Time for another update

Time for another update

I thought it was well passed time for another update, as things have happened, and changed and other things are still ticking along.

Dogs are doing well – I’ve now taken all of them to St Francis Animal HospitalΒ at one point or another in the last few weeks and I have to say I have been very happy with the service and the people there. Odin had an ongoing issue with his tummy, and I finally gave up on trying to fix it myself (it was a losing battle!) and the vet found he had multiple types of worms (not eradicated by their usual monthly dose of heartworm tablets, which does kill some types, but not these, clearly!) and she said that after moving from lovely cold Washington, she’d found from experience that Georgia is a “cesspool of bugs, parasites and protozoa of all kinds” – her words, not mine. She says that you have to be vigilant and most DEFINITELY keep up the heartworm medication, as they are rife here.

Gina got her Previcox, finally, and she is doing SUPER well on it. She’s full of bounce and energy again and comes with on 99% of the walks. She sometimes decides to stay home if it’s late evening, she’s already been to the loo on the previous walk and most importantly, daddy is home.

Azzie’s hotspot cleared up very nicely and I’m keeping an eye on her for any others that might appear.

With this hot, humid weather (Georgia is rolling out the spring/summer carpet already) there are ticks and fleas, but I’m finding the BravEcto is working very well. I’m the only one who gets bitten, now!

We also clipped down Azzie and Gina a few weeks ago – it was just starting to get SO hot that we couldn’t leave it any longer. All the groomers we tried were booked up, so we just got some good clippers and we did it ourselves. We made a few mess-ups (especially with Azzie, as she WRIGGLES like mad and it’s hard to keep her still enough to work on certain parts of her body!) but it came out looking pretty good and the girls were feeling much lighter and cooler. We didn’t shave them down, just clipped their very long fur down to about an inch or so. Probably more, as we didn’t want to go too close, just yet. We’ll try again in a few weeks, armed with this experience!

 

An update on my school work: I wrote my theory exam 2 weeks ago and I did VERY well. Much better than I thought I would! That was also with minimal “working off page” and I felt pretty proud of myself! Now the theory is done, I’m starting into actual practical work – actual transcription! It’s very exciting, to me. Sometimes the accents and the Americanising…. ZING… of the words gets on my nerves a bit, but it just makes it more of a challenge, and will help me when I step out into the REAL world to begin working. Β I’d really like to work with psychology reports and things, but I don’t think you get much choice. I just want to get working, so I can start earning and contributing.

I also want to get my school work done so I can start responding to all the people who have asked for my help with their dogs! A few evening ago, while walking the chickens, a lady came up to me and starting talking to me about the dogs, her dogs, my dogs, etc, and asked what my website was for my training. I explained that i only do it for myself and I’ve done it that way – I don’t have any professional accreditation. I do have a partial degree in animal behaviour, but it’s more aimed toward horses! I didn’t mention that though. But she was determined, this lady, and said that she’s seen me walking my dogs and how wonderfully well behaved (I laughed, but let her carry on) they were and all that, and wanted my help with her dogs. My first question was how much exercise they got and she gave me the usual American answer “Well, they have a back yard to play in, so I don’t walk them.” So me, being the polite person I am, simply said “Well, that’s a start.” And she took my name said she would look me up on Facebook. I won’t hold my breath, but I will certainly go walking that way again when I am done with school, and see if she still wants my help. I will have time then, and her dogs don’t suffer in the heat like mine do, so I will have during the day to work on them, after walking mine.

Our Bird Bar, as we call it, is in full swing. We’re getting all sorts of new kinds of birds every day, including a hummingbird!! We bought a feeder for them, and I made some “nectar” syrup from scratch. No colourants etc. We had a couple of them coming by quite often for a few days, but then the HUGE ants found the feeder and I keep having to clean it out because they keep DROWNING in it! And I’m sure the hummingbirds don’t want to drink dead ants. Very annoying! I’ve tried moving the feeder further along the branch, but they keep finding it!

There’s also a family of SIX squirrels who come down to the yard from the tree in the front. I call one of them Blinky, as she initially had a very closed up, swollen eye and I thought she might lose it. But she’s bounced back and it’s just a little bit odd looking now and her little ear is a bit wonky, but that’s it. She’s still recognisable though.

I’ve seen loads more fauna around here (foxes, deer, and even a RABBIT the other morning!) and I am slowly starting to recognise local plants and trees. I still have to work out what kind of tree we have in the back yard here, and clarify what the huge one in the front is too. When I finish my school, I will start with the proper Herbology and crafting of salves and lotions and potions and tinctures. I just don’t have the time right now to focus too heavily on that side of my life. I am looking forward to it though!

