Carol Collett

My Life Gone to the Dogs

Writing Challenge

I am a writer.

Seriously.

Yeah, I know it’s hard to tell.

But it’s true.

What is also true is that I have been utterly unfaithful to my writing calling. Utterly. As of today, no more. Time to be true to myself. Time to stop the apologies for writing, for daydreaming, for imagining, for spending so much time inside my head. Today I grant myself the freedom to be me without feeling guilty.

Last fall I participated in National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNo. Every year during November writers all over the world converge on the web to encourage each other to write 50,000 words in one month. Crazy? Yes. But, oh, so much fun. For several years I kind of half heartedly participated, typically dropping out after a week or less. But last fall, really late summer, I decided I really wanted to win NaNo. I started late September prepping for the November marathon by setting a goal of writing at least 100 words in my journal every day. Every. Single. Day. Guess what? I did it. By mid October I woke up with a need to get some words out of my pen onto the paper of my journal.

Roll on November 1, 2014 and the beginning of NaNo.

I attended a local write in. I highly recommend doing that if you ever participate in NaNo. I only made it to one, but it makes the online group a little more personal.

I attended several online write ins in our local group’s chat room. What fun! What inspiration! I wrote several thousand words during our chat room word wars.

By the third week of November I knew I was in a good position to finish strong. But that saggy middle, oh will it come back to bite you in the tail! That was hard. Perhaps the hardest, and maybe worst, writing I’ve ever done. And no one, not one soul, will ever read it as is. Ever. Don’t ask. I cried, kicked, screamed, thought about giving up. But I pushed through that week to enter the last week of November ready to finish strong.

On November 29, 2014, I reached my goal. I won NaNo for the first time!! My word count for the month: 50,227 words. I am still proud of myself for that.

But then I stopped. I closed that Word file. I put down my pen. I didn’t even write in my journal for a few weeks.

All that hard work and momentum. And I just freaking stopped. Stupid. Just plain stupid and lazy. And weak.

Enough beating myself up. And also enough ignoring my passion.

That’s where the title of this post comes in, the writing challenge part. My challenge to myself is to write 500 words per day. Doesn’t matter whether those 500 words are a blog post, journal entry, or part of my novel in progress. For my personal challenge, at least 500 words have to be on a single piece of writing. I will also post a weekly update every Sunday evening.

Are you a writer? Have you allowed yourself to stop writing? Are you tired of excuses? Join me in this challenge.

Time Management for Tired, Lazy, Hopeful People

So at the beginning of the year I tasked myself with posting two blog posts per week with an eye to evaluate my progress mid-year and hopefully increase my posting frequency. Yeah, I’m not there yet. But I refuse to give up no matter how tired and lazy I become.

One tool I use, although not enough, is Evernote. I love that I can use it across platforms. I’m not sure anyone has fully tapped its versatility.

As soon as I post this blog I’m going to open my goals that I already set up in Evernote, evaluate where I am on each one, whether I want to keep each goal or not, and tweak the timetables on the ones I’m keeping. And maybe add one or two.

In the spirit of Earth Day, here’s a picture of my border collie, Jack, on a trail in Cane Ridge Park.

Jack at Cane Ridge Park

Jack at Cane Ridge Park

The border collie hoarding case

Carol:

As my friends know border collies are near and dear to my heart. This is a legitimate rescue who takes in some of the more costly cases in our area. If you can spare a couple of dollars it would help so much.

Originally posted on virtualfluffies:

Yesterday was hellish. We got the call on Friday asking for help with 16 border collies in Pulaski, Tennessee, from the sheriff. We were told they were standing in feces-filled muck with standing water. This is the same man who was charged for the third time with animal cruelty for the condition of his horses this week and that part of the case made the press. (Here’s the news link to the horse story: http://whnt.com/2015/04/15/giles-county-man-charged-with-animal-cruelty-again-54-horses-7-goats-confiscated-from-farm/).

We went to get the dogs with the sheriff yesterday and the conditions were appalling. Dogs covered in muck, open wounds, embedded collars. A few of them were petrified, but most of them just curious and friendly waiting to see if they were going to get out of the muck. Once loaded, we got the first surprise as the dog we are now calling Aris went into labor and delivered her first puppy in a crate…

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Johann had part of his jaw removed

Carol:

This is an amazing rescue organization. Please consider helping if you can. Please share.

Originally posted on virtualfluffies:

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Johann is a 4 year old Anatolian mix who had to have part of his lower jaw removed. His owners did not treat an oral tumor and instead took him to a high kill shelter. He is a sweet boy who is going to be looking for his home soon. We think the vet did a great job with him and he looks amazing.

His total cost was $1377.25.

If you would like to sponsor part of Johann’s medical costs and help us find him a home, you can do so here. (Just write the word “Johann” in the company line or in the Paypal message block so we know who it’s for).

As always, thanks.

Interested in fostering or adopting this boy? Fill out an application at http://www.bigfluffydogs.com (click on Online Application to adopt and Fostering FAQs to foster).  He’s available to foster or adopt from TN to CT…

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Get Tough

Get Tough

Get Tough

April 8

The date designated by the ASPCA as Dog Fighting Awareness Day. Sadly, dog fighting is more prevalent than most of us realize. From major urban areas to the most rural of locales, criminals engage in this horrific blood sport.

The ASPCA compiled multiple resources on their website, but one article everyone should read is Ten Ways to Help End Dog Fighting. I agree with all the points, but there are three I find particularly important:

Support stronger laws-a good place to start learning about current legislation and particular needs is on the ASPCA’s advocacy page. You’ll find lists of pending actions, urgent needs, and recent victories. Not only should those running the dog fighting rings be prosecuted and incarcerated, laws regarding spectators need to be stronger as well, particularly spectators who bring children to these events.

