amoxicillin he was on SHOULD HAVE gotten rid of something like that, we’re doing 10 days of a broader spectrum antibiotic, just to make sure. The next thing on the list to see if we can rule out will be Cushing’s. If it is Cushing’s, he only has one symptom, so that’s atypical… We’ll just keep going down the list to see if we can figure it out, but in the meantime, as long as he’s acting normal and happy, I’m not going to stress.

Rowan has finally come in heat, at 10 months old. I was really hoping she would come in at 6 months, so she’d have two heat cycles under her belt by around a year old, when I want to spay her, but now it’s looking like I won’t be able to expect her back in season until she’s about 15 months, at the earliest. AtΒ 15 months, we’ll be at the sheepdog trial, so I don’t want to have her in season there. At 16 months, I will probably be heading out of Utah… So I’m thinking I’ll compromise and go between a year old, when I originally wanted to spay her, and 15 months, when we’ll be at the trial. I’m thinking probably the 14 month mark – July. It was really a lot easier to decide on when to fix a dog back before we had all the information we do now. Spay before this age, and risk all these side-effects, spay after this age and risk all these other side-effects… Ugh. I feel like 14 months is a good compromise between cancer, endocrine, hormonal, and bone plate issues. I don’t want the inconvenience of having an intact dog to factor into when I decide to spay her. When I spay her will have life-long repercussions, so I want to do what is right.

This week I got the RV transferred into my name (finally) and got temp tags so I can go get it fixed and inspected. I also picked up new-to-me kitchenware so I could pack all my own kitchen stuff and still have stuff in the kitchen to use. My roommate talked to the landlord and confirmed that he would be staying here in the house when I move out, and the new prospective roomie filled out paperwork and turned it in to her to get approved. She told me I was welcome to stay, because I’ve been a great tenant, and said we could work out rent to have 3 people living here. *lol* Very kind of her, but that won’t save me the money I need to save up, so… nope. The roomie and I have been touching base to figure out when the best time for both of us would be for him to vacate for a couple days so I can shampoo all the carpets (including his bedroom). In the meantime, I’ve been working on packing the remainder of my stuff.

It’s a cold, wet day here in the Salty City today. Mother Nature’s indecision over the status of spring means mostly rain, a bit of sleet, and occasional snow falling. Yesterday it was warm and sunshiney, with bright, poofy My Little Pony clouds. Β Days like today call for good music and a big mug of hot cocoa while I pack, so I’m working on the closet (when I’m not sitting here typing).

Yesterday I was shoe shopping with Em, and thinking about how picky I am (not hideous, no leather, must fit my fat feet, no known sweat shops), and looking at everyone else who was out shopping, and thinking about how they picked out their clothing, and I was scratching my head at some of their choices. So today, while packing the remainder of my clothes, I was looking at my choices, and smiling about what they said about me. I choose things based on what is the most practical and comfortable. All my pants have extra pockets. They are all denim or khaki-type material. I have short socks, long socks, thin socks, and thick socks. Almost every single shirt in my my closet is aΒ printed t-shirt. Almost all of them are animal causes or band shirts. There is some environmentalism and comedy thrown in for good measure.

(Exhibit A, my favorite Tori Amos shirt, and one for Squatters, a local brewery that donates money to No More Homeless Pets based on the sales of its dog-inspired beer, Chasing Tail):

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I pulled out my most favorite shirts out of the bunch, to see what they say about me. They are the shirts that I don’t want to wear because I want to keep them forever and I’m scared of them getting stained, torn, or just plain worn out.

Here’s the first one. Let me just say that I had an inner battle over buying a shirt made by Hurley. I refuse to pay $50 for a damn piece of cotton, no matter how much I love it. So the day these went on sale for cheap(er), I jumped on them. I wish I would have bought two. I lovelovelove this shirt. The painting is by Brandon Boyd, one of my favorite singers of all time, and I just love the design. If you look closely, you will see that the whale has a teardrop. The shirt is organic cotton and buttery soft. Yes, I’m a hippie. But I don’t care, this shirt is amazing!

shirts-hurley

The second shirt is made by Life is Good, and features Jake and Rocket going for a hike. It’s simple, it’s cute, it has the dog hiking with his human, and has a message I try to live by when I’m out in nature. The shirt is also buttery soft organic cotton and I love it. They no longer make it, and do not bring back designs they’ve retired. When I saw this shirt at REI, I jumped on it. Matt rolled his eyes at me, but again… I wish I would have bought two! The day I brought Rowan home, she put a hole in this shirt with her claw, and I know that it’s only a matter of time before it completely unravels now. 😦

shirts-lifeisgood

The last shirt I got from Tori. We were packing her stuff for a move, and I saw it and was like MUSTHAVE! She never wore it anymore, so she gave it to me. The shirt was rare when she got it… She saw someone wearing it and had to have it, so her dad searched high and low to find it for her. It is made by Patagonia, and the front says “Support Sustainable Forestry”. I love the “hidden message” in red. Trees are near and dear to my heart.

shirts-patagonia

I think my wardrobe is a fair representation of who I am, and what means the most to me. Saving the animals, saving the world, music, farming, doing what you love, and hilarity. πŸ™‚ Oh, and… ya know, since I’m a crafty hippie… lots of tie-dyed stuff. πŸ™‚

Categories: dogs, lifestyle change | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s going on (oh, what’s going on)…

It’s been too long since I wrote last.

