Saturday, 23 June 2012

Baking Dog Biscuits

Finally our dogs' wishes came true and I baked for them last Saturday. I also baked bread rolls for us from scratch and they came out pretty good. Mark was very impressed with them and could not believe that I made the dough myself and said they were very good considering it was the first time that I have tried to make them. It is just such a long process waiting for the dough to rise, then deflate, then rise again.

Bread Rolls

I started the dough for the rolls, then whilst it was standing I started the dog biscuits. The whole time I was baking, I had Miss Piggy hanging around the kitchen. As soon as she hears the mixer, she knows it is biscuit time and must be so disappointed when I bake for us and not her. Of course, I make the peanut butter one's first. I doubled the recipe and I absolutely hate peanut butter and that smell whilst mixing it with the milk was enough to make me gag. I have never eaten peanut butter ever - not on bread - not on anything!!!  I love peanuts - actually I am nuts about peanuts and cashew nuts, but don't give me peanut butter. I always said when I was young, that when I had children they would not be allowed peanut butter - that is how much I hate it, but Clint loved peanut butter,  Chad liked it when he was younger, now not that much, but he eats it, so that flew out the window. Now I have a dog that is addicted to the stuff.

Cutting Out Bone Shapes

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Miss Piggy's Peanut Butter Biscuit
Then it was onto the Cheese and Oats biscuits. I used the different sizes for the different biscuits. Medium for Miss Piggy's Peanut Biscuits, although they all eat them, she has the most. The big cutter for the Cheese and Oats then the little one for the new biscuits in case they didn't like them. The new biscuits were the ones that I mentioned in this post.

Cheese and Oats Doggy Biscuits
In the end I changed the new recipe I found. At first I was going to just leave out the salt, but in the end decided that just flour and a bit of sugar, water and oil would not be very tasty for dogs, even with a heap of salt it didn't seem like dog biscuits to me, so I added Knorrox Beef Stock cubes and left out the salt. I am sure the amount of salt in the Beef Stock cubes is more than enough for dogs as it is. Pluto, Jingles and Spike  absolutely love them, Piggy eats them, just because they are biscuits, but still loves her Peanut Butter ones, the most. I think in future I am going to make three different sizes of each flavour.

The Three Different Flavours
The recipe for the beef biscuits

2 Cups Wholeweat Flour
1 Cup Maize Meal (Corn Meal)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
I Egg
I Cup Water
2 Beef Stock Cubes

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg Celsius and lightly grease baking sheets
In a large bowl mix flour and corn meal and crumble the stock cubes
In a separate bowl mix egg, vegetable oil and water then add to dry ingredients
Mix well and place on lightly floured board and roll out and cut with cookie cuts
Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 20 -25 minutes
Place on cooling racks and allow to cool.

Beef Doggy Biscuits

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sunday Mornings

This is what my Sunday mornings are like, whilst Mark and Chad are crazy enough to brave the freezing weather to go cycling.

Yes I Was Asleep There Too

When Mark and Chad got back from cycling, we spent the rest of the day by the fire, ordered pizza for late lunch early supper and I made a Peach Cobbler for dessert, which we had with Ultramel Custard. Far better than Chad's idea of going out to lunch

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Dog Bones

I finally found dog bone cookie cutters. I have been looking for them forever, in stores and on-line, but could only find them on overseas sites, nothing local. It was one of those things that I became obsessive about and both Mark and Chad said it made no difference what the dog biscuits looked like. The dogs knew no better, they just liked the biscuits, but I wanted them to look like real doggie biscuits. I did find some on Amazon, but was in two minds about buying them, because of the postal service and with the exchange rate it would be a lot of money to waste if I never received them. I eventually gave up and resigned myself to the fact that my dog biscuits would not be authentic. Then a couple of weeks ago I searched on Google again and found these locally from Let's Party Knysna

