Adventures in Americaland: Part One

The Big Day finally arrived and dark and early on a Sunday morning, we gathered our dogs, our bags and our passports and we got into the taxi and we headed off to Frankfurt airport. Dogs were surprisingly well behaved, despite being tired and anxious. They slept most of the way, as best they could, and there was no silliness from Azzie. She wanted to say hi to the driver, but he was a little wary of her – she’s a big girl. Other than that, no incidents. It was just on 2 hours to the airport. We arrived safe and sound, the sun just starting to think about coming up.

We grabbed some baggage carts and with the help of our very cool taxi driver, got the dogs to where we needed to be. Dogs were excited to be in the airport, with all the people, but generally behaved very nicely. Azzie barked at some other dogs, and at a very scared baggage handler, but other than that – all good. She was all over the place, of course – wanting to say hello to everyone and sniff everything. They were very thirsty too, but we couldn’t give them water as there was no way for them to go to the loo. They were also very hungry, as they’d only eaten the night before, quite early – also because they wouldn’t have a chance to go to the loo before the flight. We did take them for a 30 minute walk before the taxi arrived, in the wee hours – and they all went to the loo. We had to brace ourselves when the time came and we headed away from the dogs in their sky kennels – they were loaded up and there was nothing more we could do, as we had to go check in ourselves (it took an hour to sort everything out for the dogs and we still had to sort ourselves out!) and we were running very close to boarding time.

We were drenched in sweat from all the walking around, as we wore a few layers – it was pretty cold in the early morning when we left Baumholder – so we found a place to freshen up quickly, and then headed through security and customs and got to our gate to board just a few minutes before they called first passengers. We got unfortunate seats (the two middle seats in the middle section) but generally alright fellow passengers on our left and right. Food was good. Flights was VERY smooth (barely any turbulence, thankfully – I worried about the dogs in that) and we got a good tailwind and the flight was shortened by at least 45 minutes, which was great!  Tried to sleep, as I was extremely tired – I never sleep the night before a journey like this – and I think managed about an hour straight, and then about 10 minutes on and off for the next few hours. Watched some movies, some tv shows, listened to some soothing music. Then we landed and we DASHED out as fast as we could to get to our precious fur children.

The dogs did pretty well in their kennels. Only Odin had an accident (but I don’t think it was fear induced, as it was “normal” poop, and he had managed to stay out of it for the flight. It was just a tiny bit) in his kennel, while Gina and Azzie managed to totally fold and bend up their kennel pads – Azzie’s was completely on its side while Gina had managed to fold hers in half and push it up against the door. They were SUPER excited to see us – much whining and yelping from Azzie, and Odin managed a tail wag for us – and after a LONG LONG wait in the “agriculture” line (for live animals etc) we MADE it and headed outside ASAP so the dogs could drink some water and have a piddle and a poop. They were VERY polite and waited so patiently for us. I was very proud of them all. Once they settled outside (which was, thankfully, quite pleasant in the low 20’s Celsius) with me and our extremely helpful airport concierge (I don’t even know what else to call him – he was awesome) Alex, next to the doggy “relief” patch and they had some water and lots of treats (I couldn’t get to their bowls at that point) we waited for husband to go get the rental car. It took a while, as we’d booked it for 4pm and we were out early due to the faster flight time. Eventually, he managed to find his way back to where we were waiting (Atlanta airport is quite confusing!) and we piled the dogs in (after I cleaned up Odin’s paws and bottom after his kennel accident) and loaded up their kennels and our bags, thanked Alex (tipped him well, don’t you worry) and we were off! We got OUTTA there as fast as we could. We found a secluded parking lot nearby and I fed the dogs and we stretched our legs and chilled for a little bit while husband reorganised the bags and the kennels in the back of our minivan. Then we went to find ourselves some food and husband’s first stop was Arby’s! Food was good – of course we were SO hungry by that stage that anything would have worked – and we devoured our sandwiches and gobbled down our water.