My good friend from South Africa – an amazing photographer – has launched a project called Running With Dogs and even though I am far away, he wanted to include me in it! I was thrilled, and honoured, and SO flattered! I’m the only guest photographer, as far as I know. I sent him quite a few photos, after a lovely shoot with my husband and our pooches in the forest. He selected his favourites and he will include one of them in the calendar! I’m so excited!

What else? Oh, I made some peach crumble from scratch (Except for the peaches – they had no fresh ones at the commissary when we went, unfortunately) and bread too. I’ve made my chocolate cake a few times as well now. I’m trying to get out of my lazy rut and get my baking skills in gear, but my brain is usually so tired/burned out from school work that I can barely concentrate for more than 10 minutes sometimes! But I shall persevere! It’s getting easier now, with just the practicum modules, but still mind-intensive.

Our garden is doing WELL! We harvested our first batch of Arugula the other day! It’s so delicious! It just tastes so good, knowing we grew it ourselves! Now just waiting for the other herbs and plants to catch up and give me a harvest. Hopefully it will only be once I’m done with school! I’ve got Sage, Chives, Chamomile, Echinacea, and all sorts of wonderful things coming up! Our garlic is doing nicely too. The mint plants in the front are flourishing! We use them to make Mojitos πŸ˜€ I am trying to find things to make with the Chocolate Mint, as it is spreading all over the place! I might have to replant her into a pot by herself if she keeps this up!

 

Otherwise, we are doing well. Things are settling into a routine and we’re finding our way.

 

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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 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 πŸ™‚

Azzie and Gina went completely berserk with happiness and Odin was beside himself with joy πŸ™‚ 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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Bones!

Since today is Azzie’s birthday I got her a large marrow bone and of course I can’t not give the others, so they got too (not QUITE as big of course! :D)
I think this was Odin’s first ever marrow bone… he was intrigued and fascinated and not quite sure what to do with it at first, but after a few moments of watching Gina and Azzie get into theirs, he quickly got the idea and was soon gnawing and chewing and licking away happily.
He is so blissed out right, after pretty much getting his clean, that he is asleep on top of his.
I rinsed them all off (Gina brings me hers every now and then to clean off to get rid of any dirt or hair that gets stuck to it) and gave them back… but Gina just licked hers a little bit and then rested her head on the floor next to it, and Odin wrapped a paw around his and is relaxing. Azzie is still busy with hers – she’s actually a very delicate eater, even of bones, despite her normally “crazy” demeanour. I think it’s time for a little walk though – but I don’t want to stop her from chewing hers! She’s having so much fun!

It’s still rather warm out there, so I’ll just wait until they are all ready to go out, rather than make Azzie make that choice.

Happy dogs πŸ™‚

Day Seven

No photos from this morning’s walk, as we walked on main post (not allowed to take photos, really, and I was juggling three retractable leads and 2 bags of poop) but it was a good test of Odin’s reaction to cars and people. Wasn’t too busy, as we were there reasonably early – start of day for most people – so the only issues Odin had was with a large 18 wheeler coming by, and a very loud car (big engine sound) and Gina stepped up like a real mama dog and let Odin lean on her (literally) when he was scared and it was all good. I was so proud of all of them. We had a lovely morning walk. It would normally take us 45 minutes, but it took us about an hour with Odin – just taking it easy for him so he wasn’t overexerted. Gina is also a little sore from all their playing yesterday, so we slowed down for her as well.

Last night, another night out of the crate for little man and he was, once again, awesome πŸ™‚ We also went to bed quite early last night, with our last “toilet break” being the one we did all together around 8pm, so it was a longer time as well, before the morning break and he was all good. The girls were also pretty tired from the playing and running around yesterday, so Azzie didn’t even wake me early. I actually woke them this morning πŸ™‚

We’re all settling nicely – another thing that’s finally sorted itself out is traveling in the car: I showed the girls how it would work this morning and they were fine after that. Azzie in first, across to the other side (her side, behind me!) then Odin in the middle (he feels safer there) and Gina on her side next to the passenger side window. Happy dogs. Much better. Odin did lean on Gina for a bit and then moved ACROSS the seat to lean out Azzie’s window… but he got the idea eventually and curled up happily in the middle. Sometimes he turned around and faced toward the back seat, but he was snoozing, not scared, as it was on the way home after the walk.
They also waited very patiently while I dashed into the shop to stock up on treats (with the last of my money! See? They are way more important than I am – I spend my last pennies on them :D) I don’t normally leave the dogs in the car – especially when it starts getting warmer – but I needed to grab the treats rather than make a special trip later. Don’t think Odin’s ready for a long separation time yet: we’ll start with the training for that in short bursts.

