Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Pack Walk, Apples and Walking in the Dark!

Group Photo
On Sunday morning Hugo obviously knew that something was going to happen because he was up and raring to go at quarter to six in the morning and wanted everyone to know he was ready for whatever it was. It was the day of the Akita Rescue Welfare pack walk in Stoke on Trent and I was going to take Hugo and Pip on my own to join in. After a quick walk on the common so that we were all comfortable for the two hour journey we set off. Hugo and Pip were mostly very well behaved in the car and lay down when I shouted at them - Hugo is a nightmare for standing crossways on and blocking the view out the rear window just as you are at a vital spot on the motorway like getting on the M6!

Unfortunately, just as we reached Westport Lake, our destination, it started to throw it down with rain so we met our fellow walkers in a huddle at the back of a building. It didn't last long though and we set off around the lakes, 15 Akitas in total. All were beautifully behaved and Hugo and Pip thoroughly enjoyed themselves by paddling in the water whenever they could. Needless to say, they were exhausted after an hour and a half of all this excitement and they slept all the way back in the car. Thanks to Robbie Hadfield for the pictures here which are some of my favourites of the day.

When I last saw my parents my Dad gave me a bag of Egremont Russet apples which are one of my favourite varieties. Hugo and Pip have never shown any interest in apples before but as soon as I began munching on one Hugo got very excited so I started biting bits off for him to eat - of course, Miss Pip had to have some as well but she was only really taking them because she didn't want Hugo to have them. Hugo is very keen as soon as he sees one of these apples appear and if you dare to throw the core in the bin he rummages in there to get it out and eats it, pips and all! Funnily enough
though, when I was peeling some windfalls of another variety and making them in to apple sauce to freeze, Hugo took one piece and spat it out so think he has very selective taste buds.

The nights are getting dark much earlier now the clocks have changed so I am taking Hugo and Pip on a walk as soon as I get home from work. It is getting very gloomy by the time we get back to the car and Pip isn't too keen on the dark so we might have to stick to the streets and park where it is lit for a while. Tonight we were a bit later going out and Toby wanted to pop in to town so he dropped us off on Rodborough Common and we set off down a rough track as it gradually got darker and darker. There were a couple of other people still on the Common but it was very hard to see and after half an hour or so we turned back. Pip was getting more skitish and nervous by the minute and she nearly jumped out of her skin when a runner appeared alongside us, wearing a head torch. We got back to the car park and had to wait a few minutes before Toby picked us up so Hugo amused himself by climbing up a bank so he had a good view of the road. As soon as Toby pulled in Miss Pip rushed over to the car, jumping up at the boot as if to say 'let me in, let me in!" Needless to say the minute the boot was open she leapt in and she then put her head over my shoulder for the first mile or so of the journey home.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Eau de Wet Dog!

Yesterday I took Hugo and Pip up on to Selsley Common, it was very dull and overcast but not actually raining. Until, of course, we were 10 minutes in to the walk and you could see the black clouds rapidly approaching and, even worse, hear the rumble of thunder. For those of you who do not know it, Selsley is at the top of a hill with fantastic views over the Severn valley but it is very bleak when the weather turns bad with winds whistling up the side of the hill. 

Pip drying off under her blanket
I quickly decided to cut the walk short and we started to loop back when the heavens opened. I dared not shelter under one of the very few trees on the Common just in case there was any lightening accompanying the thunder and thought the best thing to do was brave it out and keep walking. The rain became torrential - huge, hard drops, almost like hail, that stung and blinded us as well as totally soaking us to the skin. Hugo, Pip and I were absolutely dripping. Pip did not seem to mind at all and just carried on her normal spinning round in circles, sniffing and rummaging in the undergrowth. Hugo, on the other hand, was not amused! His ears were flat back and his eyes almost closed and I virtually had to drag him to make him walk. At last we got back to the car (I had borrowed Martin, my OHs as Toby had mine) and we all leapt in. The whole inside of the car was saturated as Hugo and Pip shook and I dripped everywhere. When we got home Pip was easily dried with a towel but Hugo wasn't so keen and they were both still a bit damp at bedtime.

