As I write, the dogs are waking up from a long afternoon nap.  I took them out this morning for a great hike in the conservation area in the wind and pouring rain.  While I really did not feel like going out, I figured no one else would either.  I was right, and we had the place all to ourselves despite it being a Saturday morning.  Thank you oilskin & Gortex!

Life continues to be insanely busy.  I’m not quite sure when it’s going to start slowing down.  Not for a bit yet.  I’ve actually put all training on hold for a few weeks.  There’s just no point in me paying for lessons if I don’t have time to practice.  Plus, after getting in so much trouble for being late at my last agility lesson, I decided to not go back until I was pretty sure I’d be able to be punctual.  I’m feeling a lot better these days, but my energy levels are still unpredictable.  I stopped taking the adrenal support meds I took all last fall to keep me going, and so now am vulnerable to energy ups and downs.  Stress makes them worse, so I do my best to minimize things that stress me out.  Trying to be punctual with my hobbies falls into the category of unnecessary stress to be excised, at least temporarily.

The main reason I stopped taking the adrenal support pills is that, while they were helping, they weren’t curing me.  They just were being palliative.  That was necessary when things in general were unstable and I needed to be able to keep going, and this helped tremendously.  But now that most areas of my life are pretty stable, it’s time to see if this adrenal malfunction that I suffer from can be cured.  From everything that I’ve read, it’s possible in many cases.  Rest and stress reduction are paramount, and I suspect homeopathy can help too.  So I continue to work with my new homeopath and am generally feeling a lot better and more consistent.

I’ve also started back on evaluating the dogs in terms of their health.  I haven’t written anything about their health issues in ages now, mostly because there’s been nothing to write about.  I still don’t know why Mira had worms, as she’s not showing me any indication of having health problem beyond that.  Mentally she’s more sound than she’s ever been.  That may be the crux of the matter – cure comes from the inside out.  As her mind is getting healthier, perhaps the weakness is now in her body.  Her energy and coat are good, her digestion and appetite are good, her weight is stable and appropriate, her eyes are clear, there’s no discharge from her ears and she has no odors in general.  So as far as I can tell, she’s in very good shape.  But the worms still are a red flag, and I continue to watch.

I wrote a while back about putting Mira on Pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy that I thought might be a good fit for her.  I had come across how Puls is indicated (among a number of other remedies) for dogs with a fear of thunderstorms, which is definitely Mira.  I had not thought of her as the Pulsatilla type, but the more I looked into it, the more it seemed to fit.  She is indeed  a very sweet and (now) gentle dog.  She’s also very, very emotionally needed. I discussed Mira with my homeopath this week, and she also felt Puls was a good choice for her.  Apparently the Pulsatilla patient, when out of balance, becomes desperate in her need for emotional reassurance.  That’s Mira – the second I pet or pay attention to any of the other animals, she comes racing over, pushes them out of the way and demands to be petted.  Her need for this is so intense that she will even do it to Ross, despite his propensity to beat the crap out of her for it.  She’s even willing to take on the evil eye of Darth Ross to get reassurance from her mummy.  Such a needy little thing!  I am hoping that Pulsatilla will help reduce this clingy behaviour.

I was rather pleased with myself for deciding on a remedy that my homeopath also thought was the correct one.  Mira has long been my ‘experiment’ dog – the first one I started on sheep, and the first dog I treated on my own homeopathically at a constitutional level.  I had originally selected Stramonium for her, which was tremendously curative.  Apparently Stram and Puls often follow each other and are quite complementary.  In the same way, Calcarea Carbonica and Belladonna are complementary to each other.  These are the two that Ross goes back and forth between.  Mira is not really showing herself to be in a Stramonium state anymore (which involves extreme fear with violent response, violent reactions in general, and a lot of delusions), but now fits Pulsatilla quite well.  I have ordered some in a higher potency and am hoping to further help her get into balance with it.

