December Goals

by agirlandhermutt on December 3, 2015

We are on the verge of the new year and my friends, I AM READY. But I hate to be one of those people that floats through life with no goals so I sat down and created a few for the last month of the year.

Just like many, the holiday season can be quite busy (i.e. stressful) for me. I decided to go the easy peasy route when it came to goals for this month. Hopefully that means I am more likely to get them done. Fingers crossed!

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1. Drink 100 oz of water. I have really been slacking on the water situation. I had that little Water Your Plant app to track my water and my stupid plant kept DYING. Ugh. I’ve really picked up my drinking game and I’m going for 100 oz each and every day. Even on the weekend!

2. 1 barre and 1 spinning. Easy said, but easy done?!

3. Plan a small event with my friends. The key word is SMALL. Every year I organize a large holiday dinner for about 15-20 of my girlfriends. I have so much going on right now that this year I have decided to push it to the new year and just stick to smaller, more manageable fun outings. Lazy or smart?!

4. Workout on the 1st. Let’s be honest…I just need to start the year off on the right foot. LITERALLY.

5. Be a tourist in my own town. I have never really been in Boston past the middle of the month because I usually go to Florida for Christmas. This year I am not going down there (So sad…I can’t talk about it!) so I have plenty of time to check out the city in all it’s holiday glory. Don’t disappoint Boston. Also, any tips for holiday fun things in the city?!

6. Finish the Skinny Snowman Challenge. It is so fun that this one will be a piece of cake!

7. Keep a positive attitude. Let me be very honest…I’m still going through a rough time. I am missing Korky, I wish I was home helping my Mom with a surgery recovery, I’m having a hard time staying on track with an eating/working out plan, and I am not quite ready for spending Christmas without my parents for the first time in my entire life. I have had a very tough year and I’m ready for it to be over. However, I have really been trying to remind myself that so many others have had it much worse than me. So many things have not gone the way that I would have planned, but in the end, I’m here, have great friends and family and I’m healthy. How could I not feel positive about that?! It seems like such a jerky move to ever complain! I feel guilt when I do, but at the same time I can’t shake my slightly Eeyore attitude. I want to be positive about where I am in life and appreciate what I have.

So I’m going to fake it till I make it. I have a huge belief in this approach to life. I’m going to use a piece of the Skinny Snowman Challenge, list 5 positive things about your day, to remind myself how great my life is. I can do this.

Do you have any goals for the month? Let me know!

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Getting and STAYING on track this holiday season!

by agirlandhermutt on November 30, 2015

Hello there! I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving and are ready to go full force into the holiday season. I’m feeling festive and just trying to keep my sanity. Yesterday some lady tried to steal my cart while at Trader Joe’s and I just snatched it back with a smile. No yelling! :)

Before I get to a few things this fine Monday, I just wanted to give a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you for reading my last post about Korky. Your comments and messages really were touching and meant so much to me. Sharing my Korky story was helpful because I got to write all of my feelings down, but also because I got to hear from so many of you that can relate to that grief of losing a pet. It is sad, but also comforting, to know that my fear of forgetting Korky or just being depressed forever, is a common feeling and one that any pet lover can understand. So thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for just being awesome.

Now, let’s move along…

I was just down in Pensacola visiting my parents. If you follow me on social media then you were overwhelmed with puppy pictures. My parents have the cutest schnauzers in the world (Butch & Spike). They were a really nice distraction at just the right time. Know what I mean?
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I was in town to help my Mom through a knee replacement surgery. You guys…those surgeries are NO JOKE, but I am just amazed at how quickly patients are up and going after getting a NEW KNEE. My Mom had a great team at the hospital and her recovery team is great too. Recovery Team=My Dad. 😉

I was, and continue to be, totally impressed with how well she is doing! Now my stupid knee surgery seems like a child’s game of Operation now.

Speaking of my knee, I’m getting back to it! I went to a spinning class at the end of October and then the gym on and off a few times in November. I’ve been going to physical therapy two times a week so that pretty much was doing me in as far as activity during the week. Once I got back and realized that my Mom, who had a knee replacement, was going to be moving faster than me soon, I figured I better start pushing myself just a *tiny* bit more.

