(Pictured is an almost-black-and-white shower curtain partially reflected in a foggy mirror. The curtain has butterflies as its design.)

It’s easiest to detect depression when things are going well, I think. The lack of joy is more apparent. When things go badly, you expect bad feelings. Not when things are good.

I thought maybe some of my depression could lift, since my roommates now have both agreed I can keep Lukas. But still, I’m depressed.

I have been doing well with my new year’s resolutions. But still, I’m depressed.

I’m very depressed.

I’m worried about the fact that I don’t have another therapy appointment until next week. Having to skip one week shouldn’t be a big deal, but I really need it.

My former therapist has drop-in hours on campus, so I may try to go. A short session would be better than nothing.

My relationship has gotten so rocky, and the questionability (is that a word?) of its future makes me anxious. And worried.

But I think I focus on the bad things so much to explain why I’m depressed. Perhaps, anyway. And then it doubles, since after noticing more and more bad things, my depression gets worse as well. It spirals.

I got prescribed welbutrin to go along with the zoloft I’ve been taking. I started it today. We’ll see how it goes.

I want to stop feeling empty. I’m just not sure how.

On a more positive note, the other day I slept in a bit, and Lukas kept waking up but curling back up by me or cuddling against me, and I think he may have noticed my mood. I’m not sure. But I love this dang puppy so much!


A Step Back in Housetraining?

Unfortunately, Lukas just had an accident indoors. It was my fault, as I misread what he was trying to communicate… Insert face-palm here.

I’ve been letting him in the bedroom sometimes lately, where he wasn’t allowed before because of housetraining worries (and my roommates never puppy-proofing by leaving their stuff on the floor or within reach… frequently). He’s been doing great though, so he deserves the expansion! And I know better now, so I can take him out when he needs, next time.

I misread his signals as playing, since he play-bowed and barked a bit (which he normally does during play)… but I guess he was trying to get my attention, actually! He did, but I hadn’t realized he (probably) wanted me to follow him and take him out.

My roommate was in the living room, but he found me in the bedroom specifically to ask me. Which I find kind of funny. He knows who actually takes care of him!

I hope for his sake and not only mine that he’ll get to be fully my pup! But we’ll see. The conversation with roommates still hasn’t happened.

Anyway, hopefully the accident won’t be too big a setback. I do think he was trying to tell me and I just misread, but I’ll have to see how it plays out.

Here’s a picture of him playing outside!


Raising Lukas

I’m not sure when the conversation with roommates will happen. But I want to reflect on raising Lukas, a bit.

No matter what my roommates may say, I am the one who raised him. They put in some effort, maybe a couple times a week, and I did the other stuff. Which is a lot of “stuff.”

I figured this picture is fitting, since it’s similar to the last picture I used– it shows how much he’s grown!

I was inspired to write this because of how he behaved when I finally did return to my apartment (where I am now sitting on the living room couch, avoiding the bedroom where at least one of my roommates is, since I can’t deal right now). It was pretty quiet, and when there were only one or two people around (less distractions), he actually did walk beside me, like I’d practiced with him a bit in Oklahoma (both on- and off-leash). It’s small, but it means a lot to me! I didn’t make him walk the whole way of course, since he’s sleepy, but I let him walk a little since I knew he wanted to.

I carried him the rest of the way. He’s maybe 13lbs now. Last weigh-in was 12.2 lbs. The first time I took him to the vet, at 8 weeks, he was 4.8lbs. My arms got slightly sore carrying him back from that first visit. Now, my arms are really sore!

I’ve carried him a lot today. Not because he can’t walk, but because of how much we’ve been moving around, and I’m not about to over-exhaust him. Also there’s too much pavement around, so if there won’t be grass for a while to make it easier on his joints, I try to carry him a bit.

