Daily walks with your pup

It was March 2021 just a few days after Paul's father passed away. Jameson and I were upstairs in my office. I was typing an email to my newsletter about Paul's father, and Jameson was napping next to me, keeping me company.

Paul came up the stairs to see me, and Jameson woke up from her nap. She stood up to greet Paul and fell over. We laughed and joked about her. Haha, she just fell, haha are you drunk?


She got up again, walked a little, and fell again. She started shaking and then had a bathroom accident, vomited, and shook some more. We didn't know what was happening.


Was she having a stroke? Was she dying? WTF is happening?


I don't know why, but I ran downstairs and grabbed a beef stick and fed it to her, thinking she would stay alive so she could eat. It's so stupid and silly as I look back, but I had no idea what was happening. Jameson being Jameson, a lab at heart, she actually did eat the beef stick while she lay on the ground.


We started Googling about what was happening and calling vets to see if we could bring her in. This was still during the pandemic and before we had vaccines, so it was still a crazy time.


We got to a vet 20 minutes later and Jameson seemed ok. We had to sit outside in our car because places weren't letting you inside if you didn't have to be inside. They came out to our car, put Jameson on a bed, and rolled her into the vet.


We sat in the car crying. Unsure of just what happened. Unsure if Jameson was going to be okay.


I started to feel like the worst dog owner. What if my dog dies? Was I a good dog owner? Did I take care of her? Did I take her on enough walks? Did I spend enough time with her? If she dies, will I know I did my best? 


I felt awful. It was the worst day ever.


They let us know she had "old dog syndrome" which is basically like vertigo for dogs. She was dizzy and that's why she fell. We were able to bring her home that day, and she ended up being fine...


Until the next day when she got dizzy again. She woke up in the middle of the night and her head and eyes were spinning. It was so scary to see. We don't have children. Jameson is our child. And our child felt awful, and there was nothing we could do about it.



The episode lasted for about 2 weeks. She couldn't go on walks. Sometimes she had trouble peeing. She wasn't eating anything or drinking anything. Her head was tilted. Eyes spinning. She could barely walk...


And then slowly it started getting better. She started eating again. Walking with our assistance. We had to hold her up with a harness, but she could do it!


During this whole time, I felt immense dog mom guilt. I was not sure I was the best dog mom. I felt like I could have been doing more for my dog and hated that I wasn't.


When Jameson got better, I vowed to always take her on a daily walk. I wanted to make sure I was spending time with her every day. I had no idea when she would die, but I wanted to know that when she died, that I did everything I could for her.


I am going to bring up The Big 5 + 1 Motivational Journal now because that's what helped me take action and continue to take action. 



Pain- I was tired of feeling like a bad dog mom. I hated the shame and guilt I felt. (Whether it was correct I was a bad dog mom is not the point. I felt like I was and hated it.)


Pleasure- I wanted to feel pleased with myself. I wanted to know that I did everything I could to help my pup live a good life.


Old Identity- Lazy, sporadic dog walker, bad dog mom


New Identity- Consistent dog walker, good dog mom


Action- Take my pup for a daily walk no matter what. Even if for just 5 minutes, that's time I get to spend with my pup, and that's time my pup gets to spend outside smelling things. And oh boy, she LOVES smelling things.



I started logging my daily dog walks awhile ago, and now we go on 3-5 walks a day. Sometimes they are 4 minutes. Sometimes they are 20 minutes. But now I have evidence on paper that I am not a bad dog mom. I can see on paper from my log that I take my dog for a walk every day. The guilt and shame I used to feel are no longer there.


Jameson is going to die one die. It is going to hurt my heart like never before. But when that day arrives, I know that I did everything I could for this pup.


She loves her daily walks, and I love doing something to make her happy.





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