Today is Mazikeen’s 3rd Birthday. I cannot believe how fast the time has passed since we got her as a little puppy aged just 8 weeks. Since we always spoil our dogs on their birthday, and the others always get present too as they would not understand, off M and I went with the girls to the pet store to spend a fortune, then off for a walk. Both of them had a great day with all the treats and toys and are totally exhausted.
I was talking to the trainer last week regarding the food that I make for the dogs, including the biscuits, and she said that she used to do that but after a few weeks gave it up as she didn’t have time to do it. This I found odd. I prep the veg, usually carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green beans and broccoli and shove it all into the electric pressure cooker, and press steam. That’s it! Not hard or time-consuming at all, it takes all of 5 minutes to prep and the cooker does the rest in 5 minutes. The only thing that takes more time is cooking the meats. I usually make them lambs liver, kidney and hearts, turkey, chicken, pork, but even that does not take much time. I usually just put some olive oil in a large pan, and lightly fry the liver and kidney for about 10 minutes. The liver I cook as it comes, which is usually slices, which breaks up in the pan, but the kidneys are whole, so I slice them before cooking. So about 10 minutes whilst the veg is cooking and cooking. The whole lot get decanted into dishes and popped into the fridge. I timed it today and it took less than 30 minutes, and that is done every two or three days. I also do rice in the pressure cooker all of 3 minutes and that too goes into a container in the fridge. In a week I would spend about an hour to an hour and a half each week to cook everything for them, which in my mind is not that long at all.
The biscuits obviously take longer but when it is raining like today, there is nowhere to go, and so I may as well make a batch for them and put them in an airtight container.
Last week I decided to do the kidneys in their own doggie gravy and added some garlic granules, this went down very well.
One thing I have to keep in mind is that balance is the main thing.
- High-quality protein (meat, seafood, dairy or eggs)
- Fat (meat or oil)
- Carbohydrates (grains or vegetables)
- Calcium (dairy)
- Essential fatty acids (egg yolks or oatmeal)
I also give the dogs boiled eggs and add pure salmon oil to their meals, and of course, they get dog vitamins. All in all, I think they have a healthy intake of food, and I enjoy making them lovely foods.
Colour me pink and call me proud.
Yes, Mazikeen passed her Puppy Foundation exams. I thought, if I am honest, that we would not pass as she can be a little distracted, which is due to her breed being super alert and watching for everything.
I had to prove that I could give both verbal and non-verbal commands, some and that she could understand and follow them. As well as this I had to show I could inspect my dog and check everything with her cooperation throughout.
The first test was recalling her with one word only, and when she got to me to sit and wait for her reward. The second recall was like the last, but this time, littered between her and me were balls, toys, snacks and bowls of food, so lots of distraction. The time came, and with one word she recalled straight back to me ignoring all the distractions that she passed and sat in front of me waiting for her reward. As she did the best recall sets she was given a prize, which was lovely dried fish blocks.
Next up was for her to sit and stay for 10 seconds with only one command, and me to walk away. Obediently she sat, and I walked backwards away from her, all the time keeping eye contact, and mentally telling her to stay. After what seemed like a lifetime of waiting I was allowed to call her, so rather than saying anything, I nodded to her and she ran over and received her reward.