Hugo's puppy pink feet
This afternoon I had to fit in walking Hugo and Pip with picking Toby up from work and collecting some paperwork so I took them up on Minchinhampton Common which is very flat with just an odd tree on it (oh, yes, cows as well). Would you believe it, just after we had set off it started to rain again and gradually got worse and worse so we did take shelter under a tree - when I say tree it was one of those hard bitten things that takes all the brunt of the winds and was more like a bush on a stem. It did protect us to a certain degree and Hugo and I stood close to the trunk out of the worst of the rain. Miss Pip though, refused point blank to take shelter and stood at the full stretch of the extender lead out in the open with her head pointing in the the wind and rain which was, by now, falling almost parallel to the ground. She looked like a spiky hedgehog by the time we got back in the car (mine today) and threw ourselves inside. Another steamed up, soaking wet car interior for the second day running.

Everywhere I go at the moment I get the waft of wet dog!! Not very pleasant and rather hoping we don't get visitors for a few days - I've already had to apologise profusely to people I have given a lift too and had to leave the windows open as we drove along as the smell was so bad. The plus side is that Hugo and Pip are lovely and clean at the moment and the pads on Hugo's feet have gone puppy pink again now that all the dirt and mud has been washed away.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mother to the rescue!

In the bedroom - Pip prefers the comfort
 of the bed
In the bedroom - whereas Hugo prefers
to be nosey!

Walking on Selsley Common - this is what happens
when you take two dogs on your own and you
meet a marker post! - you need to watch to the end.

I took Hugo and Pip up on the common as usual this afternoon and we had a lovely walk, especially as we weren't bothered by any off-lead dogs. However, we did encounter something just as bad on the way back - off-lead cows!! Normally they do not take any notice of us at all, however hard Hugo tries to challenge them to a fight. Today, though we were walking about 10 feet away from one of them and Hugo had his eyes firmly fixed on another dog in the distance when, all of a sudden, the cow (which had massive horns!) put down it's head and started to charge, obviously with the intention of tossing him in the air. Hugo stood stock still, staring at it so I, brave mother that I am, yanked him back and rushed forward myself, virtually growling at the cow and banging the cases of the two extender leads together. The cow didn't stand a chance really and backed off much to our relief. And where was Pip in all this - hiding behind my legs. Honestly, I thought they were meant to protect me, not the other way around.

Friday, 6 September 2013

A ripping time!

Let sleeping dogs lie!
Got home from work on Wednesday and went upstairs to get changed ready to take Hugo and Pip on a walk but was greeted with a huge rip in our brand new duvet cover! When asked "who did this?" in a very loud voice, Hugo and Pip slunk off up the garden. I was so cross with them I made Toby put the child gate back up which we had taken down a couple of weeks ago and I made them stay out in the kitchen and garden for an hour or so - and I didn't take them for a walk - nasty Mummy!! Martin wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and thought one of them might have caught their nail in the cover as they jumped off the bed causing it to tear but that does not explain the teeth marks or the chewed up sock that was also on the bed.

On Thursday, not wanting a repeat of the duvet incident, I left them behind the child gate in the kitchen. When I came home they had chewed up their own blankets in to little pieces all over the kitchen floor. At this rate they will be sleeping on the bare floor.

Today it was raining and it was very dark so Hugo and Pip were very sleepy and I did not have the heart to turf them out of the living room when I went to work. When I got home I thought all was well until I saw Daniel - he had come in to find his Egyptian scarf in shreds all over the carpet!

Don't know about sleeping on the bare floor, they are definitely heading for the dog house!!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Furry Alarm Clocks and UFOs

Chilling on the decking

All this week I have had to get up at 5.45am to get Toby to work for 7am and Hugo and Pip have not been amused - they have remained lying down at the foot of the bed barely lifting an eye-lid as I climb over them and Martin has had to call them down at 7am to take them for a walk. So, why, oh why, when it is a Saturday and we can all have a lie in do that they decide 6am is a good time to get up and start jumping up and down on the bed?!! It is all very well trying to ignore them but they KNOW we are awake. They first start by charging up and down the stairs like a herd of elephants, dropping the occasional bone so it would bounce on every step. Hugo then lifts the curtain up so he can look out the window, letting in the light and Pip stands there woo wooing with a tissue in her mouth. Hugo then went and had a long drink out the toilet and came back to jump up on the bed trying to lick us while Pip came in with a wet face flannel she had found in the bathroom!! Think they were trying to tell us something. In the end Martin gave in and went and made a cup of tea and bought their biscuits back up to bed. As soon as they had had them they settled down and went back to sleep - we, of course, were wide awake. Thanks Hugo and Pip, you make great alarm clocks but not on a Saturday, please!