We then set up the GPS (my clever husband had already downloaded the maps before we left Germany) and we were off on the 2.5 hour journey to Augusta. Dogs settled in the back – lots of room, even with the kennels and bags) and were all sleeping heavily after just a few minutes of smooth travel.

Husband and I were quite refreshed though, thanks to the good flight (despite being cramped in the middle seats) so we were fine to drive. It was starting to get dark, so the few photos I got were a little blurry after a while, and I gave up. It was full dark by the time we got into Augusta and we tried to find the location of the motel/hotel that I had found online that took big dogs as well… but it wasn’t where it was meant to be…

We drove around, tried a Holiday Inn – they said no, but the kind receptionist gave us the address of the DoubleTree hotel and said that he was 99% sure they took big dogs and more than two of them. We found the DoubleTree with no issues, and yes… yes they took us in. By this time we were ALL exhausted and that bed, and that hotel, shall forever remain in our hearts as the Best Place Ever in Augusta. Three dogs? No problem. Three BIG dogs? No problem. We got a suite on the ground floor, near the entrance/exit doors and we lugged just one bag each up, and the dog food and bowls etc.

I fed the dogs again, just a little bit to prevent tummy issues, and I took them out one final time before bed, for their bathroom break. All good. Then we slept. And slept. And slept some more. Odin and Gina were so tired they couldn’t even make it on to the bed, but fell asleep on the floor and stayed there for the first part of the night. I moved a footstool over to the bedside so they could jump up on the high bed (which was SO COMFORTABLE!!!) and by the time the early morning came (and we were still on German time, remember) all three were on the bed, snoring their heads off, legs in the air. We were up very early, so I took them out, then we all had some breakfast. Husband I took it in turns, to keep the dogs company, to go to the breakfast buffet. It was delicious. I brought the dogs some well cooked bacon, as a treat for being so awesome.

We checked out around 0930 and headed off to the military post to get the lay of the land kind of thing, and then we met the realtor (a British lady from London, weirdly enough) at the little house that was going to be ours.

We are still waiting for our HHG (household goods) so our home is a little “minimal” but we’ve made do and found some awesome bargains at the thrift shop (Microwave AND an awesome set of pots and pans) and we have a very nice blow up bed that husband bought on our first day. Dogs are settling in nicely and so are we.

I think I will stop there for now.

Next part will talk about our trip down to the Real South, the tip of a hurricane, and our awesome car that we bought yesterday (9th) and other little things.


Closer and closer

I thought it was time for another little update, as The Big Move gets closer day by day.

Just a few last items on our To Do list – need to find a buyer for Helga, asap, as we have to clear the vehicle registration department and can’t do that with a car on our name which we are not shipping back. We had a long list of buyers, and then slowly they fell through: they either got impatient and bought a car elsewhere, or they spoke to spouses “back home” who decided that they didn’t want the car, even though said spouses would never drive her… *shrug*, or they decided that she had too many kilometers on her, or they decided our price was too high all of a sudden. We’re left with 3 possibles: One of them is a young private who can’t really afford the car, but desperately wants it and needs to sell his little skadonk first and is trying hard to. We’re running out of time though, so we can’t give him forever… however, after all the other buyers fell through we went back to him and my husband has tried to make a deal with him and might even lower the price a bit if the other two possibles don’t respond soon.

After that, it’s health certificates for the dogs – and Odin’s tummy has been bad the last 24 hours but seems to be settling so I’m hoping he will be fine by the time our appointment rolls around. Otherwise they might not give him a clean bill of health to fly! On a side note from this: I tried a natural remedy that contained Slippery Elm to help alleviate his symptoms and it seems to have worked even better than the Sucralfate tablets that the vet gave us the last time they all had issues. I’m impressed… but of course Odin has not gone to the loo (#2 I mean – he’s piddled on everything today!) yet today, despite 3 long walks ranging from over 30 minutes to to an hour… I have been feeding him only a little bit of chicken and rice though, so I think it takes longer for that to become enough for him to need to go to the loo. Hoping that’s the case and it’s not a blockage that caused the issue in the first place. He tends to eat things and chew on things, and pick things up off the ground – old habits of a stray street dog die hard, eh? Another side note, which should probably be an entire post on its own, is my discovery of the HedgeWitch. It fits all my boxes and gets all the ticks and gold stars on my lists. Perhaps, when I am feeling more open and confident about it and where I stand, and we are more settled in our new home, I will post an entire explanation and back story about why I ended up searching/seeking/discovering the HedgeWitch. Mostly it’s just a very keen interest in herbs, plants and natural healing… and Nature herself as well. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, but as I said – that’s a story for another time.

