Sunday, 7 February 2016

Fat camp.

Izzzy Wizzy Wizole Wumps... or Izabel for short.  10 years young this coming August, so technically 9 and a bit.  Heavy - that is those big sturdy Welsh bones - very fluffy and desperately in need of a good groom; which is this afternoon's big job!

Iz in the snow 2014.

Gorgeous, isn't she?  I might be a bit biased as she is my baby, the first.. .and last.... puppy we will ever own.  Having always had rescue dogs (and cats before Iz and since) Iz was the puppy we choose to live with us and our now departed Suki (Lurcher X).  Having never had a puppy, we, as a family, decided we would give it a go, she was hard work but worth it.  Obviously the family all wanted to help out with walking, grooming, picking up the poo, training and all the  jobs that go with being responsible dog owners.  It was them telling me how helpful they would be that convinced me to have a third dog.  Their good intentions barely lasted the week but by then my maternal instincts had kicked in and I was super protective of my fluffy bundle of mischief and despite her reluctance to be less than the stubborn lead tugging creature she still remains we enrolled in obedience classes. It wasn't long before she made the trainer use the F word due to her refusal to come back preferring instead to wander over to the nursing home residents (the group ran in the grounds of a beautiful old nursing home) introduce herself and get fed cake! 

It was not her finest moment but in later classes we could console a young girl whose Spaniel was being particularly naughty and the girl was in tears, after telling her she wasn't doing too bad the trainer was yet to swear at her dog in exasperation she cheered up no end.

And so life has pretty much been run her way ever since.  We tried the halti to stop the lead pulling, she threw herself on the floor and I dragged her down the drive on her side until she relented for a second - and a piece of sausage - and got to her paws.  She was not to remain standing the second the sausage hit the stomach she threw herself back down on the lane.  

We don't use a halti.

Christmas Day 2015 up Skirrig Fawr with Jacqui (my friend), Defi on the left, Basil on the right and Dils at the back.

We have always had big dogs.  Our first dog together, the husband and I, was Ricky a big black and gold German Shepherd with 'issues'.  He really set the precedence for having animals that needed a forever home and I learn't very quickly that dealing with animals that have not had the best start in life was hard work but very rewarding.

Ricky lived to be 15 years old and was with us for 14 of those years.  In all that time I was very careful to balance his daily diet with his weight and exercise.  Big dogs, especially Shepherds, have problems with their back legs and carrying too much weight shortens their activity and life.  We found the right balance with Ricky and he was still wandering around, albeit slowly, on his own steam the day he died.

Time for a snooze whilst I work in the glass studio.  January 2016.

 Suki, our beautiful 'old lady dogs' as I called her was a barrel!  A Heinz 57 mix of just about every breed but narrowed down by the rescue home as Lurcher X.  She was lovely was Suki, biddable happy little soul that sadly left us too young at 13 with cancer.  It was Suki that welcomed Iz as a puppy, although welcomed was pushing it, it took a good 3 months for Suki to forgive us for introducing such a bundle of energy into her sedate life and accept Iz as a friend, once the bond was forged they spent 4 or 5 years playing together in the garden and taking long walks, made longer by Izabel's insistence on not coming back!

January 2016, buddies in mud!  Izabel left, Defi right.

If Suki taught Iz one thing it was to be lazy, not that Suki was lazy she was an active little thing in her day charging about like a loon and jumping into my husbands arms at the end of the day when he walked in through the door and of course she grew up with two kids who were under 10 in those days and so much fun in the garden was shared as well as crayon eating: Suki did like to munch on a good crayon and our garden was often bright and sparkly from red, purple, green.. glitter poos!

Iz excelled in one lesson at dog training.  Down, stay.  She would lie down and go to sleep. She would probably be there now if I hadn't woke her up with sausages and brought her home!

She loved agility, she ran the see saw like a professional in the agility ring, the tunnel was zipped through at the speed of light - once we figured out how to stop her lying down in the middle of it for a quick snooze, the other dogs crashing like a cartoon into the back of her and causing congestion round the circuit!  The long jump, she flew through the air her soft feathers floating like angel wings on a cloud.  She was brilliant.....

...right up to when the trainer tried to tell her how to do things properly, that is, not her way.  After weeks of her refusing to jump, get up, move at all.. we got busted down from the top group to the toy terrier group.  I was humiliated.  When the class ended and it was fun time, she was back on form and top of the group.  Tell her what to do......

We left agility soon after.

Iz @2012

Then there was Gordy.  The day he arrived Iz lay down in front of him and he climbed onto her back for comfort.  She looked at me, I looked at the husband, we all looked at Gordy and Iz went back to sleep.  When Gordy is having a bad day, when the dribble is flowing like a leaky faucet it is always Iz that he climbs onto for comfort.  He gets a bit hot does Gord and Iz will raise her head get eye contact which means 'please remove him' before getting off the sofa.  She is a great step mum to Gordy, she doesn't play with him like Defi does but she does the important work of caring, when he is not his normal self.

Iz and Gordy December 2015
So Monday February 1st 2016 dawned on an unusually dry day here in Hereford and the husband and I set off for a visit to the vet with Iz.  Nothing serious just annual check up and boosters with a quick stand on the doggy scales to check that weight.


Now I knew she had gained a pound or two but 10kgs in 1 year!! I couldn't believe it.  Iz was fat!  The vet started talking to me about Fat Club for Dogs held monthly at the surgery, that made me choke a bit but the husband nearly passed out when the vet told him about this special new food for over weight dogs which of course in vet language means a small mortgage to feed your dog each month!  

I was mortified, I had an over weight pet.  I have never had an over weight pet before I had always been so careful, obviously with Iz not careful enough.  I am sure she was nearly in tears too as the vet discussed how she was at risk of diabetis, heart problems... death!  

Other than the ENORMOUS weight gain, Iz is as healthy as can be and now on a strict diet and exercise program.

I did get home and Google (I love Google he knows everything, he is like a husband to whom you are not married!) the dog food I am currently feeding my dogs having changed to this particular brand approx 9 months ago, the last food, excellent stuff, made the dogs poo orange and I was being a bit posh and snobby over having dog poo in the garden that you can see from space.  So Google told me that this brand of dog food is most likely one of the worst kind for additives and 'doggy sugars'.  I did start reading about calorific value and it did get all scientific and clever so I turned Google off and advised the husband person that we are going back to glow in the dark poo and the brand that creates that.

We also take the ball down to the fields again.  In a week I have lost a pound and a half because Izabel thinks the game is leaving the bloody thing behind us and waiting for me to fetch it!

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