Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tonka's Rehabilitation

It's become very clear to us that Tonka has been abused. While he is the sweetest thing inside our house, the outside world scares him to death. He is very nervous, barking and lunging at anything that moves including flags, plastic bags blowing in the wind and especially other dogs and people. His needs are beyond our understand so we have enlisted our local Dog Whisperer to help us.

I went with Morgan to our first consultation. When we first walked through the door Tonka went ballistic, to the point that he broke out of his collar and ran away. After rounding him back up, the Dog Whisperer (DW) looped his leash so it was high up on his neck, imitating the nipping a dominate dog would do to another, and held it tight until Tonka sat. Tonka reacted by freaking out. He was so mentally unable to loose control that he full blown threw up before sitting. DW explained to us that he has always had to look out for himself, nobody has ever done it for him, so he is hypersensitive to the world around him. We need to take absolute control so that he feels safe and secure. At one point, DW brought another dog in to see Tonka's reaction. Once again, Tonka threw up. He had Tonka sit for the whole hour and during that time, you could see him start to relax.

For a flat rate, we have unlimited private sessions with DW. When Tonka is comfortable enough to be integrated with other dogs/people, we will have unlimited group classes for the life of the dog. He also wants us to bring Champ to the next private session. There is no extra cost for Champ. He is also welcome to all group sessions. DW wants Morgan to be involved as well. She is to be included in any of the private and group sessions.

When we left, Tonka was already a different dog. And boy was he exhausted. Mental stimulation such as concentrating on sit can be as tiring to them as a long run.

Our assignment for this week is to make Tonka feel like he must earn his keep. We are in charge and he must abide by us. We are to keep him on a leash or in his kennel at all times. We are supposed to have him sit and focus on sitting for 20 minutes a day. When we see him getting nervous, we are supposed to gently tug on his special collar to tell him in dog talk that we are in charge, we see the problem and he doesn't need to worry. He still gets hyper. He still barks. He still jumps and cowers. But he is definitely getting better. When someone came to our door, he barked, but instead of running to the door and lunging, he stayed sitting. I have absolute faith that in a couple of months, he will be a confident, secure dog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

We recently got back from our second adult-only sans-kids vacation. This time we spent a long weekend in Vegas with two other couples. It was a great time, once we survived the flight. Seriously, I have never been on a scarier flight. It's never a good sign when people are screaming because of the turbulence. Originally the Vegas airport was closed due to high winds, but then they opened a couple of runways and we were free to take off. The flight attendants had to stay in their seats. When we got close to Vegas, we were tossed around like dolls and must have dropped a couple of hundred feet. Everyone was petrified. When it was time to land the flight attendant actually announced "In case of an emergency evacuation, please leave your belongings behind". Ummm... why are they telling us this? Did the turbulence damage the plane? Are we unable to land correctly? This is not a good sign. Luckily we landed without incident and clapped profusely.

While in Vegas we:

Saw the sites

Hung out with friends

Enjoyed the view from our hotel room
Did some high-end shopping

Rode all the scary rides

Drank a few drinks

Played hours and hours of craps
(no picture available but imagine lots of cheering, high-fiving and money flying)

Hung out with SpongeBob
(picture available but censored)

And partied like rock stars

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seeing Double

As some of you might know, one of my dearest companions, Cheyenne (an American Eskimo) passed away last year. We got a new dog named Champ from the local shelter in December. Despite our new addition, I have been checking out the Aurora Animal Shelter page every so often. Last month I saw they had an American Eskimo. I thought aw, how cute and figured he would be adopted soon. (Can you see where this is going??) Fast forward to last week, when I checked the page again. There was the American Eskimo, still at the shelter. I had an uncontrollable urge to stop by the shelter and see what was wrong with this dog since he was still there.

At the shelter, I found him cowering in cage 5, which happens to be my luck number. I spent a little time talking to him and finally he slinked up to me and let me pet him. He smiled the way this breed smiles and looked at me with those big brown eyes. I felt the heartstrings pull. I went to the front desk and asked them what the story was on this dog. He was a stray. His time was almost up at the shelter. He hated people - barked and nipped. This wasn't the dog that I saw.

I went home and told Mark about him and Mark agreed to visit. We went back and asked to take him into a visiting room. The worker went into the cage to get the dog and the dog freaked out. He was cowering and barking and wanted nothing to do with the leash. Knowing the breed, I didn't see a mean, anger dog but rather a scared, frightened one. We brought him in the room and he was a sweetie. Morgan was with us. When we visited other dogs before finding Champ, she would feel uncomfortable around some of them. She was very comfortable with this dog.

We asked if we could bring Champ to visit before we made a final decision. Their policy is to not let other dogs visit, but they felt with this "troubled" dog they would make an exception. They did not expect it to go well. They were proved wrong once again. The new dog crawled under Champ. They did not fight. He wanted to play.That was it. I was sold.

This was on Saturday. He was unaltered so we had to leave him there until Wednesday, the first time they could get him in for surgery. I visited him while we waited, taking him on walks at lunch. I had no problems getting his leash on him like the worker did.

We finally got to bring him home yesterday. His name is Tonka.

He is a little timid yet, but is warming up. Him and Champ have been chasing each other in the yard for hours. They are still trying to figure out who is dominate, but they are not biting or barking - merely wrestling around. I have a feeling that Tonka might win. Champ is pretty laid back. Either way, they are both really happy together and are going to be great friends.

