A bad day turns good!

My sleep is so out of whack atm and I really can’t work out why!

I have to fight for every bit of sleep as my body constantly tells me I’m awake, I usually sleep for 4 hours, lay in bed refusing to wake up for an hour or so, then manage another few. I’m panicking about it triggering a manic episode, but so far I think I’m okay.

Last night I got six hours of very broken sleep, and I woke up in the MOST foul mood.

I was up for a few hours and had a cluster of half a dozen simple partial seizures, after which I felt exhausted. I went back to bed, slept a few extra hours, and woke up feeling *great*!

Damn it body, why can’t you ever just work? πŸ˜›

Feeling good, we walked the other three dogs and then headed out with Mojo to the pub!

Taking Mojo places is such a different experience to taking Sasha to busy places. With Sasha you must hugely plan ahead, be prepared to tell people to back away from her, and always be scouring ahead for things she may be afraid of. With Mojo you don’t have to worry; you get to enjoy him enjoying himself, and if by fluke anything did go wrong, he can be picked up!

He was SUPER at the pub πŸ™‚

Next door are the two aggressive Labs by the play park. Them and the Terrier were barking just after we arrived. We were on the other side of the wall to them, but the barking was still clearly audible. Guess who didn’t react to them AT ALL?! I was so damn impressed!

I managed to fish out my phone and catch some barking on video:

Mojo claimed the beer garden as his own and enjoyed bombing about.

As we ate he sat by me on the bench and, for a young Terrier puppy, showed amazingly good impulse control. He was rewarded every 5-20 seconds.

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He found lots of treasures (an old shoelace, a stick, and some litter!), and he offered a ton of sits! He didn’t have to be on lead once πŸ™‚

Apple crumble!

At some point a group of four adults and a very young toddler (I wouldn’t guess he was even 3 yet) came to the veranda where we were sat. They were loudly telling their kid about the “doggy” he would get to play with, and I was like FUCK THAT…what parent tells their toddler, who they’re letting walk significantly far ahead, to GO GREET AN UNKNOWN DOG?!?

Hell no.

So I scooped Mojo up, and we began gathering our drinks etc to go sit somewhere else, because they were clearly stoopid. The veranda is very small and them being there would have ruined the meal. Thankfully they weren’t eating, they’d climbed up to look at the view and left within a few minutes.

On our way back home we did a little confidence building in the play park. This thing spins! πŸ™‚

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Puppy reactivity & seaside trip!

Mojo is this awesome dog who has been a dream to socialise and train, other than one thing…

He HATES other dogs :/

This goes way beyond normal puppy unease, and is true fear. I can only imagine it’s due to his first home, as there was definitely at least one other dog in the house with him, and the dog/s were completely unsupervised (hence why he came to us, because he was having continuous accidents and things were been destroyed!).

Mojo is doing heaps better with other dogs after weeks of training, but at 15 weeks old he still can’t meet an unknown dog as he’s too scared.

If I know the dog won’t run over to him (maybe the other dog is on lead, or only interested in fetch) Mojo can be on the ground, and we will work on LAT, engage disengage, and general confidence boosting behaviour.

If there is a dog within about 8 feet, Mojo will climb onto my lap for safety. He might do little huffs, but usually he’s happy to sit and watch as I feed treats.

Anything closer than 4ft is in the danger zone. Mojo will back off my lap, growl, and try move away from the dog.

Previously he barked at all dogs, regardless of distance, and trembled. So progress has certainly been made. I can now carry him whilst other dogs are by my feet, and he will do engage disengage. It’s VERY rare he barks in my arms now, unless the other dog is reacting.

The main issue is that he’s 15 weeks old as of this Monday, and not met any strange dogs. I struggled with the idea of ‘throwing him in at the deep end’ and forcing him to meet dogs on walks before his socialisation window closed, but let’s be honest, flooding would just set him up for further failure and much future fear.

So I guess we’ll go slow and steady, and I’ll accept that he will most likely always be reactive, may never be able to meet unknown dogs well, but we can get him more confident around dogs and show him they’re not scary.

If there were ANY decent puppy/training classes nearby, I would give that a shot. Classes can actually be great for reactive dogs as long as they’re well planned, and it could really help him…unfortunately the classes near to us are TERRIBLE. About as bad as it gets. And I’ve not found good classes within 30 miles.

So I can’t go that route and I also don’t know anybody who has a dog that would be good to train around, and even if I did I doubt the owner would understand / help.

Just yesterday there was an interfering old busybody walking two dogs on the beach, one ‘not very nice’ and one supposedly friendly.