Give A Dog A Bone Cookie Cutter Gift Set
I submitted the order enquiry on Wednesday night, the 6 June 2012, received a response that same night, to say my order is being processed. On Thursday,the 7th I received my invoice for payment, which I duly made and received my tracking number from them on Friday, the 8 June. I then wondered if I would get the parcel. There has been a postal strike for the past four months, but only really affected us the past two months and we received no mail at all for two months - not even a single advertising flyer. The day I paid for the cookie cutters, I heard on the news that the strike had ended and that they had come to a temporary agreement with the striking workers. That was good news, because it meant that there was a possibility that I would receive my parcel. I went to the post box on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to check for mail, I normally only go once a week, sometimes every second week, but then the post box is over flowing with mail, but with the backlog I have been going everyday. Thursday I never went, I was just too busy and the amount of mail seemed to have decreased on Wednesday. Friday I went and found my little postal slip and was pretty excited to finally get my dog bone cookie cutters. Friday was another up and down, run around day. On my way to fetch Chad, the technician from our Security Company called to say he was waiting outside our gate to check our alarm. They were supposed to first make arrangements so that we could be at home when they came, but they never did, so he had to wait until I had fetched Chad and on the way home I stopped at the post box, which is on the way, but couldn't go to the post office, because it is in the complete opposite direction. The technician fixed the alarm and then I went to fetch my parcel. I was gone from work for two hours and Mark wondered what had happened to me. I couldn't wait to open my parcel and see what my cookie cutters looked like. I do get obsessed about the strangest of things at times.
Cookie Cutters
When I finally sat down to work, I found an email sent from Let's Party Knysna, that was sent whilst I was on my run around, to find out if I had received my parcel. I was very impressed!! I have bought stuff on-line before and I have never had the company follow up to see if I had received my goods. Once you have paid and received the tracking number, if you do get one, that is the last you hear from them, so I was very surprised to receive a follow up email from Let's Party Knysna . I would happily recommend anyone who wants to place an on-line order with them. The postage was only R20.00 and the cookie cutters R69.95 inclusive of vat. The order was processed and delivered quickly and receiving it in a week was very impressive, considering the postal strike and after affects of the 4 month long strike.

Dog Bones
This weekend I have to bake for the dogs - no more excuses. I found another recipe on all, there are loads of dog biscuit recipes on-line, but I don't want to make ones that are involved and difficult or need ingredients that I have to go out of my way to look for. So I found this easy one, but I am going to change it a bit and see how it comes out. It uses a tablespoon of salt and Bull dogs cannot have salt. Well that is what the breeder said and I know all breeders have their different quirks and ideas, but it just makes sense that salt is not good for dogs, especially a tablespoon. So much salt is not good for anyone and cannot be good for Bull Dog's especially Miss Piggy who has reacted to so many foods and now that her tummy has settled and she can eat mostly anything, I am not taking a chance and risking her getting ill again - not this little gorgeous doggy or any of her siblings. So this little cutie pie in the photo below taken last night will get spoilt this weekend. This is her lying waiting for Chad after I carried her to his bed last night. Yep, we have to often carry this 20Kg or more dog to bed!!!!

Ready For Bed

Friday, 15 June 2012

Another Hectic Day

What a week, this week has been. On Wednesday, Sheila was late again, because of the Zandspruit protests. She sent me a message ten minutes before we were meant to leave for school to say that there is no transport, because of the protests. I told her to try come later when I fetch Chad from school at 10, because she wanted to go home (Eastern Cape) on Thursday and Friday. I then received a text from her at 9 to say she was at the house. I was busy and only left at 9.30. When I arrived at home, the security patrol car was at our house. Apparently our alarm had gone off 5 times, yet no one phoned to tell us and it was not going off when I arrived at home. The old man from next door popped his head over the wall and said it was going off since 5 in the morning, which was impossible, because I wake up at 4.45 and switch it off when I get up and then I only switched it back on at 7.25 when Chad and I left for school. We were late again, because I had to hang up the washing before we left and organise the dogs. He insisted it was going off since 5, so I just said it is strange and I would have it checked. I don't know why he never phoned Mark to tell him it was going off "all morning" Funny how he heard it whilst still sleeping, but we didn't hear it whilst we were awake and inside the house :) and the alarm panel only recorded it as going off at 8.45. After letting Sheila in and checking that everything was OK, I had to go fetch Chad from school. He had already finished his exam. Then I had to drop him off at home and then go back to work.

