A Weekend with Wendal


We had another weekend with Service-Dog-in-training Wendal.
House training has come a long way and we didn’t have one accident this weekend.
He’s still a little mouthy, trying to hold your hand when you cuddle him or jumping up to grab your hand when you play with him.


he’s very well behaved in the car


making himself comfy on one of the dog beds :D

His possessiveness has vastly improved and we can now actually play with toys with no growling from Wendal. He is still a little possessive of food though – even growling if Penny sniffs the bag of food we brought home for him!


watching me work in the kitchen


Wendal got lots of attention at Hobby-X and he was so well behaved

Wendal got lots of attention at WODAC and he was so well behaved


Wendal was worn out after working at the SA Guide-dogs stand at WODAC last week

His manners have come a long way too – all the dogs have to SIT WAIT before I let them into or out of the house or through a closed door inside the house. Wendal now waits for myself or my husband to walk out the door and then follows us outside.


He also does a beautiful SIT WAIT for his food, he’s letting go when I say LEAVE IT and he is responding brilliantly to SPEAK as well.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter.
I also have a Facebook page called Its a Pup’s Life .

An Old Cat Is A Cold Cat…

I knew our cats would need special care as they aged – as any pet does – but one thing didn’t occur to me.

Our almost 11 year old Greebo started sleeping IN our bed, between my Glugster and I at night. This started during a particularly vicious cold snap a few weeks ago, and the reason it caught my attention is that it has literally been YEARS since Greebo slept on my bed or my lap!

Then I stumbled across an article on Facebook about keeping your older cats warm in the winter and I was like “Lightbulllllllb…” My poor Greebo was getting cold!


~~ Minx, Greebo and Magic curled up together in our warmed up bedroom ~~

The next night we started using our gas heater – ‘coz we were getting cold too – and I would put a blanket on the floor in front of it for Greebo to curl up on. He immediately made the most of it and he seemed much happier. I also arranged a couple of soft beds in the house in front of the windows I know get a fair amount of sunshine during the day and I increased his food portion (Minx & Magic are also getting extra).

Apparently as cats age – especially as they approach 12 year sold – they can start battling to maintain their body weight and a skinny cat can get sick.
Older cats also develop age-related gripes like battling with their teeth (which Greebo already does) so eating can be painful and supplementing with soft food to keep their weight up may be a good idea.
Keep your eyes on your cat’s weight and if your older furkid continues to lose weight even with a supplemented diet you may want to take a trip to the vet. Remember that your cat most likely won’t show you there’s something wrong until he’s practically at death’s door!


~~ my sweet Greebo asleep on my lap ~~

A Weekend With Wendal

We had another weekend with Service-Dog-in-training Wendal.
The Glugster picked him up from SAGA on his way home and as usual he was as good as gold in the car.


His issue with possessiveness has vastly improved and we can now actually play with toys with no growling from Wendal. There was one funny incident though, on Saturday morning at about 3am Wendal threw up, not a lot, but he got awfully protective over his little puke puddle when he saw Riddick was waking up along with me!



We had a couple of piddles inside the house this weekend so his house training is really coming along – he does tell us he needs to go out but if we make him wait he’ll go and piddle on the lounge floor.


Wendal is such a gentle soul, and he always crosses his front legs when he lies down.


His manners have come a long way too – all the dogs have to SIT WAIT before I let them into or out of the house (thats Wendal in the middle with our Riddick and Penny), or through a closed door inside the house. Wendal now waits for myself or my husband to walk out the door and then follows us outside.
He also does a beautiful SIT WAIT for his food, he’s letting go when I say LEAVE IT and he is responding brilliantly to SPEAK as well. He’s a really quick study and I can see why the trainers at SAGA are all smitten with him.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter.
I also have a Facebook page called Its a Pup’s Life .

My Day Has Been All About Doggy Drama!

I don’t like doggy drama.


The first episode went as follows.

