Friday, April 26, 2013

A New Start...

I've done it. I've moved.

I am tired of fighting with Blogger's layout bugs and so on so I have moved to Wordpress.
You can now find me at...

I will continue to blog as I always have here, all about Thelma and Louise, and puppy raising, and my feline masters.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Many Dogs Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?
Border Collie: Just one. And then I’ll replace any wiring that’s not up to code.
Dachshund: You know I can’t reach that stupid lamp!
Rottweiler: Make me.
Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.
Lab: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!
German Shepherd: I’ll change it as soon as I’ve led these people from the dark, checked to make sure I haven’t missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no-one has tried to take advantage of the situation.
Jack Russell Terrier: I’ll just pop it in while I’m bouncing off the walls and furniture.
Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I’m sorry, but I don’t  see a light bulb.
Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.
Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or “We don’t need no stinking light bulb.”
Greyhound: It isn’t moving. Who cares?
Australian Shepherd: First, I’ll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...
Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie’s ear and he’ll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.
How many cats does it take to change a light bulb?
Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. The real question is: How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?

All of which proves, once again, that while dogs have masters… cats have staff!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our #RiddickPup Is One Year Old!!

Thats right, today is Riddick's first birthday!
Just a few short months ago he was a little tiny pickle pup and now he's a beautiful big boy!
Very shortly, Riddick's "A" litter siblings- Aristotle, Anushka, Askii, Abby and Apollo- will be returning to SA Guide-dogs to commence their formal training, and I can't believe how quickly time has passed! Our boy, of course, won't be going back to SAGA, and I know how hard it is to part with a dog you have come to love.
Riddick had an eventful birthday weekend, and by Sunday night he was exhausted!
The long Easter weekend was spent at home and at my parents house - Saturday was my nephew's birthday party and Sunday was Easter, so we visited there with the family, taking Riddick and Kenzo along.
Kenzo is a guide-dog-in-training who was donated to SAGA as an adult dog, so he didn't get a puppy upbringing like SAGA's own pups do. This meant of course that Riddick had a playmate his own size for a whole four days!
They had a ball!

Monday, March 25, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Fifty One Weeks Old

According to my measurements on the kitchen wall, Riddick is a couple of millimetres short of 60cm tall, and he weighs 30.5kg.
We had a fairly quiet week as I was very busy, and this week coming will be the same although Easter weekend will be a nice break for us all.
Unfortunately we didn't get to the dog park on Sunday afternoon as I didn't have the petrol to ride around. :(
Riddick enjoying the sunshine on the stoep

Magic and Riddick, juuuust barely sharing the couch...

Monday, March 18, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Fifty Weeks Old

Here are some purely gratuitous photos of my beautiful puppy snuggled on the couch with me!

On Saturday afternoon we took Riddick with us to a puppy walker social at SAGA, and there were probably 20 dogs there! It was a really cool get together, but none of Riddicks' siblings were in attendance. I realised that his siblings will be going back to SAGA for their formal guide-dog training in the next couple of weeks! Its amazing how time flies and we are really lucky to be able to keep our sweet boy with us.
Riddick was very good at the social, where all the dogs stay on-lead and aren't allowed free play, with so many dogs its simply chaos to let them run free.

After the social, we went back to the off-lead park we've been going to so he could have a bit of a run around. The park was quite empty when we arrived and Riddick had fun chasing his ball and sniffing around. It got busy quite fast but as we have done a lot of socialisation with Riddick he greets other dogs politely, and he is happy to avoid dogs who come across as aggressive. He is also happy to just play with his ball and watch the other dogs go by.
Unlike a lot of the dogs in the park, he doesn't "swim" in the big water trough - he's more than a little leery of water - but he LOVED the cold sloppy mud around the trough!
By Saturday evening he was good and worn out!

On Sunday we visited my parents for my mom's birthday, and Riddick went along. He and my mom's dog Toppy play quite well together and I love taking "my baby" with me if I can.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our Feline Furbabies

Magic chooses some odd places to sleep...
Here he is on the arm of the couch, resting his front paws on the wooden stool!
And here he is in the bookshelf - one of his favourite, favourite places to sleep.
A basin full of Minx!
And Minx lying on my sunhat on the back of the couch.
Greebo... Only Greebo... Notoriously camera shy, I can usually only photograph him when he's asleep. Here he is on the couch backrest cushion with his head hanging down between his front paws!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Forty Nine Weeks Old

Sheesh... I can't believe our little "Pickle" is almost a year old already!
crazy puppy has a thing for my lawn... 
Greebo fetches socks from my son's room and then Riddick eats them! Conspiracy...?