I had to give Ross a dose of Belladonna just a few days ago.  I was in the process of letting the dogs in the house and Ross had come in first.  He loves to be toweled off and was hanging about my heels hoping to get another rub with the towel as I was cleaning the other dogs, one by one.  This made the front hall rather crowded, so my roommate called Ross to come.  He ignored her, so she changed her tone and ordered him to move.  I was about to tell her that he wasn’t in the way, but she was too quick.  She marched towards Ross – who had still not listened – with the intent of moving him herself.  She is a fan of Cesar Millan, who advocates this type of domineering interaction with dogs.  I am not at all a fan of Millan’s methods (to say the least), and this is why:

Even though he knows her well, this action absolutely terrified Ross.  He leapt over Kess (who I was in the process of cleaning), whipped around and – hiding behind me – barked and air-snapped at her.  His eyes were as big as saucers, he shook all over and even expressed his anal glands.  He was that terrified.

I have never seen Ross do this before, although I do know that he can become fearful if you walk towards him with intent.  This definitely triggers something from his past, but what?  I’ll never know.  I’ve seen fear come into his eyes when I’ve walked towards him to make him do something I asked, and always immediately ease up.  I either turn sideways or move off at an angle and come towards him at 90 degrees, eyes averted and voice gentle.  When I do need to move him (he can be rather stubborn at times) I pet him first, tell him what I’m about to do, gently run my hands down his body and then pick him up gently and give him a cuddle.  Even when he’s being quite naughty.  Walking straight at a dog is an extremely aggressive thing to do, and for some reason, Ross clearly associates this action with terrifying consequences.  Cesar needs to read Patricia McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash!

Ross spent the next hour wearily watching my roommate, looking as though he were about to bolt should she come near.  After a while he relaxed.  Still, he remained on edge for the next couple of days and a lot of his past behaviours came back.  He chased the other dogs around the house and beat them up if I couldn’t intervene quickly enough, and he even growled at me.  He was already settling when I thought to give him Bell, but I did so anyway.  He’s back to his old self now.

In general, Ross has been doing quite well of late.  His coat is getting consistently better, perhaps now that he is very settled into this house.  He still has the strange black patch on his inner eyelid, which no one can figure out what it is.  And today I thought he was limping, ever so slightly, after our  hike in the woods.  I still feel like his life force could do with more tweaking and am going to give him a higher dose of Calcarea Carbonica, the remedy he’s taken in the past with significant improvement.

Kess is doing quite well.  Her coat finally feels really good – it took almost a year for this to happen.  It amazes me how long it takes a body to heal from stress and neglect.  My little black cat took almost two years to get into balance after her ordeal (and I found her at 5 months of age), and Kess has taken a year to recover from her first six months.  But I think she’s in pretty good shape now.  She’s fit, her coat is good and she’s no longer chewing up everything in sight.  Belladonna has helped her tremendously and I am going to give her another dose soon, in higher potency.  While she no longer chews, she still is very excitable and gets overheated quickly.  These symptoms all still fit Belladonna quite well, and since it’s done such wonders for her so far, I’ll keep her on it a while longer and see if it can take these behaviours down a few more notches.

Hannah is pretty much stable and healthy.  I don’t see anything in her that I feel needs to be cured, other than perhaps her slightly stubborn attitude of “I know best!”  Today she took off on me and did an entire lap of the lake rather than coming the short way to me when I called her.  Brat.  But a healthy, happy and stable brat.  With her I see nothing to worry about.  At least not at present.  What a treat.

Now I must get down to grading a set of exams, and then prepare a guest lecture I’ll be giving on Tuesday about our food system.  I’m excited about being able to talk about my research in front of a class, but it will probably take me most of the next two days to get organized.  Hopefully I’ll continue to feel energetic enough to work steadily on it.  Having my energy levels stabilized for the last 6 months has allowed me to get on top of much in my life, but there’s still work to be done.  Fingers crossed things will continue along this path.