Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

22 Months: It was all going so well…

August 18, 2010

Just when I thought Darwin was the perfectly trained hound, she steals a pie.

Don’t be fooled by the long blond hair and the cute face, inside there is a pie-eating monster lurking to find it’s way out!
One of the problems with owning a very cute looking dog (not just our opinion), is that everyone who is mildly interested in dogs wants to meet her. Now normally she’s lovely and will sit still for small people or be a bit more playful if anyone has a stick or ball to hand. Then there’s the picnicker who wants to say hello and invites her over.

I tried to warn them this wasn’t the safest course of action if they wanted to continue to enjoy their food, but alas I was too late. After a few strokes, Darwin sensed an opening and pushed past the well-to-do greeters and laid eyes on a pie. A quick shimmy past Mum acting as goalkeeper and her gnashers were firmly around a still warm steak and kidney feast. I was dumb-struck for several seconds then found my voice and roared at her. It took several more seconds to recover the pie (uneaten, but with significant teeth marks) as Darwin weighed up the severity of the situation.

I apologised profusely and offered to replace the pie, but the family thought the episode most amusing and wouldn’t hear of it. It could have been a whole lot worse. It reminded me we have a whole lot more training to do, but in hindsight it really was quite funny!

For more information about owning a dog, please visit My Golden Retriever.


18 Months: Adolescent, but fun

April 27, 2010

Darwin’s well and having fun. It’s been a while since we’ve updated this site as we’ve been busy launching a business Ecomodo which allows people to lend and borrow everyday objects, skills and spaces. Darwin’s been a great help, chewing up various promotional materials and virtually anything that comes off our printer or is left on an unattended desk.

We’ve had many walks in the forest and the sunshine is a welcome relief from the wind and rain. Darwin has continued to search for any muddy puddle she can find when we’re out (these are reducing in number and size with every sunny minute!). Soon, I hope, we may not need to have a hose down after every walk. We finally got round to burning all the sticks Darwin amassed in our front garden (just in time we think before the adjutters accused us of deforestation). However, another pile is beginning to accumulate.

We’ve had lots of people coming down to stay with us recently which as been great fun and meant that we’ve got out a lot and explored more pub walks and even taken a gallop (well OK a plod) on some horses. Long may the weather continue. We’ve been on our first cycle ride into the forest and hope to do many more over the summer. My mountain bike is now available to hire through Ecomodo amongst a wealth of other things.

Darwin’s back legs don’t seem to be giving her any problems, but it is noticeable how narrow her hips are compared to other dogs especially when she’s just come out of the water…swimming is the new big thing…as the puddles diminish, Darwin’s keen on jumping into any lake, river or sea that might be nearby. She seems to attract lots of ticks as well (which we’ve had not so much fun removing).

Not sure whether the swimming is making her less protected. We’ve been using Frontline flea and tick protection, but suspect the only thing that may stop them is a kevlar vest (not sure where you can get these?).

Week 69, 70 & 71: Has Spring finally sprung?

March 8, 2010

Darwin simply loves being outside, it must be all the country smells that she finds so intoxicating. Certainly when they let the cows out and are spreading the fields we need to wear a hankerchief. We’ll be indoors, perhaps with the telly on and Darwin will sit outside sometimes peering in to make sure we haven’t missed anything on the box. It’s been so cold, yet she still prefers it, guess she has a pretty thick coat. She doesn’t seem to be having any issues with her back legs, so we’re not sure what to do. The vet suggests we should certainly give good thought to a total hip replacement, but while she seems in no pain we’re quite reluctant to even consider this.

We’ve finally got some sunshine and even a lot of the surface water has dried away. Hopefully we’re now out of the cold spell and can look forward to a long luxuriously lazy summer…well Darwin can anyway.

Week 67: Darwin and I Get Fit

February 8, 2010

My jogging pace (slow & stop) and Darwin’s walking speed are very similar. The walking action is good for Darwin as it doesn’t jolt her body in big movements, but encourages muscle build up from regular paces. The only issue is that she has to go on a lead as we jog otherwise she’d be forever trying to catch up (not that I go quickly…more that she finds one more smell after another that needs to be catalogued and referenced).

Darwin doesn’t seem too keen on this arrangement, but we’ve been for a couple of afternoon soirees now and hopefully we will keep it up (even though it did start snowing this afternoon). Darwin was worn out over the weekend by her pal Magic (a Field Spaniel that just doesn’t stop) so Monday has been a lazy day (apart from our afternoon jog which wore me out far more than Darwin). Hopefully we will keep it up…and a diet of raw meaty bones…although I’m not sure how long I will last on this diet!

