Crocheting for Dora

I didn’t mention Dora until I got her, but during the searching process, I was pretty stressed (as you can probably imagine). What if we couldn’t find the right dog? I’ve ever picked a dog for service dog training before. What if it took too long? Or came too fast? What if I wasn’t ready? What if all the dogs we liked didn’t work out?

I needed to channel the stress into something, and with winter, it wasn’t going to be exercise. 😅 So I started making a dog blanket. I took it to bog of my family Christmases. (Aside- good idea. It allowed me to be present but not idle and not involved with the group activity. Everyone was fine with me working on a creative project instead of playing cards. I may have to do this again.)

At this point, I’m nearly done, and here it is so far:

I’m using up my leftover yarn from old projects and cleaning out my yarn stash. Dora will probably be fine with it regardless of the colors. Here’s a size reference:

At this point, I’m ready to be done with it, so I’m pushing ahead as quickly as I can. I’m so, so close to using up the yarn scraps.  I’m looking forward to starting something else soon. That should be pleasant.

For anyone interested: I’m using a variety of weight 4 acrylic yarns with a size H hook and a 1.5 stitch that I developed when teaching myself to crochet. No matter what stitch I try to use, I seem to end up back at this familiar one.


Day 27 With Dora

I need Dora to poop today.

I need that poop to contain tapeworm segments.

Then I need to drive to the vet with the poop.

Because they won’t believe me about the ones I saw yesterday otherwise.

But yesterday, I didn’t have the car.

And I didn’t want to fish through the trash to find the one bag that had the one poop sample with worms in it.

And I didn’t want to walk for 2 hours in the sleet to get to the vet’s office and back home.


It’s gross, I know, but it’s also stressing me out because I have this obligation hanging over me without any clue when it will actually happen. I have an appointment this Wednesday. Dora is large enough that she isn’t in danger from the worms. 

Why should I have to run in again, right before an appointment, and pay for two vet visits instead of one? It’s too expensive for this to be taken in stride.

And why don’t they believe me? I know what worms her monthly meds protect against, and I recognized the ones she has. I know what I’m talking about!


I’ll just go back to being nervous without any foreseeable end to the tension. I can’t control Dora, the parasites, or the expectations of the vet’s office.

Do any of you have strategies for dealing with unexpected responsibilities that could arise at any moment? Especially ones that require you to monitor something beforehand? It’s really unhealthy for me.

Day 26 With Dora

I guess that today, there are two things on my mind: calluses and chores. 😏 It is what it is.

I have thick, painful calluses on the middle and ring fingers of my hands. From walking Dora. Who pulls like a train. An adorable 50 pound train. 

Everyone is like “That’s what pit bulls do!” and I’m like “Her profile said she was a lab mix!” 😆 Oh well. In any case, we are working on walking- for her health (and mine) and for obedience class.  Two handed grip: one hand above her on the leash, other hand by my opposite hip. So basically, Dora stands besides my right foot, the leash comes up from her harness to my right hand, then it crosses in front of my body to my left hand, and the loop is usually around my left wrist. I try to keep her there.

But she pulls. And the leash cuts into my fingers. And I pull back.

This week, we’re supposed to work on a new technique: stopping and sitting every time she pulls until she eventually chooses to walk nicely so we can walk further. It’s… slow at this point, but Dora is smart. It will come together eventually.

The other thing was chores. I’m on my 3rd load of laundry today. This hasn’t happened since before we got her. I’m pleased to announce that we are FINALLY getting her bathroom schedule in hand. I now have 2-3 hours between trips instead of ~40 minutes (because it takes so long to get bundled up for the cold and unbundled for the house). It’s…. it’s nice, but that’s not all of it. It’s like…

You’re outside I’m a park or something and the clouds break. Rain- hard, fast, and cold- pours over your shoulders. You’re soaked and 30 minutes from your car. You walk, because the path is covered in mud and loose rocks, and it’s not worth slipping and cracking your skull over this. Part way back, the rain slows and the clouds part, and the sun- the sun pours through this little hole in the storm, spilling out onto the trees and the mud. At that moment, you can tell that the worst has passed. It isn’t over; the rain is still falling, the breeze still pierces your sopping clothes, and you didn’t bring a spare outfit in the car; but somehow it all feels like it will work out.