This weekend Riddick worked very hard. He attended his first event for SA Guide-dogs as a "PR dog" and he did better than I expected. He wasn't nearly as vocal as I thought he was going to be and that was a big relief.
SAGA had a stand at the Hobby-X show at the Coca Cola Dome selling raffle tickets for their annual car giveaway, and Riddick went along to draw the crowds with his cuteness! SAGA always has puppies-in-training and working guide-dogs and service dogs at their show and expo stands so that the general public can meet the gorgeous puppy dogs and have a cuddle. As Riddick was wearing a blue puppy-in-training jacket, we were explaining to people that he's not actually going to be a guide-dog because he's partly blind himself. People were quite taken by him so I am thinking that as SAGA doesn't have jackets for their PR or career changed pooches like the brood bitches or the pups that didn't make the programme, I should ask SAGA if I can make a special "PR Pooch" jacket for Riddick and some of the other dogs to wear... Perhaps in a purple or green material, so its different to the blue puppy-in-training jacket, and the red service dog jackets.
What do you think?
Riddick was very well behaved and we were very proud of him! He was a little mouthy with some of the people who said hello, and when there were people crowding the other puppies he got to barking to call them over to give him some attention too, but he was really well behaved and polite! Even walking around the show with him was cool.
One thing that caught me off-balance - literally - was when we headed outside the Dome for busies. I've never trained Riddick to walk down a flight of stairs when he's on lead, and I nearly went flying!!

mommy's handbag makes the best pillow

His weight hasn't changed, still just over 30kg, and he's still eating 200g of Nutriphase Adult twice a day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

#SAGApupVolt Is Sixteen Months Old

Volt has been in guide-dog training for a little over four months (19 weeks) and on Friday we saw Volt's trainer at SAGA's College of Orientation and Mobility Cansa Shavathon.
She says he is doing incredibly well!
She is using a "gentle leader" on him to stop him pulling on the lead, she says she's never had to do so many "return to heel" commands with a dog before, and she says she has built  serious biceps and triceps with him - but he is such a pro!
He is VERY clever, he is confident and he takes initiative, and she is even allowing him to use his love of retrieving and carrying (even though its not officially part of his training) by letting him pick up and carry dropped items.
He did his first walk with his trainer being blindfolded, and it was a perfect trial with him guiding her around all the obstacles!
We are so proud of him!
He is still super energetic and he is very strong, but he is happy and he is LOVING his training. They have a partner in mind for him and hopefully he will graduate somewhere around April.
I can't wait to see my beautiful boy again!

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Our #RiddickPup Is Eleven Months Old!

This afternoon we took Riddick to an off-lead dog park.
I have been a little nervous to take him because we battled with Volt's recall, and when we took Volt to a park he'd take off after the other dogs and it would be a mission to get him back...! That said, I was a nervous first-time-puppy-mom with Volt, and I was terrified I'd lose him! His dog distraction (his love of other dogs and wanting to play) was a real problem though, so my fears were realistic to a degree...
But my confidence is way up with Riddick! Having seen how well behaved he was when he was off-lead at SAGA and seeing how he listens when I call his name we decided to chance it.
It was fantastic! It was exactly the way I had always hoped a dog park experience with my own dog would be! He is respectful of other dogs though he seems a little wary of playing with them. He's well behaved around the people too and doesn't jump up on anyone. He doesn't chase the balls thrown for other dogs, though he loves his own one and happily chased it down many times over - even with a Collie cross trying to catch it too. He didn't get into the big water trough for a swim as he's never been mad about water, but he drank lots of water and we did two circuits of the park with him running and investigating behind and ahead of us but returning to us when called or just to make sure we stayed close. At one point we were sitting on a bench under a tree and he stayed sitting right there with us!
It was glorious! We will definitely be going back more often.

On Friday SAGA's College of Mobility had a Cansa Shavathon and we went along, taking Riddick with us.
He was very well behaved and showed respect to the older dogs whilst being playful with puppy Jenna, and he greeted the people happily without jumping up. We played ball on SAGA's lovely expanse of lawn and he showed off his recall, his Doggles, and his fast-improving benching behaviour. 
We were very proud of him.
My husband shaved his head after making his R50 donation to Cansa, and I ran around taking photographs, I donated my R50 too but I didn't shave or spray my hair.
I got to visit briefly with the 'K' litter puppies who will be going home to their puppy walkers this coming week, and we were told that we may be able to get an 'L' litter puppy to raise towards the end of April!! So exciting!! SAGA's brood bitch Jelly is pregnant, so depending on how many pups there are we should be getting one soon (her last litter had 9 pups). We're thinking up a list of names for boys and girls starting with 'L' so if you have any suggestions let me know.
And we saw Volt's trainer, who says he is doing incredibly well! He did his first walk with his trainer blindfolded, and it was a perfect trial with him guiding her perfectly around all obstacles! We are so proud of him!

