fear phases

All dogs go through what’s called “fear phases” – where one day they’re fine with something, but the next day the same thing could cause them to be incredibly upset and scared.

Unfortunately, Azzie was going through one of those when the fighter jets started their dog fights over the town. Too loud, too low and I now have a terrified dog. We tried to have a nice walk this morning, but the range fire coming from across the valley had Azzie in absolute conniptions. Frothing, panting heavily, tail clamped flat down, wide eyes and MOTORING forward to get back to the car where she felt “safe” but still carried on panting heavily.

She hasn’t eaten her food today (she did have her piece of chicken and her tablets this morning, and she’s still eating treats – but that’s it) and she’s listening and waiting for the next kaboom from the range. I’ve closed the balcony door (despite Gina’s annoyance) I’ve tried to remain calm and unaffected by the noise (as I did before) but now every time there’s so much as a thump nearby or from the range, she’s up and panting and restlessly pacing around the apartment. She comes to me, goes to Gina, goes to the kitchen, comes back to me. Then she relaxes and lies down… until the next thump or kawumpf. It’s just so unlike my brave girl, that it’s quite concerning. Even Gina was unphased by the noises on our most recent walk ( thought Azzie might need to poop, but she’s still too scared to! G pooped and it was good and she’s fine and had her tail up on the walk, despite the noises)

So I gave her two benedryl (they seem to help her relax – plus she’s been scratching because she’s been rolling in the grass) and hopefully they help her.

My poor girl. I’m trying to act like nothing is wrong, but this is so unlike her that I am feeling a little icky in my stomach. This is NOT how I wanted her to “grow up” and I feel so sorry for her. But I know you mustn’t coddle them when they go through these phases, so I’m just acting normal. Put some tv on, loudly, so it might cover the noises coming from outside, and I’m going on with my day. I was GOING to go out and do some errands, but I don’t want to leave her in a state of unhappiness, so we’re just going to chill today. Hopefully she will be ok tomorrow. That’s one thing I won’t miss about this place – the noises from the range and the STUPID FIGHTER JETS!

quietly growing up

I think Azzie is, very gently, very quietly, growing up…

She’s nearly 3 years old, which is apparently when BMD’s reach their emotional maturity (it takes them a long time, compared to most breeds) and she’s recently been … different. She’s calmer in new situations, calmer with new people, gentler with children, more responsive to me (especially on the short lead) and in the last week or so she’s also started curbing her appetite. She started this when Gina got so sick – she stopped grumbling to be fed, stopped grumbling to go out, etc. I thought it was just her being concerned for Gina, but she’s continued it even now when they are both much better.

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So I’ve begun an experiment (Don’t Panic! I’ve not changed their food or anything else! I’ve learned my lesson regarding that, believe me)  – I feed them (put their food out – it’s just dry food now) and I keep an eye on the bowls. Gina ate when she wanted to this morning, before we went back to bed after early morning toilet break. Azzie ate about an hour after we got back from our long morning walk. Gina ate a little bit after that. She didn’t finish her bowl (and she only eats from one of the bowls, as does Azzie – another sign of maturity?) but she ate enough to obviously fill her up. I have to be careful – I have to keep an eye on the time they eat, so that I make sure we don’t do any exercise for an hour after they eat. So it will get tricky when they eat at different times. I need to keep an eye on them to prevent bloat as well. But if it makes them happy and they lose some weight at the same time – then I’m willing to go the extra mile for them, so to speak :)

We went on a nice long walk along a new path, this morning. It’s a path I’ve driven by many times, seen the start of it (and a place to park) but never been brave enough to actually go to. But today we did it. Dogs were AWESOME and so well behaved, it was perfect walking weather (cool, but not icy cold and not too hot) and the dogs had a great time exploring the new area. We did take a few shortcuts across fields, as I wasn’t totally sure where some of the path sections went, but now that we’ve been around there, I think next time we will just follow the path all the way around :)

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Spring is definitely here – only a few bits of snow left in weird locations (Azzie made a point of rolling around in all of them, just to make them feel special for hanging around so long in the warmer weather – she’s sweet like that) and everything else was freshly tilled earth and newly budding flowers. Germany in springtime is quite a sight to behold.

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Early morning walks

I might as well start getting used to getting up early to walk the dogs, as it seems the weather is starting to slowly change and we’re heading into spring.

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Pretty soon the places we walk will look like this again!

The girls and I headed off for a lovely morning walk with our friend Ciara and her pooches, Django and Luca. We did a kind of a loop, and some return walking, but it was a good walk and the dogs were all good. It was crisp and the sun was out. I look forward to some more of these hikes together.