On the way to the station this morning, I saw a black dog on the side of the road. I thought it looked like a Lab, and it was wearing quite a staunch collar. Dogs on the side of the road is never a good thing so I decided I’d keep my eyes open for the dog on the way home.
I saw him again and pulled over. I took the belt off my handbag that I’ve been using as a strap after the old one tore and set off down the road with some treats.
When I found him a security guard outside an office complex was holding his collar gently so I asked if it was his dog. He said no and asked if it was mine. I said no but that I was going to take him with me to get him to safety.
The dog refused the treats I offered but didn’t balk when I put the belt through his collar and he walked nicely with me back to the car. He didn’t want to get into the car though so I lifted him in and he lay down on the seat and stayed that way till I got to my vet. Sadly the camera on my phone is bust and I didn’t have my 35mm with me…
He seems to be a sweet, placid boy albeit with lots of scars and very dirty, but not underfed. I think he may have some Lab in him but he has a thick neck like a Staffie and he’s too small for a Lab. He had a very broad collar on and it looks like he’d been tied up somewhere with a thick plastic ribbon tape as there was a piece attached to the metal collar ring.
My vet said they’d keep him for a few days but I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do now…

The second episode was more upsetting for me!

I’ve told how my sister’s Fox Terrier X Jack Russell puppies, Jake and Scully, are spending a few days a week with me so that I can assist in their training and socialisation.
When I have to leave the house for more than an hour or so I put them in my bathroom with their bed and their toys so they can’t roam the house. When they’re a little older I won’t do it anymore but I have always blocked little puppies in when I have to leave them at home.
When I got home, I let my big dogs smell the car where the foundling had been and I locked the gate and closed the garage door, not in any particular kind of hurry.
When I got to the kitchen I heard a noise over Riddick and Penny’s rowdy greetings – a noise I didn’t recognise. I walked through to my bedroom and realised I was hearing the bath tap! We don’t use the bath because we shower, and its a sunken corner unit in our en-suite.
Little Jake had managed to get into the bath – which isn’t hard – and he had managed to turn on the hot tap! I’m still baffled as to how because the tap has a round knob, it has no grips or protrusions on it.
Poor Jake was jumping up against the side of the bath, which thankfully couldn’t fill up because of the lack of a plug, but the poor boy’s feet were burned by the hot water!
I pulled him out of the bath ad wrapped him in a towel, then ran his back feet under the cold tap and alternated with Bactroban and Germolene as I did. A couple of hours later his little feet were a normal temperature again and he was sleeping without whining. The poor little thing.

I continued doctoring his paw pads with Bactroban and Germolene through the day but he seemed fine by the time my sister C came to fetch them.

I felt so bad for him I wanted to carry him around all day so I could cuddle him better.

NEVER underestimate what your puppy can get up to!


Meet Jake and Scully!

My sister C has adopted two Jack Russell-Fox Terrier-cross puppies and her two-and-a-half year old son, L, named them after one of his favourite TV shows!
Scully has mostly black markings and one blue eye, and Jake has fewer markings and a brown patch over one eye. Jake is a little quicker to catch onto instructions than Scully is, and Scully is the vocal one, even squeaking when he yawns!

As my sister works full day, Jake and Scully are going to be coming to me a few times a week so I can help her house train them and get a start on obedience work. I’ll be working on the usual “sit” and “stay” as well as behavioural things that have no command as such – not biting people as part of play, no growling during play, no kitty chasing, recall,

Being terriers they’re very clever, so it took only a day for them to start responding to “sit” and sitting when its meal time.

Sleepy puppies:




Puppies on puppy missions:





Puppies playing with Penny and Riddick! Penny is very keen to play and follows them around the room – they run under the bed where she can’t reach them and then come bounding out around her. Riddick isn’t quite sure what to do with such tiny puppy dogs, but he is so sweet and so patient with them.







A Weekend With Wendal

We are playing weekend “puppy raisers” to another SAGA Service-Dog-in-training!

This is Wendal.

He’s about a year old and he’s been at SAGA for 3 weeks. They know very little about him as he and his brother were actually SPCA foundlings. His brother has a forever home now, and Wendal here is in training to be a Service Dog for someone with physical disabilities.


