Naturally Dreamy

A blog about my life as an INFP living with an ESFJ, INTJ, and my pup. I blog about earth-friendly living and life through my eyes – not necessarily in that order. Come put your feet up where life is Naturally Dreamy!


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Petsitting and Doggo’s New-Found Joie De Vivre

I’ve been petsitting as a full-on sidejob (instead of just here & there) for about a year now, and it has had some unexpected happy side effects.

I noticed, I think it’s been good for me – I feel like I have something of my own. I have a flourishing petsitting business. I am a well-reviewed petsitter.

I do good work at my other job – and it’s a wonderful job that I absolutely love being at – but I think something personal is somewhat lost in its distance & officeness. I know I have one of the keener eyes for detail, but still, I’m mostly autonomous – I come in, I do my work, a couple times I’m told “Good catch!”. And I feel mostly replacable (though quite protective of my accounts – it doesn’t take much for me to consider something “my baby” and needing my sole attention – a control issue I’ll eventually have to work on dedicatedly) – but it is an office job after all. And it’s remote, so I sometimes only exchange a few words a day with my coworkers.

As a petsitter people are talking directly with me. They’re reviewing facts and details I provide about myself, and they are choosing me as their sitter for their dog. And when they come back, they are giving me a review.

And people are saying my updates are helpful, that they were never worried with their dog under my watch, that my questions showed that I cared. It’s a giant confidence boost to do & run something myself and return a good service to people.

Petsitting also revealed a giant hole – sat-for dogs received more petting, more outside time, more play than my own, dearly-beloved, dog did.

A little less than a year later, I’ve finally rectified that! And as an INFP, that genuine-ness feels good.

Guest dog or not, Doggo is going on 2 walks a day, getting copious outside time, play when he wants it, and more concentrated attention. It doesn’t change when we have another dog over, and I feel so good about that. I didn’t realize what I was missing – but I knew for the last several years something didn’t feel right.

Since January, while learning how to train leash reactivity, I’ve also learned some things about how to make his life better overall. I’ve switched to positive reinforcement only (most of the time – I still slip up). I’ve seen a dramatic change and I love not believing I need the tool of negative reinforcement (versus what I’ve been told since we adopted him).

Since January, we’ve also increased his heart medicine, given him a dental, and got his nails at a better length – so I don’t know what it is, but ….

EVERY morning now, Doggo is out of bed. He used to wait for me to get up. This morning he walked over, thonked his head on my shoulder, playfully nudged my elbow, and then under my ribs, like trying to push me out of bed.

This dude is ready to start his day, every day!

In my last post, I said he was barking less. That is not the case any more. xD But he is learning *when* to bark and how to find other things to do instead. But I also learned something from a pet owner who said “I’d expect nothing less” when I said that at drop off Doggo would be barking again. “Terriers are like that” she said, and I had a *brain explosion* moment. My dog isn’t just oddly aggressive AND friendly? This is a terrier thing? He’s being normal for his mix of breed??

It’s exciting seeing both Doggo and I have something special come from petsitting and having the chance to learn so much on the way. It’s great seeing him make friends, and be able to trust his repeat buddies more each time they come.

No matter the reason, I’m glad Doggo’s uncovered a new zest for life (which is crazy at 12 years old!). It’s exciting to see us both flourish in confidence and to also see us enjoying life together more, because we’re actually doing more, together. And I don’t feel so scared if something goes sideways while we try new things (like leash reactivity, grumbling at other dogs, barking at roomies) because I can now work on any issues that arise without sacrificing my principles – armed with sliced carrots, and reassurance we can tackle any issue. πŸ™‚

P.S. I also write a book with my book club! A choose-your-own adventure style book! If you want to check it out you can pre-order a PDF or Kindle edition for 99Β’. ^_^

Honestly, when they asked “do we have any writers/aspiring writers in the group?” and I said, “Sorta?” (because I have 3-5 half-story ideas that I’ve never been quite able to give up or yet finish xD and plus this blog πŸ™‚ <3) I had no idea that one day we’d have physical copies of the book we wrote in print with a commissioned-80’s reminiscent-professional cover! :0 I was just focused on turning in my piece on time. xD


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Relationship Hokey Pokey: The Missing Pieces

Doggo’s “Life Enrichment Plan” has been successful above expectation! (Especially since I didn’t have any expectations/specific goals!)