I went back to spinning. I am at about 85% right now in class. I don’t do well with sprints, sitting or standing, and my resistance isn’t quite as high as it once was. BUT! I’m moving along and definitely seeing improvements.

But in even bigger news…I made it back to Pure Barre! I was able to visit the Pure Barre studio in Pensacola (a 6AM CLASS!) and was so happy to be back in the studio.
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You can see my review of Pure Barre Pensacola here.

I had a little bit of knee pain when kneeling down on it, but for the most part I felt great. I actually didn’t even remember about my knee until I was already down on it and it started to get a little sore. My abs were a different story. They kept giving me little reminders, even for the next few days, that they missed being used on a more regular basis.

In order to stay on track moving forward, I decided to join BrookeNotOnADiet’s Skinny Snowman 2015 challenge. Here is a quick little blurb about the challenge from her website:

Here is how it works!

You will purchase access to the challenge (only $5) which has a chart filled with daily & weekly challenges. The types of challenges are things like logging your food, eating fruits/veggies, making or breaking a habit, activity, and taking time for yourself. There are also mini-challenges each week to earn some extra points. All challenges help with living a more healthy lifestyle over the holiday season!

As you complete the challenges, you earn points! At the end of the week, you send in your weekly points total and will be entered to win the weekly prize.

I randomly decided to join last night and now I’m all in. Anyone interested in joining me?! I really wanted to take part in some type of challenge over the holiday season, but I am not quite ready to commit to an intense fitness challenge just yet. Seriously. It is $5 and it has the cutest name in the whole world. Come play with me!

See ya soon!

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Korky

by agirlandhermutt on November 18, 2015

I became a pet owner on accident. On a random Sunday, I made a pitstop at PetSmart to pick up a toy for my parent’s new puppy. As I walked into the store I realized there was an adoption event happening that day. Yes! I loved seeing dogs despite my insane jealousy that I did not have one of my own.

Immediately, I saw a woman holding the leash of quite possibly the cutest dog I had ever seen. She was talking with one of the rescue volunteers. Her dog was so cute that I couldn’t help but sit down and start petting the cute little nugget. He couldn’t help but get comfortable in my lab. I looked into his eyes and he looked in mine and that was it. There is such thing as love at first sight. But this was someone else’s dog. Just as I could feel my heart breaking, I overheard the woman holding the leash tell the rescue volunteer, “I need to go home and get my cat. He can’t come home with us unless he likes the cat.” The volunteer politely agreed but told her she couldn’t promise her that he would be there when she returned. The leash holder shrugged her shoulders and said she would be back shortly because she just lived down the street. She handed the puppy’s leash back to the volunteer.And my life changed right at that moment.

I stood up and at the exact same time the volunteer and I said “I’ll take him!/You’ll take him?”

The dog was a black and white cocker spaniel who they guessed to be between 1 and 2 years old. He was shy. He hated his butt being touched. He didn’t like to be picked up.

His name was Korky.

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The volunteer told me that he was a jumper who loved to try to get over the fence and could spend the whole day in a mud hole.

I have to laugh when I think of that little tidbit. Korky was NOT a jumper and he hated getting dirty. Just like his mom. 😉

I always like to tell people that Korky and I picked each other. But when you think about our story, it is absolutely true. Thanks to a cat and a well timed visit to PetSmart, we were united.

I had no business owning a dog. I was young, depressed (there is no shame in this) and just kind of a mess. Fortunately, Korky was also young, depressed and just kind of a mess. We were instantly two peas in a pod.

Korky was my first major adult purchase. Owning him gave me a purpose. I had to wake up each day to walk him. I had to feed him. I had to be responsible for him. All of these things became part of of not only taking care of him, but also taking care of myself.

One of my first memories of introducing Korky to someone new was when I took him back to Pensacola to meet my parents. He ran inside their house with puppy enthusiasm, threw a kong toy into their glass entertainment center and then hopped onto their coffee table.

Just like his intro to my parents, our start together was also a little bumpy. If I got upset at him for anything and raised my voice a little, he would run away and I would find him cowering in the shower. He hated when I touched his butt and would often growl. It was obvious that Korky had had a rough life as a puppy. I was ready to turn our lives around.

