Walgreens Eve

Short story of my Valentine’s day was I dressed up super cute, then of course relationship stuff is my worst suicidal ideations trigger. And it was Valentine’s Day. UH HUH. So I cried for hours and was literally on my way to go kill myself but then my logical brain kicked in and said “Hannah follow the process” and the anti-loss-of-life plan so I texted people and then I went to work to stay busy and then I hit up the gym for half an hour but was too depressed to finish.

There is a really nice couple who lives in TVA and they are training their young pitbull to be a service dog i.e. emotional support animal. Me being the stubborn person I am, decided to take a 7 month old pitbull service dog in training to the grocery store.

A lesser woman would have run.

Me?

No, not me. Because when I’m handling a dog I know I am top dog and if I was a dog, I would be their alpha. I can be just as stubborn as they are when they don’t want to obey. I will sit there and wait for them to do exactly as I say, as long as it takes. The only compromise I make is things like playtime. When I have a dog in public oh no, this dog is going to behave or it’s going home.

People around here train their dogs to be vicious which I do not understand at all. If you aren’t a K9 unit or in the military, you don’t need a vicious guard dog. And around here there are little kids walking around on the streets and not much by way of fences. Lock your windows, lock your doors if you are worried. Don’t tie a dog up in front of the house for 10 years of it’s life just because you think you want a guard dog.

Anyways so fortunately this pit bull’s name is Jake and I call him Jake the jumping service dog because that’s one of the basics we are working on. Honestly I was proud of him and myself. It was not easy, to take him into that store, and keep him calm. Whenever he started to get excited I would order him to sit and stay and stay right there when I got my groceries picked out or had people walk by. At first I had to keep a hand on the harness and then with a bit more work and when he started to get an idea that I expected him to 1) Not jump on people 2) Not smell grocery store objects 3) Stay right next to me without paying attention to other people, he was much much better about it.

The 2 worst moments of the night were first we were walking to the store and a cat ran out in front of him and he really, really wanted to chase that cat. So I used my tone and made it very clear I wanted him to sit and stay. And then he worked with me and we walked past the cat.

Give this pitbull a medal.

And the second worst moment was there is a guy who used to babysit this dog as a puppy in his first few weeks so he is his blood brother and he saw Jake and held his arms out and was like JAKKEEE!!!

One thing you are going to notice about me as a dogperson, is that I stay calm and I don’t even sound stressed out when I’m calming a dog. I just very calmly and firmly tell the dog exactly what he/she is supposed to be doing, and that he/she needs to calm down and do it. One of the things about dogs is that you should never have to raise your hand against one. If a dog is aggressive it is either hurt, or it had a very bad owner. Panicking will only make it worse and if an aggressive dog is coming after you do not run, and if he bites you, do NOT under any circumstance, try to rip your arm out of the dog’s teeth. The incisors are designed to hook and dogs are the mauling type. If you can grab the dog around the top of his muzzle and work your fingers down just behind his last set of molars and grab tight usually the dog will become uncomfortable and let you go right away.

Running= Prey. Pulling = Goodbye arm. Panicking=Omega=youaren’tmymaster

Dogs are like humans, but like us, they also have very base instincts.

So in this case when Jake whimpered and barked and tried to jump up on the guy I just grabbed his harness to hold him back and told him to be calm and sit and stay and I repeated the command until I had his attention. I told the guy please do not distract him because he is in training and if he misbehaves I will have to take him out of the store. So he apologized and went off to finish his shopping. I calmed Jake down and made him sit for a few minutes until it “wore off” but nonetheless that is bad unacceptable behavior for a service dog and I know he’s young but that’s exactly why I made him sit and stay. I also did that before going into the store.

Basically another thing about dogs, particularly dogs that are traditionally more aggressive, is the pecking order. Oh yes there is an alpha and a beta and an omega. They order people they interact with into classes. They know exactly who will let them get away with what.

For example Dox, the dog next door who I j’adore, his owner is good and firm with him, but he lives with a family and she loves him and she is soft-handed with him so he tends to get away with some impish behaviors. Not anything crazy, but enough that would be irritating. With his owner, he behaves, but with everyone else, including me and my roommates, Dox is always testing to see what he can get away with.

It’s not that a dog is trying to be bad on purpose, it’s just that they, like people, don’t always want to be obedient and take life seriously. And they also have a large say in whose commands they follow. When someone is not confident in themselves as a dog handler or in the training, or confident in the dogs own ability and willingness to obey, the dog will slack off and disobey. Pretty simple. If you aren’t a true leader, I don’t have to do what you say. If you don’t believe in your own orders, neither do I. A dog is a willing partner for the most part but every dog is different, some dogs are very wired towards the pecking order.

And for some reason people say I seem like the type of person who would do well with a German Shepherd.

Well, this was my first dog. Angel. I always called her Angel baby, though.

 

They say that dogs get their personalities from their owners. Well. My dog thought she was a queen, and my cat knew she was. I remember the first time someone mentioned that thought around the dinner table everyone just looked at me. Wink Wink nudge nudge, yeah Hannah, where the heck did our animals get their personalities from?