We’ve taken more walks than usual. I think taking walks with the dogs I petsit gave Doggo a newfound enjoyment in them. Usually when we’d go for a walk, we’d get out there and we’d kind of both be like “Well, you brought me out here – now what do you want to do?” It usually consisted of Doggo fast-walking, sniffing a few things, and then we were back home. My recurring daycare that I walk 1-2x per day walks literally a mile an hour. xD

He’s a beagle and the walk is done to provide his mind & nose the stimulation it lacks. So sometimes we’ll cross back and forth in front of a spot for 20 minutes. Sometimes, on warm days, we’ll walk to a spot, and he’ll plop down and just look at the traffic as it drives by. Which works well for me & Doggo – because I’m not worried about Doggo overextending himself as he just stands there, sniffing the air with the other dog. πŸ™‚

With Doggo’s lunch, we’ve been practicing his commands. And for the “sport” I’ve been free-shaping teaching him “soccer”. I’ve switched it up sometimes playing hide and go seek. Or today, instead of commands, I scattered his lunch and covered it with a blanket for him to burrow under. πŸ™‚

Doggo surprised BT the day after I started this regimen – we were about to go out for a drive and Doggo was silent, though intrigued. He only barked in excitement a few times just as we were about to head out together. It’s been a difficulty sometimes as from the first hint of an outing Doggo has a hard time keeping his excitement contained or focused.

Doggo’s barking less during conversations, as well, and doing better with overly-licking his paws (though he still does it more on days that other dogs aren’t here – even if he doesn’t feel like doing anything else I’ve tried to interest him in).

And what I’m hoping is he’s building confidence, emotional wellness, as well as his brain having more engagement, using more of his energy, and bonus: we’re spending more quality time together. ^_^

Some days I don’t do all of them – if we go out for a drive, I don’t always play a sport with him. Sometimes the commands & the sport merge, or it’s too cold to go out for a walk. But it’s nice to feel more engaged with Doggo’s care and to be proactively thinking of what he might want to do than just being like “well, he’s laying in his bed, I guess he’s fine.” And it’s nice that we don’t have to do them all the same way each time – that flexibility means a lot to me.

However, I also figured out some of the big pieces to my reluctance of having animals with high energy needs in my care! (And honestly I see where it’s coming from, and don’t really see a way around it ::shrug::):

Seasonal Allergies

Since moving to this locale, I’ve developed rather strong seasonal allergies. I always forget just how much they affect me till that season rolls around again. My recurring daycare needs an hour outside in the morning (the absolute worst time to be out), an hour outside in the early afternoon, an hour outside mid afternoon, and another half hour outside in the evening. My dog loves him, and he only comes twice a week, but that is about my limit. Without the rest days in between his visits during allergy season, I’d be in bad shape.

But if Daycare Doggo *doesn’t* have that time outside he is incorrigible. πŸ˜‚ He will chew on anything (except for his toys), start making trouble with my dog, try and start wrestling with me… So it’s out we go!

During those months I am sometimes taking the strongest allergy meds round-the-clock, slurping down black tea, using a saline flush on my eyes, and still having trouble functioning. My eyes itch unbearably, my nose runs, I get sneezing fits. Sometimes I’m blowing my nose so much that it’s impossible to work because I’m literally blowing my nose and *can’t* work at the same time. My head feels out of sync with the rest of the world, and I get fatigued from the fighting my body is unnecessarily doing.

With my doggo, I can let him outside to do his thing, play his favorite games inside, and chillout together when I’m really not feeling well. His requirements don’t require too much of me. But with other dogs, their normal is something that puts me up-to or past my brink of health for 4-5 months out of the year.

Roommate Preferences/Dislikes

My roommates are more reserved when it comes to the “loving animals” department. They’ll treat them civilly, and wish them well, but they don’t like drool, or slobber, or the animal being underfoot, or begging. I’m doing this petsitting at the approval of them, and it feels like any moment it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

They also are used to my Doggo. Doggo has a litany of commands/words he knows, and he also just understands English and tone really well. It’s endearing, but also slightly comical & frustrating, to see my roommates try to use Doggo’s commands on guests and be puzzled when it doesn’t work. Unfortunately in one roomie’s instance it’s also the point at which they just blow up and shut down.

I had my friend here during one of my petsits with a more active, younger dog. That doggo was only here for a night or two and I wasn’t quite sure of the fit, and it ended up with me saying that it probably wouldn’t be a good fit in the future – but not because of her energy or playfulness! (She didn’t grant my doggo’s request for space, even after he asked several times & I tried to persuade her too.) But the stay was a LOT more fun with my friend here. There were multiple little things the dog did that caused me to figuratively glance over my shoulder to see if it was annoying my roommates, that my friend embraced and read her signals and played graciously with her. It was so much fun having another person there to enjoy the animal like I did, or even encourage me to embrace the doggo’s unique personality even more.

You can be regent of *this room*

When it comes to cats and their need to feel in control of their territory, I can grant that – to an extent. You can reign over my room, its windowsill, and its closet! But, er, not the rest of the house.

I live with two other people, I petsit, and I’m adventurous by nature. A territorial, sensitive-to-change creature is probably not going to ever be happy with this set up. Dogs come and go, I might jet off to see a friend or France, and I like to throw the windows open in spring.