That’s how today feels.


I think I need to watch The Runaway Bride again soon. Not for the romance or whatever. I hate that type of movie. It’s very boring for me.

No. I think I need to watch the story of a woman who changes herself for everyone around her, over and over. A woman who lets people order her food and choose what she wears. A woman who lives like a blank slate, washing her traits clean and becoming someone new again and again. Until the day she stops.

For me, that movie is about two scenes: the one in which someone can’t believe she doesn’t even know what type of eggs she likes; and the one in which she is surrounded by dozens of plates of eggs. Three scenes, if you count her running up to the other person, shouting out which type she likes most.

She is a chameleon woman, challenged to find her true colors and brace enough to do so. It doesn’t matter if someone wants her to eat, dress, talk, or act a certain way; she chooses to find and live as herself. That is what matters.


And that is what I need to do. Find myself. Be myself. Without playing up similarities or claiming ancient traits. No. I am me. This is what I want. This is what I do. This is what makes me laugh. This music makes me dance. These songs make me sing. This beauty makes me cry.


Day 23 With Dora

I’m doing better again. It would be easier to evaluate my emotions if they were more consistent. Or lasted longer. Or if I were better able to recognize their sources.

A few nights ago, I was sitting with my husband and my dog on our couch, and I basically said “I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know why,” and he said “Yeah, I’m tired too,” and everything froze for a second. Wait. Tired. We did all the same errands and tasks today and he is tired. Am… am I tired?

It was weird, because just like I lost touch with my emotions after enough ‘how do I feel? hurt. right.’ checks, I also lost touch with the causes of my emotions after enough ‘why am I hurt? because I’m still breathing. right.’ checks. I just assume that all negative experiences are caused my depression, or my social anxiety, or my depression-fueled anxiety. So many of them have been, after all. So when he said that he was tired, I realized that it was reasonable for me to be tired as well.

So as I complained about my emotions above, please keep in mind that I don’t recognize what it is to be human. All I see is mental illness because I remember when it’s been so suffocating that it was all I could see. Things might be awful. Or they might be ok. I just can’t tell the difference.

Crap. Do you know what this means?

All of my negative-emotion responses are probably all still tuned to max power. Like… like… so, let’s say I get scared in a reasonable situation like a car wreck or something… or a near miss or something. So I feel fear, rational fear, and at the first sign of it, I’m like ‘I know this feeling! Brace for impact!’ and it’s full on panic, quick response mode. Forget everything else. Drop all responsibilities. Run. Survive. I’m bracing for the worst.

And I do that for smaller things. Public speaking. Getting turned around on unfamiliar hiking trails. Some days, needing to go outside when I can see people out there. Some days, when my curtains and blinds are just open. 

No matter what, just panic. I will have to watch myself for it, to see if I’m actually doing this or if it’s just a hypothesis that would account for a few things.

… Right. Dora. We’re ok again. I sing to her. I talk to her. We’re walking together much better than before. It’s going to be ok. Today, I believe that it’s going to be ok.

Running on Fumes

I took Dora out for every single bathroom trip today, from 6 am through now. It’s a 15 hour shift so far. We also went for a lengthy walk with this awful hill along the path (good for me but hard to handle).

I’m tired. I had to reschedule plans with a friend today because I couldn’t handle it.

I wanted a fully trained dog. I didn’t want to have this extra stress on top of what I already carry. But for many reasons, here we are.

It will be ok, but tonight, it’s just too much. So my invisalign trays are out and I’m going to just eat some cookies.

I don’t care whether I “need” the calories or not. I need the sanity.