Saturday, 23 March 2013

Food for thought!

Hugo enjoying his stag's horn

Pip has made a start on her stag's horn

Hugo stealing Pip's stag's horn - he has his foot on it!
Hugo got a bit close to the camera!
Last Friday I treated Hugo and Pip to a stag horn each - although they were quite expensive I think they will be worth it as one week later they have only made a small dent in the end of them despite constant chewing. I wanted to get them something that didn't splinter and shatter like bones do in case the problem Pip had might have been caused by a tiny bit getting stuck between her teeth. She now seems to be quite recovered so hope it was something as simply as that.I have a pair of bootee-type slippers that have a couple of pompoms hanging from each one and have, until now, managed to keep them from mischievous mouths. However, I was in the living room the other morning when I spotted a blue pompom in the middle of the floor (the slippers were upstairs) - perhaps it just fell off, you may ask, until I tell you that when I picked it up it was soggy and covered in dog slobber! Still don't know which one did it though although I rather suspect Hugo - every time I wear them I can feel him right behind me trying to catch them as I walk.

Friday night is Chinese take away night in our household and last night was no exception. Toby had tried the Pork Satay but, not being keen on the peppers, onions and chillies, had picked out the bits he did like and left the rest in the container. As the dishwasher was full a few bits, including the Chinese take away containers, were left on the top ready to go in this morning. We went up to bed and Hugo settled down on his duvet at the end of our bed while Miss Pip stayed downstairs having a drink of water. We suddenly heard a noise and knew instantly what it was! We called for Pip to come up and in she came up, all wriggling and excited and jumped up on the bed between us rolling over, trying to lick us - absolutely no question as to what she had eaten as she was huff-huffing her Pork Satay breath all over us! Not a scrap of anything was left so hope the onions and chillies don't have an adverse effect - so far so good so think all is OK!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Croaking Frogs and Fishy Kongs

Hugo and Pip with Toby and me at Crufts
After two days of doing nothing but sleep, Hugo and Pip are beginning to get back to their normal lively selves after their day up at Crufts. I have never seen them so tired before and they haven't even bothered with their usual nightly romp when the rest of us are winding down. We were really proud of all our dogs on Friday and hope they raise the profile of the breed.

Gorgeous Anouk with Teresa & Kirsty
On Saturday my parents came down for the day which is only the second time they had met Pip. When they came the last time my dad did something which made her bark - she had not forgotten and as soon as she saw him she started shouting at him and then ran upstairs out the way until I called her down again. Fortunately, he was well prepared and had some tasty treats in his pocket for her and Hugo which she devoured. Hopefully, next time they meet she will have forgiven him.

Hugo and Pip went charging out the back door when I let them out the other night before we went to bed but they suddenly came screeching to a standstill, both 'pointing' at the pond. For a horrible moment I thought someone was in the garden but then realised what the problem was - a frog was croaking loudly in the pond! I don't think either of them had heard one before as they weren't with us this time last year and they certainly couldn't make the noise out at all.

The beautiful Kiri posing at Crufts
When we were up at Crufts we bought a goodie bag of Fish4dogs food which contained, amongst other things, a couple of sachets of salmon mousse and some tiny biscuits. Toby filled the Kongs with a combination of both these and Hugo and Pip have spent a happy hour or so licking it all out - only one problem, the house has a decided fishy smell to it now!

