Six years ago today I published my first ever blog post. By now I have published 304 (this is #305) and have 184 drafts in the works. I love blogging and I appreciate every kind word and constructive suggestion I get. Thank you readers, old and new! Here’s what’s going on for the dogs, for me, and the blog this year.
It’s been an eventful year since my fifth anniversary at Eileenanddogs. The worst event by far was the loss of my eleven-year-old dog Summer last August. She had inoperable hemangiosarcoma. She was so healthy otherwise I would forget she was aging at all. I thought we had a good five more years.
Maybe this is the time to announce I am writing a book about her. She’s the one who brought me here, after all. And she, out of all the dogs I have known, was the most like me in temperament. I miss her quiet presence so much.
I have so many projects going that her book won’t be out all that soon. I have a good start on it. Then I realized that writing a book about our life together needed to be more than a simple chronology. I detoured into reading memoirs for a while. I didn’t like any of the memoirs with animals in them though, so we’ll have to see what I come up with.
The second hard thing this year was Zani’s accident in February. She slammed into a fence running at high speed. (Actually, I think Clara slammed her into it.) She got a spinal cord concussion but is recovering beautifully. We recently saw a rehab vet and I will be more proactive about careful exercises for her. But she has bounced back well on her own, and both her vets have reported no discernible pain. Yes!
Clara continues to be my sweet, smart, beloved puppy. But all grown up. The work I have done with our trainer has paid off beyond my wildest dreams. Clara the snarly puppy with the stressful feral puppyhood (and probably stressful time in the womb as well) has developed into a steady, even extroverted dog. Her world has gotten big. She deals with things like vet visits better than many “normal” dogs. And she is simply lovely to live with.
I have big news in my personal life. I am retiring from my day job on July 31, 2018. Yes, in less than two weeks I will be a full-time writer and consultant! Calling the job I’ve had for 18 years a “day job” doesn’t do it justice, though. I have been privileged to work for a breast cancer program that allowed me to provide real, tangible help to impoverished women who had breast cancer. I learned so much about the lives of the poorest of the poor and how to help. My organization was able to help women who had so many strikes against them. And we saved lives. I don’t say that in a vague, rhetorical way. I know of about 50 women who are alive today because of my program. But funding was dwindling, so in April 2018 we dissolved the agency. We probably could have scratched along for another year, but my work partner and I were ready to retire from it. It’s a shame that there was no one to carry it on, though.
But I am so ready to write, edit, teach, and create full time. I will be offering the writing mentorship through IAABC again. I have Summer’s story to work on. And I have two other big projects coming out, both probably debuting in the next few months.
Oh, and I’m hanging out a shingle. I am available for hire as an editor or proofreader for dog-related writing and some other genres. I’ll have a little ad in the blog sidebar soon. But if you are interested, you can contact me anytime through the contact page on the blog. I am so happy to be able to offer this.
My five most popular posts of all time are as follows:
|Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted?||224,907 views|
|Ringing the Bell to Go Out: Avoid These 4 Common Errors!||126,192 views|
|The Secret to Quick Non-Crumbly Homemade Dog Treats||106,564 views|
|No More Cutting! Making 500 Non-Crumbly Dog Treats From a Mold||53,838 views|
|Before You Share That “Cute” Dog and Baby Picture…||43,925 views|
The first three and the fifth are the same as last year. But the “No More Cutting” post, where I describe how to make dog treats in a pyramid pan, jumped up from out of the running into fourth place. And it bumped off my “Operant Learning Illustrated by Examples” post, which is a bit disappointing. But I’m glad that people come to my blog for any reason. Maybe some of the recipe seekers will stick around for the rest!
The post I’m proudest of this year is the one on the matching law: Herrnstein’s Matching Law and Reinforcement Schedules. I worked on it on and off for years. I’ll be creating some other posts on that topic. I know it comes off as pretty technical, but studying the matching law is probably the one single thing that taught me the most about training. Give it a try!
I’m also keeping my Video Examples for Teachers page up to date with the posts that trainers most often use for their clients.
Odds and Ends
My book on canine cognitive dysfunction is selling well, and I updated that website a bit. I need to create a second edition in the next year or so. I have more to do on the website as well. I finally have a “testimonials” page. Rather than asking people to write testimonials, I
stalk approach people who say nice things about my book in public and ask to use their remarks. But if anyone I missed wants to contribute one, please let me know!
I was featured on the Fenzi Dog Sports Podcast in April and had a great time chatting with Melissa Breau.
A Dutch television program used some of my canine cognitive dysfunction footage on a program that included that topic.
Finally, I will have three articles in Clean Run magazine later this year, one of them a biggie assessing the available tools to help sound sensitive dogs. I had five in the magazine last year, which you can find in these digital issues from 2017: August, September, October, and December.
For those who made it this far, here is a silly video from before Zani’s accident. My dogs are not allowed to play on the bed so this was an oddity to begin with. I don’t remember how it started. But I was pleased that Clara quit when I asked her to (the second time, ahem), and Zani…well, you’ll just have to see.
Copyright 2018 Eileen Anderson