Monday, 27 August 2012

on the bed only counts if I use all my feet.

Not the greatest of pictures, but even I found the way he got on the bed very amusing.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Trip to the vets

It is that time of the year, Blue is due his annual trip to the vets to have his booster.

The importance of the booster is essential for Blue to be protected from the nasty bugs and bacteria that could cause life threatening diseases, but the term booster does tickle me. Before we set off to the local vets Blue decided it would be a good time to play rough, it is easy to get drawn into his games, but he does play a bit dirty at times.

With a stern look from my wife Sue, both Blue and I knew now was not the right time to wind each other up.

Our local vet has a few places to visit, today we are going to the one in London Road, to see his favourite vet Adrian. When I say favourite, the only one who has a bad memory is Blue, but their history goes way back. Adrian was the vet who immediately diagnosed the spinal problem that Blue had when he was six months old. A speedy appointment to Fitzpatrick Referrals, was one we would forever appreciate.

Blue is well familiar with this local vets, we took him there as a puppy for the open days to get him familiar with visiting a veterinary practice, well it kind of worked, but Blue is Blue, and he likes to make an impact.

On our arrival we were greeted by the receptionist, who was cradling a five month old puppy, the poor thing had to have its left eye removed, she explained it had been in an altercation with a cat, and as a result the eye was so badly damaged it had needed removal by surgery. Poor little mite.

So we were booked in, and next job was to weigh Blue. On previous visits we had been told at 45 kilo's Blue was really at the top end of where his weight should be. Much to our surprise settling on the scales up went the digital readout to 47 kilo's. That would mean there was work to be done, with his history of his spine, Blue needs to remain fit and trim. Like all pet owners they look ok to us, but the scales don't lie. Blue has a healthy well balanced diet and plenty of exercise, so it is probably the reward treats that is pushing his weight up, no problem, he will now have to work harder for fewer rewards.

Even though Blue and Adrian go back a long way, Blue likes to go into the vets in fancy dress, today he is going as Hannibal Lecture, he likes the menacing look, and gets into the part very well with the growling and barking, and prancing.

Blue as his favourite character from Silence of the Lambs

As the door to the vets opened, Blue and the exiting Spaniel exchanged looks and woofs, the owner explaining that if Blue had been a small dog her dog would have ignored him, but she does like to challenge the bigger breeds. Her little girl said that Blue was a big dog, which we cannot deny, the scales do not lie, and asked what his name was. When we said it was Blue, she said that she liked him.

After a few moments wait, Adrian, Blues favourite vet, summoned us in. Blue played his role well, but remained on a tight leash. After a general check over Blue was ushered round into position for his booster.

I think a sedative might have been more in order.

With his current weight revealed, Adrian did not need to tell us what we knew, that extra weight needed to go, for the long term health and benefit of Blue.

To ensure his mobility was not being hindered we went back out into the waiting room so the vet could assess his gait and movement. He was happy that Blue was moving nice and freely without any undue stresses or strains.Not eaactly the parade ring at Cruft's, but Blue did walk well to heel.

When Blue was recovering from his spinal op a few years back, we were advised to keep an eye on his gait. I am not sure if it is true of all German Shepherds, but Blue can look slightly awkward when walking at a slow pace, and the longer you watch him the worse he gets, but he is fine, no concerns today.

The check up was over, all that was required was to exchange some money and obtain his worming tablets.

But before we parted with our money Blue had taken to a new friend "Kong Cozie"

New family addition

We returned home via a well earned walk around the campus at the University of Reading, and the trip to the vets was but a distant memory.

Time to help the new member of Blue's family to settle in


Monday, 20 August 2012

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Loch Clair

Loch Clair by Rod1871
Loch Clair, a photo by Rod1871 on Flickr.

Blue on his holiday last year to the Torridon mountains

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sunrise over Earley, UK

Sunrise over Earley, UK by Rod1871
Sunrise over Earley, UK, a photo by Rod1871 on Flickr.

Walking photos and the Olympics, Blue style

As you can see from the body language of Blue pictured above he loves the opportunity to spend a little time off lead, though he does not protest if he remains on a lead.

Morning walks with Blue are a great way to start the day, he gets his exercise and it gets me up and out in the early morning fresh air. This morning was so picturesque with the sunrise after about ten minutes we returned home to collect the camera.

Our camera is a Nikon D90, so is not exactly a small compact camera, so this was going to be a further test for Blue, could he share his morning walk with a camera which was going to take my attention away from him. In fairness this is his walk so it had to be fine with Blue.