After I explained Mojo was a rescue and scared of dogs, she asked “Shall I hold my dog’s bum up to your dog so he can smell it?” (this as Mojo is backing off my lap growling at her dog a few feet away).

Me: *trying to hide a smile at this idea* No thanks, he’s fine just watching for now. He’s learning dogs aren’t scary, so we can’t throw too much at him.

Woman: It’s best if you don’t baby him though, you know. Isn’t it? You can’t treat him like a baby.

Me: (silently) Oh she’s one of those morons. Well, time to completely ignore her

Woman: It’s probably best if you just put him on the ground, stand up, and just ignore him. That’ll be the best for him. So he learns his place. You should probably do that.

Me: *continues to not even look at her whilst reassuring and treating Mojo, who’s doing really well* XD

Eventually she walked off. What an idiot.

Other than that, and some people stupidly interacting with Mojo (saying “oh naughty me, I’m distracting you from training aren’t I!” and reaching for his head when Mojo was focusing on me, a woman who grabbed at his head as she walked past and just carried on walking, etc etc) we had a really nice day πŸ™‚

Train ride on the way there!

Yay seaside πŸ˜€

Mojo’s first experience of a proper beach – of course he loved it!!

So much to sniff, so many new things to experience! Seaweed was a huge hit πŸ˜€

We walked along the beach and all of a sudden this end-of-the-world siren started. It was SO LOUD!! We were all a little bit freaked, I scooped Mojo up and cuddled him, he was dealing well with it, nobody else seemed panicked…turns out it was to announce the bloody tide coming in!! Really?!

It was at this point we met the stupid woman with the two Lhasa’s. Once they’d gone there was a Lab playing fetch ahead, clearly with no interest in me or Mojo, and so I sat the little guy down and we did some engage disengage.

We couldn’t get a photo fast enough to get the Lab in it (two throws of a ball from the slipway was apparently enough for the dog, then it was back into the car), but you can see Mojo volunteering focus and the edge of the slipway where the Lab was running from!

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After beach fun and saying hello to some people, we carried Mojo around a few shops and then we sat outside whilst my partner ran in to get some drinks and some fish and chips. We found half of a bird’s egg that had hatched, and Mojo decided it was very nice to chew on and mostly eat πŸ˜›

We then pootled back to the train station, and just behind there’s two picnic benches so we sat and ate our grub!

Before eating:

After I’d finished eating hahaha!

Working on him tucking out the way in small spaces πŸ˜€ ❀

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One quick pootle as my partner drank his cider…

…then it was time to sleep all the way home πŸ™‚

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I was utterly out of spoons after this trip. The rest of the night was spent feeling crummy and napping πŸ˜›

I had someone comment on FB asking why Mojo was the only one who got the seaside trip, so though I may as well preempt that and explain here too!

Sasha is too fearful; she couldn’t manage the train journeys and wouldn’t enjoy walking through the small town. Kasper is slightly too nervy, but also just too wild and frantic. And Tolly would get tired very quickly, doesn’t like riding trains or buses, and missed out on so much socialisation it would all be a bit much for her.

 

 

An adventure for all!

My seizures are much improved to what they once were.

Whilst I still have clusters, odd behaviour, fogginess, constant memory loss etc, I now only have 9-12 seizures a day on average (although this last week it’s been even lower, about 6!!). My highest recorded seizure count for the day in the past three weeks was 15; 6 months ago I was averaging 20-25 seizures a day, and my highest on record was 35!!

CBD oil works guys πŸ˜‰

Anyway. Because I’m doing so much better, today we decided to go into town. My anxiety was going to be sky high because I haven’t done something like that in so long, so we took Mojo with us (I always do so much better when I have a dog to focus on, and Sasha’s way too fearful to manage anything like that).

Omg guys Mojo was INCREDIBLE!!!

Throughout the whole day he had one moment of unease, which was when the train was pulling in – it was moving at snail’s pace, as they always do in this area, and it was screeching the entire way.

Other than that he was totally at ease on the train itself (his first train ride!), in a heaving city centre, being carried around a pet shop, then walking back and getting the bus home. He is AMAZING πŸ˜€

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Loose lead walking around a city, curiously sniffing everything, no fear of the crowds or noise…he called away from things every time I asked, and held sit stays no problem as people walked past!

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Wandering past the castle

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We made it to the pet shop on the outskirts of the city and had great fun perusing the pets and choosing a new kidlet. I was torn between one of two snakes (Kenyan Sand Boas, which I’ve fallen madly in love with recently, or an African House Snake) OR a Syrian hamster.

In the end we opted for the Kenyan Sand Boa, because she was just too cute πŸ™‚

I’m gonna do a ‘herp’ post soon because we have some lovely herps atm (reptiles/amphibians), so I’ll deviate from dogs for a day.

