some things I’ve noticed

Just a few things I’ve noticed recently: Azzie is growing up. Her birthday was 2 weeks ago, and she turned 3. It’s actually quite dramatic how turning three, and reaching Berner “maturity” changes a puppy-like dog into a “I’m almost a grown up” youngster. She grumbles hardly ever – only when she really needs me to take her out, or she’s very hungry – and when she does it’s very quiet and very polite now. Even my husband noticed that! She also doesn’t eat as much (or grumble as often FOR food as she did) or as often and sometimes leaves food in her bowl as well. She pays attention to me (generally – except of course if there’s an over-excited dog on the horizon, but we’re working on that) and has learned a whole bunch of new commands and still knows all her old ones. She’s polite, she doesn’t stand on me or my feet nearly as much and she’s calming down a lot faster if she DOES get over-excited. It’s absolutely wonderful. I’m not sure if it’s just her growing up, or if it’s also to do with all the hard work I’ve put in, and my change in attitude (yes, still harping on about the conversation with my friend Nicole and the “eureka!” moment I had after that) that has done it, or maybe combination of all of it. Whatever it is, long may it continue and I hope it extends over to Odin as well. His training has barely begun and while he has some strange quirks we need to get under control, I think he will catch on quickly.

I want my relationship with my dogs to be awesome – and it’s really getting there. I want to be their “mama” but in the correct way. I want them to trust me in all things. That I can handle being “leader” of this nutty pack, and that I will keep my cool under duress. I think that’s important to them all. Especially Gina.

 

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A gorgeous morning walk and a little Odin update

A gorgeous morning – still cool enough that the dogs could enjoy themselves, but the sun was out and it warmed up slowly. By the time we got back to the car, it was starting to get quite warm, so we were just in time.

We discovered a NEW section of the Bahrenbach Pfad! (The Bear River Path) and took a wander down that to explore, but didn’t get too far as Odin started to whine a little bit as his leg started to get sore.
Dogs were _awesome_ on the walk! So well behaved. Odin met the horses for the first time, in the paddock near the parking area and he was scared at first, but then when he saw Gina being peaceful and calm and relaxed with them (sniffing noses and being nuzzled softly) he came close enough to sniff and be sniffed and it was awesome. Azzie did well too – she does get SO excited though and wants to play… luckily these are two elderly boys (the horses) and so they weren’t easily spooked by her play bows and huffs. But they all did well and I was very pleased. They also all three waited beautifully while a lady with a very feisty and large Labrador went by down the other path. The lady thanked us profusely for our patience and calm, which was pretty cool :) No barking, no silliness. They sat (well Odin stood – he’s still too wobbly/sore to sit properly) and watched and Gina even wagged her tail. I gave them treats, they watched me. It was brilliant.
Same thing when we got to the car – another lady was parked there and she came up another path behind us a few seconds after us…
Dogs didn’t bark, even when they were in the car and the dog came and sniffed the car before heading to his car. I was SUPER proud of them :)

Azzie was a little anxious as there was medium loudness kabooms coming from the range, so I put her back on her lead and she felt a bit “safer” and enjoyed herself more. But she was not in the mood to play, despite Odin’s best efforts (he even did a yoga stretch out on the open field, expecting her to want to play and chase him around – but she didn’t want to) to engage her.
Odin’s tummy not so great this morning – maybe too much food again (I upped it a little last night as he seemed VERY hungry) or maybe still ruminating on the marrow bones. He perhaps needs a smaller one :) I forget he’s not as big as the girls, sometimes.
All in all, a lovely walk!

Here are some photos:

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Odin is coming along really well – gaining weight, putting on muscle and he can go further and further on the walks now. He is a happy boy. He has a few quirks we need to work on – but nothing major (so far) that causes concern. He is a gentle boy, still, and I am hoping he remains that way. He and Azzie play so nicely together – nice and gently, the way Azzie likes – and even Gina gets in on the dog piles now. She did lose her temper a bit this morning and put him in his place, but I think he accidentally stood on her tail while they were wrestling. He wasn’t phased – just left her alone for a few minutes and then went back for more when she calmed down. She happily played some more, so she was fine too.

