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September

30 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7am . . walked the woods and BGdns - with Bella pulling, lunging and causing fights with other dogs pretty much ALL along the way this morning! :o( . .returned home to find the bin men had actually come all the way up the garden to retrieve my black non recyclable bin, had emptied it (it was only less than a quarter full so I had no intention of putting it out for at least another couple of weeks!) and had even returned it all the way back up the garden to the patio by the front door!!? How bizarre. I think they may be trying to be super careful to avoid any more criticism. There's been a massive overhaul (with MUCH criticism) of the refuse collecting service in the bay in recent weeks. The nice straightforward system of having two wheelie bins (one for 'landfill' rubbish, the other for 'recyclables') has been replaced with an absurdly complicated system of a total of four different refuse containers. The 'landfill rubbish' wheelie bin remains, but all the rest now has to be sorted out into two different large plastic boxes with absurd elasticated mesh nets over the top to stop everything blowing away or being removed by animals, and food waste into yet another (although I never throw any food away, so don't use that one), AND instructions the contents should be kept dry! On collection days, those awkward heavy boxes have to be carried all the way down to the pavement and be ready for collection by 6am! The poor bin men when they empty them into the lorry, now actually have to sort out all the contents by hand as they go! The whole scheme is ill conceived and is quite obviously about just maximising profits for someone rather than anything else. It's caused a huge amount of aggravation for everyone (me included!) - especially for people who have nowhere to store all the bins, and the elderly who are physically unable to carry those boxes around. The local press has been absolutely full of it all for weeks, with unhappy disgruntled people threatening legal action and all manner of nonsense. The whole area now seems to be covered in plastic refuse boxes everwhere you look - and just walking down the street on bin day is a much more difficult obstacle course (especially difficult with a dog alongside, sniffing at every one! God help people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs.). . headachey and in a foul mood, I ended up PCing and looking at videos of haltis, etc again. Eventually ended up ordering a 'size 3' one off e-bay for 6.70. . . at last, I finally got round to packaging up the collar and lead I'd been loaned by the Devon GSD rescue people, and walked up the post office and got it in the mail. Impulse bought a few supplies . . cooked and ate fish and chips, a banana, a huge amount of biscuits and a little chocolate. . napped almost for only an hour or so. . walked really not feeling so good. . guitarred/TVd as the forecast heavy rain moved in . .touched base with Mum. . ate three toasted buttered and cheese covered crumpets, bowls of co-co pops, a banana and chocolate. . to bed around midnight. Difficulty getting to sleep through the noise of the wind and rain on the window cills. a
29 - Up around 7am after a dreadful night of hardly any sleep at all. . Dreaming at one point, I think I actually called out in my sleep , disturbing Bella who ended up clattering around the room for a bit, ensuring I woke up completely. (Wonder how long it'll be before she can't stand my snoring and talking in my sleep and ends up sleeping downstairs like Sally used to?) Then there was all the noise of the rain dripping onto the PVC window cills to try to sleep through. All in all, hardly any sleep at all! . . by the time I'd woken-up and come-to and was fit for walking, it was getting on for 7:45am which seemed a little bit late too late for comfort to be able to walk and get back in time to drive to the vet for Bellas follow-up about her ear. Given it was also absolutely pouring with rain, we ended up driving to BGdns for a quick once round and just a couple of throws of the ball (and getting absolutely drenched despite wearing waterproofs!). Sat on the back of one of the seats in BGns was a huge buzzard, which of course flew off (chased and harrased by crows) as we appeared only thirty feet or so from it. Spectacular sight - like a 'small' eagle! Those poor rabbits have a hard time! . . finished the walk and then drove straight to Totnes. . pretty much the same nightmare trip as last time only this time all steamed up in the rain, with much sitting in stationary traffic, with the fanbelt squealing, and with the less than ten mile trip taking around three quarters of an hour! . after a five minute wait in the waiting room, we were called in to see the vet. Popped Bella up onto the table and without bothering with any muzzle, the vet had a quick look in her ear and suggested it all looked ok - and that was that! Briefly weighed her before heading back to the car. (At least I wasn't charged for the (pointless) visit.) . not wanting to have used all that petrol for so little, and being kinda half way there anyway, I headed on out to the pet store to stock up on Bella food but also mostly to go in the store next to it to buy a couple of the lengths of heavy-duty curtain track I'd spotted in there the last time I was there. . stopped off at two Focus DIY stores on the way back attempting to buy some more of the special plastic superglue, but yet again they were out of stock in both! I'm gonna stop using those Focus stores. They really are useless! Eventually returned home via the local store for a few supplies, tired out, ravenously hungry, still damp and in a really pretty fed up mood. . . ate chicken and stuffing slices in three bread rolls with a tin of microwaved chicken soup followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. . Mum called in briefly on her way past . . utterly exhausted, napped until around 4:30pm. . .PCd just a bit of this. . . walked and played ball before sitting for ages waiting to see if any rabbits appeared for Bella to chase. . TVd . . ate pilchards with onion, chips, a banana and chocolate . . Mum called to touch base . . TVd until bed around midnight.
28 - Up just before 7am . . walked and carried on down town. Bought some bread rolls and burgers and scored some bones for Bella . . drank almost a glass of wine and cooked and ate four burgers in rolls. . napped the whole afternoon away yet again! . . walked in light drizzle . .guitarred/TVd the evening away. . cooked and ate bacon, eggs, half a tin of sausages in baked beans and four pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate. .PCd a bit before finally to bed around 2:30am. ds
27 - Up around 7:30am . . walked. . PCd surfing and reading up a little on how to try to stop Bella lunging at others dogs (when on the lead in particular). Inevitably 'I' need to alter what 'I' am doing, and start a whole new approach to training her it would appear. I AM also reluctantly seriously tempted to get one of those horrible 'halti' type collar things for her - just as a temporary measure. We'll see. . . put in several hours (the whole morning and well into the afternoon!!) sorting through paperwork and bills and such, and FINALLY balanced my accounts for the first time in a couple of months. At last, a bit of piece of mind on THAT score! . . ate bacon, eggs, half a tin of sausages in baked beans and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. . napped for almost a couple of hours . . walked. On the way to BGdns I spotted what appeared to be a mobile phone in pieces in the middle of the road. It particularly drew my attention when it looked as though it hadn't yet been driven over by anything. Gathered up the front, back and battery from where they lay and eventually succeeded in putting it all back together. Popped it in a pocket to have a proper look at later. Finished the two hour walk and sits in BGdns and then returned home and had a look at the phone. .SO different to the old simple 'talking brick' I still carry around. Looked like a pretty expensive affair with everything being done on the touchscreen - it didn't even have a seperate keyboard. It also even had a 5megapixel camera on board!! Amazing. Not the easiest thing in the world to suddenly start trying to figure out. Eventually found a list of numbers and amongst them one that was labeled 'Dad' which seemed like the best bet to try calling. Sadly there was no answer. Just then as I continued to play with it, it received a call and started to ring and buzz! I quickly answered and yayyy - it was a woman asking if I'd found a lost phone. lol I quickly forced her to take my phone number (in case the mobile was about to suddenly die), gave her my address and agreed that someone could come and pick it up right away. . a short while later a very relieved looking guy turned up to pick up his phone. He seemed VERY relieved and even started suggesting he'd like to give me a bottle of wine or maybe some fish as a thankyou. I kinda dismissed the idea and just wished him luck that is was still all in working order - and warned him that I HAD taken some pictures on it. (His 'wallpaper' was actually now a picture of Bella! lolol) . . . guitarred/TVd . . drank a glass and a bit of red wine while cooking a Mum donated pizza . . ate pizza and chocolate . . TVd until bed around 1am. d
26 - Up around 7am. . =<16C in , 4C out. . . walked the woods, beach and BGdns in the sun . .ummd and ahhd before deciding and then calling Mum on the mobile suggesting she may wish to accompany me to a local car boot sale. I've been meaning to check that one out ever since I've been here, but just haven't gotten round to it - put off by the big crowds and long traffic queues to get into the place. I figured it was high time I forced myself to do it, and since dogs are accepted, it'd be a very cool way of exposing Bella to more 'socialising' experiences. . stopped off at home and got the car and drove to pick up Mum. I warned her that if having Bella with us turned out to be a nightmare (AND if 'I' and or she just couldn't handle all the crowds and hassle!), I'd be calling an abrupt halt to things and just be getting out of there real quick! . . . On the way there we passed a couple of people walking two german shepherds, one of which really was the spitting image of Bella! Couldn't resist briefly pulling over and exchanging a few words, and asking specifically what type of dog it was. Just a regular german shepherd apparantly, so I guess Bella may well be just an unusual version of a 'regular' shepherd? I'll simply never know for certain. . . parked up in the car boot field and with Bella constantly pulling on a firmly held short leash, we started wandering up and down looking at all the tables. Despite Bella's excitement and my difficulty holding her back ALL the way, she really was quite good with the overwhelming new experience and all the crowds. She didn't have a go at any of the other dogs that were there, and even 'relatively' calmly tolerated people (including some VERY young children!) giving her a stroke as they passed! Image of car boot sale 3 filing cabinet and 1 foot stool . . Spotted a leather footstool on a rusty metal base (just needs a sanding down and coat of paint) at one of the stalls. The guy said he'd let it go for just 1, so I figured it was worth having. If not as a replacement for the old split plastic one I'd be lost without in the living room, then useable somewhere else perhaps. Quickly walked it back to the car and dumped it in the back before resuming looking at all the rest of the tables. At pretty much the last table in the place, I spotted an old style metal two drawer filing cabinet! Not in the best of condition, but as long as the drawers worked, that didn't concern me. I so SO regret (and will forever more) having just thrown away all that old Post Office office equipment when I fled from Bristol. I've been desperate to get hold of some sort of similar filing cabinet or desk pedestal for all my files and paperwork, ever since moving in here! It had originally been on sale for some ridiculously high price, but had been reduced to 5. While I looked at it, the people made it clear they just wanted rid of it rather than have to transport it all the way back home again, and offered it for 3. (I suspect they may have let me have it for nothing if I'd pushed - but I'm just not like that). 3 seemed like a neat deal. Even if I decided it was no good for my paperwork, at that give away price, I figured it would be ok for tools in the garage. Eventually said I'd have it - although fitting it in the car with Bella and the already bought footstool was going to be real touch and go! . . Returned to the car, dismantled the footstool and managed to cram it in the front passenger seat on top of Mum before driving round to have a go at picking up the filing cabinet. Got Bella out of the car and temporarily tied to the rear passenger door latch, and was then helped into the back of the car with the cabinet by one of the guys from the stall. There wasn't much room left for poor Bella behind it, but she happily jumped in nonetheless, for an uncomfortable quick drive the short distance straight home. . coffee and quick chats about how good Bella had been before Mum soon walked home. . pottered around wiping things down and checking over the filing cabinet drawers etc, to make sure it actually all worked well enough to be used. Eventually shifted it up into a corner of the cramped PC room. (Very cramped, now Bella's duvet takes up much of the limited floorspace! lol) . . . ate pork sandwiches, crisps, blackberries and rice, and some chocolate. . napped . . walked. . TVd the evening away. . ate a pastry slice, sausage roll, crisps, muffins and chocolate. . to bed at midnight.