Other than Odin’s tummy troubles today and yesterday, the dogs are doing very well. Azzie actually likes her den and sleeps in it quite often (they are set up in the dining room, as there is nothing there anymore and we needed to keep the dogs in training with the dens, before the Big Move) without any asking/prompting from me or husband. Gina also goes into hers every now and then, without being asked, as she likes it but she likes getting a treat for going in there! Odin, being the experienced den traveler that he is… does NOT go into it without asking. He goes in, when asked, but does not enjoy it quite like the girls. He has other associations with being in a kennel so it’s not surprising, really. We train him too, but not as much as the girls. He will be fine when he’s in, it’s just the going in and out that we will have to watch him: he’s a darter.

What else has been going on? Our HHG have gone, 2 weeks ago now, and the rest of our shipped stuff (not going with us on the plane) goes next week… A few days after that we move into the hotel.. and just 3 days after that… WE FLY!

It’s exciting, but also terrifying and stressful. I just want it all to go well: for us and for the dogs. Send vibes, friends. I wish we could just teleport instantly. This whole waiting thing is crappola.

Took some photos on our walk in the old forest today – going to miss that.
Oh! Yes! Yesterday my awesome husband helped me flush and clean 10 years worth (maybe more – I can’t remember exactly when I last had it done, but it was a LONG TIME ago) of ear gunk and wax out of my ears, as the last few days I have gone almost completely deaf with the build up. As he cleaned and flushed and picked disgustingly large pieces of wax out of my ear canals, I could finally hear. 100%. I nearly cried with the intensity and relief of it. After that it was a case of getting my brain to readjust my “levels” after so many years of being “clogged” and having about 40% hearing. The clarity is unbelievable. Everything is SO LOUD! I can hear people speaking inside their buildings, with windows closed. I can hear EVERYTHING! In the forest this morning I was almost overwhelmed with all the beautiful sounds from the birds and deer and beetles and bugs and who knows what else. It was incredible! I felt ALIVE again! I no longer felt like I was in a deep well – isolated and foggy and dark. I can’t thank my darling husband enough for going through it with me. It was painful at times, and quite uncomfortable most of the time, but TOTALLY WORTH IT!


Some more steps forward

Tick tock… the time draws closer.
Yesterday was a very stressful and tiring day for all of us. The moving people came and took away 99% of our “stuff” (HHG – for the military inclined)
Dogs were pretty darn well behaved – just a few “outbursts” from Gina, which of course set Odin and Azzie off. They spent the first hour on the balcony, just so that they could get used to the moving guys traipsing around the apartment and carrying boxes and the sound of tape being used and things being dismantled and boxed up. Then they got to come out and greet the movers (who loved them, despite Gina’s gold fish memory when they were going in and out of the door, carrying and fetching) and they then relaxed with us in one corner. Husband and I took turns sitting with them, or going and Doing Things, or just taking a little break and stretching our legs.
I took them for a couple of walks (including a 30 minute walk in the early morning before the movers arrived) during the day, and one drive in the car in the BUCKETING rain – just to get them out, as they couldn’t stay on the balcony in that weather! The roads were rivers! I had my wipers on at their fastest setting and it was still almost impossible to see! It was scary, but strangely fun too. Dogs were great, except that when that stormed rolled in, there was violent lightning and thunder and Azzie was a complete wreck. She actually scratched at the balcony door and was shaking and whining and drooling in terror. :( That’s when I took them for the drive – just so they could relax in the car (Azzie and Odin love my car: they feel safe) and get away from the stress of the apartment for a little bit. After that storm, even though it was calm again (just a little bit of rain) Azzie REFUSED (threw a complete tantrum) to go back onto the balcony, even if I sat with them. Eventually, around 7pm, the last box was taken down to the truck and we could close our door and settle in to the very bare and minimal apartment.
We kept the dog beds, and our bed linens, so the dogs had those familiar things to relax on and that helped with their stress levels. I couldn’t find their Rescue Remedy though! I am going to unpack my suitcase and backpack today and look for it. I know it’s there somewhere! I did pack it!

