Steps Forward – An Update

Steps Forward

I felt it was time to have a little update on life in the “milburbs” and things happening.

First off – Odin has made some remarkable progress with meeting new dogs and making friends. Besides our friend Max, who is his absolute BEST BUDDY EVER, he has now made friends with some other dogs – including some WHITE dogs (which he had issue with before) and some very excitable dogs (which he also had issue with before) and while we are still careful with the meet-and-greet process (Even at the dog park) he has made some really awesome steps forward in his behaviour. Dealing with dogs on our walks has also become more manageable (not totally great yet, but getting there) now that he’s got Max in his life, and we often meet them and walk with them (walk bonding is the best way to get dogs to calm and become friends) on long walks and he used to get silly about seeing a dog in the distance, now he wiggles his butt and barks (but that’s also the influence of Azzie and Gina, who bark even when they know the dog as well!) and when he knows it’s Max he is SO HAPPY he leaps about and wiggles and smiles and pokes all his friends with his nose.

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My husband got to see how far he had come (because he’s not there for the day-to-day work that I do with them) on 2 occasions now – once at the beach when he met a couple of VERY energetic and noisy dogs for the first time (a friend of his from work brought her two) and again at the dog park (when he met another dog for the first time, who belonged to a friend of my husband’s)

The dogs had an absolute BLAST at the beach, as well – their first ever time. They ran and ran and dug in the sand and swam and were utterly exhausted by the end of the morning. They made new friends, and found a new place to be wild and free and happy. It was a magical morning.

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In other, slightly more worrying news.

Ever since we got Gina, she has had a slightly elevated protein level – kidneys/liver were the main culprits. In Germany, one of the reasons the vets suggested she be spayed (She was still intact when we adopted her, age 3) was because the levels climbed and she started having hormonal issues and multiple “heats” in a row and they were scared it would lead to pyometra or something cancerous (Bernese are prone to cancers, unfortunately) so we had that done and while the levels dropped, they were still just SLIGHTLY above average.

We went to various vets in Germany (due to moving, not due to any issues) and each one gave us the same diagnosis and suggested a medication that could help. In the EU it is called “Fortekor 28” and it was very expensive, but we put her on it and it helped a great deal to keep her levels regulated. Still slightly above average, but never dangerous.

Then, upon moving to the USA, the new vets (both military and civilian) said they wouldn’t put her on the medication (which we eventually found had a nice well-priced generic version) until they had done their own tests… so when she had to have blood tests done to check that the Lyme disease (which she had picked up in Germany thanks to the diabolical ticks there) was all cleared out of her system, they indicated higher levels than she had previously, because she had not been on the tablets since we left Germany. The vet (who we settled on) said not to worry and we could wait and see until her annual heartworm tests were done. So, a few months ago when the heartworm tests were done (negative!) they also drew extra to test her levels.. they were quite high (in the 800’s when they SHOULD be under 100 – as that’s where her levels had been before, when I checked on her previous labs from Germany) but unfortunately the vet who we were working with had a family emergency and left the practice where he worked! A few weeks later, we knew we had to bring her in for her “senior” panel (As she is now over 7 years old) and asked them to test again. They did and this time her levels in her liver were dangerously high (over 1000…. ) so tomorrow we go to the vet to get an ultrasound of her liver/kidneys to check for masses.

I am trying to be calm, trying to be positive – hoping they find nothing and we can just put her back on the fortekor (or generic alternative) and it will bring them back down to good levels again.

She’s our First Fur Kid, and to lose her would be devastating on so many levels.

Two Sides

Heading into winter, my favourite season of the year, there are two sides to it and I embrace both equally passionately: The Cold and Dark, and the Warm and Comfy.ย 6583f3cef53ea929e1811bebcaa8c560e387072a63b739b34c1cc3ba6666e50e

I am just as happy to be out in the cold air, in a dark forest, silence thick as the snow, looking for tracks and places where the deer sleep with my dogs around me sniffing the trail and leaping about in the snow, as I am to be in thick, warm socks, snug and warm clothing and a big soft jersey, with a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate, enjoying good music or some tv shows or a movie, with my dogs snoring around my feet.

