Saturday, 1 November 2014

Treats and a few little tricks!



Fireworks going off - are we bothered, NO!
Hugo lying in wait for trick-or-treaters
It's that time of year again when fireworks are constantly going off at random times of day and night. Our old boy, Sid, used to be petrified and would sit and drool and even try and get on your lap (at 11 stone, not an easy task). It was almost a blessing when he went hard of hearing and was no longer bothered. Fortunately, Hugo and Pip take not the slightest bit of notice, even when the annual local display was at its highest peak only a mile away they did not even lift their heads up off the floor.

Pip in a blanket!
Another annual event went on last night with the endless procession of trick-or-treaters knocking on the door. I am always prepared with a big bowl of sweets ready for the local kids and Hugo was aware that something was happening. Normally Pip is the guard dog and barks loudly at the first sound of anyone coming to the door even if she knows it is only Daniel or Toby and she makes us leap a mile high as she manages to wake up and bark loudly all in one breath. Last night though, Hugo stationed himself behind the front door and would bark in his best, deepest, scariest voice as the children came up to the door. I would stand behind Hugo and let him go first to see who was there. As they shouted 'trick or treat' Hugo would strain forward and put his head in their bags of goodies as if to say 'yes, treat please, what have you got?". When nothing was forthcoming he would give another woof, making the children jump and then laugh, because he had tricked them - they all loved him and he got lots of fuss from them, their parents even coming up the path to say hello too. He wasn't quite so keen though when he realised we were giving away the sweets out of our bowl - perhaps he thinks they should be giving us treats and not them. And what of Miss Pip whilst all this was going on. Not so brave when scary, small creatures keep coming to the door - she hid behind the living room door peeping out and would only give out a small 'woof' when the front door had closed behind them!

Hugo made us laugh this week when we realised what he was carrying around  in his mouth. I had made a steak and kidney pie and had thrown a small piece of uncooked pastry away in the bin. (OK, OK I know I should have used it to make a few doggy treats but on this occasion I didn't!) As the bin was not quite closed Hugo managed to extract it and it became his priced possession for a few hours. We could tell he had something in his mouth although we couldn't see anything but when Toby lifted his lip up you could see this oozing soggy mass through his teeth. Everywhere he went he took that bit of pastry, making no attempt to eat it whatsoever, putting it down periodically where it could add to its mass with bits of grass, hair and dirt. He obviously knew he shouldn't have it and he didn't really like it because he kept wrinkling his nose up in disdain every time he picked the soggy, hairy, grassy, dirty lump up but he had to keep it in his mouth in case SHE (Miss Pip) got hold of it! If only he had realised she wasn't the slightest bit interested, she has far more taste then that!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Getting wet!

ARW Pack Walk
Telling Granddad about
falling in the lake
After a miserable week of rain, hail and wind we were relieved to wake up on Sunday morning to find the storms had stopped, but only to be replaced by fog. Today was the day for an Akita Rescue & Welfare pack walk in West Park in Wolverhampton so, as we usually do on these occasions, Toby and I took Hugo and Pip up onto Selsley Common at about 8 o’clock so they would not spend the journey moaning. As we drove up the hill we were stunned by the sight of the fog lying low in the valleys where we had come from, clinging to the slopes like a giant spider’s web, although we were above the clouds in bright sunlight. It promised to be a beautiful day once the sun had warmed up and burnt the mists away.

Too tired to move
Most of the journey was foggy but, as we got closer to Wolverhampton, it began to clear and by the time we reached West Park it was a lovely sunny day, although a little cold. We were quite early but could see another Akita in the distance who we quickly recognised as Tally so we went to join them. Hugo started his ‘I am boss’ game of woofing and bowing, jumping up and down at Tally, forgetting that she, also, likes to be No.1 so we kept them a little way apart. As more dogs began to arrive we all stood around in a big circle as they decided the pecking order with lots of woofs and jumping around – from a distance it must have sounded like a load of demented seals (or is that just Hugo?)! They soon settled down and, once we started walking, were beautifully behaved. We had a brilliant walk, three times around the park and caused lots of interest with passers-by – 13 Akitas and two honorary Akitas are quite a sight to behold. It was great to put faces to names and I think all our dogs did the breed proud.

