Making Excuses for My Rescue

Recently, my boyfriend and I went on a 21 hr road trip to visit with family and friends. We decided to bring our rescue dachshund since my parents were dying to meet their granddog and he has always loved car rides. The initial ride was great. He insisted on sitting on our laps even though we bought a car seat especially for him and when it was night he slept in a makeshift bed in the back seat. It wasn’t until the 19th hour that he began getting a little stir crazy but so were we.

Giving me that judgy dachshund look, “I’m done with this car ride!”

Once we made it to my parents house who have about 1/2 acre of fenced in grass we let him free. For a city dog, he was confused and didn’t know what to do with all that free space. He has been on a leash almost always unless we head to the dog park. He stood on the precipice of grass and looked back at me almost as if to ask, “Is this for me?” Once I encouraged him he ventured only a few feet, did his business, and ran back to me.

Ringo exploring the big yard!

 Upon meeting my parents, he hated my father. My father who is loud, tall and speaks mostly with his hands completely freaked out my poor little dachshund. Ringo just barked at him for a good 30 seconds until my father crouched down and offered his hand. He sniffed it quickly and scurried away. We think Ringo was wronged by a man at some point in his young life before we rescued him so I wasn’t surprised. It took him almost 3 weeks to warm up to my boyfriend. As long as my father was sitting, not walking away, not talking loudly or breathing, Ringo didn’t seem to mind him. On the other hand, Ringo was really confused by my mother. Ringo almost ALWAYS loves all women but my mother is in a wheelchair which presented a new obstacle for my dog to understand. He didn’t quite understand what it was and why there were wheels and if it was safe for him to approach this robot type thing. The first time my mother held him she tried to wheel a couple of feet and Ringo squealed like a baby. We ended up removing the wheelchair from the scenario just to see him react to mother. Once my mother was sitting on the couch without the foreign metal contraption, Ringo was cuddling with her for hours.

Upon meeting the rest of my family and friends, Ringo was not so welcoming to all the new faces. He either barked or shyed away from all the commotion. He is use to just the two of us and we have a quiet household. This new environment was a lot for him to handle which in turned stressed me out. I began making excuses for his behaviour to my friends and family who didn’t quite understand his unfriendly attitude. It wasn’t like he was attacking anyone but rather cautiously skeptical of anyone on two legs. The only people he seemed to warm up to were those who had a quieter demeanor. My Uncle and cousin who are both very soft spoken men immediately won his love. I started to feel bad because here was a dog that I love and who is such a great little guy but he was he just barking at all my friends and family whose voice was louder than his liking. After 3 or 4 days of our 8 day trip, he seemed to warm up to my father though he still was apprehensive of my mother’s wheelchair. He would still bark at my father when he entered in a room but it was more or less a ‘welcoming’ bark with a wagging tail.

It wasn’t until this trip that opened up my eyes about my dog and his personality. I never really thought about rescue dogs and how they needed to be handled with kid gloves because my whole life I had been around dogs who we got when they were puppies. All my dogs had known they were loved and never saw any unkindness. I have never had to teach my dog to trust people. It made me angry when some less understanding people I introduced him to seemed to judge him for his lack of trust. Clearly this dog was wronged by someone in his previous life and shame on them for blaming him for it. (end of rant)

For the most part, Ringo enjoyed being doted on by my mother and the amount of treats my father had to feed to him to win his trust/love.

Eating Healthy, Saving Money, and Not Wasting Food

Cooking for two is more difficult than I ever thought. I’ve been in the kitchen with my mother since I was old enough to reach the counter. We were a small family but my Mother always cooked like we were expecting an army to show up. I grew up learning how to cook for 4-6 people so when I moved out on my own I had to relearn how to cook for myself or couple. It took almost 3 years of trial and error to finally figure it out without having piles of leftovers at the end of the week. So I decided to put this blog post together as it may be helpful to others out there.

Meal plan. Meal plan. Meal plan. 

Before you head to the food store you want to make sure you figure out what your meals are going to be for the week. Meal planning may seam really easy but as a seasoned planner myself it can be difficult and even sometimes tedious. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to want to eat in a couple of days so that can be hard. To help with getting sick of the same food over and over I have a several healthy and cheap recipes I rotate through my repertoire. I usually plan for one “big” meal a day and then I always have the ingredients for salad, sandwich, and breakfast stuff on hand. The “big” meal usually includes a protein and 2 veggies (a starchy and a non-starchy). Here’s an example of a weeks worth of big meals.

Usually on the weekends when we are home for multiple meals, we catch up on any leftovers that we may have or munch on salads and sandwiches.

Make a Food List

I can’t stress this enough. I use to go to the food store without a clue in the world what I wanted to eat for the week. This the worst and most expensive thing you can do. You end up spending more money than you intended and most often than now you overbuy. What I do before I go food shopping is make a list using the meal plan. I list all the things I need to make all the meals I’ve planned. Then I buy any foods I need on a weekly basis such as eggs, bread, milk, creamer, etc.

Stock Up

Meat goes on sale every several weeks while produce is seasonal and always fluctuating. There is no reason you should ever pay more than $1.99/lb for boneless chicken breasts. Chicken goes on sale every 4-6 weeks and thats when I stock up. Bone-in chicken is always cheaper because there is less butchering so when chich thighs or hind quarters go on sale I always pick up a few extras. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy bulk. Last year, we bought $55 worth of new york strip that we cut up into 11 lbs of steak steaks which is exborinantly cheaper. Its all about finding the sales and buying in bulk when it’s more cost efficient.

Multi-Use Foods

After roasting foods such as chicken or veggies, I sometimes have left overs. I use the leftovers in other meals throughout the week. I’ll use the asparagus in omelets or brussel sprouts in a breakfast hash. If I have leftover chicken, I use it for chicken salad or on top of a mixed green salad. The point of this is to NEVER throw away any food at the end of the week. If you buy the chicken at a really good price but end up throwing away half of it then you’ve just double it’s price. 

Eat before you Shop

NEVER go food shopping on an empty stomach. This may be really obvious but going to the store while you’re hungry is a recipe for disaster. Pun intended.