Saturday, November 22, 2014

A View of Poland

It been nearly five months since my time in Poland, but there is hardly a day that goes by that I don't think about it. It was so life changing for me and even now I struggle to process it all...

Anyway, I'm mostly putting this here for myself, but I got an email yesterday that the video they filmed during the trip was finally's beautiful but very hard to watch for me. I freely admit to sitting at my desk and crying as I watched it...

For those of you who care about this point in history (you all should!) feel free to watch...there's a lot of Howard's story (the survivor who went with us) contained within it, which is honestly the powerful stuff...

If you have no interest, that's fine I said, mostly putting this here for me...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Henry The Pug Update

Poor Puggy has been hospitalized since yesterday morning:( I feel so guilty I'm not home...I felt a little bad when I called the vet yesterday and asked for an update, but they were super nice about it when I explained that I'm away at college and worried about my old mom was trying to tell me what they said, but she just doesn't really know, so I was glad they didn't mind my call. I hate being "that owner." The verdict for his most recent problem is canine diabetes. We were really really worried about his kidneys (because he's had kidney issues in the past and the symptoms that he had), but thankfully everything seemed to be okay there. His liver enzymes were slightly elevated, but vet didn't see a real reason to be concerned about that at this point (though, when I heard that I was a little worried because that can be a symptom of a more advanced case of the disease). Thankfully, it does look like we caught it relatively soon (all because I *know* my dog and he was NOT right when I got to see him for all of 5 minutes on Sunday...). The vet did warn me that this disease is hard on them and he is an old dog:(

Once he comes home, he'll need two insulin shots a day and blood tests once a week for a couple weeks (it can be hard to determine the right dose in dogs), but hopefully we can get him back on track and I can have some more time with my best little poor poor hyperglycemic baby:(:(:(

Sigh. I guess this is better than I thought, but man, its still hard. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier if I didn't love my animals so damn much...but I do, I really really really do:(

My favorite picture of The Pug, circa Fall 2007

I also love this one from last spring<3 b="">

Henry has been around longer than anyone in my family has had a digital I'm going to have to dig up some of his baby pictures and scan them! He was so stickin' cute. He was the runt of the litter, so he was so so so tiny...

A note on pugs before I sign off...they are absolutely fabulous dogs. Henry is the funniest, sweetest dog I've ever met. HOWEVER, if you ever think about getting one, be prepared for the health issues, because they are genetically predisposed to many. In reality, our greatest luck with Henry was that his nose isn't *quite* as smooshed as what is considered "ideal" for the breed. Therefore his breathing issues haven't been as severe as some (he's still had breathing issues, but they are unrelated to brachycephaly). I would never talk someone out of a pug (because I love mine...and my half pug!) but you just have to be prepared to really like your vet...that being said, I wouldnt trade a moment with this dog for the healthiest dog in the world. Henry is the best dog ever, and I'm sure there will be more pugs in my life in the future<3 br="">

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Hardest Part

I'm not sure I've ever told the story of how Henry The Pug came into my life. It's pretty much the most perfect love story between human and canine and as I'm remembering all those wonderful moments with my old man today, I thought I would share it here.

When I was seven, the only thing in the entire world that I wanted was a dog. This was before I dreamed of a horse of my own and every single day I would plead with my parents to get me a dog...any dog. And while we did own an oldler Persian cat that my mom had purchased when she was in college, that cat wanted nothing to do with me and my parents were adamant that I could not have a dog.

At the time, I was obsessed with Animal Planet. Emergency Vets, Adoption Stories...those are the shows that come to mind, but pretty much I grew up living vicariously through the TV...until that early September day shortly after I had turned eight years old...

I remember the day really well, considering how long ago--over 11 years-- it was. At the time my mom was pregnant with my younger sister, and I remember going to the hospital that day and finding out that my little sister was, indeed going to be a little sister and not a little brother. I also remember being really annoyed when my mom went "shopping" with my aunt and cousin and left me with my dad to attend my younger brother's soccer practice. I remember them using the excuse that they were going "christmas shopping" and therefore that was why I couldn't go along. After that, I'm sure I did nothing but whine and complain the rest of the day about having to sit out in the sun...

I remember going home, and my mom and aunt and cousin were all sitting on the couch in the living room.

They told me to open a basket sitting in the middle of the floor. I did as they said, and I remember these two little eyes just staring at me all of a sudden. My brain couldn't process it all and I remember crying when I figured out that he was mine.

