Absenteeism, Dog Rehab and Small Projects

I should apologize for my absenteeism but I haven’t been in a real good place and as I would try to write – my words were so negative. So, I have kept silent and just been a voyeur at other blogs where life is happier. I guess I needed some time to sort some stuff out. Not that all is so depressing because a couple of things have been done at the house and well, Stella has been in rehab and by proxy – so have I.

Here is a catch up of what has gone on in the rust belt.

Life is energy….this is our philosophy about life. This works on many different levels from where we live, all the way to a dog named Stella and everything in between.

Stella as a baby….damn cute and was Satan’s spawn.

I made the decision to take Stella to the next step in her rehab, when you’re stuck you’re stuck (I was so stuck) and she was showing interest in some dogs (calm ones only) anxiety with others, and she still wasn’t digging men however. I felt it was finally time and made the call. Scott doesn’t know that when I left our first meeting I cried – I do not recommend when driving. I finally found what I have been looking for, I have hope, I have relief that this dog would finally just be “a dog” over time.

The last 5 weeks have been a journey, for her and for us. For this dog to meet her first dog and to have a positive experience is like watching a child take its first steps. My heart could of burst, but the fact that there were used condoms on our sidewalk rained on our moment. Thank You ghetto people for showing us you know how to use birth control – now how about a trash can?

Stella has been to a pet store which is something we could have never done in the past with her. She was in a room with 8 other dogs off leash and not freaking out. We learned to how to manage her fearful behavior, how to set limits and boundaries with her, claim our home, how to catch her at the start of fixating on men, new commands and was on a treadmill. There is one thing that for the husband and I that stood out the most was participating in a pack walk after only 2 weeks. This is the most spiritual thing I have ever done. There is nothing like 13 dogs and 10 owners hiking and not one single peep out of the dogs – it was heaven!

Stella will continue with socialization with Versatile K9 once a month and we will continue to do the pack walks with them. I would love to get some folks together to do pack walks in our neck of the woods on the offset weeks. Our goal with her is to walk downtown of our city with many people and for her not to have anxiety about it. I should also note that yes you can teach an 11 year old dog new things. Lena has gone along for the ride and has learned a new command or two along the way. We had suspect that she might even be a part of some of the issues that Stella was showing. Needless to say our home is much calmer as a whole. A friend remarked last night that you can really tell that the dogs are being worked with because Stella has so much more confidence. If you are looking for a dog trainer/behaviorist Scott and Kaethe from Versatile K9 I highly recommend.

About the house and small improvements.

We had this old non-closet (the kind where a coat hanger doesn’t fit correctly) in need of some love. After I took out a stud or two and well all the framing stuff we did some drywall and just left it.

We always had other plans for the space but just never got around to it. Rain gardens to build, cold frames to build, fence staining the endless list of stuff. It is only part done for we need to go and do a fabric run but it’s much better than it was. A place for coats, the dogs stuff, hats, shoes and boots.

The other small project we did was to utilize a 50 plus year old shipping crate that is just too cool it sit in the basement. We have no storage in our bathroom. No closet. No place to put a closet. Taking out walls to utilize the room between the studs…not even going to go there.

The closet cost like $40.00 in materials and the bathroom cost pennies for the screws. Not bad!

The holiday's have come and gone and well…. I am glad it is over. The neighborhood sounded like a war zone on New Years and I find it quite an accomplishment when one can tell the difference between fireworks and gunshots. In this hood it was more gunshots accompanied by a couple very nice, colorful firework displays.

The neighborhood is semi silent this week. We had huge hopes of the neighbors across the street had moved but as I have said once before when the bills come in people stay with friends and family and return when they have money. I wonder if Mr. Landlord is still collecting his section 8 monies?

The reality is that our neighborhood is going down the drain faster than you can say home for sale. There are more rentals than owner occupied and due to the city's lack of everything it is a matter of time before it looks like the other really bad sections of the city. You see this is part of my funk, my frustration. I have to be honest I am so close to outing where I live I can almost taste it. When you read in a city official report that no matter how much money you throw at the people problem it will never be solved until you solve the economic problem it begs to wonder why?

So you see where we live is sucking the energy right out of us. I would say more me than the husband. I live, I work within a 1 mile radius. The husband and I will go to different parts of the city and walk the dogs looking for something good about where we live. Every single time we see some major screw up of where bad planning has graced us once again. A nice neighborhood, a developer who ran out of cash and not so nice housing is what is left because it becomes rentals and not the good rentals but the ones with the sheets as curtains. The best sign I read on a persons home was "Smile you’re on camera".


6 Responses to “Absenteeism, Dog Rehab and Small Projects”

  1. 1 Karen Anne January 25, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Is there no hope of moving? It was so terrible when I lived in a bad place, and so wonderful when I left.

  2. 2 Michele January 25, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Karen Anne,

    Move…I wish! We could not even get 15,000.00 for our home. Housing here is selling at a fraction of what they are worth. The slumlords are swooping in and buying up properties like it’s Black Friday. Many of these fine folks I would love for them to live in the very neighborhoods they buy in and I would love to cut all their government monies.

    I guess if my city did its job we would not have these issues, since it is painfully apparent that it does NOT I guess it is due to the city actually not wanting to.

    By the way once upon a time the whole entire solution this very issue was given on a silver platter and they watered it down because it wasn’t good for the slumlords. For some strange reason having good legislation and follow through of said legislation is good for other cities just not mine.

    This is the stuff I wish I didn’t know. One decision could have changed many outcomes.

    So moving is not an option.

  3. 3 Holyoke Home February 3, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Living in ‘the hood’ can be really, really draining. I totally understand your frustrations and can relate to a lot of your experiences. I’m so so so happy you left a comment on Holyoke Home so I could come find you.

    You’re my newest blogroll member.

  4. 4 Michele February 3, 2011 at 7:39 PM


    Thanks for dropping by.

    How cool is that a new blogroll member.

    On combating “the hood brain drain”, I kinda like the way that’s sounds, The Husband and I plan these one day trips out of the city. This weekend we are off on a pack walk about an hour away from home its a lovely 1.5 – 2 hour hike…WOOT!

    Actually I’m seeing a blog post about how to combat the hood brain drain.

  5. 5 inkpuddle February 17, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Late to the party, as usual, but this post resonated with me for several reasons. I’m so happy for Stella – owning a “socially challenged” dog is exhausting and trying, and I’m glad it sounds like you’ve found a place that can help her desensitize to those around her. (And as to old dogs, I started training my childhood dog when she was seven years old, and she mastered almost 30 commands before she was eleven!).

    Now, I don’t exactly live in the ‘hood … but I do have sheets for curtains on the panel window by my front door. *Makes shifty eyes.* It’s only temporary, I swear. 🙂

  6. 6 Michele February 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM


    Thanks for stopping by.

    I’m glad that you don’t live in the hood. It can be a huge brain drain day after day with the negative vibrations that it dishes out.

    Sheets on the window, I’ve done that (back in the day as a poor student working 2 jobs) and you can actually make them look cool. I replaced them as soon as I could afford it. Where we live, the sheets stay up until they move, just like the trash in their yard and the interesting porch furniture.

    The Stella….it has been a 5 1/2 year challenge with her – since day one. This dog has taught me patience and the fact that mean dogs (ha, ha) are for the most part dogs that are scared. I look at dogs very differently these days. The husband and I have pulled many dogs off the street where we live. Some of these dogs have been fearful of people – I have a much better understanding these days of why. Our approach with them is very different – respectful of space, calmness, and always with patience.

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