25 - Up just after 7am, around the same time as the sun. Indoor/outdoor thermometer says 16+/5C. That's not bad considering there was little if any sunshine yesterday to heat up the front wall/bricks of the house. . . walked the woods and beach. A little bit of a swell on the sea causing waves on the beach - which Bella found frightening. Two throws of the tennis ball and it split in half, so that's another one gone. Threw lots of pebbles before eventually heading back to sit in BGdns for a while. . returned home with a big lump of K donated pork joint for Bella . . PCd and ended up surfing for ages looking at available reflective/illuminated dog collars and different ID tags etc, etc. .VERY tired after so little sleep last night. Ate pork sandwiches, crisps and chocolate 'early' around 12:30pm. . Mum called to touch base . . napped for ages until around 6:15pm!! . . walked late. Impressive moonrise over ships on the horizon. Sat around for ages as darkness fell. After my recent efforts to encourage it (as more natural dog behaviour than playing ball all the time), Bella suddenly seems to have got the idea about rabbits. This evening she excitedly chased after one I pointed out to her. From then on, she was pretty much keeping watch for them and occasionaly chasing after them for the rest of our time there. She even started to show signs of just leaving me behind and disappearing into the bushes in search of them! I may have unleashed a monster here! lol . .briefly stopped off at Mums on the way home to pick up the paper she had for me . . TVd/guitarred the evening away . .ate ham rolls, crisps, chocolate muffins and chocolate. . to bed around 1:11am. s
24 - Up at 6:30am. .walked . .PCd working on Bella video clips. . Mum popped in with food donations, a small pork pie treat for Bella and a set of far too expensive coffee/tea/sugar cannisters she'd bought for me, to replace the broken tupperware and odd jars I use. Metal ones with push on plastic lids - to help 'make my now nice kitchen look even nicer'.. . . . ate a bag of crisps with the remaining Mum donated pork pies and some chocolate. . napped . .dabbled a little more with the Bella video clips, once again struggling to cut them down smaller . . walked. Very much cooler in the strong breeze tonight. .Bb called . . TVd/guitarred just a little before ending up back on the PC for hours more working on the latest clips. Finally had them done and uploaded to youtube around 1:30am.(Bella_06) grabbed a quick bite of a banana, some rice, a Mum donated cake slice and a square of chocolate before to bed around 2:30am!! Bella obviously wasn't keen on being awake at such a late hour, and actually unusually dared to leave my side, and took herself off up onto her duvet bed in the bedroom before that. :o) VERY slowly I guess she's getting to used to things and starting to relax just a little more.
23 - Up at 7am. . surfed and read some of the local news before PCing a bit of this. . walked. Watched in horror as a baby seagull flew past trailing fishing line, complete with a float. :o( . Straight back home by around 10am and successfully gave Bella her next load of ear drops. She put up just a little bit of a struggle (totally understandable because it must surely be rather unpleasant having stuff dropped in your ears like that) but with the minimum of force, was persuaded to lay there and let me do it. Marvellous little thing she is, showing so much trust in me - already. . touched base with Mum and suggested rice pudding and blackberries. lol . . PCd this . . ate the last of the curry with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate . took a stanley knife blade to my left foot again! It's started hurting pretty bad again of late with all the walking I'm doing again. It actually feels as though there is a splinter in there somewhere, but despite excavating a deep hole (no exageration - up to at least 5mm deep?) I couldn't really find anything, and probably just succeeded in making it even more painful!. . napped until around 4:30pm . . walked in a couple of light showers and then with the sky clearing, walked all the way round the harbour and out along to the end of the breakwater as daylight faded and the full moon rose. Pretty hard work all the way, with Bella pulling and occasionaly lunging at passing dogs! . more or less dark by the time we got back to BGdns on the return. That highlighted the need for me to try and sort out some sort of reflective or illuminated collar for Bella for the winter. She is TOTALLY invisible in the dark!!!. . back home pretty tired by just a little before 9pm. .gave Bella her evening ear drops, chocolate treats AND a pigs ear treat later. . guitarred/TVd. . 'browsed' on rice and blackberries, corn flakes, a handful of fish fingers and chocolate. . to bed around midnight. s
22 - A very disturbed nights sleep and then finally woken before 5:30pm by noise from Bella. I think she'd had a worse nights sleep than I had! Her 'irritated right ear' thing seems to have returned with a vengeance (after a 'day-off' yesterday!) Much trying to scratch it, and head shaking, etc. Seemed pretty obvious things were not at all right, it WAS causing her considerable discomfort, and like it or not, it looked as though we were going to HAVE to go see a vet! Already!!!!!!!! Damn! :o( . . PCd briefly over coffee and cigarettes, having a bit of a surf looking up canine ear-mites. .called the vet and was directed to the Totnes open surgery (open between 9 and 10am). It's SUCH a pain not being able to go to a more local one on demand (rather than having to fit in with their infuriating part-time hours)! How on earth will I manage in the future when I no longer have the car? I'm gonna HAVE to look into the only other local vet practice, to see if they may be better for 'instant' appointments. . Walked early around 6:15am in the mild morning mist with the sun breaking through. If I hadn't been so preoccupied and uptight, it would have been a beautiful morning walk . . grabbed a quick half a cup of coffee (and desperately sprayed a bit of WD40 on my worsening squealing fan belt!) before jumping in the car and setting off for Totnes just after 8am. It can only be around ten miles - it took us almost an hour!!!!!! FFS! Loads of stationary traffic tailbacks all over the place, for absolutely no apparant reason at all! I live (and must!) SUCH a small, quiet little existance now - going anywhere for ANY reason, is definitely becoming increasingly difficult for me. Ridiculous, but I couldn't help it - I got SO wound up and up-tight I felt as though I was going to explode - desperate to get Bella all ok as soon as possible, terrified of the likely cost, and also wanting to be one of the first at the surgery, so I had at least some chance of being able to park in their far too tiny car park! (Parking in Totnes appears to be an absolute nightmare - but fine if you can afford the car park charges!) 'Maybe' some of my trouble with the whole experience was of course retracing the route and trips there which marked the end of Sally! . Thankfully when we finally arrived, their car park was all but empty. I think I was pretty much the first customer. As we entered, we were kinda greeted by a veterinary nurse. I explained why we were there and then embarassingly had to tell her that before we went into the waiting room, I needed to use the bathroom. (It 'may' have just been nerves, but I HAVE started to wonder of late, if my advancing age is reducing my capacity for 'holding it'! I DO seem to have to go rather (more?) frequently these days!) She said it was no problem, told me where to go (I already knew from my couple of Sally visits) - she grabbed Bella's lead and said she'd take her - and off she went!! Jeeze!!! I hardly even had time to call out to poor Bella to 'wait', before she was abruptly taken away into some other room all nervous with her tail between her legs!!!! I RACED up the stairs, did my thing as fast as I possibly could, and raced back down - to find Bella being brought back out and the woman saying how good she'd been! Phew. Never mind Bella - as it always was with Sally - it's ME who suffers the separation anxiety! . . Briefly waited in the waiting room, reassuring a slightly anxious (wanting cuddles) Bella, before we were called in to see the vet. Explained the problem, and also outlined how she was new to me etc, etc. I agreed (suggested?) that under the circumstances, being a bit of an unknown quantity to me, it WOULD be best (oh god how I HATE them) to have a muzzle on her for the examination. With exactly this sort of situation in mind, I have on just one or two occasions, already introduced Bella to the idea of me picking her up. Without much bother at all, I was able to lift her up onto the examination table (SO much easier On ME than trying to lift heavy Sally up like that). She was nervous but just sat there leaning on me as I cooed and reassured her. EXCELLENT dog! In the blink of an eye, the experienced vet slipped the muzzle on her without any sign of her fighting it. The nurse was summoned to assist, but I'm not sure why. Bella was so good, she wasn't really needed. I continued my cooing and silly reassuring dog talk throughout as I held Bella's nose still and held her close, as she leaned back against me. He listened to her heart/breathing (all ok) and then had a look into her left (good ) ear with an instrument before then having a look at her right (bad) one. His pretty much instant diagnosis was "Otitis Externa" - which as far as I understood it, was just some sort of minor external infection (non transmisable), for which he immediately gave her some eardrops treatment. . Pointing out it was her first vet visit since I'd had her, he made some general comments about how she appeared to be a nice fit dog, and how in terms of her weight, she'd probably stay quite a slim little thing - all quite normal, nice dog. I got him to scan her and confirm her chip ID number (I've yet to receive any paperwork about change of keeper from the chip registry company.). And that was pretty much that. The (unecessary) muzzle was removed, I lifted her back to the floor and the vet produced a couple of treats for her (which 'I' had to give her before she'd eat them). All in all, Bella was just SO good, I could hardly believe it. Armed with her small bottle of pescription (1x Otomax Ear Drops 14ml - Apply six drops to ear two times daily), and recommended to return to see him for a follow up check-over next week (which I 'may' not have to pay for), I paid the bill (Ouch! Consultation 18.72 +VAT, Otomax 7.74 +VAT - 31.09 Total - in cash from some money Mum recently gave me, for Bella!) and was soon heading back out to the car much relieved. . Stopped to fill up with petrol at Sainsburys on the way home. (27.46ltrs @ 31). briefly stopped at the local store on the way home for some milk and bread rolls etc. .Let Bella out of the car at the back, then went to get my shopping out of the front passenger seat. Bella jumped straight in the front, sat in the drivers seat for a bit, then hopped over onto her duvets in the back and refused to get out!? Wonder where she wanted to go? Unloaded and grabbed a coffee before briefly messing around a little with the bolts on the high back gate. Repositioned one of the bolt keep plates to give me peace of mind (even though Bella chooses to NEVER go out there without me) and ensure a strong wind absolutely can't blow them open as once recently happened. . PCd just a bit of this . . Mum called to touch base. .ate pastrami in three warburtons rolls, crisps and some chocolate. .VERY tired. Lack of sleep and the stress of the morning's escapade! Napped early until around 4:30pm . . walked. Played on the beach for ages before heading back up through the woods. That's ANOTHER tennis ball gone already!! After MUCH throwing it into the sea for Bella to retrieve, it eventually suddenly sank leaving her briefly swimming in confused circles . lol . . Once through the woods, I couldn't resist doing just a little blackberry picking in the hedgerows, and part filled a poop scoop bag, which seemed enough for a bit of a bite for me and some to share with Mum. Despite having refused a couple I picked in passing, and offered her the other day, Bella seemed to get the idea today and happily scoffed down any I offered her. lol . .briefly stopped off at Mums on the way back and gave her half the blackberries . . TVd . ate half the remaining beef curry with four pieces of bread and butter and then a little chocolate . . successfullyish got the evening dose of six drops of medication into Bellas ear without too much hassle, although I'm not sure I got it in as deep as it really 'should' have gone. Nevertheless, she does already appear to have relief and much reduced irritation from her ear as a result of having all that sticky goo going in there. (The fur around her ear is all a little bit matted/wet-looking from it all.) . . cooked up the blackberries with rather a lot of sugar. Discovered an old, old tin of cheap rice pudding in the back of a cupboard and eventually made up three dishes of rice pudding mixed with the blackberries. Put two in the fridge and fast cooled one in the freezer for a while before eating it. Not bad at all (despite the cheap economy rice pudding having almost no rice in it!!). . TVd until bed around midnight.
