Tag Archives: snow

A mental raccoon moment

*rustle rustle*

Hello :)

I realised I haven’t posted in a while and I wanted to gather myself a bit and put down my thoughts from the last few weeks.

 

* Azzie is coming along very nicely. We seem to have sorted out her tummy issues with careful application of 100% pure pumpkin for when it was very bad (yes, I will swear by it) and boiled chicken and plain rice (white or brown, it doesn’t matter – they both work) – first as total meal, and then adding her dry food very slowly. Now she is eating her full portion of dry food, but still with chicken and rice (just a little bit) which I am slowly removing, once we know her stomach is completely settled and stable.  I think they both got a bug, which they passed back and forth between them for a few days. So I washed all their toys, bowls, Kongs and bedding and blankets and it seems to have gone away… We’re taking it slow, and we’re sticking to one brand of food, too. I don’t think our search for the “right brand” helped her puppy tummy, either.

As far as her training, manners, behaviour are concerned: we are impressed. She sleeps through the night, no issues and she is learning very fast. They are highly intelligent, these dogs, and she’s definitely on a par with Gina, despite her young age. We’re working on a few bad habits (that she picked up from Gina as well) with both of them, but we see progress every day, so it’s a positive thing. I’m trying my best to use positive training – but I would say I use a mix of it. I’m not 100% positive reinforcement, as much as I would like to be.

I adore Azzie, and I am learning to love her (I will admit we butted heads a lot in the beginning and we still do sometimes – she’s very stubborn) but I must say that it was much simpler with just Gina. She and I were tight. Close. Amigos during the day and when husband went away. I just hope she doesn’t feel like she’s been usurped by Azzie, because I still love Gina far more – that’s being honest. I don’t dislike Azzie – not in the least – and I wouldn’t want to lose her now – she is part of our family and we stick by her through everything –  but I think that it was such a huge undertaking, such an enormous jolt to our quiet little lives, when she arrived, that my … id? my ego? my… nature?… something… it’s still settling. She’s only been with us just on 2 months now. It feels like forever though – and not always in a good way, to put it bluntly. I was so used to my calm, gentle, well-behaved G-Girl, that it was just an attack on my senses: this wild, stubborn, enormous pawed, white toothed monster who took whatever she wanted, ate everything, lay where she wanted, didn’t listen to anyone, pushed Gina around and jealously destroyed toys that Gina had had for years if we paid too much attention elsewhere. At least _that_ has eased off.

She is lovely though, and her personality is finally emerging and she’s calming down and settling in with us and I know she is happy now she has a family too – and I would never take that away from her. I would never want to! She grows on you :) I am sure that in a years time we will look back and laugh (and sigh in relief) that all this “crazy” is over and she’s a sweet, kind,  gentle, CALM, little munchkin – like her big “sister” Gina.

* More snow! We’ve had a few days of snow now, and apparently a few more to come… which is awesome, as I love the snow and so do my dogs! Husband is not so keen, but he knows the dogs love it, so he grumbles less when he takes them out and they play around like hooligans in it :) You can’t help but pick up on their enthusiasm for the weather… it makes you smile.

* My sewing should pick up again as soon as my sewing paper arrives – tracing paper for patterns. I tried wax paper and it worked, for one brand, but every other brand I tried is too slippery to write on, so I had to give that up and just buy proper stuff online.

My material for my pencil/wiggle skirt arrived, so I can’t wait to start on that either.. that should (SHOULD – without puppy interruptions, of course) be a one day thing, maybe two. I just really want to COMPLETE something now… I’m tired of sitting here in seamstress limbo…

Starting with this one Just need some snaps

 

* I was asked to take photos at another military ceremony (a promotion for an awesome man and great officer) recently and I was honoured to be asked. Photos came out well, despite my Speedlight giving me issues. I know that I have grown as a photographer, when something like that doesn’t phase me and I still manage to get the job done! The Viper Pit has honed my skills, for sure.

* I’m missing home terribly, recently. My friend Steph says it’s probably because everything is settling into a “normal” routine here, and I finally have come down to earth and feel the distance because I am no longer focused on other things (my green card, viper pit, school, moving). I miss my mom. I miss my beautiful dogs back home too, and my gorgeous cats. I even miss my brother.