After the shop it was another walk back through the city centre and then waiting in a PACKED bus station. I’m talking hundreds of people, and Mojo just slept in my arms hahaha!!

And his first bus ride took us right back to our house πŸ™‚

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I don’t know many 14 week old puppies that would do so well. None of my other pups have been so robust or able to focus around such busyness, so that was really cool to see, and Sasha couldn’t cope with half of that now hahaha!!

He was pooped for a good few hours afterwards πŸ˜‰

And this was a fab day for me as well as Mojo; my first train ride in about 6 months, and my first time into the city in 12-18+ months. I had two small seizures, but everything else was managed successfully. Woop!

Sasha: 9 month update!

I’ve been kinda putting this off, because it’s gonna get lengthy, but I do want to write out all our successes and many, many frustrations πŸ˜€

Firstly, here are the cues Sasha knows at 9 months, with tasks in green:

  1. Sit
  2. Down
  3. Touch
  4. Wait
  5. Recall
  6. Leave it
  7. Up
  8. Off
  9. This way (turning)
  10. Let’s go
  11. Back up (too far ahead on lead)
  12. Stop (freeze when walking)
  13. Side (move to the curb and wait to cross the road)
  14. Cross
  15. ‘Tween (between my legs)
  16. Two (front paws on an object)
  17. See (look at me)
  18. Positive Interrupter (stop what you’re doing, come to me for a treat)
  19. Drop
  20. Hoop (sit from down)
  21. Head up (stop sniffing and look up when walking)
  22. Tall (stand on back legs)
  23. DPT
  24. Seizure alert
  25. Check (if you’ve done a seizure alert, do it again so I can be sure)
  26. Stim alert
  27. Panic alert
  28. Over
  29. Circle
  30. Go get daddy

I’ve probably missed a few, but never mind.

Sasha entered a teenage phase over a month ago, and she is AWFUL!! Although entering her teens meant she had some form of personality (and wasn’t just an overly timid, bland puppy) she turned from at least being an obedient little one into a giddy dog that’s testing the boundaries, leaps all over the place, nips bums and is just aΒ gobshite XD

She’s hilariously funny, very spunky, and SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!

This means mainly we’ve been taking things back to basics, because she’s trying her hardest to forget all her training πŸ˜‰

As a result training sessions are short (eg. on an hour long walk we might start with 10 minutes free time on lead, 10 minutes off lead free time, 10 minutes on lead working etc), Β I’ve lowered my expectations, but am making sure Sasha knows she can’t get away with things.

Sasha is actually the worst teenager we’ve had, because before this she was so…beige HAHAHA. She’s honestly like a different dog, and whilst she’s way more fun now and I mostly enjoy the challenge, dealing with my frustration when she’s being a gobshite (eg. refusing to sit and just grinning at me wagging her tail) can be difficult!

Having to get her to do what I want, but without losing my patience, is hard for me.

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Sometimes she seems so fantastically trained, and I’m so proud of her!

We continue to work on impulse control. Her “leave it” is awesome, but in other ways impulse control has taken a huge dive. Β She’s started trying to approach people as we’re walking, her stays need building up basically from scratch, and for the first time EVER she blew off recall yesterday.

Ah, teenage dogs…

As a result of her teenage-ness, strict mummy has had to emerge. Any time I ask something of Sasha, I make sure she does it. If she breaks a stay, she’s told to get back into it. If she keeps breaking it, I make it easier for her – but she still has to do it.

Any situations she getsΒ highly excited around, we train and train and train, until she’s able to focus and not act like a loon. Once she’s nailed it, I let her off duty so she can de-stress…she’s still not allowed to pull on lead or go wild, but she can sniff, move away etc.

A good example of this were sheep on the beach about a week ago. They were EVERYWHERE, and some surprisingly close. Sasha lost it when they all started running, and was bouncing about on the end of the lead after them. We spent 10 minutes learning we had to be calm around them; this meant heeling, holding stays even as they ran behind me, and focusing.

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The same thing around cows

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One of our biggest struggles is people.

Sasha is now more confident around people, and so she looks like she wants to say hi – if allowed she will pull hugely towards people. BUT the instant they try interact with her (lean over, reach out, try stroke her head etc) she becomes anxious &Β scuttles away. So that’s *really* annoying.

We have a two pronged attack; 1) Teach Sasha to stay close and completely ignore people, even when they try interact with her, and 2) COVER her new harness in patches telling people to stop, ignore her, she’s in training etc.

The ‘spoonie side’ of her training is going really well.

