Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas, everyone!
I can't believe how quickly this past year has flown. I think I've said THAT  for the last four years really.
Christmas was nice this year with my parents flying over to spend time with Mr. K, me and the dogs. We had a wonderful meal cooked by my parents  consisting of turkey, SALMON,  salad, mashed potatoes, dressing and chocolate cake for dessert. I was so full after supper was over, I could hardly move; exactly THE way Christmas dinner should be. MOM AND I HAD ALSO ATTEMPTED A TRADITIONAL BRITISH DESSERT RECIPE  EARLIER IN THE WEEK CALLED MINCE PIES WHICH ACTUALLY TURNED OUT QUITE WELL. THERE AREN'T MANY LEFT OF THOSE.
Our day started with my mom making French toast, bacon and cinnamon coffee. I'm a huge fan of flavored coffees and finding them this side of the pond has been difficult. When we visited the German Christmas market on Sunday evening, we came across a vendor that sold a variety of flavored coffees and I made off with a package of Irish Cream and Cinnamon. I was really torn as there were so many choices, some of which included Blueberry Muffin and Chocolate, but I settled on the two aforementioned flavors. Mom and Dad also brought two big bags of Hazelnut coffee with them and we've been enjoying that as well. We may have also enjoyed a little Bailey's in that coffee as well this morning.
After breakfast it was gift opening time for everyone. I got a pair of "feety" PJ's (I love the silly things), a casual dress, Body Shop products and a tea set with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on it. Winter boots and coat, new walking shoes and a hoodie were also gifts I got earlier. I was a very lucky girl this Christmas season.
Tenie and Lindsay didn't forget about us either and sent gifts with my parents for us. Mr. K got a Lego Star Wars tree ornament and I got a Tim Horton's coffee mug ornament. If you're Canadian you'll understand my ornament. If you're not, look up Tim Horton's or "Timmy's" as we Canadians like to call it and you'll understand. :) The girls also sent over a singing card that played "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" with a Dachshund on the front. For those of you WHO   don't know, Lindsay adopted Baloo, one of our Dachshunds, when we moved over here and so the card was defiNITELY fitting. They put some cash in the card so that Mr. K and I could go out to dinner together. All very thoughtful and sweet gifts.
The dogs weren't forgotten either. Hermione got her Kong Wobbah, Otis his elk antler chew and Roscoe his squeaking squirrel. I also made a batch of banana and honey treats and some sweet potato chews. Everyone seemed happy with their presents. Hermione has gone crazy death shaking her replacement toy-the last one had to be thrown out due to over use-Roscoe walked around happily wagging his tail and softly squeaking the squirrel and Otis made off into a corner to be alone so that he could chew his antler.
Once presents were opened, mom started on getting the turkey into the oven and then she and I took all three dogs for a good long off leash run. It's done nothing but rain the last week or so and it was nice to have the sun poking out today. We returned hOME nearly two hours later with three very tired dogs. Hermione was so muddy that I spent nearly ten minutes wiping her down once we got home. Her feathers are so long and SHE   is so low to the ground that the mud just clings to her. Roscoe needed toweling off as well as he decided that prancing through mud puddles and splashing about in little pools was a good idea, but he wasn't nearly as difficult to clean as miss princess butt.
We finished the evening off by calling various family members. We even got to talk to Mr. K's family via Skype. I can't say how fantastic Skype has been for us since moving so far away from our families. It was great to see everyone laughing and all of our nieces and nephew got to see us and the dogs too.