Over time, we grew up together. As I started to love him more, he tolerated me more. A few months into our time together, he let me scratch his butt. It makes me laugh to think about how big of a step this was at the time because as he became older he made it his mission for every human he met to scratch his butt. :)

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Korky had a unique personality that required constant supervision and a patient attitude. Two things that I was unable to provide 100% of the time. When I didn’t, Korky would remind me that he needed those simple things from me by deliberately crapping in my kitchen, or chewing a piece of paper towel into about 10000 pieces or, my favorite, eating red chapstick on a white carpet.

Over the years he became known for his antics in eating random things. If you and I have been friends for any length of time, I know that you have an amazing story about how Korky tried to eat or succeeded in eating something from your purse or kitchen. He was a magician at being cute and deceitful all at the same time.

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Korky and I met in Tallahassee, Florida. We lived together in 3 states and 7 different apartments. Along the way we made lots of friends and even gained a family member (the husband).

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When I started this blog, A Girl & Her Mutt, it was about my life as a duo. Korky and I were a pair experiencing life together. To know me was to know my dog. The blog has changed over the years to include my adventures with friends, family, my husband and everything in between. There were times when Korky wasn’t the center of attention on the blog, but he was always the center of my life.

If I was sick, Korky was by my side. If I couldn’t sleep, Korky was next to the bed for me to pet. If I was sad, Korky was there for me to cry into his fur. If I was happy, Korky was there for me to dance with.

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This past summer Korky turned 15. I have no idea when he was actually born so we celebrate his birthday on the date that I took him home with me. His advanced age was never more apparent than it was this year. His hair was more grey than black. He walked up each stair with more effort than usual. He snored like a bear in hibernation.

He also became the MOST LOVING dog over the past year. He loved to lay on his back and have his belly rubbed. For hours! He would curl up in my lap and let me pet more than just his butt. His Dad (my husband) would hold him like a small child as they watched tv together.

Last Tuesday we found out that Korky was in kidney failure. The most difficult decision I have ever made was to say that it was Korky’s time to go. And as horrible as it sounds, it was also the easiest. Korky had led a wonderful, long life and we all knew it. We also knew that prolonging his life would be a selfish thing for us to do. Korky wasn’t in pain and we weren’t about to make him suffer.

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On Korky’s last day, I took the day off from work to spend it with him. We did everything he loved. We cuddled on the couch, ate french fries from McDonald’s and antagonized the bunny that lives in the yard next to our house. He even spent a little bit of time in his favorite spot in the house, his bed in our living room. I used to think he loved the bed more than anything but I realized he actually loved the spot the most. He could see any doorway in the house. Even during a nap you could find him with one eye open keeping an eye on our whereabouts.

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On Wednesday, 11/11 at 5pm, we said good-bye to Korky.

Writing out the date and time in words is more painful than I thought it would be and I had to take a small break because I was crying so hard.

We were together as a family as he took his last breath. He could feel my husband’s hands as he petted his belly like he had done thousands of times before. He watched me with his eyes and I told him how much I loved him, how much he would be missed and how much I appreciated all that he added to my life.

Then I told him it was ok to go. And he left us.

I never really paid much attention to the story of the “Rainbow Bridge” prior to last week. When I found out that we would be saying good-bye to Korky I decided to look it up and give it a read.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

I have never believed in something as much as I believe in the Rainbow Bridge.

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I’m writing this a week after his death and I still cry when I think too much about him. Each day gets a little easier as we go through a bunch of “firsts”. The first time I came home to an empty house. The first time my husband went to work without walking him in the morning. The first weekend where we didn’t spend it together folding laundry and cooking in the kitchen.

The support of my husband, parents and friends has been overwhelming. I posted a note about his passing to my Facebook and was blown away by not only the number of comments on my post, but the touching words of those comments. When people thought of me, they thought of my dog. It felt good to be in such great company. I’ve received texts, phone calls, and sympathy cards.I know that if others knew how much I loved him, then that means Korky had to have known how much he meant to me.

I gave Korky a great life. Even more so, he gave me one.

So what about A Girl & Her Mutt? Well, I’m still A Girl & Her Mutt. As long as I am here, so will Korky’s memory.

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Thanks for reading my little blog and being a part of my life. I hope you will continue to follow me as I start a new chapter of life. One that is filled with love, laughs and many more great memories.

Much love,

Erin & Korky

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