She’s nailed stim and anxiety alerts, and responds within seconds of me beginning, even if she’s off lead and distracted. Her seizure alerts are good, and we’re also adding a crying response.

Me having a seizure on the canal, then coming around and rewarding her

Seizure alert, and waiting to feel better

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Deep pressure therapy

Something we’ve been working on are our stays. Sasha SUCKS at stays, she’s just about okay if there are no distractions…

…but any distraction and she’s dreadful.

If we’re stood about talking to someone, she will be looking about, turning, trying to walk fowards or back etc. If she’s doing a sit or down stay with distractions, she breaks super easily!

These are things we’ve been working hard on, which was why I was so proud of her doing this around new people and my partner opening gifts yesterday πŸ™‚

And these were some really tough stays I put her through today!

First, me swinging

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training

Focus around lots of tiny calves ❀

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And finally we’re still trying to get in as much public access work as we can, in pet friendly places. But with a tripawd and foster pup, it’s tough!

I’m not too concerned about getting her everywhere though, because we don’t have the patches attached to her new harness yet anyway, but we checked out a new pet shop recently πŸ™‚

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So we have a good amount of positives. Mainly…

  • she has personality now, and is more fun!
  • she’s enjoying training more than when she was a puppy
  • she’s grown in confidence so much
  • she has loads of energy now, hikes are fun!
  • strict mummy is having a good effect on training πŸ˜‰
  • her spoonie training is paying off big time

But we have things to work on too, obviously

  • bomb proof recall, seeing as she blew it yesterday!
  • focus, and the fact she has to focus around everything
  • forcing through the teenage gobshite-ness!!!
  • continue confidence building

Aaaand that’s our 9 month update πŸ™‚

Yay Tolly! And a day out

Toller had her first check up since surgery today, and it sounds like it went really well!

(I can’t go to appts due to the lights at the vet, but my bf called me right after)

Apparently when they were waiting, three nurses were walking through the waiting room and said “Oh hi Tolly!!” when they saw her, and came over to love on her. How sweet is that? πŸ™‚

They were seen by our favourite vet, and she said Toller is doing GREAT! There’s a slight rash by the stitches, most likely from rubbing on the top, which is normal and already clearing up. There’s some bruising from the op, which is also obviously completely normal.

The vet has cleared Toller to do 2 minute on lead walks 1-2x a day (aaaagh excited!!) and has said she can walk a little more in the house. Yay!

They’ve said we can stop her pain meds on Wed-Thurs, which seems CRAZY, but every pain score they’ve done (even immediately after surgery) she hasn’t reacted to at all.

And yesterday my parents came up.

We had a great day. Sasha was SUPER confident around them, for literally the firs time ever – it was awesome to see. She went up to them, sat for them, it was really cool – she looked like a normal dog haha.

We went on a huge hike. I think we were out 3-4 hours, but we did have several rest stops so my dad could fly his drone, and for the first 30+ minutes I was very seizurey and had to sit down a lot. The rest of the walk was lovely though, we all had a really nice time πŸ™‚

Sasha’s training for the most part was wonderful; she was very excited and distracted walking through the field of sheep (but I was way off my A game too because that’s when I was most poorly), and she was too excited to do much training, but she was happy and confident with everyone which was much more important. She met loads of doggy friends, including two Border Collies which she enjoyed bounding around!!

Pics πŸ™‚

But look how frickin’ huge she is XD

My dad took some lovely photos. Love this one of me and Mojie πŸ™‚

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My partner and Mojie!

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Sasha smiling!

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Sharing snacks hahaha

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We had several rest stops on top of the mountain so my dad could fly his drone. Really good socialisation for the pups! And the photos are stunning – look at this view!!

Look at Sasha XD

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Coming down the other side of the mountain

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Once back from the walk we dropped the pups off, my parents said hello to Spud, then we drove to get takeaway pizza and eat it on the beach. Talk about best meal ever πŸ˜‰

I found some hella impressive quicksand. This all looked like normal sand when I first walked across it, it scared the crap outta me!!

Birthday cake on the beach πŸ™‚ (it’s not his birthday until tomorrow, but we celebrated it about 4 days ago and then he celebrated it with my parents yesterday haha!)

Sunset πŸ™‚

So it was a really enjoyable day. We also got a nice leaving of Sasha, she was left for 2 hours and did wonderful ^_^

Oooh, quickly, I also finally got to give my mum her mother’s day ‘gifts’!! Mother’s Day was in March, but they hadn’t been up since, so I’ve been adding to the gift every week or two hahaha…I started needle felting a few months ago, and may have made my mum a Barbapapa family HAHAHA!

