This was Peppa in February. sSince then she can circle, apply dpt anywhere, alert to anxious behaviours and is learning to pick things up if I drop them when having a migraine and retrieving medication! Clever girl.
Awful heelwork. She hates headcollars so we’re being sent a custom prong. USED CORRECTLY for a few 10 minute sessions a day they can improve focus amazingly which she struggles with outside.
Unfortunately I’ve spent a few weeks at hospital after trying to take my life and mightily failing. This is gonna be quite hard to write
My first few months at university were comprised of physical illness, striving to fit in with people I just didn’t and an eating disorder. I’d gone to uni with no one watching my intake and the freedom of choosing what you eat. I quickly went from 9 stone 2 to 8 stone 5, barely left my room due to anxiety and a feeling of horrendous panic when outside. I thought I was going crazy. I watched Netflix my room and eating beans. Luckily, I went to the doctor’s and was put on citalopram, which despite its horrendous side effects in the first few week (sleeping 15 hours in the day) massively improved my anxiety and depression. What I didn’t know was that this improvement in mood would keep going up and up.
I impulsively bought a ticket to my home in Sweden, I bought Wilkie, I moved into a horrendously dodgy and expensive room out of halls, I spent a shit tonne of money, I bought another dog, I started a charity. What I realised is that my SSRI was creating “hypomania”. Dangerously, it was also creating apathy syndrome. I increasingly didn’t care about anyone or anything. I took risks, I drank, I skipped every single class, I stayed up late, I started to self harm again out of a total feeling of apathy.
One night I acted impulsively and took all of my anti depressants, washed them down with a bottle of wine and cut my arm open. Cue 2am roommate and dog panic, blood everywhere and puking my guts out. Then ambulance team, then emergency room (weirdest experience ever), then charcoal drink yuk, then stitches, then psych eval, then a few days stay in psych ward. Then bye bye good luck, here’s a leaflet.
I came home over easter and decided to stay here and with the help of old teacher friends apply for a different uni, whilst still trying to revise for these exams. I also stopped taking my drugs and, to my estimation, made me an 80% normal human again. y doctor reviewed this, sent me to a psych and got diagnosed with Bipolar II. Hurrah.
I’m going to uni hopefully with Peppa, who has shown herself to be very well suited for the job and is attached to me like Velcro 🙂 I’m also going to Sweden for 4 months over summer
We have a new addition, a Brittany spaniel called Peppa. Peppa is going to take over from Wilkie as my service dog, as he is just too friendly!
She was rescued from a woman who was losing her fight with cancer and wassnt able to take care of her anymore. As a result she was looking very skinny, matted and under exercised.
Now she gets 4 hours of running time a day, and oh do Brittany’s adore running! She’s groomed 3 times a week and fed lots of calorific puppy food and raw meat.
Training wise she’s a trained gundog so her obedience is excellent. Her issue is pigeons and pulling, which we’ve remedied by treat distraction and a headcollar which is very useful anyway in manoeuvring her about. I actually quite like a little bit of tension on the lead, it could be useful for disassociating and making way!
Peppa is allowed with me at all times on university campus, so yay!
She wears an in training vest, a service dog lead, a headcollar and a harness clip.
She can now circle me, apply deep pressure on cue in a variety of positions and is working
Check out the link to see Wilkie learning to respond to distress. He did well for his first go at it. Next we’ll be working on the “ground task” which involves the dog using his body weight to calm handler
Wilkie was a star today! We were outside the library with his little jacket on and got such a good response! Loads of students came over for a cuddle and and a picture. We even made some contacts! A media rep took his photo, a worker for the charity ‘Mind’ also took his photo and a professor aiming to set up a psychiatric service dog charity and runs her own mental health charity gave me a hug and her address!
Unfortunately I’ve been put on probation at uni for attendance but hopefully when I explain my situation (that I’ve been manic, can’t concentrate, have set up a charity, bought a farm in Bulgaria, cut off all my hair and now have two dogs and in a slight financial crisis…lol) they should understand.
After the second wee on my bed, Wilkie has decided it is time for him to sleep in his crate. Cue a very whiny Wilkie. Training for him is quite difficult, he is not particularly food motivated like labs and retrievers and is quite smart. He sees another dog and turns completely deaf. Although it is a positive he is so friendly, it can also be a real issue. He jumps on other dogs faces as a greeting and even after a bite or snarl, will continue to do so. Hopefully this all-consuming love for everything and anyone will die down a tad! In the meantime I’ve made the most of it with his new job as “student stress relief dog”. Off my own back I take him round campus as a therapy dog, and he gets to meet everyone and socialise and in turn students can hug him (the most common comment I get is “you’ve made my day!). He even has a special jacket! He hasn’t been stopped so far! I’m going to make an online questionnaire so that I can gauge ideas for my charity too.
Another thing I’ve learnt is that all of his behaviour good or bad is based on attention. Wilkie is a SUCKER for attention; a typical poodle trait. Ignoring him is the worst possible punishment. It is good and bad, just means that you have to modify behaviour carefully (like teach him to bark on and off cue, rather than shouting at him for barking which he will see as a reaction or attention).
On another positive note, the ‘leave’ command has been very useful. He can leave anything on the floor after a reminder or two, and walk through a sausage dotted path and come to me. Leave also works wonders with barking at silly things and eating dodgy stuff on the floor. Hopefully when he’s a bit older, it will work for people and dogs too!
I’m starting to get stricter with him and give him more independence to learn from his own mistakes (no more carrying or bed sleeping or playfighting, bad habits I should have known better to stop earlier). Hopefully he’s malleable enough to learn now. It’s very hard to raise a puppy in a flat, keeping him quiet means indulging.
I’ve also cut all my hair off suddenly! It’s now a bob lol