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April 7-- I played out my string with Gracie, and overshot my limits. My enthusiasm for the training was anxiety-driven in part, and my desire for success tinged with desperation. As I recover now, I need to re-balance my life, and put a little more joy into it.

As son Bayard wisely put it long ago, the key is managing expectations. I have to accept the prospect that Gracie and I might never enjoy the easy companionship that Buster and I did. She will eventually settle down, probably, but perhaps not in time for me to enjoy leash-free adventures, car trips and river walks. Whether she can ever be trusted off-leash remains an open question.

We've reached a workable accomodation to the house, and Alexis is taking a more active role, with considerable success with car trips, etc. Even tho my back won't currently permit any leash work with her, the tether system in back provides both potty training and outdoor exposure, and I can ensure plenty of active exercise with indoor ball play. That handles the basics.

I assume our trainers will eventually succeed in de-sensitizing her to most distractions, and I'm praying she'll settle down enuf in the car to take trips. First real test coming up in a couple of weeks and trip to see kids.

May 7-- A month later, and I'm still recalibrating, Chiro Brycen relieved the back pain, but chest pains, fatigue, weakness, night sweats all indicate a heart problem.

I'm on the case, Cardiologist says EKG unchanged from last year, and my blood pressure is in the sweet spot, 126 over 68, two reassuring pieces of evidence. General physical exam scheduled also, so we'll have a clearer picture.

Trainer Heather shows off Gracie's progress in a video And Gracie listens to Alexis and usually minds her. We've now left her alone in the garage twice, and tho she barked, she didn't get hysterical. So that's progress, and a step toward our independence. As is the potty training-- no accidents for a coule of weeks.

But Gracie and I really aren't in synch. We play kick ball well together so I can keep her exercised, but we havent been going for rides or walks.. Can't handle the leash pulling

with my injured thumb. So our relationship is being recalibrated also, at a much lower vibrational level. My frustration tolerance is still very low, so I keep a degree of distance.

Gracie and Alexis stayed home from last month's family gathering, and now it appears she won't be ready to meet the kids next month either. My new target, in the receding series, is June 26, her first birthday. Persistence, patience, prayer.


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