New sleeping spot

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The top of Zeph’s cage definitely appears to be Echo’s new sleeping spot when I’m working. He seems to quite enjoy snoozing with his head hanging off things. Both are out for the count right now. Something very calming having them sleep beside me. Nearly time for bed for me too!

Lazy Saturday

We had a very lazy day yesterday following on from our walk. I managed to actually get some uni work done and the boys settled down to snooze. They looked so comfy. Echo has now decided the old duvet on top of Zephs cage is now his bed:

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Zeph was sleeping until he heard the neighbours dogs barking so he was look out for a short while:

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But all in all they were very good yesterday and at one point all four of us where in this tiny office room. Three of them were asleep and I got peace and quiet!

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“My bed, My bone.”

I am hoping this chilled out state is going to become habit. In fact, as I write now, they are both contentedly sleeping on the floor at the office door. They are guarding me until Ben comes in with the food shop.

We had tea at my mum and dad’s last night. We had a good catch up and wedding chat (we are being overly organised. Didn’t realise how much I will eventually need to think about!). The only odd thing about the whole night was there was no barking. Now don’t worry for those of you who have read the posts about Elmo, he is fine! He was still there…but not a peep out of him. We are all in shock over it. He saw us come in and just lay back down. It was amazing. My parents are thrilled. I was happy not to have him all stressed out and barking but he is 11, and for 9 years he has barked at everyone and everything that has come into the house. To suddenly not do it, is quite unsettling! I think he’s maybe feeling his age a little. I gave him a good scratch and he was loving it, even got a wee smile out of him while I was doing it. I was left with a handful of white hair but he seemed quite happy.

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Getting older now, my poor wee man x

I will keep you all posted about the old man’s health. He’s currently fine though, just plodding along at his own wee pace. He doesn’t go for walks anymore, but is still enjoying going for a ride in the Land Rover.

Saturday morning

The first weekend in a long time where we don’t have any work or other stressful plans. I really enjoy a long walk with B and the dogs in the morning:

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Not as early a start I would have in the summer but it’s now too dark to be out at 6am. So we held off until about half 7/8. Surprising amount of people out at first light but Zeph was off lead and behaved really well. The sunrise was just gorgeous:

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We had a good game of fetch and after running away from Zeph realised that if I ever commit a crime and there’s police dogs involved, I’d be better to just give up. No chance of out running either!

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“Just throw the ball slow coach”

Tried to get a few pics of the boys jumping one of the ditches which is one of their favourite things to do, they were just too quick for me:

All in all, a lovely morning:

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I love this picture. Happy weekend everyone xx

Saved from a vicious….spider

Well the poor thing was slavered to death and toyed with before I could save it:

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Anytime, I or Zeph went to go near the spider, Echo picked it up to move it. He was definitely a cat in his past life. RIP little spider.

I was also alerted to a daddy long legs above me with Zeph jumping up on the sofa to reach the ceiling:

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Thankfully not another casualty. It was catch and release for this little bug.

We were naughty

So the boys were being naughty yesterday morning. We live above, thankfully, a very nice neighbour who has had dogs before so doesn’t complain about the noise ours make. They were running riot and growling and barking, which I don’t mind for a short period but not at half 6 in the morning it is a bit much to expect people to put up with. So they got a row and told to lie down:

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Sorry Mum

As you can see, Zeph at least has the respect to look a little guilty and upset…Echo as always, full of cheek (and not even lying down!).

They’ve just been told off this morning as well for using my sofa cushions as rag toys as well. Getting them to ‘down’ seems to help calm them a little:

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Sorry Mum….again.

 

Concentrating

I am having to work really hard at the moment to get all the work I need done finished. I am struggling to concentrate, hence I am writing this rather than working on some coursework. I am currently (like almost everybody) dealing with multiple things all at once:I am wedding planning, doing my MSc, mostly living alone with the dogs, doing shifts at work, and being,what I think is a good housewife!! Anyway, following my last post about anxiety etc I have realised that I need to look after me more. That doesn’t mean I have stopped doing all of the above. Not even slightly. But I have decided that for the moment, I am not worrying about the wedding. As long as the registrar and Ben turn up I will be thrilled! I have stopped stressing about work as much, If I can’t control it, no point worrying about it. Ben can’t help that he’s away so I am trying not to get too upset at him for it.

Anyway, Concentrating! I have been trying really hard to persevere on Zephy and his behaviour outdoors. He generally saunters along quite nicely but he can go from chilled out to ridiculous mess in seconds. Either because (usually a little dog) a dog starts barking at him or at the moment he’s taken a disliking to lorries. Anyway, I’m working on praising him when he’s being good and rewarding the nice walking. It has resulted in both Zephy and Echo concentrating much more.On their good days anway,

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You have sausages?