Thus was the beginning of a friendship that has spanned over a decade.

The neighbors called him "King Henry" because he thought he owned the neighborhood. For the first three years of his life his greatest talent was escaping our nicely-fenced back yard. It was not an uncommon thing for people to see that little smooshed-face pug running down the sidewalk being trailed by a little girl. He loved to chase cars and nearly got hit by a school bus once. I also remember one rainy July day when someone knocked on our door and when I opened it, in ran The Pug. Apparently he had been chasing cars on a very busy road when the good samaritans stopped to grab him. Let's just say "damn dog" was a common phrase in our house in those early years!
He would never win a beauty pageant, and most people would probably classify him under the "that dog is sooooo ugly that hes cute" category, but he has been the sweetest, most carefree soul I could ever love.

I've watched the grey hairs sprout on his black muzzle and I've noticed him start to slow down, but hes still been the same happy pug. Now, all of a sudden he seems to be going downhill pretty fast. I just feel so emotionally unprepared for all of this. Henry The Pug has been in my life for so long, that I'm struggling to imagine a world without him in it.

I gave him a bath before I returned to school today and he just seemed so content as I massaged the warm water and shampoo into his coat. Every so often, I'd reach good spot and he'd lean in, clearly wanting me to continue there, perhaps a little harder. It made me tear up...hes such a sweet boy.

I'm truly struggling right now. Love is just so hard sometimes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Election Day Impromptu Ride

At 9:30 Tuesday morning, my friend texted me and asked if I wanted to do something since we didn't have class. Sure, I said...what did she want to do? Her suggestion was to ride first I was trying to think of a friend I could con into making that happen...and then I remembered that *I* just so happen to have a we decided to drive back to my town and go ride!

Half an hour later, we were on our way...

Said friend of mine has ridden in the past, but it's been a long time, so I figured I'd put her on Miss and maybe hop on myself for a bit at the end. When I got to the barn I started chatting with J for a bit and he offered to let me ride his horse if I wanted to put my friend on Miss! Ummm YES...never pass up a chance to take that guy for a spin!

Miss took care of my friend and I had a fun time on J's horse and overall it was a nice (albeit random) day back in the saddle! It was exactly what I needed!

Unfortunately it was short-lived because I was back to the books yesterday:)





Oh, and I even have a video!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Exciting and The Not-So Exciting


The small animal vet I've been working with recently opened a second clinic where she's focusing on rehabbing patients (injury, surgery, age-related issues, etc.). It's a really interesting side of veterinary medicine that I'm enjoying seeing. The big "wow" factor with the new clinic is the underwater treadmill for hydrotherapy treatments. It's a really really cool piece of technology that can serve a lot of purposes and benefit a lot of different patients in a lot of different ways. Today Dr. J was seeing her former-police-dog patient who had spinal surgery after severe intervertebral disc disease left him with hind limb paralysis. It's amazing enough that the procedure was such a success because this type of surgery really can go either way and definitely has it's risks. I wasn't there for his first treatment on the treadmill but Dr. J took a video and showed was his third treatment and the difference is truly impressive! Seriously cool stuff.


I came home this weekend to help my cousin move and go to the clinic, but I also managed to get a ride on The Mare this morning. She was really good, but I was ever so slightly's a little clear that someone else has been riding her...her canter transitions were pretty ehhh and she required quite a bit of leg as we passed the door. It isn't anything that I can't work through, but her canter had just become so so so nice and it's just frustrating to take steps back, even fairly insignificant ones. The trade off  of letting someone else ride your horse I guess...thankfully we spent a lot of time working on transitions today and she was working really well by the end. I shouldn't complain (and I do truly like M and I'm glad she is working hard to get better and better), just kind of frustrated with myself that I don't have time to come home and ride more...oh well, I can only do as much as I can do!

I'm going to go on a trail ride tomorrow with some barn friends...May very well be our last one of the season:(

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photographic Evidence.

I was going through pictures from the past year and I found THIS:

Photographic evidence that The Mare *has,* in fact, spooked at something (such a pathetic little spook in reality lol).

Craziness. Must have been a weird phase of the moon or something....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Price of a Dream

"Sometimes we must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -Joesph Campbell

I think, my friends, that this might be the hardest post I'll ever write. I don't even want to write it because I feel guilty and kind of a like a failure for saying some of these things out loud, but honesty is freeing in some ways, and sometimes a fresh perspective from others helps I'm so tired of crying and feeling so defeated about this that I think I just need to say it out loud...