Angel wasn’t trained to behave very well in public, nothing like a service dog, but that was okay because she was our little princess. Family dog. Her main jobs were being in the middle of attention, barking at things ten times her size, and being there when I came home every day. I know I don’t look or behave like the type of person who would have this kind of dog, but I am telling you I was absolutely in love with her.

Big angelic brown eyes help…

Back to me working with Jake, who is a big rambunctious cutie, I am actually surprised at times to how well dogs respond to me. There’s just something about me that they respond to. I have always been a very spiritually sensitive person. I, just like a dog, have a profile for every person in my life as to their motivations, how they think, and what I can get away with. I rarely have a hard time understanding animal behavior and most animals love me. It’s gotten harder for me at those times when due to my mental illness I become less capable of perceiving emotions. The other major part of the dog-human relationship is trust. In order to trust, you have to be vulnerable. That has become so, soo hard for me.

I suspect that that is one reason why I had a miniature rodeo with Jake is because that relationship needs more time, consistency, and I haven’t spent enough time playing with him. A working relationship with a dog always involves a form of play. Play is a great way to get to know any dog and people need play too. Never underestimate the value of timeout and hikes, walks, things outdoors. Nurture your soul.

These are things dogs inherently know to do for distress. Physical affection, play, companionship, listening and attention. Dogs inherently understand that the most important thing in life is love and connection. We people, forget. We don’t got the sense we was born with.

Anyone who beats that out of a dog, or a child, there’s no hell hot enough for them.

Also I totally need those reminders all the time to take care of myself, play, take time to connect. I need a dog. But back to Jake the jumping service animal, I don’t even know how many times I made that dog sit down last night but yeah he knows sit and stay now, and everyone in the store knows his name is Jake and that he sits and stays. Sort of. Lol.

It was a really good experience and I am so grateful for all the support I am getting from people in this process and for this family for letting me take Jake out. Like I mentioned briefly I was feeling very suicidal yesterday. Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year for me and even though I thought I went in arms up I got blindsided by everything. Freak, I wore my TIARA, and I still ended up having a serious episode.

Safety plan was tell someone how I was feeling, go to work, take Jake out because Jake is a 2 hand job, and then meet with my home teachers. We had a good talk. I was up all night and at maybe 1 in the morning I was eating ramen standing in the hot shower trying not to cry, listening to Lord of the Rings.

Yeah. Toldya it’s hard to believe things that happen in my life without evidence.

I got up today and went to religion class and then geography class got cancelled because the room was 63 degrees again. But here’s the thing. Someone I know, a man, grabbed my waist from behind just to kind of scare me. We call it tasing someone. Anyways so he did that and I hit him across the chest and I told him I would kill him if he ever did that again. And then I ran straight to the bathroom to cry for maybe 10 minutes. I think because I hit him and yelled is why I didn’t have a full-on attack.

So then I went outside to sit next to Newbie at the next table and I chose the table away from him and his friend on purpose because I don’t need any more aspersions about me being thirsty for boys. He looked over and said good morning and I was still feeling the after-cry jag so I growled “morning” so then because if anyone actually has any idea how to handle me it’s these polynesian guys he puts on this country song

“GOOD MORNING BEAUTIFUL”

You know yesterday a guyfriend wished me a happy valentine’s day and I told him it was the worst day of my life and it’s technically nighttime anyways so he could hold that thought for another 50 years. He said “Love you, too.” I did get one valentine and you’re gonna laugh. You know I was super suicidal most of the day, and the one valentine I get says

STAY STRONG ❤

I am not sure whether to cry or laugh or punch someone so happy medium, none of the above I’m just going to hold in my emotions and have a breakdown later. Go team.

So this guy played that song and I was just like noooo why are you rubbing salt in my wound stoppp it. See the thing is about tough girls is yes deep down, there is a puppylike part of us that wants love and kisses, but we know it’s not safe to let just anybody have access to that so we will block you, hurt you, and shove you away. So I can’t listen to songs like that because I walk away with no hope left for my life. Because that’s another thing that’s going on is that I’m struggling so hard with basic life that I know I can’t get in a relationship right now, but at the same time, it does look like it’s an experience worth having. Even if it ends badly it’s an experience you can’t replace.

Rape really f-ed that up for me and my body has been a war zone ever since of mental illness and who knows what else and I carry so much from everything that happened it’s just like yeah no, until I get this worked out, I can’t ask anyone to stay with me while I work this out.

I’m really glad this guy toned it down with me and doesn’t flirt anymore, it makes it a lot easier to be around him. The other reason I didn’t sit close to him is because I get the sense he is a very touchy person, he is tactile, he wants to communicate, he touches you. He’s totally okay with being very up in your space and it’s not because he wants to be obnoxious it’s just because it’s natural to him.