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This was the road we took this morning, but now there is no snow.

The fighter jets are at it again today, and at one point it was SO LOUD it made the windows rattle and was even audible with all the doors and windows closed. It got so loud that Azzie was _terrified_ and she came and hid behind me on the couch and shook and shivered uncontrollably :( I distracted her by giving her the toy she’d found the other day on our walk – nice and clean now after a good scrub. It seemed to help, except that of course now she’s obsessed with it!

 

Come on Arrow, find your own story

I think I mentioned at one point that I did start watching the series “Arrow” quite a while ago for the first time.

I did NOT like it. All I could think was “Batman RIPOFF!” the whole time I watched it. But a few months ago I started watching it again, just because I’d heard that it “gets better” by various sources and because I’d seen them linked (a cross show thing) through “The Flash” series. I like “The Flash” quite a lot. So I waded back in and surprisingly it _did_ get better, and I actually started to enjoy the show. Along comes season two… and I was still enjoying it, but starting to get a little … concerned with the way the story was going. Bringing in Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows, twisting the story around that idiot Malcolm Merlyn AND letting whatshisface… oh Slade, get free… AGAIN? I started getting a little annoyed.  But, I was still enjoying the show itself. I was glad when he could finally talk to his friend, and Roy came in, and Felicity is as cool as always – but I was saddened by the turn their relationship took.

And then along comes season three. *sigh* It just gets worse and worse. A spiral of terribly contrived twists and “he’s evil but we need him” and all sorts of stupid revenge for revenge for revenge.

Not sure I will keep watching it.

another long walk

Dogs and I decided to head out in a new direction this afternoon, thinking of exploring some areas we’ve not been yet.

So we headed down into the industrial area, and out the back of  it onto the grass/forested area there. The path I’d found on google maps was covered in downed trees and was very muddy so we had to figure out a new path, but we ended up walking along a nice single lane/bicycle path which headed into our tiny village from another side. It was lovely. Dogs were awesome, super well behaved.

G’s tummy was very good, but Azzie’s wasn’t the greatest. It’s ok, they’re still 90% better and improving every day.

A day of silence, it seems.

Yay, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has started up again! All cued up and ready to go! Now I’m making some killer dinner to go with it, and then I’m going to start watching!

a weight lifted

emotional weights have been lifted

stress levels are slowly returning to a more manageable level

dogs started their medicine dose last night, and this morning when i took them down for their toilet break, G pooped and it was 99% better! I was SO SO SO happy, and so was she – she did her little happy dance and bounced around :)

Azzie didn’t go when i took her down, but she went on our walk, and hers was also 99% better! G also went again on the walk and it was good as well.

I am relieved, so happy. I am going to call the vet who helped us and thank him, profusely. And thank Iain too, for being so kind and helpful in setting up the appointment outside appointment hours.

 

Feels like an enormous weight has been lifted.

G also feels less stressed now that she is feeling better, and i walked them both on their street leads (short ones) and Azzie in her harness. I had more control, and Azzie didn’t go nuts and didn’t eat bad things. I kept my manner/body language as calm as I could the whole time, even when I had to correct Azzie’s behaviour. Just a couple of times G had an “uh oh, what now?!” moment and her tail went down, but 90% of the time she was happy, relaxed.

I saved a life

So on the way to the vet at lunch time, I heard a cat crying. I searched around and found that one of the Kitten Trio (the strays I feed. Betty’s babies) had fallen through the tiny windows into the locked storage room of one of the apartments.

The tiny kitten couldn’t jump up high enough to get out and had been there the whole day. I couldn’t recall if I saw her yesterday or last night, so she might have been there longer, but I hadn’t heard her crying until today.

As I was late already for the vet, I asked my neighbour to call the housing department (which she did, and they said they would “send someone right over”) I also flagged down a passing housing van and asked them what they could do – which was nothing, but they said THEY had called someone as well.

When the girls and I eventually got back from the vet, I checked on the kitten… she was still there. And, upon shoving my head into the tiny window, I discovered the poor deceased old black cat. He was a scruffy old man, with a wonky leg, which is probably why _he_ couldn’t jump out the window either. :( He’d been dead a while. He was smelly, and … flat. I only hope that the fall killed him, and not starvation. I’d never heard him make a noise, so I don’t know if he’d ever called like the little kitten. Maybe he thought nobody would come even if he did. He was a loner. A true survivor. He had made it so far on his own. A sad, tired, silent end to a rough, tough soul. I said a little farewell to him, silently.