21 - Up at 6:30am. Foggy out. . walked. Back via sits in town once again. Bumped into 'singing man' D on the way home. He said he had a 'gift' for me and would pop down later with it if that was ok! (Oh dear. I'm gonna have to go through the ritual of pretending to be grateful for something I don't want again aren't I! I must seem such an ungrateful b*****d in the face of such generosity (which 'I' NEVER show to anyone, ever!) - but I can absolutely guarantee 100%, that whatever it is I'm gonna be given, is gonna be something I don't want, and will then be stuck with for ever more just to avoid hurting their feelings! :o( ) Figured if nothing else, it would be useful from the point of view of Bella experiencing having a stranger call in (which of course generally NEVER happens). . TVd briefly and ate a bunch of biscuits with coffee. . started sorting out the mountain of paperwork and bills I've had hanging around untouched for months, but only succeeded in 'tidying' it up into a huge heap and de-dusting some of the PC desk rather than actually getting it sorted!! It's all really starting to prey on my mind hanging over me like this. I've not balanced my accounts for SO long now, I really haven't a clue what sort of financial shape I'm actually in at all at the moment! . .Somewhere around 1pm D called in. Bella wasn't 'too' bad at all at having this stranger enter (despite me not really handling things quite right), and very soon just settled down while we chatted. I think it's fair to say she was a lot calmer about meeting this stranger, than she was when she first met me. All good. . the gift(s) I had to pretend to be grateful for, turned out to be two brass ornaments about three inches tall in the shape of dogs, bought at a car boot sale I think he said. One was kinda like a German Shepherd (ish!). I think I've mentioned here at length before, how it is SO rare to actually find ANY such ornament that actually does in deed look like a real German Shepherd, rather than some awful misproportioned laughable attempt. Well - I am now the 'proud'(!) owner of something which looks to me like a cross between some sort of lassie type large dog and perhaps an egyptian sphynx!!!! I've seen many similar over the years and wouldn't have dreamed of wasting my money on ANY of them. Oh dear. I tried my best to show thankful. :o( The other ornament, was I presume, trying to be a representation of a large boxer type dog? It didn't look much different to me, other than appearing to have the nose cut off! Hurt feelings or not, somehow I awkwardly declined (my excuse being it wasn't a GSD)! All very awkward for me. So - now I'm stuck with yet more (ugly) clutter I don't want - which I'll never be able to get rid of, just in case he calls in again!!! Ho hum. :o( . . ate ham and mayo rolls, crisps and chocolate . . napped . . walked just a little later than we have been recently. This ball fixation of Bella's, doesn't seem to be entirely 'healthy' to me. It strikes me as somehow a little neurotic, kindof. Something that's been forced on her by her 'human' past. Just doesn't seem right that she shows no interest in 'chaseable' wildlife! I'm far more used to a Sally type dog - whose walks were always all about 'the hunt' rather than playing with toys. As a result, I HAVE been trying to teach Bella how to hunt/chase the rabbits in BGdns!!!!!! lol At strategic points I've slowed my pace and looked intently at the hedgerows and crept along like a hunting person. lolol She hasn't a clue why, despite having shown interest at their scent once or twice. This evening, sat on one of the benches (after having finished playing ball), a couple of rabbits appeared a little way off below us on top of the gun emplacement roof, and I finally managed to get Bella to 'see' them. FINALLY - she got interested and ran after them and had a good sniff around where they'd been and disappeared to. She then even (presumeably) spotted some more down below, and she tore off after them, out of my sight for pretty much the first time since I've had her. With their thick cover close by, the rabbits were quite safe, and I found it great to see her acting a little more 'normally' for a moment - before I got nervous about her being out of my sight. She excitedly came running straight back up to me after I'd given a call for her to come. :o) . . On the deserted darkened streets, and without any distractions, with Bellas lead loose around her neck and tied to my belt, we succeeded in walking pretty much ALL the way back home, using voice commands only (including stopping and sitting, here and there, at junctions/road crossings, etc.) . back home she wanted to play more ball. Managed to get her briefly interested in her rawhide chewy thing instead - but it didn't last. So weird she isn't interested in chewing on that? Been sat there untouched for the last two weeks, despite my frequent encouragement for her to chew on it!?? I even wiped it over with some tasty frying pan grease a while ago, to no avail! I'm sure she doesn't know she's a dog! . . TVd . . used defrosted (dog food) beef and a pot of cheap Sainsburys economy curry sauce, to make up a big saucepan of curry . . ate lots with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate. . TVd until bed gone midnight.
20 - Up around 7:30am after not much sleep. .PCd this . .Walked. Just up the road a tiny squirming grass snake was stranded on the pavement. Eventually managed to pick it up and re-locate it into someones garden. . Let Bella off her lead as soon as we reached BGdns because a bit of a crowd of other dog walkers and various dogs were milling around on the paths in front of us, through which we had to pass. We negotiated our way through them all successfully without incident. Eventually carried on down town again to go in just a couple of charity shops and then just sit around down there for a bit, before finally heading home and arriving back a little after 11am. All went fairly ok. . PCd a bit intending to try to get on top of all my long untouched and outstanding bills and paperwork, etc, but yet again somehow I just couldn't manage to force myself to get on and do it, and ended up aimlessly surfing instead . .all of a sudden Bella appeared to have something in her right ear causing her considerable discomfort. Lots of trying to scratch it and shaking of her head and walking around a bit wonky. Actually went on for so long, it became rather worrying! She was remarkably tolerant of me having a look and rubbing it for her, and even calmly accepted me gently sticking my finger and even a twist of kitchen-roll deep into it in an attempt to see what was going on! . a nice sunny afternoon. Managed to avoid sleeping it away and ended up walking early and heading down to the cove to play with Bella, and hopefully help clear out whatever was in her ear. Her problem appeared to be soon remedied and forgotten once we were out. She's VERY much got the hang of the 'swimming after the ball' thing, and seems to have a limitless appetite for doing so. Over and over and over! Amazing energy! Eventually walked up through the darkening woods and all the way back round to BGdns to sit on a seat for quite a while, before finally heading home for around 7:15pm. Bella had been SO good all day, and then went and spoiled it on the way home by lunging at a small passing dog. lol . . TVd and ate a bunch of biscuits and then a Mum donated pizza with extra cheese . . TVd struggling to stay awake until early to bed around 10:30pm.
19 - Up around 7:30am. .PCd this . . walked. Once again, T's latest charge, the bright young lad appeared on the scene, and ended up playing ball with Bella whilst I sat and had my cigarette. Eventually ended up on the seats under the roof with all the other walkers, various kids and lots of dogs. Bella was really well behaved and even dared to wander around exploring just a little away from me, rather than having to sit right by me all the time for comfort. Despite her usual pulling when other dogs were in sight, even the walk back at heal was fairly good. Overall, I ended up having a really positive feel about how she's coming on (despite my aching back, shoulder and left arm!). . briefly popped in Mums on the way home . . gave Bella the other half of the bone I got the other day . .sorted through all the various 'dog' duvets and re-made her bed in the bedroom bay using one of the new covers Mum had bought. Crammed three single duvets into one cover for her main bed on the floor in the bedroom bay window next to my bed, and folded up a double for her place in the PC room when I'm on the PC. . PCd Bella video clips. . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing slice rolls, crisps and chocolate. . napped for only an hour or so, woken by an awful head/backache. . PCd more on the Bella clips, trying to ruthlessly cut them down smaller. . walked around 7pm (sucking another annadin tablet) leaving the PC running, compiling the long video. . carried on down and through town on the way home as it got dark. Plenty of pulling and such, but she IS getting better. On the whole, very pleased with how today went with her . uploaded the long clips (Bella_05) to Youtube while TVing . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate fish fingers and chips. . TVd until bed around midnight. Poor nights sleep. A light rain/drizzle was making loud intermittant drips fall onto the double glazed window cill all night! aad
18 - Up around 7:10am. .PCd this . .walked. Bella had one incident of having a bit of a go at another dog before we ended up under the roof with lots of people and dogs, where she acted perfectly sociable with ALL of them, and even one or two strange dogs to her who walked by or approached while we were there. .blinded by the sun, I made to jump up onto the area beneath the roof and smashed my head into one of the absurd railings the council put up there! That hurt! . did laundry and dish washing chores . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for a cuppa and chats etc. Together with pork pie treats for Bella, she also came with a collection of new duvet covers she'd scored from charity shops, to go on Bella's various duvets around the place. . ate pork pies, crisps, a banana and chocolate. . napped until around 6pm . . walked. On the deserted streets on the way back, Bellas walking to heal really was pretty damn good this evening (although still plenty of occasions of having to stop and haul her back into position. She WILL insist on walking ahead of me, even if keeping pace, which makes left turns pretty impossible. I've even taken to zig-zagging back and forth across the streets a bit, and even going in circles sometimes as we go! Must look funny to anyone watching. lol) . I may be asking too much of her too soon, but she MUST stop the pulling and particularly the lunging at other dogs pretty damn soon. I'm now suffering a LOT of pain in my left arm/shoulder and back as a result of the daily battles! Really hurting a lot! . . stopped off at the local store on the way home and tied Bella up outside briefly while I dashed in and out. She dutifully layed there waiting for my return. Excellent - although I probably AM taking a hell of a risk. God knows what would happen if another dog came by while I was in the store! The only place to tie her up at THAT store is to the collection of shopping carts all parked just outside. If she really 'went for it', she'd probably end up with the carts all going with her!!! . . TVd(excellent Steven Hawking program)/guitarred . .ate salami and cheese, cake and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. s
17 - Up around 7am. .PCd and managed to watch yesterdays 'One Show' with the seagull/plastic bag clip on the BBC I player. Oh boy - what a disappointment! The actual seagull clip they used was the briefest couple of seconds of 'sound bite' in their report, and the whole seriousness of the issue was completely destroyed and utterly lost, by happening to have Dame Edna Everage as a guest on the sofa at the same time! Both the presenters were laughing as they introd and exited the report!! I actually gave up watching it. Total waste of time that did the serious subject a disservice. :o( . . walked and pretty much did a carbon copy of yesterday. Down on the beach, a small jack russel type dog came along and there was a 'bit' of a growly scene before Bella accepted his presence. Cheeky little thing he was and eventually ended up stealing Bellas tennis ball. Funny thing was, as soon as he'd done so, she didn't really try to get it back and just seemed to get all confused and nervous and more focused on me!?? Try as I may, I really just can't quite figure out what's going on with her (and so, how to address and improve it - and possibly correct MY potentially aggravating behaviours.). Despite her contradictory behaviour, I keep coming back to the conclusion that she's frightened - by pretty much everything all the time! 'Wired' is the term I'd use to describe her behaviour whenever we are out - and always trying to lunge at other dogs! Just full of nervous, adrenaline fueled energy, ALL the time. .I'm not sure how or why on this occasion, but somehow that little dog managed to bring out a little playfulness in Bella, and for the first time since I've had her, she did actually run around with it and have a bit of a proper playful romp. SO good to see. :o). . eventually carried on down through town again to sit around for a bit getting her used to things (only one proper lunge at a passing dog), before eventually home by just after 11am .The walk back was marked by Bella pooping all over the narrow pavement on the busy main road!! Every time she goes swimming she is obviously drinking lots of sea water, and in very quick time, it affects her stomach. WHAT a runny mess!! Impossible to adequately clear it up (despite even using some kitchen roll I had for the purpose in a pocket!). SO embarassing to leave such a mess behind. When (as it surely one day must) she does that in the middle of town, I'm gonna be SO embarassed (and hated!). . drank a glass of red wine while cooking roast potatoes. Ate defrosted pork, stuffing, roast potatoes and half a pint of gravy . . napped. . walked . . TVd. . returned Mums ansaphone call . PCd just briefly but Bella seemed to be just a little 'unsettled' this evening and even seemed to be having a bit of a whine at times!? (Given how she always scoffs her food down SO quickly without even tasting it, it wouldn't suprise me if she had a bit of indigestion discomfort!) If 'I' make a whining or howling noise, she seems to get all worried and will climb up onto me demanding a cuddle!? Ended up going out into the gardens well after 10pm, both front and back, and sitting and playing ball quite a bit. Pretty cool out there this evening, but noticeably much warmer inside. Draped the sensor from my thermometer through the window again and recorded 18 degrees C inside, 8 degrees out. . TVd/guitarred . . ate salami and mayo sandwiches, two bags of crisps and chocolate. . to bed around 1:30am. d
16 - Up around 6:45am. .walked and did the long walk down through the woods to the beach. Came upon a couple of dog walkers in the woods and dared to leave Bella off her lead as we approached. Thankfully the meeting went without incident, although following one of them along the path at a distance for some of the way afterwards, Bella suddenly decided to run towards them and have a growl!? She stopped short and I called out my disapproval and nothing more came of it. Down on the beach I threw Bella's tennis ball into the water for her to fetch, but it was split and promptly sank and was lost! Loads of thrown pebbles appeared to be an adequate substitute for her, and saw her on occasions do that 'fully airborne twisting in the air before landing' thing that some dogs do. Impressive for a little big dog. LOTS of dogs on the beach while we were there and no anti social incidents from her at all. . eventually carried on all the way down town for just a bit of 'exposure' to all the hustle and bustle. God it's incredibly hard work with her at the moment. With all the excitement and fear it builds up in her, she constantly forgets her training and pulls on her lead, all the time needing correcting and hauling back into position. She is particularly impossible whenever she catches sight of another dog, which down here of course is pretty much all the time!! It really was physically exhausting for me - never mind her! We really should go down there more often and just get her bored with it all as soon as possible, but frankly, physically, I'm just not capable of going through all that too often!! With the constant talking to her in my silly 'dog voice' (I haven't talked so much in years) , I'm also having a bit of trouble with my voice, which is cracking under the strain a bit and hinting at starting to fade! lol . . scored a couple of bones in the butchers before struggling home with her along the particularly nasty and dangerous main road with it's far too narrow path. Particularly hard on us both if there is another dog anywhere in sight and a bus or lorry thundering past only a foot or two away!!! Home around midday after a good four hours out.. . gave Bella part of one of the bones out in the garden. I wonder if she's ever had one like that before? Figured I'd do the alpha-male thing again and take it off her part way through. Woawwwww - that turned out to be a TOTALLY differenty reaction to her food bowl, and actually a bit touch and go!! She definitely did NOT want to be parted from it!! She didn't growl or anything, but she made it VERY clear she was going to keep it, and there was a bit of a tug of war as she tried to walk it away from me! First time I've actually experienced just a hint of nervousness (fear?) in my dealings with her. Having reached this point, I figured there was no way I could be seen to be backing down, so I just had to hang onto the bone with my hand between her teeth, give a bit of a stern voice and wrestle it out of her mouth (I have found through experience that sticking a finger in between a dogs teeth and onto the back of its tongue, will always cause it to drop whatever it is refusing to release! A hugely risky strategy no doubt - but 'so far', I still have all my fingers!) . I succeeded in getting it off her before eventually then giving it back. It wasn't around long after that before she'd devoured it all. . cooked and ate a HUGE meal of ham steak, large tin of sausages in baked beans with chopped onion and some grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter, followed by a square of chocolate. . napped until around 4:45pm . . walked. Stopped at the store on the return for some milk, and tied Bella up outside and told her to 'wait' while I disappeared out of sight. She dutifully 'waited' without incident. Excellent - although not-so the walking to heal this evening. I got a bit short tempered and less than gentle in pulling her back! :o( By the time we were home, I really had had enough of it all for one day! Very tired and aching! . .returned Mums missed ansaphone message and heard that a small clip of my horrific 'seagull eating a plastic bag' footage HAD been on the BBC 'One Show' this evening. . PCd trying to see if I could catch the show on the BBC Iplayer, but it wasn't yet available. . PCd this - had the software crash, lost all I'd typed, and had to do the whole damn thing all over! . guitarred . .boiled up the last of the plums I was given, in some water with a large amount of sugar and ate them after they'd cooled. Very nice. . BB called . . TVd . ate bowls of corn flakes . to bed around 1:30am. sa
15 - Up around 7:30am. .walked . . PCd . . Mum popped in with a sausage roll treat for Bella, to see the new table etc. . PCd and eventually uploaded another video to youtube of some random Bella clips . They've increased the maximum length of video you can upload, to 15 minutes now apparantly . ate Mum donated pasties, crisps and some cake . . napped for an hour or so . . walked. . laboriously broke down all the mountain of table and chairs cardboard packaging and eventually put it out for tomorrows rubbish collection . . TVd/guitarred the evening away . . too tired to bother with 'doing food' so ended up just eating bowls of muesli, a banana, cake and chocolate. . to bed around midnight.