So we returned to the park, camera round my neck, Blue on a lead in my left hand, water bottle in my right, tennis ball, poop scoop,whistle treats etc filling my pockets. I am going to need to take either a Sherpa or rucksack if we take much more out on his walk.

Fortunately Blue had done his business on our first brief visit, so all we needed to do was enjoy the surroundings and our own company.

The reason that I had gone back for the camera was the sunrise looked really good, could Blue have the patience while I set the camera to the correct modes and take a photo.

Bingo, great result, no fuss no pulling barking or any other protestations, we had our shot of the sunrise.

No, this shot won't win any photographic awards, but it was very rewarding. Nature provided a scene worthy of capturing, Nikon provided the technology to capture and process it, what the camera does not show is the scene behind the camera. Blue on a short lead waiting patiently for me to finish.

After taking a few more pictures with different settings in manual mode, time to focus on Blue.

Once more out come the trusty tennis ball for some off lead play time. After several throws of the ball, it dawned on me to combine the two, taking photos of Blue playing fetch.

Before writing this Blog we put together a short clip of photos for you tube to share.

Play time lasted for about ten minutes, we both enjoyed these moments of sharing what we enjoy.

It is a great reward to have moments like today. They help you realise why the bond with man and dog is so strong. Having Blue as a companion epitomises the relationship together, we share so many emotions and experiences.

People have commented in the past what a lucky dog Blue is, well fate plays a huge part in luck as also does the phrase "you get out of life what you put in".

Blue has not had an easy life and meets all challenges head on, only now can you see all the hard work and caring for him has paid dividends.

So we had discovered a new side of Blue, patience and sharing, even at the age of 4 1/2, he is willing to learn.

For a brief time recently I had thought about doing some agility training, such as the weave poles, but after consulting a trainer who knows Blue's medical history, that idea has been put aside as not a good idea. However it was suggested obedience training, now that has interested us, we will see what it entails.

Part of morning walk requires us to cross a footbridge over the train line for the Reading to Waterloo Station in London, as we pawsed (excuse the pun) to take another photo opportunity, I thought how many people would pass this way today to travel by train to London to watch the final day and closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, I hope their day is as memorable as ours has been.



is our


medal winner

Friday, 10 August 2012

Sunday, 5 August 2012

One size does fit all. (Readingfc Dog collars)

Like me Blue is a lover of football.

With the season looming we felt in only proper to prepare for the  new season in the Premiership.

The online Megastore had an item that might be just right for Blue.

A dog collar.
(One size fits all)

So with our ten pound gift voucher and our 45 kilo German Shepherd
we set off for the Megastore.

Blue waited patiently while I went and brought his collar for £6.00

 myself an £18.00 shirt


 the wife a replica shirt.

Blue was happy to pose with me and the Megastore in the background.

Once we got home it was to be the moment of truth, does one size really fit all.

Yes it does !

Blue celebrated by drinking his paddling pool dry

Then it was time for a nap, this retail therapy does tire the poor little mite out.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Weekend Walkies

Blue has kicked off the weekend in fine style, he had a 67 minute excursion to the local park and surrounding streets.

The timing thing is a habit inherited from my wife, she likes to ensure that Blue has a good regime of exercise to help maintain his mobility and suppleness.

It is quite handy as it requires a watch, and gives me an excuse to purchase the odd one or two.

Blue had a bit of a lay in this morning, we did not set off until 5.55am but it was dry and light so off we headed to the park. The local park is not the biggest in the world but for Blue it holds sufficient interest not to be bored with a daily visit.

I intended to allow Blue a free run, but at the far end of the park a golden Labrador was off lead. As we had not met this dog before we could not be sure whether it was friend or foe, Our minds were made up when the owner spotted me and Blue walking through the park and he promptly attached his dog to a lead. Fair enough, so we gave them a wide birth and continued on our circuit of the park.

After a few minutes with the other dog off lead the other side of the park, Blue looked keen for me to take out his favourite tennis ball. Let the games commence as they say.

I'd had a thought before we set out to try some obedience training off lead, now with the park to ourselves Blue had no other distractions.

Having retrieved his ball several times, he was ready to exchange it for the customary treat.

Using voice command and hand signal Blue was put into the sit position. Slowly continuing to retreat backwards Blue remained sat, occasionally stretching his neck muscles as far forward as possible until balance got the better of him and he began to advance. As his advance was a little sheepish we tried again.

