Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Good Day's (T)Raining.

I decided that I would not let the rain get me down. I donned my wet weather gear and Mia the German Shepherd and I set off on our walk. Today was going to be slightly different because I was going to let her off the lead and allow her to run free in the big open fields at the other side of the railway lines. She has been allowed off the lead before but those times had been in the company of other dogs and she had misbehaved so much with her biting that she was back on the lead in minutes.

One benefit of the incessant rain is that not so many people are inclined to venture out, especially across flooded land, so not many dogs to worry about. In fact where we went there was not a dog or a person in sight. I still felt a bit apprehensive however as I unclipped the lead ( leash, if you are reading this in the USA) and let her run free. I had no worries about other dogs this time, what concerned me most was whether she would run away and never be seen again.

What actually happened was that it was Mia who was the worried one. She was constantly running ahead but frequently stopping and then running back to make sure that I had not run off and left her. At one point she suddenly spotted a rabbit and took off after it, chasing it into it's burrow. I thought she might be so distracted that she would not respond to my calls, and sure enough that is what happened. I just turned around and started walking in the opposite direction. That got her attention and sure enough she was soon back at my side. I felt really good about that. We really enjoyed our walk without any of the nervousness I had previously felt, and which no doubt has been picked up by Mia.

I think maybe I have been expecting far too much of her, comparing her perhaps to Sadie the German Shepherd, but she is really still a puppy, albeit a very large one, in need of training, stimulating experiences, and lots of exercise. She has learnt a lot already. She is obviously very intelligent. Also today I felt strongly that we had formed a bond.

Of course I don't want her to never socialise with other dogs, so have decided to address the biting issue. I don't know why she does it and I have absolutely no idea how to deal with the problem, but I do know a woman who probably does. A professional dog trainer. I gave her a call and asked for help. She is coming to see Mia soon to assess the problem. This has given me a very nice positive feeling about the whole thing. The other positive thing is she is not going to charge me. Her fee will be coffee and biscuits! I do know some lovely people that's for sure.

Me and Mia the German Shepherd. We're going to be just fine.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

No Excuse For My Nastiness.

I am so upset with myself today. I lost my temper with Mia the German Shepherd. My beautiful daughter Jodie was upset with me too and gave me a right good telling off. She called me "a fucking idiot" and pointed out to me in no uncertain terms that Mia is not responsible for any mishaps that might occur, because she is a dog and she does not know any better.

I was trying to stop Mia the GS from chasing and biting Skye the Labrador and I am ashamed that in doing this I hit her with the lead. I am telling you this because I want you to know that I am not a perfect dog owner, I am just a bloke who sometimes let's his frustrations get in the way of progress. I could tell you all about the events that led up to me being in a foul mood today, but it would serve no purpose and besides Mia The German Shepherd has no idea about the way her behaviour affects my mood.

This chasing and biting behaviour obviously needs to be addressed. She has also started nipping at my clothing when she gets excited. I do not believe for one moment that Mia the GS is a nasty dog. I think her behaviour stems from over excitement. I have a theory that perhaps she was removed from her mother and litter mates too early, perhaps before she had the chance to learn that biting was not nice. My losing control will not help things in the least.

Mia the German Shepherd has forgiven me, she is in truth a kind and affectionate dog who, apart from this, is learning her lessons well. Jodie and I are friends again too. I however have not forgiven myself. Serves me right, this bad way I feel about myself. I am such a bastard!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Not About Mia the German Shepherd.

I have decided not to mention Mia the German Shepherd in this post today (Oh damn!) she has been getting far to much exposure, and I don't want her to start getting a big head. So that is the decision and that is final.

The fox has visited three times in the last week and has killed and taken the cockerel, the new hen, and today Miss Grey has gone too. So only Miss Brown and Miss White left now. Far too many foxes around here and it seems the days when my hens could lead a natural free ranging life has gone. Very sad about that. Of course when Sadie the German Shepherd was alive she dedicated a lot of her time to protecting the hens, but Mia the GS (Oh damn!) does not have those skills yet. It is so ironic that now Mia the GS (Oh damn!) has finally learned not to chase the hens that the way things are going, there won't be any left to chase anyway.

Mia the GS (Oh damn!) and I went for a walk with Samantha and Ned the Border Collie the other day. We haven't walked together since Sadie the GS died last October, and this was Sam and Ned's first time of meeting Mia the GS (Oh damn!) and though it was lovely too see them again, it was not a walk that could be described as peaceful and relaxing. This due to Mia the GS (Oh damn!) behaving badly towards poor Ned for most of the walk. Mostly down to Mia the GS's boisterous behaviour. She still has much to learn about manners. On our next walk we are going to keep both dog's on the lead until Mia the GS (Oh damn!) has her excitement under control.

No photographs with this post because my camera has gone on the blink. I will have to ask my neighbour Steve to find a way around the problem. He usually manages to sort my computer glitches out for me. I mention this about my camera because I have just seen a jackdaw in the apple tree and in twenty years I have never seen one in the paddock. Oh well another historical moment missed.