A day of tears

Yesterday was…fun -_-

It was the hardest day of this year so far, easy. Shitty things have been happening anyway and my mh has taken a dive this past week, but more than that was seeing Tolly walk for the first time.

I hadn’t seen her walk since before the accident, and all I’d been told was she was doing ‘great’. I saw her walk inside yesterday and her foot just looks AWFUL.

It’s twisted facing completely the wrong direction, the leg’s at a weird angle…it’s just heartbreaking and I immediately burst into tears. I was crying pretty much non-stop for the rest of the day, I’m talking huge floods of tears and just feeling hopeless.

I literally can’t be around Toller when she’s walking, I get hugely upset and then she gets upset. I need a few days to recover justΒ being with her, because when I see her atm it makes me teary because I remember her foot and think of how she was before and I just cry and cry and cry.

The guilt is tearing me up and then I feel like shit because when I start getting sad she just looks so confused, poor little love.

I have a lovely little ‘feel like shit’ list atm.

  • Toller’s foot
  • Overwhelming guilt for my bf (this started due to the things I say when I’m seizurey, but spred to pretty much everything – it’s at the point now where when we’re cuddling and happy together, I get tearful, guilty and sad)
  • Feeling like / stressing that I don’t want to be with my bf and our relationship has run it’s course (due to overwhelming guilt and seizure rage)
  • Seizures and everything they bring; stress, tiredness, feeling physically illΒ etc
  • HUGE health fears that reduce me to tearsΒ on a daily basis
  • Depressive episode (thus making above points feel even worse) – thanks for choosing now to raise your ugly head, bipolar

This week has been rough in general, but yesterday took the cake.

-sigh- Oh well, here are some photos of little Puddy one enjoying seconds of her dinner yesterday.

Sasha walks so far her legs shrink

No, not really. They’re still as ridiculously long as ever XD

But we did do a massive hike!

We walked along the canal, and wow I forgot how busy a sunny weekend made EVERYWHERE. There are a ton of fair weather dog walkers in this area, we can walk year-round every day at all times and go weeks without seeing someone if the weather isn’t good; as soon as the sun comes out you can’t move for other dog walkers, regardless of what day it is!

Despite it being super busy, Sasha did awesome! She greeted a few other dogs (including a tiny extremely excited furball of a puppy that I wanted to pick up and carry home with me!!) and when two separate groups of walkers stopped to chat, standing on opposite sides of the canal path and leaving us with less than 1ft gap to walk between them, she did so with no anxiety at all πŸ™‚

 

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Finally we leave the canal and begin following the lane that will let us join the farmer’s fields, which are always dead.

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Sasha’s round a slight bend just enjoying herself, I can see her happily bouncing but not what she’s really looking at, and I call her to me to pop her on lead, as sometimes the field we’re going through has livestock in. She comes instantly, I clip her lead on, and when we continue I see that she’d been looking at sheep about 2ft away behind a metal gate!

So that was very cute! And also a really impressive recall πŸ˜‰

We passed through the first field and then Sasha got to go off lead and stretch her legs again. Field zoomies, yay!

Looking around us at the surrounding fields we couldn’t believe there were even several other dog walkers here!! We drifted from the path in search of wood for our vivariums, which Sasha was obviously very helpful with XD

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We had a quick rest, enjoyed some drinks, and lay just soaking up the sun for about 15 minutes.

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You have no idea how much I love this photo!!

When we were all feeling rejuvinated we collected our sticks and carried on. The views in these fields are amazing, and with a blue sky above them it’s incredible. We decided to walk a little ways extra (if we followed our usual route we’d be on the canal and back in town within 15 minutes, and we wanted to see more of the countryside).

Getting Sasha to sit for this photo was like trying to get blood from a stone. Damn teenager, every time I asked her to sit she would just stand and grin at me XD

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We finally turned to come back and rejoin the actual route. We’ve walked a few minutes down the path, and all of sudden there’s a gate?! We’ve been doing this walk for years, this has never been here. Ahead of that there’s an even more serious looking metal fence, with huge chains holding it shut.

There’s no other route off this path, we would have to go alllll the way back (adding 40+ minutes onto our journey), so I hop over the wooden fence to go read the signs on the next fence, to see what’s going on.

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Oh. Nice. Back we go then XD

We repeat the entire loop and, even though I was worried about Sasha getting too tired to make it, make it she did. She was lagging for the last twenty minutes, but we got there!

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About ten minutes from home she did a big seizure alert, and sure enough less than five minutes later I had a huge seizure, that left me feeling very out of it. It was annoying being so close to home, but I knew I had to sit and recuperate.

The last 10 minutes took 20, but we got back safe and sound and had a lovely walk overall πŸ™‚