Selsley Common is a beautiful open space that is perched on the top of a hill and when you get to the far side you are greeted by fantastic views over the Severn Valley with the Black Mountains in the distance. It is a very popular place for flying model aeroplanes and paragliding as the thermals are good. As I was walking Hugo and Pip up there the other afternoon we suddenly had to duck as a very large model aeroplane glided straight over our heads and crashed in to the grass behind us - Pip was ready to kill it as she saw it approaching and I think she would have pounced on it when it hit the ground if I had not made her walk quickly away. 

On another evening some youngsters were flying kites which both Hugo and Pip were very interested in and they were constantly looking back over their shoulders and up in to the sky to watch what was happening - a tasty treat perhaps! As we rounded the mound right on the edge of the common where the hill drops away Hugo and Pip stopped dead in their tracks as this giant 'bird' took off with a whoosh and both of them darted towards it as it floated off over the edge. Fortunately the extender leads came in to their own and stopped them before they flew over the edge after this giant creature.- yes, you've guessed what it was, a paraglider with a man strapped in to his 'sleeping bag' hanging underneath. Think he was quite glad when the air currents swept him upwards otherwise he might have had a couple of passengers hanging on to him!

Hugo gets a bit jealous when Pip is getting a fuss!
On Thursday there was a bit of excitement up on the Common, which only allows cars to park on the very edge. As we reached the crest of the hill we spotted a gazebo with two vans and loads of people messing with a camera As they were right on the path we normally take we decided to go in the opposite direction and we saw a young girl in a high vis. jacket who was obviously part of the group. Hugo and Pip liked her as she made a great fuss of them and I asked her what was happening. She told us they were filming a commercial for Freeview, taking advantage of the beautiful scenery in to the valley. As we walked away there was a sudden whirring noise and a model helicopter took off with a camera attached underneath - it went right over the top of us, causing Hugo and Pip to spin round trying to watch it's progress and getting very excited in general. So, if you see an advert on Freeview where you can see a fat lady in a blue and white striped top with two bears prancing around and a herd of cows close by - its us!!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

River walk

Getting their feet wet
My eldest son, Daniel, wanted a lift on Thursday so I said I would put the dogs in the car and take them up on the Common after dropping him off. Instead he suggested he would take us to some fields at the back of the houses where he was going and so introduced us to a fantastic place that is only a mile from home which I did not know existed despite having lived here for 27 years!

Getting braver
Pip almost swimming!
We parked the car up and walked over a bridge and then through a kissing gate in to the first field which was quite overgrown with just a track going through it. Not a soul in site and the dogs, Pip in particular, loved the tall grass to bound through and sniff out wonderful new smells. Through the next field Daniel took us slightly off track and showed us a beautiful little river, fairly shallow with a sandy beach to stand on. Hugo was straight there, drinking down the clear, sparkling water and even Pip, who is always a little cautious about getting her feet wet, had a quick slurp. We walked on further through a couple of other fields with luscious green grass, completely remote from roads or buildings in brilliant, warm sunshine. It was absolutely beautiful and I couldn't believe that I did not know about this place before - I suspect the locals keep it very much secret! We walked for a good mile and then headed back but made sure that we went back to the little beach we had found on the way through so the dogs could have a drink before we got back in the car. Hugo was straight in the water and you could see the happy look on his face as he waded up stream, lapping the water as he went. He is normally happy to paddle in the water so long as it does not touch his tummy so there was nothing unusual in this at all. Then, much to our surprise, Miss Pip edged her way in too, very gingerly at first but getting braver and braver. She was grinning from ear to ear and found that the water varied in depth and was in raptures when she found a spot that almost covered her. Very gently she raised one front paw and then the other and she was very nearly swimming. In the end Pip was much wetter than Hugo and they had a glorious time, cooling off in the water. An absolutely magical walk which we, no doubt, will be doing again.