14 - Up at 6:30am. .walked around 8am and did the obligitory playing with the ball as part of our new routine. Back home around 10am. . did laundry . . just pottered around a bit and ended up spending at least half an hour wet-and-dry-papering off all the writing from a big empty plastic tub of emulsion paint. When it was just a plain-white plastic tub, I dumped it in the living room and put Bellas recently increased collection of toys in it . . intended to PC for a bit but no sooner had I sat at the machine, the phone rang. The Argos guys would be with me in twenty minutes with my delivery. Sure enough, around 12:30pm they turned up and delivered my three, flat-packed boxes of table and four chairs. Image of GSD Bella and Argos Winslow Walnut Table and 4 Chocolate Leather Effect ChairsSpent the next couple of hours slowly and carefully unpacking it all and putting it all together. Turned out there WAS a little sort of dent from some sort of impact at one end on the edge, but it is SUCH a small thing, I just can't face dismantling it all and trying to box it up and go through all the aggro of getting a replacement. I'll live with it. I'm sure it'll end up with worse from just the wear and tear I'll give it. I think it looks ok (even though it IS just a veneered chipboard top, and the chairs DO feel a little small for tall me). Not bad for 175 I guess. It'll do. Now I have Bella, my priorities are all immediately changed, and fussing about the state of smooth walls and furniture and such, has absolutely faded into the background as of little importance. lol. I DO however have to soon invest in some larger more appropriate place-mats, to more adequately protect the surface and look more the part. . It's left me with a HUGE amount of cardboard packaging to get rid of!! . . ate a couple of ham rolls, two bags of crisps and some chocolate (at the head of the table while watching the TV in the living room. :o) Bit hard to read the red-button/text news from that distance, as is most often my habit when eating, so I'll probably still end up eating off a tray on the living room foot-stool a bunch of the time! lol). . napped for only an hour or so until around 5:30pm . . walked and played ball in the rain. Bella did her 'devil dog/having a go' at a dog (she's already once met without incident!) just as we were about to leave! The lady dog owner was fully understanding and 'up for it' kinda, and her dog actually gave Bella better back and saw her off. The way in which it all happened was actually useful to me, and gave me an opportunity to immediately verbally scold/growl at her for her innapropriate behavior. Awful to see her cowering and do that weird chattering/gnashing of teeth thing she does when terrified. It gave the other dog walker an opportunity to see it. She too was horrified to see a dog in such a state, and had also never seen ANY dog react in such a terror filled way before!! :o( Makes me feel awful to have caused it again - but I DO have to persevere with trying to stop her anti-dog-social behaviour, whenever I get such a perfect chance. :o( Back home after just over an hour out (the absolute minimum per BGdns walk!) . . PCd a bit of this. .TVd . .ate ham steak, fried egg and chips (at the table) . . PCd working on Bella video snips until bed after 1:30am.
13 - Disturbed sleep then up around 7am. .PCd . . walked the woods and beach from around 8am. The lady with the trio of german shepherds was on the beach. Distracting Bella with her ball, there were no ugly scenes, even when she was kinda mobbed by them all having a sniff of her. Good, good, good. Always having a ball handy seems to do the trick with distracting her from her inappropriate dog meeting behaviour. . back home to do some neglected chores despite feeling oh SO tired and ready for sleep again already!! . Used the hose out back to wash down the acumulated debris in one of my recycle bins. Turned out Bella was not adverse to having a bit of a play with the water from the hose. (Sally hated the hose and would flee from it.). . did dish washing chores (because I hadn't for WELL over a week, and had nothing clean left). Mum called to touch base. . cut my hair and used the vacuum for the first time since Bella moved in. She wasn't keen on it, which is quite understandable considering how it blows out lots of dust and now makes an awful din, but she didn't go 'crazy' over it and really acted no worse than Sally used to around it. All little bits of settling in and just getting used to stuff. . ate a couple of ham rolls, crisps and some cake . . napped the afternoon away with a long nap until around 6:30pm! I needed that. . walked and played ball etc. A collie type dog with apparantly paralysed rear legs was walked by at one point. He was rigged up in a harness with a full-on set of large, brightly coloured wheels at the back. Seemed perfectly happy. Thank god Bella didn't decide to have a go at that one. lol . Carefully introduced her ON lead to a small dog under the roof and then happily sat and chatted with its owners with her off lead without incident. Eventually back home around 8pm after dark . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking a Mum donated pizza. Ate pizza and chocolate . . TVd until bed at midnight. da
12 - Up at 6:45am. .BB called . . Walked. Approaching BGdns we overtook some old chap walking along in front of us. As we did so, without any warning (from her behaviour as far as I can recall) Bella took a leisurely nip at his trouser leg in passing!!!!! Blimey – where the hell did THAT come from!! Of course I jerked her lead and verbally scolded her, and even did the more extreme thing I used to do with Sally in such circumstances (which seemed to work over time. Not sure where I picked it up – seen it on TV probably - kinda dominant ‘wolf’ behaviour I think it is - probably NOT the 'right' thing to do), of gently but FIRMLY holding her muzzle/nose with her mouth closed, while with full eye contact literally growling my extreme disapproval for a moment. (She was too shocked to be cowering and fearful, so I’m ok with that.) Well – that’s a whole new thing to be constantly on guard for! Damn! I didn’t see that coming. Every day is different at the moment. It really is all quite intense and exhausting hard work. I have a suspicion that as she is settling into our routine and with all my encouragement is gradually ‘coming into herself’ and getting slowly just a little more self assured and confident, I’m going to begin to see her ‘real self’ and just exactly what problems we REALLY have to tackle. IF THAT is going to be one of them, it’s a biggy! :o( Made profuse apologies to the old guy, explaining she was new to me and a rescue blah, blah, blah. He took it rather well and said it was ok after having inspected the little curved, damp nip mark on his trousers! I SO hope they weren’t actually damaged! To be honest, I don’t think he actually realised what had happened until I was scolding Bella and apologising, because they WERE particularly large, billowing and voluminous light coloured trousers from some bygone age. Maybe she’s just a bit of a fashion critic?!!!! :o| . walked the woods and down onto the beach, all off lead. Other dogs and people did come and go while we were there, but carefully distracting Bella with her ball (deliberately strategically thrown in the other dogs direction-ish) and some recalls and lots of praise where it seemed appropriate, there were thankfully NO ‘incidents’ of aggression towards ANY of them. With a stock of toys at home, I dared to even start throwing Bella’s ball into the water just a bit – but not too far. I’ll never know if she’s ever had a proper swim before, but it sure looked like not! The first time she ended up out of her depth seemed to be an awful splashy hilarious attempt at a dog paddle back. She soon got better but wasn’t overly keen on retrieving it if the ball went out that far, so I didn’t push it and risk losing it. . more socialising off-lead at the roof covered seats with T, all his dogs and his most recent young boy. Despite explaining in depth to the young innocent, that he should be VERY careful with Bella, of course he continued to wander about, play and be a little boisterous. Of course I was on guard – MUCH! Bella didn’t seem ‘particularly’ disturbed by his frequent rushing past and stroking along her back as he did so, but when he started doing a bit of acrobatics on the railings in front of us, she DID seem to get a bit exciteable and I ‘think’ there was a hint of her going to have a nip at his trousers! I instantly intervened with a disapproving call to Bella and nothing came of it. If she DOES do that sort of thing, it’s gonna be oh SO difficult for me to train it out of her. It kinda needs to happen, to be able to correct it, and I don’t have the sort of life with people around that will enable me to do so! With ME – if it happens, it’s gonna be with a stranger – and that is liable to be an instant police matter!!! All not good. :o(. . eventually back home after a good few hours out. . introduced Bella to the idea of being told to ‘stay’ (in) while I mowed both lawns. Very briefly did a minimum of hand-trimming and de-weeding out front with Bella looking on. . next doors dog appears to have been psychologically damaged by Bella having a go at him the other evening, and he won’t come anywhere near either of us by the fence now – despite his owner trying to encourage him! . . watched a little of the grand prix while eating mini pork pies and corned beef sandwiches . . napped until around 5:15pm . .uh oh – Bella was sick a little in and out . . walked. She had an upset stomach too, and yet again made a huge embarrassing mess of one of the pavements just up the road. Did my best, got through half a dozen poop bags, - but I’m now praying for rain!! Hard work with Bella this evening. Seems to have taken a step backwards in her walking to heal. Did our usual new routine of heading for one of the lower seats for ball playing. Plenty of distractions from a group of nearby loose dogs. She missed where her ball went at one point and one of the other dogs even ended up with it (the owner had to retrieve it and hand it back to me lol)! Once again, fixated on her ball, there were no ugly incidents, and so, much praise. .back via the green, just to change the route/rut/routine . . PCd this at length for hours. .ate a plumb, banana and some Mum donated cake before to bed around 2am.
