Must Love Dogs

A friend asked me the other day “Why do people have dogs?”. She doesn’t like dogs, and when I jokingly reminded her of this she replied “I do like them, I just don’t want them near, or touching me”.*

I get that. Dogs are generally filthy, wet, sharp nailed, muddied creatures of mass destruction.

I mean, my once cream couches look about a million years old and my rug in my lounge is never ever straight. My dining room floors are constantly covered in swimming pool water and sand, and there’s hair on pretty much everything.

If I had a nice standing floor lamp, it is long gone, and most of my wooden furniture has Boston terrier sized bit marks in the legs. My Persian carpet is missing a large chunk and my shower is always filled with tell-tale brown footprints.

New linen? Forget about it – anything lighter than black looks dirty within minutes, and the more expensive the throw, the more chance there is of a crusty piece of dog poo being stuck to it.

Love your garden? Learn to love it a little less – anything even vaguely expensive gets eaten or chewed. Case in point – A year ago my husband’s Granny passed away, and as a token of sympathy my folks bought us a Wild Olive tree to plant in our garden. The dogs took one look at the newest flora addition and decided it was an enemy that needed abolishing – needless to say they left us with a twig. Twig was subsequently replanted and dubbed ‘Big Granny’. Twig turned into longer twig which turned into leaf which then turned into something resembling a very small, happy and thriving tree. On Saturday, our new gardener assumed it was a failing weed, pulled it out, and threw it away.

Dogs take up your time and dogs take up your money. It’s very common for us to leave a function early to go home and feed the dogs, but where we can the dogs come along and gate crash dinner parties and braais. My boy dog has even weed in someone else’s house (you can immediately tell who the dog lover is by the way they react when your “I’msosorrymystupidfuckingdogjustpissedinyourkitchenandIswearheneverdoesthis” comment gets met with a “Shame look how remorseful he looks, he didn’t mean it, he was so excited, here Rupert, have a treat”.

Thank god for friends like this. I’m talking about you “my dogs kiss you when your mouth’s open and you love it, Clair”.

When girl dog was 9 months old, she was bitten by a puff adder. In Fourways. We are hard-core like that. 10 days and 20 thousand rand later we had her home with us, somewhat battered and missing a good chunk of knee, but she was home. For the 10 days she was in hospital we visited her every day – taking turns doing morning and evening shifts. At one low point, when we weren’t sure if she was going to make it, I sat with her on the floor of the vet, and she wrapped her limp weak body around mine, drip tubes, bandages and all. She had no control of her body and by the end of it I was covered in urine and vomit. All over my work clothes. You know what, I didn’t care. All I wanted was for my little girl to get better. When she eventually was released, we built her a fort bed in the bedroom and slept with her there (on the floor) for 2 nights to make sure she stayed breathing.

A few nights ago, I was having a very bad night. Sadness weighed upon me like a ton of bricks and nothing could get me out of my funk. Until my 2 hounds, who never (despite all evidence to the contrary) sleep on the bed, wormed their way out of their bed into mine, and lay with me for the entire night. The more I cried, the closer they spooned against me, until at one point I had Boston fart touching my nose and another Boston snore reverberating against my back. Dogs know, they just know.

When I get home, and I could have been gone anywhere from 5 minutes to 8 hours, there they are practically doing somersaults in the driveway. They jump up, scratch my car and try and absorb every part of me. They do this every single time they see me. Now you tell me, what human is ever that enthusiastic?

A few other reasons dogs are just so awful:

They are very needy. 

They are messy drunks

bad drunk messy drunks

They are never happy to see you

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They take up all the duvet

They are absolute sluts.

They always use your things

They are very bad at roadtrips

roadtrips

They are awful with children

bad with kids bad with kids 2 bad with children

really bad with kids

And even worse with other dogs…

pitbull

idiotic smiles confrontational

They’re not terribly well read

not very well read

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They can never pose nicely for a photo

not photogenic

And they are so unfeminine

not feminine

Dogs are so nosey. Jeez.

nosey

And SO needy!

needy

They’re terribly lazy

lazy

Not terribly good at hide ‘n seek

hide and seek

hide and seek

They don’t look good in anything.

dog blog

nothing looks good on them

They can never just pose nicely for a photo

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They hate extra mural activites

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And group photos? They want NONE of that!

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boston tea party

They despise shower time

bathtime

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In fact, they’re hardly pat of the family at all.

