We all went camping :)

We decided last minute that we wanted to go away for the weekend. Well funds are tight at the moment so we decided to go camping! It was a first for Zeph and only a second for Echo so it was quite interesting but all in all they behaved really well!

…We did have one minor hiccup and it was just as we had pitched the tent. The dogs were staked outside and we thought they were a sensible distance away, and I had just finished saying to Ben ‘we better get the tent back in one piece’ (we had borrowed it from Ben’s parents so we could get the dogs with us), when we heard a lovely ‘riiiiip’…’riiiiip’. So, in our haste to tie the dogs up and get the stuff unpacked in the tent, we hadn’t quite got Echo far enough away from the tent. The mesh door was still sealed and Echo, being him, decided that if he pawed at it, it would open for him. Well his paw went straight through the door…twice:

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This incident was an instant bad mood for Ben, who like all children when they break something that belongs to their parents, panicked (as I would’ve done had it belonged to my parents!). So for the first half an hour of our trip we spent it in irritated silence, great!

It didn’t take long for us to get back to having fun though and I am quite proud of us for managing to put up this giant tent! It sleeps six!

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The dogs took to camping quite well, luckily, and they have enjoyed all the walking and playing and the extra attention that camping gives them. Although at one point when we were cooking dinner, the dogs looked pretty fed up with us.

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They are both absolute masters at the ‘don’t you feel guilty’ face. I can tell you, it takes skill to eat dinner with that face looking at you. Luckily, it takes a lot for me to be put off my food. Just look at those spaniel eyes those!

The tent was still bothering Ben, so he spent a quick half an hour in town looking for needle and thread to fix the damage and he did a decent job of it considering it is mesh:

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We spent Saturday driving round the entire Cairngorms national park (a good 150 mile round trip from the campsite). Doing some sightseeing (sights we have seen before but we just love being out in the ‘wild’), and stopping for a few walks along the way and a wee picnic with the boys.

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Zephy site seeing

The Falls of Bruar.

The Falls of Bruar

It’s a bit of a steep drop upto the Falls of Bruar but a lovely site and worth the very short trek, although I think the dogs preferred running through the woods that we walked through later on in the day.

Back at the campsite, while we rested before a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant (I highly recommend The Loft, in Blair Atholl if you are ever in the area, the food is to die for!), the dogs relaxed and spent time fly catching and getting an hour of bone chewing:

Catching Flies

We were very lucky that around the campsite there was plenty of walks for the pups and Zephy had his first real taste of water fun, in the adjoining river. I couldn’t manage to get pics as he was on the lead and I was making sure he didn’t drown, but the view was lovely.

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By this morning I think we were all ready to come home to relax!!

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Training the dogs to settle in the kitchen.

From day one with Echo we have had to have him in a crate when he is left on his own or overnight. The reason for this is, as mentioned before, Echo can’t settle down and he eats the house. However, saying that, since we have had Zephy, Echo is learning slowly that it is ok to lie down and not follow us around everywhere. He is far from being left alone for any length of time as he gets really anxious if he we leave the house and he isn’t in his cage. Both the boys at the moment have their own cages but we do hope to wean them back out once Zephy has his grown up teeth and perhaps Echo once he learns it is ok to settle if we are out. At the moment, I am leaving them in the kitchen for short periods of time, say half an hour to an hour to let them settle, and then they are rewarded by getting a quiet fuss. Zephy is not bothered at all, he settles anywhere and is happy to be left in the kitchen, so I think he will advance to being a ‘grown up dog’ before Echo! We have gone from Echo not being able to be left alone at all outside of his cage to actually getting him to lie down in the kitchen with Zeph. This is a massive improvement. It means that now, if the two of them are soaking wet from the rain or muddy or just getting too carried away I can lead them into the kitchen and leave them there.

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It may sound like something  that all dog owners take for granted, that they can leave their dogs in the kitchen but Echo is a spoilt toddler. From day one I have never been able to get him to settle so I can’t explain how good it feels to have a dog that is happier than he used to be. THe two of them actually snuggle up together now as well and I love it.

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It means overall that the boys have more freedom and eventually I’d like to have them sleeping in the kitchen together overnight but not wanting to rush it all. Taking baby steps at the moment. I am maybe being overcautious but I don’t want to rush them into sharing bed space. Echo can be relentless if he gets wound up so we have to make sure he is calm. But all in all, it is a work in progress that is going well 🙂

He does still try to make me feel guilty sometimes though…

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Summer

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There was a hint of Summer the other day. That was it. Above is the boys’ reaction to seeing sunlight for the first time ever! It was beautiful.

My friend wanted to go for a long walk to enjoy the sun so Zephy was left at home (too small to go far).

We went to a Loch near here and Echo and his buddy Tumnus had a great time! The two of them ran about like nutters for two hours and they had a good swim as well. I nearly joined them for a paddle but it was not as warm as I had hoped for.

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A new member of the pack :D

I am very proud to say I am now an auntie 🙂 my sister has had a gorgeous wee girl called Eva. Isn’t she just beautiful!!