So, with a full belly and heart I am writing this out; sitting snugly in my bed in my feety pajamas. NO JUDGING! TRY THEM ONCE AND YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK. Roscoe is asleep on my feet and Otis is on my lap. Hermione took herself to bed. She actually likes sleeping in her own crate at night and will voluntarily go in. I think she needs some alone time sometimes and that is where she gets it. So, from my snug, sleepy self to you: Merry Christmas! Hoping that you had a wonderful day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Strange and Wonderful Spaniel

I have owned a few different breeds of dogs in my life, but up until now, never a Spaniel. In fact, until we moved to Edinburgh I had never even "seen" a Spaniel. Since I have to pet dogs to be able to see them, I am sure this is why I had never seen a Spaniel before. Where I grew up, people had big dogs-German Shepherds, Labradors, Collies and mixes of these medium to large breeds. So, I didn't exactly know what I was getting myself into when we picked a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as our newest family member back in February of this year. Everything I read said that they were the calmest of the Spaniel family and the perfect lap dog. I haven't owned another type of Spaniel, but my condolences go out to those dog owners. ;)
How do you ever get to sit down? If I had a tail, Hermione would have me chasing it from the time she wakes up in the morning until we go to bed at night. (I say that as she naps on the couch beside me. I may be exaggerating a bit, but just a bit). :)
 To be honest, I'd never have another breed; unless I could have a Great Dane, or a Mastiff, or a Husky get the point.  I love her, but she is undoubtedly a nut.
You never know what Hermione Sophia will do next. She holds perfect points at unsuspecting prey with no training; she death shakes her toys and sounds like an evil Wolverine who weighs only 5 kilograms; she jumps as high as my hip or higher even though her head hardly clears half way up my calf; and so much more. We met her mom, but part of me wonders if her dad had been a Cocker Spaniel instead because of her hunting tendencies, but the breeders assured us she was a purebred. Honestly, who cares. She's one of the coolest little dogs I've met and I'm not saying that because she's mine.
I know she can be a bit much for some people, but in  her defense she's still a puppy and her training is coming along quite nicely. In fact, Mr. K and I have thrown around the idea of putting her into agility; note the comment above about how high she can jump.
Of course she has her holy terror moments where I want to pull out my hair; note previous comment about death shaking/wolverining everything. Not to mention, she must have been a paper shredder in her previous life because she will destroy any paper she comes across. And, it's not like she just comes across it and destroys. Oh no! She seeks paper to shred into little bits, turning our couch or living room floor into a shredded paper graveyard. Despite her crazy antics, she can be super sweet and she always manages to surprise you.
Most dogs aren't huge fans of grooming. Glacier used to try to make himself really small if he saw me coming with the Zoom groom; not easy for a 35 kilogram Labrador. Jetta just used to run as fast as she could; and that was fast. Roscoe pretends he's not there, but I always find him. Otis hasn't figured out how he feels about it yet. Most will tolerate it, but most don't enjoy it. Not Hermione. She loves being combed. All I have to do is pick up the comb, she hops in my lap and she stretches out to be combed. Her ears in particular are her favourite. How weird is that? If I start combing those beautiful feathery ears of hers, she goes to sleep and she won't wake up or move until I have stopped combing.
Do you see what I mean when I say she's strange?
She chases anything that moves, stalks paper victims and death shakes her fleece tug toy until it slaps her in the head violently, but get out the grooming comb and she settles in for the long haul. Mr. K thinks it's because she likes to be pretty. I'm sure he's right. She is the princes after all.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Happy Birthday Jetta!

I know I've been very absent from the blogging world as of late. I'm in the last few weeks of this semester and that means a lot of essay writing. This then means when I'm done writing for the day, I don't want to be near the computer or writing anymore. However, I could not let today pass without wishing a very special girl a happy birthday.
Jetta, my first Leader Dog, is 12 years young today. She's happily retired with my parents now, as most of you know, but not a day goes by without me thinking about her. There's something to say for having your first harness walk with your first guide dog. She certainly surpassed all of my expectations.
During your first walk, the trainer is usually connected to the dog's harness via their own leash. I remember thinking how much I couldn't wait until my trainer unhooked his leash and Jetta and I were truly walking together. I was certainly scared, but it was such an amazing experience.
Jetta and I sure had our ups and downs the first year, but after mistakes, mostly on my part, we became a well oiled working machine. It probably all started when I tried to put her harness on for the first time, and despite having practised on a huge plush dog, I couldn't get the thing on right. Knowing Jetta she was probably thinking:
"Ooooooo. They gave me the dumb one. How can I f*** with her?"
Happy birthday Jetta the Jitter Bug!!!!!!!!!