On other good news notes: I lost another pound! I’m well pleased with myself – only one more to go until I reach my (first) goal weight! It’s been a long, difficult haul for me, but worth it. I think I’m looking ok for a (nearly – just a few months away) 40 year old.

I have trouble letting go

Say you picture in your mind, just for interest sake, a thread or piece of string. Then you picture a pair of scissors cutting that piece of string or thread… can you SEE the thread being cut and the two separate pieces? If you can, you’re normal.

I cannot. Even if I think REALLY REALLY hard, and concentrate until my head hurts… even if it’s something that I THINK OF MYSELF, just to see how I am doing that day – I can NOT picture that damn piece of thread being separated. I cannot see it letting go.. it always.. “sticks” together, or “sticks” to the scissors or knife, or somehow remains in one piece. I simply CANNOT make my brain break it in half, or simply just make it two separate pieces. When I dream, the same thing happens… things stretch, bend, or miraculously join back together before I can see them apart – they NEVER separate.

I just can’t LET GO of the string. I know it’s a metaphor for a lot of things in my head, I know it’s weird, but I’ve been like that my WHOLE life.

If I physically cut a piece of thread, or a string, or anything that can be cut, broken or snipped.. it’s fine. I see it, I have no problem with it. But if I imagine it in my mind… it doesn’t happen.

Weird huh?

And going with that theme: I finally made the decision (after talking to my husband about it) to cancel my cell phone contract back home in South Africa.

It was a very hard one for me. I’ve had that same contract, with the same service provider, and the same number, for over 15 years. For someone like me, who has trouble letting go… doing this is a very big thing. But since we have no real idea when we will be returning to South Africa, it’s silly to keep it going “just in case”. Rather a new number, a new start, when we do go back. That way, I’m not paying for it every month and not using it in any way. It will be one less thing to worry about. And when it comes to worrying, I’m a Big One. So this is a good thing. Just waiting for a response from the service provider.

 

On another note! An update on our Little Man, Odin.

He is doing VERY well! Putting on weight, putting on a bit of muscle over his once very skinny body. He is so chilled and so happy that it’s like he’s a new dog. On Friday evening my husband and I, and two of my husband’s fellow soldiers (one of whom knew Odin where he was rescued from as he was stationed with my husband) went for a lovely long easy hike through the “Grunewald” (the “green forest”) with the dogs. It had been a very warm day, so it was nice to go out in the relative cool of the forest in the evening.
Odin and the girls had an absolute BLAST! The soldier who knew Odin before he came here could NOT believe how different he was. He says he is SO happy and so energetic and bouncy and MAN can he run!

It was nice to hear that they could all see the good changes in him after just such a short time with us :)

Here are some photos.

Day Fourteen and it’s all good

Today is the last of the daily postings on the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure – I think people are all caught up now and a weekly progress report will be more dramatic in terms of his body changes etc.

We went for a “long” morning walk and we showed daddy one of the many new paths we’d discovered up near the Grunewald Blick.

We took him on one of the shorter loops – so that we didn’t overtax Odin and because it’s a bit warm this morning so I didn’t want to overheat the girls either.

A nice easy stroll. Beautiful weather, lots of bird song and a gentle breeze.

Lovely.

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Day Thirteen and it just gets better

So I decided to just blog daily for the first two weeks of Odin’s adventure with us and then after that I will blog every few days which is back to my “usual” schedule – I think that’s a good length of time for people to see the changes in him and his life with us and my girls and their relationship with him.

 

I will keep everyone updated on his training and progress, and my girls as well – because we’re ALWAYS in training, right?

This morning the dogs and I decided to show daddy another one of our “new” paths – our long walk in the farmlands across the busy road. He was a little nervous about crossing the road with Odin, but we showed him that Odin and the girls are totally fine and we zip across the road and then head out on a LOVELY walk. We just have to wait for a “quiet” moment and then we run!

So we did this, and had a great walk with daddy – Odin was off lead the WHOLE WALK and he listened beautifully. As did Azzie and Gina (of course!)