I’ve never quite meshed with sensitive people or beings well – I’m clumsy in nature and often require a lot of grace for mistakes. When a cat reacts to the feeling of lack of control by marking (often peeing) in the places they feel no control – that’s really not going to work well because I probably can’t change the issue much without feeling very boxed in, too, because I’m working within parameters, as well. (You’re worried because a cat is outside so you want the windows shut; I want the windows open to save on electric bills and because I’ve been in socially isolated for 6 months. You’re marking the houseplant because you feel insecure after that dog chased you; I want that dog here because it’s my job and Doggo’s best friend. You want stability; I want possibilities.)

My personal history with cats doesn’t have this kind of issue in it, but the cats I’ve had have usually had at least the stability of my parents being their caretakers – if it’s going to be only owned by “random me” and have a basecamp of one room, I’m sorry but I can offer no more. (Though I’m still a backup fosterer for my local shelter, so I can hopefully still help with getting cats homes! :D)


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Relationship Hokey Pokey

After researching a few behavior issues, I wrote a list of activities I want to implement with Doggo each day:

5 minutes of obedience practice
10 minutes of confidence boosting activity (maybe agility? fetch?)
1 walk/bike ride per day practicing reactivity

Whew. That sounds like a lot of work.

Wait?…

So, basically I’m saying “So you want something from me in this relationship?”

I love the responsibility of pet ownership – I will clean litterboxes, pick up poop, feed and provide water all day long. That’s fun for me.

But (as I learned with cats – post to come, probably) animals actually could use some more interaction, too. That sounds like work. And it also sounds weird to me.

I think it might be because I’m not used to putting something or much into relationships to make them work well. I think it might be partly a byproduct of being a youngest child (and also from a difficult home).

If I wasn’t noticeable, I was doing something right.

If I wasn’t being annoying, or too energetic, or requiring a lot of help, I was being most helpful to those around me.

The way I knew a relationship was working was my absence of interference.

Well now something is (or has been and I didn’t realize) calling for my active involvement. It took me being annoyed by petsit dogs (not all dogs just nap all day in between take outs and play sessions – what am I supposed to do then?) and going on walks and finding “oh my gosh this leash reactivity isn’t a good thing and what I’m doing isn’t working!”. It took me reading 5 books on cat behavior to realize that sometimes you need to do things in the pet-human relationship and me being like:

It’s also not easy with my executive function (Te) being the lowest in my INFP stack (consistency & completion isn’t our fortΓ¨). But now I think I’m ready. It sounds fun. And I can be pretty good at forming habits. πŸ™‚

And I can be involved in something! I can put myself out there and give it a try along side someone else. I don’t have to be perfect, but just do something interactive, try new things, ~consistently~, with Doggo.

Maybe this will be the start to me putting more energy into my friendships and family relationships too? Who knows? (🎢You put the energy in, you get… I don’t know?… out, and that’s what it’s all about!🎢)

After 20 minutes of mental complaining I’m now really psyched to see what this will be like, actually. πŸ˜ƒ

Let’s go!

(I am full aware that this makes me seem (and feel!) like a wimp when it comes to relationships of all sorts – especially when I’m usually the one who is “too much”, saying so to an animal – “You’re too much work!” feels AwFuL. It’s also an ongoing issue I’m still attempting to process and fully sort out the motivations, thoughts, and emotions behind my reticence. But this is one piece of the picture, and I’m glad to start the process where I can improve, and not rest fully in the static self-blame, though I definitely have that to figure out as well.)


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My first furniture purchase & I love these eco-friendly blankets (mini-review)

(This is a post that took a while for me to edit/decide to post, so if you feel like you’ve heard about my chair… yeah, this is about 2 years old. :P)

I bought a chair second hand! We had all been using temporary furniture up until this point, and it’s my first furniture purchase, so I was super excited! It’s a tad small for both me and Rimfire to fit on, but it has an ottoman where we can both stretch out on. Being small, it also means I can move it pretty easily by myself. πŸ™‚

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It had a few stains on it, and some of them I’m pretty sure came from the giant, lovely, friendly Rottweilers who pushed their rather slobbery nozzles towards me as I tested the chair. After scrubbing it with stain-and-scent lifter it felt fresher but still had some eau-of-someone-else’s-house… and a smoke scent that came from nowhere? I also wrapped and left it in the sun for a few hours (a natural bed-bug killer! just in case, didn’t want to start any issues).

But with all of this minor stuff, I started considering how I’d like to re-upholster it. Despite the rather thorough cleaning I gave it, I knew I’d feel more comfortable if it had a cover on it. While tossing around ideas, the idea of using Mexican blankets arose.

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A General Life-Update

Long term blog followers may have noticed a trend in my posts that I talked about

  • anorexia
  • social anxiety
  • feelings of insecurity around me having no obvious job skills or hireable traits

I noticed these recurring themes as I went to organize my blog one day, and I realized I’d put my issues out there, and never come back and told you what came of them!

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