Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Plans for the New Year

No one can deny that 2016 was pretty much a killjoy, but Delilah and I are so excited about the potential 2017 has to offer!  Last year I started making some plans and goals for things I'd like to accomplish this year!


1) Luxating Patella Surgery:  Delilah has luxating patellas (floating knee caps) in both of her hind legs which makes it uncomfortable for her to exercise.  Whenever we go on walks she usually hops along on three legs.  This is part of the reason why we stopped agility training.  This year, I would like to get her surgery and physical therapy for this problem.  If left untreated it can develop into arthritis, and I like being active with my dogs, so I want Delilah to be comfortable during hikes, walks, and training.  She will definitely be getting surgery this year, when depends on whether I can do payments or if I'll have to save up to pay the entire bill at once.

2) Raw Diet:  I used to get Zignature for free when I worked full time at the dog daycare.  Now that I only work part time, I only get discounted food (including raw).  Delilah has one more bag of Zignature to go through (it will probably take her 3-4 months) and then we're going to try a raw diet.  She already gets raw food during training and I give her some raw meat when I'm cooking, so I don't think she'll have much trouble switching over.


1) Compulsive Disorder:  Delilah's still very anxious around people but that continues to improve slowly but surely thanks to behavior modification and fluoxetine.  The main issue I have with her now is she continues to obsess over things like light, spots on the ground, water, and dust.  Right now what I think I'm going to try is to increase her fluoxetine from 3 mg to 5 mg, another thing I'm going to be talking to the vet about.  For those who are new to Delilah's and my journey, when she becomes stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, her compulsive behaviors become worse.  It got to the point in training classes and trials that she would completely zone out and just fixate on things like dust instead of focusing on what we were learning.  It became very frustrating for both of us and the other reason why we stopped agility and barn hunt.

2) Agility Training:  Depending on how her surgery goes and how much she improves on her fluoxetine, I would like to resume agility training.  Classes are too stressful for Delilah so I'm thinking that we could try private sessions instead.  I don't think we'll ever be able to compete, but it's something we have both enjoyed in the past, I want to continue training for fun.


1) Dog Mountain:  I've been to Stephen Huneck's Dog Mountain once before with Mia, and we had a great time hiking on the mountain and visiting the gallery and Dog Chapel.  I'd like to go with Delilah now, she'd love hiking and meeting the other dogs there.  I also want to leave a note for Mia in the Dog Chapel, with a photo from when we had visited.

One of these things is not like the others!  Mia and the sculptures at the Dog Chapel.
2) Camping:  My boyfriend and I have been talking about going camping, and I'd love to do that with Delilah.  She always seems most comfortable out in the woods- it would be a really fun adventure for us!

My Personal Goals

1) Volunteering at HSCC:  When I was in college I used to intern and volunteer at my local Humane Society.  Mostly I walked dogs and helped with some of the cleaning.  It was really fun to meet all of the different animals at the shelter and help make their stays more enjoyable!  Other than the dogs, I also loved hanging out with the bunnies.  I've already attended a volunteer orientation, and I'm going in tomorrow for some training.  My goal: volunteer for 100 hours this year.

An HSCC dog that I used to walk.
2) Explosives Detection Canine Handler:  This is a longer term goal and I don't expect it to happen in the next year, but hopefully within the next three years I will be able to achieve it.  I want to handle  bomb sniffing dogs for the TSA, and I would prefer to stay in Vermont (though there are certain areas I would consider moving to).  Currently I'm working my resume, continuing to build up my security and dog handling experience, and hopefully some positions will become available this year that I can apply to!

3) New Puppy:  In the next year or two, I'm hoping to bring home a Rat Terrier puppy.  There's a local breeder that I know who breeds and shows AKC and UKC Rat Terriers, and has also participated in dog sports like weight pull, terrier racing, and agility.  They seem like a really good match for what I'm looking for- something structurally sound, mentally stable.  A small, athletic dog that I can train and compete in dog sports with (I have particularly enjoyed agility and barn hunt).  Last week, we learned that Delilah is a Jack Russell x Rat Terrier mix.  And I love Delilah so much, these dogs are very similar, but well bred and socialized, so ideally I'd be able to avoid many of the mental and physical health issues I've had with Delilah.  Obviously this goal is a little longer termed, because Delilah's surgery and mental health are my first priority.  But once she's doing well, I'm definitely going to start planning for a second dog.

One of their rat terriers who lives with my friend.


  1. It sounds like you have a wonderful and adventure filled year ahead of you. May it bring you much joy.

  2. I really like all your personal goals. A new puppy might help Delilah not get so fixated on things, she'll have a little playmate.