Twister Has Grown!

He’s had his latest shots and thanks to the vet who raised him he has no problem getting in and out of the crate or riding in the car.

She came to say hello to him when we were done with his inoculations and she could definitely see he’d grown. We’re getting to know his limitations too – because his eyes aren’t quite right his depth perception is a little off, so when he jumps onto something he occasionally overshoots his mark. :D He loves playing in the bath. A little jingle-ball rolls around like mad when swatted only slightly and he bounces around after it ‘coz it doesn’t really roll away.
He’s happily using the same litter boxes that the other cats use, so they’re all in one bathroom again – he hasn’t messed anywhere else except for his first #2 – which was next to the box, and I simply picked it up and put it in the box and it didn’t happen again.

I got a picture of the underside of Twister’s right front paw, so you can see just how deformed this foot is. The other foot is also “twisted” but not as much as this one.

Twister has no trouble sharing the bed with the dogs, although him being visually challenged doesn’t help him get out the way when my blind Riddick jumps on the bed and practically tramples him!

He is no longer locked away in the spare room except for meal times as he’s still on kitten food and I don’t want the other cats eating his or vice versa. He’s trying very hard to work out how to get onto the chest freezer, which is where the other three cat’s food is and where they eat.

He’s happily roaming the house freely, with Magic the only one who still growls at him. Greebo and Minx aren’t growling, but if he gets too close they take a swat at him as cats do.
He doesn’t pester them though, unlike a very young kitten he backs off the second one of them makes it clear he’s too close.

He’s such a snuggler, sleeping on our bed between my Glugster and I, and sleeping on top of my Glugster when he has the chance!

He’s responding nicely to “No!”, with a tap on his nose if he ignores me. I don’t want him climbing on our laptops or climbing the curtains, and the spray bottle works wonders too.

Thelma and Louise…

I had to giggle last night…
When we brought the dogs inside after their last “busy”, Thelma and Louise went straight into the walk-in cupboard where they sleep, but Thelma slammed on brakes and at first refused to go in!
Thelma and Louise each have a cushion, and Twister was lying on one of them!
When we adopted Thelma and Louise, I trained them that the cats were out of bounds so if the cats do get on their cushions they steer clear!
The walk-in doesn’t have a door BTW.
The space is as big as it is in the picture, they each have a bed ‘coz they don’t snuggle even with each other, and I block the door with a kist so they don’t roam at night.
I also put them in there during a thunderstorm or fireworks as Louise barks at very loud noises and their “kennel” makes them feel safe.

Patrick Has Started His Guide Dog Training

We took Patrick back to the SA Guide-dogs Association on Monday, and then had a meeting with GDMI Percy to chat about our puppy’s likes and behaviour.

Before we took him to kennels we had a bit of a game in the free-run area, I love to see how he “laughs” when he runs towards me!

He only looked back once as he was led off to his new kennel (and eventually partnered with Wanja), and I was a little heart sore to see him go without worrying about me – but I do like his confidence.

Our house is strangely empty without our snuggly Patrick… even with four of our own dogs and four cats!

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Welcome Twister!

20150309_214945Little Twister has joined our family! 20150309_170042We adopted this little furball from Vorna Valley Animal Hospital on March 6th 2015 – he’s about 4 months old. 20150309_170117He was found as a tiny, abandoned kitten, with eyes so badly infected they didn’t think they’d be able to save his eyes never mind hope for some vision. He can see enough to jump onto furniture and play with toys so he’s quite independent, though he has no peripheral vision. 20150309_170138His front toes are slightly deformed and the end of his tail is twirled over and curled almost like a pig’s tail! 20150309_170355

I introduced him to two of our dogs- Riddick and Penny- and whilst Penny was keen to meet him Riddick was only interested in the treats I was offering. Penny wasn’t aggressive at all and the kitten didn’t bat an eyelid – he rubbed himself against Riddick and even nose-bumped Penny when she sniffed him!20150309_170402 He’s very lovable but he doesn’t like to be picked up and held – JUST like our other cats, Greebo, Magic & Minx!20150309_214922 He is still isolated from the rest of the house and the other animals, and I am putting little bits of catnip along the bottom of the door so that whenever the other cats smell him they get a whiff of the catnip too. I’m going to rub him full of catnip when I open the door to the other cats!20150309_214936I briefly introduced Greebo and Minx (one at a time) to the new baby and he seemed quite indifferent to them, but they weren’t impressed with him at all, it was early days though… I let our Riddick into the room to meet the new baby as well and he was only interested in finding the new baby’s food! 20150309_215037