Here are some photos!

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And here are some videos!

Day Twelve is a quiet day

Decided on a nice easy gentle stroll after yesterday morning’s very energetic morning fun and headed out for a “short” one around the pool off post.

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Dogs were awesome. No poopage this morning from any of them – but they had a very small breakfast (Azzie didn’t eat anything – not unusual in the mornings these days) as I’ve cut their portion sizes down a lot (his is still more than he would normally get, but we’re trying to put weight on him still) to help G and Az lose some weight.

Even though it was a nice quiet one, the dogs are still pretty tired and they are all chilling (G and Odin too tired to eat, but Azzie is now eating her breakfast) in their various favourite spots.

 

It’s going to be a nice quiet Sunday I think.

Have a good one, people.

 

 

 

Day Eleven and the Gang’s All Here

Last night my husband finally returned home after just on 5 months away.

I really wish I’d thought of recording his home-coming welcome with the dogs because it was eye-watering sweetness :)

Azzie and Gina went completely berserk with happiness and Odin was beside himself with joy :) I’ve never seen him wag his tail that much and have such a happy smile on his face. He definitely remembered my husband as his rescuer. It was heart-warming.

We spent a few minutes outside so the dogs could get all their happy bouncy out and then we headed back to the apartment.

Every time my husband sat down or was on the floor (taking his boots off etc) they piled on top of him with glee – even Odin!

This morning saw a very cold wind blowing, but the sun was out (mostly) so we headed out to show “daddy” some of the new paths we’d discovered in his absence. He was quite wowed by the huge expanses of land just down the way from the secret pond and while we didn’t really explore that far in to the new paths we wanted to show him, he and the dogs had an ABSOLUTE BLAST racing around and chasing each other on the grass fields. The dogs were completely exhausted by the time we got back to the car – swims in the pond included.

Odin didn’t want to get out of the car for my husband, when we got home, as I think he was thinking “oh no, where has he taken me now” because almost every time (except for the days my husband visited him at the vet) he would see my husband while he was over there, it was to be taken somewhere else for something else to happen to him. But once he got out he was fine – he recognised we were “home” not somewhere new. Will take a lot more car rides with daddy to get him over that worry!

Here are some photos from our awesome walk this morning:

(You can find lots more photos, and some videos too, here)

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Day Ten of the adventure

This morning we decided to head across the busy road this time, to our favourite long farm walk.

Gina, Azzie and Odin had a zoomie session on the one plowed area and then I popped Odin back on his lead as he then spotted something in the grass and had a think about chasing it (might have been a rabbit – there were quite a few around today)

He was super good though while off lead – listened when I called etc.

Nice and crisp and cold out there this morning, thankfully – so we walked at a good pace (Odin kept up just fine: in fact he was an eager boy and was ahead most of the way)
Lots of ticks *shudder* and I’m just hoping the fact that I could SEE them and they were walking around on the dogs and not hiding, that it means the stuff I put on is working… because I’ve found a couple biting the girls, but they have been there a while – so not sure if they were attached before I put anti-tick stuff on.
Put stuff on Odin yesterday too.

A good walk. All dogs pooped – all EXCELLENT :)

When we got home, I was picking ticks off Azzie’s fur  – I HATE TICKS. So now I feel like I have them walking all over me. *squirm*

 

In theory, husband might be home today. Not holding my breath, and I won’t get excited until I see him standing in front of me. I know the dogs will be over the moon. It’s been a very long time since they saw daddy, and Odin will be totally ecstatic, as my husband is his rescuer :)

 

Here are a couple of photos of our lovely walk:

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And here are a couple of videos of G, Az and Ods doing zoomies and playing :)

I lost another half a pound this morning…. I’m pretty excited. This portion control thing really works.

 

I was going to go to the shops straight away after our walk this morning but I was firstly too damn hungry (so I had my toast and tea) and I am tired from the walk too. So I’ll chill a little bit, and then head off.