11 - Up at 7:15am. . PCd this . . walked. While I was playing ball with Bella as has become our usual routine, a young unaccompanied boy wandered along and started chatting and wanting to stroke the dog etc!! I quickly warned him to be careful of Bella because I'd only just got her and she was a rescue dog and a bit frightened and unpredictable etc, etc. (never mind the fact that he was completely on his own and just started talking to a stranger!! Actually – bloody uncomfortable for me!!) Anyway – young and without fear, he ended up actually throwing the ball for Bella for a bit – until my nerve gave out and I bid him farewell (and actually did give him a quick ‘old mannish’ type lecture about not talking to strangers, into the bargain! lol)!! . . joining the assembled dog walkers by the seats under the roof, it turned out the boy was T’s latest foster charge. I’m absolutely NOT someone who has ANY time for kids WHATSOEVER, and yet every time I’ve had occasion to meet any of the youngsters in his care over the last couple of years, I HAVE been impressed with how incredibly innocent and actually pleasant they are to talk to, and try to teach little bits of in the moment nonsense. After having explained Bella was a rescue dog, he later said “So if I got lost and needed rescuing, she’d come and rescue me.” :o) I explained how it wasn’t like that, and that it was SHE who’d had a tough upbringing and had been ‘rescued’ from a not so good place. I had to carefully avoid doing so, when it occurred to me - an accurate and uncomfortable explanation would have been to draw a comparison with HIS position in the world!! :o( . T suddenly produced three collars for Bella which he’d sorted out for me! Wow – how generous (and better quality than the one I’d just bought!). Only thing was, they were very – um – multi collared and ‘pretty pretty’ and really just not the sort of thing I’d be comfortable with her dressed in (how silly am I!)! SUCH a shame. It was confirmed if I didn’t use them, I could ‘donate them’ appropriately. . hard on the heals of that, all of a sudden I was presented with a carrier bag FULL of tennis balls and all manner of other toys for Bella, by the same good lady who once gave me the big brass cannon shell and my MUCH appreciated freeview box, etc. She’d had ‘a sort out’ for me. Wow – these really are SUCH decent people. I have no way of showing my true appreciation of them. . with hindsight, what I’ve neglected to mention here, is something of the reception I have received from people after having kinda reappeared ‘on the scene’ as it were, after having been absent since Sally. Dog walkers driving by have pulled up in the middle of the street to greet me and remark on Bella and say it’s nice to see me out. One old guy walking said similar stuff and insisted on shaking my hand, etc. All a bit extraordinary to me. Embarrassingly I dunno how to react to it. I can’t even really remember who they are! :o| I do SO wish I was – um – a better person than I am. . . . Bella did a bit of gentle 'woofing' when she heard someone calling at the neighbours door. A sign she’s gaining confidence I think. . set the camera up and did another 'home alone' test. A full proper one, including me putting my shoes and coat on and getting my keys, and actually locking the door etc before going to sit out of sight in the car for ten minutes. On reviewing the video, she mostly sat anxiously by the door, although right at the end, as far as I could tell by turning the volume way up, I think she 'may' have been heading for her duvets in the bedroom. . . PCd waiting for Mum to call in. I was eager to have the doorbell ring and someone call in, and practice making it a nice, calm, good experience for Bella, and avoid installing any bad or aggressive behaviour towards callers. Mum eventually arrived and rang the bell. With Bella all alert on her duvet next to me, as calmly and matter of factly as I could, I got up from the PC chair and – promptly got caught up in my headphones lead, stumbled, went flying across the room trying not to tread on Bella, crashed into the doorframe and ended up laying face down on the floor of the landing!! Startled Bella at some point ended up fleeing downstairs and barking like a mad dog at whoever outside had caused this explosion! Well – that didn’t go so well then!!!!! :o( It actually REALLY hurt. I somehow smashed my collar bone into the doorframe on the way down. Big bruise and some bloody marks beneath my shirt. Very painful. Luckily somehow none of the PC equipment appears to be damaged. God only knows what Bella will be like the next time the doorbell rings now! She’ll probably be expecting me to spontaneously combust!! . . Bella soon nervously settled down and Mum treated her to a small pork pie as was her habit with Sally . video watching and chats. Suggested she accompany us walking later. . . ate two Mum donated chicken and stuffing slice rolls with crisps and chocolate . . napped until around 5:15 when woken by Bella briefly barking at something from her duvets next to me. Yeah – I’d forgotten how great it was to be woken like that for nothing! Humph. . . .Sis2 called briefly. Said I'd call her back later, because I was going out with Mum. . walked and met up with Mum on her way down. Walked to BGdns with Mum trying to keep out of the way while I concentrated on Bella. Managed much of the way only needing to do gentle corrections on Bellas lead. The neighbour and his dog (who she's already met through the fence out back) were in BGdns, so I dared to take the opportunity of allowing her to be loose as we approached. She promptly did her devil-dog thing and ran in and had a nip and caused a scene! No damage done, apart from to the confidence of the other dog perhaps! Grrr. Gotta get to the bottom of this and how to stop it!! As far as I can see, it is the ONLY major issue I have with her. All the rest is just a matter of practice and exposure to new experiences. All walked down to my new ‘usual’ seat, and sat and played ball lots before eventually heading home. Tried to get Mum to film me walking along in front with a well behaved Bella at heal without me holding onto her lead, but sadly the footage didn’t really work out. . gave Mum half the plumbs I was recently given . .touched base with Sis2. . . guitarred/TVd .. PCd for hours and eventually uploaded the third Bella video. . ate Mum donated cake and a couple of chocolate chip muffins before to bed around 2am. aa
10 - Up around 6:45am. . walked BGdns (off lead) and played ball. A loose passing dog came a little too near as we were doing so, and Bella went all devil dog and ‘went for it’!!!! A chase ensued where Bella did actually nip at his backside as he fled! Much frantic calling from me (the wrong thing to do of course) DID actually see her break off the pursuit and come back to me. TOTALLY the wrong thing to do, when she did, I grabbed her collar and growled my disapproval at her! (Fool!) It’s ME who needs the training! My voice was SO stern, she absolutely cowered on the floor and exhibited a weird sort of chomping with her mouth. I’ve seen her do that fear induced ‘chomping’ thing a couple of times now I think – once before (less so) when with her ON the lead, I forced her to just stand passively by me while other dogs approached, I think it was. Never EVER seen anything like it before (NEVER with Sally) and frankly I’d rather never see it again! Horrible, horrible, horrible to see anyone SO frightened! :o( The owners of the other dog were fully understanding and ok about Bella’s ‘attack’ . Turned out theirs was also a rescue dog and they’d only had it about two weeks. Phew. .I need to be more careful and switched-on about how ‘I’ am doing things under such circumstances! I should have praised her for coming back to me – not chastised her for something she’d already instantly forgotten about! I’m not perfect. I‘m making mistakes along the way. Time will tell . Eventually carried on down town scouring the shops for suitable balls for Bella. After having been ripped off with the last lot, I'm a bit choosy now. Nothing local suitable. Ended up spending 1.75 in the pet store on a rubber one. Silly really - I'm gonna be hesitant at taking that one out cause we'll no doubt surely lose it, and I'll be all upset at the cost/loss! It ALSO will bounce and roll lots – and I don’t need to be making a video about BELLA having gone over a cliff thank you very much! . . PCd a bit before the 'home check guy' turned up mid morning for a coffee and chats. He knocked at the door at firstand Bella didn’t really batt and eyelid, so I tapped on the window and got him to ring the bell. She still didn’t really respond much or have a clue what it meant of course. Only when I shut her in the room and she heard voices did I hear her proper guard dog voice, pretty much for the first time. I explained my concerens about how I was going to get him safely into the room but he was all experienced and well up for it, and told me to just go ahead and show Bella who was the boss etc. An open hand in front of her face and appropriate distracting noises etc etc was all it took for her to allow him to enter without being attacked. He stood ignoring her for a moment looking out of the window and then that was pretty much that. In what seemed like a very short time she pretty much calmed down as we chatted. Real nice guy. I actually ended up feeling a bit ‘reassured’ with what I’m doing and how things are going with her, after his visit.-//- . . PCd and eventually uploaded the 'home alone / separation anxiety' tests video. Boring to watch I guess, but an absolutely invaluable and fascinating exercise for ME. Sometimes having a video camera really IS so VERY useful. I WILL be repeating and extending that over time, more than once I’m sure (but not uploading it of course). . ate corned beef, mayo, lettuce sandwiches, crisps and chocolate. . .had a MUCH needed nap until around 6pm. .would you believe it - the nylon clasp on Bellas brand new collar is looking a little 'insecure' ALREADY!! For goodness sake! So I've been ripped off by getting that too! . walked, but actually using Sally's old soft rope lead on Bella (because I'm not sure I want to rely on clipping a lead to that new collar now. It’s really not up to the strain of all the pulling). It's a loop/slip-ring type that tightens if the dog pulls - but a small piece of slidey thing broke MANY years ago, so if the dog walks nicely to heal, it just hangs VERY loose. Actually very good for the dog (although there IS a SLIGHT risk of an uncontrollable dog 'backing out of it' if it went totally airborne-crazy). With few people around and no distractions, incredibly Bella walked along more or less nicely to heal MUCH of the way. Already! Incredible. How marvellous. . K donated a left overs chop for later as we passed . in BGdns we played ball with one of the rip-off Pets-At-Home pseudo tennis balls. It took just THREE throws of it before it was all falling apart and junk! THREE throws!!! That's like 20p a throw! Grrrr. For the first time, Bella played a bit of 'tug-of-war' with me and the broken bits of ball. More confidence? :o) . walked home the 'long way' via the local store. I could hardly believe it - I clipped the lead to my belt like I always did with Sally and actually had Bella walking along next to me for much (most?) of the way, without me even holding the lead - just gentle tugs and corrections when she got distracted!! Fantastic after less than a week. Tied her to the rail outside the store and did the 'wait' command thing while backing into the store. Raced across out of her sight to grab the milk before racing back to the doorway to reaffirm the ‘wait’ commands. Managed to get to the counter and pay and get back out without her getting too upset at all. SUCH a good dog. She's learning SO quick! . TVd/guitarred the evening away . . touched base with Mum (who'd been out scouring the shops for dog/tennis balls lol) . . ate bowls of co-co pops, crisps and chocolate . . to bed around midnight (without bothering to visit the garden last thing, since it IS obviously pointless).
9 - Up at 6:15am. . PCd this for ages . . walked - with 'most' of the BGdns bit OFF lead already! One or two iffy moments with other dogs, but nothing 'too' serious. Played ball lots before eventually joining many of the regular walkers up by the roof covered seats. Even dared to let Bella off her lead while I was sat there, with her surrounded by all the other dogs and up to half a dozen people. She did REALLY well and pretty much just stood there checking it all out. Can't tell you how pleased and relieved I am. A long way to go before I can really trust her of course (as much as you ever can 'trust' a dog's behaviour), but really amazing progress for just a few days. There was even a point at which she was off her lead, walking with me in front of another dog walker with a couple of dogs close behind, and SHE chose to walk right alongside me 'almost' as though she was on her lead(ish). Excellent! . . touched base with Mum and suggested she may wish to accompany me on a brief trip to the out of town pet store to specifically buy a new (temporary?) collar and some tennis type balls . . . Bella was VERY keen to get in the car. Picked Mum up and drove to the store - which allows dogs inside. Bought a bright red nylon with black plastic clasps type collar, to do the job until I probably surf and find a more suitable one. I SO hate having to put a collar on a dog! I know you MUST by law these days (and WILL with skittish Bella) - but I actually never did with Sally for at least half her time with me! I trusted her to stay with me to SUCH an extent, it really became totally unnecessary. I was given a ‘pretty, pretty’ chain and leather collar by the fosterer when I picked up Bella (together with the loan of a red nylon rescue group one) but I don’t like such chain collars because of the way they move, trap and ultimately erode the hair on the dogs neck. Bought a pack of six pseudo tennis balls, some worming tablets and some pigs ear treats. Mum INSISTED on paying for it ALL!! (23.47) I resisted of course, but she said it was her gift to Bella, not to me. lol . . sat outside the big new store next door while Mum had a VERY brief look around inside. That store is a BIG hit! There was hardly a space in the whole car park - which frankly must be irritating for everyone wanting to just go to the nearby Staples or Pets At home stores like normal. . not unlike with Sally, Bella has a certain 'look' which attracts much attention and comments and chats from passers by! No bad thing at the moment in terms of her 'socialisation' training - I have no other way of getting her into contact with anyone! . stopped off at the local (part time) vet surgery on the way home, JUST to give Bella the experience of going 'unmolested' into and out of the place - but also mostly so I could pop her on the scales (in the public waiting room) and get her current weight. 29.2kg. I need to know her starting point, before MY feeding of her has any effect either way. Armed with it, I also need to sit down and seriously work out roughly how much food I SHOULD be giving her each day, rather than just trying to make it up based on her smaller size and what I used to give Sally. . dropped Mum off and returned home to eventually cook chips to eat with three slices of defrosted, old, K donated beef . . napped until around 4:15pm. . walked the long walk through the woods, this time 'in reverse', starting off by playing with one of her new balls and the pebbles on the beach (overlooked by a basking seal). Those pet store balls are an ABSOLUTE rip off! It lasted about five minutes before disintegrating!! Even Bella seemed to think so and just dumped the broken remains in a huge lake sized puddle behind the beach (I did NOT attempt to retrieve the 'litter')! Really feel as though I've been 'had'! TOTAL waste of money! Outrageous. I'm so, SO upset I dumped all those old toys and balls I had! :o( . successfully walked 'pretty much' the whole woods/beach/BGdns walk OFF lead!!! If anything, it's starting to look a bit like Bella may be starting to be a bit too clingy and is gonna have trouble with the seperation anxiety thing!! I often leave the back door open so she can have the garden if she wants, but she doesn't and just closely shadows me everywhere I go!! Lots and lots more repetative stop/sit/walk-on/stay close training all along the way, as ever. It really has been (and will continue to be) intense these last few days, but we ARE making some pretty good progress I feel. As with Sally, Bella will ALWAYS/ONLY be walked on my left (because I'm right handed and want my right hand free). My (admittedly harsh - but effective and necessary with a constantly pulling/completely unmanageable large dog) trick of using a long lead held in my right hand wrapped around behind me, so that my trailing left leg takes the strain of her pulling and will check her back with each and EVERY step if she pulls too much, has now been mostly replaced with just a shorter lead held in my left hand already. Having said that, I AM still having to correct her excited pulling and haul her back to heal MUCH (most?) of the time. It IS hurting ME more than her! It's all real hard, 100% focused work for me at the moment. VERY tiring, physically AND mentally! . . PCd a bit of this while Bella slept on her duvets in the bedroom (I think! If I dare to move and go look, she is disturbed and nervously comes to me seeking reassuring cuddles - again!!!) . . I 'think' - yeah, I hate to have to say it, but I have a horrible feeling I'm getting a bunch of hits on my website right now because of my name - it being the same as that f***ing lunatic in the states who is intent on 'burning some books', and being the catalyst for resulting events which will inevitably lead to much suffering and probably many deaths (as they ALWAYS DO!) - because of the actions of a bunch of OTHER lunatics! Am 'I' to now live in fear because I have the same name as he? On one of the recently aired marvellous Richard Dawkins films, he quoted Steven Weinberg: "I think that on the balance, the moral influence of religion has been awful. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil. But for good people to do evil -- that takes religion." Indeed! . . .ended up PCing through until around 2am!!! Knocked off a rough little video blog type of thing about Bella and uploaded it to Youtube and e-mailed the foster carer the link before to bed.