I had Kedric’s blood and urine ran a couple weeks ago, just to make sure the Rimadyl he’s on wasn’t affecting his liver or kidneys, and found out that he’s got something else wrong with him. We aren’t sure what yet. Vet dropped the C-word on me as a possibility. The specific gravity of his urine is at below a kidney failure level. She says you usually only see those levels with infections, like e. Coli, or cancer, but it could be a few other things. He is on 10 days of antibiotics right now, to see if it is an infection. We go back in on Monday for another urinalysis, and if it looks the same, we move onto the next thing… Really hoping things look better when we go back in. 😦 He’s been playing and acting completely normal. I would have never known there was an issue had I not had his urine ran. So time will tell on that…

Rowan is still a handful. I took her to the vet clinic recently for the first time, and she did okay. Not amazing, but not terrible. No barking or growling or crazy behavior, but she was overwhelmed by the number of dogs and people, and when anyone reached for her she shied away, which was okay. The dogs were everywhere, and she was intimidated by them. There was a little poodle-cross wearing a jacket that she was unsure of, and at one point tried to nip it, but she did it slow enough that I could give a leash and voice correction. Then she tried to nip at a little Pug, and all it took was a voice correction that time, and she shut her mouth and acted friendly toward the dog again. Pushing her limits, I think, just to see what she can get away with. Little shit. We stayed until she was a bit more relaxed around all the commotion, and then before I could get to the, “This is going good, let’s stay a bit longer and see how she does” stage (which is just setting a reactive dog up for failure), we left. It wasn’t perfect, but it was okay. Better to leave on a good note. She even met a standard poodle and an ENORMOUS Great Dane while we were there. She’s only met two Danes while walking before, and was terrified of them. This guy was standing still, so she walked up to him to sniff him and check him out, but whenever he would move, she would jump back away from him. At least she felt okay enough with him to approach and sniff. The biggest Dane I’ve seen in years, too. We’ll take what we can get when it comes to good experiences with strange dogs.

The RV project has been kind of sidelined while dealing with Kedric, since I don’t have money for his medical bills AND the RV. It’s one or the other. Which sucks, because it would be SO much easier to deal with visiting the vet if the RV was up and going, because my vet is a 15 to 20-minute drive away, and I currently have no car.

So since I’m not doing a WHOLE lot with the RV, I’ve been doing more inside the house. I have my first officially empty closet, as of 2 days ago. I was so excited about the empty closet that I stood and stared at it… Closing the door, then opening it back up just to see the emptiness. *lol* I’ve been slowly working my way through the little tedious stuff, and I am getting there. I condensed all my first aid kits down, and have been sorting through my other collections… Pens, stationery, clothes, bandannas, beanies, and crafts. I went through what I call my “emergency kits”, which most people would refer to as bug-out bags, and wrote a list of everything I have in them, so I can compare those lists to the lists I have on my computer, that tell me what I SHOULD have in them. I have a bag for me, and a bag for the dogs. There is a list of things I will need in the RV, and a list of things I need in the emergency bags. I enjoy (way too much) looking through the lists at what I have already (almost everything) and what I need (not much). I can’t wait until I’m finally done here at the house, and I can organize the totes that will be going into the RV.

I have some random stuff that needs to go out to the RV already, but I don’t want to put anything in it until after I get the wipers worked on. You just never know what people will decide to steal… I’ve been to too many repair shops that have warnings posted telling you they aren’t responsible for anything in your vehicle. I’m not sure if that means people stealing from the parking lots, or people who actually work there… But I’ll err on the side of caution.

My roommate’s friend wants to move in here when I move out, so that’s the current plan. He has a lease on his current apartment until the end of April, so at this point, that’s what I’m shooting for. I have almost all of my kitchen stuff packed up, except for the stuff I use all the time, and the stuff I will want in the RV. Since my roomie is a messy dude, things tend to disappear into the void of his bedroom. So as things like my silverware slowly appear in the kitchen, I’ve been washing them and packing them, so they can’t disappear again. *lol* I have also extended the offer to shampoo his bedroom carpet before I go, both to leave the house the best that I can, and also because if he has to drag everything out of his room, all my missing silverware is more likely to make an appearance. πŸ˜€

Today I made a list of all of the ingredients I have in my kitchen pantry so that I can start looking up recipes online to use them all on. There are some items I use all the time, and some that are so bizarre, I’ve only used a handful of times, if even that much. So I am aiming to use up as much of the “weird” kitchen ingredients as I can in the next 2 1/2 months, so the only things I’ll be packing into the RV are items that I am likely to use frequently while on the road. The dogs are going to be stoked. I have a whole list of strange flours that I am planning to make into dog bones. Oat, rice, spelt, almond, flaxseed, barley, etc. The kitchen is going to be an interesting place for the next little while! πŸ™‚

And just because I know you are going to be as impressed and awestruck as I was by the sight (okay… probably not), here’s my very first empty closet! πŸ˜€

firstemptycloset

Hope life is treating everyone well, and that you’re working toward your dreams! πŸ™‚

Categories: dogs, goals, lifestyle change, prepping | 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.

rubykedwalk

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

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