* My husband is moving forward nicely in his school, and I am exceptionally proud of him. He’s almost completed his Maths module and has seemingly discovered a strange love/hate relationship with mathematics that he didn’t realise he had. I think I felt the same at one point, when I was in school, but after my head injury my brain is just too scattered sometimes to focus as one should. I’ve managed to keep up with him, so far, and managed to help him figure out some steps a few times… but mostly I just feel a bit pathetic and lost. It’s a horrible feeling for me – I’m not saying I was a genius before, but it’s times like that when I become aware of how much my thought processes have been scrambled from my head injury, and because I have not had to “use” those processes necessary for mathematics and more “logical” thought (which is surprising, for someone who is, generally, very logical and rational) I seem to have “lost” the pathways necessary for it. I’m very sure that with repetition and practice I would get it back, with new pathways formed in my brain, but I am a little scared that if I try, and it doesn’t come back… I am scared of how I would feel. I would feel humiliated. I would feel “less’ than I was before. I think I avoid “trying” so that I can’t disappoint myself.

That’s being pretty honest with myself. I didn’t think I could put that down in writing. There it is.

I need a cup of tea and a headache tablet.

 

Stay strong, TBI sufferers. There’s always hope, and we have more strength than we know.

 

End of the world? Just as we know it?

Woke up this morning and had REM’s song “It’s the end of the world as we know it” running through my mind :)

21st December 2012. (21.12.2012 in normal usage… 12.21.2012 for the Americans)

I’m hoping the “end of the world” just means an end to the bad and a start of a new age – enlightenment sounds so cliche and hippy, but I mean it in the best possible way. A new age of reason, logic, peace… maybe?

Azzie is coming along nicely – a few accidents along the way (like today… but we will not speak of it)  – and we even left her and Gina alone for 4 hours yesterday afternoon (it was after lunch for them too!) and there were no accidents, or silliness when we got home!

We were so proud!

She also sleeps all through the night now – from bed time to wake up time… sometimes she gets us up a little early, but 45 minutes maybe… nothing major. We get up anyway!

She’s also behaving a lot better on her leash (on harness or collar) and responding very well to commands (especially “come” and “sit”) and she even learned “down” and does it easily, as long as you have a treat in your hand :)

The snow melted unfortunately, but it came down briefly yesterday and we had a nice covering for the dogs to play in :)

We’ve had rain mostly, for the last week or so… and more to come, I believe.

So things are moving along… I am hoping to get back to my sewing as well, now that I know I can trust her alone for a little while.

Need to make some space on the dining room table! See if I can move my laptop over a bit perhaps.

I’ll work it out.

 

 

 

Upon reflection…

Another much better night with Azzie after my husband and I made some compromises with her – I came to some conclusions about myself and about the dogs, and about life in general. Very deep, I know – but it happens sometimes.

She slept 4 hours, did her business outside quickly, and then slept another 5 hours right up until the time my husband and I normally wake up – I set no alarms, but let her wake me when she needed to go out. I was so proud of her! I managed to get at least 6, maybe 7 hours of sleep this way, as opposed to 3 or 4. It caused a marked improvement in my attitude and mental state, let me tell you.

She also vomited up the (entire) soft cloth chew toy that she guzzled down 2 days ago, early this morning. I so relieved that it came out in tact, and that it had not caused any damage to her insides.

She grows daily – she is now too large to sleep in her crate and that’s another reason we came to a compromise: she gets her “in your bed” treat ball, and she happily goes into her crate turns around and sits for it. She eats it in the crate, but then is free to come out and sleep where she wants in the bedroom. Surprisingly, this is not always ON the bed, as I assumed it would be. She likes to be able to stretch out, and to find different areas of the room to stay cool. Berners run very warm most of the time (summer is a nightmare for these poor pups) so she spends a lot of her time (And Gina as well) laying on her back with her legs in the air, on the cold tiles. She gets up on the bed only after I’ve taken her down for her loo break (around 0130) and demands cuddles… then gets off and goes and plops down (The Berner Flop) somewhere to get cool again.

I also noticed (this morning) a wonderful improvement in her eating habits – she no longer hoovers the food down, but actually chews each piece and slowly investigates her food toy to make sure she gets all the yummy stuff out. She even LEFT some kibble in her bowl this morning!