Otherwise, I am quite enjoying the minimal lifestyle that we are now living before the REST of our stuff gets packed (the stuff that flies over, so it SHOULD be there before the HHG) and then it’s just backpacks and suitcases for a few months!

I’m sitting here quietly, on the couch with my laptop on the coffee table, trying to be very quiet while the dogs snooze. There was very loud and constant range fire this morning on our long walk, and Azzie was once again a complete wet blanket. Poor thing. I think with all the stress of yesterday, and then the loud kabooms of today, she just couldn’t manage. She HURLED herself forward from the car and the whole way around and back to the car. Nearly pulled my arm out of the socket numerous times. She’s a strong girl and when she is scared/stressed she is even stronger! I’m not coddling her though – I know that just makes it worse for her – but I am trying to be “gentle”, with a all of them, after yesterday. They were really good, so I’m trying to be calm, serene, in charge for them today.

I really need another cup of tea though… and the loo!
I just don’t want to disturb Azzie, who is finally sleeping properly (no heavy breathing and drooling and shaking) after I closed the balcony door to stop her hearing the explosions from the range.

Ah, there we go.. she has stirred softly… now’s my chance!

Anyhoo – that was just a small update of things so far.


After a chat with my mum about my vegetarian health dilemma, I have decided to continue my vegetarian lifestyle but I now have a new set of tools from my mother: she told me all the things she made me, that I have not made for myself, that helped me stay healthy while under her roof. That was the first 8 years of my vegetarian life, so she did pretty well and I managed to muck it up in just on 2 years, on my own :) So I’m taking her advice to heart, and very seriously, and I’ve also upped my iron supplement intake (now at max) but I can’t up my B12, as that’s already at the maximum and any more is not healthy.

I feel better, after just a few days of this, but it’s early days of course and I have another “cycle” to get through before I celebrate any positive differences!


Things are moving forward (FAR TOO) quickly in the whole We’re Leaving The Country saga. Inspectors have come by, transport people have come by. We’ve signed things and set up final appointments, and now, on the (very sensible) advice of my husband, I need to pack my bags and see if I can live out of my two bags (suitcase and a large backpack) for the next few days, until they come to take all our stuff away. That way, I can see if I need anything, or if there’s anything I don’t actually use as much as I thought I would, before it’s too late to change my mind about what I am taking.

I also need to include all the dog stuff that we will have to travel with and have with us when we get there. My husband has to carry all his military gear (he’s also only taking 2 bags: a suitcase and a backpack) so I am (quite rightly) assigned the dog gear.

The closer we get to September, the scarier and more “real” it feels. It’s not a holiday (not that we’ve taken any of those recently) it’s actual MOVING. Taking our lives from one continent, over the ocean, to another continent. Taking our family – our beautiful fur children – and all our possessions – and putting them on a plane (or a ship) and off we go…

Taking my Rescue Remedy now, as things are starting to jump up and down in my mind more intensely. Giving the dogs their own Rescue Remedy (made for pets) and watching for any tummy troubles related. Of course, me being the idiot that I am sometimes, I gave them a LITTLE bit of ice cream yesterday, after our very long lunch time walk. Azzie’s tummy was fine, fine and then bleh. Gina went twice on our early morning walk, but both were good. Hoping she’s ok. Odin’s tummy was fine.