Zephy is getting much better at his recall although it is still shocking! I have discovered that he loves fetch so much that he will keep bringing the ball back straight to my hand. So, as long as we are playing fetch, I have a returning dog! It has made our walks so enjoyable (and made going to that bloody dog park obsolete).

Not only have the dogs been concentrating but all the walks and training and playing of fetch has made them much more tired and settled. So, when it’s my turn to concentrate on my work and I actually do it, I have two very settled dogs (who are currently both glued to the TV as there is a nature program on).

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Get back to work mum

Echo has also decided that the spare dog beds on the top of Zephy’s cage make a great bed. It gives him a space away from the bear:

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I’ve been getting lots of cuddles from the boys too. I have obviously had days where I have been feeling a bit rubbish so the pups have been very snuggly:

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It’s ok mum, I love you!

And,in other news, Zephyr continues to grow…When will he ever stop!

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Little brother is not so little anymore!

To the Beach and to the Hills

I’ve done a lot of walking recently. Further to the last post, here are the beach pics:

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I am finding it so calming in the mornings to go to the beach. No one else is ab0ut which means Zeph has freedom. He loves having a paddle. It is so nice to have a stress free walk. I love seeing them so happy. It makes me feel better.

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I was nightshift the other night so as I’ve mentioned before I like to take the boys for a long walk to really tire them out. I love West Lomond for a good walk, it is really saatisfying. It’s the first time I’ve actually gone to the top with Zephyr and I think he really enjoyed it:

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The ominous hill 🙂

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At the top, It was very windy.

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The view from the top on one side. That’s East Lomond in the distance.

I can tell you I have been needing these walks lately. We have a holiday in December to look forward to as well which I think will be good for all of us.

It’s getting worse.

So for those of you that are following because you like to see the nice posts and the adventures (Can’t blame you), this one might not be for you. It’s a bit heavy. I will try to make this coherent.

I have been contemplating starting a second blog to help me deal with my anxiety and depression; but then I realised that my life isn’t full of problems, there are infinite good times too, so writing a blog soley for the bad times is in itself very depressing. So I’m afraid occassionally I may have to vent my feelings even though I know this blog was started to be my outlet for dog crazy. On this occassion my dogs do play a role anyway so it’s all linked up. Let me set the scene:

As I have mentioned already I’ve been struggling to keep it together lately. I’ve been feeling overly uncomfortable in social situations since my last panic attack. I’ve been feeling quite anxious over nothing and I’ve been really down over I guess trivial things in the long run. Anyway, feeling pants and then I’ve got the added stress of starting an MSc degree last week which will take 2 years. I’ve also been finding some people at work very difficult lately.

On top of that: I occassionally go down to the dog park that is 2 minutes walk from my house. It’s not very big but it’s a space that is safe for Zeph to be off lead to play. Unfortunately, there is a woman that walks a small terrier in the same ground. The rule is that only one person and their dogs are in the fenced bit at a time. There are two small fields next to and around the dog park as well. Anyway, her little dog has taken a disliking to Zeph and the two of them are actually trying to kill each other through the fence. Unfortunately for all involved, If Zeph got a hold of that little dog it would actually just be dead. It’s the only dog in the neighbourhood that has a problem and the owner I think, is picking on me because I have a Rotti. She insists on walking her dog right along the fence line in a ploy to make me leave. I am only ever in the park for 20 minutes tops. Anyway, last week she made me feel uncomfortable so I left early to let her in the fenced bit.

Tonight, I went down to the park for the first time in a week to let the boys play, we’ve done a lot of walking lately so they seem quite tired out. I was in the park for 12 minutes before she came up to the fence (I’m holding Zeph back at this point because he is going balistic), I’m going to write the convo out here:

She says: “How long are you going to be?”

Me: I’ve only been in here for 10 minutes.

Her: Well how long are you going to be, I’m not waiting around for much longer.

Me: Probably only another 10 minutes

Her: You can’t hog the dog park. You can’t stop me coming in.

At this point I’m starting to well up because my dog is stressed out, and she’s starting to be quite aggressive herself.

Me: I’m not trying to stop you coming in. You can come in if you like. I only want to exercise my dogs. I’m in here for 2o minutes tops and then I’m away again. I’m only here a few times a week.

Her: If you don’t get out I’ll be coming back with the police. It’s a public resource. I only want in for 5 minutes.

Me: (holiding Zeph by the scruff now, because he’s freaking out), I know it’s a public resource, I’m not saying you can’t use it. I just want to exercise my dogs.

Her: Well, I’ll just keep walking along the fence until you get out.

Me: The longer you do that, the longer I have to hold the dog, therefore he’s not getting exercised, which means I’ll be here longer?

Her: I have a right to go in the park.