Pip smelling out anything
that moves
Hugo sporting the
latest perfume
A lot of the party decided to leave after the second turn around the park but a few of us stayed to go again. In the middle of the park was a very large lake which most of the dogs had taken advantage of by taking long drinks. Hugo and Pip were no exception but, on the third circuit of the park we had a bit of an accident. Hugo was stretching down to drink the water but suddenly slipped and fell right in – the water was quite deep and he had a moment of panic as he flailed around until he touched the side and I managed to reach down, grab his collar and yank him out. It had to be Hugo didn't it? He was absolutely soaking wet and, to make matters worse, this was the one occasion when I had forgotten to put a towel in the car. We had planned to call in on my parents after the walk so I had to phone ahead so they could be prepared for our arrival. When we got there one of Hugo’s most hated things was hanging on the gate ready for him – a towel. I managed to get him slightly drier and then he and Pip dived into the house for their treats that Granny was sure to have for them. Shattered from the walk they soon fell asleep.
Off-lead Sheep!

Badger!
Toby and I took Hugo and Pip to Woodchester Mansion again today and had a wonderful time walking round the grounds and the lakes, with sunshine too. We sat down at one point to have a drink and Hugo promptly lay himself down in the runniest cow poo you have ever seen – thanks Hugo, nice perfume! Miss Pip was on high alert, diving and pointing at anything in the hedgerows and banks that move, although she has yet to catch anything. She was particularly interested in a badger’s sett, cautiously sniffing around the entrance so we called Hugo to come and check it out too – typical Hugo, dived head first in without considering the consequences. I think it was a very good job that old Brock wasn't at home or he might have had a bit of a shock.
Cooling their feet!

Hugo and Pip love it round the lakes when they can paddle and drink to their hearts content, although Pip looked to be dirtier when she got out than when she went in. Fortunately, Hugo did manage to wash of the cow poo that he had sat in earlier! We walked for over two and a half hours so there has not been much movement from Hugo and Pip since we got home, apart from charging up the stairs the minute we got through the door and rolling around on our bed, no doubt the best way to dry themselves! Hugo has been twitching and snorting in his sleep so perhaps he has encountered a real badger in his dreams or perhaps it was one of those pesky off-lead sheep that we pulled him away from.












Sunday, 5 October 2014

Friends and Enemies!

Enjoying the show
Hugo and Pip tell me that their fans are complaining because I haven't written anything about them for a while so thought I'd better post another entry.

Two weeks ago Martin and I set off early with Hugo and Pip to take them to the Family Fun Day and Dog show at Worcester Woods Country Park. This is one of Akita Rescue & Welfare's favourite shows of the year and we were meeting up with Kirsty and Teresa to man a stand to raise funds and awareness for Akitas.  Hugo and Pip always get lots of fuss and attention from visitors at shows and this one was no different. 


Pip making friends with the girl who was frightened of dogs!
One very special moment was when a mum, dad and their three little girls were passing. Martin asked if the girl would like to stroke Hugo and Pip but the mum said the youngest little girl was frightened of dogs. However, the other two little girls were already stroking Pip and found how soft and thick her coat was so the youngest one came up and tried as well. After a while they moved on but the little girl could be heard saying in a loud voice, "I'm not frightened of dogs anymore!" - another convert to the breed!

Half way through the morning we spotted familiar faces coming through the crowd and the beautiful Nala appeared. Nala is the young Akita we met on Selsley Common a while ago and she had bought her owners, Gavin and Holly to see us at the show. Unfortunately, Hugo and Nala are not the best of friends so we had to keep them apart but it was great seeing her. 


