Monday, June 29, 2009

Two year olds are awesome!!!

After years of avoiding working in the 2 year old room at our old church, I signed up to coordinate the toddler room. The kids have begun to have small group lessons in a separate room, to avoid distractions of too many kids or toys.
This has the little guys actually listening to and learning the lesson! Last Sunday, I had my first 2 yr old say our memory verse... well, a shortened version supplied by the curriculum we use. I gave him a hi-5 and he kept saying it. He actually shouted it when he changed rooms!!
We then had a situation with a toddler and his brother getting sick. The little guy was concerned so I asked if he wanted to pray. He said yes and took my hands. Well, all the kids saw us praying and began to grab hands. Before I could finish a prayer condensed and simplified for 2 yr olds to repeat, almost every child in the class was in the circle trying to pray.
Since, other kids have begun to say our memory verse. When a child falls (which always happens in groups of kids) we pray "Ouchie go away in Jesus name". I start and several of the kids will come up and say their version while laying their hands on the fallen child.
Seeing these little guys and their innocent faith is so awesome! I have been truly blessed to be allowed to work with them.

Pixie progress

Well, I've been a responsible pet owner. I had Pixie spayed two weeks ago. When the vet saw her, she told my daughter that I'm the 5th owner of this little dog, who they guess is about 13 months old. Seems there was a shelter a return, shelter return, an adoption and abandoned, adopted and abandoned then me... all in 1 short year.
I could understand if this were a ferocious pit bull attacking and mauling everything that breathes... but this sweet little dog mainly licks!
She is doing wonderful in her obedience training. She can Sit, Lay Down, Come, and Go In her House (crate). She can do these all with treats, sometimes without treats.
She is learning Turn Around, but this is tricky. If done in a certain way, she cowers down, as if I'm going to hit her. It's mainly turning clockwise, where I move my hand from her head around to her back right leg (which has a sometimes limp - it's not every step)
We are also working on Shake, but she has issues with touching her paws - unless in the bathroom. This will take some time to overcome, but the kids really want a dog to shake.
She has gained 1 1/2 pounds and is a bit over 6#. She is maybe a half pound overweight. We are working on fat to muscle and cut most carbs in her diet. Her treats are oven dried liver or chicken breast, lower in fat and calories, so she can train and have more than store bought treats! I prefer (so does she) the chicken ones. She has transitioned fully to home-made food (and treats) except for a sushi chew from petco.
Petco is still working with her on getting her to allow grooming. I know dogs would never get their nails done and bows in the wild, but Pixie isn't in the wild and I want a fully groomed dog for our Thanksgiving trip and Christmas. She really does not have enough fur to put a bow on her head, so we are considering a gel colored mohawk for special events.
She now leaves my lap. Except in the mornings. Every morning, we get up at 5:15 for my prayer time. I can't hit snooze or skip prayer, as she will fuss at me. This keeps me praying daily, without fail, no matter how tired I am. (she should get a click and treat for this)
She stay on my lap during prayer and bible study time. The moment my granddaughter walks in the door, Pixie is up and full of energy. Days I don't have grandkids. she sleeps on my lap until I make breakfast.
She takes morning walks with different family members. I make everyone take turns so she will walk with everyone. We are not allowing afternoon or evening walks due to heatwave. However, she loves to play Hide And Seek with the kids. After about 5 minutes, it turns into full blown chasing games. Then she wants to run after and "kill" her loofah dog toy. When she is ready to chase the toy for the kill again, she drops it in front of us. But she won't fetch yet, unless on leash and guided back the first time.
All in all, she has made wonderful progress. I am concerned about the history of abuse and how to correctly handle this. But I'm finding loads of information on several sites. Two that I use faithfully are

Both offer articles on positive correction/training of dogs. Pet Expertise has a neat free training book to download. It's different in that it has a progress chart and each action in various situations.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

concerned about dog food

I adopted Pixie from a vet, and assumed (oh, bad, bad, thing to do) that the food the vet put her on was the best for her. After all, a vet is there to take care of our animals.
Well, 5 weeks into owning Pixie, I asked around about possibly controlling some of her anxiety through diet. That is when my eyes were opened to the horrifying world of pet food. The more I research, the more I'm disgusted. Soylent Green...
I have discovered that the leading brands, the brands I have come to trust over the years, put horrible stuff in pet food. Dogs can't digest corn, and many use corn as a main ingredient.
So, along with reading my kids food labels, I'm now reading dog food labels. But, it's coming more and more possible that I will cook for my dog. Except for a few supplements, everything dogs need, I serve my family. Normally, cooking for dogs is expensive - but Pixie is tiny. She finally hit the over 5# mark!
I'm still researching, and watching her.
This week, she is eating ground chuck. The little rascal actually pulls green beans out, but dogs don't really need veggies, and there are better ones for her. I add a little oatmeal to is, fish oil,and mix with a bit of her kibble, to convert her over. She hasn't liked chicken so far.
Since I can't repost the study info, I can tell these things.
Dog food should have specific meats as the first few ingredients - beef, chicken, pork. Not by products. Fats and meal should specify which fat and meal - not just animal fat. Check chemicals - some that have been banned from human food is in our dog food. These additives are known carcinogens and are not regulated by any animal agency.
All the information I've read is based on findings by the US gov and veterinary groups. BUT - I take studies with a grain of salt. You can find studies showing coffee is good and bad for you.
Pixie, will be enjoying healthier foods cooked by me, and I will supplement her with a natural dog food.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pixie learns to play

Pixie was a rescue dog, so we don't know about her past. When we got her, she didn't know how to play. She didn't like any toys.
It has been 4 weeks, and through patience, trial and error, and assistnace from Petco in Pasadena, she has found a couple of toys she likes (she prefers stuffed, soft toys).
She likes a Cesar Milan Squirrel that is almost at big as she is. She attacks the squirrel on a regular basis.
After 1 weekend of tossing and tugging, she now plays a fetch type game with her stuffed butterfly.
On occasion, she will chase a small tennis ball, but quickly looses interest, preferring her stuffed animals.
She does like her puppy kong filled with treats when we leave. And she likes the Petco "sushi roll" chews. Either of these will keep her playing and chewing quietly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Walk by Faith, not by Sight...

I have heard this at church and from every preacher, pastor and evangelist alive. It seems to be the heart-cry of many during this time. Like everyone else, I keep trying. Like everyone else, I mess up.
But God is so good, He meets me on my level, and teaches me His way.
Walk by Faith, not by Sight... Ok.
So, my gas gauge is now broken - sort of. It works sometimes. I never know when it is working. I fill up and the next day, the need gas light comes on. Common sense tells me to check the gas, go and top off, if necessary... the light is on and it's there for a reason.
But faith tells me how big my gas tank is, how many miles I've driven and computes these numbers. I can confidently drive from my house to Katy, Texas, an hour away with the gas light on. I was a bit concerned when starting out, but I went over the calculations, and decided to trust them. I made it to Katy.
So, this is how it works... I don't look at the gas light in my car.
Why is this so difficult for outside the car?? It's not. I'm not looking at the gas light. The gas light is not reporting good information to me. I'm getting it...
The Fuel is the Word of God. If I fill up, I'll be fine. However, I need to keep fuel, or I'll be in trouble.
the gas tank is me. The gas light is my situations... bank account, car repairs, rising costs...
So, I fuel up at Godco, and stay full. I know that He meets my needs and I should not worry. This is my calculations.
Object lessons... what I use to teach my kids, God has now turned and is teaching me.