Speaking of literally carrying, though, I’ve metaphorically carried the weight of training Lukas. House training, obedience training, etc. My roommates have made the weight heavier many times by doing things to make his training regress. But! He’s still turning out great. He’s almost 100% reliably house trained, now (I’ll say maybe 95%?). In the past few weeks that I’ve been with him the whole time, he had two accidents in Oklahoma only… one because I didn’t take him out as soon as he indicated he may need to (that was my fault, and I will definitely be better next time), and the other because I wasn’t being patient enough to get him to poop outside. He actually pooped inside on a towel, making the cleanup convenient.

But with roommates? I had him for Thanksgiving break with no issues, and after bringing him back to the apartment, I had to leave for another night. And came back to many “accidents,” after he’d spent one night with the roommates.

Okay, I’m getting on a bit of a rant there. But really. Lukas has certainly gotten mixed signals, so I’m proud of him for still learning the correct things.

He’s an angel. And if we’re being 100% honest, I believe that he’s meant to be mine. I think God meant to put him in my life. So maybe that’s part of why I adore him so much, and have him so close, even if my roommate may try to take him in the end (one roommate actually said he’d support me having ownership of Lukas, so if he doesn’t change his mind, it’s really only the other roommate that is the issue). If they do, I’ll know I read the meanings of things wrong… but regardless, I’ve learned from Lukas.

He’s given me hope, lead me to a wonderful community (in the SDC forums), and much more. Even if I don’t get to keep him, no one disagrees that he’s sweet, well behaved (particularly for his age), and a wonderful pet at the least. I know personally that it was partially from how hard I worked on raising him. The other part is his personality/temperament, of course. But he certainly could have come out much worse!

That said, to me, he’s not just an Emotional Support Animal. He’s a supportive companion. He’s a friend. A child. He trusts me, I can see it. Not just that, but it’s what other people say. I’m thankful for this pup, even if things turn out for the worst.

I just hope I can get myself to not break down, if they do go bad.


Thinking About Dog Breeds

I’ll probably make a post about New Year’s soon, but I wanted to talk a bit about dog breeds.

I know it’s a possibility that I won’t get to keep Lukas. I realized, though, that I would strongly prefer to get a dog with a similar coat as him. His fur feels a LOT like Zack’s fur too, and my creative writing teacher brought her golden retriever/poodle mix to class a couple times. His coat was a little more curly than I like, but a bit similar too. So I know it’s not just the puppy fur.

These three are all poodle mixes. Their fur is thick, soft, and stands up like kind of poofing out from the body? So I can run my fingers inside it and it’s really comforting, for myself personally. Even in places where it’s not necessarily poofy, the consistency makes it easy to hold between my fingers.

I realized that these are things I like specifically about their fur in my recent holiday visit to Oklahoma. Toffee’s Schnauzer-mix fur is slightly wiry and flat on her body. Buddy’s Yorkie fur is also flat, for the most part. I love to pet them and give them love and attention, but I guess part of why they don’t comfort me as much is that their coat type isn’t right at all for me personally.

This is a challenge. I’m left to wonder, is it bad to want a service dog with a specific coat? It wouldn’t be for my emotional needs anyway, but isn’t it better if it can do the tasks and its fur would provide tactile comfort (if that makes sense)? Or should I forget about the coat type?

I’m not sure yet.

I looked into lab/retriever and poodle mix breeders, though, and some of them do temperament testing on their pups. If I can’t go with Lukas, I may look into one of those, if I still want to owner-train (which I kind of do, because I love working with/training dogs). If not, I’ve found a program I like, but need to look into more programs in case I find a better fit.

I know that “goldendoodles”/”labradoodles” are controversial though. The question of if they’re hypoallergenic, the motive for breeding them, etc. I hope that preferring their coat type wouldn’t be a bad reason for me to want one. I know they’re not necessarily hypoallergenic also, but the reduced shedding is still nice to me. (I’m so used to being around poodle mixes now that I’m sometimes surprised to pet a dog that sheds so much!) I like the poodle mixes, not for their cutesy name or whatever it was that got them popular, but for their specific look.

I don’t know. When it comes down to it, I just find the fur texture comforting in a way that other fur types aren’t. And I hope that’s okay.

(Pictured is Lukas, sleeping.)