Obi wowing the crowds!
For the last week or so Pip has been periodically pawing at the side of her mouth but, however much we looked, we could not see anything wrong. As she was not off her food and it was only every now and again we had hoped it would sort itself out. Today, though, Toby spotted a sore patch just below her mouth which has probably been caused by her rubbing her mouth. The inevitable trip to the vet was arranged for this afternoon and, as Pip is nervous at the surgery, we took Hugo along to keep her company. We were the only patients in the waiting room but every time one of the nurses or staff went in and out of a door Pip would bark loudly at them, just like she was guarding the place. Unfortunately, the lady on the reception could not hear on the telephone and had to transfer her call to another room! Every time Pip barked Hugo would do a high pitched whine - not very manly - and wanted to sit on one of the chairs alongside us. I wouldn't mind but he isn't the one who normally gets on the furniture at home. At last they called us in to the surgery and Pip had to be pulled through the door whereas Hugo strolled in quite happily and wondered round the room while first the nurse and then the vet examined her. Toby lifted her on the table which weighed her at 27kg so she has gained about 1.5kg since December. Because she was nervous Pip was panting which actually made it much easier for the vet to have a good look in her mouth and, fortunately, could find nothing untoward which was a bit of a relief. Instead they gave us some antibiotic/steroidal cream to put on twice a day and we left £45 worse off! Have got to go back in a weeks time and have also booked Pip in for the week after Easter to be spayed - dread to think how the pair of them will be if they have to be separated for the day.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hugo & Pip at Crufts as featured on TV!

At 6.50am this morning Toby and I set off with Hugo and Pip on the journey to Crufts at the NEC in Birmingham. At 6.53am we had stopped the car because BOTH of them needed a comfort break - at this rate it promised to be a very long day! Once back in the car they both settled down and by the time we were on the motorway were lying down which is always something of a relief - two Akitas standing up in the back of a Fiat Panda is not conducive to a clear view of the road behind!
Hugo working the crowds

After a fairly smooth journey we arrived at the show ground and parked up along with hundreds of other cars all containing little balls of fluff, all either being carried or wheeled along in cages - whoever decided that the Utility and Toy dog groups should be shown on the same day must have had a sense of humour as you could not get much more extreme sizes. Hugo and Pip were very excited and we had to walk them quite a way to get to the main halls - no bus ride for them as we would not risk taking them in one with all those little tasty snacks in a confined space!

Dogs were not allowed in through the entrance that would have been closer to where we were heading so we had to go through Hall 1 and 2, all chock-a-block with people and dogs which we had to negotiate, until we eventually made our way to our allotted space in Hall 3. As we got Hugo and Pip in to their special little pen we breathed a sigh of relief we had made it without any incidents. Needless to say we all felt a bit hot and bothered at this time.

Pip sporting her pink bandanna
Shortly after we arrived, Stephanie and Anouk joined us and Teresa and Kirsty were not far behind. Hugo and Pip behaved beautifully and eagerly greeted everyone who came to see them, standing up with their front paws on the edge of the pen thoroughly enjoying all the fuss and attention. At one point Hugo started to get a bit stressed out but after a short comfort break he was back to his usual self.

After three hours on the stand with hundreds of people stroking them we were relieved by Christine and Clive who had bought Obi and Kiri along and we took Hugo and Pip out for a walk outside. After a bite to eat (Hugo and Pip enjoyed their bits of bacon roll) we walked them round all the stands and arenas for an hour or so. Although they were really well behaved it was just so packed with people it was very hard work guiding them round and through the crowds so it was with great relief when we arrived back at our space again.

Too exhausted to move!
Lots of people were taking photographs of the dogs, some very official looking with huge lenses on their cameras but Hugo and Pip took it in their stride and posed for most. As the afternoon went on they began to flag and they lay down on the floor, looking absolutely exhausted not so keen or interested now in all the people passing by. At 4pm we left the stand and fought our way back through the crowds and made the long trek back to the car. Unfortunately, the M42 at that time of night is horrendous and it took us an hour to get to the M5 and another hour home. Normally when the car slows down in traffic Hugo and Pip will stand up to see what is happening but not today - there were flat out on their bed in the back of the car and stayed that way for all of the two hour journey. 

As we were sitting recovering from the day we watched the Crufts programme on Channel 4 and there were Hugo and Pip wearing their Akita Rescue & Welfare bandannas - what a lovely way to end the day - fame at last!

As I sit typing this I am accompanied by two snoring, very tired dogs, no doubt dreaming of all they have seen today and perhaps wondering what one of those fluff-ball snacks would have tasted of!

N.B. I took very few photographs today so will 'borrow' some from Teresa and Stephanie to post another day.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Getting ready for Crufts!

