The ‘Big’ Day

I sent Zephy off yesterday to the vets for the snip. I feel guilty, he trotted in all happy to be there, he gets biscuits every time they see him and he merrily left me to walk away through the back with the lovely vet nurse.

With Zephy away at the vets, Echo had a little one to one fetch time in the rain. It was freezing cold, so waterproofs on all round.

We got Zephy back at half 2 and he cried from half 2 until 9pm when we went to work. I took him with me to work in the car so  I could check on him through the night. The boys usually go to B’s parents for a nightshift but I didn’t think it was fair on Zeph to come out of surgery and have two spaniels around or fair on his parents if he had them up through the night. So Echo went to stay at B’s parents himself so that Zeph had a chance to recover. He was all cosied up in the car with a big duvet and jacket on and he managed through the night just fine.

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Not a happy bunny though to say the least. When we got back to the house this morning, we both just went straight to bed. Zephy has made himself at home at the end of the bed:

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I eventually realised that even with the buster collar on, he could still reach his stitches so we tried something else…

An old pair of B’s shorts he wears as pjs. Drawstring tie on them and Zeph is now at my feet minus the blue collar and just the shorts on. He doesn’t seem phased by the clothes at all. I hope that all this clothes wearing and poking and prodding by me has prepared my dogs for if we ever have a family. They really do let me do almost anything to them!

I have been informed of a training seminar in the next few weeks, that if I can get the time from work, I’ll head along to and get some advice and tips on what to do with the big guy. I want to teach him some new tricks as well as reinforce obedience and hopefully get back to building a nice bond with him, one where he doesn’t feel the need to ‘protect’ me so much. I’ll keep you all posted as to how his behaviour may or may not change and I need to sort out my time management to get back on top of regular training. I don’t know how people with kids manage work, degrees, dog owning etc. I’m struggling just keeping these plates spinning!!

 

So much to catch up on – Part 4: Enjoying ourselves

So, as I said. We want to get back to enjoying ourselves with the dogs. Echo is still going to agility when I can and he is loving it! He is picking things up faster than me, so I need to try to keep up. Zephy will find a new job probably, even if it is just teaching him some new tricks. Until then, I am taking full advantage of the Rottie Rescue Field. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the three men in my life, and look how happy they all are!

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All the running about did take it’s toll on B’s sore back (can’t remember if I said but he has a ruptured disc in his back), nothing a few cuddles won’t fix though apparently:

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All in all, the boys are happy. And I really have lost the fight over the sofas…Zeph has claimed the grey one and Echo insists on being a cat.

 

So much to catch up on – Part 3: Retiring

After all the drama at Crufts, it made me think: Am I doing this for the dog, or myself? And the answer was obviously, for me. I’ve thought for a while now that Zeph isn’t enjoying shows but for some reason I kept going. I sat at the benches at Crufts and I really looked around me. I mean really looked. Exactly as it had been, all those years ago that I had decided I wasn’t a fan of Crufts, nothing had changed. Don’t get me wrong, there are real dog lovers there, and the majority of people with dogs there really do love them but watching everything around me I realised, this isn’t dog friendly. Despite being the biggest dog show, it’s not aimed at the dogs at all really. So many dogs sat on benches all day. And I mean all day! You aren’t supposed to leave until 4pm but since we had arrived at 6.30am, there was no way I was letting Zeph sit in a cage in a hot hall (he has a cool mat and fan with him), for that long! So I snuck Zephy and ourselves out at 10am and we proceeded to have a really nice weekend away!

Anyway, I have decided that for Zeph, Crufts was the last show for him. If he was so stressed out he was hysterical, keeping him going isn’t the right thing to do. So he has retired from showing. And I feel so good for it! He is a gorgeous dog but he is my pet and family first. Here are some recent pics of him and all his rosettes and his shield:

Little does the big bear know, he’s also getting the snip tomorrow! I think it’s best for him if we can remove a little of the rocket fuel that seems to be hidden in them! I’ll let you all know how he gets on. It’s taken a lot of discussion to come to that decision. Some people have tried to convince me otherwise but I think I might regret not doing just as much as I regret doing it! Hopefully it works for the best. Either way, we are done showing. He has done me proud. I couldn’t have asked for more from him at the shows, he’s qualified and competed at Crufts twice, placed last year in the puppy class. He has placed at every Champ show he has competed at, getting First place in Yearling at the last Champ show we were at so I really am pleased with him. I want to get back to enjoying my dog though so I think this is the right decision.

So much to catch up on – Part 2: Crufts

Well we went to Crufts. Zephyr gets a full weekend of me giving him attention, not sure he appreciates it but there you go. He helped me pack the bags:

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“Don’t forget teddy”

He was a great travelling companion for B and I….