Nala
Later in the day we were delighted to see that Vicky and Ollie had managed to get away from work and bring little Oscar with them. Oscar was one of a litter of pups ARW took into care a month or so ago and he has come to live quite close to us. It was brilliant to see how much he had grown and he is going to be one handsome boy. Hugo is not at his best around other dogs as he always wants to be the dominant one and the others don't like this much, especially if they want to be top dog too. When Oscar first appeared, Hugo and Pip were standing together and Hugo did his usual lunge towards Oscar so we quickly pulled him back and kept them apart. Martin had an idea though and got Vicky to take Oscar behind the stand into the open field and then took Hugo on his own to meet him. Without Pip in the equation, Hugo was a different character and Teresa managed to take some wonderful photographs (which I have borrowed) of the two of them romping and playing. We could not believe it that Hugo was having such wonderful fun with another dog and letting Oscar jump all over him. Think Hugo is going soft as he gets older! Pip then also had a turn at playing with Oscar which set her off in her usual mad dog mode, zooming round and round in circles - Oscar didn't seem to mind though and joined in the fun.

Oscar

Why is it that if you offer Hugo and Pip the stale bit of bread left from a loaf that they would turn their noses up at it, but the minute I throw it out for the birds they are there in a flash, eating as quickly as they can. Hugo has taken this to a new level and gathers as much as he can in his mouth, brings it inside and then spits it out and leaves it on the carpet, I wouldn't mind but he doesn't eat it. When he doesn't do that he makes doubly sure that those pesky birds don't get a look in by doing his 'old-man' wee (i.e. not cocking his leg) by wandering along while he is doing it all over the pieces of bread - disgusting dog!
Hugo playing with Oscar

Miss Pip seems to think I am her personal slave (she might be right) - when I come home from work I always give Hugo and Pip a treat (mainly to calm them down as they are so excited). Pip has always greeted us with something in her mouth - toy, tissue, leaf, anything she can grab as we come in - but she still wants to hang on to it when offered her treat. I normally pull out whatever it is she has in her mouth, put in the treat and then push the object back in after it. The last week or so though, she won't let me have a toy and makes me go after her into the living room so she can lie down and have her treat there. Stupid me 
follows her and does what she wants!


Pip in mad dog mode!
The squirrels are very active in our garden at the moment which results in much scrabbling when Hugo and Pip realise there is one is around and they slip and slide over the laminate floor to get out the back door. The other morning I was coming down stairs and suddenly heard one of them whining urgently and, thinking one of them needed to go out desperately, rushed to open the back door. Pip was prancing up and down holding her grey rabbit toy in her mouth which I thought was just her greeting me. As I opened the back door I was almost knocked of my feet as Hugo and Pip rushed out, charging against the fence, where a squirrel was precariously hurtling along it in a frantic attempt to get away. It made a monumental leap onto the shed roof and was up and away into the trees at the back. I realised afterwards that the grey rabbit was a substitute squirrel and Pip was showing it what she would do if she caught it. They haven't managed to catch one yet but that one came pretty close! 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Long Walks and Dog Shows!



























The last few weeks have been quite busy with us going to a couple of dog shows with Akita Rescue & Welfare. The first was in Coventry for Suki's Canine Rescue where we spent a beautiful day on a rugby field surrounded by dogs and puppies in lovely sunshine. We were thrilled to meet 5 of the puppies that had been born into the rescue's care, two of which came with their new families, two waiting to go to their homes and were in foster care, and one that was handed over that afternoon. We were the stars of the show, everyone loving those little bundles of fur.

We were a little worried how Hugo and Pip, Hugo in particular, would get on with the puppies as Hugo likes to be in charge and is not always popular with other dogs because of it. We need not have worried - Pip was her usual, laid back, couldn't care less one way or another, self but it was Hugo that surprised us most. He loved the puppies and actually laid down with little Toshiko and seemed to be guarding them all. What had come over the bold, bad Hugo - he must have a softer side! And no, this does not mean we are having a puppy - two Akitas are quite enough thank you very much!

