I woke up feeling much better today! The past few days were terrible, but yesterday it turned around. I was worried I'd have to reschedule my Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid certification class yesterday, but I felt good enough to go. My current certification expires next week, and I have to keep it current in order to maintain my RRCA running coach certification.
It was a long class--five hours! I'm glad to have that taken care of for another two years, though. It's hard to believe that it was already two years ago that I got my running coach certification.
This morning, after getting the kids off to school, I went to the rec center to do a deep water run. I had downloaded a bunch of podcasts to my iPod to listen to in the pool, and it really helped make the time go by quickly. I didn't do intervals today--just a steady run, which isn't as effective, but I ran for nearly an hour. I was listening to this podcast called Risk!, which is a storytelling podcast (where real people share real stories, most of which are embarrassing or funny).
I was alone in the deep end of the pool, but there were several people in the other end, and there was a lifeguard walking around the perimeter. I burst out laughing (out loud) at least three times while I was running--it was very embarrassing, but the podcast was so funny that I couldn't help it! Every time the lifeguard would walk by, I hid my face under the water because I had this enormous grin, and I must have looked ridiculous.
Several people have mentioned the podcast Serial, and how addicting it is, so I listened to the first episode of that last week. It's basically a real-life murder mystery, and this woman tries to solve it. I think I would really like the podcast if there was an actual conclusion, but after I listened to the first episode, I asked my friends about the end. It's left open-ended, so I decided not to listen to any more of it. I hate not knowing the truth! It's like that TV show called Disappeared, where people just vanish into thin air, and they are never heard from again--there is no conclusion, so you're left wondering what happened to them.
But anyway, I do love storytelling podcasts, like The Moth, and that's what I've been listening to lately. That will get me through a ton of deep water running! My guess is, it's going to be at least another 3-4 weeks before I can run on ground again.
Joey has been doing great! I still consider myself a "cat person" all the way, but Joey is certainly making me see dogs differently. Today, I was lying on the bed talking to Jerry, and Joey parked himself right in-between us ;)
I think we're learning little bits and pieces about his past based on his behavior. (The only thing we knew from the shelter was that he was brought in as a stray, and nobody ever claimed him). He doesn't bark much at all--he'll let out one or two barks if someone comes into the house (when he hears the door open), but that's it. He doesn't bark when he sees or hears other dogs, when people walk past the house, when meeting new people, or anything like that (yay!). But when I was walking him down our street a couple of days ago, our new neighbor (James) was outside talking to another neighbor (Corey), so I stopped to chat.
When Joey saw the James, he started barking, backed away from him, and looked scared to death. James was really friendly, and tried coaxing Joey to come over to him, but Joey was freaked out. He went right up to Corey, and let Corey pet all over him, though. So it made me wonder if James just reminded him of his previous owner or someone that was familiar to him? I don't know. Eventually, Joey let James pet him, but he was very cautious about getting close to him.
Another clue to his past: Yesterday, he completely tore apart the $16 Kong tennis/football that I'd bought him. I couldn't believe it! Jerry and I were laughing about how quickly he destroyed it, and I gathered up the pieces to put in front of Joey to take a picture (I wanted to show my brother, because his black lab tore his entire house to pieces when he first got her).
As soon as I put the pieces in front of Joey, he looked broken--his ears and tail dropped, and he ran and cowered like he was terrified that I was going to hit him or something. I felt awful! So I think he probably used to get punished for chewing things.
When I was at the Purina Better With Pets Summit, there was a dog trainer there who talked about the effectiveness of using positive reinforcement training, as opposed to "alpha dog" training (praising/rewarding when the dog does good, versus scolding/punishing when the dog does bad), and hearing her talk was really what sparked my interest in getting a dog. She explained things so well, and I decided that if we ever did get dog, I was going to use the positive reinforcement training. (Wow, I feel dumb now! I just double checked the itinerary of the Summit for the trainer's name, and it sounded familiar from the training article I just linked to above--turns out the trainer was Victoria Stilwell from "It's Me Or The Dog" on Animal Planet! I had never seen that show, so I had no idea. Anyway... she was a great speaker, and I loved what she had to say.)
I had to explain to the kids and Jerry how to do it, so that we're all on the same page, and so far, it's worked wonderfully. Joey has learned the following commands: sit, stay, come, drop it, leave it, bring me your ball, down, and back off. And that's within a week! I think the positive reinforcement is good for him, especially considering he seems scared of certain things.
The kids absolutely adore him. Today, Eli was spinning a top on the kitchen floor, and Joey was so curious about it. He kept sneaking up to and trying to tap it with his paw (much like a cat would do) and Eli was cracking up. The kids love that Joey comes to them when they call him, because the cats would never do that (they usually come when I call them, but when the kids do). I really wish I could get Joey to sleep with them, but he always ends up on my bed.
But anyway--that's the update. We've only had him a week, but I'm so happy with how well it's all going!