Week 66: Darwin has some X-rays taken!

February 2, 2010

We took Darwin to the vet to look at how she was hunching her back and the vet said that now she is fully grown we should get some x-rays done of her spine and hips. The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with her spine and she doesn’t appear to be in any pain. The bad news is that she has quite bad hip dysplasia which means we need to regulate her exercise, continue with supplements and keep a closer eye on her as it’s likely she may suffer pain from her hips at a younger age. The vet has even suggested that we speak to a surgeon about a total hip replacement.

Darwin is not in pain and that’s not why we took her to the vet. We’re now wrestling with the idea of surgery which seems quite extreme for such a young dog that seems so happy with life the way it is.

Week 63 & 64: Darwin has a holiday

January 17, 2010

Darwin was very excited to see us when we returned from holiday, but truth be known she didn’t really miss us while we were away. Which is great as we were worried that we were abandoning her in search of some winter sun. We understand that she was on her best behaviour apart from some ‘scarfing’ (stealing for comic effect!) of socks and shoes. Darwin made friends with Spider, a Staffie and they shared long walks whilst Anthony was in school. Out of school Anthony looked after Darwin and played with her nearly non-stop.

It’s great that we really felt comfortable to leave Darwin with relatives for a week. She’s such a good natured dog now, unrecognisable from the 5-month old puppy that ignored us and wouldn’t stop biting!

A big thank you to Steve, Michelle and Anthony.

Week 62: Happy New Year!

January 4, 2010

It’s cold, really cold, the heath is like a skating rink and Darwin’s loving it. She’s getting used to the ice and seems to enjoy the slippery surface. Best fun of all is to chase a piece of ice across the frozen puddles then crunch it into little pieces. We’ve had some great walks exploring more of the forest over the holidays. Darwin stays closer to us when we’re on a new walk which is nicer than her running off 100 yards in front all the time on the walks she knows. We’ve been exploring the forest between Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst and trying to navigate via the sun and an iphone. We occasionally got a little lost, but not for long. We’ve spotted deer every walk and had to stop Darwin chasing down a venison supper a few times.

New Year was seen in at the Turfs, with Darwin of course. It was good fun and Darwin wasn’t the only four-legged friend celebrating in the pub at the turn of midnight. We’ve also been practising lead walking with Darwin this week as she is staying with relatives shortly whilst we go on holiday and we want her to be on her best behaviour…

Week 61: Happy Holidays…

December 28, 2009

The carrot didn't last for long!

We’ve been having a great time visiting family and opening presents, and more presents, and then a few more presents. Needless to say, Darwin thought the wrapping paper was more fun than anything else and proceeded to help everyone undo their presents. Christmas eve to Boxing day was spent at Steven’s – TC’s brother. We made a snowman with Anthony, their son, and used a carrot for its nose. Darwin promptly leapt up and stole the nose and continued to do this throughout our stay (not sure how many carrots Darwin got through).

Darwin is very well-behaved now and although TC’s family are not used to dogs we think they like her. They have agreed to look after her when we go on holiday, so it’s just as well that Darwin behaved herself this Christmas!

Week 59: Preparing for Christmas

December 15, 2009

Darwin helped put up the decorations this week. Helped perhaps isn’t that accurate, I think she’ll be much better at bringing them down!

Darwin’s stocking is up, well was up with a lot of other things until some canine capers resulted in much chasing around the house to catch the thief. Her Christmas list was eaten, even before Santa had finished writing it…we think that wrapping paper will be sufficient this year and maybe one or two bones.

Plenty of swimming during the week. I don’t think Darwin feels the cold, but I get shivvers simply throwing the sticks into the water for her. Darwin’s also found a great game in being the first one to break the ice on all the puddles we have on the heath. She races through and tries to grab a piece of ice in mid stride. I’ve been busy learning how to create websites. I have built one around this blog It needs some work and I think it’s evident I’m not a trained designer, but it works (for the most part) and was fun to learn.

Week 58: Darwin swims again

December 8, 2009

Lots of swimming this week for Darwin. We have to be careful to pick our time and place as we try not to annoy fishermen and twitchers alike. Darwin’s chosen lake is Hatchet Pond and she makes a beeline for the water whenever we are in sight. Out goes all the obedience training…the water is much more fun!

We had visitors with small people at the weekend; Darwin was very good and didn’t try to take any of their toys. However, when out walking she still believes that anyone holding a stick is holding her stick. This can lead to some worrying moments when Darwin wants to play with people half her size. Luckily no limbs were lost.