Thought pieces/Opinion

Tips for when you work from home & have a dog!

Working from home has it’s major perks. One of the best parts about working from home is hanging out with my best buddy all day. It also has it’s benefits such as increased happiness, reduced stress levels, increased productivity, more hugs and exercise! But it’s not just as simple as us gazing into each other’s eyes all day. Many times throughout the day I feel guilty about Pax in the house too long or not surrounding him with furry friends all day. So, I make an effort (well, I use to before the accident) to take him on a good 20-25 minute morning walk a 15 minute late afternoon walk and take him to the park in the evening every night to run around with all his little friends. Right now, it’s been tough since I don’t mobility to take him walks and I can tell he gets restless. However, dogs are very intuitive and he’s been sleeping a lot while I’m recovering. When I’m on conference calls or have meetings I don’t have an office with a receptionist taking packages or answering other phone calls. It can get a bit noisy when I’m in my home office and amazon delivers in the middle of the day and Pax decides he’s the man of the house and says hello to the mail man.

Here are some tips that might be helpful! 

  • Exercise your pup in the morning- they will then be ready for nap time! It will also be a great way for you to start your morning. 

  • If you can try and take a break at your lunch time and take your dog out for a quick walk to stretch both of legs!

  • Don’t take yourself so seriously! Your pup might want your attention, bark, walk on top of your keyboard- it’s all OK! Enjoy these moments- they are reminders not to take life so seriously! 

  • Hire a dog walker. Even though you are at home and you might feel like you “SHOULD” be able to do everything your job might not allow you the flexibility. This is a great opportunity to hire a dog walker or a friend that has a flexible schedule could help out as well. 

  • Try puzzle games to entertain your pup while your working away at your desk. 

  • LET GO of the mom guilt. It’s OK to entertain your pup and play a round of tug a war a couple times and give them a big belly rub. 

  • It might be easier to let go of guilt to set up designated play times. It is also important for you to stay in charge and not to let whimpers distract you or to give in. 

  • You may want to try crate training if your pup is a chewer or provide proper mental stimulation! 

If you work from home and have tips- comment below! 

selfishness vs selflessness- is there a difference?

I recently posted a blog post about my scary experience in the water. I was asked the question, “Was your husband ok with your decision?” I sat with it a couple days and I couldn’t let it go. Was my husband ok with my decision to jump in the water and save Pax. At first I was extremely taken back and went all feminist rant in my head. I asked the woman what she meant by it…a mom of 4 kids and a dog shared with me how selfless it was to jump in the water and save my dog. Am I not getting something? Am I not understanding the gravity of my situation? Why does it feel like it was literally a no brainer to jump in and DO something. It’s confusing but it’s also eye opening. We all share different perspectives. I am grateful to that reader for speaking up and sharing hers. We live in a world today that a lot of people who weren’t sharing their truth before are coming forward. What a powerful place to be in, to actually be able to SHARE what’s on your mind. If only we could also live in a world that was receptive to our thoughts and feelings.  I decided to ask the woman more questions and appreciate where she came from. And no, I didn’t ask Jarrod and I still haven’t asked Jarrod how he felt about me making the decision. Did he feel that I was impulsive? Reckless? Did he feel burdened by the amount of caregiving that he would have to embark on for the days to come? We all live in our own worlds, own head, own lives…even when we share our life with another person we are still on our solo journey. What an interesting concept, to need to check in with a partner about a decision being made. Part of me feels that it’s ridiculous to ask someone else (my spouse) “is it ok to jump in the water to save Pax and even if I die or get injured is it ok with you?” and at the same time is it a selfish decision to do that? Then it makes me think about selfishness and selflessness. My action to the dog was selfless but was it selfish to not think of others in my life? 

 When you put a blog post out there and you write from your soul- you only think about your own story. I think that’s a good thing because if you were thinking about all 500+ people who I saw read it that day- I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to post it. Now that I’ve received an alternative question about my decision making it has made me think much deeper about how we are all different yet beautiful beings. My hope from posting this is to shed light on our perspectives. How we are all human and this makes us unique. We go through different life experiences all the way starting from our entrance here on earth. Why do we question other people’s stories? How come we battle one another in politics, ideas, and even one’s own personal experience? I realize that as this account grows more and more personalities fall into the mix. I realize that by putting myself out there I allow for more push back and alternative perspective to land in my lap. Now, those are NOT things that I can control. What I can control is my action. My action to everything. To jumping off a moving boat to save my dog, to responding to my husband when he asks me to pick up after myself in the house. My responses to situations are what define my life- not the actual event. The events will constantly happen but my responses will change based off my experience. Does that make sense? They play off one another. What I know about jumping off a moving boat is different than it was before because it had never happened before.  How have you handled critical events in your past? Looking back would you change how you reacted? What have you learned from your experiences that have now evolved your perspective. 