Today, because Sheila was on leave, Mark said I must bring Miss Piggy to work and not let her stay in the bathroom all day. Wow what a mission to get them off to work. Packing their beds and bowls and sneaking into the drawer to get their leads. If they see the leads or see you go near the drawer they are kept in they go crazy. I was as quiet as I could be and Spike was sleeping on Chad's bed, under the blankets, but he still heard me open the drawer next to the front door where the leads are kept. Animals are amazing. Shame,  but I feel so guilty leaving Spike and Jingles behind, but there is no way they can all come to work. On the whole Miss Piggy was well behaved and mostly lay in Pluto's bed with him. I don't know why I bother to take both beds. She does not like Phineas and Brilliant and goes mad when she hears or sees them. She is fine with everyone else and they are the two that always come into the office, so I have to hold onto her lead. I don't know why she just goes crazy when she sees them. It can't be her sensing something from me either. Brilliant drives me insane, but Phineas is such a cool guy. Not only a hard worker, but a genuinely nice guy and I really am very fond of him and have no issues with him, she just does not like him and when she hears his voice she goes ballistic.

Sleeping On The Job

Speaking of Brilliant, who unfortunately is nothing like his name. He is 20 years old, but looks about 14, cannot speak English, although it is has improved a bit and he drives us all insane, because he does such stupid things. It is not even a language problem, because the staff speak to him in his language and he still messes up. Yesterday I called him to ask him if he wanted Mark's chips. Mark doesn't like chips and never ate them when he ordered lunch from the coffee shop. I have been trying to teach Brilliant to say please and not just yes. So I asked him if he wanted chips and he said "yes". I said to him "not yes, what do you say" so with a huge grin on his face he says to me "yes I want ships" and was so proud that he said a full sentence in English, so I said "No Brilliant what is the magic word" so he said magic. He was totally confused after that, but we could not help but laugh at him.

I had to fetch Chad at 11.45, but again his exam finished earlier and I was still at work when he called to say he was finished. After I fetched him we went home to check up on the house and the other animals, everything was fine. We stayed at home for about 20 minutes, left and as I sat down to start working I received a call from our security company, to say they had received an alarm activation at out house. That was another trip home, but Mark said I must just stay at home. Our alarm obviously has a problem, because they received an alarm activation twice after that, once whilst I was on my way home and again when I arrived at home, but it wasn't even making a noise. What a week of driving up and down, hopefully tomorrow it won't be as bad, but I doubt it, because the technicians have to come out and have a look at the alarm.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Am I Cute Or What???

Jingles is such a nervous dog and she is always shivering and shaking. Whether it is from anxiety or the cold, she shivers and shakes, BUT... she is such a horrible dog too. She always bites me!!! She jumps on my lap and lies by me or snuggles under the duvet with me or jumps up against my legs and follows me all over the house, but dare let me pick her up and she bites me. She bites me when I cover her at night, she bites me when I try and make her warm whilst she lies on the chair shivering. She just bites and growls all the time and she is not sore or hurt, she is just a horrible little dog. The other night I found her jerseys so that I could put one of them on her, so that she could stay warm, but she always manages to get them off, after biting me whilst trying to put them on. They all come off her, then I found Miss Piggy's little hoody and skirt that I bought for her when we first got her, but that was miles too big for Jingles and she looked like a drowned rat in it and naturally it fell right off.

I couldn't get a photo of her in it, because she was too busy growling and then it was off. Now she just doesn't have a jersey. I put Pluto's on him as well, but he has gotten so fat, it is too tight for him and if I get a bigger one then it is too loose around his legs and his short stubby legs walk straight out of it. Spike hates jerseys and when I bought him one he ripped it up and Miss Piggy's one chaffed her under her front legs, so I gave up on that. Now they don't have jerseys, but I came home from work the other day and Chad had put Miss Piggy's little outfit on her. It was miles too small for her, but she looked so cute. It just does not have the same cuteness on grumpy Jingles, as it does on Miss Piggy. She is just so cute and adorable, she is like this naughty little toddler in the house and the baby of the family who gets away with everything.