A couple of weeks ago someone had scraped a hole in the duvet cover on our bed so I went and bought a new one. At the same time I bought a lovely soft, fleecy throw to put on the bed when we weren't in it to, hopefully, protect the covers beneath. On Friday morning Martin (my OH) had fun and games trying to put the throw on the bed because Madame (Miss Pip) thought it was fun to lie on the bed and then push the cover off every time he tried to put it on but he eventually managed it. Martin went to work and I went shopping - I only left them for an hour but when I came back and went upstairs I found the cover had been scrunched up across the bed. As I pulled it straight I found two holes in it .......Pip!!!!!!!

Hugo has always had a fear of Hoovers  towels and hair-dryers but I have now found another way to get him to vacate the living room - simply produce a brush and he is off in seconds. He stands in the doorway, tail wagging, but refusing to come back in when you call him and then slinks off upstairs.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Growing up.

Hugo & Pip at Paws in the Park Birmingham

On Sunday Hugo and Pip took us to Paws in the Park in Birmingham to meet up with all their friends from Akita Rescue and Welfare. We had a brilliant day and the rain held off - the dogs were all very well behaved and as long as we kept Hugo, Obi, Princess Tia and Tyson apart (all like to be dominant) there were no issues. The dogs were particularly happy that the ARW stand was right next to the burger van and tasty scraps of food were on hand throughout the day. It was at this very event one year ago that we met Pip for the first time and a few weeks later came home with us for good. We can't believe how much she has grown in that time. Needless to say we had two very tired bears in the car on the way home and they forewent any offers of tea or walks before bedtime (think the burgers might have suppressed their appetites anyway!).

As you may already know we have a Fiat Panda which is not the biggest car in the world but we love it. When Hugo and Pip travel in the car it has always been a bit of a concern how close they are to the driver and Hugo, in particular, likes to stand breathing down your neck. For safety reasons we have been looking at different car guards and decided to try a net instead and it was on this journey to Paws in the Park that we tried it out. Hugo was not impressed but found he could put his head over with his chin resting on top of the net - it did keep him back a bit and it would have stopped them flying through the gap if we had to stop suddenly so think it will do the trick. Later in the week Toby raised it up a bit but naughty Hugo found this position was far better and he could worm his way underneath so it's back to the original way from now on! 

Hugo behind the net in the car - not impressed!

Chilling out on the journey home
As I have been off work for the last fortnight I have been continuing with taking Hugo and Pip up on to Selsley Common each day on my own. Following some comments with our Akita friends I wanted to try and be a bit more relaxed when approaching other dogs. Up to now I have tended to reign Hugo and Pip right in, standing still with them held close to me until it is safe to let them go on a longer lead again. Was this making them (Hugo more than Pip) anxious and more determined to try and get to the other dogs? On Monday I set off and we first met a man with two off-lead dogs - a whippet and a terrier - who made a bee line for Hugo and Pip. I shortened the leads but kept on walking - fortunately these were a friendly pair and just wanted to play so after a few darts backwards and forwards daring each other from all four parties we passed without any problems. Sigh of relief! We did not meet anyone else until we were on the way back to the car when a woman with three small dogs, all off-lead, approached. Two of them took no notice whatsoever of Hugo and Pip but the third, a border terrier, rushed straight up to Hugo and stopped right in front of him. I stopped walking and Hugo put out one big paw and batted the dog with it - the dog rolled over but then came straight back, snarling and barking round Hugo's nose. Hugo behaved impeccably and seemed rather bemused - I kept walking and he came too whilst the terrier ran back to it's owner. Pip hadn't taken any notice of any of them so I was really proud of them. Stupid woman owner though, not once did she call the dogs back and didn't utter a word throughout so I bit my tongue and stayed silent too. 
The day we met Pip last year

I don't know whether it is because I am walking Hugo and Pip more myself but Hugo is suddenly becoming very affectionate and wants to sit right up close to me, pivoting his head back and round, like an owl, so I can rub his chin for him. Pip has always been a cuddle monster but Hugo is usually more aloof so this is lovely. I do have one little problem with him at the moment and I am sure he just does it to tease me - I always take a glass of water to bed with me and every morning he tries to take a slurp out of it, 9 times out of 10 just licking the edge of the glass leaving a slobbering trail, disgusting dog! This is made worse by the fact that Miss Pip has educated him in where to get a drink during the night without having to go downstairs - out the toilet!