The second show we went to was our annual pilgrimage to Paws in the Park in Birmingham last Sunday. This is the show where two years ago we met Pip for the first time before bringing her home for good. Hugo and Pip were really excited first thing in the morning and seemed to know what was happening - perhaps it was something to do with us all wearing our black ARW tops or maybe it was because Toby took them up to Selsley Common at 7.30am for a good walk before we set off. We weren't quite ready to leave when they got back so Pip kept running back and forth giving quick little barks. Needless to say that, when we did set off, we had to stop five minutes down the road, before we got on the motorway, for her to relieve herself - typical girl!

At the show we met up with the rest of the crew, including Orange Dog (a.k.a.Marvin the Staffie), Hugo's rival, Shoga and the woman in his life who he loves to hate - Princess Tia. We had to keep these three out of sight of each other but, apart from that, they were very well behaved. Pip, as usual, kept herself to herself and showed no interest in any of the other dogs, just wanting tummy rubs and cuddles from the humans. Some of the puppies came to see us again and Hugo continued to be fascinated by them - unfortunately he did attempt a death roll (for Hugo this is a form of affection) on little Lexi but she didn't seem particularly bothered and kicked him away. Akita puppies are made of strong stuff!

Toby and I have had a few days off this week so we planned out a couple of walks we wanted to do if the weather allowed. On Monday we returned to Standish Woods where we haven't been for months. As we went earlier in the day and didn't have any time restrictions we walked much further than we have before and estimated we did about 4 miles - most of this is uphill so we were all relieved to get back to the car. We hardly saw anyone until we got back to the car park so it was a lovely, relaxed walk, apart from when we got a bit lost, but Hugo and Pip weren't bothered by that and had a wonderful time running up and down the banks and sniffing out different smells.

Following the excitement of the show on Sunday (which always wears Hugo and Pip out for a day or two) and then the long walk on Monday I only took them for a short walk on Selsley Common yesterday but we made up for it today. Toby and I drove Hugo and Pip to Woodchester Mansion which is only about 5 miles from where we live and another of those places that, despite living in the area for 34 years, I have never visited. What a gem! We arrived early, knowing that today was one of the days the house itself was open to the public and was likely to be busy so there were only a couple of other cars in the car park when we got there. We had already printed off a route for a 3.5 mile walk and set off down a long steep track, around the back of the mansion, alongside and round the middle lake and back through fields, in front of the mansion and back up the steep track. Again, hardly a sole in sight and we had a fantastic time in such beautiful, tranquil surroundings - and the sun shone all the time we were there. Just past the house Hugo made an acquaintance with a sheep although he didn't seem to quite know what to do as we hadn't pulled him away like we do with the cows on the common and they just stood and stared at each other for several minutes.

As the morning got warmer Hugo and Pip took advantage of any puddles left by the recent rain and paddled whenever they could. They loved it when we finally got to the lake and they could dip their toes in the cool water, and had a great time in one place where a lovely, fresh stream, trickled down and they could wade and drink to their hearts content. 

We crossed a field that had big bales of hay wrapped in black polythene standing along one edge. Hugo approached these but suddenly leapt back - silly boy had only seen his own reflection in the shiny plastic!

The final stretch was the worst as it was back up the steep track and we made several stops (mainly for me to get my breath) but Hugo would lie down each time and have a good rest - Madame Pip was still full of beans and wanted to climb the banks in search of rabbit smells. Although we had seen a few people walking down the track as we went up we were amazed to see that the car park was full when we got there - the estate is so large it just swallowed them all up. Once back at home, Hugo and Pi both wolfed down their food and have hardly moved for the rest of the day. 

I think we will have a quiet day tomorrow, but we do still have a couple more possibilities for walks so we shall have to see.












Saturday, 26 July 2014

Hot Dogs!