Protect your pets-know who is in your neighborhood. Make sure your pets always have supervision even in your own fenced backyard. Just last week a local family’s puppy was shot and killed inside the family’s fence. Never, ever, ever rehome a pet free on Craigslist.

Educate others-share the resources on ASPCA with your friends, family, and neighbors. If you see suspicious activity on your street, let your neighbors know.

Together we can can make a difference in the lives of countless dogs forced to fight or die, but only if we #gettough.

Stop Dog Fighting

#gettough

Justice for Mia

Even though I try to remain positive here, sometimes someone commits evil. Sometimes we have to shed light on that evil act and talk about it.

Today is that time.

Last week a coward stacked some concrete blocks next to a locked privacy fence in my community, leaned over the fence and murdered Mia, a 7 month old pibble. This coward shot Mia in the face at point-blank range.

Mia’s 13-year-old human brother found her lifeless body in his backyard.

Mia’s Mom is not just your average dog owner, however. She’s an active volunteer and foster Mom for the group Nashville PITTIE.

And Nashville PITTIE has rallied around one of their own, raising a $1000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Mia’s murderer. They’ve also set up a Facebook page called Justice for Mia to help rally support for Mia’s family and to share information about this tragedy.

All the local news stations have carried the story. You can read one of the stories on WKRN here.

I pray for peace and comfort for Mia’s family. I pray the murdering coward turns him/herself in.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight while you pray for #justiceformia.

(Not at All) Wordless Wednesday; From Shelter to Home

Last May as part of my volunteer work for Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control (MACC) I handled Damon, a pitbull mix up for adoption at the shelter, for Mayor’s Field Day 2014.

He was so stinkin’ cute and so great with the kids. One family took a particular interest in him, both children and both moms visiting with him multiple times throughout the day. I just knew they would adopt him.

Damon at Nashville's Mayor's Field Day in May 2014.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this poster on Stand By Your MACC’s Facebook page the following week.

Damon Became Urgent

The family didn’t adopt him. In fact, he was on the urgent list meaning he would be at risk for euthanasia the next week if not adopted or pulled by rescue.*

Not gonna happen.

The following Saturday, Daniel and I drove to MACC and adopted Damon.

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

Damon_FredomDay5-2014

And we’ve never looked back.

Damon has now completed two basic obedience classes and earned his Canine Good Citizen title. He plays ball with his Border Collie brother Jack. He and his German Shepherd mix sister Jade coexist peacefully most of the time. Can’t imagine our family without him.

*All four dogs on the urgent list that week made it out of the shelter. With the hiring of a new shelter director later in 2014 time limits on adoptable pets were abolished. 


Damon_Training_CGC

DamonatHome

Let’s Go Sniff

Y’all know by now I’m enamored of all things canine scent detection. Nose Work, Barn Hunt, Tracking, Earth Dog-yep all of it.

So I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve let Jack’s Nose Work training slide over the winter. All kinds of excuses slithered across my brain. Too cold. Too tired. Too much trouble with all three dogs. Not fair to work with Jack, but not do something with the other two. Too hurried.

Yeah, you get what I’m saying.

I even used the excuse that I’m not going to trial him in Nose Work so why bother training. Yep, yessiree, I even used that gem.

And while that’s true-I will likely never trial in Nose Work-that’s no reason not to train. Especially not when Jack and I both love it. Well, maybe he enjoys it, and I love it.

So yesterday I broke out the birch, and we did a little work outside. Vehicles and exterior.

And, bonus! I used my GoPro with my new chest strap mount. Learned a lot from that exercise. But that’s a post for another day.

Anyhoo-here are two very, very short clips from yesterday’s work. These are the “source/alert” moments from two of the searches.

Two things I learned from yesterday’s video are: 1) you can learn A LOT from videoing your training sessions, and 2) Jack’s tail is part of his tell.

Tunnel Training

Really want to train Jack and Damon to participate in Barn Hunt. Part of the Barn Hunt course includes a tunnel made from the straw bales. Since neither of them has any agility training I was a little stumped on how I could train tunnels short of buying an agility tunnel or a bunch of straw bales.

But a friend and fellow dog enthusiast came to my rescue. She suggested a blanket tunnel using a dark blanket and chairs. Kind of like a blanket fort from childhood.

Perfect!

So while it’s quite different from straw bales, it will work for now.

Here are a couple videos from earlier in the week. The lighting is bad, and the editing app is a little odd. But I think you can get the idea.

Jack Practicing Blanket Tunnel

Damon Practicing Blanket Tunnel

We’ve got a ways to go. But it sure is fun to play!

Looking forward to another Barn Hunt practice.

Happy Fourth ‘Gotcha Day’ Jack

Four years ago today my life changed.

A lot.

Daniel and I drove to Kingston Springs after work to pick up Jack the Border Collie.

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He hesitated a few moments before trying the stairs up the porch to the front door. But quickly decided a few steps couldn’t stop him from exploring his new home.

He met Angel the geriatric cat.

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They’ve since become buddies. Although he still herds her mercilessly.

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Jack initiated me into the wonders of sharing my life with a border collie, and now I can’t imagine my life without one. Within days he not only taught me that while it’s true border collies are not dogs for everyone, but for those willing put forth the effort to gain knowledge about breed, accommodate their quirks, keep their minds active, and become partners with them in learning, there is no better companion.

Every once in a while a dog comes into your life and changes everything.

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