Well, today is Friday, March 27, 2020. I am actually not sure how long this has been going on, but it is feeling more serious and I am more stressed and anxious as the days pass. I am trying not to let fear rule my actions, but I gotta tell you, sometimes I struggle. I don’t want to leave my house. For any reason. Not only am I in the #disposablegeneration (political and black humor here,) my house mate is older and diabetic, and has some heart issues. We can’t decide if we want to get sick now, while there are still beds and supplies, or wait for the miracle cure.
Where I’ve been: pharmacy drive through, dr. appointment via telephone, Farm and Fleet drive through order pick-up, WallyWorld: order online- pick up in lot. Getting ready to head out to Crystal Lake for our first grocery run in a week. Which is weird, since I try to avoid shopping. I usually buy two weeks’ worth of food at a time and we also used to eat out a couple times a week. The grocery items I choose are often sold out or out of stock.
What I do to try and stay calm and “keep busy?” • I take walks with my dogs. • I brush my horses. No riding, but grooming is very calming. • I clean out closets and drawers and shelves with the goal of decluttering at least one a day! Speaking of decluttering, for as often as I’ve begun this project, these unprecedented times really pinpoint an issue. “WHY THE HELL am I keeping all this crap?” • I began meditating a few months ago and I am glad. I meditate at least once a day. Usually twice. One is an unguided meditation and the other is a guided meditation. • I absolutely recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium Facebook page and website. They have guided “meditoceans” as they call them, and long peaceful videos. I promise you will find something serene there. https://www.facebook.com/montereybayaquarium/ • I work on writing projects and yard projects and barn projects and household projects. • I started a Virtual Book Club with my nearest and dearest, so of course, I must read daily.
Will it give you comfort to realize that you are not alone? Whatever you are feeling, whatever emotion or stress or anger or pain that you are experiencing right now, I promise there are many other humans in THE WORLD who are experiencing it with you. For some reason, this gives me comfort.
But what I really want to know right now is this: what did you take for granted? What part of your marvelous, unique, special, busy, hectic and amazing life of day-to-day activities, did you take for granted? What part of that will be forever changed?
I am not naïve enough to think that this will be over soon. I am reading news reports for legitimate sources and know better. I will admit that a part of me hopes daily for a miracle. That we will all wake up and learn that a cure has been discovered. A vaccine. A successful treatment. I guess that is what HOPE is for me. There is the hope that ALL the people in my world stay healthy, and I know I am not alone in this hope. I have hope that our world recovers and we will ALL be better; our world will be a better place. So, let us wait, and wash our hands, and pray if you wish to, and stay home as we socially distance ourselves. And let us not lose HOPE.
In closing, a haiku:
Head aches, heart breaks, scared! Breathe, breathe, you are not alone. Find Spring buds and hope —
A worldwide pandemic has changed life as we know it. I live in the Midwest, in the state of Illinois, and we were recently one of the first few states to issue a “stay at home” order.
There is much information out there now and I don’t want to be a source of pandemic information. Rather I would like to talk about my own experience and that of my family and friends in some posts.
Before I begin, I would like to ask that we all please please check our sources of information. These are scary times, and news is updated frequently. Here are two easy reputable links for up to date information.
My life in memes, is always a favorite line for my comments and posts. In between my deepest darkest moments, and my calm, serene full of acceptance moments, I have some moments that are full of humor.
And the humor helps. How do I know this: by the sheer volume of uplifting and humorous memes that are out there now.
A recent favorite:
The most unused household item during Quarantine 2020:
See, folks, I am not alone.
And while the heroes keep our hospitals and medical offices open and our pharmacies and grocery stores running, please understand, that humor will help us get through these times.
What do all the colors in the title have in common? I wish you would wear them. More specifically, I wish you would wear them while walking, running, walking your dog, riding your bicycle, riding your horse outdoors on the roadside. How many times have you driven down a country road, a city road, a suburban road, and noticed walkers, runners, bicyclists just in a nick of time? Were they wearing dark or black colors? Did they blend into the side of the road, blend in with the trees? I have talked to many people who feel the same way. For safety’s sake, brighten up people.
Hey, I get it. Black is cool. I wear A LOT of black clothing, in fact it’s one of my favorite colors. Everything goes with my black jeans and black boots. Or my black top and black boots, black shirts, skirts, sandals, and bras. But, for safety’s sake, not just at night but during daylight hours too, BRIGHTEN up people.
