i promised

Before we added Olivia and Belle to our family, I fell in love with a beagle named Heidi. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, my husband and I volunteer over at BARK once in a while. We help clean out the runs and walk the dogs. The daily ritual is to clean the runs and then take whatever dog you want on a nice, long walk through the trails.

The first time we did this, I chose Heidi. She was so little and too cute. She pulled like crazy, sniffing everything in her path.

After a couple of weekends, I told her I’d get her out of there. Like with Olivia, I had a gut feeling that I was supposed to help. I had to.

With the addition of Olivia and then Belle, the promise looked kinda dicey. Adding Heidi to the family would bring us to a total of FOUR DOGS!! That’s completely insane but I promised her freedom so I couldn’t bail on her!

This past weekend I fulfilled my promise. We picked her up and she’s been tiring us out every since.

Let me make this clear. We’re not adopting her, we’re fostering her (same with Belle but it’s hard to find someone who wants a 14 year old, deaf, chihuahua ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Knowing that we’re trying to find homes for two of them makes having four dogs a little more tolerable but honestly it hasn’t been bad at all. I can say that Heidi is better than my other dogs on the leash! She’s a little over a year old and therefore still puppy-like but she just needs a little discipline and some time. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said ‘Off!’ in the past week while teaching her that she’s not allowed on the couch! Haha.

So here’s a little info about her in case her future family is reading this!

The girls play all day long. After less than a week they are already getting along quite well.

The chihuahua is another story… but she’s crotchety and doesn’t like other dogs all up in her business. ๐Ÿ™‚

Like Olivia, she loves a good belly rub and will sit there calmly for a good while if you keep it up.

When her tails in the air, you can bet she’s on a scent trail. She loves to sniff around and explore every inch of the backyard.

I was told she’s an ‘escape artist’ but we haven’t had any issues with her trying to get out at all. We just make sure she knows that she can’t bolt when we open doors.

Believe it or not, she DOES rest once in a while. We walk her 2 or 3 times a day and soon we hope to start running with her. She needs her exercise for sure!

The bottom line is that it’s totally worth dealing with all that energy because she is the sweetest thing EVER. She just wants play and be loved on!

With her great looks, personality, and the training we’re putting her through, I hope to find her a great forever home very soon.

If you’re interested in Heidi or know of someone who might be (and you’re in the Richmond area), just shoot me an email! hippeitch {at} gmail {dot} com.

australian animals galore

I’m always hesitant to go to zoos because you never know how small or large the enclosures will be. I get depressed for the guys if I see them in cages that look too small to me but that wasn’t the case at Steve Irwin’s zoo here in Australia!

It isn’t just a zoo but “a team of passionate conservationists working around-the-clock to deliver an animal experience like no other.” So Awesome. Australian hippies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was way too cool for me not to show you the pictures ASAP. Lots of fun things went down and I even got to interact with multiple animals!

I took a lot of photos but here are a ton few of my favorites:

Kookaburraย sits in the old gum tree. A lot of the enclosures were very open so I could get up really close and take photos.

These iguanas are the pigeons of Australia. They aren’t in a zoo exhibit but I took a picture anyway! They also have wild turkeys that wandered about. So different from the US.

I enjoyed this signage. I assume the skull and crossbones means death. See the giant guy behind it?!

I die. I couldn’t even stop myself from baby talk when I saw these Koalas. I made my husband pay $20 so we could get a picture with one! I HELD HIM. His name was Slater and he was very smelly. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wombats. Another super cute animal. The zookeepers walk around with them with harnesses on like dogs.

The other girls and I stopped to watch the Irwin family for an unhealthy amount of time. Bindi is all grown up!! We were starstruck.

We didn’t know until we got there but at the Crocodile show the Irwin kids did some shooting for a TV show they’re doing. This isn’t a daily occurrence so we were really lucky to see them feed a dead pig to the Graham the crocodile. As disgusting as it was, it was very cool! Lots of waiting and then violent thrashing.

I was so scared for her!

We got to feed the kangaroos. They are such characters!!

I did this.

And then he decided that the amount of food I gave him wasn’t enough so he grabbed my hand which scared the crap out of me.

After that I hesitantly fed him again only to have my husband say, ‘I want him to grab MY hand!’. Ha.

A little later on another kangaroo snuck up behind me and gave me a little shove. Needless to say I was a little jumpy after that so when we were in the Rain Forest after that and two parrots decided to breeze by my head multiple times I almost cussed in front of some little kids. It was terrifying yet I loved it.

The Wallabies got there turn at the food buffet too.

We went to Africa for an hour where we saw Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, and a Rhino. We even got to feed an Elephant! I don’t have that photo yet but I’ve been told I have to ‘prove it’ so I’ll post it when I get back.

Such a great time! It’ll be a day I never forget. I love myself some animals.

Toady is ANZAC day so we’re keeping it low key but tomorrow is another adventure so I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it soon.

๐Ÿ™‚

easter on parade: a doggy challenge

My ‘big’ girls, Roary and Olivia are my favorite but they each have their own behavioral issues.

Roary is a friendly gal, a little too friendly at times. Last week when we had the ducts cleaned in our house, she decided that the men were intruders, then proceeded to bark at them. This went on for a bit until she realized they would pet and entertain her. Then to get their attention throughout the day there was major tail wagging and when that didn’t suffice, she would jump up on them. I often attempt to train her to stop barking and jumping and she HAS gotten better.

Olivia is the opposite. Every time the men where in a room with her, she’d pace and try to escape as soon as possible. There may have been a few barks in there too but they were more of a ‘please go away, you scare me!’ and not a ‘get out of my house or else!!’.

Belle even barked when the guys came in because she saw Roary doing it! She’s not part of this post, but I thought it was pretty funny/cute.

Al enjoys not smiling in photos, I think it’s a Marine thing.

This past weekend I found out about a pet-friendly event happening in Richmond called Easter on Parade. We took both Roary and Olivia.

I thought it was more of a craft festival with kids games but what we did was ‘parade’ around a giant 4 block circle along with 25,000 other people, some dressed in crazy easter hats and some not. It felt a lot like last weekend at the 10k where I spent most of my time weaving around the slower folks.

All negativity aside, it was a beautiful day and a great learning experience for the girls!

Ha, you can see their personalities in this picture – Olivia looking away from all the scary people and Roary hoping to investigate.

Both Al and I were nervous about how each dog would react to THAT many people. Neither of them had been in a similar situation before so we kept the training light, letting them do what they wanted, but still keeping their leashes short. Surprising they both did great! I’m a proud mama.

Olivia got skittish once in a while, especially if there were loud noises. We had to take two detours around a drummer and also a band because she wouldn’t move. If you remember where she started when we first got her, you know this is an amazing achievement!

Roary also did well. She just took it all in attempting to sniff. Only two times did she lunge (not in an aggressive way) at someone or something that she really wanted to interact with.

Towards the end of the walk we took a break in the shade to let the girls cool off a bit. They calmly sniffed as they watched lots of dogs, people, and a transvestite (?) walk by them.

I’m glad to know that we are on the right track with these girls. We love them so much!!

It was a nice little Easter Sunday.

What did you do this Easter? Any dog training? ๐Ÿ˜‰