Odin is the only one who ate “second” breakfast – despite Azzie not eating her breakfast this morning either. She eats later now, I’ve noticed. I also don’t think she’s keen on the salmon oil that I put on their food in the mornings. :/ It’s so good for them, but maybe I’ll swap hers to the evening rather.

Some photos from this morning’s walk in the wald

Here you go – a few shots from this morning’s walk.

As I said, Odin stayed on his lead for 99% of it, as he was a bit nervous when off  – new places take him a little while to get comfortable in. He’s doing very well though.

Day Nine and more adventures

Day Nine of the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure!

It was warm, but not too bad this morning (cooler than yesterday) so I decided to take the dogs for Odin’s first walk in the Wald :) We headed out from the parking lot up near the Blick and headed off on one of the slightly shorter walks, just to take it easy for him initially. He had a blast. I did let him off lead when we stopped for water, but he kinda wandered off and got a bit nervous so I put him back on and he was fine. I think he feels secure on the lead when he is in new places.
Dogs were all awesome. All pooped – all good. Odin’s a little soft, but not awful. Maybe too much marrow bone :)

And since Odin appeared to be quite tuckered out by the walk (it was only 45 minutes, but a lot of walking and sniffing) I decided today was the day to start his separation training.

I breezed around the apartment, acting like it was all normal, and closed the bedroom door just in case. Then I got my stuff together, put my slip slops on and got the dogs their jumbones – this is a signal to the girls that I am going out for a little while so they clearly conveyed this message to Odin because I gave him his, he settled on Gina’s bed (shame, not sure where she ate hers, as Azzie was on her bed and there was nowhere else really to eat it) and I left! Made no big thing about it, just said “bye guys, I’ll be back later” and headed out.

I asked my neighbour to keep an ear out, just to see if Odin carried on a bit (he does make a strange whine/howl noise for a few seconds when I take the other dogs down in the mornings and evenings, and when I go feed the stray cats – but it only lasts a short time) after I left, but she said she didn’t hear a peep the whole time I was gone. I was SO proud, and such a huge weight is off my shoulders now too. I didn’t push my luck of course – I was only gone about 30 minutes, max, including driving time – but it’s a good start and promising for the future. :) I know my girls had a good deal to do with Odin’s relaxed attitude to the separation, and that makes me really proud of them too.

I took loads of photos on our forest walk this morning, so I will go through those today and post some later.

I have a house to clean too as my husband comes home soon – of course not sure of when, but it will hopefully be “soon” :)

I lost some more weight as well, so I’m feeling pretty awesome today.

All my pants are now falling down on me – which, while annoying, is pretty DAMN COOL! 😀

And all this weight loss just from my regular walking exercise with the dogs, and cutting my portions down. That’s it. Hard work, but so worth it. I have energy, my knee doesn’t hurt anymore (I mean I wasn’t OVERWEIGHT or anything – I was still in my BMI region, but at the top of it – but even just the weight I’ve lost has made a difference to that, so I cannot even imagine what a difference it makes to someone who is heavily overweight) and I sleep better at night. My hip doesn’t hurt as much either – but that could be the warmer weather, more than any weight loss. I can’t wait to start running again and see how THAT affects my weight too.

I had a “wow” moment last night: I realised I turn 40 this year. I really don’t feel like it, and I know that I don’t look it (generally) so I won’t act like it 😀 40 is the new 20!! Right?!

 

I also just moved my laptop back to my desk, so I am no longer sitting on the couch in front of the tv. This forces me to sit up straight so I can see the screen properly and use the keyboard without hurting my wrists, and it will help me focus on my tech courses as well. I’ve had plenty of time to veg out watching my tv series etc. When my husband gets home he will be in my place there on the couch, I’m sure! And rightly deserved after his time away.

I’m also working on a menu for the week, so I can shop for exactly what I need, and nothing will go to waste anymore. I’m tired of wasting food and buying things and not using them for what I bought them for! I’ll get some suggestions from his lordship as well. One of my ideas is a “something new night” where I take a recipe from one of my many awesome cookbooks and make that – something completely new. If it works and we like it, it can be added to the menu rotation. I’ve got enough meals for 2 weeks, including the “something new” night.

 

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