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She hasn’t met the dogs yet (and probably won’t for some time) but I am looking forward to watching her grow up and hopefully she will have plenty of visits with her auntie to meet the boys once she is a bit older. I could honestly sit and watch her for hours just sleeping. She might not be four legged and furry but I am already in love with her!

A beach Trip followed by a Vet trip.

It was about two weeks ago now, there was actually some sunshine, so I thought I’d spoil the dogs by heading down to the beach for their morning walk.

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It was more like an autumn morning than a summer one, sunny but with cold refreshing air. It was lovely.

Echo was as always right in the water, but Zeph was more content just watching him swim than actually going near the water.

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All in all, it was a lovely walk and the pups had a good run about in the sunny morning.

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It was all good and well until lunchtime when I realised Zephy was refusing to put down his back leg! He let me check it and I cannot recall a point in the walk when he might have hurt himself. Really, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have taken them onto the sand. Far too easy for him to hurt himself on the soft ground. Anyway, I checked him over and he seemed ok, nothing was broken anyway. So a day of staying in his bed was prescribed by me in the hope it would be better by morning, it was not. In fact it was worse. So off to the vets we went!

Zephy is the first dog I’ve owned that happily trots into the vets with a wee smile and a waggy tail (although on this occasion he was carried in). The vet checked him over and nothing broken but she reckons he had twisted his knee and it was probably a little bit bruised but nothing more. He was given a shot of painkillers to help him feel better and we were sent home with instructions to keep him still (easier said than done). Well, that night while I was making us all dinners, Zephy was definitely under the influence of the painkillers….

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He sat like that for at least 10 minutes…just watching out of his little whacked out eyes. Poor wee sausage.

He is back to his fighting fit self now.

Following Zeph not being well, Echo started acting oddly. Now bearing in mind this dog never stops moving at all, and has never cuddled up or anything, the following photo struck alarm bells ringing in my head:

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We actually cuddled like that for almost an hour, it only stopped because I wanted to go to bed! It is bad that although it was nice to get cuddles from him, the first thing I said to Ben was “I don’t think he’s well!”. The next morning he was ok on his walk but not his entirely energetic self and when we got back to the car he slumped on the ground for a wee lie down (again for a dog that is always on the move this was worrying) and following that, after his breakfast he was sick. I was starting to get a bit worried by this point and before I left the house he was slumped against the wall and his head was swaying from side to side very gently.

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So another trip to the vets that day. It turns out that he just got a mild ear infection (common in spaniels) and that’s all they could find wrong with him. Since then he has been fine. We have ear drops for him at the moment and they seem to be doing the trick.

So in one week a good £100 spent at the vets…I should’ve been a vet.

Best dog

Every year for the last few years there has been a charity dog show at the local park for a rescue centre local to us. This year I decided to take both the boys along and enter them into a few of the show classes they had.

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There were 8 classes in total, with a small donation for entering each class. We entered in Best Dog, (best girl being judged before) with both dogs, I had Echo and Ben had Zephy, along with 63 other dogs!! As were walking round it was obvious that the dogs wanted to swap who they were with so we switched round and made the dogs sit beside us. Everytime the judges looked away the dogs were trying to fight each other and generally cause chaos and as soon as the judges looked back they were like little angels. It was hard not to laugh! Well in the end, Echo was picked out for the final 6 AND he made 2nd place!!! So Ben, despite hating getting photos taken, had to get a picture with the dog that got 1st (a gorgeous Akita cross).

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The plan had been to enter Zephy into the best puppy class but it was another hour away and by this time the dogs were starting to get fed up and a bit stressed out with all the people and dogs around, so we called it a day.

Zephy did look cute in his bowtie though:

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I’m certain he would of won best puppy…not that I am biased at all on the matter!

The Hoover and the ongoing sofa fight.

First of all, sorry for the lack of update recently, it has been a very stressful and exhausting few weeks. I finally have an hour or so to myself so I have a few posts to do.

The boys are not the bravest of dogs and like most they are scared of the hoover. They have found they can gain comfort from each other though and they become a lot braver behind the baby gate! I have tried and tried to get them used to the noise etc with various tactics. I have tried ignoring their reaction, I have tried giving them nice things and playing games while it’s on but to no avail. Behind the baby gate it is:

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As you can see, Echo is at the forefront being a good big brother and protecting Zephy from the devil of a henry hoover.


The fight over who owns the armchair is continuing. I am adamant it is mine (!) however, everyone has decided it is the comfiest chair and therefore it is fair game and if you leave it for a second don’t expect to get back to it again. I would like to point out again that neither dog is allowed on the furniture but for this chair they are making an exception! the cheeky devils. I am persisting in moving them off it but it is a matter of who is more determined.

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If a human is on the chair, don’t expect to be left alone…

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They are like circling vultures, don’t be fooled by Zephy ‘asleep’ on the floor. He is just luring us into a false sense of security. At one point, believe it or not they were both up on that chair.