Quarter for scale

So today this happened to me. Every career path has it's occupational hazards, and this one is mine. Here's the story behind it. The picture is of my right inner thigh. The dog who bit me (Dwayne) was not being aggressive so much as very mouthy. He just happens to be a big dog. Lucky for me he bit over my shorts and never punctured them and ultimately me. The incident took place as I was attempting to enter the kennel to return one of the pups that lives there. I did everything I was supposed to. I waited outside the gate until the dogs inside calmed down. It was when I opened the gate to walk in that Dwayne tried to barge his way out. I stopped with half of me inside and half out. That's when he got mouthy with me. I shouted "OW OW OW" which is when he let go and ran to place himself on his bed. I backed out, closed the gate, and waited outside until the primary caregiver returned. It doesn't hurt anywhere near as bad as it might look. It's really only a little sore. And yes, I know my leg is dirty. That's what a day in the hot sun and sand of Dogtown will do to you.

I was supposed to walk him after returning the other dog I had brought back (Jojo). I did almost walk him an hour after the incident, but he was still in a state of high arousal. I felt iffy about him so we canceled the walk. Later that afternoon I, and the primary caregiver, went into the kennel together to work with him. He was leashed and watched by her. We worked on some clicker sit & down training to patch things up. His energy then was much calmer. I wasn't scared at any time before or after so much as I really only wanted to avoid a repeat incident.

I view this as kind of like getting a scratch on a new car. I knew it was bound to happen and am just glad that I've gotten it out of the way. I hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon, but again, this kind of thing comes with the territory. When I asked my trainer how I did, she said I did good despite today's challenges and recommended some dog body language classes. I'm definitely gonna take her up on that advice. I'm generally decent at reading dogs, but the classes won't hurt given that some of the dogs here came from some pretty extreme situations. Ultimately this is why I came here, to learn and help as many of these pup as I can.

You can just call me Bruised Lee for the next few days!


the eval: week one

Day One
For my first day they had me attend the tour everyone else gets to see. First you watch a 15 minute video on what Best Friends is all about and what they do. Then you board a tour bus or van on a 90 minute scenic tour of the grounds while the guide explains the history and various places within the sanctuary. There are two stops on the tour with one at Dogtown, and Catworld for the other before returning to the visitors center. After the tour I drove to HR for my 30 minute orientation/paper sign-fest. Next up was lunch at the Angel Village Cafe for a healthy lunch (veggie) where I had another 90 minutes to kill. My final stop was Dogtown HQ where I met up with the Admin Assistant for a personal behind the scenes tour of Dogtown ending with another paper sign-fest back at HQ. The day was nonstop but easy.

Day Two & Three
I reported to the Fairway where I would be trained over the next two days. The first day where was a bit hectic which led us to falling behind that morning, but we were caught up well before lunchtime. The second day went very smoothly with us staying ahead of everything. What was nice was that I got to experience the other side of what goes on when you're not a volunteer. Some duties between a caregiver/volunteer do overlap, but not as much as I expected. I learned both opening/closing duties, food prep, giving medication, various Dogtown protocols, interacting with volunteers, report updates, and several other things I can't recall at the moment. All in all I'm exhausted with all I've done and taken in, but loved every single minute of it.

Day Four & Five
This time I reported to Maggie's. It was once a store but was converted to training facility from what I was told. The day here started off much like my first day at the Fairway, it was chaotic. To up the ante many of the tasks/chores here have to be done in very specific ways. Partly was because some of the dogs living there required special attention, and because of the layout of the building being different from other kennels. A lot of unexpected stuff came up that the trainer had to deal with which left me (at times) idle on the first day. I was able to jump in and do more on the second day since I'd been trained, and there were also less interruptions.

All in all I felt I did alright this week. I made a few mistakes along the way, but the trainers noted that I corrected myself before repeating them. One more week to go before I find out if I get to be a caregiver at Dogtown.


crossing paths

When I left OC I wondered how long it would be before it happened. If not any of the blogs I follow directly, at least someone who happens to follow the same ones I might. Today was the day, and I'm hoping that this is the first of many happy encounters with other full timing bloggers. 

I just had the pleasure of meeting miss Becky who some of you may know from her blog InterstellarOrchard. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't followed her blog regularly but, in my defense, I do drop in once every few months to catch up. Ok I only learned about her blog about eight months ago where I read as much as I could at the time and then stopped figuring I would catch up again in another couple of months. No really, I swear it. For a minute I couldn't remember where I discovered her blog from, but all it took was the mention of The Good Luck Duck to remember. What a stuff!!!

my move

Turns out I didn't have to wait very long for that answer. On Tuesday (last week) another email arrived informing me of my start date along with some additional new employee information. Tomorrow morning is when I begin my two weeks with the last day landing on the 4th of July. The answer to whether I make it or not depends on if there's another two week'r scheduled to start after me. I hope that everything remains as swift as it's been, (so far) and receive another prompt & positive answer. If I do wait I'll simply throw myself back into the mix as a volunteer until the answer comes.