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announcements

But in all seriousness, my absolute worst thing about dogs? It’s that I don’t have more of them.

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*Disclaimer, I in no way hold any grudges against my friend for not liking dogs. I don’t like many things, including people who suck their toothbrushes and centipedes, but our differences are what make us unique and lovely, don’t you think?

PPS – I would however hold a grudge against a non-dog lover who owns dogs. It’s one of my pet peeves. But that’s a whole other story.

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Blog A Day Challenge – The Meaning of Your Blog Name – Day 2

When I first started writing this blog, we had just adopted our gorgeous little boy ‘Rupert’. A 5 week old cute as a button Boston Terrier, who crawled his way into our hearts the instant we met him. 

For anyone who has ever owned a Boston Terrier, you’ll be familiar with the side-of-the-head tilt that screams curiosity, disapproval and bewilderment all at once.

When I was naming the blog I thought about that tilt of the head and what it stood for, and reckoned if Rupert could talk it would be full of sarcasm, disapproval, a smidgen of humour and probably requests for more food. I decided there and then to name my blog ‘Rupert Approves’. Ironically, the older he’s got, the less he does. A bit like me I suppose. 

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My April Must Haves

It’s that time of the month again where I count down my top 10 must-have items for the month:

1. Labello Lip Butter

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It’s creamy, it’s pink it smells angelic and it works. ‘Nuff said.

2. Home decor.

Obsessed doesn’t even cut it. I spent my last ronds on this rug today which leaves me with R7 to get through the month. Worth it? Totally.

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3. Antiques and quirky collectibles

We have been helping my almost 90 year old Oma move out of her home, and with that comes a treasure trove like you cannot believe. I’m lucky enough to have been given some gorgeous items, including (my favourite) being this chair. It’s currently resting under a window in my entrance hall. I’m not sure if I should recover it though – your thoughts?

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4. Up-cycling

Keeping in mind that I have a mere R7 left to my name, I’m becoming quite thrifty and learning to use old things in a new way. My friend Amy gave me some gorgeous leftover fabric and I convinced my mom to sew new slipcovers for these revolting old orange ottomans I had lying around. The result? Gorgeous! (Clearly Bella’s also a fan – shown here inspecting the before and after)Image

5. Triathlon training.

Yes, I’ve entered another one. Its happening in Durbs, and because of that my training needs to step up a notch (by stepping up I mean removing myself off the couch ad doing some bloody exercise. I find that new workout gear always gets me motivated – and I’m loving the selection of fun sports bras and tops from Cotton On.

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6. My TV

Sies – bad habit I know but in my defense we didn’t have one for a month and I Nearly Died. It’s good to have you back, TV actor friends.

7. Living Seeds

I’m a huge fan of planing herb and gardens and up until now have used this formula:

Buy Seeds

Buy Potting Soil

Plant Seeds

Hope for the best.

Thankfully, help has come along in the form of Living Seeds – a local website dedicated to all things that grow. The site tells you what is grown best, when, planting tips and you can also buy online. I’m currently growing garlic, garlic chives, beetroot, onions, lettuce, kale and cauliflower.

8. My Dogs

I flipping love these frogs! Rupert and Bella are just fabulous. They eat my furniture, dig holes, at times cannot wipe their own bums, are awful watch dogs and can fart bad enough to empty a room, but I love them. Here they are in all sorts of glorious pictures.

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9. My Stove

Nerd alert right. I don’t care. She’s silver, and shiny and cooks with gas and I.Love.Her

(If anyone feels like tossing some ideas for a splash-back for the wall as well, that would be super)

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10. Woolworths cappuccinos

It’s been a tough call, deciding between Seattle and Woolies in the competition of ‘who makes the most delicious cappuccino’. However, Woolworths wins by a fraction. (I think its the kraft paper coloured cups and the extra creamy froth that did it for me)

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Dear fireworks fan – I want to insert a tom thumb up your backside.

The first bang woke me up at abut 9 pm last night. The second bang followed shortly, and about an hour later I was lying in bed, fists clenched cursing at all the idiots in our area letting off fireworks over and over again.

Firstly, the sound of a firework is about as appealing as a car backfiring or a shotgun going off. Nobody wants to hear the sound of your jumping jacks late at night and I can almost guarantee nobody wants to wake up in a flat panic to the sound of gunfire outside their bedroom window. In South Africa. One of the most crime riddled countries in the world. 