Walking on Selsley Common
 at sunset
Hugo and Pip have been finding the last few weeks of hot weather very tiring and they seem to be sleeping most of the day. However, they do have sudden bursts of activity using a ridiculous amount of energy which might only last a few minutes but it leaves them huffing and puffing and collapsed on the floor. 

Hugo often tries to provoke Pip into having a bit or rough and tumble with him by finding out one of his favourite toys and then placing it on the floor in front of her while she is sleeping. He will then attract her attention by poking and pawing her with his foot. Once she has spotted the toy (or old pop bottle, flowerpot, feather - whatever is his prize at that time) and makes any move towards it, that's it, he has the excuse to attack her (all good natured, a lot of rolling around on the floor nibbling each others ears and making funny half growling/half wining noise). When Pip wants to start the nonsense she will stand in front of Hugo with one of his toys in her mouth until he spots her and the whole process begins again.

This morning I sorted out the dogs toy box which was full of dismembered stuffed toys, old drinks bottles and other toys in various stages of degradation. Watched closely by Hugo and Pip I got rid of a whole carrier bag full of debris - even what is left looks pretty disgusting but these are their prized possessions so I didn't have the heart to throw the lot out. Think a trip round the charity shops for more stuffed toys is on the cards in the near future.
Hugo making sure his favourites weren't thrown away

Chilling after a long walk and swim
We have been leaving the main walk of the day until after 9pm in the evening as it is usually much cooler then and there are far less people around but today we have more cloud and it feels a bit fresher so Martin and I decided to take Hugo and Pip out around 11am. We walked from home and went along the canal and stopped off at a little cafĂ© for an ice cream - Hugo was not interested in this but Pip finished both off (vanilla and mango were equally delicious in her eyes) and the man behind the counter gave them a bowl of ice cold water which Hugo immediately demolished with much slurping and slopping . We then carried on and made our way to the meadows where the River Frome flows through. To begin with Hugo and Pip were only interested in snatching gulps of the water where they could get down to it but then we came to one place where they could walk in easily and we spent about fifteen minutes letting them walk through the water. Pip just stood there, up to her belly, with a huge smile on her face while Hugo crashed through the reeds and kept to the bank. We didn't get back until after 1pm so, needless to say, I have two crashed out dogs, cooling off and drying out with the aid of the fan. Don't think they will want to go out later, they've had plenty of exercise for today.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Walking on Water

We managed to dodge the showers today and go for a walk when the sun was shining beautifully. Martin had to go and do something on a reed cutter on the canal (don't ask, it's a man thing) so I decided to tag along and take Hugo and Pip on a walk along part of the canal we have never been before.


Pip jumped off the wall
onto the 'grass'
Along the tow path
This is where Hugo fell in

We parked the car and got the dogs out and I stood with them on a slipway whilst Martin got his tools and life-jacket out. Unfortunately, the water is covered with pond weed and Miss Pip jumped down on to what she must have thought was grass only to find herself knee deep in stinking canal water! So, one wet dog.

Through the fields
We started along the tow path, Martin still with us for a few hundred yards until he went off to do whatever it was he had to do. Hugo was excited and pulling ahead, keeping a very keen eye on the ducks. Now, neither of us actually saw what happened but suspect it was something to do with the said ducks but there was suddenly an almighty splash and Hugo completely disappeared under the water. It was fortunate that Martin was still with us as he managed to haul Hugo out and up the couple of feet of bank - poor Hugo looked like a drowned rat. Then, of course, he did what all wet dogs do and shook himself vigorously. So now, two wet dogs and two wet people!

What you doing over there Dad?
I carried on along the tow path with Hugo and Pip and they had a wonderful time sniffing out all the new smells, duck hunting and swan spotting (swans don't like Hugo and Pip and hiss loudly which makes them much more interesting). Hugo's little accident didn't put him off and on several occasions I had to drag him back from the edge - once when there was a twenty foot drop down into a lock, no sense that one! The canal ran out and became a huge field with lush, tall grass so Pip was in her element bounding through it making birds fly up and there was not a soul in sight - this promises to become another favourite place to visit.