The same event, one year on
Pip has re-acquainted herself with the delights of hiding under the decking - she hasn't been under there for a while but we had a moment of panic earlier this week when we suddenly realised she was missing. We had been sitting out in the garden and thought she had wondered back in the house but when we went in she was not there. After a quick search upstairs she was no where to be found until Toby went up the garden and she squeezed her way out to meet him! Must remember to look there first in the future.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

We'll protect you!

Can't believe it's been a month since the last time we posted on here, where does the time go to?

Stalking the cows on Selsley Common
Hugo and Pip have been enjoying their late evening walks and it has been so refreshing going out when the weather is cooler and there are no people around - just the cows to contend with! Pip is getting braver and will stand and look at them without cowering (no pun intended) behind us but Hugo prances towards them, ears pricked and alert and his main aim seems to be to make them move off. One of  these days he is going to get a shock when he meets a braver cow and I wonder if he would be the same if there wasn't a lead attached which he knows will check him before he gets too close.

A couple of weeks ago the weather changed and we had a few thundery shows. They do not seem to bother Hugo or Pip at all which is great when so many other poor dogs are terrified. The other morning I was awoken by a crash of thunder and the lightening was crackling all around - Pip was still fast asleep but where was Hugo? Behind the curtain hanging out of the bedroom window watching it all!

Taking a breather at the show
At the end of July Toby and I took Hugo and Pip to Suki's Canine Rescue Crew Dog Show near Stratford on Avon. Rather than taking my small car we borrowed Martin's (my OH) so there was plenty of room in the back for them without them breathing down my neck. We met up with lots of other members of Akita Rescue and Welfare and had a great day with all the dogs being beautifully behaved. At one point a group photo was taken and I think I counted 25 Akitas all together - absolutely brilliant. We are looking forward to the next meet at Paws in the Park in Birmingham next weekend. Needless to say Hugo and Pip were exhausted by all the excitement and didn't even eat their tea that evening and certainly didn't want to go out for a walk!

Exhausted with all the walking
When we first had Hugo I had no problem taking him for a walk on my own but since Pip came in to our lives I did not feel confident enough to take the two of them together. This last

week, though, I decided to brave it and drove them up to Selsley Common where you can park the car right on the edge. There is plenty of space up there so you have time to get them under control when you see someone coming and there are no trees for them to wrap you round. It was brilliant and they behaved beautifully, even letting me stand still to take a couple of photos and I even managed to make Hugo sit when a couple of spaniels approached. I don't think I could quite manage on my own with them on a pavement alongside a road or along the canal where there are always cyclists and other dog walkers but it felt quite exhilarating to go solo with them so I can see this becoming a regular thing.

On Thursday night Martin was away from home and so was Daniel, my eldest lad, who was dog sitting for his friends while they were on holiday. (Their dog, Bret, is Hugo's arch enemy and you can read about when they met in the blog entitled 'A lover not a fighter' back in April). Toby slept in the shed (that is NOT as bad as it sounds!) so that left me in the house with Hugo and Pip for the night. They always sleep upstairs anyway and occasionally get on the bed although they don't tend to stay long. That night Hugo got up and lay down on Martin's side of the bed and was still there when I went to sleep. When I woke yesterday morning I felt the lump next to me and though he was still there but, no, Miss Pip was there instead - I think they must have changed guard during the night! Nice to be protected. We had to get up at 5.30am because Toby had to leave the house by 6am to go to work so, with no one else left at home, he took Hugo and Pip out for a quick morning walk at 5.45am - Hugo just got up, stretched and was ready for the off but Pip was not impressed. As soon as they were home she was straight back to bed.
Play with me Hugo!

They got their own back this morning though as both were away at 6am, huffing and jumping on and off the bed - yes, OK we ARE awake! I went and made tea and got Hugo and Pip some of their biscuits (for that's what they were wanting) and we went back to bed. I heard some birds making a commotion in the garden and Hugo and Pip flew downstairs and outside to investigate. I didn't think much more of it until I was in the kitchen later on and the same think happened - I was just in time to see them chasing off a sparrow hawk out of the Viburnum bush where the sparrows live. Although Hugo and Pip don't like the sparrows daring to come in to our garden they certainly weren't going to let anybody else have them!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

It's Hot, Hot, Hot!!