As a walker, dog walker and horseback rider, I have had several close . During outdoor activities as a driver and a sport participant, I make it a point to wear blaze orange when riding, florescent green when walking. Not always my coolest outfit, but I’ve seen too many dark clothed cyclists, walkers and runners that were hard to see.
I realize that bright colors are noticeable! I see you out there. You want me to see you out there! You want other drivers to see you out there. Put a few words into a search engine and you will see testimonials from runners and riders about near misses and not-missed accidents. It’s a scary thing. Of course, collisions happen. I’ve been on the country roads riding my horse and wearing bright blaze orange and there has been some close calls. Yelling, swearing and flipping off drivers that were so close to my leg I could have kicked the car is a horrible “what if” moment. Anything that happens would go down in the blame column of the drivers; but if wearing bright obnoxiously bright colors would help, why wouldn’t you? Brighten up people.
This seems like common sense, does it not? I try to wear bright colors while riding my horse – on the trails too-because there is always a road crossing or connection. I try to wear brighter colors when I am walking the dogs or just walking. If it’s too warm for my lime green hoodie or blaze orange jacket? I’ll tie it on my waist so you can see me from behind. (see me from behind…don’t even think about saying it…)
Below are some quotes about reflective gear and bright attire. Everyone knows it makes sense and it’s the thing to do- so let’s all put it in practice. BRIGHTEN UP PEOPLE.
So, this summer, my horses had hives. Again. My 20 year old Haflinger mare has insect bite sensitivity and probably allergies to unknown pollens since she reacts often in summer and early fall. She gets hives and is on Hydroxyzine and some skin spray during reactive times. My 18-year-old TWH mare has had hives a few times also. But this year, it’s been hot and wet, muggy and buggy. Both came down with hives AT THE SAME TIME. It’s awful to see your pretty sleek horses covered in welts and bumps. Of course, this ALWAYS happens on a weekend or after hours and I have to bother my vet. Thankfully I have a lovely vet, who answers my texts, looks at photos, and is a calming influence.
Besides trying to do SOMETHING to treat them, I had to try and figure out what caused it and stop doing it. First, they both had Hydroxyzine right away. Teagan the Haflinger had already been on it prophylactically and Gypsy the TWH mare is now on it.
What could have happened the previous 24 hours to cause this? And yes, sometimes, what causes the hives is something that happened 24 hours or more ago. 1.Both horses were dewormed for the first time in months. (We usually do fecals.) 2.They were in the grass paddock, which was buggy and humid. There may be new weeds, new pollens?
3.They were fly sprayed up close and personal instead of the usual misting.
4.All the recent rains in our area produced a new crop of mosquitos.
Meanwhile, I turned to “google” and my “horse groups” on social media. Research horse hives and there is a wealth of information. What did I learn?
•It is very common. Some photos show horses much more hivey than my two.
•It can be extreme. It can go away as quickly as it comes and it can linger for days.
•Some hives are caused by allergens for which horses can be tested.
•Sometimes the hives itch, sometimes they don’t bother them at all.
•Some hives are small mosquito bump sized lumps all over. Sometimes the hives are localized. Sometimes they are spread out and large swellings.
•One usually never can tell what caused the hives, especially if they disappear in a 24-48 hours.
After consultation with my vet, we decided they may be bug bite reactions. The mosquitos were bad, and hatched a fresh crop after recent rains. My horses get sprayed with insect repellent every day in bad buggy weather and every other day as needed. I alternate sprays so effectiveness stays high. As I said, usually I mist and this time I doused them because they were on the grass pen, where they were lots of bugs.
It probably was not deworming, although horse people know sometimes pinworms come out as hives or some other gross horse thing. My vet didn’t think it was caused by that since the reaction was not immediate.
Was there something in the hay? It is a rough hay season in the Midwest because of the rain, so maybe there was a weed.
Now, sometimes hives can be very serious. If it’s a serious allergic reaction, and your horse has trouble breathing, don’t waste time googling crap! Call the vet immediately! If your horse is in severe distress, itching, scratching etc. call the vet. In fact, when in doubt, call the vet. That’s pretty much my mantra. Yes, I was the same way with my human kids, and AM the same way with my KanineKids.