Because Wendal wasn’t raised the same way SAGA’s own puppies are raised, he has to learn how to live inside a house now.
He did very well considering, he has already been house trained which is awesome, and he knows basic commands like “sit” and “down”. He’s fabulous on-lead and hasn’t tried to climb onto any of the furniture, though he did jump onto the bed twice in excitement. He has his own bed in our room, as do all our dogs, though they do share and share alike.


He’s on a diet as he’s a little tubby, so we’ll be making sure not to give too many treats. He eats very well though, not rushing through his food and not trying to steal from the other dogs.


He plays well with the other dogs, although he is a little protective of toys he has “found” so we’ll be working on him sharing.
He is learning to wait until I say he may go through a door – coming inside or going outside, as all our dogs must do.
He does well in the car, though he’s a little reluctant to get back into the car after the first “half” of a trip has ended.
He jumps up a little so we’ll be teaching him that thats not allowed, and as with all our dogs the cats’ litter box is like a box of chocolates! Its so gross!



He doesn’t seem interested in the kitchen dustbin at all, though he has jumped up to see whats on the kitchen counter and dining room table.
He’s also doing a bit of “guard dog” barking which we will also be discouraging as working dogs are not watch dogs at all.



You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter.
I also have a Facebook page called Its a Pup’s Life .

Our #PuppyPenny

Her shots are now up to date, rabies and all, and she’ll be 11 months old on the 23rd – according to her age “guestimation” when she was rescued. She hasn’t been microchipped yet but we’ll do that as soon as we have the money.
She weighed 28.2kg on the vet’s scale – where she did a beautiful SIT STAY for a treat – so she’s almost a kilogram heavier than Lennox was at the same age, but she’s still a couple of kilos smaller than Riddick was.


She and Riddick are good friends now, and since Lennox went back to SAGA to start his Guide Dog training she and Riddick are wrestling and playing all day! This is exactly why we decided to adopt a housemate-playmate for Riddick since the two old ladies, Thelma and Louise, do not play at all.


She’s a real daddy’s girl this one… She lies on the bed during the day too, but when her daddy is home she likes to lie against him as much as possible.


Both Riddick and Penny are allowed to sleep on our bed, and now its cold at night they both like to, but when they’re both there there’s no space for us! They take turns though, if Riddick gets his corner first then Penny will eventually tire of getting kicked whilst we sleep and go to sleep on the penny-chewed couch we have moved into our bedroom, or Riddick will get hot and go and sleep in his crate.


And here’s something I didn’t think I’d see soon – Penny, Thelma and Louise sharing the couch! The two old ladies are usually on the couch and don’t normally allow Penny to get on as well, but they’re getting along better every day.


It has literally taken months for Penny-pie to relax, you may remember me mentioning how fast her breathing was when we first brought her home? She now breathes normally and slowly, and she’s panting often – like doggies should! And with her panting I noticed a funny notch in the front of her tongue! You can see it clearly in this picture!

She’s fanTAStic with children, showing no aggression or suspicion and happily playing when they throw things, AND she’s fine with other dogs. We continue to socialise her and she now goes with us when we go visiting as often as possible.

She’s still quite vocal when we play, but its getting better, and she’s no longer constantly growling and whining when she and Riddick are playing. And she now looks at me and not the toy when we’re playing!

Thank you Lab Rescue, for finding and rescuing our Penny.

Out And About

Today we went to visit my in-laws, with our puppies Riddick and Penny in tow.

My husband’s folks have a craft and food market at their house once a month and thanks to car trouble or unreliable vehicles, we haven’t visited since December, so we went along to this month’s one.

Penny and Riddick were as good as gold! They were benched for a lot of the time as I didn’t want them pestering the other patrons or stall owners, or running into the street while exploring. I bought some biltong to reward them with, and at regular intervals we headed out on my in-laws massive property for busies, a walk and to play.
They greeted whomever came up to talk to them – adults and children – and for the most part, Penny being the exception, they ignored my in-laws’ fox terrier too


While we were playing it was sadly obvious just how much vision our Riddick has lost. He spent more time chasing after Penny than the rope frisbee – he seemed to know she’d find it first.
He does use his nose though, so if I roll a toy along the ground and he loses it he tracks it and very often finds it again – if I hold madame Penny back so that he can have a turn.