8 - Up just around 6am again. . PCd this . .walked. Unlike Sally, Bella seems to have absolutely no desire to pee/poop on grass. She'll just suddenly start doing it as we are walking along! With her still runny stomach and all, the pavements all along where we go are starting to get to be in a bit of an embarassing mess (because picking up all the 'runny stuff' is of course impossible!) - and it's ALL down to her!! I'm gonna hate to have to start trying to do it, but I may have to start trying to quickly drag her into the gutter or similar when she starts to go!!!! . pretty quiet out and nervously dared to let her off her lead once we'd reached BGdns and got in away from the entrance. Went ok for a while with her only going ahead twenty feet or so before constantly stopping and turning to check I was still there. All went pear shaped when we encountered a small dog coming along the lower path. She had a brief go at it! Made quick apologies to the owner before disapprovingly shouting/growling at Bella to 'come HERE!' so I could growl my disapproval at her inappropriate behavior (and possibly put her back on the lead). That DID see her obediently come back towards me, but she stopped short 'just' out of reach at first, and was literally flat on the floor cowering in fear in the most pitiful sickening way, strongly suggestive that she HAS seen physical 'punishment' in the past!! :o( Heartbreaking. I've even begun to wonder if all this 'cute' 'cuddling' behavior she does, which I'm SO unfamiliar with from a dog, is actually a fear induced learned behaviour just to avoid mistreatment in her past? . played ball with her lots until my nerve ran out and I had her back on the lead to walk up and sit on a seat under the apparantly recently repaired/re-vandalised roof. (All that cutting of the undergrowth I did earlier in the year/last year? - you wouldn't know it! It's all grown back, already losing the view!!!!!!!!) . deliberately sat around waiting for the usual assembly of dog walkers, with Bella tied to the seat on two leads strung together. As a couple of dogs arrived, I deliberately walked away from Bella and went to make a cooing fuss of the dogs, before returning to make a fuss of her. With only a little rough jerking of her lead when she started to get a bit growly, she soon got the idea and the meeting of the 'pack' seemed to actually go really well without much incident - although I didn't dare let her go loose yet. Even though she's been with other dogs in her time, and is obviously eager to play with some, I have a suspicion she actually doesn't know how to behave AS a dog when meeting strange dogs, with her wrong body language resulting in the conflict and her apparant agression? Not sure. Seems like ages already - but early days still. I WAS, VERY pleased with how she did this morning. :o) . . she still insists on pulling on the lead everywhere, making walking painful on us both. Bizarrely she also seems to have great trouble with the sit command when we are out. She'll do it immediately if there is food or a treat to be had, and will also do it to have her lead or collars attached, but when out walking she just refuses to (just stubbornly stands there instead) and has to be 'manhandled' into the position! One of the most basic commands. Can't figure that one out? . . back home to play lots more ball in the garden before I got tired of it . . PCd a bit and started maybe trying to gradually put together a bit of a video (no music - just pics and clips - Bella video-log kinda ) in order to ultimately be able to let the fosterer/rehoming co-ordinator see how we are doing. Didn't make much progress. Aren't enough hours in the day right now. It's ALL about Bella at the moment, 24/7! . . . set up the camera to record what happens, and had a very brief go at leaving Bella in the house on her own for the first time. Did my usual 'you stay' type commands and went out the back out of sight up by the car for an anxious quickly smoked cigarette before returning and making a fuss of her. Reviewing the video, she wasn't very happy and didn't really settle, as I'd feared would already be the case. A little later I did the same thing again, this time leaving via the front door. YIKES! With me only half way down the garden path, Bella had jumped up at the door and somehow opened it!!!!!! I'm not used to that double glazed door myself - it hadn't even occured to me that would be possible! Jeeze - lucky she hasn't just decided to let herself out these last few days! Tried again, making sure the handle was 'cranked' to engage all the bolts and make it less likely to open. Stood out front out of sight for another quick anxious cigarette. Reviewing the footage again, I think we're gonna have to work on this and try to build it up before I can leave her to go shopping etc. Awkward! . . cooked and ate four sausgaes, two eggs and chips . . both napped until around 4:30pm . .walked and actually walked the long walk through the woods with no-one else around and Bella OFF lead for 'most' of the walk. :o) She got all scared and growly at a fallen tree! lol She wouldn't stray more than twenty or thirty feet from me all the way. Sat on the beach throwing pebbles for her, with her happily stood in the calm water of the high tide. Two cayaks came into the cove and paddled straight up onto the beach for the people to get out and have a break. Bella took it pretty much in her stride and mostly ignored them. She even pretty much ignored another dog (assuming she saw it), although I DID deliberately distract her by getting up and starting to walk off as it appeared. . lots more ball playing on the grass in BGdns. SO focused on her ball, she DID completely ignore a nearby dog or two! Hailed by one of the dog walkers on the way back home and presented with a carrier bag of plumbs from his tree. Eventually back around 8pm, with a pretty tired Bella (and me too!) . .petted/cuddled and TVd the evening away. . ate two mayo, salami and lettuce rolls with a pack of mini cheddars and some chocolate . . to bed after a pointless/unnecessary visit to the garden around 12:30pm.
7 - Up around 6am. Bella was still asleep on the duvets on the floor next to my bed. Nice one - no poop anywhere to worry about. . made coffee and opened the back door so she could use the garden if necessary, but Bella just sat in the living room, so I soon closed it again. . left her where she was and PCd a bit of this . .
walked early. MUCH pooping on the pavements (!!) along the way. SO embarassing. She's still got a squirty stomach. Impossible to pick such stuff up - not helped by her appearing to be a 'traveler' when it comes to pooping!!! Instead of just picking a spot and doing it, she insists on moving forward as she does it - making an awkward trail!!! I'm not used to THAT sh*t! . Met one of the dog walkers I haven't seen for ages and dared to allow his dog and Bella to 'come together' to meet each other. A brief bit of a 'fight type scene' and jerked away on the lead before she calmed down and tolerated being stood 'near' it without any bother. . returned via town and picked up the dog tag. I'm gonna HAVE to get something better. Absolute rubbish that one. Actually - I need to go get a decent collar too. . sat on my usual seat in town for a cigarette and briefly tied Bella to a post and dared to start the 'wait' training by doing my usual associated handsignal and backing away from her across the (pedestrian) road, walking along a bit and then returning to her to treat and make a fuss, but all the while keeping within her sight. Went 'ok' - actually as I recall, better than when I first started that with Sally all those years ago. . plenty of awful uncontrollability with her at the sight of every other dog!! One VERY awkward incident where we were stuck on a very narrow piece of pavement waiting for the light controlled crossing. A guy with one leg and a dog had to pass close by!! Dangerous awkward scene with Bella going practically airborne on her lead right near all the traffic! God this really IS all HARD work right now! SO tired by the time I'd been dragged along, frequently checking her back-to-heal, ALL the way home. .had a bit of a go at bathing the matted hair and worrying, possibly infected wound on Bellas back between her hips, just trying to part the hair and see what is actually going on. Didn't get very far before she 'complained' and started pulling away, so I immediately stopped. It's too early with her yet to start 'insisting'. It's gonna HAVE to wait. . rang up the vets and got her details registered on their computer system. Visiting them for her first once-over is also gonna have to wait until we've built more trust in each other. I KNOW it's gonna be a hellish experience when we do. . cooked and ate four sausages, chips and two fried eggs around 1pm . .encouraged Bella to join me in the bedroom for an afternoon nap. Both napped until around 4:15pm . .sat in the garden with coffee and cigs waking up. The more I inspect and look closely at Bella, the more I find signs of 'recent' healing injuries on her! Little dings and scrapes with 'scuds' formed over them, obviously getting better. Worrying. Tried calling the fosterer to maybe get more info about her injuries and treatment, but got the ansaphone so just hung up . . got an unexpected phone call from the guy who did the homecheck asking how things were going. He suggested he'd like to pop in 'unofficialy' some time to meet her. I can fully appreciate that. If 'I' was a homechecker, I'd always be anxious I'd made the right sort of report and would want to do follow ups to be sure. It'll also be useful to me, to see how she's liable to be when a stranger enters the house (because I NEVER have anyone call in! I don't think Bella has even heard the doorbell yet.) If she's gonna go nuts and bite someone, what better person than the homechecker. lol Actually - with the new open plan arrangement in the house, it's gonna be REAL difficult to get any visitor safely in. To open the front door the dog will have to be in the room - so there's no getting someone to come in and safely sit down before meeting her! Not sure how I'll get around that one. Maybe have to shut her in the conservatory? Awkward. . walked to BGdns again. At every sight of another dog anywhere, she went totally uncontrollable!! . sat on one of the seats by the big grassy area down by the gun emplacements and actually dared to let her off her lead briefly for the first time, because no one was around for a bit. VERY nerve wracking but armed with her tennis ball, there was no sign of her wanting to wander off. She's SO focused on that ball, I wonder if she wouldn't have made a good drug dog. (SUCH a shame I got rid of all those old dog toys when I did the 'bereaving clearing out' thing after Sally). Just threw the ball for her lots which she chased after and immediately brought back to me to throw again. No problem at all getting her back on her lead when my nerve gave out. Good timing too - within a minute or two lots of dogs were passing by and about, and she started wanting to have a bit of a go again. Having said that, there was a bit of a period of time where a couple were walked past nearby, and with me keeping her close and stroking her chest, she didn't seem to react 'quite' so badly. Not so on the walk back, where once again, ANY distant sighting of another dog made her totally uncontrollable again, no matter how much I tried to 'check' her or make abrupt noises or put my hand in front of her face to distract her and show my disapproval! I'm gonna have to read up on how to more effectively handle this. It's vital. .dared to tie Bella to the rail outside the local newsagent and because no one was in there, kinda called out my request for some cigarette papers from 'just' inside the door, to the guy behind the counter, while maintaining my 'wait' commands to Bella. Dashed briefly out of her sight to go pay and got back out to make a fuss of her without any problems. Bit by bit - we'll get there. . .popped in Mums for a coffee (and just a little off lead ball playing) in the garden on the way home . . back home by around 8pm. . fed Bella drymix with some of the beef K had donated. . got a phone call from the Argos people, with a date next week for the delivery of my new table and chairs. . guitarred/TVd with Bella mostly asleep on the floor in the corner in front the TV. . BB called . . ate a couple of salami, mayo and lettuce rolls, crisps and jaffa cakes . . the briefest of visits to the garden before bed, because Bella clearly wasn't interested and wanted to go back inside. . encouraged her to join me in the bedroom and she slept all night on her duvets again. :o)
6 - Woke at 5:45am and of course couldn't get back to sleep. . carefully nervously walked downstairs in the dim early morning light without turning the light on. Bella was in the living room watching me descend. Walked through into the kitchen, turned on the light and started to make coffee and - uhoh! Oh no. Oh NO!!! Poor Bella had pooped in the house. The carpet tiles all by the front door were covered in squirty poop! Upset stomach!!!!!! Also - to make things worse - I'd trodd in it and walked through to the kitchen! Damn - god I hope it's just nerves and too muh food and too many treats and all that. If she turns out to be NOT house trained, I'm gonna have a BIG problem. I've NO idea how it's done. She is SO skinny - and now pooping squirty - god I do SO hope she is 'well'. Worry, worry much! In fact - I've ALSO found an area on her back towards her tail which is all matted fur and is receiving some occasional licking. There's something going on under there not good! Something 'leaky'. It's gonna take me a day or so before I'm gonna feel we're both comfortable enough with each other before I start trying to encourage her to allow me to get to the bottom of whatever THAT is!!!!!!!!!! -/unfinished/-
walked .said hello to K in passing and was immediately given a little meat to take home . played ball in the garden with occasional 'Bellacome' training . . walked with her to the post office for lightbulbs , and then back through town and via BGdns in the pouring rain . name tag order . washed carpet tiles . . climbed on furniture and eventually fitted the new LED lightbulbs. Had to use a pair of pliers to slightly bend and modify the retaining wire circlips on the lights I bought from Focus, so they'd not foul all the protruding LEDS!! ..STILL having intermitant PC/connection problems!!! Grrrr. .DS/Sis2 called . . walked . . floppy right ear . . met the neighbours dog through the fence out back . . . . . . -/unfinished/-
. . . . . . . .