And we got a kitty toy as a present from our friends – one of those tubes with crinkly paper in the ends and a couple of holes in the top for him to jump through, and he loves it!20150309_215101Tomorrow it will be a week since we fetched him from the vet so we will soon be letting him out of the room to interact with the other cats.

Our Time With Patrick Is Almost Up

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We got the dreaded email from SA Guide-dogs
Patrick goes back to GDA on Monday March 23rd to start his formal Guide Dog training, and we will have a meeting with two Guide Dog Mobility Instructors that morning – one of whom will become Patrick’s trainer.
His assessments so far have been going well, and we have a final training walk with our Puppy Development Supervisor at a mall on the 17th.
I admit I am a smidge concerned about his suspicion issues… I was pretty sure we’d sorted it out since there have been so few occurrences… but there are indicators that its still there. :(

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Patrick, Riddick and Penny in the car with me, waiting for their daddy at the Gautrain station

He is a really lovable sweetheart, and still very much a puppy!
He loves to lie close to his mommy, sleeping right next to my bed most of the time.

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We had a fabulous outing to Sandton City yesterday morning!
I called the centre management the day before and then GDA sent them an email confirming that I am one of their puppy raisers and that Patrick is one of their puppies, and it made the visit such a pleasure. The security guards throughout the mall were obviously keeping an eye on us as we made our rounds but we weren’t stopped by anyone, anywhere!
He barked once at a man who suddenly appeared behind us in the CNA and started talking to us, and there was a moment in Edgars when an employee was standing behind a table full of down duvets that caught Patrick’s attention. He didn’t see the man at first but I managed to distract him when he did spot him ‘coz I could see he was about to bark.
When we arrived at Sandton City we had gone up in the lift from the parking lot, but there were other people in the lift so he couldn’t see out through the glass walls. When we left though, the lift was empty so we could see all around us, and the first time it went down a floor he was a little nervous – walking around me in a circle with his tail straight down. So we rode the lift up and down a few times with some high value biltong treats as encouragement for staying calm. He was much happier when we left but I think we must try and do glass lifts again soon.

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He spent the week before last in kennels, from the Monday morning – after a training exercise – to the Friday afternoon, with various kennel-mates (they don’t leave the youngsters alone in kennels unless they aren’t well or are recovering from surgery) and our PDS said he did fine.
It was really strange not having him at home though… Its always a little surprising at how big a hole our puppy’s absence creates in our lives.

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Over the weekend we spent a few hours at the Coca Cola Dome for the Hobby-X expo, helping sell raffle tickets at the GDA stall. Patrick was very well behaved and he got lots of attention and he slept all the way home!

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Penny’s Eye…

The weekend before last I noticed that the hair around Penny’s left eye looked a little sparse, but there was only a slight different to the right eye so I decided just to keep an eye on it.
On the Sunday though there was a marked difference so I started with an application of Germolene a couple of times a day as she wasn’t scratching at it and it wasn’t weeping.
Medicating Penny is a whole ‘nother kettle of bananas though! I have to sneak up on her when she’s sleeping ‘coz if she even hears my bedside drawer opening she’s up and running!

Here’s a picture from the 8th of Feb and you can see the left eye looks very different to the right…

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And here’s a picture from this morning – the Germolene and Bactroban didn’t seem to be helping so we went to see the vet this morning.

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She was so excited to be going out! She starts making this high-pitched whistle when I put her walking collar and leash on her, and she can’t WAIT to get in the car!