Blue sat on command and with me retreating backwards repeating the command to stay, it was time to release him. Now with a distance of about half the width of the football pitch, as I shouted fetch I threw his ball in the opposite direction. Blue went thundering past at full tilt, eyes only for his beloved ball.

Now the reward, a sharp blow on our dog whistle as Blue picked up his ball, it was ears down and full speed ahead back to me.

Well almost just as he started to return he dropped his ball, and stopped to gather it, but did return to me and released the ball for his well earned treat.

Blue played for a bit more off lead before we embarked on our road walking.

This enhanced Blues outing as he had the opportunity to sniff and smell the morning news. Even his arch enemy the milk float was allowed to pass without any fuss. Apart from a few cyclists and a couple of joggers the only people we see were the motorists that believe the speed limit does not apply first thing in the morning.
(Actually if they have that much to do or it is so important, perhaps they should get up even earlier).

Well that was us done time to go indoors and have our well earned breakfast.

As further reward for Blue I went out after breakfast and got a Ruff and tuff, Jumbo Bone which can be stuffed with his favourite treats

and a packet of "pigs ears" much to the disgust of my wife Sue.

I think Blue likes trotters best, but that might be because I am called Rodney.

Actually he once found a pigs trotter in a hedge at a property we stayed in at the Lake District

Friday, 3 August 2012


DSC_1429 by Rod1871
DSC_1429, a photo by Rod1871 on Flickr.

Blue poses for shallow depth of field photographic shot . Note how sharp the eyes are compared to his nose.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Based only 13 miles out of Portsmouth, QECP is a delightful place to take Blue for a walk.

Being less than 50 miles from Reading, it is only a short hop in the car for Blue.

Blue enjoys these days out as it means we spend some more quality time together, when he is in the back of the car it is easy to forget he is there, occasionally the light is blocked out from the back window as he gets up to turn around and settle back down in a different position.

For those who have never visited, it is found just North of Portsmouth on the main A3 and can be accessed both from North and South carriageways.

So we arrived shortly before midday and parked up in the top car park, paid the £2 parking fee, which entitled you to park until closing time, apart from that there are no other charges to visit this delightful place.

Well Blue being Blue, within five minutes of setting off on our walk he had done his business, and now we were off down the road tracking.

Holding tightly onto his lead we quickly covered both sides of the access road in sweeping scans until we found a scent and then we were off, fully focused tracking, with me holding on for dear life.

Something needed to give, so as we came across some open land, out come the faithful tennis ball and off come the lead. Blue was off like a coiled spring running around chasing his ball with more gusto than had ever seen before. Until he got a whiff of a scent, this stopped him in his tracks full stop, and with some more encouragement returned to playing fetch.

Surplus energy expended, Blue went back onto his lead, where we commenced with our walk.

There are many different walks and routes you can choose, from road to track, to woodland to bridle way and even cycle routes. Given Blues nature we tend to stick to the open track that skirts the perimeter, this enables early warning of approaching other park users.

I am not sure of the exact guidance for walking dogs, but most other dogs we see are off lead and in general well behaved. That is normally until Blue arrives on the scene, he seems to bring out the worse in some dogs.

We had successfully seen and passed a few dogs off lead on route without incident, however there was one German Shepherd called Billy, this was different. Not 100% sure why, but Blue and Billy did not see eye to eye. Blue does not muck about, if there is something he does not like or feels his pack is being threatened he will ward off as is needed. No contact was made but a lot of snarling and barking was exchanged, they however parted without contact but certainly with no love lost.

On a personal opinion it is frustrating when other dog owners do not respect that your dog is on a lead for a good reason, and quite frankly I have lost count of those whose dogs that cause chaos or stress to others because they insist on their dog having a free run. No problem with dogs having a free run, but respect the space of others. Our dog is a big dog and takes a lot to hold onto him, he has been socialised but because of his previous spinal operation, meeting and greeting needs to be very controlled

Blue is great like this, less than five minutes later he is approached by a lady with a small dog and two children, the little girl was keen to stroke Blue, but because of the recent excitement we just explained he is a bit excitable at the moment, to which the girl replied she understood as her dog was a bit nippy. Bless.

We successfully completed our four mile walk taking just over two hours, returning back to the car we grabbed a few things and went to a nearby picnic bench to have our snacks.

Along the way we took a few snaps of our day out.