So, I guess here I go...

Do you remember when you were young and the world was just so simple and everything seemed so possible and you could do anything and be anyone?

I do. I was fourteen. I was fourteen and the one dream I had, the only dream I had, was to own a horse. That was it for me. In my narrow little vision, that was it. Missy was it. End of story. Happily ever after.

And I did it. Everyone looked at me and said "she's too young" and "she's too inexperienced" and "she doesn't understand what she's getting herself into." And I look at all those people and ignored them. I was me, in charge of my own destiny, and if I could dream it, than damn well I could do it.

Those same people looked at me and said "but Mary, you won't be a kid forever, you have to grow will grow up and what are you going to do when that happens?"

I ignored them, for in that moment., in my innocent, youthful bliss, I couldn't imagine a dream bigger than Missy. 

The thing that I didn't understand, the part of the story that I couldn't foresee, was that Missy would take that shy nobody of a young girl and make her into someone bigger, stronger, more confident...she would open up the possibility for me to dream bigger.

And so here we are. No longer do I merely dream of owning horses, I dream of helping them too. 

I've always said, from day one, that as much as I love riding (and I do love riding),  I am so much more of a horse person than a riding person. Horses are not just what I do, but who I am. They are a part of my heart and soul. But just the same, I wasn't that girl who knew without a doubt at age 10 that she wanted to be a vet. In fact, for a very long time, I looked at the time it would take me to get there, and I didn't want any part of that. I wanted a life for myself and I didn't want to wait until I was 30 to have it.

But somehow that's not how I look at it anymore. Now I think about my future and I can't come up with something that makes me that excited. When I close my eyes, I can see my myself some years down the road...and now there isn't anything in the world that I want more.

Missy is my heart and soul. I doubt anyone will ever understand her or love her like I do. She has given me more than I could ever repay. I owe her everything.

But what am I to do?

I don't have time to ride. I don't have time to go home and see her. I physically cannot be a full time student in one of the most competitive fields in existence and work enough hours to pay for her and a car and gas and all the other ridiculous expenses that come with having to be an adult.

I'm doing this all by myself, and as much as it shatters my heart into a million little pieces to admit the words out loud, I don't know how to do it all.

Right now, her board is costing me pretty much as cheap as it can get because I have a leaser. I could move her somewhere else but it would end up costing me more because I couldn't lease her out. I guess I could throw her out in a field somewhere, but I don't have the time to go check on her. The only reason that the situation is working now is because I trust the BO/BM where she's at so impeccably and they truly take care of her.

I guess I could try to find a full leaser, but how long does that go on? I have undergrad, vet school, and undoubtedly a residency into front of me.

In a way, I feel as though I'm just prolonging the inevitable.

But at the same time, how in the hell do I physically give up the biggest part of my heart?

I have no answers and I'm killing myself trying to find them.

I just don't know what to do.

I guess all I do know, is that growing up is damn hard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quarter Horse Congress 2014

A friend posted this on the very least it's a tad funny:P

What a crazy weekend! I'm still tired lol but man I had a total blast!

It all started bright and early Friday morning...I got in a van with a few other horse girls from WVU and we drove to Columbus for a weekend of Quarter Horse Congress. I didn't know all of these people really super well, but by the end we were all pretty close! I can't wait until our next adventure!

We arrive in Columbus around 1pm and started off the weekend with some major vendor browsing. I was totally boring and only ended up with some bell boots for a good price and a new pair of spur straps (side note: glad I grabbed the bell boots because I got to the barn today and Miss had lost a boot...darn horses), but it's still fun to window shop. Thankfully Congress tends to canter more towards the western rider, so there wasn't *too* much to tempt me.

We then dared to go to the warm-up ring...I haven't been to Congress in about 7 years so I totally forgot how bad the warm-up ring is. I lasted about 10 minutes before the yanking/gerking and draw reins attached to leverage bits got the better of me and I had to leave because it really bothered me (side note: I have videos of some of it and oh em gee it's BAD). Learned my lesson...there are some things you just don't want to see first hand.
By this time, it was time for us to leave and go check in to our hotel so we could get ready for dinner and the PBR that night.