So in the end, is there a difference between selfishness and selflessness? Because if we make one decision it impacts something else. Are our so-called selfless actions truly selfish- even when they feel good and fill us up?

By the way- I spoke with Jarrod before posting this and he called me, “brave” and was “proud to have a wife that would have jumped in the water to save our dog”… still it was a great conversation piece and perspective to have gained!

I am so grateful for all of your responses and questions about my recovery! If you are currently or have in the past experienced trauma or crisis and need some support or resources please contact me at nikki@leaderofthepax.com.

The day that changed my life forever. #yakima67

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Yakima SixtySeven

Our story & dog boat safety

 It’s not easy to write this. I’ve tried 4 different times to write down the story and each time I get stuck at the same place. But last night, at 2am I was able to get it all out on paper.  So here it goes. My husband and I met on a Duffy electric boat, we got engaged on one, and we had one of the scariest experiences of our lives on one as well. On September 1st, 2018, we started out in Bay with another couple and all was well. As soon as we got on the boat I placed Pax’s life jacket on him and for some reason we decided to keep the leash on thinking that he probably wanted to go swimming but we had control of him… He decided to sit on the back area of the boat right behind Jarrod. About 5 minutes in the ride he slipped/ we think he jumped off the back right corner of the boat since he loves to swim. Jarrod said, “he’s in, babe he’s in” I jumped up and looked behind, Pax was on the corner of the boat paddling away with his life jacket keeping him afloat - this wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that his leash was caught and he was being pulled by the boat. Without thinking I dove straight in the water when I popped up I saw the boat was away from me and swam towards it. Jarrod was reaching down to grab the handle of Pax’s jacket and I was getting closer to the boat.

Once I was right behind the boat I kicked away as it was too close and they were able to grab Pax. My legs hit the boat propellers and I knew immediately something was wrong as it was a sharp immediate pain but also a state of calmness over my body. Fight or flight went into action and the adrenaline of everything just kicked in. I started to yell help, help me and my husband looked over at me like what? … I lifted my leg up out of the water and saw my skin flapped open on the top side of my foot. It looked different than other scratches and cuts I have had, I knew it was serious. My husband pulled me straight out from the water and that wasn’t easy. The length from water to the top of the boat was a large gap. They tied Pax’s leash around my right leg to create a truncate and called 911. The harbor police game and then the ambulance. We drove a million miles an hour to the hospital where I asked the EMT workers, “will I lose my leg?” …No response. I asked again and all I heard was the pain medicine they were administering and asking if I had any allergies. I sometimes wonder why ER people ask that because if you’ve never taken specific medication how are you supposed to know what you’re allergic to! Here’s to hoping! I don’t completely remember being pulled into the trauma center but was told we were heading there.  I learned that the difference between a trauma center and an emergency room is that is equipped to treat the highest risk injuries- think gunshot wounds, car accidents, major burns, boating accidents in this case. Trauma centers offer more extensive care than the ER. 

 I don’t remember being wheeled in but I do remember laying down staring at a bright white light with a million nurses and doctors zipping around my bed. The shock lasted for hours until I went into my first surgery. I ended up staying in the hospital for 10 days with 3 different surgeries. The surgeries consisted of sewing up some major lacerations on the right side and one laceration on the left ankle. The right leg had much more damage such as toe fractures & cutting the tendons that flex my toes and ankle. I sliced my right calf in half and have a total of 6 gashes between the two legs. They found a foreign object in my leg that wasn’t a boat propeller, maybe it was a fish – who knows? :)

Interestingly enough, when I was admitted into the trauma center on that fateful day I was given an alternative name by the team. They do this with all patients entering the wing as some patients come in unconscious or unable to speak or have any of their identifications. The name I was given was, Yakima Sixty-seven. When I googled what, it’s meaning was my mouth dropped wide open.

“You have a strong need for freedom - physical, mental and spiritual. You hate bondage in any form. You have love of beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You are willing to take spiritual matters on faith instead of subjecting them to mental analysis. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you are hard to convince.” When I looked up the numbers 67 I found that 67 is described as a sign from angels which are here to help you realize your higher purpose in life!! Furthermore, in numerology the number 67 represents the idea of family first and keeping them secure.  

