April 24, 2007

A dog story


My visit to Dr. Evans, my vet, on Thursday was truly great, very beneficial. Lila has been exceedingly itchy since the day I brought her home, possibly the source could be from the breeder who has too many dogs breeding, too many puppies at one time. Lila’s itching has become worse as she gets older. I’ve been told it’s systemic candida. The cure is difficult. The itchiness could account for a lot of her behavioral difficulties, the restlessness, the erratic behavior, possibly even the mouthiness.

When we walked into Dr. Evans office, Lila sniffed around, inspected the toys and equipment, then lay down and observed. Dr. Evans, who has known Lila’s difficulties from the beginning, was overwhelmed, delighted, amazed. He is one of the main reasons Lila is doing so well. He, and another homeopath, have worked up Lila and found the right remedy for her. I’ve said before I believe in magic, but homeopathy does work.

Another reason Lila is becoming such a lovely dog is that I’ve consulted with Calloway M’Cloud, an animal communicator in Prince Edward Island. And of course, most of what Calloway has communicated to me has pointed to healing within myself, working with my own vulnerabilities in order to work more clearly, decisively with Lila.

Then, too, there are the obedience classes we’ve taken. We will be beginning the fourth round soon. Brenda Potter uses the clicker method and it’s worked well with Lila. But the main thing is how Brenda has helped me. Lila was jumping on me and biting during the entire first seven classes. The excitement of being with seven other dogs in the classroom, being told what to do when there were so many other things she wanted to do (like play with the other dogs) was too much for her. In the eighth class she was fine, obedient and eager to please. So we were allowed to continue on into the advanced classes.

What changed her were two things. First, Brenda told me to hold her down by the collar, gently but firmly, when she tried to jump on me. She said not to wave my hands or get excited. To stay calm, ignore the behavior rather than engage in it. The calmer I was, the easier it was to work with Lila. If I got upset, it aggravated the problem. She liked the attention, considered my being upset as play. The other thing I did was take her to the supermarket last fall and start training her outside the front door. It worked. It allowed her to work around distractions, be more obedient in class. So now Brenda calls Lila her “star pupil.” (Because she started out to be her worst!)

In obedience class we do the usual: sit, stay, down, stay, heel, come when called, etc. We also do some fun things. Lila can now put her front paws up on a stool and twirl around. It’s a hoot! Next I want to teach her to High Five!

Posted by leya at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)

April 21, 2007

At last . . .

It's warm and sunny and a loon was singing loud on the lake this morning. It must be spring.

Posted by leya at 03:19 PM

April 18, 2007


Aaron and Jessica are visiting from Ottawa for the week. I’m a happy mom. Because I live out of town and they have tons of friends in Halifax, they are spending most nights in town. But we are spending lots of time together, so it is fine.

Aaron and I are going to Chester tomorrow to take Lila to the vet. (That’s an excuse to take a drive in the country.) Lila has already become quite fond of Aaron and Jessica. She lights up when I mention their names. And she loves playing with them. Last night she showed them how she can put her front paws up on a stool and twirl around. She loves this trick. Her tail wags the whole time. Next we are going to learn some dance steps. Along with all the usual sit, down, stay, heel, etc., which she is very good doing, as long as there are treats or rewards to go along with it.

The weather hasn’t been cooperating for our visitors. We’ve had heavy winds and rain most of their visit so far. Sadly, it will be sunny Saturday, when they leave.

Posted by leya at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2007

Welcome to the New World

I had a surprising phone conversation yesterday. It had to do with wanting to buy some fabric to make a dress for my trip to Denmark. I’ve been sewing since I was six years old. Both my grandmothers were professional seamstresses, sewing for the rich in Riga, Latvia. The story that I heard was that my father’s mother did very well with her sewing, well enough to pay for a first class ticket to the U.S. but because of the nature of marriage in those times, she couldn’t tell her husband. As a result, my dad didn’t see his father from age two until he was six years old. During those years, his father was in Africa and then in the States, working to earn enough money to bring his young family over.

My mother made most of our clothes and I always found it magical. I was so eager to sew; both she and her mother helped me make my first garment, a blue polka dot sundress. I pinned, basted, and then sewed on the machine. I remember how proud I was. From then on, I was allowed to use the sewing machine. I made mostly doll clothes until I was in my teens, when I found sewing the perfect way to fantasize about the perfect life. I could live in my thoughts and make pretty things.

Until this week, I hadn’t been in a fabric store in over a year. Having a puppy to care for has taken up most of my free time. When she’s in her kennel, I’ve preferred to go into my studio. Sewing took a back seat. So I was disappointed when I checked out the usual stores in Halifax and couldn’t find any decent fabrics, or very few. I did find some lovely lightweight red linen and am making a casual jacket from it. Everything else in the store was polyester and I wasn’t interested.

I found what looked like a local store listed in the phonebook and called. The woman said she sold only on-line, no visitors to her “store” because it is in her home, but she would mail me swatches if I wanted. Even though I live nearby. Then she told me fabric stores in Halifax are not doing well. People are not sewing. She used to teach sewing classes but they have been cancelled. They are not needed. The schools don’t have any machines now. And textile factories are closing all over Canada and the U.S. They cannot compete with China and Pakistan. The only way to get good fabrics is through on-line shopping. She gave me the name of several sites that do have some beautiful fabrics.

When I told her what a surprise all this is to me and, after years of loving to browse fabric stores, how upsetting not to be able to do that anymore, she said: “Welcome to my world!”

Posted by leya at 08:39 PM | Comments (3)

April 08, 2007


Maybe we didn’t have the proverbial white Christmas, or Chanukah, or even a white New Year’s, but we do have a very white Easter. Snow. Buckets of snow fell yesterday evening and night. It is very beautiful. And more fun because it's not too cold and we know it won’t last long.



The deck chairs look like they are all dressed up for winter:


By afternoon, the snow was melting fast, and the chairs started undressing, getting ready for spring again:


But still, it was nice and warm inside:


Posted by leya at 06:45 PM