Azzie is getting used to her puppy cut, and Gina is enjoying the coolness of her trim down as well. I’m going to trim her chest and neck a bit more though – it’s still a bit long and she generates a lot of heat in there. I can feel it when I give her a scratch or put her collar on.

What else? Oh, hit another high point this morning… or low point? in my weight loss journey – getting very close to my final weight goal. So that’s cool. Will see how my journey continues when we reach Americaland.

I’m procrastinating. *sigh* I need to Get Things Done.

Still trying to sell Helga (Naartjie is already under new ownership, but the owner is away so he’s allowing us use of her until we leave – he’s awesome) so I need to put an advert up asap, as all other avenues have not panned out. I put up for sale ads everywhere I was allowed, but we only got 2 calls and one of them he said it was too much so I said call back in a month or so…

it is happening again

I’m generally a very healthy person. I love my vegetables and I love fruit and my legumes.

My blood pressure is, on last check up, around 2 months ago, 94/65 or something like that. While I normally have a very low, but HEALTHY blood pressure… I think that’s a little TOO low. My husband was also a little concerned when I told him. I don’t really have issues, normally, despite it being at that level.

I don’t avoid salt entirely, but yes I do keep it to a minimum when cooking and I always look for prepared food with a low sodium level. I hate salty food – too much salt ruins the taste of good food, in my opinion. Like food that’s too spicy/hot. My way of cooking/eating has helped my husband’s cholesterol and salt levels drop to excellently healthy levels, so that’s a bonus.

But the last few months now, I’ve been having issues. Again. The lethargy, the light-headed feeling. The weak limbs. The feeling like my body is moving faster than my brain. Or the other way around. Can’t even work that out right at this moment.

When I was sixteen, I decided I wanted to be a vegetarian (I’m an animal lover, aren’t I?) and my mother was supportive and made sure that my diet was always up to par – I never had a day of trouble, and I very rarely got sick. I went on like that until around age twenty three or twenty four (I don’t remember exactly) and then I moved out…

I tried as hard as I could to keep my diet correct, and eat the right amount of things to keep my iron levels up and my bones and muscles strong. Around age 26, working at UCT, it started really affecting my life. I was too weak to climb stairs – I had to stop every two or three to catch my breath and stop the stars from swirling around my head and the spots to clear from my eyes. I couldn’t drive very well, because my foot would start to shake on the brake pedal, and I was too weak to lift the handbrake on a hill. It was a recipe for disaster. I finally gave in and went to the doctor (I hated/hate going to the doctor) and she said that I would either have to get iron injections (the supplement form would do nothing for me at this point) or I would have to start eating meat again. I am terrified of needles. The thought of them made me feel sick and faint, and having to get them once a month just made my mind go blank and my body go cold. The doctor had to help me sit up – merely at the thought of it. That was another side effect of being anemic and mineral deficient. So I, very angrily/unhappily, chose to try eating meat again. I had to start off very slowly, as my system was by that point not used to having to digest meat, and if I overdid it I became VERY sick and pretty much ended up losing anything I ate… from both ends… (TMI, yes I know – but I’m trying to be honest here) but after a mere month or so of eating meat (mostly chicken, but some beef when I could handle it) I was back to perfect health and had all my energy and strength back. It both disappointed and astounded me. And hurt my heart a little bit. I really tried so hard.

So, almost a year ago now (I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I counted back to the post I made) I made the choice again, to try the vegetarian diet. I thought, since I was more in control of my diet, of what we could eat, that I was making food for me AND my husband (who has remained a meat eater – and that was never a problem for me) that I could keep up my diet to keep me strong and healthy.

It worked… at first. Then about 2 or 3 months ago, during “that time” (not going to go into that any more than I have to – if you don’t understand, it doesn’t matter) I started with the vertigo again. And the nausea. And each time it’s gotten worse. Today, and yesterday, it has been the worst. I feel like my brain is surrounded by cotton wool. My ear is blocked, they are both ringing and my hands keep going numb when I’m lying on my side in bed. I’m feeling incredibly weak. Slow. Tired. My head hurts almost constantly – not a headache, per say, but more a thumping of my pulse through my temples. My heart POUNDS just climbing some stairs, or going up a hill, when it never did before. I can barely run a few meters before I have to stop to catch my breath. This is not good. This is deja vu. My hands shake when I carry anything heavy and my heart thumps all the time. I have to force myself to eat, too. And that is so not normal for me. I love food.

