Friday, September 25, 2009

Bats, Raptors and Hummers

I hate bats. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. When I was in college, I was walking into the school's oldest building when a bat followed me in. I had never seen a bat in the daylight nor one in such close proximity to me and I was terrified. I screamed and started running through the halls with this bat chasing me at full speed. I swerved and it swerved. I turned down a hall and it turned down a hall. It never even noticed all of the people I was passing (who were, by the way laughing at me until they saw the bat fly by). I was finally able to run into an empty classroom and slam the door, thus escaping the bat. But to this day I can't even stand the thought of bats.

So you can imagine my horror at discovering that my new town is FILLED with bats. They live in the eaves and attics of the old houses here. One church woman was even telling us about how she and her brother would go up into their attic during the day and brush the feet of the hanging bats just to see them fall to the ground in their sleep stupor. UGH!!

Next topic: The raptor. The raptor was neutered about a month ago and we changed his dog food to a high-protein low carb mix (apparently some dogs are sensitive to grains). We also have consulted a certified dog behaviorist who has given us some great insights and techniques, plus a book to read (Scaredy Dog). He is doing much better in the house. He hasn't bitten or even snapped at anyone in the immediate family in over a month. He does still become aggressive on a leash towards other people and dogs, but people can pet him if they follow our three simple rules: Kneel down, wait for him to sniff you and then pet him on the back. Easy Peasy, right? NOT!!! Kids are great at doing this and he loves kids. But it's the adults whom we can't get to listen.

For example, every day we walk E to school with the raptor. All of the kids know to leave him be, but today a teacher was standing outside the school with a pom pom in her hand to "cheer" the kids on. She commented on what a cute dog we had and reached her hand out. I very politely said, "Please don't do that, he bites." She actually shook me off like a pitcher to his catcher in baseball, gave me a look like I was crazy and reached her hand out even closer towards him. Of course, the raptor then bared his teeth, lifted off his front paws, tugged at his leash and tried to attack her. And yes, he would have bitten her if he had not been on a leash. After the bite he would have licked and loved on her, but he has fear aggression and has to attack first, ask questions later.

The thing that gets me is this..I have to socialize him to help him overcome his fear. Everytime he has a positive interaction, we are that much closer to overcoming his past. But everytime an idiot fails to listen to us, we end up taking 5 steps back with him. I don't understand why people think they know more about my dog than me. If only people would listen.

Lastly, the hummer. I read an article by Geneen Roth in Good Housekeeping about "Beckoners and Hummers." If you are a food addict, READ THIS ARTICLE. I always like what Roth says. She really speaks to people like me. But this article just really struck a nerve with me. She says that food can be categorized into Beckoners-food that you don't really want until you smell it or see it- and Hummers-foods that you really crave and need. All to often we fill up on beckoners because they are there and real and smell good, overwhelming our senses. But what our body really needs are the hummers, the things we crave. If you succumb to the beckoners you end up not being satisfied and seek out more food to satisfy yourself. I am a beckoner addict. And my Hubby has made me fat. I eat all of his hummers which are just my beckoners. He craves burgers and fries, pizza and fried stuff. I could live my life without ever eating fried foods. No, I don't really blame my husband, but I am finally opening my eyes to my eating patterns because of this.

So I have been asking myself before I eat anything not on the healthy list if it is a beckoner or a hummer. If it is a hummer, I eat some until I am satisfied and then put the food down. If it is a beckoner, I walk away. It's a pretty powerful, new experience.

Also, my new GP gave me the name of a counselor to help me with my food issues. I have her card on my desk and I am going to call her. I just need to get my courage up. But I am going to do it. TAWANDA!!!


Jeannie said...

I'm surprised and not at the same time that people don't simply watch the behaviour of the dog - as well as listen to the owner. I love dogs and they love me but I never ever approach a strange dog as if I've known him forever. I have never been told but I do the exact thing you suggested (I guess owners have never had to tell me). This seems natural to me. I wouldn't approach any other animal differently. I don't know - maybe you could emphasize to people that you are trying to socialize him (maybe say so he won't have to be put down) and to please follow your instructions. Maybe get a little vest made for him like the aide dogs have saying to stay back, the dog is in training...

Bubblewench said...

I think it's awesome you are becoming aware of your food choices. I have a lot of food issues too, and things have changed for me since I started seeing a nutritionist.

This year, I have lost 52lbs, still want to lose more, but I'm working on it.

Some people are just stupid when it comes to animals. The owner KNOWS.... but they think they know better. Duh.

I like bats. HA!

Anonymous said...

I used to carry a spray bottle with a dash of white vinegar in it to discourage dog fights. Some people would walk up with their dog and say "he's friendly" as the dog started attacking mine. You might need to carry a bottle to spray the stupid people; just to get their attention.
Maybe if you add, "he was abused and fright bites scary people"
Bats creep me out. I swim at sunset and I felt one touch my hair! I started hissing like a cat and the bats started leaving me alone.
If I read in a novel someone eating something, I start craving it. When my husband starts cooking his junk food I don't like, the smell makes me want to eat something similar that I do like.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add the spray bottle was water with a dash of vinegar to keep it fresh if it sat for a few days without changing it out. Sometimes I'd hush my dogs if they started to growl or get aggressive by squirting them.