Mixed bag so far today!
Went to the optometrist first this morning. Everything was doing well until she had me do the one machine where there's a picture that focuses while your eye is looking into the little window.
Machine: Vszzzrt- blip!
Doc: Wait. . . did your vision improve? I haven't had that happen before. Let's check the other eye.
Machine: Vszzzrt- blip!
Doc: Huh. Interesting.
Me: *thinking* Oh, I hate it when people in lab coats working foreign machinery say that. . .
Then the rest of it: looking at the letter pyramid and the 'better, or worse?' and the little light. At the light, she said she wanted to do some kind of scan because it looked like there was damage. I forget what the scan is called, but she said it was basically like an MRI of my eye.
Doc: It looks like your nearsightedness improved by about 25%-
Doc:- but your astigmatism actually got worse by 25%, so I guess you've sort of evened out.
Doc: Also, you seem to have some permanent damage to your retina caused most likely by the sun.
Doc: Do you go outside a lot? This wasn't here last year.
Me: *thinking* I didn't have a bike last year. . .
Me: Afternoon, usually.
Doc: When the sun is-?
Me: >.<" Yeah.
So she printed out the results of my scan and showed me the little valley looking thing and the little dark dot that was apparently way bigger a dot than it should have been. The damage isn't too bad yet, but the fact that it IS as bad as it is at my age sort of worried her, as apparently retinal damage like this is permanent. I have to get prescription sunglasses to wear when I'm bike riding and eat more fish oil and green leafy veggies to prevent it from getting any worse.
But that was a all this morning.
For the past few weeks, Arreter has been volunteering with the local city pet shelter. So I've jumped onto the bandwagon. I've just finished a five hour orientation there on shelter dogs and how to treat them and now I am an official registered dog walker volunteer. Which is apparently a very good thing. There are 90+ adoptable dogs and quite a few more ones who aren't up for adoption yet, but only an average of maybe 8-14 dog walking volunteers showing up each day. Meaning there are some very unhappy doggies there who need to be socialized with.
The thing we do is walk the dogs. That's it. Go in, sign in, pick a dog, and walk. That's all they need: the staff is so busy with keeping the place going that they really need people to just socialize with these animals so they don't go crazy. It happens: being locked up in a little kennel in a room with ten other dogs who will not stop barking- the dogs really do start to deteriorate mentally and physically. (It gets super sad because when people come into the room to see them, they all go insane because- holyshit, people! But then the potential adopters get intimidated and leave them, and all the dogs start to cry/whine.) But just a twenty-thirty minute walk can bring them back up to normal and stave off the crazy.
Orientation actually finished a little earlier than predicted, so I stuck around, figuring that at one dog every fifteen minutes for an hour, I could brighten up a few dogs day real quick before biking home.
I went into the back kennels (since those are the dogs most people forget about as they're not connected to the main lobby and you have to go outside to get to them) and looked around for someone who hadn't been walked in a while. Every time you walk a dog, you clip a tag onto the kennel door that says they were taken out for a walk on that date. That way nobody walks a dog twice in the same day on accident. The dogs aren't assigned or anything: the staff pretty much told us they can't keep track of so many dogs and so many volunteers -especially since statistically speaking, of the hundred volunteers a year who sign up, only maybe a couple dozen will continue to volunteer even once a week. So we pretty much have free rein picking a dog to walk.
I went into this one room full of barking pit bulls and chihuahuas (Which make up 80% of the dogs in the shelter, as most dogs people surrender in this area are chihuahuas and pit bulls) and found on teeny tiny chihuahua curled up in the very back of his kennel, shaking. He hadn't been walked yet- I think he must've been new to the adoption area of the shelter, because his paperwork wasn't all nice and neat on the door, but folded up, and his name was penciled into the name tag spot. (His name is Shane. He's mostly tan with a few white bits and really thin, even though he had food in his bowl.)
I went in and he just sat there cowering. I hung out in the kennel with him for about ten minutes before slipping the lead on him. (it's a slip collar attached to a leash, as these dogs don't have their own collars.) The second we were outside and out of the room full of dogs, he perked right the heck up. It was like he'd turned into a different dog. We ran around and he kept trying to drag me around even though he probably weighed all of seven pounds, and I had to do the drop-turn trick on him a few times to try and hammer in the message that I was the one in charge, not him.
(The drop-turn is, when you have a dog dragging you around, you suddenly turn right around so they have to follow you. Do this every time they get draggy. Eventually they get the hint that they should stick a little closer to you, because you're bound to randomly switch direction, the crazy creature that you are. We do this to try and give them good leash manners, which will help their chances of getting adopted).
After a while, he just decided to plop down and I actually had to carry him back into the kennel (though when we got near he started kind of wigging out.) When I put him back, instead of curling back up to the little whimpery shivvery ball, he actually started sniffing around and trying to break out the door. I gave him the all the treats in my pocket and left him looking much more alive but probably twice as sad as when I'd come. Apparently, we'd been out walking for a good forty-five minutes.
(SOMEBODY ADOPT THAT DOG.)
So I guess I'm going to be going back a lot. There were a lot of dogs with days old 'I walked today' badges clipped to their doors.
Also: hey, two hundred writeups! And next month is my two year nodeversary. Where does the time go?