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Winter, for me, is a time of reflection and silence, and also a time of comfort and care for oneself, two sides as to everything. I become even more of a hermit in the dark months, than I am normally in the summer and spring. This winter will be different, as it doesn’t get very cold here and there is minimal snow (or so it seemed last year when we first got here – but there are mutterings from locals that “this one” could be a harsh one… I won’t hold my breath, but I would be pleasantly surprised) and I will also (once again) have my husband with me for a change.

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Halloween, Samhain, isย the start of MY time of the year, when I truly become “myself”, and I will relish every crisp morning, and cold evening and downpour and icy wind for the next couple of months. I will try and “store” the cold feelings in my head, so I can remember them when I’m sweltering in the Georgia summer yet again.

I still remember every single winter I saw in Germany. Each one was different, and each place we lived was different as well. The forests and fields will stay with me for the rest of my life – there is nothing like Germany in the deep winter, and I clung to the memory of those icy, dark days when our first summer rolled in here in the South. It helped a little bit. A smidgen.

The time has come for warm gloves and hats and scarves and winter boots and good jackets, and I cannot wait for it!

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And one day soon, when our dreams come true (and, oh, they will come true) we will live in Colorado and I’ll get my snow and the dogs will learn to pull a sled and we’ll have a fireplace and a little cabin in the woods.

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Adventures in Americaland: Part One

The beginning of our Adventures in Americaland aka the USA

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! ย 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.

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some photos.

counting down and a lovely morning walk

When you spend so much time on your own, you tend to lose track of the days, dates and holidays.
Apparently today is a holiday. “Good Friday”
Which means everything German is closed and pretty much everything American too.
I was going to go to Ramstein to buy some much needed things for Odin’s arrival, but I then thought about it and realised that because it’s a holiday, it would be very busy and I’m not a crowd person at the best of times. So I will go tomorrow and hope it’s quieter.

Countdown to his arrival…. 4 days…
I’m going to start taking my Rescue Remedy today I think. Just to keep me on an even keel until then and when he arrives. For his sake, my sake and my girls.

On the note of our morning walk – absolutely GORGEOUS morning out there – still nippy enough to need my hat and gloves (at first) but the sun is shining and it’s crisp and lovely.
Dogs were AMAZING! Azzie constantly made EXCELLENT decisions (don’t eat that poop, don’t go racing off after the deer, into the brambles, don’t chase that bird, don’t zoomie into the thick brush, once again don’t eat that crap) and was an utter joy. Gina’s tail remained up, and waggy, the whole walk ๐Ÿ™‚
What an awesome morning for it.
Both dogs pooped – both excellent.
If this keeps up, I might make it a policy to feed them one marrow bone a week.
But we’ll see how this goes first before I make decisions like that ๐Ÿ™‚

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was sitting here and I realised what was different

The time!

Today is the 29th! So now Germany is back on “normal” time – YAY! Seriously. There’s no point to DST anymore. They should scrap it.

I wondered why I felt so unusually rested this morning – I got an extra hour of sleep (thanks to my dogs being so tired after yesterday’s long walk)

Dogs were doing well so I decided (probably ridiculously stupid of me) to give them their marrow bones that they were meant to get on Gina’s birthday back in February – but they were sick, so I held off. They’ve been well for a while now, so I decided to spoil them before Odin arrives, as I only had 2. I was going to wait until Azzie’s birthday mid-April.

Gina LOVES her marrow bones – she sat and stared at Azzie until she was “done” and went to get water and then POUNCED on Azzie’s bone.

I know it will probably affect their tummies, but I just thought it would be nice for them. They’ve not had a marrow bone in YEARS (literally) because they’ve been so sick all the time. But now I have medicine, if it does affect them, and I’ll deal with any issues that might arise, as it was my decision to give them the bones.

