Saturday, April 19, 2014

Oreo...she's quite a cookie

I figured it was time for a little Oreo update. First, the bad news.

We are learning that Miss Oreo thinks the house and yard are hers to protect and that she will growl when she sees anyone or anything outside, maybe even let out a bark, and that she will growl almost every time the front door opens if she cannot immediately see who it is. This is not an acceptable behavior because she should never growl, and her barking should be reserved for alerting to a seizure only.

She also is trying, much like a toddler, to test and push her boundaries here. And I must confess, we were letting her get away with way more than any of our other girls ever did! She was not always staying in command and would basically do what she wanted when she wanted. And just like what happens to every other parent that spoils their child, she was getting a wee bit out of control and we were constantly making excuses for her because she is just such a good dog in comparison to any other dog her age. Also, her being naughty only ever happens at home. When we are out in public and she is in full on "work" mode, she is just perfect.

case in point...staying in the perfect DOWN command while at Children's Hospital

And let's face it, when it's your dog that sniffs out an ear infection in your child who cannot tell you their ear hurts so you wouldn't have realized it yourself until other symptoms began to appear, you tend to be able to overlook the little imperfections in behavior.

However, it get to the point where I knew we were not doing the right thing by Oreo, the people who took so much time to train her, or to Tess, to let her continue with her "bad" behaviors. So I put in a call to the lead trainer at 4Paws and told him everything that was going on.

I got a much needed training refresher and pep talk and am now implementing all of the suggestions that Jeremy told me to try. There is still room for improvement with Oreo's behavior, but she is definitely responding positively to me being more firm with her and not making excuses for her when she is being naughty.

And now for the good news.

We just love her to pieces. She is an amazing dog and makes Tessie laugh and giggle more often than we have heard in such a long time. She is pre-alerting to Tess's seizures, and again, alerting to the ear infection really just blew me away! She is very loyal to Tess and is quite the mother hen with her.

The first time that Oreo saw Tess get PT, she did not like it one bit. She got between Tess and the PT person and then, after a bit, Oreo literally laid down on the floor and put her paws over Tess so they couldn't move her anymore, as if to say, "Leave my girl alone!" We were cracking up.

Oreo laid right on top off Tess during a PT session. She was done letting her girl be moved all around.

She also does not like it when anyone goes to lift Tess, especially if she is not super familiar with who is doing the lifting. She stays right there until Tess is safely put back down. Oreo gets very upset if we close Tess's bedroom doors (like to change her) and she cannot get in. She will scratch at the door and whimper until she is let in and can see Tess. If we bring Tess into the bathroom, Oreo follows and will lay down and wait until we bring Tess out.

One morning Oreo was laying on the floor in the kitchen while Ellie ate her breakfast and Tess was in her bedroom still in bed. Tess likes to wave her arms around sometimes when she is lying down and Oreo must have seen them out of the corner of her eye because she scrambled to her feet and ran in to check on Tess (it probably looked like Tess could have been seizing to Oreo), and when she saw that Tess was fine, she came back out into the kitchen. It's really amazing just how aware of Tess that Oreo is all of the time.

look at Tessie smiling at her dog!

and look at the two of them looking at each other during the cute!

We've only had Oreo for two and a half months and I already couldn't imagine our home without her. And just like all our other girls, she basically has the hubs wrapped around her little...well...paw.

To be honest, she has all of us wrapped around her little paw.

our newest princess

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keeping my mouth shut

This was what I posted on my FB wall two days ago:

"This literally just happened to me while waiting for the Music Box Theater to open their doors for Pippin in NYC the other night. This total stranger, an older man, starts telling "epileptic jokes" to me, Ellie and our two friends. The ones that start with, "What do you call a salad tossed by an epileptic.... along with a few other equally distasteful ones involving seizures. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I can have a pretty off color sense of humor but this was just crossing the line. I came very close to telling him a joke of my own:
"What do you call an old man who tells epilepsy jokes? A corpse", (because I am going to kill you in about two seconds).
Lucky for him I chose to take the high road and just disengaged because I was ready to tear him to shreds!"

I got several comments about how surprised they were I didn't tell this guy where to go and how to get there; especially from my friends and family who know me so well and were shocked that I kept my mouth shut.

The reason I chose to not confront this guy is a little complicated. First of all, we were in a VERY crowded theater on Broadway on a Saturday night and I was with my middle daughter, Ellie, her best friend, Hannah, and my best friend, Kellie (who also just happens to be Hannah's mom).  Second, we were there in the first place because this was sort of a big trip for Ellie. We had just come from "Admitted Students Day" at the college of her choice and were now in the City for the night to take in a Broadway Show. Pretty exciting stuff for a kid from a small island who will soon be heading off to NYC for college. In other words this was Ellie's time and I didn't want to ruin it by getting into a heated discussion with a total stranger right before the doors opened to the show and ruin everyone's evening.

Now make no mistake about it, if Tess had been there and this guy had been telling those "jokes", I would have left him with a very clear understanding of my feelings on the subject and Tess would know that, once again like always, mama had her back. However, there are some instances where keeping quiet and letting something go is the best way to handle it. Tess wasn't there but Ellie and our friends were, and I didn't want one man's ignorance to throw a shadow over the fun weekend that we had been experiencing. That's how I felt that night and I how I still feel when I look back on it. It showed Ellie that she is important as well and that I chose to put her evening's happiness ahead of my own need to want to tear this man apart. I know she would have totally supported me and understood if I had given this man a piece of my mind, and so would our friends, but I think everyone was happier going into that show with no angry words left hanging in the air.

Now I need to backtrack a bit. Earlier that day while riding on the Staten Island Ferry on our way back into the city, I saw a man with a little boy, probably ten or eleven years old. This boy was having a complete meltdown. Pulling on his dad, hitting him, yelling at him, and even at one point, nearly throwing his dad down the stairs because he was trying so hard to get away from him. I noticed the other passenger's stares at this duo. Some wore looks of obvious disgust that the dad wasn't making his son "behave", others were curious and still others, like me, probably recognized what was really happening.

The little boy had special needs.

Many of the behaviors the little boy was displaying made me think that possibly he had some form of Autism. Flapping hands, refusal to make eye contact with anyone; even his dad. Walking on tip-toes, and the constant thrashing of his body as if trying not only to get away from his dad, but even himself. As for the dad, he would calmly try to redirect his son and never once yelled or got too physical.

I was unsure of what to do. I knew I had Tess's Ipad with me and gave a momentary consideration to offering it to the dad for his son to play with. Then I wondered if being approached by a total stranger would be too overwhelming for the boy and escalate what was happening.

As I was debating with myself over whether or not to ask if I could help in any way, another woman started telling the boy to, "Stop being mean to your daddy. Stop being a bad boy. Be a good boy." My heart broke for this dad who was just trying to get thru the ride and was now being passive-aggressively told that he should be disciplining his child by a stranger and that since he clearly wasn't going to do it, then she would.


Immediately after that the man redirected his son to a different area of the boat. He never got angry with the woman who had so very clearly misjudged the situation and lectured his son. He simply chose to keep his mouth shut and move on.

Maybe that is what inspired me to keep my mouth shut later that night? Maybe not. But I do know this, I don't regret keeping quiet with the man at the theater, but I sure do regret not saying something encouraging, or even just kind, to the struggling dad on the Staten Island Ferry.

I know there are many days when I feel very grateful when someone tells me that I'm a good mom. This guy was a good dad. I should have told him so.