Because of the bugs and weather, I decided to keep them in their freshly cleaned stalls loaded with fresh pine shavings at night. Usually they have access to a small paddock and can go in and out of their run in shed stalls at will. I dosed them with their hydroxyzine and sprayed their hives and welts with the EquiShield IBH Spray. The next morning both were better although my Haflinger mare still had a large swelling which could have been a bee sting or a bug bite reaction.
I was lucky. Or should I say my horses were lucky. Actually, we were all lucky. Within 2 days, their hives were gone. I stopped using the green bottle of fly repellent and rotated between two others in the supply. No, I still don’t know what caused the hives for sure, but this time I’ll go with bug bite sensitivity.
Let me introduce my Golden
boy Leo. Leo is a five-year-old Golden Retriever. He is a beauty with golden-brown
eyes and a creamy coat. He loves to be scratched and petted as most dogs do.
Ah, handsome Leo. But if you meet him, you will understand why we call him the
problem child, the juvenile delinquent of the family, and sometimes, a few
names that can’t be repeated here. I have had dogs my whole life, and I do realize
part of the problem is me. We’ve turned into pet parents that spoil the canine
kids. Our Golden boys are the sons we never had. Did I mention we are empty
We have another
Golden, nearly 7-year-old caramel delite Oliver. Oliver is the big brother who
can do no wrong, at least that’s what our memory tells us. Though he did a
decent job of teaching his sibling, he failed in a few areas.
Leo has several
issues: he can be an anxious dog at times. He has food intolerances. He likes
to grab your sleeve when you come in the door and won’t let go. He also likes
to grab remote controls, cell phones, designer sunglasses, regular sunglasses, socks,
undies (his or hers,) washcloths and towels. He holds these items in a clenched
teeth death grip and one must pry the now slime covered object out of his
mouth. He also loves to fetch the ball but won’t release it. Prying ball out of
mouth: same slimey action. The larger size squeaky tennis ball is truly is his
Leo also barks like
a mad dog every day when he sees the mail truck. Oliver merely observes since
he knows the mail truck comes EVERY SINGLE DAY! Even though Leo is reassured
that the mail truck is allowed in the yard and allowed on the road in front of
the house, he still loses his shit daily. We also must reassure him that
pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers ARE allowed on the road in front of the
One of his favorite
things is to look out the large picture window in the living room and watch for
people, and animals: deer, turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks, birds etc. We live in
the woods and wildlife is abundant. He also likes to fiercely bark at the
Leo had different socialization
as a puppy -different from Oliver. I did wrong when I assumed they would be the
same Golden boy, only different colors. Leo also missed out on a lot of puppy
socialization that Oliver received from his breeder and we continued. Believe
me, it matters. It really makes a huge difference in their behaviors and yes, I
do understand that some of it is a personality difference.
One thing that Leo
hates more than anything is having his nails trimmed. Hates. Now I am not sure
when it exacerbated to the degree that it became such a serious problem, but I
can explain part of it. And it is a difficult problem to have, though from what
I read, not uncommon.
For one thing, I
rarely trimmed his nails as a wee puppy as religiously as I should have. So it
turned into a challenge on occasion, but still. we got it done. Let me tell
you, Leo is an elephant and he never forgets. The experience that changed
everything for us went as follows:
It was a trip to a
vet who knew I wanted him sedated to make the job easier but wanted to try it
without the use of sedatives. So, we wrestled him and hog-tied him with our
arms and weight. It took 3 people, two to hold him down and one to trim his nails
one at a time. Each nail was a struggle and he hated being held down. He even
took a distraught nip at one of the helpers. I still feel guilty that I didn’t
have enough presence of mind to call a halt and say STOP. And though I have
guilt now, bad dog mom, I paid for this ignorance later. Later came when soon
afterward, we had to get Leo into the car to take him and his brother to the
Did I mention that
Leo never forgets? There was no way he was getting into that car, let me tell
you. Caught unawares by his behavior, I tripped over a landscape timber and
pulled a hamstring. So bad I couldn’t walk straight for several days. Man, that
hurt. It also happened to be a family wedding weekend, hence the visit to the
boarding kennel. It took several drinks and some anti-inflammatory meds to dance
that weekend, let me tell you.
After that episode,
I had to retrain Leo with treats and lots of love to get back into the car. I
promised him we would not go to the vets to be hogtied again, and he soon
happily jumped in and out of the car.