That's it for now. Sorry not to have mentioned Mia the GS (Oh damn!) but important as she is, life is not all about her.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Another Mia the German Shepherd Update.

Last night Mia the GS went missing. She got out through a hole in the fence,made by I think a fox. Actually I noticed while investigating today that there is a fox run there. She was probably chasing it. She was gone for only about twenty minutes, but I was worried sick. I had no idea which direction she might have gone in. I went out into the back field and started calling her name. it was pitch dark out there but eventually I saw a pair of eyes shining in my torch light and she came running to me. What a relief. I was very upset with her but being a good dog owner I couldn't show my displeasure and instead showered her with praise and gave her a treat. That was a loooooong twenty minutes.

Things are progressing well with our new relationship, but I have found it to be hard work. A puppy might have been easier or an old dog even easier still, but I can confirm that a one year old German Shepherd is hard work for a man of my age. Even though I am quite fit for an old 'un.. Things are not made any easier by the fact that it has rained every single day since Mia arrived. This whole area has been badly flooded and  the paddock is a mess of muddy surface water. I am pleased to say that despite the rain and wind and floods I have not missed taking her for a walk at least once every day, although I have to admit it has been hard sometimes overcoming my own reluctance to venture out.

All in all though she is coming on well and we are bonding. She is intelligent and funny and affectionate. She no longer barks at other dogs or tries to lunge after them, and she walks very well on her lead. I have to admit though, I do seem to have to correct her behaviour quite a lot. The words 'NO MIA' are used often. She is certainly no saint. But then neither am I. My main concern is that she is not very good at coming back to me when I call her. Most times she does it eventually, but I need to trust her to come every time. It has only been a month though. I need to be patient.

We have had some walks with my EBD Jodie's dog Skye, and my friend Fran's dog Jake. Skye is very submissive and Mia seemed to take advantage of this, but Jake is a big powerful dog and refused to be cowed by Mia's over exuberance. Mia's face is full of pleasure as she romps and her smile is a joy to behold.

This has been another Mia the German Shepherd post. Sorry about that, but she does tend to focus my attention these days.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Sweet And Lovely Maisie.

It seems an age since I last sat at my keyboard, but it is only a couple of weeks. I have not been in the right frame of mind to be writing. It fact my mind has been feeling really gloomy. Gloomy enough to match the horrid black cloud weather that has been with us lately. Wet and windy. Wet, wet and more wet. The paddock has been flooded almost continuously for weeks. Getting to the wagon door has entailed walking through mud nearly every day and of course despite my best efforts the mud and wet gets dragged inside. The place is in a proper mess. It's a good job I am a bloke on my own!

And the bloody roof has been leaking again! So much for that fantastic new roof waterproofer I used in the summer. The one with the 15 year guarantee!

Wellington boots have been the order of the day every day. And walking with Mia the German Shepherd is hard work in 'wellie's'.

I'm blaming Mia TGS for the bad weather. She brought it with her when she arrived here on 12th December last and I do believe we have not had a day without rain since that day! I would like to have it proudly recorded that despite torrential downpours and gale force winds we have still been bravely venturing forth on our walks every day. Although there was a day when Mia TGS, not me, lay down and refused to take another step into the teeth of a particularly nasty hailstone laden gale. We turned around that day and got blown home.

But the weather is not the reason for my gloom. I can deal with that.

My granddaughter, the sweet and lovely Maisie is unwell. It is a few months since her symptoms first appeared. She has been experiencing a lot of pain and bumps and lumps have appeared on her ribs. Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) has been diagnosed. I believe this is a condition that can be successfully treated, but now other symptoms have appeared, and things are potentially more serious. She has many signs of something called Marfans Syndrome a connective tissue condition. It is too complicated for me to go into so I shall not attempt to do so.

My Extremely Beautiful Daughter Jodie, Maisie's mother, has however become very knowledgeable about it. She is also gaining knowledge about the machinations of the National Health Service. The National Health Service once widely regarded as the best in the world, is in a bad way. A very bad way. One of the main reasons being, to my way of thinking at least, too many managers and not enough medical staff. These hospital trust managers earn more than the doctors! And I think (I could be wrong) that there are more of them than doctors! I think the managers are meant to save the NHS money. Perhaps they do, but most of it lines their own pockets!

Without these managers perhaps more ultra scanners could be bought, and people in urgent need would not have to wait several months before their turn comes around to have one? Perhaps my EBD Jodie would not have needed to write to her member of parliament pleading for Maisie's appointment to be brought forward. Why does a child have to wait so long for treatment in this day and age? Why, when a child has something so potentially damaging isn't that child's treatment started immediately?

We don't know for sure if Maisie does have Marfans Symdrome. Of course we hope and pray not. But unbelievably it will be six months, until all the relevant tests have been done and a definite diagnosis can be given. Six months!

The gloomy weather. I can deal with that no trouble. As EBD Jodie says: "You are a tough man dad to live the life you do". But sometimes life requires a different kind of toughness.

Maisie has consented to me writing this blog post.