125 pounds and a new nickname, “Stick”. More often women use the familiar nickname, “Skinny-Minnie” when addressing me. Either name is fine with me. My journey back to this weight has been both long and short. When I set my mind to it the weight loss occurred over a five-month period. “Stubborn” should really be my nickname. I never gave up hope that I could return to my teenage figure. The sacrifices involved giving up sugar-laden food, alcohol and bread, eating instead lots of fish, salads, pita bread and fruits. Many have asked my secret to weight loss. The answer is you have to have the “want” to be thin, the drive and willpower to maintain your goal and to exercise in some way every day. When potential dates have mentioned going to various and numerous restaurants I’ve told them wasting time gorging myself with food is no longer an activity I care to pursue. Sedentary men are weeded out, more active men understand.
Life is full of goals for me, to be a better person, learn more, “be” more. The current goal is to train my dogs to the best of my ability. It saddens and upsets me that the information is available but seems to be reserved for the few who have the money to pursue the more talented trainers. I’d heard about creating the “want”, teaching a dog to enjoy and ask for the human pursuits we request of them. Finally the doors have opened for me, through the generosity of other talented and gifted trainers. Positive training DOES create a trusting, working relationship with our dogs. Combined with that there has to be some tough love, rules and boundaries. I’ve learned to talk to the dogs and repetitiously tell them what I want. Words that I would never dream of using with a canine are now in everyday use-turn around, relax, give me your collar, a constant affirmation to my companions, yes, this is what I want and need from you. The use of the clicker has made training easier. “Mickey!” He looks up at me and I click and treat. After a weekend doing this Mickey knows when he is running loose in a field that hearing his name and running promptly to me can mean tasty treats. He doesn’t get rewarded every time, nor does his running necessarily have to end for the day. The lesson is to teach him to come quickly to me, no matter the distractions. Mickey proves to be an excellent student. Our love and trust for each other grows.
Rambunctious Levi is learning “close” means to get into and remain in heel position looking up at me. His reward for heeling close is a hidden toy dropped down from my armpit to his mouth. Levi is special, another lifetime dog. He is intelligent, beautiful and positive, loved by everyone.
My goal this coming year is to more closely emulate and learn from the following trainers-Bobbie Anderson, Sylvia Bishop and Celeste Meade. River and I need to finish his Rally titles, RA, RE and RAE and finally step into the Utility ring. Levi needs his tracking title. It will be a good release for his pent up energy. Contrasting with that is the more closely required heeling for his RA, RE, RAE, CD and CDX. He is quite capable of attaining all these titles this coming year. The only thing I expect from little Mickey are fun classes-wild card Novice, pre-novice or maybe even the RN. He is a gem, a mix of sedate River and hyper Levi, intelligent, independent, calm but with moments of energy and silliness, my hiking partner. He needs tracking also, showing a strong ability to think his way through obstacles to the glove.
Have I taken on too much? That seems to be my style to constantly push beyond myself, stumbling and frustrated every step of the way. But I’ve just attained my first and biggest goal-weight loss. Anything is possible to those of us with a stubborn resolve to prove ourselves better. People expect nothing from someone who is quiet and ugly. It is with a great deal of pride that I prove them wrong over and over. Perhaps that is why men grow tired of me. I don’t stay in the box of contentment and mediocrity, I’m always pushing, asking and wanting more out of life. The challenge is to find a man who, like me, dares to be different, who dares to step out of the box to enjoy a senior life together, free from credit card debt, living off the land in the country, free from working in a city office cubicle, exercising every day and of course, living with my wonderful dogs.