forced down a banana and a bowl of muesli. (I'm nowhere near eating enough at the moment - I just seem to have no appetite at all. Too uptight about everything I suspect.) As I always would with Sally, once I'd finished my muesli, I poured just a little sugary milk into the bowl and put it down on the floor for Bella. It scared her!!!!!! Huh???? After much encouragement she had a couple of licks of it then backed away before coming over to me all ears down seeking petting! I swear it was almost as though she came to me for 'punishment'! What on earth sort of a life has she lived to end up in such a mess? It's utterly heartbreaking to me to see her like this. Despite lots of silly voiced reassurance she wouldn't drink the rest of it until I picked the bowl up and actually held it in front of her face - at which point she did finally eagerly drink the rest of it and lick the bowl dry. . the 'chewything' (rawhide bone) I'd bought for her remains untouched on the carpet. She's sniffed it occasionaly but not shown ANY sign of wanting to have a chomp at it!?. popped out into the floodlit garden for a last chance at having a pee or poop, but she didn't have either, and actually seemed quite keen to come back inside - although wouldn't unless I did too. It almost seemed she was a little anxious about the darkness and the trees blowing in the wind. . went to bed around 12:30am and actively encouraged Bella to come upstairs with me this time. She did, but again behaved all insecure. I DID encourage her to (with difficulty she is so small and hesitant) climb up onto the high bed next to me for a brief bit of petting, but she very soon chose to jump back down again. She paced around nervously until eventually of her own accord, deciding to go and lay down on the two folded duvets I'd put on the floor in the bay window. Excellent. Perfect.
5 - Up before the alarm at 6:45am with the sound of rain, after far too little sleep! . . .set off around 8:30am after having eventually set up the satnav thingy and just left it loose on the dash. Picked up Mum (ignoring the satnav telling me to go the other way!) and then drove my familiar route out to the Newton Abbot roundabout, kinda checking what the satnav suggested along the way, intending to change to and follow my 'recited by Mum' written instructions once we reached the roundabout, assuming that the satnav would match. It didn't! On Google I'd deliberately chosen the 2nd route option it'd come up with, because it was a bit shorter and didn't entail going pretty much all the way to Exeter. I had absolutely no idea how to force that alternative into the satnav, which I think was insisting on the Exeter route. Anyway - to cut an absurd story short - ignoring the satnav and relying on Mum reading my written intructions, within no more than a couple of turns we were completely lost! . Ended up really having absolutely no choice but to immediately ditch all my laboriously written instructions, and suddenly rely ENTIRELY on the satnav to dig us out of the hole we'd so quickly dug ourselves into!!! So - after having wasted a huge amount of time and petrol in traveling some utterly absurd enormous circle, off to Exeter we went! . . nightmarish drive in the rain and without a clue where we were or where we were heading apart from the instructions from the unfamiliar satnav. Wasn't helped by the strange urgent beeping which it suddenly kept on intermitantly emiting. I feared it was maybe the battery going down, but we eventually determined it was actually a speed camera warning, so that was ok - until the warning started flashing on the screen that the battery WAS indeed going flat!! If it had done so, we'd REALLY have been up a creek without a paddle! Eventually pulled into a layby and got serious with everything my neighbour had given me, and actually got the thing stuck onto the widscreen in front of me so 'I' could see it, and plugged into the lighter socket. . it still seemed like a long LONG drive and a difficult place to get to, to me! . . eventually, somehow, all of a sudden, somehow we were there around 11:20am. . we were both invited in, to pre-sit armed with treats, before having the dog allowed in to bark at us etc. Hard for me to type much about anything else that went on around this point, because I was too busy concentrating on trying to get a feel for her, kinda. In whatever WAS said, there were definitely a few surprises along the way. As I recall (and actually I'm not entirely sure I do) - it transpired she wasn't 16 months old but according to some vet or owner report or some such (?), was actually nearer 3 years old (DOB circa 13-12-07) - she'd only recently had her name changed to Bluebell because her original name was Bella, and the foster carer already had a Bella, so it unavoidably HAD to be changed - she'd slipped her lead, run off and had an RTA around the time of rescue, and had been injured to a paw in some way and had been treated by a vet (still visible regrowing area of shaved fur on her leg where she'd had to be injected and 'knocked out' enough to be treated!) - microchipped - inoculations up to date, booster due in January. Errr - there was maybe more, but like I say, by this point I wasn't really registering. I suspect on one or more occasions (when I got up and went to the loo etc) , if not verbally restrained by the fosterer, I think the dog actually probably WOULD have made 'contact' with a 'nip'. Perhaps bizarrely, I was actually a little disappointed that she wasn't freely allowed to do so. It struck me as being a highly likely part of the process - and I really kinda wanted to know how bad she 'could' be with people, before I maybe took her on and ended up inflicting that on someone else!! Suffice it to say, stuffed full of treats from every quarter, she DID calm down a little - but clearly VERY easily spooked. Anyway - that's all just a lot of half remembered (or not) blah blah blah as far as I can recall. She WAS clearly a beautifuly unusual looking 'little' dog - she had an extraordinarily 'soft' nature towards her fosterer - and it looked to me that if she could be 'brought on' and given some confidence and security (assuming 'I' am capable of acheiving that), she 'could' end up being VERY cool indeed. . took her for the briefest of walks just around a bit of grass outside. Unfortunately no one was around so I couldn't 'test' her on unsuspecting passers-by as I'd have liked. I DID test her at getting into the back of the car. Whoosh - she jumped straight in, no hesitation! . to be honest, by the time I'd actually made the decision to drive there to see her, it was really difficult to imagine just exactly what could possibly occur that would actually have seen me just say no and drive away. all went back in and I confirmed I'd like to take her. Did a bit of paperwork and wrote a cheque (with difficulty in the state I was in, not really even knowing what year it was!) for the 120 'donation'. I DID have some 'concern' over some of the wording of the adoption form I was required to sign, viz. "At all time(s) the dog will remain the property of Devon GSD Rescue. Under no circumstances must the dog be passed into other hands or destroyed without permission of the owners unless, in a Vet's opnion, this course of action is urgently required on medical grounds to relieve suffering and distress." I guess I can see why and where they are coming from - but it just felt a bit new and weird that somehow I wasn't going to be 'FULLY' and ultimately responsible for the dogs entire welfare somehow. Thinking back to Sally - nine or so years after getting her - nearing the end - I would at some point have had to have rung up her 'previous owner' and asked 'permission' for the actions I took??!!!??? I dunno - something about that, causes me 'unease'. But - so be it - in pretty short order, armed with an extra 'rescue' collar and a lead, we were out of there and heading for the car. The fosterer was admittedly emotionally upset at the parting and couldn't bear to come outside to say goodbye. Jeeze - I just don't know how they do it! I just couldn't bear it. I just couldn't do it!! I sincerely 'doff my cap' to such people. .it seemed VERY strange to so easily somehow just drive away with a life like that!
drank a very quick half cup of coffee from the many 'supplies' (picnic?) Mum had brought, but couldn't consider anything else (other than smokes) and soon just got straight back on the road heading for home (once I'd set the satnav). . the dog just calmly lay in the back of the car ALL the way, presumably snoozing much of the time! Hadn't expected THAT. HUGE relief . .after a somewhat less stressfull drive back on dry roads with sunny spells we eventually returned home somewhere after 3pm.
. . back home, with the car safely inside the 'barricade' and preparing to make the swift transfer of the dog to inside the house, I saw the neighbour and was able to sincerely thank him and return his satnav. Without it, I don't think we'd have actually gotten there!! . all got swiftly straight into the house and allowed the dog to freely explore as she pleased. There was even just a hint of a little ball playing with me. . Mum eventually (reluctantly) left. She seems absolutely smitten with - Bella. I'm gonna have to call her Bella. If that IS her name, then that IS her name. It ain't for me to change, just as I didn't Sally's. In terms of MY style of named commands - Bella IS ok and the right number of syllables kinda. ('Bellacome. Bellasit. etc etc) Walked Bella down to the front gate on her lead to see Mum off. . Left a clumsy ansaphone message for the fosterer to say we were 'home' ok. . I was in SERIOUS danger of needing to sleep, but I also needed food and was determined to start off by doing that 'ME eating first, dog after, I'm the boss thing' and I wanted to get into an immediate routine of walks, food, sleep, etc - so basically I just HAD to stay awake without food until later. Eventually thought what the hell, and decided to actually dare to take her for an afternoon walk to BGdns right away!! . VERY nervous and very eager not to have anything go horribly wrong, I somehow used a combination of two leads strung together, hooked firmly to BOTH her collars! Not sure I remember too much about the walk. I was concentrating on the moment so much.Images of 'Bella' after just a few hours of knowing her
She DID pull constantly. Hell of a handful. There WAS one incident of her 'having a go' at a small dog! The woman was very understanding and ok about it. No harm done. Bella is SO 'skittish'/nervy. Someone somewhere slammed a car door and she immedately unconsciously reacted by starting to try to run!! Everything appeared to seem exciting and scary. MUCH attention paid to a young seagull in the street. . returned home via Mums for a quick coffee in the garden. . .forced down two Mum donated ham rolls and mini cheddars THEN fed Bella a tin of meat and a tin's volume of drymix/complete (what I'd give Sally). Probably too much for SUCH a small dainty little thing - but she is SO thin and bony, I figured it'd be ok. Just to see where we stood, I even dared to do that 'taking her food-bowl away, halfway through her eating' thing. Not the slightest hint of any associated agression. Just huge disappointment! lol She ate the lot . .she is already SO affectionate towards me at times, I can hardly believe it!! Is it because she is SO insecure? Heartbreaking! I encouraged her up onto the sofa next to me at one point, when she was seeking stroking by gently giving me a paw. She climbed up and leaned into me as I stroked her. She eventually lay down next to me, pushed herself into a comfy position and pretty much went to sleep with her head on the armrest, and one of her back legs resting across my lap!!!!!!!!!! 'Cuddles' on the couch watching TV!! Incredible - after only having known me for just a few hours! Extraordinary! :o) She really is SO cute!. . tried to PC this but would you believe it - I actually have something to type about here for once, and the bloody broadband connection is down!!!? . .touched base with BB. . Sis2 called to touch base . . dared to allow Bella to explore the garden a bit, OFF lead a little later. Sadly not a sign of any poop or pee from her since I got her!!! Oh dear! :o( . . left her wherever she chose (downstairs as it turned out) and nervously went to bed at 11pm.
"The queen is dead. Long live the queen".