She can't wear it, because it is far too tight even though the buttons don't fasten. In fact it does not even go around her, she has grown so much, but when she had it on it was as if she knew she looked cute and was showing off. I love how she comes to me at night when she wants to get on the bed, the only time that she comes to me is when she wants to get on the bed - oh and of course when she wants her biscuits then she is my best friend.

Uppy Mommy
That is her barking at me to lift her onto the bed and shame the poor little girl has a bite on her face from Spike. She had his her ball and he tried to get it from her and bit her face. It must be so sore, although she just shakes her head and runs off, but he bit my thumb yesterday whilst grabbing his toy and I wasn't concentrating and it was darn sore. He never even penetrated my skin, I was just like ouch and he let go, it felt like he was crushing the bone in my thumb. She is a tough cookie.

Don't Mess With Me

I Am Just So Sweet

And with her best friend. Every morning whilst I am getting ready for work the two of them lie together. Sometimes she lies right on top of Pluto and he just lies there, but dare let Spike come near him and he growls and goes crazy.

Don't Worry Mom, I will Look After Her

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Terrible Tuesdays

Well on Sunday I never attempted my bread baking and neither did I bake biscuits for my doggies. Poor Miss Piggy, I am sure if she could talk she would be saying "You are such a liar, and you are always breaking your promises" I know I am and she just loves her Peanut Butter Biscuits. It was not even my warm bed that was too tempting, I was just plain lazy and cold!!! I made a fire, because I knew Mark and Chad would be freezing when they arrived home from cycling - and they were. Obviously, they got all hot and sweaty, whilst cycling, but then froze as their body temperature cooled down. They went in the Land-Rover and yes it might have a heater in it, but it has so many places that cold air comes through that they were frozen. They were home not long after I made the fire so it was not that warm, but it was a good excuse for me to do nothing.

I hate winter so much, not only because it is freezing and uncomfortable with all the extra clothes you have to wear, but my skin aches in winter. My hands hurt and are all dry and wizened, the skin on the rest of my body, especially, strangely enough my legs, burn so much and no amount of creams or lotions make it any less sore and uncomfortable. In fact I think the more lotion I put on the worse it gets. Johnson's Baby Jelly (Vaseline) helps a bit, but it doesn't feel very nice on your skin. The other reason why I hate winter is because of the increase in house fires. As much as I love a roaring fire, I stress that it will set the house on fire. Today another two children died when their house caught alight. It is so sad, but then again it doesn't matter how your child died, the fact is that they died and there is no other pain that comes even close to your child dying. So as much as I love sitting by a roaring fire, I hate it just as much. Fire is like the ocean, beautiful and calming, but deadly and dangerous.

That said, the best place to be in winter is in bed, I hate getting up in the mornings and have been getting up later and later everyday. Fortunately the traffic seems to have lessened so we can leave later for school, but on Tuesdays I have to get out of bed at 4.45 and not a minute later. Yes, I know it is the middle of the night, well that is what it looks like at that time of the morning, pitch dark and cold. Mark goes to a Business Network meeting every Tuesday and I have to open up at work and have to leave at 6.30 am. It is ridiculous, leaving so early in the morning to get to school, 6km's up the road, then backtracking to work, which is about 15 km's and we have to leave so early. I get to work at 7:15 and need to be there at 7.30, but one morning we left at 6:40 and I was late and only arrived at 7:45, with customers and staff waiting, so I can't take a chance. I am always amazed at how much busier the roads are at 6:30 compared to 7:15. It is ridiculous that everyone has to leave so early to get to work on time. Mark leaves at 6:15 to be at the meeting at 7 and if he leaves at 6.30 he is late and it is also only about 15km's away. Sheila has to get here at 6.30 so we can leave as she gets here and I know it is worse for her, because she has to leave home earlier, but then she goes home between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, mostly just before 1, so she is not working longer hours and like I explained to her today, I have to work, so that we can give her a job and pay her a salary and we now pay half her taxi fare as well and we employ her everyday now to help her, because we don't need her to work Monday to Friday, but she needed the extra days. Well she was late again today and when I phoned she never answered, so we left late waiting for her and it was a stressful morning. I was so mad with her, because I had to go back at 9 to let her and the gardener in. The other times I have gone at 8, but then Mark is not back and no one answers the phones or checks to see if anyone is in reception. So they had to wait till 9 and of course there is also the worry that she could be in an accident, but instead of being relieved that she is OK and just late, I get angry and all my stress comes out in anger. Plus it is exams now and Chad finished school at 10, so it was rush, rush, up and down, which is such a waste of not only petrol, but also time, going home, then back to work and leaving 45 minutes later. For someone who hates driving and being on the roads driving up and down, it is just far too stressful and exhausting. I hate driving as much as I hate winter and waking up early and leaving when it is dark.