Come on Dad, we're waiting!
We made our way back, passing through a kissing gate, which is not an easy task with two Akitas on leads as there is simply not enough room for all three of us to go through at the same time. Hugo and Pip don't comprehend the word 'wait' (something I must work on) and pushed through against my legs (remember they were both soaking wet so not a pleasant experience). The leads became entangled in the gate so I had to do a couple of tricky manoeuvres without letting them go. 

As we got back to the car we could see Martin on the other side of the canal on the reed cutter - Hugo and Pip were most upset to see he was over there and they couldn't get to him so winged and whined until he was finished and then greeted him as if they hadn't seen him for a year.

All the excitement and swimming has exhausted them and Hugo and Pip are now fast asleep. There is a bit of a smell of stagnant water around here though!









Saturday, 31 May 2014

Things that go bump in the night!

Hugo doing press up with Toby
A couple of weeks ago Akita Rescue and Welfare needed a home check doing in our area so Martin and I took Hugo and Pip along one afternoon to see the potential adopters.   When we got there the lady of the house was in but her partner had not yet arrived home from work. We sat in their living room, Hugo and Pip making themselves at home and taking great interest in the tropical fish swimming around in the tank - a few nose smudges left behind as evidence . A few minutes later the lady's partner arrived and come through the door. Miss Pip barked loudly at him and we had to tell her it was OK, it was, after all, HIS house not hers!! Later on, we were standing in the garden chatting when, again, she suddenly started to bark at something but this time in the house. Was it some burglar coming through the window or an axe murder about to attack everyone in sight? No, she had seen her own reflection in a mirror and didn't like what she saw!! Typical girl.

Last Monday my parents came down for the day and, knowing that Pip is rather nervous of my Dad, they came armed with two big hide chews to try and win her round. Hugo did his usual greeting, all waggles and excitement and was very happy to receive his chew from Mum and take it off in the living room. Pip, on the other hand, took one look at who was coming in and dashed up the stairs. She stopped near the top and Dad held out the chew to her - she crept down a couple of steps, grabbed the chew off him and ran into the bedroom with it. However, towards the end of the day she actually sat by him for a few minutes so think she might be beginning to thaw out a little bit.
Pip asleep on her snake

I had a bit of a sort out our bedroom the other day and had left a carrier bag containing some old underwear on the floor, ready to throw out later. At 5 o'clock in the morning I was awoken by a noise and could see it was Hugo, trying to bury his chew in the carpet - stupid boy often does this and wipes his nose back and forth as if it will disguise where he has hidden his treasure. Usually Pip is watching and instantly goes and gets whatever it is he has buried. However, this morning he used a bit more cunning but it wasn't until I got up in the morning I discovered what he had done. He had pulled out one of my old bras and placed it over the top of the chew so it was completely hidden - clever boy this time!

Hugo looking worried - a fly has
 just entered the building!
On Thursday morning I was awoken at 3.30am as it was just getting light by Hugo and Pip running madly up and down the stairs, skidding along the hall (we have just had laminate flooring down there and in the kitchen so the skittering, scrabbling of their claws trying to get a grip is very loud) and charging back up. This wasn't their usual reaction to someone coming in during the night (Daniel or Toby) or phantom burglars, this was excited, we-want-to-get-it-and-play-with-it noise. By the time I got out of bed to investigate Hugo was hanging out of our bedroom window, having flung it wide open, and Pip was standing looking out the landing window which was also open. I can only assume that next door's cat had had the audacity to look in through the landing window. I suspect it won't be doing that again in a hurry!




Monday, 19 May 2014

Getting Rid of Intruders (imagined or otherwise)!