If I , as a human being, despise the sound so much, imagine how all the animals (domesticated and non) must feel. The sound of a firecracker to a dog is 10 times louder than it is to a human. If we jump up in fright at the sound I can only imagine the terror it must cause in a pet.

My pets are spoilt. They sleep upstairs in their bed, under the covers and have us to love and comfort them in times of distress. Picture the other 99% of animals who don’t have that sort of protection – stray cats, dogs in shelters, pets who sleep outside, pets whose owners choose to let off fireworks in their own homes and wildlife – from birds, to bats to dassies. 

Yes, according to SA law there are 11 days of the year when fireworks are legal, this includes Guy-Fawkes and Diwali. Did you know, however, that even though these days are legalised there are still rules to obey if you are planning on using fireworks?:

“Unless special Council authorisation has been applied for and granted, there are only 11 days annually when residents are allowed to “light or ignite” fireworks. Guy Fawkes and Divali are such days. (R 500 fine on other days).

Except for New Year’s Eve, the only permissible time period for igniting fireworks on these days is between 19h00 and 22h00 (7 to 10 pm). (R 500 fine at any other time).

No person may light or ignite fireworks in any place where animals are present (R 1 000 fine). This includes domestic homes.

– Extract from www.environment.co.za

I’m willing to bet that none of the scum in my complex and surrounding houses bothered to obtain permission or follow these rules.

 

Sies on every single person who actively ignored all living creatures and instead chose to let off fireworks for their own pleasure. 

With Guy Fawkes coming up tomorrow, there’s bound to be more nose and fireworks, so if you are the owner of a pet, who is displaying signs of being in distress:

  • Eyes wide
  • Salivation
  • Frantic movement
  • Whining
  • Barking excessively
  • Pacing
  • Hiding in places they don’t normally go
  • Trembling, shaking
  • Cannot relax

Then here are some tips for keeping them stress free and calm throughout:

1. Preparation.
Arrange to have your dog in a place where there won’t be loud fireworks displays — a friend’s or relative’s home or a doggie day care with which your dog is familiar. If it’s an unfamiliar place for your dog, take him over there a few times in the days before the holiday so that it won’t be a surprise when you take him there on the Fourth.

2. Accommodation.
If you cannot take your dog to a place away from fireworks, then have a travel kennel at home for her to feel safe in. if you’re not going to be home, have a friend or sitter there to keep your dog company and take her out to relieve herself every four hours.

3. Acclimation.
The best way to prepare your dog for fireworks is to make sure he’s comfortable with the sound in advance. While this is a simple process, it can take time — possibly three or four months of playing the recorded sound of fireworks for your dog at an increasingly louder volume before he eats, before a walk, before affection and play, and condition him by association to hear the sound and interpret it as something good. While you can try this method over only a week or two, in such a short time span it should only be used in conjunction with one or more of the other tips. In any case, play the firework sounds.

4. Sedation.
If you do find it necessary to use medication to calm your dog during the fireworks, remember that you must introduce any such tool at the right time, conditioning your dog to understand that the medication is there to bring them to a calm state. This means that you must bring your dog to that calm state first, then introduce the tool — before the fireworks and the anxiety begin. If she is already at an anxiety level of 8 or 9, then her mental state will overrule the medication.The challenge is knowing how and when to connect the two.

5. Communication.
If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that they are nothing to worry about will also help him to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy, and will look to their pack leader for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well.
In all cases above, expend your dog’s excess energy first, before the fireworks start, by taking her on a very long walk to tire her out and put her in a calm state. Most importantly, don’t think of this in terms of your dog as your child who is missing out on a great, fun time. That’s human guilt. Your dog won’t know what she’s missing. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing her to a situation that will trigger her flight instinct in a negative way. When the booms and bangs of Independence Day are over, your dog will be grateful for you having made it a less stressful experience.

Extract from Cesars Way 

It’s also a good idea to encourage your complex or neighborhood to alert the residents if and when there are going to be fireworks and to prep your home and pets before.

 

Rupert Hates Fireworks
Rupert Hates Fireworks
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Its all about the Boston

It’s not a secret that I am borderline obsessed with my 2 Bostons – Bella and Rupert. So much so, that this blog was named after one of them. Sorry second-child, the syndrome is true 🙂

Our dogs play a massive role in our lives and for anyone who follows me on Instagram (katenicolekearney) will know – thy dominate most of that as well!