I cannot wait for school to end next week!!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cycling In The Wind

About three weeks ago, Mark started cycling again. I said that I might get a bicycle and cycle with them, but I am not so sure about that any more. The first day Mark went cycling at Van Gaalens Cheese farm, he went with one of his clients, they were not even cycling for 20 minutes when he realised this guy was not behind him, he went looking for him, couldn't find him then went to get his phone from the car, tried to phone him with no luck and then eventually saw him in the distance pushing his bicycle. This guy, Jeff had gone left where Mark had gone right and ended up falling off his bicycle and was heading for a tree and put his hand out to stop his head from hitting the tree and broke his hand. Mark offered to drive him home, because his hand looked really bad - it was pulled right back, the opposite way that it should have been, but he said he was fine to drive home, so Mark carried on cycling. It was really stupid of him to cycle on his own, because he could have fallen and hit his head and lay there without anyone knowing. It was really bad luck for this guy, Jeff. His first time cycling after buying a brand new bicycle for ten thousand rand and then falling and breaking his hand and no medical aid. Cycling became very expensive for him and 20 minutes of cycling at that. Now I have given it second thoughts - Mark has broken his hand cycling, Dean broke his hand and now Jeff - what's with these cyclists and breaking their hands. Mark doesn't want me to cycle either, because he said the paths are very rough and he doesn't want me to get hurt. Sometimes, I think Mark thinks I am a porcelain doll, when I am far from it, but he really stresses when I am sick or hurt, but doesn't like to admit it or show that he really stresses about it. So whilst he was out cycling, Chad and I were asleep, oblivious to the fact that his cycling partner was hurt and Mark was cycling on his own. After Mark leaves, the dogs all come and cuddle in bed with me and we go back to sleep.

Miss Piggy Fast Asleep Next To Me - Sunday Morning Bliss

Chad decided last weekend that he was going to go cycling again as well, so off they went and I relaxed at home, then went shopping, which I never do on the weekends, unless Mark and Chad are with me, but I needed to keep my mind busy, because I was worried about them getting hurt. If I had stayed at home, I would have checked the time every few seconds and would have been panicking. On Friday night the temperatures dropped drastically and yesterday it was bitter cold. I made a fire when I got home on Friday, it was really miserable weather with sporadic drops of rain. Sheila said it is snowing in the Eastern Cape, where her children live with her mother and sister and there has been reports of snow falling in the Drakensberg, Free State and Ceres. We just have the icy cold after effects of their snow.

Miss Piggy Cuddling With Mark On Friday Night

We stayed in bed until about ten on Saturday morning, then Mark and Chad went to work, Mark had to do something quickly, then they went to buy us curry and rice and samoosas from the Spicy Den and then went to get dvd's and wood. We made a fire and watched dvd's the whole day, lying under blankets, all warm and content.

A Dog's Life

A Day In The Life Of Spike

I was still not dressed when they got home, so they watched Johnny English, whilst I dressed and tidied up the house. I don't enjoy Rowan Atkinson at all and don't watch his movies. Instead of lying in the lounge by the warm fire, Pluto and Jingles followed me around the house trying to stay warm.