Waiting for a treat after their bath
On Sunday I was carrying an armful of just ironed clothes upstairs when I dropped a pair of socks in the hall. As I was holding too much to be able to pick them up I left them where they were intending to come back for them. As usual, my two shadows followed me up and in to the bedroom but I was surprised when I turned round from putting the clothes down to see Hugo placing the pair of socks (albeit a bit soggy) on the bed for me - what a clever boy!

Not a happy chappy!
The other evening Daniel decided to take Hugo with him when he went round to his friends house and left Pip with the rest of us. She was totally inconsolable - first she whined and kept running round in circles but got more and more distressed when she realised he wasn't coming back and ended up howling at the top of her voice. It would have been funny if she wasn't obviously so stressed out - I tried hugging her and making a fuss but the only way she eventually calmed down was after Toby took her for a quick walk round the block and she could see for herself that Hugo wasn't there. Strangely enough she didn't take that much notice of Hugo when he did come back so think she was giving him the cold shoulder. Don't think we will be separating them again in a hurry.

(Pip)squeaky clean!
Well, tomorrow is the big day! Toby and I are taking Hugo and Pip up to Crufts where they have been invited to represent the Akita Rescue and Welfare on their stand. When I got home from work it was time for that dreaded event - bath-time  Unfortunately, both Hugo and Pip remembered what this meant and we had a really hard time getting them anywhere near the bathroom. Pip was the first to be cornered and Toby and I managed to lift her in the bath and then shampoo and rinse her off fairly quickly. We towel dried her, tied another dry towel round her and let her go while we tried to persuade Hugo to come in. After much cajoling and several gravy bones later we managed to get him half way through the bathroom door so we grabbed him and pulled him in and shut the door behind us. He was not impressed and found it very undignified when the two of us together lifted him in the bath. After all the fuss and bother of getting him in he stood their as good as gold while we washed him and showered him off but he got his own back when we had finished by jumping out and soaking me and then shaking himself all over Toby. In the meantime we heard Martin come in and Pip greeting him and Kita-talking at the top of her voice, telling him what we had done to her. As soon as Hugo was free he shot downstairs and rubbed himself all along the leather settees - thanks Hugo!

Hugo and Pip are now drying out - Pip lying as close to the fire as possible and Hugo sulking in the corner. They certainly look a lot cleaner but there is a definite smell of wet dog about the house tonight!

We will have to be up bright and early tomorrow as we aim to leave about 6.30am in the morning to be at the NEC for 8-8.30am - if anyone wants to come and see us we are in Hall 3 Stand 52.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Walking, fishing, hunting!

Fishing for food
Toby and I set off at 8.15 this morning and took Hugo and Pip up to Randwick Woods. For various reasons (illness, weather, car problems etc.) we haven't been there since just before Christmas so knew the dogs would be excited. It was great getting there so early as there were only a couple of other walkers around and it was beautifully peaceful walking through the woods. Hugo and Pip had a fine old time, tying us round the trees with their leads (they hadn't forgotten how to do that) and they had really happy faces as we scrunched through the leaves. An hour later we had two very puffed out dogs who managed to steam the car up very nicely on the way home - had to have the window open to let in some air!

Where did it go?
When we got home I went out in the garden and fed the fish in the pond for the first time this year. Unfortunately, they did not have much chance to enjoy their food because Hugo and Pip decided they rather liked it too and lapped up as much of it as they could reach - poor fish must have wondered what the two hairy faces were looking down on them and cowered at the bottom of the pond.

You will come down!
Hugo and Pip stayed outside wandering round the garden when I went back but I suddenly saw Hugo shoot up the garden, round the barrier he is not supposed to be able to get round and throw himself against the fence at the top of the garden. I have never seen him move so fast before and didn't think he was capable! What had he seen? A magpie, now flown up in to the neighbours trees and tormenting him from it's perch. Hugo and Pip spent a long time, standing on the bench on the decking trying to hypnotise the bird to come down, fortunately without success. I don't think we will ever be able to attract wildlife in to the garden while the bears are around!