I called various housing departments and didn’t get hold of anyone – they’d all gone home or where not bothering to answer as it was nearly 17:30 and way passed their work day’s end. I then called the MP desk – non emergency of course. I leave that for last because USUALLY there’s so much paperwork to go with a call out of the MP’s that nobody wants to get in touch with them! But thankfully, in this case (non-human related) there was none. Or, there was none that I had to fill in. I spoke to a SGGT Luke and he was VERY helpful (and he’s probably the type of guy who filled in all the paperwork without bothering me about it)

He couldn’t get hold of housing either, to get the key to the storage room. But then, by chance, I actually MET the new neighbour who was moving in to the apartment that belonged to that storage room! So when the MP arrived, I told him that we should speak to the young gentleman in that apartment. WHich we did, and he was also VERY helpful, and I in turned helped HIM to find his correct storage unit (the Housing representative also went to the wrong storage room when he showed the young man around and the key didn’t work in it – which is what our new neighbour told me when he handed it over to us)

The kitten, BC or Brave Cat as I call her, at first was too scared to even leave the corner she had squashed herself into (As far from the dead body of the old cat as she could get) and as I edged closer (because I wasn’t sure which one of the trio it was, at first) she did hiss a bit and raise her hackles at me, but then I spoke to her, and showed her the open can of her favourite food and she searched my face (I had my hat on, so she wasn’t sure at first) and she recognised me and got up and first thing she did was head-boop me on the hand and the knee and then she dived in to the food. She was so hungry (and so relaxed now that she knew it was me) she let me pick her up, wrapped in a towel (just in case) while she scoffed the food up. She then purred happily and rubbed her face against mine a few times.

I carried her outside and around to where her little siblings waited for her. I put the rest of the food out for her, and some milk and she gobbled it up, barely noticing when I left the area.

Then I returned to the storage room, after gathering two trash bags and some gloves from my apartment (the dogs were very confused, poor things) and SSGT Luke and I collected poor dead, Old Cat. Even SSGT Luke was saddened by the situation. Poor dear cat.

I made sure the window was tightly shut, so this didn’t happen again, and SSGT Luke said he would get housing to sort out cleaning up the rest of the mess in the room.

I thanked him for his help and he thanked me for sorting it out and taking care of the animals and we went on our way.

I said another silent farewell to Old Cat.

updates

So this morning Azzie was sick as well. It came on suddenly and I had no idea why it happened.

So initially I was just going to get some more sucralfate but after their dose this morning proved no help at all to either of them, I called the vet to see if they had any appointments. My friend Iain at the reception (we have a special relationship thanks to all my visits to the vet with my dogs) clearly picked up on my mental state (I was at my last thread, my wit’s end) and he went and spoke to the vet on duty. They made a special arrangement just for me, so I could bring in my girls today. I was touched, deeply, by this.

The vet and I (military vet this time, I’ve seen just once before) had a long chat, after he checked out the girls, and going on timelines and every other detail I could muster, we worked out a plan and a possible reason behind these new bouts of illness. To say I was relieved would be putting far too mildly.

He let me know that I had done the right thing and this was not my fault – just a pile of nasty things that had led to both the dogs getting sick like this. Including the now thawed and muddy and slushy and shit covered dog park Sunday play dates. He said they would have to wait until a nice heavy snow fall and/or next winter. I agreed. He said Azzie had clearly picked up a nasty bacteria from some other dog’s poop. He said the dog park was GREAT socialisation, but terrible medically. Too true.

I spoke to my friend Ciara (it’s her dogs that we meet every Sunday for our play date – Django and Luca) and while not ideal for Django (as he has to stay on lead all the time when not in an enclosed space) initially, we agreed that the dog park was not “safe” right now and we decided to go on nice long Sunday hikes instead. More exercise for the dogs, anyway, as they had recently been very lackluster in terms of chase games and fetching toys so their dog park dates were quite quiet and they were certainly not tired after them.

As for Azzie’s behaviour issues, a few lovely kind and positive words from my friend Nicole (dog behaviourist/psychologist) have put me in a better frame of mind when it comes to dealing with Azzie’s bullshit. She’s a difficult dog, and she won’t change (maybe mellow a LITTLE bit with age) and I just have to learn that it’s not ME that’s causing it, it’s just the way she is. Still going to start some individual walks for the girls, to help with Gina’s stress levels, but I’m going to try very hard to just let the behaviour be checked, but not overwhelm me.

It’s been a crappy couple of weeks, I have to say, but today has boosted me up  bit and that’s no bad thing.

I also bought another Adaptil diffuser for the room. It might help Gina as well.