I took things a bit easier this week and only volunteered for three shifts at the sanctuary. Most of my downtime was spent taking care of  various housekeeping chores along with another minor repair. Living in a small space makes for quick and easier cleanups but it's something that still has to be done. My water brass pressure regulator died after only a handful of uses. I found a cheap plastic replacement which I'm hoping will fare better. I also had a backlog of emails, TV shows, and movies to get caught up on which made for a nice way to decompress. I even made a trip out to St George for some supplies while squeezing in some Ingress playtime.

Bridgette has been a real trooper thru all of this and has settled comfortably into her new routine. Kanab isn't a large town so a walk from where we live to the end of town takes us 20 minutes. It's actually 10 minutes, but I'm playing Ingress which slows the walk down a bit. As hot as it could be here, it's not that bad because there's almost always a nice and constant breeze helping to keep things cool. I've not yet had to break out the boots to deal with the ground being too hot. During one of our walks yesterday she ate something which upset her tummy. She woke me up twice last night and informed me that she had to hurl. We made it to the toilet both times and avoided a mess. The thing that makes what she did kind of incredible is that I'm a very sound sleeper and can sleep through anything. For whatever reason a few paw taps and then a body tremble wakes me right up. This morning she woke up, ate her breakfast, and seems none the worse for wear.

Your Move by Yes on Grooveshark


plastic surgery

My rig is almost four years old and has taken good care of me despite my not having lived in it for very long. I bought and paid it off in a little over two years. The last month plus is the longest I've ever used it continuously. I'm thrilled that it's held up well in all that time. Ok, maybe not as well as I'd hoped for in some cases. The extreme weather conditions of some of the places I've lived/where it was stored did take it's toll here and there.

It's been four years, and the age issues have been minor for the most part. I did realize in retrospect that an RV cover might've helped out when in storage, but that's ok since I'm using the jebus outta it now. I figured today would be a good walk backwards to see some of the improvements made.

This was one of the first things I did to spruce it up. I added a back splash to my stove area shortly after purchasing it. I do love to cook and frying is very much a staple in Asian foods. It made sense, and was uber easy to do.

This is the first "repair" I've ever had on this rig. While I was hosted at the compound of my childhood bff Barry, I discovered that my AC had died. Barry spearheaded the repair efforts and rekindled my bravery into fixing shit on my own again. What can I say, I got lazy by paying people to fix the stuff I didn't have time or was too scared to do myself. So that day he went above and beyond the call (for me) and helped to not only determine what was wrong, but also in finding a replacement. As a result I was delayed by only a day. Thank you again Barry! I honestly would've spent more time and money on it had you not helped me.

The drive up here from Barry's was not without a few problems. I ran into some extreme wind conditions and my awning was not locked down properly. This resulted in some severe damage to it. I ordered an awning repair tape which didn't help, and only made matters worse. I removed it all, and went an entirely different route. One of the RV park managers here helped and intro'd me to the redneck repair school. It worked better than expected and my awning has not torn a stitch more since. Its not the prettiest, but I really don't care since it's fixed. It's even held up to some of the more severe wind gusts this town is prone to.

This was more of an upgrade. Anyone whose lived long enough in an RV/TT knows that black water tanks sometimes backup in the odor department. After living in mine for more than a month, mine did. I purchased and owned the Cyclone well before arriving here. I procrastinated on it's installation, but finally got around to it a few weeks ago. Worth it! It really works. Do it if you can't deal with the poo smells.

This last upgrade is known as the Bagua mirror. It's kind of a Feng Shui thing for the uninitiated. The basic purpose is to redirect any potential bad spirits away from your domicile so that you can lead a happy and un-evil life for as long as is possible. This is the most simplified explanation I can muster. The rules of Feng Shui as well as anything else Asian are pretty strict and mostly a complete mystery to me to this day. I'd originally written something else here to conclude with, and it was supposed to be funny. I reread it this morning and decided it came off more snarky than funny so I decided to replace it with this ...



On Saturday morning while going thru my morning routine (Earl Grey as I read the news of the day) I had an email pop in. One of the Dogtown manager's emailed me requesting a telephone interview at a later time/date. Wait, what?!? I seriously thought that I'd blown the initial interview with HR, and expected to be notified weeks later that I hadn't made it. I learned after my second interview how wrong I was.

Interview day came and I was ready. Ok kind of ready. Ok not really ready at all. I did my best to make the day as routine as possible, but I was still a little traumatized from HR's "vee haff vays uff making you talk" ambiguous question-fest last week. I volunteered again that morning, came home for lunch, cleaned house, watched Russell Peters bits on youtube, and did just about anything else I could think of to keep distracted. My phone rang at the appointed hour and it was go time. How'd I do? I nailed it! One of the things the Mgr was kind enough to inform me of was that my second interview happened only because of the number of staff who came to bat for me. I've spent the last few days thanking each and every one of them for it too. An hour after the interview was over I received an email informing me that I made it. Technically I've not been offered a full time position, yet. I will work for two weeks as staff at a lower wage than what the position pays. This is so the staff can assess if they like working with me as well as how I acclimate to the town and vice versa. I was told about 40% of the two week candidates wash out once they get here. One of the senior caregivers there informed me that it's in the bag given what the staff already did on my behalf and that I've been happily living here for over a month. Still, I don't want overconfidence to get the better of me, and I'll exhale once a formal offer has been extended.