She is also taking her treats so much more gently! No longer biting your fingers or shoving your hand halfway down her throat.

There has been a breakthrough in her attitude, as well as mine, I think.

I hope it continues – I will be disappointed, but not surprised, if she has a few relapses. She’s just pup – but she’s definitely starting to show the gentle Berner nature now, in between stubborn fits, of course :)

Gina is playing more with her as well. They sleep next to each other sometimes, in the passageway and on the one bed that I put down in the lounge (there is another bed, but Azzie wants to be close to Gina if at all possible – I think this is why the compromise has worked: She feels like part of the family, finally.)

They are BOTH enjoying the snow so much it’s ludicrous! Azzie does head first plowing and flops over and rolls around in it at every opportunity – especially soft powder snow! Gina eats the icy bits and loves to catch the snow if you throw it in the air for her. She is loving the cooler weather as well. These dogs were born for this, and it shows!

 

Clean slate, fresh start.

Due to some technical issues, I have unfortunately kinda “lost” my old posts and media.

My techno-whiz friend Vanessa (of The Vanessa Macleod Creative Agency ) has done what she can to save my archives (all the way back to 2006!) and they will be available as she gets the chance to import them.

But for now…

It begins again, from here.

 

So this is my first “proper” post on my new host.

A small update, I suppose, as I try and remember what I last posted about and what has happened since then!

First things first – just over a week ago (Saturday 24 November 2012) my husband and I made the decision to adopt/rescue another Bernese Mountain Dog. She was being moved from foster to foster and was already 7 months old and we wanted to give her a good home.

Her name is Azerenka Victoria – we call her Azzie.

She is a gorgeous girl with enormous paws (larger than a Great Dane’s, actually) and lots of puppy manic energy.

She’s learning fast – very intelligent, like the rest of her breed – but we are in the middle of house training her. Yes, 7 months old and not house trained. She’s from a litter of 11 so she was initially used to fighting for every scrap of food or treat or anything, and she never had her own toys.

She’s come a long way in the week or more that we’ve had  her – no more hoarding of toys, no more snapping at Gina when it came to food, no more panicked hoovering of her food to the point where she can hardly breathe.

She’s calmed down, has learned “sit” and “wait” and “uh uh” and “no” and “good girl” and is happily going in to her crate at night.

She has, quite understandably, quite severe separation issues, but we will work on those once we get her house trained – she’s growing DAILY, literally, and soon she will be too large for her crate, so we need to work on the house training first! Right now my husband are exhausted, as we have to take 2 hour shifts to take her downstairs to pee or poop (or both!)  – slowly extending the time by a few minutes each night. But it’s slow going – we don’t want to have any accidents, so we go backward in our training with her.

Gina has bonded quite well with her – after the initial posturing and figuring out who is in charge – G is starting to stand up for herself (a lot of that confidence is from playing tug of war with my husband – he goes on hands and knees and uses his teeth like a dog) and there is no more tension between them. Sometimes Azzie oversteps a bit, she’s a puppy – but Gina very clearly and quickly puts her back in place, without drama. She’s a gentle soul, our G-Girl, and she’s being every bit the “big sister” – including bad habits! But we’re working on that too.

One thing at a time, and baby steps!

Secondly – SNOW! SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW!!! It’s WONDERFUL!!! Bloody cold at night, when husband and I do our shifts taking Azzie down… but I’m still enjoying it immensely! My only issue is that my snow boots don’t do well with lots of water – they handle snow fine – so I get soaked, cold feet when we walk out in the slush, or in the wet grass. Meh. So I’m going through a lot of socks!

 

Thirdly – due to the new puppy and our tiring schedules with her, husband and I have not been swimming, and I have not been running since we got her :( We can’t leave her on her own yet, as she barks (LOUDLY! She has a HUGE bark) and we don’t want her to be a nuisance. We’ll work on that later. I told husband he needs to go though, on his own. I will give him his training schedule and he must just do it. However, with all the snow and icy weather, the roads (especially the very long, steep hill up to the swimming pool) are pretty dangerous, and Helga sometimes gets so cold she doesn’t want to close her door… Plus, husband is so tired from our up and downs at night that he is just not up for it.

We’re hoping that as we get the time extended between pee breaks, for Azzie, we can start finding a bit more energy for other things!