Today I figured out why that is but Imma let you know it was hard on me when he did ask for help with an English essay because I sat next to him and him and his little touches. His knee was up against mine and he was moving around a lot but his hands would brush up against mine sometimes and one time he put his hand on my knee real quick like “Yes, that’s what I meant! Good job.” Not creepy. Not sexual. Just touch. And I’m trying to type and figure out how to turn Tongan pidgin into English and help him communicate what he’s thinking and my body is like Touch. Touch. Touch. Touch. Touch. He’s touching us. And I’m thinking shut up, I need to focus, do not have a panic attack. but yeah distracting was an understatement.

The good news is that I drift a lot so I learned to shut down a lot of emotions connected to my body so I can turn off any feelings associated with touch almost as a reflex so no, no panic attacks from that. Hard though.

Turns out this guy worked at a resort and was a massage therapist. No wonder he is so comfortable with touch. Kind of maybe not a good combination because he’s like a drug dealer. I crave safe physical touch so bad I am up all night crying about it, and here he is, the candyman. And the thing is I want the touch so bad that I do not want him to back off, it’s like he is giving me food when I’ve been starving for so long, but it’s terrifying to accept it.

I realized yesterday that my eating disorder and my insomnia were ways I survived the onset of my mental illness and that as terrified as I am of being ill forever, it seems I am even more afraid to take care of myself and face those fears head on. I can’t even remember what it feels like to get a good nights sleep.

So the other thing is that actually it was entertaining to sit with him and write an essay because it was all about reasons to go to Tonga (which is how I figured out what he did for a living back home). I hardly ever get turned on but I have to admit a Tongan man who gives massages okay, that was hard to not respond to. And then he needs another topic so he starts saying “oh, the people are soo friendly. Tonga is the best place to find a husband or wife”

And I looked at him like I had just bitten a lemon

“WHAT? I ain’t writin’ that.”

“You’re the scribe.”

“But I don’t like it! Why you wanna write about getting a Tongan lover, not everybody who goes on vacation goes to get laid you know!”

“Come on, please?”

I. Hate. It. When. Tongan. Men. Say. Please.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Allright, but you asked for it.”

“In Tonga there are also many young men who are single and ready to mingle, you might fall in love with one, and if you do, please take him home with you- noone else wants them.”

I don’t think he read through the last paragraph before he turned it in…

That’s right up there with my Valentine’s Day instagram post yesterday where I said either Prince Charming is fat and lazy or he’s Tongan and he ate the horse.

Anyone who is offended ahem the Tongans are all about jokes and this is what we call a joke so technically I’m just embracing your culture. You’re welcome.

*Plus, we know you eat horse, toko*

You know what else today. I got 4 hugs from my guyfriends. 4. First guy was Sam the hobbit and I need to work on talking to him, improve my people skills, I think he was off today but I was too sleep-deprived to really tune in and figure out what was up. And then my buddy who owns Dox stopped by and he always gives me a hug as a hello. And then Newbie was walking to class and I was like “Hey, you’re welcome!” Because he forgot to thank me so he turns around and I have to admit I did this on purpose I made sure it looked like Dave and I were best buds. So then Newbie comes over to give me a hug, and then this is funny, then Dave gives me another hug.

I was like, is this a competition?

But I feel pretty safe with these guys so far. And my mood went from crying in the girl’s bathroom to allright, I got this. My schedule for the rest of the day is pretty relaxed and I need some rest.friday

3 comments

  1. You did great with Jake the service dog in training. Dogs are such complex animals. I know they are domesticated but the hard truth I think some people forget is they still have their natural instincts. Left untrained, they can misbehave because they don’t have an owner who knows what they’re doing. I love dogs but I don’t have the patience or discipline to train one. Is it true dogs can tell when the person handling him/her is not assertive enough or is feeling nervous?

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    • First of all thank you for commenting and secondly ABSOLUTELY YES. It’s part of why dogs are being trained for psychiatric services is because they recognize an oncoming panic attack or depressive episode usually even before the person can. The signs like increased heartrate, quick shallow breathing, sweating, and even a persons smell gives many signals to the dog to let them know how we’re feeling. You may have watched Tangled “Be careful, it can probably smell fear”
      And also yes, because our tone communicates so much to a dog. Even when we say the word NO there are so many levels to saying no. like “no boy, stay out of the trash” just exasperated or just a quick reminder or “No.” or “NO!” So in other words, a dog you interact with knows the basic tells and as you spend more time with them they continue to build up their “reading skills”.
      When a dog jumps up on someone they just met and that person acts afraid or says “No” in a small uncertain voice is way more likely to get jumped on again than someone who stands their ground and says “NO.”
      I’m writing another post about Jake today and if you’re curious about more dog behavior, you should read it. ❤ thankyou again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dogs are really smart! Thank you for elaborating in such detail about how a dog’s mind works. It’s sad that there are people out there who just assume when a dog behaves aggressively that they deserve to get smacked or “put in their place” with lots of yelling and intimidation. I know some people in my personal life who are like that. It’s terrible. And yes, I am looking forward to reading your upcoming post. 😊

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