So, I am thinking I need to make that choice again. I don’t want to, but my body is clearly trying to tell me something is wrong. I need to listen.

I’ll talk to my husband about it. He usually has something useful to say.


A tiny update

Hello watchers!

I just wanted to give a little update to tell you that I will be posting a longer update in just a day or so – there’s been lots happening in the last few days and I need a chance to catch my breath and sit down and write it all out.

Some positives:

Odin’s interactions at dog obedience/socialisation classes have been AWESOME! He has come so far that people are astounded.

We took the girls to the groomers today – their first time ever having it done professionally – and according to the groomers, it all went well. The young gentleman who was assigned to Azzie got a little over zealous with the scissors (they didn’t shave them – except for their bellies and “bits”) and she has a very short “puppy cut” which makes her, weirdly enough, look even BIGGER than before! But she looks even more like a puppy now. She’s so cute. He nicked her a few times with the clippers or scissors, so she has a few cuts – but they did say she was very “wriggly” and I can well imagine that. They gave us a discount because Azzie’s groom was a little more extreme than we discussed with them. Gina’s was well done, if a little tentative. She was neatened up nicely, but her neck and chest are still a little long, so I might snip that down just a little more. The rest of her body looks GREAT :) I think it’s already making them feel cooler, as when I took them for a walk this afternoon, they ALL (including Gina) wanted to run around and play like mad on the grass together, despite it being quite humid. So that’s great news for them, and for our move. The fact that they handled that stressful situation so well also takes a load off my mind for the big move and them being alone in their crates on the flight etc. We still need to practice that a bit more with the doors closed and me leaving the area for a little longer each time, but I’m more positive now (and also with their previous behaviour in the dens, because they have been really good about going in and chilling without any issues) and it really does lift a lot of the stress off me.

Some negatives:

Odin, when walking with the girls, still overreacts quite badly if another dog gets too close, or is off lead (even far away) but, admittedly, that’s not as bad as he was the first few times. Unless the dog surprises us – then he still gets quite nasty about it. I’m also learning, through all this, that Odin is the “normal” dog and that Gina and Azzie are actually the ones we need to work on!

The big move looms. It’s stressful – even though we are both very prepared people and have set up pretty much all the appointments we have to and the dogs tickets are sorted etc. Moving is never fun, and this move is over oceans and a continent and with our beloved dogs and all our worldly possessions. So it’s Rescue Remedy to glug and lots of meditation and mantras…


My heart is still very sore over the loss of my Macky-Moo. But it’s now an ache that sits quietly and doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to burst into ugly tears at any moment. It’s a bittersweet ache.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life, about death, about the circle of things. I’ve always liked the symbol of the circle. Infinity. Life, Death, Life. Things carry on, whether we want them to or not. We can’t stop time. We can’t stop the world. We can’t step off and wait until our heart feels less broken, or our mind catches up with us after a trauma, or while we catch our breath and try and get a grasp on WHAT just HAPPENED?!. The Earth keeps spinning. Mother Earth.

I’ll die one day too. This thought used to terrify me when I was younger. Much younger. I thought about these things when I was a very young girl. Especially after losing a member of my family, whether they were human or animal. I could dwell on it for days. A dark cloud settling over me. Because I was such a solitary child, I don’t think anyone really noticed. Which is fine. That’s the way I wanted it. I didn’t like to talk about the way it made me feel. I could talk about it now, I suppose, but years of keeping it all inside make me loathe to start doing that.