Otherwise, Day Seven of the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure and all is good πŸ™‚

what a difference a change makes

Amazing how something as simple as a change of route can solve so many problems.
This time, for our early afternoon walk, instead of going up toward the skate park, we headed down what would normally be our “lunch time walk” and for our lunch time walk earlier, we headed the opposite way.
It all worked out.
Had another LOVELY play around on the grass behind the buildings (this time, lower path area – lots of open space, and Odin STILL came running to me when I called)
with the squeaky ball.
All dogs off lead – had a LOVELY run around πŸ™‚
No poopage. Pretty sure G needed to go, but she distracted herself.. plus.. i threw a spanner in the works because OH NO, we WENT THE WRONG WAY. So she was all thrown off balance and couldn’t bring herself to find a spot to poop. Also – I think she was pretty happy playing with Odin and Azzie πŸ™‚ Which is quite sweet, really.

Morning walk – Day Two

Heading into the teens in temperature (Celsius) out there already, so we took it very slow. We went the same direction as yesterday morning – just so Odin felt a sense of “I know where I’m going” so he felt a bit more confident and it worked because he was FULL of bounce and happiness. They got to the sand wall spot from yesterday and this time he joined in the fun (digging as best he can with a wobbly back end) and he and Gina played a bit of chase and dig and then Azzie got in on it too πŸ™‚

He likes to walk next to Azzie now, as well. And she lets him!

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We then moved over to a pile of gravel where he and Azzie and Gina proceeded to do ZOOMIES (yes, he zoomies too!) all over the gravel and around in circles πŸ™‚ It was AWESOME to see him so happy! And Azzie played a bit with him and Gina as well. It’s a good start, good progress in their relationship. He was also much better with the gate guards – even allowed the young gentleman to pat him for a second, and the female guard got to kneel down and give him a chest rub. He was still wary, and he’s not keen on cars (not unexpected, since he was probably knocked over by one, thus the broken leg and dislocated knee) but generally, a WONDERFUL walk πŸ™‚

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They all pooped – all excellent (well, his was _good_ not excellent, but nothing to worry about) and we took it very slowly again because it was starting to warm up even more on the way back.

Azzie being less of a jerk now too.

We came back, settled in, I fed them (he didn’t eat all his food – which is a good sign that he’s finally realising that there will be more food later and he doesn’t have to gorge every time he eats – which is a HUGE thing for a lifetime stray like him) and now they are all sleeping happily in various spots. He is on Gina’s bed… sprawled out. Gina is, for some reason, asleep BEHIND the couch (no idea why – that’s where she decided to eat her breakfast too) and Azzie is in one of her many favourite spots near the kitchen (a little through-breeze helps her cool down)

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Happy dogs. Happy me.

I MIGHT be a little allergic to him. Since he’s arrived I’ve been sneezing, have burny, itchy eyes and a runny nose. Very unlike me. But I’m sure it’s because he’s got such dry skin and I’ll get over it. Took something for it and I’ll be fine. I do need a nap though. I’m really tired. Haven’t slept very well because I’m always “listening” for any signs that I need to get up for them.

Might have a nap on the couch while they snooze around me.

 

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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚

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and on a lighter note

I’ve discovered a sure fire way to make my dogs happy and relaxed and utterly ZONKED for hours: give them a marrow bone, after a LONG morning walk in the rain and wind and cold!

I waited nearly 5 days after giving them their first marrow bone in years, just to be sure it didn’t affect their tummies adversely. All well! They both have had excellent poopages for the last few days so I’m taking a chance, but I gave them another one today after the long walk through the village this morning. It was pouring with rain, windy (thankfully not like the other day where it nearly blew my beanie off) and pretty damn cold, and we came across some camels, dromedary, donkeys and ponies (and I think there might have been a goat, too) and they behaved like super stars – no barking, no lunging, no silliness. They did want to have a good look, and when we got downwind they sat and had a good smell for a few minutes – but they were brilliant. I said to them that it was like “walking clouds on leads” soft and easy and relaxed, for pretty much 95% of the walk. Just a few silly moments near the end, when Azzie got tired and she started behaving like a pumpkin.

We were all exhausted and soaked to the skin when we got home, but it was a nice long easy walk around the lake, and then through the village.

Instead of feeding them, I gave them their new HUGE marrow bones and they’ve been gnawing on them, and then snoozing, and then gnawing on them again and now they are OUT like lights – and this is the usual time we would be walking again for the second time…

Hopefully, these marrow bones will also go down well and they won’t have any issues. We have only a few days until Odin arrives… and dealing with dogs with unhappy tummies while also trying to introduce a new dog to the pack is NOT something I would be looking forward to πŸ™‚ So let’s hope this is also a positive marrow bone experience πŸ˜€

It’s still pissing down out there, so I’m quite pleased with the nice relaxed, sleeping pooches I have at the moment… I can stay snuggled on the couch with the blanket my mum crocheted for me and a cup of hot chocolate (I’m way below my calorie limit :D) for company.