The next test was one of the hardest, which was walking on loose-lead walking. Now, if you are a dog family, you will know that dogs just want to pull and explore quite literally everywhere and be about 30 foot in front of us. Mazikeen, being a springer with boundless energy just wants to be running all the time, and so quite a lot of times will be pulling that much, she will be walking, or hopping should I say, on her back legs as the harness stops her getting any further. The day before Maz and I went off to a quiet field with no distractions to train as I was determined to get her walking with me. The only way I could do this was to drop pieces of smelly treats in front of her so that she walked with me, this worked for a bit, but then a bird would pass or a tree would creak in the wind and off she went back up on two legs (Darwin would have been proud). After 30 minutes solid, she finally seemed to grasp what I wanted her to do. Before we went into the training hall I practised outside too with her for another half hour. Our time came and we had to start at one cone, she had to sit, then we walked at a leisurely pace to a cone at the other end of the hall, she had to sit, then we walked back to the first cone. However, Maz decided that for this she would go deaf at the cones, and just did not want to sit. I got quite frustrated and thought that this was her and me failing. She finally sat, and when we went to walk she seemed to be okay, with the odd moment of wanting to dash off, as there were dogs either side of the hall, and two in particular (brothers) were making that much noise it distracted me, nevermind Maz. The instructor told me to do it again and told the old man and woman to control their dogs. This was our last time. Before we set off, the instructor told us that apart from the distractions some of our loose-lead walking was “beautiful”. We had to shine and do this, this was my nemesis and I wanted us to beat it. GO! She sat, I nodded, we walked, she was focused on me all the way, she sat on command, I nodded, then we returned back to the first cone, and she sat again without needing command. Success!
Finally, I had to do the full dog inspection, and it was done.
So, what now? I hear you ask. Well, I have enrolled us in the intermediate training course, which when we have passed that advanced, then finally agility, and with a bit of luck competitions.
I thought I would share with you the noise the pup makes when she is playing. She reminds us of Cheeta from the Tarzan movies. Usually, she is more vocal which obviously cracks us both up with laughter. Being a gundog she is supposed to be silent, however, I’m glad she has found her voice.
Saturday Mazikeen went to a puppy party. The party only had 6 puppies at it, as the organiser keeps it to that level so it is not too overwhelming for all the dogs there. Mazikeen had a great time, and again gained lots more confidence in doing things and with the other dogs there. It seems a little odd that she is so shy with other dogs, yet at home, she is a beast and chases Harper all over the house, and play fights all the time. Outside though she seems a little anxious about other dogs, but slowly she is gaining her confidence. The lady who runs the classes and the party noted that she was skittish, and is working with me at getting that sorted out.
However, the party was a great learning place for her. There was a balancing board that she was avoiding like the plague, however, after about 10 minutes of using treats she was happy to get on it and balance on it for treats. We then went on to the tunnel, only a small one but it was something she was wary about at the start. There were other things there that she played in like a small ball pool and a pile of cardboard boxes once she discovered treats were hidden in them.
She played with another dog who was a spaniel type, but his coat was sand coloured and quite rough, so not totally sure. He was terrified of everything that moved and things that did not move too. At the end of the party, they all got doggy bags of treats, and Mazikeen left with more confidence that when she walked in.
Alas, we did not make it to the Puppy Training Class yesterday as I was suffering from a migraine, I still have a bit of one today, but it is a dull ache now. It is a shame that we could not go, but I really could not cope with all the barking from some of the other dogs that never seem to stop from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave.
I thought I would share two videos of her having fun.
Mazikeen has recovered from her bout of illness. The vet gave her injections to combat the stomach problems, which turned out to be gastric irritation which had caused thickening of the gut and irritated it. She also had injections of anti-sickness and antibiotics. They examined her and did x-rays to make sure she did not have any foreign objects stuck in her tummy, and thankfully for all that she swallows, nothing was trapped. I picked her up at 4pm and she was really happy to see us, although she was a little dopy due to the anaesthetic, but she soon recovered from that and was running around the house playing with Harper like nothing had happened.
The only thing the vet said to do was to feed her steamed chicken for a day or two as it was easy on the stomach and get her back into eating. Needless to say, chicken is her favourite food, so she gulped it down every time we fed her (little but often).
Today she jumped out of bed early and has been on the go ever since. Her only quiet moment was when she came back from the forest after a long walk and slept on the couch beside me for an hour.
Glad she is all better, but at £160 for that one trip, I would hope that she stays well.