4 - Up around 7:15am. .very headachey and stressed . . it makes me excrutiatingly uncomfortable to perhaps appear to be taking things for granted and lightly rushing into things - but believe me, I'm not. I've envisaged in great detail plenty of what 'could' and WILL occur in the next ten years or so, if I take this step - good and of course mostly bad! Even the small immediate stuff - like IF I end up bringing the dog home - I'll need food and suchlike in the house ready to go, and really would NOT want to have the hassle of having to go shopping for more for a while, until I know where I (we?) stand with regard to travelling in the car or being left at home alone for an hour or two. . jumped in the car around 10am and drove to the out of town Pets At Home store and bought a pack of 24 400g tins of their own brand food (9.85), a 17kg sack of Waggs Worker complete (9.99), and even a bunch of gravy bone and chocolate drop treats (1.57). So - IF it happens, that's THAT taken care of for a few weeks. If it doesn't happen - I guess the local rescue centre will benefit from me again! . Had a very brief look in a new 'furnishings' type store that'd opened up nearby. VERY tempted by some rather heavy duty looking, inexpensive curtain tracks (only around 10 - I'd need two), but I resisted. My recent 'blow your savings' mentality may VERY much now be reversed. I 'may' be back in that constant 'gamble' situation with regards to the health of a dog, vets fees, not having insurance and all that. My much reduced remaining savings need to stay exactly where they are - all other spending plans are now on hold!! . . stopped at the local store on the return, for milk and a couple of packs of going-cheap Warburtons bread rolls. Wasn't until I got home and glanced at the receipt that I realised the woman on the till had charged me the full amount. Bloody nuisance. Had to walk with them all the way back to the store to get the money I was owed. .would you believe it. Bloody typical! The first time I actually leave the house for ages - I miss the postman trying to deliver my new LED light bulbs which I am SO eager to get my hands on! A card had been left saying I'd have to get them from the local sorting office, on Monday at the earliest. Bugger! . . propped-up outside someones garage just up the lane out back for the past few days, have been a couple of mirrors. Two matching curved top mirrors stuck onto a piece of white painted backing timber, set on pivots within a bit of a frame. With other metal pivots protruding from the sides, they were clearly the two side pieces of at least a three piece, of the type which would open out around a dressing table - although larger than I've seen before. (I think my mother even has a small, more normal sized version on a dressing table in her bedroom?) Anyway - they had attracted my attention and I'd wanted them ever since first seeing them there. They appeared to be in very good condition - and boy, could I envisage in some way making use of, at the very least, just the actual mirrors. Specifically because of the attractiveness of the curved tops - I could immediately imagine them on the wall in my new diner - one in each of the alcoves on either side of the firebreast! I tried knocking at their door but sadly there was no answer. :o( . . the bottom shelf of that narrow cupboard I recently managed to put in between the fridge and washing machine appears to be an ideal place for storing tins of dog food and stuff! Actually retrieved the dog feeding table and bowls from the garage and put them in the rear alcove of the diner - just in case. God - HOW I feel SO guilty - kinda like I'm being 'unfaithful' to Sally!!!! VERY difficult emotions at play for me amongst all of this. :o| Moved furniture around and actually swapped 'my chair' in the living room for the old leather two seater I'd only recently banished to the conservatory. I'd really REALLY wanted NOT to do that, because it just blocks up almost the entire new opening between the rooms, and with both sofas in there is rather 'full', but I just couldn't go on sitting in that awful uncomfortable chair, ugly and huge and yet hardly wide enough in the actual seat to get my arms in, and constantly having remote controls falling off the arm onto the floor, etc, etc. Figured now would be a good time to move stuff around if I was going to. (Hell - I SHOULD have done this when Sally was around - so she could have had HER own sofa to lay on in there, rather than the pile of duvets in the corner. More guilt!). . Mum called in with the paper for chats etc. She was 'excited' about the possible dog thing. After some consideration and purely for entirely selfish reasons, I suggested she could accompany me when I go to meet the dog. S'funny, but I think I just don't get 'excited' about stuff. 'I' get uptight and worried. I imagine 'excited' is pleasurable? What I experience is very much NOT! :o|. . had another go at knocking on the neighbour's door, but still no answer. . forced down a couple of mayo, salami and lettuce rolls, a pack of mini cheddars and a past it's sell-by date mini cheesecake . . napped for an hour or two until around 5:30pm . . messed with the car checking oil and pumping up tyres etc. Folded the backs seats down and put in duvets etc, 'just in case'. Also actually unbolted and removed two bits of plastic trim and metal brackets that jutted out to hold the parcel shelf in position. Best to have those out of the way in case I end up with some strange dog going crazy in there, potentially getting hurt on them! The neighbour saw me messing with the car and I explained why. He offered to let me borrow his sat-nav and he went and removed it from his car for me!!! Wow - how good of him. So - that 'may' well make the tortuous journey and moreover, actually finding the place, somewhat easier (I've NEVER experienced use of one before!). . Image of salvaged mirrorsknocked on the neighbour's door yet again and Yayyy - finally someone was in. The woman met me round the back and without much ado confirmed the mirrors WERE 'up for grabs' (and some others - just normal rectangles of mirror without any frames or fixing holes, which I declined) and in pretty short order I took possession of them and carried them back home. Yayyyy. How cool is THAT! :o) Gonna have to think through what I may be able to do with those and which bits to use/discard/modify and where to mount them - but I DO think in those alcoves is a seriously cool idea - but ONLY because of the rounded tops (I wouldn't DREAM of just putting regular rectangular mirrors in there - THAT wouldn't look right at all!!?? lol). . PCd a bit of this . .put in some hours on Google maps laboriously writing out onto a sheet of paper, instructions on how to get to the place - or at least near it, cause the 'actual' address doesn't even seem to come up on the map!? Finally, I had a play around with next doors satnav thingy, but it seemed to fail to find the satellite signals in the house, so who knows if it'll be any use. I've chosen a particular route to go - how will it know, and what happens if it disagrees with my choice? Now isn't really the time to start trying to learn such stuff (and I don't have the manual)!! . . forced down a banana, a yoghurt and bowls of co-co pops before eventually to bed around 1:30am. Trouble sleeping. a
3 - Disturbed broken sleep then up around 7:30am. . .pottered around sorting a bit of stuff out. Spent ages scrubbing and cleaning the old living room curtain tracks and fitments, intending to have a go at putting the old ones back up. After all that work and effort it turned out I didn't have enough old intact fixings to do it, and all the newer fixings I DO have lots of spare, don't fit those old tracks - so I just wasted my time for nothing. . .I have to confess that as soon as the bulk of this recent work on the house stuff started to reach a point that I could start taking it easier, (where I wasn't just constantly 'keeping busy') I started to feel increasingly down and returned to thinking much about Sally, how directionless I am, what I should aim to do in the future, and all that sort of stuff. I HAVE been 'keeping tabs' on a couple of local(ish) 'rescue' type websites (and the local newspaper ads) to see what dogs came up requiring re-homing. Within the last week or so, a new one had appeared on the Devon German Shepherd Rescue website which particularly 'caught my attention' and lodged in my mind. For several days I've been wrestling with it. I've found myself returning to the 'advert' on their website on several occasions and have ended up just staring at the handful of pictures for ages. When Mum popped down the other evening I'd even mentioned it, and had fired up the computer to let her see!!

-/unfinished/-
I'm not sure how I did it, but somehow I phoned up the rehoming co-ordinator lady about it, 'expressing an interest'. From what was said, it DOES potentially have some worrying behavioral issues - but actually perhaps not so different from those of the 'devil dog' Sally when I first had her. -//-

It was agreed that the first step was for me to have a 'homecheck' visit from one of their volunteers, to confirm I had a suitable, garden/home, environment, etc, etc. . only minutes later the 'checker' guy phoned up and said he'd be here later this afternoon . . ate roast beef and chips and then lay on the sofa in front of the TV, all up-tight and nervous, mind racing, just wasting away the hours waiting for him to arrive.

-/unfinished/-

He arrived around 3:30pm aplogising for turning up early. Fine by me!!! Less time to be sitting around worrying about it! .

-/unfinished/-

When I explained my financial position, and how I try to use the car very little etc, he even told me about how he has the food for his own dogs delivered free by someone! He gave me his phone number so I could contact him about that in the future if I wanted. He even seemed to be offering to help out with actually 'getting' the dog from where it was, if that became necessary. Seemed like a real nice guy.

as soon as he'd gone I touched base with the co-ordinator lady and let her know the check had been done and appeared to have gone ok, and I'd be sitting tight waiting to hear from her.

the co-ordinator lady called back and said the homecheck results were fine and the next step was for me to meet the dog. She said she was busy tomorrow and suggested Sunday.


Got her address and as soon as I was off the phone, looked it up on Google maps. Jeezuz - that's like the other side of the planet in my little world and with my little 'Noddy car'!! Major expedition! How on earth am I gonna be able to find the place?

-/unfinished/-
TVd but lost in thought and not in any way watching whatever it was which was on in front of me. . BB called to touch base . . guitarred/TVd the evening away, feeling really SO uptight I felt I could burst! . ate salami, mayo and lettuce sandwiches, mini cheddars and some chocolate . . to bed around 1am.
s
2 - Up around 7am again. . pottered around sorting out and tidying up just a little of the piles of stuff filling the conservatory . . Mum called to say Sis1 had come down to visit . . Sis1 called in to see the changes and for chats etc, joined by Mum a little later. . as soon as they'd gone I chopped up defrosted beef and added it to a tin of beef curry and then ate a huge platefull with rice and four pieces of bread and butter, leaving plenty for another big feed . . napped until woken around 6:30pm by Mum calling to touch base . . TVd the whole evening away . . ate the rest of the beef curry and rice with crisps and then some chocolate after 11pm. .a part of the sole of my left foot has been causing me some real problems of late. There's been something going on with it for at least the last year or two, but it seems to have got progressively worse. Near a thick area of toughness (in itself, natural enough after all the walking I did with Sally), there was one particular little spot which seems to cause a real 'burning' pain sensation. It's got so bad, it'll just start up that pain almost at random even when I'm not putting any weight on it - and it REALLY has become so painful I can no longer ignore it. Put my glasses on, did contortions and had a damn good look to try to figure out what was going on. Couldn't really see any reason for it at all. Figured I'd 'operate' nonetheless, in the hope of improving things. Used a sharp new stanley-knife blade to carefully cut as much of my foot off as I reasonably could without making blood. lololol I dare to hope I HAVE improved the problem. . to bed around 1am.
1 - Up around 7am . . PCd and ended up surfing LED light bulbs again (exciting life I lead huh?). SO confusing - and expensive! Eventually in desperation after having gone round and round and round in conflicting circles, just went ahead on e-bay and ordered a 5 pack (one for each spot and one spare) of 48 LED 'warm white' GU10 bulbs for 17.99 including postage. Although every advert seems to promise different results and slightly different performance characteristics, as far as I can make out, these 'should' be something approaching a 35w halogen equivalent - ish - maybe!? . . headachey and feeling a bit down . . washed a few more carpet tiles and eventually painted the heavily textured diner ceiling - by hand with a brush! Tedious but good to finally see white, rather than the disgusting filthy yellow it was. .ate ham, mayo and lettuce rolls, crisps and chocolate. . napped until around 6:30pm . . TVd . . Mum called and then popped down to see the spotlights in the dark and for chats etc. . TVd, guitarred and ate cake . . ended up TVing until gone 2am watching another of the Richard Dawkins films, a series of which are being shown by channel4/More4. This one was examining 'alternative' medicine.("If alternative medicine was scientifically proven to actually work - it would be just called medicine". lolol ) Excellent stuff as ever with that guy. SUCH a rare joy to hear someone with real intelligence talking such sense on TV for a change. . intrigued by how warm it felt, I dug out my inside/outside thermometer, and temporarily draped the sensor wire out through the rubber surround of one of the closed double glazed bay windows. Around or 'just' below 20C inside, 13C outside. Those new windows really have made a hell of a difference in here. I think the higher inside temperature is down to the residual heat given off by the fridges and TV equipment, and the black painted lower brickwork of the front wall of the house acting as 'heat store' from the hours of sunshine earlier. I'm under no illusions - I'm sure in the winter it'll still end up being really cold in here without central heating (I AM intending to see through at least another winter without) - but already I'm pretty sure, not AS cold. a

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