Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ask away

After swimming in the lake this morning( the dogs not myself) it was the perfect opportunity to work on the guys and gals toilet stops.

To wee on command,  as discussed before, is simply invaluable as is a dog drinking when asked.  So armed with six dogs who had played, swam and drank loads of water I stopped off a high footfall area for them to stop for a wee with many distractions.  Most are pretty good now so I can add distractions and difficult circumstances.

I don't walk far otherwise they learn to hold on to their widdle in order to explore further, so standing I encourage then to have a 'wee wee' as I say.  Whilst waiting for Polly to find the perfect spot a lady walked straight up to me and said what many people must think on these occasions.

' So do you just drive around in the van and let them for a wee and that is it?'

Well I was delighted, I love opportunities like this!

So I explained briefly( for me)what they had done this morning( their busy social calendar) introduced her to the guys and gals and explained why I stopped, what I was doing and teaching.   She was really interested and went from being quite sharp to asking more and more( fatal with me haha I really can talk the hind leg of a donkey).

It wasn't long before she started to shift back and forth clearly wanting to say something I might not want to hear so I braced myself.......

'Eeh, I am desperate now all this talk and watching them have a wee I need one myself and I am walking to Chester!'

Haha not what I was expecting however I know exactly how she feels cos whilst toiletting the guys and gals its inevitable you need the loo too but have to wait till our charges are comfortable.

I much prefer forward people who ask outright, especially if they are willing to listen than people who form an opinion without understanding what our dog life entails.

I call it my scenario list:

So this is the,

'Eeeh that Petnanny drives around all day with the dogs in the van and only lets them out for a quick wee' scenario!

I recon I can have fun revealing my scenario list, whatdya think?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Portugal Pooches

My addiction is alive and well!

I have just come back from a week in Portugal.  I find the people lovely to deal with and needless to say the weather was a blessed relief although we certainly can't complain about the weather this year( for us northerners anyway).  However I really struggled.

Where were all the animals?

I looked high and low, in alleyways, down on the beach, ok I even admit to peeking in houses!  Poor Mr Gumps even joined in the where are the animals game, shouting a little too loudly every time he saw a horse.  Most of the horses we saw belonged to the Gypsy's of the area, tethered often in the sun with no water or shade, non looked terribly poor or distressed however.

The dogs that I did spot/ stalk were mostly long backed short little village dogs with bags of personality and a very clear plan of what they were doing and where they were going.  I particularly liked the little black low slung dog with a blue harness and attached to a delightful looking older gentleman who clearly had worked out who walked who on the jaunts together.  If he ever forgot how it worked the little dog( big attitude low slung) simply planted until the gentleman remembered with a sigh.  I couldn't help notice the little conversation between them one of resigned companionship mixed with a little exasperation and of course delight.  They looked a little out of place in the busy area of the Strip in Albuferia!

Another regular was a plump flop eared german shepherd type with a rather unkempt eccentric man who walked like he was late.....He did flummox me when he turned up with two matching plump flop eared germans shepherd types only to go round the corner and come back with only one....

My favourite one of all was a fabulous small podengo lookalike prick eared little person sandy coloured and like all I had seen so far entire...he had very important business to see too and didn't even give me a backward glance despite rehoming him in my mind and seeing how he would look trotting on the back of a horse haha.

The one that will stand out in my mind the most, mainly for the reaction it created was the Italian Greyhound.  Or rather my reaction to the Italian Greyhound.   A lovely slate grey held lovingly in her owners hands she looked woeful as only sighthounds can....made worse by the fact she sported a rather dramatic looking bandage over her broken leg, an all too frequent occurrence in IG's.  Her collar merely enhanced her air of importance and she looked aghast when I approached her.  Well maybe approached her wasn't really how it was.

We, Mr Gumps and I, were sitting comfortably in the shade after enjoying an indulgent tea when Mr Gumps piped up....you'll need to move your chair back if you want to see that tiny whippet.... I jumped up and ran.  Well my rapid disappearance caused what I can only presume was a void as I apparently stopped time....whilst I was saying a delicate hello to this special shimmering beastie everyone in the area and restaurant seemed frozen, mouths agape, forks help poised in the air until I sat back down with Mr Gumps bemused grin showing he had truly gotten used to my randomness.  It was then that I had noticed everyone eyeballing me, their frozen stance soon turning into embarrassed glances and slowly normality returned to the dining area.