Jingles Shivering as Usual



Jingles trying to find the one spot of sunlight in my room
I digress as usual - Chad and Mark had plans to go cycling again today and I thought they were crazy, but they went to buy their energy drinks and energy bars in the late afternoon when we ran out of wood. We used about ten bags of wood yesterday and last night, it was really bitterly cold. This morning, I woke up at 7.30 to let the dogs out. It looked sunny and warm until I opened the front door. It was bitterly cold and the wind was blowing icy gales. I think the dog's pee froze in mid stream and Piggy came running inside. I had a cigarette, whilst waiting for the others to come in. I always feel  like a Jehovah's Witness going from door to door at night and in the mornings, the dogs never go out at the same time or come in through the same door, so I go from door to door looking for them. So I silently froze whilst having my morning cigarette, too tired and too cold to even make coffee. Chad is always on at me about smoking, so last weekend I decided that I would only smoke outside, well the temperatures decided to drop at the same time, so I gave that up and said I would not smoke in the lounge or our bedroom, I would smoke in the kitchen only, but have wandered into the dining room again and on Friday night it was so cold I smoked in the lounge and put up with Chad's moaning and last night I had one cigarette in the lounge. I know how bad passive smoking is and all that goes with it, but as I have said before, exhaust fumes are even worse and we don't all stay off the roads to prevent all the air pollution from going into our lungs, so I won't get started on that. My job is a health hazard, I have permanent sinusitis from all the exhaust fumes and other chemicals that come into my office from the workshop,so smoking is a very minor hazard. I digress again!!!! When all the dogs were inside, I went back to bed, Mark was awake and I said that they would be mad if they went cycling today. They were planning on leaving at 8am and it was almost 8. Mark said it would have warmed up by the time they got there and then we both promptly fell asleep again, until Chad came into the room and woke Mark up. I think he was secretly hoping Chad would not want to go and when Chad woke him up he said he didn't think it was a good idea to go cycling, which made Chad angry, so they went. I read reports of the wind chill factor being 0 degrees at 9.30 this morning so they are really crazy. When they left they were dressed in beanies and jackets, but they can't cycle in them and I am sure they are quite frozen by now. At 11 am the temperature on Chad's clock was 9.4, now at 12, it is 10.0 Celsius, so it is climbing steadily, it is still windy, but not half as bad as what it was at 7.30 this morning. The garden is such a mess with all the leaves, the pond pump was blocked with leaves and Mark had to stick his hands into the freezing water this morning to unblock it. I was supposed to do it yesterday when they went to work and I forgot - conveniently - no I really did forget.

Patio Covered In Leaves & Dust

Pluto, Spike & Miss Piggy Confused By The Crunching Of Leaves Under Their Feet

Leaves, Leaves & More Leaves & Dust

Miss Piggy, Garfield, Pluto & Jingles Ignoring The Wind & Enjoying The Sun

Now I am going to go and attempt to bake bread for the first time and bake some biscuits for the dogs, that is if my warm bed is not too  tempting and I decide to rather go back to sleep.

Spike & His JW Bad Cuz Bouncy Ball

I finally videoed our afternoon ritual. OK, the video is not the best quality, try filming on a blackberry whilst throwing a ball for a Bull Terrier and having a Bull Dog trying to grab the phone, thinking it is a toy, but the end result is what I wanted. Spike was not even in top form, but he was jumping and racing after his toy. I had to do it in three parts, because my editing skills are as bad as my filming skills and I had to edit a few bits out. I also did part three on Thursday. Spike was really flying through the air like crazy, so I quickly went to fetch my blackberry, but by then he had calmed down a bit. Part one shows our complete ritual. Spike chasing and catching his ball, Miss Piggy half heartedly playing, because Chad was inside; Jingles trying to play with the cool kids; Pluto wandering around like an old man, watching over the naughty kids and Garfield sitting in Clint's garden calling for me to go and sit by her. This happens every afternoon from any time between 3pm and 5pm. When Sheila leaves, Spike gets his toy and runs up and down, until I go out and play with him. if I don't go out and play, he stands at the back door with his toy barking, whilst Pluto runs waddles around my feet whining and whimpering until we go out and play.

When Chad is not outside with us, it is normally quiet and peaceful, the only sounds are running feet and panting dogs with the odd bark from Miss Piggy. As soon as Chad comes outside, Piggy goes wild and Jingles barks like crazy. 