Toby & 'Baby' Pip!
On Selsley Common

Well, summer seems to have finally arrived but now we are moaning it's far too hot! Miss Pip generally likes to lie in any patch of sun she can find, or failing that, in front of the fire but this week even she has surrendered to the heat and stays in the shade for most of the day. Poor Hugo is really feeling it, with his coat only half blown he is still wearing his winter woollies - albeit, gradually shedding them all over the carpets, beds, sofa's and generally anywhere he walks in a cloud of fur balls all round him! It is worst in the car when you drive along with the windows open as they become airborne and you get mouthfuls of the stuff - and that's without him in there. When he is in it it doubles the effect and combines with slobber drips down your neck - lovely!

We have really cut down on the walks this week as it is just too warm for them (and us) but Toby and I had a beautiful walk on Tuesday night when we took them up on to Selsley Common at 10 o'clock at night. The light was almost gone but it was wonderfully cool with not a soul in sight which made it even better as they were not pulling after other dogs. It was almost eerily quite - until one of the cows up there suddenly mooed which startled Pip and put Hugo in to stealth mode. As the herd were all lying down we managed to wind our way through them without too much disturbance, although Hugo still wanted to challenge them. Miss Pip was suddenly extremely well behaved and walked very closely to heel between Toby and me. She did, however, like the fact that the birds had settled on the ground for the night so she ALMOST managed to catch one.
Only Sainsbury's best will do!

Mmmm, Icecream!
Pip protecting Hugo from the big scarry fan!

Hugo and Pip have been keeping cool this week with doggie lollies - home-made chicken stock frozen in old plastic Chinese take-away cartons - and the remains of any ice-cream we have been eating. We have also been using the fans and the first time one was switched on saw Hugo bolt out the door in horror with the same reaction he has with hoovers and hair-dryers  Pip was unfazed and soon lay down in front of it and, fortunately, Hugo soon realised the benefits. After a bit of investigation (see the clip down the page) he now lies happily in front of the cool breeze, although whether it is coincidence or not,  Pip is usually between him and the fan!

Several nights this week we have left the back door open so Hugo and Pip can lie out on the patio until they want to come in - Pip normally comes straight up with us but Hugo will stay out there for an hour or so. He also likes to hang out the bedroom window, especially if Toby or Daniel are still out, and frightened us to death the other night when he suddenly barked very loudly and deeply at something, a cat we suspect, until I made him get down. He lay straight down but I was very much aware of dogs all down the road barking in response, ooops!

First encounter with the fan

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Just another week.

Hugo looking decidedly grubby
We had a nice big roast chicken for tea the other night with plenty left over to have cold in sandwiches and I left it to cool before putting it in the fridge. Miss Pip had other ideas - a sudden bump in the kitchen gave her away, fortunately before she had managed to get any bones in her mouth!

Pip all nice and shiny
Now Pip has finished blowing, Hugo has started with a vengeance and we have acres of white fur floating around the house and garden. Unlike Pip who loves being brushed and all the attention that goes with it, Hugo will not stand still for more than a minute and disappears at the sight of the brush - the only one he likes is the soft,   gently baby brush which is absolutely no use at all on his coat. He looks filthy too, especially as Pip's coat is now soft and shiny and sparkling white!

It was really hot the other afternoon and Toby and I took Hugo and Pip up on to Selsley Common where even the usual cooling breeze up there was warm and humid. On the way back we needed a couple of things from Sainsbury's so we parked in the shadiest spot and I stayed with the dogs while Toby went in. He was only gone about 5 minutes but despite having all the windows open and also the doors where there was no fear of them escaping Hugo just stood and dripped all down my neck and back - lovely. Goes to show how bad it would have been if they had been left with only a crack of window open.

Hugo dripping in the car
Got home from work on Wednesday to find the electrical extension lead on Hugo and Pip's bed in the kitchen - only the winder had been chewed off so not too bad and at least it wasn't connected to the supply! My work boots now seem to live out in the garden and we found a mutilated glove out there too!