Now, being older with more life experience under my belt and knowing that I’m a survivor and that I am stronger than I appear (outside and inside) the thought of Death simply makes me sad – leaving behind the ones I love: human and animal. Not having done the things I wanted to. Said the things I wanted to. I’m not scared of dying itself. I’m scared of what follows. Not for me, but for the people I leave behind. What makes me feel small is that the world WILL continue turning. The Earth will carry on without me (for the moment) and my energy will go … somewhere…. but I have no control over that. I think THAT is what scared/scares me. The way Death takes over and you no longer control anything. Even if you never really controlled anything.


So after losing Macky, I’ve been dwelling. Thinking. And I’ve been trying, desperately, to live in the Present. For me. For my dogs. For life in general. For the Universe, Mother Earth, The Goddess – whatever you want to call that overwhelming force that binds us all together – so that I don’t go weakly, but I do go calmly, serenely, without TOO many regrets.

With this new thought pattern and attitude comes a curiosity (caused by a dream I had) to explore new ideas. Or old ideas, as the case may be.

The Moon. I’m drawn to it and always have been. Now, I am trying to be more aware of the Moon. Of how I feel at what point in the Cycle it is. I am a woman. I am attuned to the moon. I want to see where I go from here.

The cry of a crow. When you least expect it.


I have been thinking about one of my dogs back home, Macky (aka Moo – he was Moo long before I met you, Michelle-Moo) quite a lot the last few days, in between my strange dreams about crows and the full moon and being tattooed with black feathers (and a sudden urge to read about old Goddesses and mythology) and carrying a sword.

And a few minutes ago, I found out why he had been on my mind. He passed away today, around 3pm. At the time I was walking my dogs I think and I felt a strange lethargy and I felt quite sad… but I put it down to low blood sugars and that afternoon drop.

My mum sent me a message and let me know and said that the vet (he’s been our vet for over 30 years – pretty much all our animals have gone to him) said that we had done all we could and that it was time for Macky to head over the rainbow bridge. Free from pain and fear (he was blind and mostly deaf and spent a lot of the time not knowing where he was or if he was alone or in company – so he would whine and pant and worry) and anxiety, and bouncing around like he used to in fields of green, chasing a soccer ball (his favourite toy) or sniffing things and swimming and playing and meeting other dogs and walking with them. He was the unofficial Greeter of the 10 ‘o’clock Strollers (a group of us who used to walk our dogs every morning around 1000, or much earlier, especially in summer) and he made sure that every new dog, and even returner Strollers, felt welcome and part of the family.

I will miss my little Moo a great deal – he was a very special dog. I know people say that of all their animals (and I know I say that of mine) but he was truly special. After the horrible start to life he had, his positive outlook on life and happy go lucky attitude never failed to make my heart warm.

He was around 14 years old (maybe older – we’re not sure as he was a rescue with a hard past, as I said) and he had a good long, happy run of life. It still hurts, obviously, but he filled his days with happiness and curiosity and love of life and it was kinda contagious.  Being around Macky was like being around joy on four legs with a curly floofy tail.  You couldn’t be unhappy when you were with the Moo.


He leaves behind one of his best friends, Mardi Gras, who took an instant shine to him the moment they met, and that was what made the decision about who we adopted after his previous beloved pack (Molly and Mishka) passed away. She will mourn. Like we will.

Farewell my handsome lad. My little Moo. My little Prince Mackintyre.