Part one and two were done on Wednesday and Part three on Thursday. I always seem to video the dogs on the days that the garden is covered in leaves and it looks very untidy and messy, although I must say, I doubt that the grass will ever grow in the back again - not with Spike and Miss Piggy racing up and down and sliding across the garden every day and sometimes twice or three times a day. That is besides the times that they just go out and play on their own, although that is not often, they usually sleep all day until it is play time.  When I was at home during the day, we played in the mornings, after I dropped Chad off at school, I would get home and Spike was ready with his toy. Shame I feel sorry for him, because he must miss that. On Monday, I decided to not go straight to work, because Chad finished school at 10 and as I drove into the driveway, Spike went running to get his toy so we could play. He hasn't forgotten our morning game time.

I love the way he thought his ball went into the bush and tried to jump up to get it. Once quite a while ago, before we bought him the first bad cuz toy, one of his other toys landed in one of the bushes in the front garden, you couldn't see it and one day he kept running to the bush barking and eventually Mark found it in the bush and gave it to him. I have no idea how it landed in the bush or when it did, but he knew it was there, even though he had two of the exact toys - well one was Miss Piggy's, but tell that to Spike. At least he has calmed down a bit with his new toy and leaves it alone sometimes. The obsession stopped on Friday, but up until Friday morning, he even slept with it, even under our blankets.

Today we never played, it was just far too cold and we spent the day next to a roaring fire, lying under blankets and watching movies, the best place to be in freezing weather.

And that is our afternoon ritual in film.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Camping January 2006

When we first watched this video, a year after Clint died, as sad as it was, it made us laugh so much, as it reminded us not only of happy times, but how frustrated Clint got with Chad. As much as they loved each other, there were tines that Chad really drove Clinty up the wall and Clint had very little patience with Chad at times, yet at other times he had all the patience in the world and did things for him all the time. He helped Chad with school projects, with his bicycle, with his motorbike and was always teaching him how to do things. Then there were days like this when they had their little sibling squabbles. Strangely, it was watching this video that helped Chad so much and it was then that he could start talking about Clint to us and he spoke about him often after that. Then it stopped again. I think this video helped a lot with his guilt, because sadly they had a little squabble just before Clint left for extra maths that day and the guilt ate at Chad all the time, then seeing this made him realise that they would have a little spat and 5 minutes later it would be back to best friends and fun times.

We went away for my birthday on a motorbike riding weekend of all things, but the boys wanted to go there so I said it was OK with me. We took Pluto and Jingles with and had one of the best weekends ever. Jingles sat on Mark's bike's handle bars and drove around like that, I rode pillion with Mark and Pluto sat across Clint's lap and we rode around like that all over the resort, through rivers and bushes and down steep hills and it was really a fun weekend. This video is just bits of it, I don't know why I only copied part of the video or what happened to the rest and I think the original tape was stolen with our video camera when our house was robbed.

Spike & His Toys

I will wager that there is not another dog that is as crazy obsessive about toys as what Spike is. It is something that has to be seen to believe. He is Mark's baby without a doubt and it even took awhile before he even believed me that Spike understood the words "go get your toy" and that it had nothing to do with the tone of my voice.

His toys usually last two weeks on average, cheap toys a day or two or three, depending on how cheap the toy is - the cheaper ones are not that strong. Kongs last two weeks max and then they are destroyed and they are very expensive. So we go through a lot of toys, but buying them for Spike is really worth it. He gets so much joy out of them and it is like giving candy to a little street child - in fact he shows more appreciation than any child being given candy, toys or ice cream. It is just too sweet. Then one day Mark saw this toy (below) at Hypermarket and bought it for Spike. I looked at the toy and said that will last about a week or two and it was quite expensive, but Spike's toys were finished and he needed a new toy. How wrong was I. Mark bought it in January 2012, either late January or early February, the photo was taken on the 8 Feb, so he might have had it a week or two, but four months later and it is still going strong. The feet are a bit chewed, that was Miss Piggy and it is rather grubby and dirty, but the squeak is still intact and the toy is still in one piece.

