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…


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.








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!!


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


The couch damage is all Penny too!

So here is our Penny’s certificate:

MuttMix_Penny Certificate (BP04040)-page-001

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:

MuttMix_Penny Breed Info (BP04040)-page-001

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.


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!


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…


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick’s Progress…


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!



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.


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.


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!


Puppy-in-training west


Puppy-in-training Prada


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Our Kitties…

We came home from an afternoon out on the weekend, and found this!


Magic, Minx and Greebo sharing the couch in the lounge!

Twelve Weeks With Patrick

Patrick is 49 weeks old and he weighed 32.4kg on the vet’s scale on Monday morning. I think his weight has now stabilised and I don’t think he’ll grow much more.
He’s so comfortable on the vet scale now, he lies down on it while I try to take a picture!


He still pulls me a little bit when we’re walking but its not dreadful, and the dog distraction remains a problem but he listens when you talk and unless the dogs he sees are really excited he can ignore them.


here’s Penny, Patrick and Riddick (and Louise in the background) doing a SIT-WAIT before I give the OKAY to come inside


how can he be comfy sleeping half off the cushion!?! :D


no-body can do “puppy eyes” like Patrick!

We’re doing ongoing work on his obedience like sit/ down/ stay/ leave it and so on, but he’s still a little impatient when I tell him to wait before heading through a door! He’s very eager to please though and he tries hard.
I was at SA Guide-dogs one morning last week for something, so to work on his dog distraction I took him with me and we watched the 9 week old pups at puppy class, and he got to interact with them during their free play. He was so good and so gentle with them. Then I popped him into a kennel for a while whilst I saw the people I was there to see.


watching the 9 week old “K” pups at puppy class

He’s such a snuggly shnookums… When he wants some attention he’ll come and stand next to the bed, resting his chin on the mattress, and if I make eye contact his tail wags furiously and he gets a happy wiggle! He’s still a little mouthy but its a lot less and there’s no pressure in his “bite” (for lack of a better word).

We have a bit of a recall issue too… I managed to jam the gate when I came home yesterday morning, so Dora had to come and help me. Riddick, Penny and Patrick followed her, and once we got the gate unstuck I decided to take a chance on the dogs staying put and opened it to drive in – we’ve done a lot of work on this.
Riddick and Patrick immediately did a SIT-STAY like they’ve been taught, but Penny SHOT out like she’d heard a starter’s pistol and as she hit the tar road, Patrick and Riddick followed.
I got Penny and Patrick back quickly, Patrick was close on Penny’s tail as she ran from gate to gate and they ran back towards a pair of Labs two houses down from us, then I went back out for Riddick, who was sniffing each gate as he went along and trying to head back to me between gates – but in the sunshine he couldn’t see me and going to the gates meant he was going right up to them and pressing his nose to the bars!
It was very annoying and more than a little scary!

He’s still on Bob Martin’s puppy food twice a day, 3 cups a day to maintain his now ideal weight – 1 cup in the morning and 2 cups for supper, the same way they are fed when on training at GDA.

And we got an email from Guide-dogs kennels last week, Patrick will most likely be going back to start his formal training in March, so we have a little longer with him than we thought we’d have.


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

Patrick is Eleven Months Old!

I can’t believe we only have a month left with this boy! I know he was already almost 9 months old when he came to us, but the time has gone by so fast!
He weighs 32.35kg on the vet scale and he’s 57cm tall at the shoulder. He has a beautiful stocky build and a broad head, and he has droopy eyes which enable him to give you the “puppy eyes” look like a pro!


Does he have the puppy eyes mastered, or what?!

He’s 11 months old today, and we love him to death! He is so sweet and gentle. He rarely barks and when he gets excited he has a funny squeaky whine.

As is typical of a Labrador Retriever, he loves to be where his people are. He sleeps next to my bed, he nose-butts my leg or hand if he wants attention and he will use his nose to try and lift my hand onto his head for a cuddle. He comes to my side of the bed and sits down, leaning his head on the mattress and trying to high five me, looking up at me with those eyes!