Pip among the buttercups
We are well used to being sprung awake by Pip frantically barking the second she hears one of the boys coming into the house in the early hours of the morning and, after the initial shock, normally manage to fall back to sleep within minutes. However, the other night was something different altogether. I was woken at about 5am in the morning by Pip making a low, menacing growl that rumbled under her breath. At first I thought perhaps she was dreaming but the ominous noise continued until she suddenly got up and sat on the top step of the stairs, still ggggrrrrreeeeerrrrrring so I had no option but to get up and investigate. I first looked out the front window - nothing, Pip continued to growl. I then opened the bathroom window to look up the garden - nothing, still she kept up the noise. I joined Pip on the top of the stairs who was peering over the bannister looking towards the kitchen - nothing, on she went and by now I was beginning to get a bit unnerved. In the end I sat on the stair with her  and gave her a cuddle, she stopped growling and mad a fuss of me then turned round, jumped on the bed and went back to sleep!! Needless to say, I didn't and kept listening out for suspicious noises. Still don't know what it was but I wouldn't have fancied it's chances if it had tried to get in.


Hugo is convinced the cows are giant Akitas!
This beautiful spell of warm weather has been perfect for Hugo and Pip and they have spent most of the days outside alternating between lying sprawled out fast asleep (Pip in the sun, Hugo in the shade) and absolutely tearing around the garden, leaping over the flower beds and digging up the lawn. We have been leaving their long walk till later in the evening when it is a bit cooler which has suited us all. As of last Bank Holiday Monday the cows are out on Selsley Common again so Hugo thoroughly enjoys himself, stalking them on the horizon - I am convinced he thinks they are bigger versions of himself, and we all know how little dogs like to challenge the bigger ones! Unfortunately, along with the warm weather and the cows come Hugo's nemesis - the dreaded fly! If one is in the house he cannot settle and charges around pretending he is trying to hunt it until he actually gets close enough to do something about it then chickens out and runs away! Madam Pip has no such qualms and will leap up, twisting round with all four feet of the ground and catch one in her mouth - she soon gets rid of the problem.


I made this little video a few weeks ago and put it on Facebook but I love it so much I thought I would add it on here too. When we walk on the Common, Pip often has a mad five minutes and charges round making Hugo run with her and inevitably tying him up in knots. In this shot Toby and I were in the middle going round and round in circles - needless to say, I had to add the music to drown out my shrieks and laughter as we got giddier!







       

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Housework and Squeaky toys!

Pip has just spotted a bird on the fence!
The walls and doors in our hall were pebble-dashed with dried on drops of muddy water from where Hugo and Pip shake themselves when they come in when is has been raining so I have spent most of the morning washing everything down and making it more presentable. I had just finished cleaning all the panes of glass in the living room door (which were disgustingly covered in dog nose slobber) when I realised Miss Pip was helping me by busily licking all the ones I had just done - thanks Pip!


Chilling on a sunny day
Hugo has an itchy nose!
Last week I bought Hugo and Pip a couple of new toys - a pink snorting pig and an orange squeaky orang-utan. Although the pig has taken quite a bit of punishment it is the orang-utan which is the coveted prize, mainly, I think,  because it takes hardly any pressure at all to make it squeal very loudly! Hugo definitely thinks this toy is his and Pip knows this but, being a bit of a madam, likes to steal it from under his nose and run off with it. If she lies down and chews on it he is standing over her pathetically, pawing at her to get it back, his tongue hanging out of his mouth in concentration. I couldn't help laughing at them the other day when Pip had, as usual, run off with orang-utan with Hugo in hot pursuit and they had reached that 'five-minutes-of madness' stage when they were darting everywhere. Hugo was under the table on the decking and Pip was standing on the steps leading up to it, orang-utan was lying somewhere in between them. Every few seconds one of them would make a dart towards this orange bit of plastic, made it squeak then rush back to their 'base'. Then Hugo, not usually know for running much, dashed out and rushed round the garden with Pip tearing after him, obviously thinking he had got the toy. Round and round they went, then saw me standing watching them so rushed inside and threw themselves on the floor panting loudly. Where was orang-utan? Still lying on the decking - daft dogs!!