I am quite literally over the moon given how things have progressed. It's been over a year since I left/ended my IT career, I haven't earned a single penny since then, and I'm about the happiest I've ever been about the decisions made that led me here. I have so much to learn still and am eagerly looking forward to it.

Steer by Missy Higgins on Grooveshark


the interview

I had my telephone interview today. If you were to ask me how I did I would tell you that I think I did terribly. My personal views on HR departments are that they're different animals from company to company. I've had many interviews like this before and the results have been split so far. In short I can't tell if I'm making it thru to the next round or not and will simply have to wait and see. I was told that there's one day left of the telephone interviews before they decide who proceeds.

Now if you were to ask me how I've done while volunteering, I would say that the feedback I've been receiving for my efforts has been largely positive. I was even informed by one of the caregivers that everyone I've worked with really likes me. That's a huge vote of confidence for me, but I can't put 100% stock in it. I mean that I'm still learning (a lot) about what they do and the overall culture of this organization. I'm doing my best to be realistic and not let the praise elevate me into overconfidence.

Now comes the part that always kills me inside. The waiting. Wish me luck!

PS - The urchin is gone. She was made to vacate the campsite this afternoon post haste. She didn't leave the night before and had somehow managed to come up with money to stay an extra night. This incensed the park mgr who allowed her to stay without paying for the initial three nights. I learned this afternoon of several other incidents with other guests about her, along with an eyewitness account that she was spotted (on her second day) walking back to her tent with a vodka bottle shaped brown paper bag.



Inevitably, no matter how smooth any road is, you will encounter a bump or two along your travels. I've definitely had a few to contend with on my recent journey. The most recent issue is in the form of a young adult soon to be street urchin. There's a mobile home park adjacent to where I'm staying, and where said urchin resided until the 1st of this month. She was evicted for a failure to pay rent. Somehow she managed to have enough money to secure a tent site here at the RV Park. Luckily there's a max stay of six days and she could only afford three of them. Today his her last day and many of us are looking forward to finally being exhaling.

I realize that what I'd just said may sound somewhat mean, but it isn't. A series of events have transpired over the last week which has left us feeling less than hospitable towards her; this was before and after her eviction. We came to learn that she and her boyfriend were both incarcerated for crimes unknown. She wouldn't say what the crimes were. The boyfriend was paying rent on what I can only describe as a travel trailer that has not traveled in at least two decades. The mobile home park isn't ghetto so much as half of the resident's rigs sport a very well worn look. For whatever reason she only spent five days in the slammer while her boyfriend remains on a very extended stay. A few have taken pity on her and therein lies the problem. Many of us were wary of her from the start with good reason.

Here's where it began for me. On memorial day (which also happened to be my birthday) the park held a pot luck BBQ get together. That was the day I met her. I was enjoying the good food and company until mingled into a circle she was in. It took me all of about three minutes when I picked up on something not being quite right with her. I left immediately and rejoined a prior circle. She mingled her way into it and I left again. It happened again so I left the BBQ altogether. The final straw was when another guest for some reason thought she was with me. My best guess as to why she thought that was because the girl is from Alaska and kind of Asian looking. I replied loudly "no, we just met today" followed with a mumbled "and I wished I didn't". The guest heard me and giggled.

I learned about a day or so later that one of the park managers thought she might have a crush on me which I quickly dismissed with a "don't say that, not funny!". It was also during the course of that same conversation that I'd learned how much the park managers knew about her and her situation. The girl used to work at a fast food restaurant across the street but lost that job. They'd also said that her short employment period was the only time she was seen walking around without a drink in hand. Everyone suspected it was a cocktail which was confirmed recently by a guest. Over the week she had taken to inviting herself to sit with any of the guests eating at the picnic tables provided. This included helping herself to the food at said tables. She's a bit of a manipulator but it wasn't long before guests started asking her to not sit with them. In the cases where someone was too timid to ask they would simply eat indoors to avoid dealing with her at all.

Her first forays with me were met with a one time offer of help followed up with a lesson on how to "do without" certain items. It became crystal clear that she wanted a handout, not help, when she stopped coming to me and pursued other guests instead.

During Bridgie's morning constitutional, we ran into the park manager. She was on duty last night when the urchin walked into the office as a customer was paying his bill in cash. She made an off hand comment about his change going to her, and then something to the effect that she and her dog would have to shoot him for it. He clearly did not appreciate her sense of humor or latter remark. He replied to her with "I shoot back, and I don't miss". The park manager was livid and immediately told her to leave the office.

I really want her gone and am counting the remaining 43 minutes until she has to vacate the tent site behind me.