I have found so many cool Boston merchandise items that I just had to share, as well as a few that I have made. That, and of course a few recent snaps of my dogs as well.

Keep Calm and Love a Boston

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My friends know me too well – a Boston tee from Pick n Pay clothing

 

 

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I love making baby-grows – this is one I made for my neighbour Ros

 

 

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Yes, Rupert and Bella were even featured on our engagement party invite…. let’s see how they feature at our wedding…

 

 

 

 

 

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Boston Cupcakes for my Birthday

 

 

ImageYou can see Rupert prefers the head-in-lap pose…

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And Bella prefers the ‘legs in air’ pose…

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Anyone else a Boston love out there?

 

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Getting Active, Again

After a 4 month post-Half Iron man depression hiatus, I’ve slowly started getting active, and back into the exercise scene. It’s been made a lot easier by the fact that I have a new running partner, Shannon. An added plus is that Shannon enjoys her running almost as much as she does her wine, so it’s a match made in heaven.

In the past few weeks we have taken part in a few fun events:

The Bio-Kick Lumo Trail Run (PWC Bike Park, Bryanston)

Honestly, my facial expressions when I spot a camera are cringeworthy

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The Rhino 10k (St Stithians, Sandton)

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I Love Shans winning camera pose 🙂Image

… And mineImageImageImageLast weekend Barry and I took the fur-kids to Avianto in Muldersdrift for the annual Royal Canin Dog Day. It was an amazing morning out meeting dog lovers and thier furmilies. We got to meet the worlds biggest Boerbull (in my opinion) with his owner Lynette, and a miniature something or other the size of a tea cup. Our dogs did the 4km, and were royally finished afterwards.

Can We Go Yet?

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Tao the Boerbull, and BellaImageImageImageImage

Rupert ApprovedImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Home Time!Image

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Lucky Dog

I’m not sure who was more excited when our Lucky Dog box arrived but between me, Rupert, Bella (and may parents menagerie of dogs – we happened to be visiting for lunch when it arrived) there were lots of squeals of delight and wagging tails.

I just love how the box was personalised with a letter to Rupert and Bella and how there was a festive strand of tinsel on top of the beautifully wrapped goodies.

The Luck Dog Box
The Lucky Dog Box

The dogs, of course, got unwrapping….

Whats in the box!?
Whats in the box!?Whats in the box!?
The Sniff Test - Foolproof
The Sniff Test – Foolproof
Muzzling In
Muzzling In
Sharing Is Caring
Sharing Is Caring
Both agreeing they are happy with the contents of the box
Both agreeing they are happy with the contents of the box

… and revealed the following goodies

Barkery Bites
Barkery Bites
Madam D's Brownies
Madam D’s Brownies

 

Voucher
Voucher
Doggy SunMist - Very Handy!
Doggy SunMist – Very Handy!
'Donkey'
‘Donkey’

Needless to say the dogs enjoyed an afternoon of treats and Rupert now treats Donkey the stuffed animal like his very own pillow…

Mine
Mine

The ‘waiting for treats’ grins

Waiting for a treat
Waiting for a treat
Grin
Grin

If you are looking to spoil your pooch on a monthly basis, then consider signing up to Lucky Dog. Because as they say – a happy dog is a happy owner (well, now they do anyway :))

You can find Lucky Dog on Facebook, Twitter or online at www.luckydog.co.za

Subscription is only R179 p/m – and worth every cent!

Thanks Lucky Dog!

XOXO

Rupert and Bella

PS – Rupert really really approves!

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The Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge

‘Bloody Cyclists!’

‘Stupid Road Closures’

Argh – I HATE 94.7 for doing this to me!’

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person around Joburg who, yearly, moans about the road closures for the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, curses the inconvenience of being trapped at home or moans about the irritation of having to plan your day around tens of thousands of shaved-legged-tight-jersey-wearing athletes taking over our roads. Right?

Well, as they saying goes – if you cant beat ’em, join ’em. So I did, and let me tell you that I have a new found respect for anyone who has ever taken part in this race.

First off, it’s crowded. This year 27000+ riders took on the challenge. Secondly, it’s bloody hot. With temperatures reaching over 30 degrees the 11km infamous Krugersdorp highway feels more like a crossfit session on the face of the sun. It’s also windy, long, exhausting, and hot. Have I mentioned hot?

