Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Journal entry 05/15

This time, I'm writing down my experiences. I didn't do that with my first job, and now there's so many neat adventures and places I've been that have faded away from memory. I got a new trucking job, and I could be very happy right now if not for Amanda, my dog.

She ran away while I was picking up my truck in LA. It was an accident, I'm not mad at my roommate. She is still missing after five days. 

I got a load up to Reno and hauled ass up the 395 to get home and find her. They gave me a day off, and I did everything I could, but didn't have any luck. 

I had to go. My roomie could pick her up when she was found, that is, if. I'm hoping she's okay, she's a tough girl and she's just hiding or she's been adopted by someone... I hope. 

My truck is a nice, classy Volvo. I never thought I'd trust an automatic, but I love it. The storage is poor, but everything else is great. It's built like a truck. The shape is right, it has power to spare but high gears for cruising, the placement of all the controls is perfect. It has very practical storage to make up for the lack of space.

My bill of lading (load paperwork) is in easy reach under the radio, not way up overhead like a Freightshaker. The color scheme inside is a warm dark grey/tan, it has ac outlets for an inverter, the air horn is on the steering wheel, the bunk heater control panel is very nice, the info screen on the dash is useful with a clock and ice warning, there's steering wheel buttons to dim the lights and flashers, and the e-logs this company uses are tablet sized, looks like it actually belongs on the dash, and is a quiet, helpful aid rather than a chirping, beeping nuisance. 

Instead of a single display of time left, it breaks down all my legal driving hours and also shows fuel economy and miles driven for the day. 

It has a steel plate on the bumper to give it a classic look, and a wonderful in-cab hitch release and hood release. The built-in phone mount works very well. Newer models than mine even have nice LED lighting. Both windows roll down with one touch, one less distraction. 

The bunk vents could open easier, and for the storage it could use some cubbies on the back wall, more cabinet doors instead of open shelves, and maybe a sock drawer, though I made do with a shoebox in the bottom shelf. 

I love my job, I essentially got paid to take a scenic drive from Seattle down through Oregon and N California. The moutain air was fresh, Portland was crazy with its double-decker bridge, and I plain forgot how rugged the north part of CA I5 is, but I still got 574 miles for the day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Back to blogging

This blog is an interesting time capsule. It's fascinating to see how my goals and desires swerve wildly while my overall focus remains the same.

My goal is to get thousands of adoptable shelter animals into good homes, care for them, improve their quality of life, and address the issues shelters face, while still being able to care for my dogs and myself. 

The biggest thing that's changed for me is, it's achievable. It is real, I can actually accomplish that goal in small steps. Wow. It's hard to keep my chin up and stay focused because of how much I miss my dog, but if there's one thing I can still do for her, it's carry on in her memory and make the world better for dogs like her, because I love her.

I wish I could at least have closure. Odds are someone found her and just doesn't know who she belongs to, since she slipped her collar and I never did get her microchipped. I'm not mad at my roommate, it was an accident, if I could have just bought a new harness for her this would have never happened.

I know I'm bargaining. That is a part of grief, I recognize that. I need... to carry on. With this still being an unknown, focusing on the bad things will eat me up as opposed to focusing on the equally good chance she is safe, and well, and loved right now. Maybe even helping someone else in a bad place, or a family in a bad spot, be happier. I know God has a will in all things, and that life happens and the rain falls on the just and the injust.

From here, my next step is to work on adopting another dog. No one can ever replace Amanda, but I could really use a friend to lean on and help me get through this right now. I want to give that dog the incredible life I never got a chance to give Amanda.I was going to use this trucking job to take her hiking, explore new places, take my down time for camping and fishing.

She would need to be a good trucking dog of course, like Amanda was. Moderate exercise needs, three or four walks a day and spend the rest of the time riding in my rig, snoozing in back or chewing on toys. I know it's more about the personality of the dog than the size. A small high energy dog is just as bad a choice as an excessively large low energy one. A dog between those extremes would be perfect, a mix-breed mutt who needs a good home, about labrador size. 

I'll spend the rest of this year getting my ducks in a row. The plan is to get my finances and my mentality into a better place, and then move to doing local driving work which gives me two days off a week. Explore the country first, visit my family again, decide on which dog-friendly city I'd like to settle down at, find a place of peace. 

My exact plan, in small steps, is as follows for the time being: 

First, do my research. With those two days a week off, I'll stay plenty busy. I'll need a car and maybe an apartment. Find a quality daycare place for my dog. Then, I'll take dog training classes, volunteer at a good no-kill shelter, ask questions, and learn a good bit. When I get the money I'll go to college for a course on animal shelter management, probably online so I can do it as I'm able through the week.

That's a half-a-year to one year goal, so it should be pretty stable. The stuff after that may change over time of course. It is exactly as outlined in my opening to this post.

Once I have the knowhow penned down, which is also a time to build my driving experience, I can then focus on getting the money I'll need to make this dream become reality. I thank God for bringing me to truck driving. Not only may I have my dog with me while I work, but it is incredibly flexible and gives me lots of independence and time to think.

I can change gears and go back over the road. I may very well stay with my current company, I appreciate the way I've been treated so far, or I may move on to something more lucrative, such as flatbedding or hauling oil. I may consider eventually getting my own truck, although that may be unwise if trucking isn't going to be a lifetime commitment for me, but rather a job I enjoy doing as a means to an end.

The long term goals from there, once I have the funding in three to five years, is all up in the air. It could change wildly, since I don't actually know what the best way to achieve my goal even is. However, I can make an educated guess.

If I started my own dog rescue, in situ with my driving skill, I could make a dramatic difference for homeless pets and transport them to and from my rescue, and to people who want to adopt them. If I buy my own truck, I could build a custom RV trailer for the purpose, and do disaster relief and big adoption events, perhaps even provide an extension for small shelters with an influx of animals.

This is where I could contact the group Rescue Roadtrips, which has a similar program but needs help staying afloat. 

An idea I had today was, what if I build a non-profit dog daycare and boarding place to provide the funding for the rescue? It could give me a way to stay focused on my goals instead of being off somewhere else to earn the capital, and it could be a rewarding and enjoyable thing to do. 

I could offer a wide range of services, daily hiking trips, training, social interaction and playtime, and kennel-free boarding in dog rooms or private rooms for shy/aggressive dogs. It's a booming and popular industry right now, although I would need to analyze future growth, and if I intend to settle in a dog-friendly city, then it could work perfectly.

As always I will entrust this to God in prayer, and as always, God bless and thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Shelter Epidemic

 The numbers are an estimate. I literally can't provide the facts, because the U.S. doesn't keep track of this, but here are the numbers according to the Humane Society:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nifty Firefox bookmark trick

Firefox should be the browser of choice for Burger King (R): Have it Your Way (TM).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Empty the Shelters Day was a Success

I had my reservations about the concept: a day when all the shelters waived the cost of adopting pets entirely, although they still did screening to determine if the candidates were ready, willing, and able to care for a dog.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

So it Begins

I'm just hoping the universe doesn't explode. I told myself I would never put my real name on the internet. Now I've gone and done it, and I'm waiting for the inevitable.