As with every morning, my alarm goes off, and the bedroom lights automatically switch on (the joys of an automated home). At this point, both dogs take this as a cue to jump all over me, but this morning only Harper did. Mazikeen was in a ball curled up next to me. I said hello to the pup and stoked and cuddled her, but she started making noises, nothing new, when she is tired she makes a certain moan/groan noise, but with this, there was a whimper too. I got up and went to let them both out for the toilet, Harper was up for this but the pup did not want to go, so I carried her to the door, still making moans. I thought it may be because she is teething, but when opening the door to the garden she decided that she did not want to move. I carried her out and she came back in. Not her usual behaviour. Back in the house, I got dressed and her moans increased. I put her on the bed and lay next to her rubbing her tummy. I checked her teeth, and although some were pushing their way through her gums she was not reacting, so not that. I felt her tummy and nothing obvious. She cuddled into me and started to fall asleep. But I knew that something was wrong, so at 8am when the Vets opened I called to get her in. Whilst waiting for the next hour to pass she climbed on me and slept in a ball again, yes she is a Daddies girl.
In the Vets office, she was quite vocal about her discomfort. The vet checked her out and said that it could be she had swallowed something that was lodged in her tummy as puppies tend to eat everything they get their mouths around, but I knew this was not the case as we watch her all the time. His other thought was that one part of the cut was extruding to another and cutting off blood supply which would be painful. He decided that she should go to their hospital and be examined under general anaesthetic and give her some x-rays to check everything out. An hour passed and Michael the Vet called to say nothing was trapped that they could see, but it depends on what the item is made from, but he was happy to rule that out together with the other thing he thought it may be, which was good as this could be fatal. The only thing he could find is that her stomach on one side is quite thick and he thinks that this could be the problem as it would cause gastric problems along with inflammation and pain. So panic over, but she will be there for the rest of the afternoon to recover and have some injections to sort the problem out and make her comfortable, and they also want to get her to eat something too, and I will collect her about 5pm.
I hate seeing the dogs sick, especially the pup as she is only four and a half months old, but at least she will be okay. Roll on 5pm so I can go and collect her.
I suggested to M that I wanted to take Mazikeen to Puppy Training classes, not that I cannot train her without them, I have trained many dogs throughout my life and had dogs all of my life, so have no problem there. However, I wanted to train her as befitting to her breed, and that of a gundog. However, one of the places I found that would entertain my request was very militarian, which is not my style. A dog should be able to have fun and not be treated as a machine.
Tonight I found a place not far away that does all kinds of classes including agility. The dogs get certificates and rosettes for completing their courses, and always leave each session with a doggy treat bag. The courses sound fun, so I have booked Mazikeen and me on the next course starting 29th, so two weeks Monday. Looking forward to it, and I know she will have a great time. There will be other dogs there so she can socialise with them. She shies away from other dogs, which is odd as she comes from a large litter, the breeder had other breeds of dogs there too as well as the parents of Mazikeen. She is far from shy in the house with Harper and has always been fine, but the other week we took her to the beach fields and she met another Springer and managed to slip her harness, and a few days after she met what we think was her brother, and shied away again. We think the dog was her brother as he was the same age to the day, and I doubt there would have been another breeder local that had puppies born on the same day, it is feasible, but I somehow I think my instinct that they were related is on the mark.
Roll on 29th.
Tuesday’s Child… Busy week again this week. On Tuesday I had to go to the hospital again for my heart scan. So for all those who think I do not have a heart, it turns out I do have one. The lady who did the scan said that recorded the extra and missed beats, and that the speed of it is at the upper level of fast and she would add all that to her report for my cardiologist. I am there again on Monday to get another 24-hour monitor fitted, then again on Tuesday to have it removed and downloaded. One thing I like about this hospital is it is efficient and all the appointments are on time every time and the fact that it is a specialist hospital dealing with hearts and chest only. Unless there is a major problem, I do not think I will know much this year.