I was hoping for a time of 4 hours – to fit in with my Half Iron Man training and preparation, but as luck would have it I got my first ever puncture on said Highway. Twice. That wasted us (and by us I mean Barry – I watched him fix them, while eating the potato stand out of all it’s stock) a good 45 minutes, so by the time we finished the race we clocked in at just under 5 hours. Considering the break, we still managed a ride time of 4:15 which isn’t too far off my initial goal.

So, having broken my 94.7 virginity – here’s what Ive learnt :

– You will hit a wall. Anticipate it and push through it. Mine happened around 70 kms. Just as this photo was taken. Gents – this is what ‘faking it’ looks like.

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– Eat! A lot – I burned over 3000 calories – which will have an impact if you dont refuel. I favour potatoes and bars over sweet gels – but do what works for you

– Keep hydrated. At times it feels like you’re being slow roasted – and if you dont get enough liquids you will suffer.

– Wear sunblock – otherwise you will look like this :

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– Take a moment just before Krugersdorp highway to look back and congratulate yourself on where you’ve come from. That Joburg horizon seems very far away from where you are. It’s an achievement – be proud.

– Feed off the energy of the supporters – the vibe is amazing!

– Dont (as I did) drink the day before. Or do – but keep the self induced complaints to yourself 🙂

– There are some people who ride it twice. I call them bloody lunatics. If you see them – buy them a beer or donate to their charity – they deserve it.

– Lastly, enjoy it! Make friends with riders, chat, joke and laugh. I promise it eases the pain slightly.

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PS – Thanks for the gear Biogen – Rupert approves!

 

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Rupert approves, but what about Bella?

I’m the first person to roll my eyes when a new parent uploads a pic of baby’s poo to their Blackberry messenger profile, or when un-born fetuses start updating mommy’s Facebook status, so I realise me posting about my dogs may generate the same reaction from you. Sorry. The thing is, my blog was named after our first born dog Rupert, but since then we have also been blessed with a sister for Rup, Bella, and I figured she deserved some acknowledgment as well. I wont bore you with how unbelievably cute they are, how they light up my life, how I could kiss them all day or how I can’t imagine my life without them. Nah, I will just post adorable doggy pics and make you wish you had kids as cute as mine.

Interesting fact – both our dogs were named after wine (Rupert and Rothschild and Arabella). That means when I’m downing a glass or two of the good stuff, I’m actually just toasting my pets. Sneaky.

Is this bed an extra length? – R
-R
‘scuse me? – B

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It’s a dogs life

Living in Joburg definitely has its limitations(money making traffic riddled city aside), and I’m constantly reminded how hard we have to work to find new and interesting places to visit. Walkhaven is one of those hidden gems that I have absolutely fallen in love with, and if you are ever looking for a beautiful spot in the countryside to bring your fur-mily, then this is it.

Rupert Gypsey and Holly – carpoolin’

Rupert and Bella braving the dam water

Situated in the infamous ‘wedding strip’ in Muldersdrift, and a mere 18kms from Fourways, Walkhaven is exactly that – a haven for you and your pet. From the moment you drive down the dusty road you are greeted by the sight of hundreds of humans and their wagging tailed friends. Walkhaven consists of 2 very large dams (sorry humans, swimming for pooches only) and vast open spaces, walkways and long grass. The perfect place for your furry kids to run free (Rule 1 at Walkhaven – no leads) and explore to their hearts content.

For the humans there is a lovely restaurant on the deck, plus several picnic benches dotted in and around the vicinity. The restaurant has delicious food, and on Sundays a massive buffet breakfast.

You would think that with so many dogs running around unleashed there would be absolute chaos, but the lack of restrictions allows the curious canines to explore, lick, sniff, swim and greet other pooches without feeling threatened or controlled.

My two dogs, Rupert and Bella, adore the place and after a few hours in the sun at Walkhaven they come home muddy, smelly, wet, but very very happy.

Need to know :

– R25 entrance fee per person. dogs are free.

– Complimentary water bowls all over Walkhaven

– Can bring your own food, drinks and picnic hampers

– Dogs tend to lose any hearing/training skills/sense of discipline when around so many other exciting friends. Be warned

– Dress casual, it’s muddy and wet and a whole lot of fun.

– Walkhaven is open Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am – 6:30 pm

 

The start of the walk

Bella en route home. Absolutely exhausted (and filthy!)

Dirty dogs!

Aunty Candy and Bella

Can we walk now ma? Huh? Can we??

 

 

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