Husband called to check in and update me on Odin’s progress. Our “baby boy” (as my husband calls him) is doing very well. He’s a very quiet, gentle and well behaved dog (the vets love him so much he’s actually been allowed to stay there, instead of heading back to the awfully cramped and dirty kennels – for the rest of his time there before he flies – and that’s still being decided as to his destination) and he even takes his tablets without any food or prompting. He’s a very good boy. I think he’s going to be just fine. His stitches come out today as well and my husband says he is much more agile and full of energy – he jumped up onto the stairs instead of my husband having to pick him up all the time.ย  So that’s excellent news! My husband was also told to pick a birthday (he’s a stray, so they can only roughly estimate his age) so my husband picked March 1st. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s between Gina’s and Azzie’s, so it’s perfect.

Whether he comes to us straight away, or goes to the States first – I am looking forward to meeting the little guy.

 

and then it all changes again

I think I’ve waxed on about this point many times in other posts – military life means that you NEVER EVER know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

My husband got news last night that his dream career in the army has COME THROUGH! Finally! The paperwork made it, at last, to the right place and got approved. After YEARS of struggling to get this done – being shut down and blocked by his unit over and over again – he finally jumped through the right hoops and crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s and IT’S HAPPENING! (He just told me now, this morning – there were things going on yesterday that made him wait to tell me as he didn’t want to stress me out more than he felt I already was) But of course now this means EVERYTHING changes. All the plans we were making for our travels back to the States are now, once again, in limbo. Does he leave in a couple of months? When does the school start? Where do we go? Or do we have to wait another few months here in Germany? And is it “we” or is it just him? Will HE go back for training and we stay here? Or do we all go together to the training place (not sure where/which one) and then move again when he is done and gets assigned to his new unit?

Plus we will most likely have a third dog, by that point. Odin will, as far as things are going now, be going to join us. It will be complicated – I will be doing the whole thing on my own, as my husband will still be away. And now this?

Interesting times. It’s all an adventure, right?

 

WoRMS and walks and ribs

Was reading an article about the WoRMS catalog (World Register of Marine Species) (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31851525) on the BBC, and while I am quite happy about their achievement (finally sorting it all and finding out what was duplication and what really is extinct) I was quite sad that the catalog dropped nearly 50%. I personally do not think that that is everything to find in the oceans. There are still so many places they’ve not gone, because at the moment it’s just not feasible (pressure/depth/light/etc) that I think there’s still so much out there still to discover. Humans need to keep exploring.ย  Space. The oceans. We are a curious species.

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We also need to TAKE CARE of what we have already discovered :/ But that’s a whole different rant.

This morning was another awesome walk in the gorgeous German countryside. We walked with our buddy Ciara and her pooches and it was ICY cold to start. We had a rant, a chat, some conversations about things that only _we_ get. Dogs were brilliant – well behaved. I think they enjoyed themselves – the company. Their “mini-pack” of awesome. Sun shining, with a few clouds every now and then, crunchy frosted ground, an ice cold breeze, a good brisk hike.

and now – my weird totally NON-body-dismorphic-disorder moment (I don’t have issues, seriously) this morning: I found that, finally, after this latest (HEALTHY) weight loss… I can feel/see my ribs along the BACK of my body now as well. This might seem like a weird triumph, but when you’ve been “just slightly overweight” for a year or more it’s quite a warm and fuzzy moment. And I can see my vertebrae too, at the top of my spine. It’s not skeletal, it’s just there now, when I stretch or bend. It makes me feel like all the hard work is finally paying off and is becoming “visible” and that makes me feel good. This is how I _used_ to look – when I was fit and thin. I’m not bulimic, anorexic or anything else up that alley – I love food, i have a healthy relationship with it. I’m neither scared of it nor angry with it. It fuels me, fills me and keeps me going. Sure, I sometimes eat too much chocolate and pasta is STILL (and always will be) my food-nemesis, but I’m in control and I will never “give up” food. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Have a nice day!

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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)ย  – 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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