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.

 

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 πŸ™‚

Here are some photos.

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 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 πŸ™‚

When we got home, I was picking ticks off Azzie’s furΒ  – 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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚

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 offΒ  – 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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” πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜€ 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.

 

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.

Day Six

Another day in the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure πŸ™‚
Last night went well – out of his crate but very well behaved once again!
He DESPERATELY wants to come jump on the bed with the girls – but only really after breakfast… I’m still trying to decide if I should let him up or not, but I think the girls will let me know when he’s allowed up. They’re not ready yet, I don’t think – still a few grumbles from Azzie, and Gina EXPANDS on the bed when Odin comes into the room πŸ™‚ She’s subtle, our Gina bear.

Lovely morning walk this morning. A bit warmer than yesterday, so we took it slowly. Went down to the forest behind the campground, and a wander back along the road.
Dogs were great πŸ™‚ Azzie had a few “ears off” moments, so she had a run around and then went back onto her lead. All went well. All had good tummies too. Very happy.

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