Sadly, it was during one of these happy chases that our Riddick ran full tilt into the razor wire around the outside border of my in-laws property.
I could see it happening but he didn’t respond to my calls to stop – of course – and I was terrified of what he might look like when I caught up with him!
Thankfully it wasn’t too bad – there’s a cut on the side of his lip, on the front of his left leg, and a graze and some scratches on his nose. It didn’t bleed for very long, and the small cut on his leg scabbed over by the time we left to go home.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the one good thing about razor wire is that it cuts straight, it doesn’t tear.


You can also see in the above picture how he squints his eyes shut when he’s outside. :D

The trip home, which is quite a long drive, usually has all our dogs fast asleep with Riddick in the middle – getting as close to us in the front seat as he can. This time however, once Riddick was asleep Penny continued pacing on the back seat – mostly standing looking out the window, but not settling down. We stopped the car and I tried benching her to the car door so she would stay put but she still wouldn’t settle. By the time we were halfway home she obviously wasn’t going to settle so I undid her leash.
The next thing we knew Riddick was standing on the back seat and Penny was lying in in “his” spot! She wants to be in the middle! Thats no solution though ‘coz they can’t both lie there…

We’re working on a solution of some kind…


Penny is back to normal!
We had a couple of walks, we played some games and had some training sessions, and I focused on acting as if everything was normal. I must remember not to project my stress onto her, it just escalates her anxiety.


Yesterday Penny changed.

I don’t know what happened, but she’s different.

this is winter normality - Penny and Riddick squished on the bed and fast asleep with my Glugster and I

this is our winter normality – Penny and Riddick squished on the bed and fast asleep with my Glugster and I

I woke up at 6am as normal, and she and Riddick were asleep on my bed, as normal.
I let all the dogs out for busies and then they got fed, as normal.
Then when I was about to leave to drop my Glugs off at the station I put them all outside again, as normal.
On my way home I passed my knucklehead who was walking to work. As the traffic was quiet I turned around and dropped him at work as well, and he said he had let Dora in to start working (the maid). Not normal but not unusual.

After I dropped him off I went home via PnP and the post office, and nothing seemed amiss when I got home, although at one point I was calling them all inside and I had to go and look for her and really call her in – she was lying in the sunshine outside and flat ignoring me.
That was odd.

I had lots of work to do, and as usual she and Riddick were on the bed while I worked on emails and quotes.
Then at lunch time I had a doctor’s appointment and Dora needed to go to the bank, so I left again, with the dogs inside the house, and got back a couple of hours later after running an errand.
Nothing seemed too off, they greeted me at the door in a fairly subdued manner which I initially put down to their (her) training not to be boisterous when they hear the door or the gate…

But from then on, she slept on one of the couches in the lounge.

This isn’t a problem, but she doesn’t normally like being where I – and the other dogs – aren’t.

Then I fetched Neels from work, fed the animals, made supper… And Penny stayed in the lounge – even when we were done with supper and relaxing in the bedroom with the TV.

I went and called her, and had to coax her into the room with us, but she wouldn’t get onto the bed. She slept on the floor and when we locked up at 11pm she went into the crate where Riddick normally sleeps. She didn’t sleep on the bed at all and I can’t get her to come to the bed at all.

She’s wary and cautious and it makes me really sad because I don’t know why…

Lennox Has Started His Guide Dog Training

Today is Lennox’s “intake day”.
“Intake day” is the day the guide dog puppies are returned to SAGA to start their formal training with a professional Guide Dog Mobility Instructor.
I got Lennox’s intake day email on the 4th, a few days before his first birthday. I only cried a little… but I had a big lump in my throat all day.

Lennox is starting his training with his brothers Legend and Lenny, and a yellow Lab named Strauss, and they have been allocated to GDMI Joel. We will get an email from Joel at the end of every month to let us know how our boy is doing.

We took some pictures with us and our boy in the morning…



Then it was off to SAGA…





You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter.
I also have a Facebook page called Its a Pup’s Life .

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