She was quite well behaved at the vet, excited and squeaky, but she listened and came to me when I offered her a treat. She got on the scale but she didn’t sit still long enough for the scale to settle so we know she weighs between 28.5 and 29kg. The vet and the receptionist were surprised by her weight ‘coz when she’s on her own she doesn’t look that big, and the vet had to lift her up onto the exam table!
I got her to down-stay on the exam table and after a bit of a tussle she allowed the vet to get a good look at her face with my “let me see” instruction – it went better than I thought it would! Then he took a scraping sample using a scalpel blade so she had to hold dead still while he did that, and she listened! I was very pleased, but a vet who has a firm, gentle hand makes a big difference. He went off to look under the microscope so I made her stay on the table. She was a bit restless but it was easier than I thought it would be.
The vet found no mites and doesn’t think its ringworm, so he’s started her on F10 ointment twice a day – a germicidal/ fungal barrier cream. If her eye is no better – or worse – within three days, we have to go back.

Hopefully that won’t be necessary, and I am keeping an eye on the other dogs just in case whatever is is is contagious.

Its Our Patrick’s First Birthday

Patrick is 52 weeks old AND its his first birthday today – happy birthday to Patrick and his siblings Parsley, Pedro, Prada and Preston!

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He weighed 33.05kg on the vet’s scale this morning so he’s definitely stopped growing.

We had a busy day today! I had to go to the doctor to get some new prescriptions and have some blood tests done and Patrick was very well behaved. There was one lady who screamed when she saw him and he jumped and barked at her, but he quickly settled when I told him to leave it and stay down.

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Then we headed for GDA to collect food for Patrick and drop off some books for their collection drive before going to Kadies to get some cake decorating supplies. They know our puppies well at Kadies, getting to know them as they grow up so they always get a cuddle and a chat when they go there.
Then we headed home where a hot, tired Patrick drank a whole lot of water and fell asleep!

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And here are some pictures of Patrick playing in the garden with Penny and Riddick. For whatever reason he’s never learned how to pick up the 4EverBall so even though he often gets to it first he never gets to pick it up and bring it back. He plays well with the other dogs though, playing catch with Penny and wrestling with Riddick. And visiting dogs have a ball too.

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Happy happy birthday Patrick! Soon we’ll be getting the almost-dreaded email with the date in it for when you have to go back to Guide-dogs to start your formal training and you will be leaving us, but you are a treasure indeed!

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Penny Is A Mutt Indeed…

Remember we sent Penny’s saliva swabs to MuttMix in December for a DNA test?
You will never guess what her results are, and BOY were we far off the mark!!

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So, keep this statement in mind when you see Penny’s results:
The MuttMix test is based upon our database of AKC™ (American Kennel Club) and South African
recognized breeds. If your dog contains other breeds not in our database, that DNA may assign to
the most closely related breed or breeds, or may result in the identification of breeds earlier in your
pet’s history and may therefore provide a seemingly unlikely result for your dog. For a complete list of
the breeds currently found in our database, please visit our website at http://www.muttmix.co.za

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The couch damage is all Penny too!

So here is our Penny’s certificate:

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Level2 (37-74%) Miniature Pinscher Level3 (20-36%) Bullmastiff Level4 (10-19%) Cocker Spaniel

No Vizsla, Brittany, Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer, Labrador or even Greyhound! Seems crazy doesn’t it!? We’re still giggling!
Now check out some info on the breeds:

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Does this sound like Penny or what!??! Stubborn, smart, demanding and headstrong, love to bark, may show aggression to other dogs…
Reading up on them I found that Bullmastiffs were bred to guard game and catch poachers so they are fast, and they need a gentle firm hand in training – let them go their own way and they’ll soon be running things and early socialisation is essential. “Bullmastiffs need early training that continues throughout their life. Training and socialization help curb unwanted aggression and willfulness.
The Miniature Pinscher, or Min Pin is a small, well muscled dog with a dynamite personality. Contrary to popular belief it is not related to the Doberman at all and was bred to hunt rats. It also needs a firm hand in training and is apparently a bit of an escape artist, and loving attention they may act up to elicit a response. “Without proper training and supervision, he can quickly become a tyrant in the household.
The Cocker Spaniel is also a hunting dog with a sensitive personality. If they’re in pain or afraid they may growl or snap and if they’re bored they resort to digging and barking, they may also be hard to house train.
All three breeds are fabulous as affectionate, make great family pets, wanting to be with their people.