Spike's Toy - 8 Feb

Not only is it Bull Terrier and Bull Dog proof, but is is just the best toy ever and it is loads of fun for the dogs, especially Spike. It bounces and rolls and some days when I am lazy, I just stand outside and watch how Spike plays. It would be the perfect toy for a dog that stays alone and loves to play, because you don't even have to throw it. Spike rolls it and bounces it and throws it in the air and then it goes bouncing off around the garden with him chasing it. It is a really cool toy. We have this ritual everyday. As soon as Sheila leaves, Spike brings me his toy and barks and cries and runs to the back so we can play, Pluto whines and cries and also runs to the back. Pluto does not play, but he nags just as much as Spike. We all go outside, Miss Piggy plays sometimes, if Chad is outside she goes crazy and it just depends on her moods if she will play when it is just me, otherwise she stands by me. Jingles runs around like a crazy thing, actually like a child wanting to play with the cool kids, but can't and just hangs around trying to be part of the click, Pluto strolls around the garden and Garfield either sits under the palm tree or in Clint's garden and then there is Spike. I keep saying I need to video him, but don't - procrastinating as usual. If you have ever seen a herd of buck being chased by a predator, that is our Spike. He goes flying through the air, jumping as high as anything, hind legs flying out behind him. Sometimes he looks like a soccer player, as he hits the ball with his head, sending it flying across the garden, his legs kicking, other times jumping up and grabbing it in his mouth. Sometimes Piggy chases after him and they tackle each other and grab at the ball and tug at it. For a Bull Dog, she is not too shabby either and can keep up with Spike at the best of times and even tries to jump in the air, put is too floppy and heavy for her stubby little legs. I have been saying for awhile that we need to get her a toy like Spike's, because she also loves tennis balls, but not half as much as Spike loves toys and all the tennis balls have popped. On Saturday we went shopping and we always head to the toy pet section at Hypermarket, it has become a habit. Sometimes we buy toys from the Pet Store, but part of shopping is going to be the pet section and Mark found a toy like Spike's, but a smaller one, which he took for Miss Piggy.

Miss Piggy's Toy - 2 June 2012
Well poor Miss Piggy, she lost out again, Spike took the toy and refuses to part with it. It became so bad that he did not eat on Saturday night, Sunday night or Monday night and I don't think he ate in the mornings either. They get fed at night, but don't finish their food and eat it in the mornings or during the day. It was so bad that I tried to give him biscuits and he dropped the biscuit to run and get his toy. It was like this huge decision - biscuit or toy and toy won. He refuses to play with the old toy and we try and trick him, but he knows the difference. They are exactly the same colour, same shame, the size is just different. In the photo it is hard to see the size difference, but the new one is quite small compared to the old one. Now we are human and are meant to be the superior species, so we should know that they are two different toys, but how Spike knows, is just beyond me. Well it just goes to prove that animals are so clever.

The Old Toy 2 June 2012

I have been trying to find out the make of the toy all this time and finally now know. I never bothered to look at the label when we bought the first one, thinking it was just the normal run of the mill toy. I have to say they are geniuses and I would love to write to them and tell them what a fantastic toy it is - not only durable, but a real  fun cool dog toy, but there are no contact details on the label - it is called Bad Cuz, by JW. Strange name for a dog toy, but who cares, Bad Cuz gets 120 out of 100 from us, especially Spike.

Bouncy Ball Label

So if you want a really fun toy for your dogs and want your dogs to have loads of fun, this is the toy to get. We have tried them all and no other toy comes near this one and Spike agrees. He is totally obsessed with his toy, but for some reason this smaller one has him totally obsessed. He loved the other one, but it never stopped him from eating and Chad loves teasing him and hides his toys away and he comes and asks me for them. If Mark is at home and Spike comes and sits by me, begging I know his toy has been hidden away and he is asking me for it. On Monday night Mark was very worried about his poor baby not eating, like Spike doesn't need to lose a kilo or two, so he took the toy away from him and put it in the vase on the lounge table. We all sitting watching TV and I might have been distracted and never noticed him asking me for his toy, but next thing he was on the table trying to get his toy. He knew it it was in the vase, he could see it, but he is such a good boy he just stood there desperately wanting the ball, but waiting for someone to give it to him. When it comes to toys he is the cutest dog ever and very clever. If Bad Cuz ever needs to market their bouncy walking toy, they should come and film Spike for the day, he can be their mascot/model. To say he loves their toy would be an understatement.

Spike Trying To Get His Bouncy Toy

Spike Trying To Get His Toy That Chad Hid Behind The Chair On Sunday Night

Please Can I have My Toy

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