Before this episode
and after it, I tried training. Give me your paw. Let me hold your paw. Used a
clicker. Used steak and beef and cheese and treats. Worked on holding his paws,
holding the clippers, clicking noise with my tongue like the clipper would
make, brushing the paw, holding the paw, playing with his feet. All to no
avail. One time my daughter and I worked with him for an hour to trim one nail.
I didn’t want to traumatize him again either, and worked on my patience and
worked to stay calm.
Meanwhile, we visited
a new vet. The previous one was a mobile vet and I knew we weren’t getting back
in that van, let me tell you. After I explained his nail-clipping problem to
the new vet tech, he said, “Oh, let me take him to the back room. Sometimes,
they are just not well behaved for their owners.”
Did I say “No way,
do it here, I know it won’t work?” No, I let him take Leo, my troubled anxious
dog to the back and try to clip his nails.
nail-biting tense minutes, he returned. He was perspiring and slightly
red-faced. “We couldn’t do it,” he said. “He was pretty upset.” When the vet came
in, he said Leo traumatized the tech. I asked if he bit and was told no, but
Leo now has a huge black mark on his permanent record. Whenever I bring him in
for shots, etc. suddenly we are surrounded by techs with worried looks on their
faces. We had a hard time drawing blood for his heartworm test after that, too.
Mind you, this is a Golden
Retriever who loves everyone and will crawl on your lap like a puppy every
chance he gets (and every time he is allowed.) Poor Leo. You would think I
would have learned the first time. I’m sure that experience, a new place, a new
vet, new people, a crowded back room of dogs and vets and cats and lord knows
what else did nothing to help our situation. I admit that I am ashamed of these
two incidents where I didn’t advocate for my canine kid, but I share it as a
learning experience for others.
In the interim, I’m
worrying. I know long nails are unhealthy for the dog. And dog paws that paw and
scratch are unhealthy for the human. We walked on pavement and worked on nails
and paw holding and stroking and clicking and treating. All too little results.
I also consulted trainers, (paw click treat) you-tube videos, training blogs
and more. I read and studied and read. Until…
One day, I had an
Leo loves food. I
know I am lucky about this. All my dogs have been treat/food motivated. I find
it so odd when I hear a dog friend say that their dog is not food motivated. I
wonder how they you teach them tricks, but, whatever, right?
So, Leo loves his treats
AND of course, loves his MEALS. One day, while he was eating breakfast, I used
the opportunity to cut a mat out from his hind leg area. And then it hit me. At
mealtime, food is all Leo cares about.
During dinner that
night, (and a yummy one it was, kibble and bone broth and beef chunk topper, oh
my) I grabbed the nail trimmers and gently picked up one of Leo’s hind paws.
Clip. Done. One nail done. ONE NAIL CLIPPED WITHOUT TEARS (mine) and anxiety
(his.) Since he has a slow feeder bowl, and was still eating, I gently grasped
one of Leo’s front paws. He turned his head to look at me and went back to his
bowl. CLIP! I trimmed another nail!
IT WAS A MIRACLE! Although
he loved treats, he didn’t want his paws touched or handled no matter how many
treats you offered. But a WHOLE BOWL of delicious food, that was another story.
Now, every other
day, while Leo eats, I trim a nail or two or three. And he is content to eat
his meal while I do this. And over a period of time, our naughty needy Golden
boy gets his nails trimmed! After hours of clicker training and de-sensitivity
training and research, and how-to videos and wrestling and pleading and
begging, I discovered the perfect answer to our problem. Good dog Leo. Good
Started years ago, most posts were never published. Fast forward, and here we are. I went through several variations of a blog name, trying to be cute, catchy and clever since I do hope to monetize the blog (doesn’t everyone?) I consider myself a Jack of all Trades and there is much I want to write about.
Blog Name Ideas: Every Little Bit, Piece of My Heart, Through the Windows, If Not Now, If Not Now-When, Good-Better-Best, Just Think About It; and a few I can’t remember. I wanted to let readers know my blog is going to be about EVERYTHING: Family, life, writing, reading, riding, horses, dogs, books, travel, gardens, antiques, food, photos, and so much more. Did I mention LIFE?
I PROCRASTINATED longer and longer, til recently, I realized, FFS, just do it! If not now, when? Why wait for the good, better, best blog title, and let’s let people look through the windows at every little piece of my heart? Don’t just think about it. Do it.
So, welcome to my original blog titled Not Just Horsing Around. I look forward to hearing from you.
And remember, as you read and comment, in a world where you can be anything, be KIND.