Ha! If you know me on a personal level this sounds quite fitting don’t ya think? In the end my accident resulted in 6 lacerations, 2 fractured toes, and 2 right foot tendons severed. I am off my right foot for 6 weeks and will wear a boot for 8-10 of those weeks. I’ve started physical therapy with going up and down my staircase and little walking but won’t really know the state of my functionality until later this year. 

It could have been so much worse. That same day, someone was rushed to the hospital to treat the same type of incident and they lost their life. Another young woman lost her entire leg. This is temporary & I know that. It’s SO fascinating how and when things like this happen in your life. What do they teach us? What do they result in being for us? I don’t know the outcome of this but I do know that it’s given me a lot of time to think about what I want out of life and who I am as a person. I use to (and still do) come down on myself so hard. Whether it was my body and weight or something about my career or that I wasn’t doing enough. Now, just doing one thing a day is something to be grateful for. I speak kindly to my legs and send positivy and kisses to them multiple times a day. What an adventure life puts us on. This has defiantly prepared me for more challenging experiences to come…I am ready for them.  

During this time, I’ve been able to truly focus on Pax’s instagram and Leader of the Pax. The stories that that people have shared and the well wishes I have received have been priceless. Gratitude for my life has been my motivator through the recovery process. The first thing people say to me when they learn about the injury is, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this and you’re just so strong- hang in there!” The funny thing is, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all that this happened to me. The perspective I’ve gained is unlike any other.  Living in a hospital for going on 10 days is quite fascinating and you really learn a lot about yourself AND you have to let go of control. I’m so grateful for this experience no matter how painful it is because I’ve been able to see people, things, and my body at its most basic level. I’m a go go go person and FINALLY the universe said stop. So, while I was there I got to chat with my family and be present with them. I got to walk around the entire nurses’ station with the staff cheering me on and got to truly FEEL the accomplishment. I got to feel the swelling of my toes and the aftermath of walking. We go through life clicking likes and scrolling through pages without feeling each moment. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to be vulnerable enough to *feel* the core of each experience in order to grow. I know much more than I did before this experience happened and I know that I will triumph forward. 

Hopefully, you will never have to go through what I have experienced but just in case, here are some boat safety tips I have put together:  

Dog Boat Safety Tips: 

  1. Plan on what you will do in case of an emergency - such as your dog going overboard. 

  2. Practice the plan… I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s super important to know a few options you could do. Of course, in the event of the accident, it’s not going to go totally to plan so at least talk with those you are on the boat with what you would do. Ex: if someone jumps in make sure the boat is off. 

  3. Craft a doggy first aid kit… any medications your dog is on, Dramamine in case of sea sickness (make sure to ask your vet!)

  4. Make sure your pup is in a life jacket- even great swimmers can easily drown in rough waters. I swear that having Pax in a life jacket helped him stay above water and paddle! Also, most dog life jackets have a handle which helps you grab the handle and pull them back to safety (that is how my husband got him out of the water) 

  5. Did you know dogs need sunscreen too? Look for a dog friendly brand. 

  6. Plenty of water- especially if they go swimming. Dogs can become dehydrated on a hot sunny boat. 

  7. I wish we had better commands for being on the boat so he was trained to stay out of the water while the boat was moving…things like “on boat” or “off boat” — make sure to brush up on your basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, and leave it. 

  8. If you own a boat or your renting, try a non-slip pad for the bottom of your boat and let your pup try it out

  9. Additionally, let your pup check out the boat before you leave the dock to get comfortable. 

  10. Dogs are naturally curious and if they are not secure they can fall in. I’ve researched mixed results about the leash. Some of the articles I’ve read say keep the dog secure with a leash without much give another say have the dog free so if they fall in at least they are away from the boat or propellers. I would check with your vet and do some research on what you feel you’re more comfortable with. I also think that the leash should be attached to the boat not in your hand- that is personal preference based off my experience. 

 

 

Links: 

https://www.chewy.com/petcentral/basic-boat-safety-tips-for-dogs/

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/dog-boating-safety-tips

https://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/safety-tips/boating-with-your-pet

 

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When Rover Goes Wrong. A Dog Mom’s Truth.

Getting a text message from your rover sitter at 4am that your dog is pooping on the carpet, stealing food from the other small well behaved pup, and running around like a banshee is kinda comical slash a complete SH*T moment. It is so hard being in another country on a different time zone and praying your dog is being the perfect angel you claim he is! Basically, Pax is pushing all the boundaries and likes to be the boss. He’s not alpha but he sure does like attention. He’s not taking no for answer and decides if he doesn’t get what he wants he poops on the rug. #SMH....Their dog is 7 years old and the size of Pax’s face- ehhh probably not the best match. Pax keeps trying to play and the dog is just not into it...He even snaps at Pax to get him to go away. I know this is the truth because our 8 year old family dog does the same thing to him.