Road to Your Soul… Wednesday I went out with my friend E. I first met her when I started working for her when I was in my mid 20’s, now in my late 40’s we are still friends and have a great laugh with each other. We went to one of our favourite restaurants which is situated about 6 miles away. We started with large Tanqueray gins. Starters ordered, and we moved on to a rather fine Italian Rioja, which was delicious, especially with the queen scallops and black pudding stuffed pigs cheeks. Main courses, E had a Christmas Turkey roast dinner as she will be in Mexico for Christmas, so will not have a traditional dinner. I had tender liver in a red wine sauce with creamed potato and carrot and turnip. Another gin at this point arrived as we had finished the wine. Desert for me was cinder toffee Eton mess which needless to say was amazing, E had coconut rum and raisin, not my idea of a desert but she enjoyed it. Next was a couple of amarettos and a cheese board, followed by more amaretto. We paid the bill and moved to the bar, and E started messing about with the reindeers on display, madness ensued and we had a laugh. More gin, this time Hendricks then I went onto the Jack Daniels. After several, we decided to call it a night and got our taxi cabs home.
Only One Reason… Amazon finally sorted themselves out, apologies quite a lot and added a few free months to my account. They spoke to the transport team and started an investigation as to why so many of my deliveries are lost or majorly delayed. I received all the refunds that I should have had and an assurance that it would never happen again. The latter promise I have taken with a pinch of salt as I know they will screw up again, but I really hope that they don’t as I could not deal with all the problems again. Tomorrow will tell as I have three things coming to the house.
Dream Now… Finally got my 7mm circular I can now finish making my sweater. I have sewn the shoulders together and picked up a load of stitches so I can now do the large ribbed turtleneck. I was going to do some tonight but decided to do it tomorrow as I want the light and to get it right from the start. I had to pick up a collection of stitches that were divisible by 6 + 2, for example, 62 stitches. If I get an early start I should finish it by the end of the day, and a big YAY to me if I do. After sewing the shoulders together I opped it over my head and M said that it looked really nice and expensive too, which is great news. Once I have finished it I will post some photos of it.
Pieces of Our Hearts… All the presents are wrapped and under the tree, all the essential none perishable items have been bought and are in the larder awaiting the big day. Mazikeen is a little too interested in the presents under the tree, so much so that she stole one and ripped it open, one of mine to be exact, however, M got to it fast enough that I did not see what it was, but it was a lovely box it was in, whatever it is. Harper keeps looking at the stuff under the tree, and since there are about 60 items there is a lot to look at. I know what she is doing, she is looking and sniffing to see if she can see something for her. Her and Maz have a lot of things to open, but we have them upstairs out of the way, or they will end up stealing them. Lilu loved Christmas and on the big day she knew it was her time to open lots of presents (we spoiled her), she taught Harper how to open them over the years, both of them experts. This will be the first Christmas in this house without her, so will be a little odd, but she will be with us in spirit.
Blind Lemon Sam… The pup has started growing at an alarming rate. I was a little worried as she just seemed to be the same size for over a month, but this week she has had a growth spurt, and when I came home yesterday evening she seems to have increased by 50% since last seeing her just 10 hours earlier. I bought her an elf sweater for a small dog, that would have done a week ago, and it is quite tight on her, she looks adorable, but a little snug in it. I wanted to get Harper one, but they did not have one big enough, shame really. Mazikeen has only had a few accidents lately and seems to be getting better with her toileting. I have taught her more tricks which is funny to watch, and she now can get onto the sofa with no problem, although still cannot get on to our bed, it is really high.
The Pearl Fisherman… Well that it so far for my update, fingers crossed I can get back to posting more and reading everyone’s blogs, which seems to have been put on hold, but I will catch up and read everyone’s posts over the past few months. Just have to get next week out of the way, and I think normality will be resumed.
The Empty Dancehall… In case anyone was wondering about the titles and the name of my post, it is from a group called All About Eve, the album is Scarlet, and other Stories and the bold are titles of songs. I went to see All About Eve back in 1989 in Liverpool and totally loved them, and have spoken to Julianne Regan many times, she even recommended that I read ‘On Ther Periphery’ about David Sylvian, which I loved reading.