If you go down to the woods today.................
Yesterday, for the first time in months, Toby and I took Hugo and Pip up to Standish Woods where it was lovely and cool in the shade of all the trees. Despite the fact there were quite a lot of cars in the car park we only had a glimpse of one other person while we were walking so had a brilliant hour exploring in the undergrowth (Pip) and weeing up trees (Hugo). They were really excited to be there and it had changed so much since the last time we were there in the winter it was like a totally different place. Two very happy fur babies were exhausted for the rest of the day.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Having a ripping time!

Sleeping bag down the hole!

Destruct-o-duo have been in action again and have succeeded in getting hold of an old sleeping bag (fortunately, already destined for the tip) and totally shredding it all over the garden, stolen a lunch box that was waiting to go in the dishwasher and eaten the remains of the contents along with part of the lid, taken work boots (mine) outside almost every day this week and removed the insoles which are getting smaller and smaller and dug HUGE holes in the lawn-that-was! We have also noticed teeth marks in the arms of the garden furniture - can't think who could have done that!

The funniest thing was when Toby and I got home from work the other day to find the remains of the sleeping bag down one of the holes - that's what called burying the evidence! My next door neighbour reports back to us every day what she has seen them doing and thinks it's hysterical - they don't make any noise but are constantly on the go. Not surprising that when we are home they are flat out, exhausted.

Exhausted from all that destruction!
Have never seen Hugo get in this position before!

Going to Pets at Home.
We needed to get some more dog food today so Martin and I took Hugo and Pip with us to Pets at Home. Pip has never been before and Hugo has only been once so it was a bit of an adventure for them. Pip kept up a constant, high pitched whining all the way round the shop and Hugo would get most upset if he lost sight of her and joined in the noise. He saw a Rotty down one of the isles and barked loudly at it we had to play hide and seek to make sure we didn't come face to face. Every time Hugo and Pip met up they greeted each other like they hadn't been together for months, jumping all over each other - very embarrassing ! They were, however, on their best behaviour and sat down when we got to the check out so the nice man would give them biscuits - they did jump up and look him in the eye but he gave them both a big hug and fuss. Everyone seemed to smile when they saw them and one woman in the queue even knew what they were which is very unusual. I did manage to get them both weighed and was really pleased that Pip has gained nearly 2kg since her operation and is now just over 28kg - I was a bit worried that she still seemed a bit skinny so it was a relief to find she had gained. Hugo sat himself down on the scales and he is just over 40kg so very much the same as he was six months ago which is good because we have been told not to let him get too heavy because of his hip dysplacia. At least they didn't have any accidents in the store and the rabbits and other small furries were asleep so they didn't spot them at all.

Pip rarely sits still long enough to have a photo taken so this one's a bonus
Pip has finally finished blowing and her coat is now shiny and getting silky soft again, Hugo has just started so we have another three weeks of hair everywhere - it was blowing around the car as we were driving along and kept getting in our mouths. The hoover is beginning to complain and has to be emptied every time you use it. The one bit of owning Akitas I don't like!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Duck Hunting by the River - an Ode to Hugo and Pip

The meadows full of buttercups
And clover scents the air
The cows are grazing quietly
They do not have a care

But their peace will soon be shattered
They really should beware
Two Akitas are out walking
Miss Pip and Hugo Bear

Miss Pip she leaps in to the air
At passing butterflies
And chases them across the field
Though rarely gets her prize

Hugo prefers to scramble down
The river banks and drink
He balances precariously
Until he starts to sink

Pip loves to skip along the field
And through the thistles too
She bounces through the tall, tall grass
Just like a kangaroo!

Hugo will stop and have a sniff
At every place he can
But suddenly he'll start to roll
The sewer-pipe overran!

A thrown stick will not entice them
Into the water deep
But fluffy little moor hen chicks
Will make them take that leap

A frantic dash, they make their move
Their curly tails held high
The reeds are flattened in their haste
The ducks take off and fly!

They come back wet but smiling
So proud of what they've done
Next time they might be lucky
But chasing is such fun

Hugo and Pip just love this walk
They want to come back soon
Go duck hunting by the river
On a sunny afternoon

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Early Morning Wake Up Calls

Well, it's been almost a month since I last wrote on here for one reason and another so thought I ought to do a bit of catching up. So, in no particular order..................