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There’s a lot of our Penny in there!
She obviously gets her size from the Bullmastiff. Loving her voice, the shape of her body and clowning for attention is from the Min Pin. She gets her high prey-drive and her red colour from all three breeds. Her energy level is Min Pin, as is her love of bolting through an open gate. The house training battle and her love of digging holes is from the Cocker Spaniel.
Considering she spent the first six months of her life without training or socialisation, tied to the tow-hitch on a truck with a leash and generally abused she’s doing really well. All three breeds are not the easiest to train and need work from puppyhood to be well adjusted.

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Of course now I am even more curious about her! I wish I could have seen her parents and her siblings!

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So she’s an honourary Lab ‘coz we adopted her from Lab Rescue, but she’s actually a Miniature Bull Spaniel! :D

Patrick is 51 Weeks Old

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Patrick is 51 weeks old and he weighed 33kg on the vet’s scale this morning.

He is so good in the car, and he doesn’t just come bouncing out of the car when I open the door either, he stays put even if I haven’t said “wait” yet, then I can put his jacket on and tell him “jump out”.

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On Friday night after we did some groceries we decided to have supper at the Food Lovers Market Cafe and Patrick went along. He had a few people greet him, he popped up to see what was going on when they brought us our food, and he barked twice when a man walked up the spiral staircase inside the restaurant – from Patrick’s viewpoint he seemed to come up through the floor! We then went to check out the staircase and when someone else came up the stairs he didn’t react at all.

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On Saturday we were at the President Hyper in Krugersdorp with the Lions to raise funds and spread awareness for SA Guide-dogs and Patrick was so great! He greeted everyone with a tail wag and the sights and sounds of the mall didn’t worry him at all.

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puppy-in-training Bowie and puppy-in-training Patrick

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puppy-in-training Patrick was worn out when we started packing up the stand

Patrick is great with other dogs too. He and housemates Riddick and Penny get on so well, playing and wrestling and chasing. And if one of them is napping on the floor he’ll try and snuggle up – although neither of them are snugglers at all. He even tries to engage with the two grumpy “old ladies” Thelma and Louise!
Here he and Riddick are playing lazily on the bedroom floor:

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And here he and Penny are wrestling on the living room floor:20150131_072740_PatrickPenny - Copy

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He loves the cool of the doorway…

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And he loves a snuggle with mommy… He sleeps next to the bed (‘coz he’s not allowed on it) and he rests his head on my knee or on the bed if he wants a cuddle or needs to go out.

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me having a cup of coffee…

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me having a cup of coffee…

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Patrick’s Progress…

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On Monday Patrick weighed 32.8kg on the vet’s scale, a little up on last week but his weight has definitely stabilised.
He is so good in the car, sitting or lying quietly on the back seat once its moving and very keen to hop in and ride along whenever he can.
And he doesn’t just come bouncing out of the car when I open the door either, he stays put even if I haven’t said “wait” yet, then I can put his jacket on and tell him “jump out”.

We continue to work on obedience like “sit”, “stay”, “down” and so forth, and his “leave it” is great. We do battle a bit with dog distraction when we’re out walking, but he listens when you talk to him.

This weekend we’ll be spending time at a shopping mall with the Lions to sell raffle tickets an spread awareness – come and see us at the President Hyper in Krugersdorp.

Patrick loves sleeping in the open doorway!

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When Patrick wants to go outside or thinks he needs a cuddle, he comes up to me and if he can he leans his head on my lap, otherwise the edge of the bed or couch will do.

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Patrick likes to be where his people are, just like his housemates. My kitchen is not very big at all but I share the floor space with my furkids.

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Yesterday we had a training/ assessment session with our Puppy Development Supervisor, along with Patrick’s sister Prada and puppy-in-training West as they will soon be a year old.
We walked around the training centre, did some obedience work, had the pups climb into and out of the training trucks, climb on the scale, and walk inside the offices practising waiting at doorways. Patrick’s sister Prada is a good kilo heavier than he is (and I saw his brother Preston while we were there – also a BIG boy), and West is a dainty 23kg.
I was SO proud of Patrick!
Even his dog distraction was under control when we walked past the training kennels!

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Puppy-in-training west

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Puppy-in-training Prada

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