This week past we made great progress with Riddick's nervousness of passing cars after his accident a while ago. He hardly batted an eyelid although the bigger cars and vans still made him slightly wary. I am very relieved that he's gotten better so quickly! Our walks will soon be back to normal again.

On Saturday Riddick found an apple next to my bed. I know it smelled interesting because it immediately caught his attention, but I think he thought it was a ball... He chewed on it for ages before it fell off the balcony and he forgot about it.

I had a giggle this week, we were watching Spaceballs on TV and towards the beginning there's a scene where "Dark Helmet" walks onto the scene. Riddick barked and ran at the screen as though the character was walking into the living room! He didn't like it at all! It was so funny! I rewound the movie and played the scene again but the second time he just looked at the screen and walked away.

Some gratuitous puppy cuteness... 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Forty Seven Weeks Old

Today he weighed 30.4kg on the vet's scale (300g up on last week) and the vet's receptionist comments on his progress every time we visit! He's done so much growing up in the last few months! When we arrive at the vet he waits until I say he can get out of the car (on lead), and then we go to the lawn for busies before heading in the door. He now heads straight for the vet's scale and then sits - after sniffing it thoroughly and with a treat for encouragement - and waits until I have a steady weight for him before heading home.

The reason I started "handling" with Riddick the same way I did with guide-dog puppy Volt is to pick up physical problems early. Handling means you can examine your dog- top to tail- in a relaxed state. And because of our handling sessions I have discovered that one of Riddick's top front teeth is a little off-colour... its not loose and its not hurting him, and I don't know if he's bumped it or something, but now I know to keep an eye on it for deterioration.

On Friday evening we took Riddick for his first walk in the street since his accident two weeks ago.
We've been taking short walks inside our complex- like we did when he was a puppy- so that I could make sure he was completely healed before attempting a regular walk, and on this evening in the street he was very definitely freaked out by cars going past us. There are cars inside our complex of course, but they don't move around a lot... We approached his hesitance by cutting our walk short, calling him to me and distracting him with a treat whenever a car was approaching, and doing short obedience exercises ("sit" "wait") away from the road when a car was passing.
What also helped, quite by accident, was a group of young guys walking up the street and Riddick being distracted by their lumo-yellow football as they kicked it around between them.
By the time we got home he was already coping better, but we will be approaching it slowly over the next few days.

I took the empty chlorine dispenser out of the pool and before I could toss it out Riddick made it his new toy!
One odd thing we've noticed is that up to a point, about a third of the distance in our daily journey to drop off my husband and son for work, Riddick is calm and practically asleep on the back seat. But we turn a corner - a left turn to be exact - onto a different stretch of road, and suddenly he's up and whining and yawning and  he just won't calm down! I don't know if its noisier or what, but he really doesn't like that part of our trip!

He still has a rather unhealthy taste for socks... And other underwear if he can get hold of them! He loves chewing on anything, but socks are a favourite. The problem is not holy socks- that I could probably live with- the problem is that he swallows them as he chews them! That means he either throws up at around 3AM, or they come out of his other end... We watch him like a hawk but he still manages to get hold of socks every now and then. I am very worried a sock is going to get stuck and tangle up his insides!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thelma And Louise News

We saw a dog on TV that looks just like Thelma and Louise! Its a Hungarian Mudi!
Thelma and Louise don't have the medium length, slightly wavy coat, and they certainly don't have the high-energy behaviour of these specially bred working dogs, but they do have the lovely affable personalities, the build, and the size! I wonder if there isn't a little Mudi in the girls' bloodline somewhere...?
Hungarian Mudi
Some sad news is that Louise had another epileptic seizure last Friday.
While she's seizing she's quiet- panting hard and foaming at the mouth- but quiet. As she starts coming out of it though, she does this yelping scream that gets the entire neighbourhood's dogs barking! Immediately after a fit she's exhausted and thirsty and immediately wants to go "busy", but she's also not all there. She's wobbly and walking around but she's not really seeing where she's going. Twice before she's fallen in the pool, just walked in as if she didn't even see it. She also doesn't seem to recognise or hear me or the other dogs for a while.
The lights are on but nobody's home.
She is on medication for her epilepsy, but she's now on the second highest dose I can give her and I am very worried about the future... With her diagnosis, a seizure every three months or so is "normal".
Below I have put in a video of a dog seizing like Louise does.

PLEASE don't watch it if things like this really upset you. 
It is distressing if you haven't seen it before.

I have uploaded it here purely for educational purposes as I have never filmed Louise's fits.
You'll see and hear in this video how he talks calmly to his dog and touches him gently, I do the same with Louise but some dogs actually get aggressive during or immediately after a fit. Louise even snapped at me once! You'll also see how long it takes the dog to get up after his fit, Louise is the same.