We definitely made the right decision.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Official Sign of Old Age

You are officially old when you go to the box office to buy tickets for the Def Leppard concert and the young lady behind the counter, after searching for a while on her computer, finally asks: "How do you spell his name?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Disney on Ice

I am a bad mom. I booked tickets to Disney on Ice without really reading about the show. After all, how scary can Disney on Ice - Disneyland be? We all know that Morgan is super-sensitive when it comes to movies and such, but Disneyland? What could that be an issue? Oh, You would be surprised.

First, a few days before the show, I find out it's hosted by the Incredibles. Oh no. Strike one. Mark let Morgan watch this movie when she was just around two years old. The scene where the the baby is set of fire scarred her for life. I have never seen the movie, but to this day she has fear in her voice when she talks about the "hot baby".

Then I find out the rides that they recreate at the show are Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Strike two. She would not get near these rides when we were in Disneyland. She deemed them way too scary.

I figure that at least there won't be any bad guys in the movie. Strike three. Syndrome, in his giant metal octopus looking costume, kidnaps Micky and Minnie and the Incredibles must save them.

All things considered, she did well. She hung in there for a long time. She plugged her ears during the Haunted Mansion, but still watched the show. She got very nervous and buried her head when the Pirates shot off the canon. But still she watched. The straw that broke the camels back came at the end, where Syndrome's army came out onto the ice. Then it was game over. With a screeching scream and a "get me out of here" we were running out the door. There in the hall, I joined a surprisingly large amount of parents and kids who also seemed to be riding out the scary part. She was willing to go back in once the fight scene was over and everything was right in the world again.

The following picture was taken right after the show. You can practically see the joy radiating on her face. At least Kaitlynn and Keaghan thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sincerely Fro Me to You: Homecoming

It was Homecoming in the 80's. The time when a lighter was actually part of your beauty regiment. For those of you that didn't take part in this ritual, one would take their eyeliner and hold it in the flame of the lighter. Once it was nice and gooey, you would smear this liquid mess all over your eyes. Cause nothing is sexier than raccoon eyes. Never mind the danger of having a open flame near that much hairspray.

Click here for more hilarious flashbacks at The Glamour Life Association!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Skiing Pictures

To Mark's credit, he did send me this pictures a while ago. I just haven't had a chance to upload them. Keep in mind that he was busy running after Morgan so it was next to impossible for him to get a picture of her actually skiing. And I appreciate the fact that her safety was priority to pictures.

The Magic Carpet Beginners Area at Echo Mountain

Morgan going up the Magic Carpet. Not sure why her hands are in the area... maybe it made her feel safer??

Climbing up to the snow fort on top of the hill

Friday, March 6, 2009

Answers According to Morgan

This was a tag I received on Facebook. It turned out pretty cute so I wanted to share it here too.

Ask your child(ren) to answer the questions and type their answers in. Tag other moms with older children who might have fun with this:

Answered by daughter, Morgan, 4yrs old.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Be quiet

2. What makes mom happy?
When I say I love you

3. What makes mom sad?
When I talk mean to you

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
When You tickle me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
You were with Baba and Gigi

6. How old is your mom?

7. How tall is your mom?
a lot tall

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?
The Wild (I think she's reflecting her own movie tastes on this one)

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Play the Wii

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
To dance with daddy (which is funny since the only time Mark has ever danced with me, was for our wedding)

11. What is your mom really good at?

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Fixing stuff (guess I've been having Mark fix too many things)

13. What does your mom do for her job?
work making money

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Things I don't like

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When you say what I want to do (Is her strong-willing showing?)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Hannah Montana

17. What do you and your mom do together?
we go to places that daddy's never been

18. How are you and your mom the same?
because our skin, eye color

19. How are you and your mom different?
Of our talk (??)

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because you kiss me

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Daddy's a super hero

22. Where is your mom's favorite place?
That's a good question. Places I've never been?

I'd love to read what your kiddos answer to these questions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WW - Strange Sleeping Habits

Because everyone spends the night sleeping on the floor with a papsan chair on their head.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun head over to Momdot.com

Future Ski Bum

Mark and Morgan had a father-daughter day on Sunday. He took her up to Echo Mountain for her first time downhill skiing. Echo is a new, very small resort by Evergreen. Although it is small, it has it's benefits, especially for kids starting out.
  • It is 30 minutes from downtown Denver with no I-70 traffic. If your kid puckers out early, you didn't waste a long drive.
  • It's very cheap. Kids under five are free and over five is $19 for the beginner area. Regular lift tickets are $43.
  • There are two beginner areas - one with a magic carpet and one with a hand tow.

This experience could have gone either way. Morgan is an adrenalin junkie and loves thrill rides, sledding, and fast boat rides. However, she also is really good at psyching herself out into an all out panic. I am happy to report that she loved it. Apparently she had issues with walking in her ski boots, but Mark helped her get through it. She can not yet turn or stop, but she was able to hold herself upright unassisted while going down. Mark did not use a harness but ran behind her (he got his exercise for the day!). At one point, she started heading toward the orange plastic fencing. Instead of panicking, she simply fell down on her butt, got back up and was ready to go again. They were on the mountain for two hours!

Here is the day according to Morgan: At first I was scared, but then I realized it was totally awesome. I want to go again, but on the big mountain.

Hopefully Mark will be able to take her up one more time this year. He would like to take the Parent and & Me class where they teach him how to teach Morgan. I'm so glad she enjoyed it.

Mark took pictures on his cell phone of the days events. He said that he would get them to me today, so stay tuned.