I finally gave up, as angry as I was I could feel I was going to have a panic attack. The problem I have as well is that once Zeph is up at 100mph, if Echo steps in front of him he gets the attack. So I ‘m trying to protect my dogs at this point and not give the woman the satisfaction that I’m struggling. My odd reply was: “I have been here for 2 years and tried to be part of this community but I give up. I just want to exercise my dogs without being hassled and you can’t even give me that. Have the park. I will just have to walk my dogs elsewhere.”

Her: Can’t you just let him off out here to play fetch? (i.e she wants me to play outside the dog park where the dogs can reach roads, children etc and Zeph has no recall).

I then politely asked her to move up the path a little as Zeph needed space to exit the park. By this point I’m annoyingly having a wee cry. She says:Can’t you just come back later, I’m only going to be 5 minutes.

In the 2 minutes it takes me to get home, I am crying and I can’t breathe. my chest was all tight. I could feel the panic. I managed to get into the house and it was all I could do to keep going. I just concentrated on the dogs. I had to get their harnesses off. I had to feed them. I cooked them some beef so that kept my brain busy. All the while I’m crying but managing to breath. It made me realise that wihout the dogs I’d be a wreck. I mean how rediculous was that conversation! I wasn’t stopping her having a turn in the park. She seems to think it was hers. And threatening me with the police!? For what, using the services as they were intended. My problem with that threat is if the police turned up when she had that dog there he might be seen as a ‘dangerous’ dog. As much as I know I was in the right, I’m not going to put his wellbeing at risk. It is people like that that make me wonder why I work in the health service. Why do I stress myself out and work long hours and take on extra shifts to cover a service that helps people like that?! Mostly because I know not everyone is like that. And because I hate confrontation and I like to be helpful. I managed to stay polite and I didn’t swear at her or shout or anything. My parents brought me up to be polite so I was trying to be, and at the same de escalate the odd confrontation. Anyway, I’m over thinking again.

I love my dogs though. Although this particular incident happened “because of them”, incidents like this make me love them so much. Having to think about their welfare really makes me push away the feelings of despair. Concentrating on making their dinner, making sure they are happy helps me calm down and when I’m crying they are very cuddly. At the moment Zeph is lying on my feet. He hasn’t left me alone since we got home. He is so good at looking after me. It’s also what gets him in trouble. He’s protecting me. I feel like I’m the root of his problems but I can’t change that really because I’m a bit of a wreck at the moment. I am actually contemplating going back to the GP and finally talking about my problems. We’ll see.

Until then, the walks with the boys are really helping (as long as I don’t meet horrible people!). The beach is my favourite place to go in the mornings although the tide is now in at the time I go down. I’ll stick the pics and walk update in the next post.

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A Sunday Stroll

Further to my last post, Echo has been walking so well on his harness that I bought one for Zephy as well. They are both so happy trotting along nicely in them. They can still pull a little but the it takes all the shock out of it and Zephy can’t put all his body weight into it which is nice.

We trialled them both out on harnesses on a walk last night. We went to Burleigh Sands which is a gorgeous spot to start from:

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Unfortunately, it is a very popular area so plenty of people, dogs and bikes to contend with and as of Septemeber the geese are in to nest so no off lead dog walks here for my two. However, in a sense, all of the above is also a great opportunity. It meant that both had to settle on lead to walk (which they did), they met plenty of people and other dogs and we stopped a few times to let bikes pass. I noticed a great difference in Zephy already, not having the halti on. He only barked at one wee dog (which was standing assertively at him) and other than that, he waitied patiently for the bikes to pass, he ignored most of the people and gave the other dogs a wee sniff and walked on. I don’t know if it was purely down to the change from halti to harness, or it could be that I was certainly very chilled out last night as well but Zeph was a total start. He didn’t even ‘react’ when a whole flock of geese flew over head coming into land:

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Ben and I have been trying to make time for us as the weekend to do a long walk together with the boys. Life is always so busy, it’s always: “right, i’ll walk the dogs, you go do X and then we’ll do Y”. I for one am fed up of it. I have lost interest in the daily tasks of the day. I am fed up of TV, of facebook (I have gotten rid of it off my phone, it’s just rubbish all day) and the constant need to know everything about everything and if you know nothing then google. Don’t get me wrong, I like to keep in touch with friends and family, I am enjoying this blog as it gives me something to concentrate on and gives me an outlet for my crazy dog lady personality. I do read the news but I don’t need it broadcast at me all the time. I am already feeling much freer now I’m not on my phone all the time! I think people have lost the balance of technology and life. It definitely has it’s uses but I need it to stop dictating to me what I do next.

I love walking my dogs and last night was just absolute bliss. I was chilled out, Ben was happy and the dogs were thrilled to be out. To me, it was just perfect. It is honestly the first time in a while I have really just enjoyed being out. It is nights like last night that I will always remember, not what I watched on TV this week.

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Isn’t it just beautiful 🙂

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