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His loose-leash walk is pretty good and I’m happy with it, and he listens really well when we’re out walking.
He is a little dog distracted, but in our neighbourhood EVERY house has at least one dog so its very hard for a puppy not to get distracted by other dogs!
He does not respond to garden services, lawnmowers or weed eaters apart from wrinkling his forehead, and he’s not at all phased by the big rubbish bins put onto the street every week.
I’m so pleased with how well he’s doing with us.

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Over Christmas we had quite a busy house, and we went out quite a lot too.
We went shopping and we went to a Christmas market at my inlaws which is a good hour in the car (one way), and he was as good as gold! He greeted other visitors to the market and slept all the way there and home again.
Patrick got to socialise with several other dogs too – a friends’ Lab Chuck and her rescue X Caileigh, GSD Bonzai, GSD-Husky X pup George, Frenchies Tyrion and Rhaegar, and small mixed breeds Chloe and Snowy.
He gets on so well with our Riddick and Penny, and he has no trouble with other dogs and if they have a leash attached he’ll try to take them for a walk! Its so funny!


The fireworks in our neighbourhood were especially loud this last New Year’s Eve, but we stayed home and made sure there was no adverse reaction from any of the dogs. They all jump when there’s a really loud bang that sounds like its right over our house, but so do the humans! Otherwise Patrick is nonplussed by the noise.

He’s doing so well with his training!


You can find SA Guide-dogs for the Blind on Facebook and on Twitter
Check out my Facebook page: Its a Pup’s Life

And Now Thelma…

In October, our Thelma had a funny “episode”. Something we hadn’t seen her do before.

She got restless one evening – which is very unusual for her – and then she looked like she had a slow muscle spasm, making her body curl around on itself, and she was walking with a weird gait – stretching her feet out ahead of her… The she stood still, almost as if she was stretching after a nap – front feet out, bum in the air – but her tail was curled down tight between her legs. I went to her and she was quivering all over.
Tonight she had another one. This time she didn’t stay on her feet though and I helped her lie on her side

As I did the first time, I kept one hand on her chest and gently stroked her back and ribs with the other, reassuring her like I do Louise when she has an epileptic seizure. A big difference being that Louise isn’t “there” when she seizes, whilst Thelma is aware of me and responds to her name by looking up at me – albeit with only her eyes.

It lasted about 5 minutes both times, and when her body relaxed she was herself again, happily hopping back up onto the couch where she normally lies.

I knew the first time that it wasn’t epilepsy, but since Louise is epileptic and we are pretty sure they are at least sisters if not mother and daughter, we started looking for doggy issues that sound like what she had gone through.

My Glugster came across a couple of websites about CECS, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome.

As Wikipedia says “Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), also known as Spike’s Disease (… or… Border Terrier’s Disease) is a hereditary canine disease with similarities to canine epilepsy, and is often associated with Border Terriers. CECS is a recently recognized problem which is theorised as being a metabolic, neurological or muscle disorder, but the cause has not yet been identified.

Unlike the aftermath of Louise’s seizures, Thelma doesn’t seem to experience any ill-effects after one of these episodes. She’s conscious, she doesn’t lose control of her bladder or bowels, she’s not drowsy and she doesn’t seem unbalanced at all.

According to another more comprehensive CECS website, some dogs have several episodes a day whilst some only experience one or two in their lifetime, and this is part of what is making it hard to analyse.
It is also not as obvious as an epileptic seizure, and unless you are with your dog a lot you may never notice anything. They don’t seem to be in pain, they’re conscious, and they respond to you calling them – looking a little drunk when they try to mover as their muscles don’t seem to respond properly.

There are videos on the CECS website and they are hard to watch.

We’re going to keep an eye on Thelma, and I will be speaking to my vet but I don’t think they will know how to test for anything…


This Blog’s 2014 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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