So how do I stay semi calm while my dog is at home running a muck. First is to not freak. Recognize there is not much I can do and be ok with not being in control. Looking at what I can control is step one. The next step is to not take it out on the rover sitter and think it’s her fault. Through instagram Pax looks perfect but I hate to break it to you...Pax isn’t perfect. SHOCKER! So, I called the babysitter, and was a complete betch to start with because I want to instantly blame someone else for the fact that he’s going bonkers and after hearing her voice and how sweet, kind, compassionate she is about the entire situation it instantly shot me back into reality. Man, It’s gotta be really hard for her to tell me things are not going well while we are abroad and she’s worried about her dog and pax getting along. 

I wonder what it’s like to be a dog in a new space. Does it feel like you’ve been abandoned so you poop on the rug? Do you feel constant anxiety waiting for your parents come back? If there is another dog do you have to become the alpha to let them know who’s boss but it’s really just due to your anxiety? 

As a dog Mom it’s challenging not knowing what he is thinking or feeling. I also wonder if I think too deep into all this and need to recognize that he’s a pup NOT a human haha. Being a psychologist I am fascinated by human behavior and in this case, dog emotion and behavior. It’s such a blessing to be tuned into these things...anddddd it’s a curse to be so tuned in as well.

Thank goodness for the dog Mom community- I am grateful. I am grateful for those who can relate, offer advice, laugh it off with me. I am grateful for the other dog mom’s, like my friend, Raechel, who went to pick him up and is with him now. 

Learning lesson here: When you interview dog babysitters- make sure that you are HONEST about your dog. Make sure that their dog and your dog are compatible. Make sure that you explain the needs of you dog clearly. Example: a walk around the block might tucker out one dog where another dog needs to scale a mountain. Most importantly you need to self-check and own your dog’s faults, be authentic, and over communicate your needs. 

That’s all for now... the truth is out there! 

Nikki

Building your tribe!

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When you go to the park and all you wanna do is take cute pics of your pup, it helps to have someone who just gets you. Dog mom's just understand when you are making silly noises, waving toys above your head, teasing your pup with treats in order for them to smile and look at the camera. These people are called your tribe, your squad, your betches, your pod, your crew. I've had the pleasure of meeting more people especially women over the past 6 months than I have in the 5 years I have lived in San Diego. Having a dog is like being in college and you have automatic friends. I have had the fortune to connect with women around the world through instagram and here locally in San Diego. To get more involved with doodle pods on instagram start an engagement group! Find other pups that you feel you relate to (by their content, pics, breed, etc) and send a direct message! Ask them if they would want to join an engagement group...what is an engagement group? These groups can consist of 16 people max and the common goal of the group is to comment and like in order to gain more following on one's instagram page. Instagram works off an algorithm that is based on engagement...so the more activity on your post, the more your picture will be seen. So once you've reached out to as many other accounts as you like (0-16) set some ground rules. Some groups will be more loose with no deadline on needing to like and comment or others will say must comment and like within 24-48 hours, etc. Each group can come up with their own rules! Hopefully, the group will become more than just an engagement pod. Use it to ask questions, lean on your peers, get advice about posts, etc. 

Building a squad outside of the internet takes effort! But you gotta dog so you have to put the effort in anyways. Join local and national doodle (or your breed) Facebook groups. They should have dates of doodle romps or dog play dates. Exchange numbers, set up playdates, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. We take Pax to a local park every single day. The same people are there and our conversations started with hey how are ya what's your dog's name to what's your number let's grab a glass of rose! It's so easy to make friends with other dog parents because they care about their pup's well being just as much as you do about yours! Break the ice, ask a question about their pup (people love to talk about themselves!) and start to build a conversation. Here are some ice breaker tips: 

  • Oh you're pup is so cute, what is his or her name?

  • Hey I feel like I've seen you here before and no this is not a pick up line :)

  • Our dogs play so well together how old are they?

  • What kind of dog do you have?

  • Bring up something you are struggling with and ask another parent if they have ever experienced the same.

  • Ask about dog friendly bars/restaurants in the area and if they have any recommendations.

Check out the following:

  • Meetup.com

  • Petco (They have open puppy classes on the weekend)

  • Facebook groups (local and national doodle or your breed groups)

Remember building relationships take time and connecting to people who are in the same place in life as you are and that you can relate to is very valuable!