A more sedate encounter wasn't really an encounter at all I merely watched from afar envious of their gay giddiness.  Three dock dogs down in the harbour played chase around the upturned boats and soon one triumphant winner outfoxed the other two by hiding under a cover only to scare the living daylights out of his persuer ( I gave up after the fourth try of working out how to spell pursuer hehe).

Did I mention the rare flattop eared cats?

I was delighted to see the cats around the area had been spayed and neutered by someone in the area and most looked happy healthy and full of important cat business.  I often wonder how many people know that feral cats are often rounded up and once spayed they have the top of their left ears ( or is it their right urm) lopped off to signify they have been neutered and often chipped.  Just like my own Button feral barn cat.  Whilst I felt particularly wicked doing it if and when she moves on she won't be subjected to capture and put under anaesthetic just to check if she has been spayed.  I often wonder why white cats are so prevalent in hot countries whilst the obvious reflecting the sunlight theory must be true they are most affected by the affects of the sun namely cancer and I saw one white cat who had lost both ear flaps, one eye and part of his neck to cancer and though not thin you could see he wasn't for this world for too much longer.  That said as I get older I often think of weather a short hard life is more fulfilling for many of the animals out there rather than the so called pampered life our live( the streets are a terribly hard place for most feral animals namely because of peoples attitudes and behaviour toward them).

One thing about going away is coming back to the guys and gals at home and never have I needed to be reminded how much I love my guys however there is something incredibly special about coming home and having two Pods nigh on combusting with excitement and a cat whirling like a spinning top.  Oh and two horses nickering impatiently for you to move the sodding fence cos they are starving!

Oh and I didn't go to the Bullfight EVEN though they don't kill the Bull!  ( all the posters around the area noted ' And we do not kill the Bull!  nope you just torment the living daylights out of him...).

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bring me sunshine!

Somebody is certainly shining down on us all at the moment aren't they.  With wall to wall sunshine( yes I do know it is going to rain tomorrow) and no mud I have to say work has been even more of a delight than normal.

Obviously with sun comes heat.

We have tried many methods to walk our charges in the heat and there really is no substitute for finding the right walk for the conditions.  Usually involving trees and water it is our favourite place to walk anyway so no great hardship.

Then we have travelling in the vans.  Our vans are kitted out with blowers, heaters, showers and ventilation( x2) in the roof we also have a great gadget called a vent lock that come in various sizes that we use to allow airflow.  We have one window in our van at the side and no bulkhead mainly because I don't like the idea of the dogs being in a black box.  We have thermometers and I have been quite shocked at the temperatures in the vehicles.....I had to put a fleece jumper on Flute despite is being just under 28 º outside....it was too cold for him with the air gently flowing through though all the dogs were enjoying a breeze without being cold!  The hottest it has been in our dogs area was 25º which most find comfortable our area was an uncomfortable 30º.

Our routines change completely( something we have been doing  lot of recently which has been a great move with the dogs) with most of our guys going home early ( despite the vans being an appropriate temperature what if something should happen, we wouldn't want to be sitting with our charges in the heat or be held up no matter how well prepared we are).  We always water our guys and gals however in this weather their fluid consumption can quadruple  and you know what that means? Way more weeing.  So we even took advantage of this as a couple of our newer and younger dogs still aren't perfect at weeing on command when we stop.  With the increased intake we stop more frequently at more new places and it is invaluable to have dogs wee when the opportunity arises.  It also means the dogs who are wise to the 'quick wee stop' and hold off so they get long out and about tend to not bother because they are ready for a wee.

Actually I have practised that today...remember the holiday at Thwaite where we took all my lads?  Where Flute lost the ability to toilet because of the coneys?  Well we have been practising taking them to high rabbit areas and asking them to wee.  I have to make sure they have had a good drink or three and nature helps us out!  Tips is becoming a pro again whilst Flute is taking longer.  Longer is fine it is way better than never haha.

I was delighted to hear one of my training dogs was all prepared for his day out with Nanny and he had his sunblock on already, a white boxer you simply can't take risks.

Over the next week or so we are going to be facing the dreaded seeds that can cause mayhem and real damage so I am delighted at least our field is being cut which helps to limit the chances and we can usually aim to pick and choose our walks for this period though we aren't able to eliminate the risk 100%.

The sun also brings out the worst and the best of.....the flesh.  Autumn has certainly made my legs hide away in shame though they did make a brief appearance this week only to remember why I often don't dog walk in shorts, I sported a lovely collection of bramble and nettle brandings!

I hope you have managed to enjoy some of the sun and I hope even more there will be more after the land has had a good drink....I do live in hope.