Thursday, 16 October 2014

Getting wet!

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Friends and Enemies!

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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