Monday, February 18, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Forty Six Weeks Old

I measured his height today and he's 59cm tall at the shoulder! He hasn't gained much weight the last few weeks (he weighs 30.1kg, the same as last week) but he's certainly grown taller.
I had a busy work week so I didn't get very many pictures of my puppy dog.
This had me giggling though! I got up to go to the loo and when I got back Riddick had taken my spot on the bed!
And this is a picture of Riddick crashed on the couch with me! I had a snooze on Monday afternoon and he joined me! He still snores!
He seems to have suffered no ill effects of his close shave, although a brief ball game did have him limping a little again, so we're taking it easy on the walking and playing until I am 100% sure his paw pad is healed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

#RiddickPup Is Forty Five Weeks Old

He is still eating 210g of Nutriphase Adult and he weighed 30.1kg on the vet's scale.
Our puppy sleeps on our bed with us at night, though he's not there all night as he gets hot and he gets kicked, but he does sleep on our bed. He does stick to the foot of the bed too so he's not a nuisance. And if I have a chance to take a nap in the day he naps with me, usually curled up on my husband's spot!
I love my little shadow to death, and this week past we had a dreadful scare! Thursday was one of those mornings that are a disaster all round! We were running late, I forgot to lock the house properly, I left Thelma and Louise inside the house, and I did NOT put on Riddick's Roadie when we got in the car. My son shares the back seat with Riddick on our morning drive, and on Thursday he was hot and irritable as we were stuck in traffic and Riddick sheds something awful. So he opened the back windows. Had Riddick been wearing his Roadie this would not have been a problem, but in this case he shot out of the window and into oncoming traffic!!!
I have NEVER been so grateful to be standing still in traffic as I was that morning!! Riddick caught a glancing blow on his right shoulder from a passing taxi - also moving fairly slowly, thank heavens - and ran off onto the side of the road I had pulled up onto! Had it not been for my hubby telling me to pull over, I would have left the car running in the middle of the road to catch my half-blind puppy!!!
My husband and son caught him fairly easily, he was wearing his collar and leash, and we set off for the vet.
Our silly Riddicklepickle is okay thank heavens – he limped for the day, the pad under his dewclaw is torn and his foot was a little swollen but the vet didn’t suspect anything was broken. The pad will heal on its own so its not stitched or anything, and he got a shot for pain. We have some anti-inflammatory tablets for him for a few days and if the limp or the swelling gets worse I have to take him back to the vet.
Needless to say I will not be leaving his Roadie at home again.
He is fine though! He's not limping, his foot isn't swollen and he's completely his normal self! I am SO relieved!
my baby's got some big feet!
On Sunday morning we had a bit of a ball game in the garden as he loves to do, but he made the tear on his paw pad bleed again so we won't be playing ball for a few more days.
in this picture, Riddick is NOT disturbing Magic and Minx's game
"...are you taking my picture again...? I'm trying to sleep here..."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cat Quotes

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” 

― Christopher HitchensThe Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our #RiddickPup Is Ten Months Old!

He's a full ten months old and I sometimes can't get over how grown up he's become!
He is a teenager, but he's more confident and much quieter in the car and on trips to the vet. When I let him out the back door he waits to see if I'm coming too, and if I don't he races off to go and get up to mischief on his own. He's happy to chill out on his own in the garden, and when he wants to come back inside he has a special single bark to let me know he's there. He loves pulling the stuffing out of Thelma and Louise's night-time cushions so I have to make sure they're kept away from him in the day. And if I have a chance to take a nap during the day, he naps on the bed with me!
He has never liked me trying to force his half-check collar over his head for us to go for a walk or get in the car, so for several months we've been working on making him do it himself using treats - I hold the collar loop open and tell him to put his head in. He's now started doing it without a treat reward! Its so cute! I'm going to try and get it on video so you can see what he does.
And I love watching him interact with his "daddy". They have their own games that that play - they roughhouse with each other which I won't do, and when Neels does the 11pm shift to lock the house and do last "busies" with the dogs he and Riddick have their own "language" that they communicate in. Its so sweet.
On Saturday we spent the better part of the evening with my family at my parents' house, and we hitched a ride there with my sister. Riddick sat in the front foot well and didn't make a sound the whole trip! I was so proud of how he behaved all day - he was as good as gold and he had LOTS of children to play with! He was absolutely exhausted by the time we drove home and even fell asleep squished in the foot well!
He weighed 30.2kg at the vet (a small gain of 200g) so the 210g of Nutriphase Adult is perfectly sufficient. I think he's pretty much stopped growing in terms of weight gain, but I suspect he may get a wee bit taller... I am going to measure his height in two weeks time so we'll see.