     



Sunday, 9 March 2014

Hugo and Pip Do Crufts - again!

Pip enjoying all the attention
Oooh, more of that please!
I went up to Crufts on my own yesterday, stayed over, and was joined today by Hugo, Pip, Martin (my OH) and Toby (my son). A brilliant, sunshiny day which started with Toby taking Hugo and Pip up on the Common for a good run before setting off to meet me at the N.E.C. where we were all going to represent the Akita Rescue and Welfare Trust - Toby has now decided that seven o'clock in the morning is definitely the best time to walk them as no one else was about at all.

Hugo spots Ashi Taka
I arrived at the show-ground just after my family so they were waiting for me outside the entrance when I got there. Surprisingly, Hugo and Pip didn't spot me straight away which was probably because of the volume of people arriving at that time. I got quite close before I was noticed and Pip set up her usual bark/howl of greeting, leaping up as if she hadn't seen me for years. Apparently, last night Hugo and Pip spent all evening lying behind the front door waiting for me to come home - nice to be loved isn't it?!!

We then had to fight our way through Halls 1 and 2 so we could get to Hall 3 where we had a spot in the Eukanuba rescue booths. Hugo and Pip went very willingly into their little pen and were quickly mobbed by the crowds, taking any amount of stroking, patting, being oohed and aared over and being photographed from every angle. With us were Stephanie, Teresa, Kirtsy and Jude but It wasn't long before we were joined by Kevin with the stunning Ashi Taka - a long coat akita who was really wowing the crowds with his laid back attitude and beautiful coat (Hugo's not so keen on him though!).

Ashi Taka
Kessie & Kovu
Toby took Hugo off for a comfort break but, as Pip also looked as if she needed 5 minutes peace from all the crowds, I followed with her a few moments later. I hadn't realised how much she depends on Hugo for reassurance because as soon as we hit crowds of people she went almost in to panic mode and at one point, when I took a slightly different route from the one Hugo had gone, she sat down and refused to go on until I coaxed her out. Once outside she set up a whining cry and wasn't at all happy, however much I tried to comfort her - she was only relaxed once she had Hugo in her sights. Needless to say we didn't separate them again.

Hugo gets down to greet his admirers
Later in the morning Rosie and Damien bought the two K's - Kessie & Kovu (another one whom Hugo is not keen on, and the feeling is mutual!) - so we were able to go off for an hour or so. Once again Toby and I fought our way through the crowds to look at the stands with Hugo and Pip in tow.  I have two country dogs who are used to open spaces which they can explore on the end of a long lead so are not at their best when being held close and, Hugo in particular, keeps trying to see round people and pushing them from behind when they don't move fast enough! We decided to retreat to the safety of the booth and they really settled into their role as ambassadors for ARW, loving all the attention.

Rosie, Kevin and Toby had all made cookies  with special Akita-shaped cutters which we handed out to children when they visited the stand. Hugo and Pip decided these were far nicer than any of the doggy treats we had for them so have had a large quantity of 'junk' food today as they quickly made it evident to anyone who had one they they wanted some too!

Going home!
By mid-afternoon we were beginning to flag so we decided to take Hugo and Pip home, leaving Kessie, Kovu and Ashi to work the crowds. As soon as we hit the motorway, Hugo and Pip were lying down and asleep which is where they stayed for the whole journey home. What was really funny was when we got back - Hugo and Pip were let into the house first while we unloaded all of our things but Miss Pip then stood on the doorstep and went mad, howling and talking, greeting us as if we had been away for hours. I think she had forgotten she had been with us the whole time. She then had a mad five minutes leaping on and off the bed upstairs and running about and has now crashed out again - think all that sugar might be out of her system now!.


All in all it was a very successful day with lots of interest and new contacts made. All of the dogs were beautifully behaved and were loved by everyone who met them. Really proud of all of them!