Take a breath and remain calm

I knew I needed to get Odin around other dogs as soon as possible, despite me feeling very ick after being attacked by the dog just 30 minutes before, but I knew it would be good for us both, so we packed our stuff and I gave the girls their jumbones and Ods and I headed out.
When we got there, he was very over excited and silly. So I made him wait in the car, with the door open, until he calmed down. Then we took it slowly to the arena. Stopping every time he got whining/barky and facing the other way.
He snapped and snarled at all the dogs, even his friend Lotto, so I knew it was going to be a long and trying afternoon.
I didn’t take him in to the socialisation ring – I didn’t trust him at that moment, and he was still way too hyped up. So we walked around and around and I made him sit next to the fence and let the dogs sniff him. He snapped at a couple, but was slowly calming down. As was I. Then a new dog arrived, a boxer named Roxy (her owner is Sarah) and Odin lost his marbles for some reason. So I made a point of following them around and making him sit and face the other way whenever he got snarly. I stayed very calm. My heart rate didn’t even go up. Then she went into the ring to be social, and she avoided the same dogs that he did (the excited dogs) and kept near the side of the ring. So I turned him around and let her sniff his butt through the railing, and then vice versa. Then we walked “together” around the arena along the fence.
He seemed better. He seemed to realise that, for now, the other dogs were not out to get him.
When she came out of the ring, I let him go over to say hello to her and I remained calm, with a loose lead… and guess what…
HE WANTED TO PLAY!!!! There was no aggression, no tension .. .he just wanted to play! So did she, so I let go his lead and they rough and tumbled and played BEAUTIFULLY for a good 5 or 10 minutes!
The instructor and everyone who knows him were SO excited! There was much cheering and encouragement from over at the obedience course!
I was so happy. I recorded a little bit of it to show my husband :)
It restored my faith in Odin, and showed me that it IS possible, we just have to take it slowly and find the right dogs (at first) for him to meet. And remain CALM at all times.
Then after Roxy left, we did the agility course and he did SO WELL! He was bouncing around and happy with his tail wagging, and he did the tunnel 4 or 5 times ON HIS OWN, in both directions, and he did the walkway AND the see-saw!!!! He was TOTALLY keen! Jumped the jumps happily too. His only issue was with the weave poles, but he did those too, with a little guidance from me.
All in all – SO glad we went :) I’m trying to do as Cesar Millan says and take everything as a challenge to be overcome, not something to set us back.

I hope that now we can start getting him to understand that I will ALWAYS protect him as best as my human body can, and I won’t allow other dogs to hurt him and he can trust me to be in charge.


I wanted to post a video, but it won’t allow me to upload it for some reason.

You can see it here on Google+ 



quiet days

Husband left on mission again early this morning – I had to drive him down to where they were being transported from, just before 0100. Took the dogs with, and Azzie (being the sensitive fur child that she is) picked up on my husband’s excitement and nervousness and impatience (the army does things in weird roundabout ways that take ages) and behaved like a complete crazy idiot. She leaped around and barked and whined and bashed into people and pulled me around. Husband lost his temper (not his fault – a lot going on) and couldn’t understand why she was behaving like that – I tried to explain that she was just picking it up from him, but he felt he was being calm and didn’t agree. On the surface he looked very calm, but she’s a sensitive dog, so she saw what was really going on inside him. This was proven when we said goodbye to him and headed back to the car – we were barely 10m away and she was suddenly calm, relaxed, walking easily on the lead with no pulling and no excitement. Hopped in the car just fine and all three dogs were quiet on the way home – heads out the window like usual – and they didn’t even bark at the MP and gate guards like they did on the way out.

So next time we go say goodbye or send him off somewhere and the dogs come with we will ALL be glugging some Rescue Remedy down :)

Dogs are amazing, really. Can’t hide anything from them.

The “silence’ experiment is going quite well: I’ve been walking them in near complete silence, with only positive remarks occasionally. I think that my tone when I speak all the time is perhaps confusing the dogs because my body language says something else, or my energy or something, I really don’t know. Or maybe it’s because by not talking I’m expressing my frustration/annoyance less, so it’s helping me remain calm? Could be a combination of all of that. We’ve encountered a few dogs in the distance and while my dogs have been interested (a bark from Odin, a small whine from Azzie and Gina puts her tail up and huffs) we’ve kept on walking without incident and with very little resistance from the dogs, even while the dog we’re passing by goes nuts on the end of their lead. We haven’t seen the Smug Man and his Husky recently: that will be the ultimate test for this experiment.


Now I have to get back into “mission mode” while my husband is away. I have to stop checking my phone for messages, and stop expecting to see him pull into our parking lot in Helga (our BMW) or hear his key in the front door lock. Will take a few days for me to sleep as well. Always does.


1 2 3 12