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“I’m sleeping, leave me alone”

The good thing about Zeph is, he will travel anywhere and make himself at home:

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I did tell him we had to be up early the next morning, so he kicked me out of bed at 4am!

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“I sleep here now”. 

Despite all this preparation, he did not have a good time at Crufts on the day. It is probably hugely down to me. I get a bit stressed out, there’s a lot of dogs, people and I’m not really happy about shoving my big boy into a cage on a bench in that environment (Why do I go I hear you ask!, I’ll get to this in the next post). Zeph decided he wasn’t happy at one point with a husky, who’s owner I thankfully have spoken to before. The dog didn’t even look at him but testosterone took over and he went crazy at the end of the lead. I had a good hold of him, but even other rotti owners stepped away from him because he was, hysterical. Hysterical is the right word I think for his reaction. You wouldn’t believe it looking at the nice pics I have above. He had his halti on so I went to grab it to turn his head to force him to look away from the dog but managed to get my hand in the way of his snapping teeth. Fortunately, he was doing what a lot of dogs do in that situation: He was snapping as a warning to the other dog, a show of, I’m this big and look at my big teeth and jaws, stay away from me. It meant I got three swift chomps of my thumb but he didn’t break the skin. At this point I was starting to realise, “is this worth it”. Ben convinced me that since we had driven all the way there, that I should still go in the ring, but that he would stay close by. Well, did the bugger not try to warn off another husky (no idea where this sudden hatred of huskys has come from, he has a ‘girlfriend’ husky in the neighbourhood and he loves her!), and again I ended up on the wrong end of his teeth. I’m normally pretty good at handling my dogs even at their worst but I was constantly in the wrong place. If he ever was going to bite though, I’d rather it was me and not anyone else but still! I have a nice bruise on my arm from him. Despite all this, believe it or not, I still went in the ring with him (on a show lead now, not even a halti). There were 19 dogs, essentially all teenage boy stage, in the tiny arena and Zeph was so hyped up. I kept my distance from the other dogs to try and help him calm, and he was doing a great job, until the B***h behind me (sorry I don’t often call people that but she really was), deliberately came up behind Zeph and shoved him and let her dog mount him, what people will do to win a dog show eh!?. So a small squabble ensues and I very nearly left the ring but I was hemmed in. I managed to get Zeph some space again and he did lie down for a little bit and calm down. He managed to show ok, but I was a little disappointed. He can look amazing outside of a show ring, so much so he should be able to challenge some of the bigger males but it was not to be this year. I did manage to get some nice pictures, but you can tell that neither of us is really enjoying it.

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Not bad photos considering all the drama round about!! He did his best considering the circumstances and stress etc. So I don’t blame him at all for the days events. If I had perhaps been calmer and more confident he wouldn’t have reacted quite to the same extent. And I want to make it clear that although I was disappointed that we didn’t get placed, the ring was full of beautiful dogs and the winners were deserving of their rosettes.

So much to catch up on – Part 1

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t appeared to be as dog crazy as I would normally be. This MSc is dictating my every second and I am struggling to be able to keep up with anything else. At the moment, it’s a case of get up, walk dogs, work, walk dogs, uni work, sleep and repeat. Hopefully all this hard work pays off in the end though. As for the dogs, sometimes I am thankful for the distraction and other times I wish they wouldn’t be so distracting! The slobbery cuddles make it all better though. Anyway, I will try to start back from the last post. Hopefully my memory can keep up.

So since the last time, the weather has not improved much but that doesn’t stop me going out. Just this morning, I got caught out on a walk as the rain came down so hard I couldn’t actually see! A nice warm towel for the boys and a cuppa for me and it solved everything. I usually put on the dogs waterproofs for them but I wasn’t expecting the monsoon type downpour! Not that the dogs look particularly happy in their coats right enough:

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“Hurry mum, before someone sees us!”

There always seems to be an added rush to walk as soon as the pups have their coats on, maybe they are embarrassed, maybe they don’t like to get wet or breakfast could be the increased motivation.

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Unhappy faces. 

I don’t think they appreciated me stopping to take a picture in that weather but I thought it’s good to share even the bad walks!

Even more mud and rain, but I found another new walk. Haven’t been able to explore it properly yet, but was a good place to avoid people. Not one other person was about.

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There has been a few good mornings but I’ve had to be up early to enjoy  them. Sometimes it is worth getting up with the sun.

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The boys love a chance to play at the beach. I’ve had to be careful letting Zephy off the lead, he is just not listening at all at the moment. It’s a vicious circle really, I won’t let him off lead because he doesn’t listen but he probably doesn’t listen off lead because it’s not very often he gets off.  Anyway, the beach at dawn is one of the relatively safe places I have. and it really tires them out. I managed a visit twice in one week so they had a great time!

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