This morning I was woken up at 6.15am by Hugo wondering round the bedroom, violently shaking his head every few steps, because he had SOMETHING in his ear! Funny thing was though, as soon as he knew I was awake and leaned over to give him a cuddle whatever it was seemed to disappear - hummmmmm!

The other morning we were, again, awoken earlier than necessary, this time with the sound of   crunch, crunch, crunch. Miss Pip had been down the bin in the bathroom and fished out the empty toothpaste tube. She and Hugo spent many happy hours crunching the plastic and licking out those left over remains in the bottom - at least they both had lovely minty fresh breath for a day or two which I suppose is better than when Madam insists on drinking out the toilet!

Everyone who has every had anything to do with Akitas will know that one of their traits is to have a hight prey drive - cats, small dogs, birds, in fact anything fury that moves is fair game to them. It is one of the reason's we always keep them on a lead when we walk them, one of their other characteristics being notoriously stubborn with the ability to turn a deaf ear to their owners frantic shouts if they have their mind set on catching something. However, at home in the garden they are free to wander and you regularly hear a scurry and scrabbling over the fence as some lucky cat, squirrel or bird makes their escape leaving two very frustrated, panting dogs behind. One poor blackbird was not so lucky the other week as we found Hugo and Pip playing with a rather limp specimen - we are still not so sure if they actually caught it themselves or if it flew in to the window as it did not have any marks on it but it seems to have intensified their desire to chase anything that flies and they spend hours sitting in the middle of the garden watching next door's racing pigeons fly round and round. They are certainly not amused when anything feathered lands on the roof, Pip in particular going rigid with tension as she goes in to stalk mode.

On 19th May Toby and I got up early so we could take Hugo and Pip for a walk on Selsley Common before setting off on a two-hour drive up to Stoke on Trent to meet with a group of other Akita owners for a pack walk around Wesport Lake. Two Akitas in the back of a Panda is a bit of a tight squeeze and we had to keep getting Hugo to lie down as he totally blocked the view out the rear window. Fortunately, after we had been on the motorway for a while he settled down and it was plain sailing. We had a lovely time and there were about 15 dogs there in total, including the honorary Akita, Marvin the Staffy (aka the Orange Dog). All of them were exceptionally well behaved and a credit to the breed. The walk was organised through the Akita Rescue and Welfare UK and was one of three taking place on the same day, the others being in Epping Forest and Blackpool. The weather was beautiful and the dogs enjoyed dipping in and out of the water, some even having ice creams to cool them down. Pip was more than excited to meet up again with her old foster parents Kim and Mike, and threw herself at them as soon as she saw them - a great tribute to the people who had shown her the first bit of kindness and love she had ever had when they took her in as a 12 week old puppy. We broke the journey on the way back home and called in at my parents in Stourbridge - Hugo and Pip were exhausted and so very well behaved, especially as Mum had got them some tasty bones as a treat. We didn't have to keep telling Hugo to lie down on the way home, he was flat out in the back of the car all the way back. Two very happy dogs.
Hugo likes the shade but Pip prefers the sun!

The holes in the lawn are getting bigger, despite us brushing the soil back in the holes every day! I watched Hugo the other day - he wondered over to one of the holes with a tennis ball in his mouth, looked around to see if anyone was looking, drop the ball in the hole and then proceeded to scrape it out with his feet - oh dear, the soil comes out too, but I was only getting my ball.

The garden is now very dry and dusty and, as Hugo and Pip spend much of their day rolling over and over play fighting, every time you pat one of them a huge cloud of dust rises off them. What with that and the fact Pip has been 'blowing' (moulting) for the last couple of weeks I give up with the housework (that's my excuse anyway!).

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The week in pictures

Before - 9am Bank Holiday Monday - what a mess Hugo and Pip have been
having a lovely time in the garden. They love digging holes too!
After - 10am Bank Holiday Monday - all nice and tidy, lawn mown (what's left of it) and holes filled in.

3 days later. Oh dear! The garden is still reasonably tidy but the hole is back, even bigger and filling with rain water. Think Hugo and Pip want another pond!
Hugo having a good old wriggle on the carpet. He is most ungainly when he is on his back and seems to get stuck - Pip looks on laughing!

Pip squeezing under the decking - Hugo you don't stand a chance!

Pip, that is NOT helping me do my Bible Study!

We're not really fighting - much!

We'll do anything for a treat!