Sunday, February 26, 2023

A day's respite

Picture this: I'm trying, with one hand, to pull on my jeans in the morning. On the other end of the leg I'm pushing my foot through is a small determined golden dog who is pulling as hard as I am, but in the opposite direction. Koos is just watching, laughing. 

Then, I'm putting on my coat with said small dog hanging from the hem, after which getting my scarf around my neck without having it snatched and dragged across the floor is a lesson in speed and agility – mine, not hers.

This is much of my life at the moment. 

What with my plastered wrist, which makes every task take twice as long as usual, and this little comedian who is absorbing our time and entertaining us in equal measure, I haven't managed to do anything beyond my regular teaching work. The boats are feeling as neglected as the house work and all my plans for gardening, painting and renovating are on hold.

My greatest triumphs this week have been teaching Zoe to sit and to come when she is called. Yes. That's it.

Today, though, I had some respite from my restrictions. My daughter, Jo, drove me and small golden dog to visit my other daughter, Mo, who is Mack's mum. Some of you may remember that Mack is also a cocker spaniel puppy. He arrived in December and is now four months old – a perfect play date for Zoe, whom we left with Mack and Mo while we went to check on the Vereeniging.

It was marvellous to spend time in the sunshine sweeping her decks and top, rinsing the dust off and generally spending a quality hour or two on my old girl. Jo teased me for talking to my barge as if she were a dog, but not being able to drive has been a great limitation and I've missed her. She needed some of that TLC from me. Hopefully some of these constraints will be lifted when the plaster comes off next week and I'll be more mobile in both smaller and larger ways. 

Anyway, thanks so much to my generous-hearted daughters for making it such a lovely day and helping their handicapped mum so readily. 

Here are some of the gorgeous photos Jo and Mo took of the pups today. They had a fantastic time together and were both totally tuckered out by the time we left to come home (the pups, not the girls ... although they might have been too!).

Is it time for a treat?

Happiness is contented chew sharing

Best friends forever :)

On Tuesday, Zoe is going to dog hospital to be spayed. I wonder how long her stitches will last? With Sindy, my last beloved pooch, her cone of shame survived all of 30 minutes and her stitches just a few days... we shall see! Watch this space allemaal.

Monday, February 13, 2023

A break in tradition

What tradition is that? I hear you ask. Well, it’s my habit of writing blog posts that are always much longer than I intend. This week, and maybe for a few weeks hence (unless I find a way to type at speed single-handed), my blog will probably be shorter – the reason being another kind of break.

Last Thursday, we were walking Zoe in our nearby nature reserve when I slipped on a muddy patch, fell, and broke my wrist. Contrary to what everyone thought, the only connection it had to Zoe was the fact we were walking her at the time, but it could have happened anyway. I’ve always walked a lot. Since our old Sindy died, I’ve put myself on my imaginary lead and taken myself off for a constitutional every day, so it’s lovely now to have the extra reason to go. Anyway, Zoe wasn’t pulling at all; it was my own silly slip of the foot, or off the foot, in this case.

Now, of course, I’m learning how many things are difficult with one hand, but I’m finding the challenge of workarounds quite fun. Shove a jar in the crook of your arm and you can unscrew the top, or put tubes between your knees to do the same. I haven’t found a way to chop carrots yet without having the pieces shoot across the kitchen and disappear under the fridge, but I will. On the other hand, I’m having to chop sleeves off tee shirts to get them over the cast, but at least I can dress myself. In the end, it could be worse as it’s my left hand, and being very right-handed, I can manage quite well.

So, before I give myself RSI as well, I’ll love you and leave you with a photo of my jaunty red appendage.

Till next time allemaal. Have a good week!

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

The new family member

Our life has changed radically since my last post and I didn't even know it was going to happen. We have a new dog. 

After eight long years, we've taken the plunge and acquired a little American cocker spaniel. In the last few of those eight years, I'll admit that barely a week or even day has gone by without my looking  at dogs for adoption, but I've hesitated time and again over what kind of dog I wanted and whether to do it at all. The main criteria were that our dog had to be small enough for me to carry (on and off boats), a female, and of an 'easy-going' breed. As everyone who's read my blog over the years knows, I loved our old Sindy without reserve and missed her terribly when she died, but she was big and heavy for one thing, and the complete antithesis of easy-going for another.

But then one of those things happened that put paid to all my procrastination. Two weeks ago, an ad popped up on the internet asking for someone to give this beautiful little lady (see pics below) a home. The ad said she was a year old (I didn't want a puppy), female and very sweet-natured. It also said that no breeders should apply because she had an allergy. Well, having had Sindy who rattled with pills every time she shook, a mere allergy wasn't enough to put me off. 

The ad had been placed the evening before, so I wrote immediately, hoping that for once I wouldn't be too late. Sadly, the owner wrote back and told me someone had already reserved her. We had a bit of a chat online and I must have convinced her how disappointed I was because she asked if I'd like to know if the people who wanted her didn't show up. 'Yes please,' I wrote, but in all honesty, I'd given up and was almost (but not quite) relieved ... I could postpone making a decision; in fact, I didn't even tell Koos anything more about her.

Well, imagine my surprise when at the weekend, the advertisesr sent me a message to ask if I could still give little Zoe (as she was called) a home. I panicked for a moment. Now I'd really have to make a commitment, which was something I'd been avoiding, if I'm truthful, for several years. After chatting to Koos, though, we decided to throw caution out the window for once and go for it. 

So it was that with my heart in my mouth, we set off last Tuesday to go and collect her. To cut the story short, we stayed overnight in Valkenswaard, a town near the address where we had to fetch Zoe. Being over in the east of the country, it would have been a very long journey to go there and back in a day. Anyway, we collected this little bundle of nerves on Wednesday morning, popped her in the car and drove home in one shot. 

She was as good as gold as a passenger, a huge plus in her favour (Sindy had always been a dreadful car traveller). But, the poor little thing had clearly been very neglected, not well cared for at all and was very scared to begin with, although she was very happy with her cosy donut bed when we got home.

To be fair to the people we got her from, we don't think she'd been with them long either. They had a houseful of male poodles and were hoping to breed cockerpoos, but when they saw her skin problem, decided they'd better not and put her straight up for adoption. The neglect and poor care probably came from where she'd been earlier after being imported from Slovakia. It doesn't bear thinking about too much, does it?

Anyway, it didn't take long for things to change. She soon discovered we didn't mind her being on the sofa and neither did her 'Aunty Jo' who looked after her for a day when we had to go and see to the Vereeniging. Jo took some gorgeous photos of her, as you can see below.

It's now a week since she arrived and I'm delighted to report she's already a different pup. The tail is up and wagging, she's become playful and cheeky and she's loving the attention of all our friends and neighbours who, predictably, melt when they see her sweet face. The vet has confirmed her skin is improving, and that the allergy may have been stress-related. She has an eye infection that we hope will clear up soon, but otherwise her coat is already shinier and she's a happy, delightful doglet. 

As for her bed, she rarely sits in it anymore. Being next to one of us is much more to her taste :)

Have a good week allemaal  and all the best till next week from the three of us: Koos, Zoe and me.