The hotel we stayed at was super nice and we ended up st this little sports bar that had really really good food and really really bad service (apparently the good food won us over thought because we ended up back there on Saturday night).

The PBR was at 8 and we barely made it back to the expo center in time, but we got there! Our seats were kind of far away from the action, but they gave us a nice view of the whole arena! Bull riding is...interesting. There really isn't a better way to put it! It definitely isn't what I expected, though. I guess the media always kind of portrays bulls as super aggressive, but it more like they knew their job and did it well. It was a neat first time experience for me. Definitely not my chosen passion, by any means, but we had a good time! The rodeo clowns were hilarious and the roping horse had a fabulous cow sense and good self-preservation skills!

The PBR was a solid two hours and I think we were all totally wiped by the end of it and definitely ready to get back to our beds! 

I totally crashed the second my head hit the pillow and I was a tad sad when our 8am alarm went off...though it wasn't *quite* as hard to get my butt out of bed to go to Congress as it is to go to class lol Thankfully, I live on coffee, so I was ready to go once I downed a cup of wonderful caffeine.

On our way back to the vendors, we stopped at the Puppy Pavillion and immersed ourselves in cuteness...I wanted to take one home so badly!


It was right about now that I checked my phone and saw a text from a fellow blogger buddy. We had realized we would be at Congress the same weekend, and made plans to meet up. She had both arrived right around the same time, so we decided on a meeting place. So, I broke off with my group for a bit and went to meet Tracy from Fly On Over!

It's always hard when you've only ever met someone online, but I took a good guess when I got to our designated meeting place and went up to two women. Turns out I was right! I introduced myself and Tracy immediately gave me a hug. I loved that lol:) I'm a super friendly person and I like friendly people! Plus, it feels like I know so many of you even though we've never met in real life! Tracy was no expection and we hit it off right away. We went and browsed some vendors and talked about a variety of things: our horses, our disciplines, and blogging in general. It was fun getting to know her and Tracy's mom was equally as sweet. She impressed me with her knowledge of a equestrian mom looks at me like I'm nuts lol

It had been awhile since I'd been to Congress, so Tracy and her mom insisted that I had to see the barns...they said they were really cool and unique and no trip to Congress was complete without seeing the elaborate displays firsthand...holy crap they were right! I couldn't get over how incredible they could definitely tell it was a sign of status to these barns and they went all out!


After I said goodbye to Tracy (with the promise that we should try to meet up in April for Equine Affaire!), I went and met back up with one of the girls I came down with and we went "trailer shopping" (read: we went and walked through all the incredible trailers and dreamed a little lol) and then went to watch a couple working hunter classes.

The highlight of the whole weekend (and perhaps my life...I kid) occurred that night. Two words, my friends: Freestyle Reining. It's like a dressage freestyle meets reining with costumes (I think we need to petition the FEI to mandate costumes for Grand Prix Dressage Freestyles!). It was interesting because it was divided into two divisions, pros and amateurs, but they all rode together in a random order so you didn't really know who was what. Some people were really good, a couple were AMAZING and then there was those on the opposite end of the spectrum too. Nevertheless, the music and costumes were awesome! I managed to video a couple just for you guys (I was bummed because while I recorded the winner of the pro division, Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship, my phone died so I missed recording the winner of the amateur division. She was cool because she actually rode bridle-less AND scored a point and a half higher than Dan James. However, I managed to find a video of Youtube from someone else!).

Another super cool thing that happened at the Freestyle was that Shawn Flarida rode his WEG Team and Individual Gold Medal Winning Horse, Spooks Gotta Wiz. It was cool to see such a top level horse preform! Definitely an added treat to an already-superb night!

On Sunday morning, we went back to Congress for a couple final hours before heading home, and I took the opportunity to watch a halter class. It was my first experience with this, and I definitely have to say, it's a totally different world! The particular class I watched was weanlings, and while I was impressed with their ground manners at such a young age, I'm not used to seeing babies with so much bulk to them. It was interesting, and while definitely not my cup of tea, I try to keep and open mind and learn all that I can about different disciplines.

Overall, we had a great time! I definitely would like to go back for the Freestyle Reining next only advice to future Congress attendees? Stay away from the warm-up rings (and definitely meet-up with at least one blogger buddy!)!!!;)

P.S. I apologize for all the iPhone pics...I lent a family member my camera to use for the weekend (brave or stupid? lol)