Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
This weekend, we took to the road with the three dogs. It's a long drive back to visit family, so we broke it into two legs with an overnight stay in a hotel that welcomes dogs.
We weren't sure what Freki would think about being in a strange place. After all, though she has accompanied us on several day trips, she has spent every night since she came to live with us at our house.
Ben and Dixie, on the other hand, have no problems acclimating to new places and are rather well-traveled.
As you can see from the photo, Freki fit right in. (They slept in their crates, but we allowed them some 'people time' on the bed for a bit.) Thank goodness it was a king-sized bed!
We tried to make the trip as stress-free as possible by bringing their blankets, food, toys and even water from home. Freki is used to sleeping in her crate at home, so it was both a safe and familiar place for her in the hotel room. Of course, we made numerous potty stops along the way, let them spend as much time loose in the room as we could, and made several long trips outside before bedtime to stretch their legs.
They did very well. There were only two barking episodes in the hotel room- both short-lived. One, when Freki tripped/jumped over Dixie and Dixie voiced her displeasure, and once when Dad knocked on the door with his hands full of dinner. Hopefully the people in the next room weren't bothered.
Bless their canine hearts, the dogs endured their crates for the long travel hours with hardly a whine. There were a few unhappy glares the next morning when they were asked to 'load up', but the second leg of the trip was shorter, and they were soon able to romp and play.
Now we are doing the family thing, visiting friends and getting a bit of Christmas shopping done. Freki is enjoying her visit very much, and even helped Dad cook up a batch of bruschetta last night
We have a new game. It's an old ball, but Freki had no interest in it until about a week ago. That is when she learned to play soccer- with a small, under-inflated basketball.
I picked it up while on a search for a relatively indestructible toy, thinking the tough hide of a kid's basketball would surely last longer than the thin-plastic of those bouncy balls found in every shape and color, usually in big net bins in the sport section of most stores.
Don't get me wrong. The dogs love those balls. For approximately thirty seconds. One good bite and the wonderful, lightweight, bouncing ball becomes a handful of limp rubberized plastic.
Now that she can get her mouth on the ball and she is losing her baby clumsiness, Freki has decided this is her game of choice. Oh, she still hauls the Jolly Ball around, flipping it in the air and shaking it about. But if she can entice me or dad to play soccer--her world is wonderful.
She is a herding dog with a strong prey drive. She chases the ball with intensity, corners it, subdues it with a paw, her body. She weaves back and forth, waiting to see which foot we will use to kick the ball, and often stops the ball mere inches from its starting point. Tongue lolling, tail wagging, she crouches over the ball, waiting anxiously for its next move.
Sometimes I have to tell her to 'back off' so I get a fair shot.
If I do not move with the ball, she stops it then circles back to get me. 'Come on, mom! Kick the ball again!'
Does she know the word 'basketball'? You better believe she does!
'Freki'? How on earth did we come up with that name?
I suppose it is time to explain.
We are history geeks at the MacRae abode. I have targeted the late 14th century Scotland for my books, DD is more interested in early 14th century Scotland, with a Norse twist.
Enter the Norse deity, Odin.
Two wolves, Geri and Freki, accompanied Odin. References to these can be found in epic poems such as the Prose Edda and in the poetry of skalds. Their names mean 'greedy' or 'ravenous ones'. I have to admit, our Freki has a very alpha personality and is very greedy when it comes to her toys. Sharing is a difficult concept for her. Ravenous? You should see her eat.
It just so happens, as we considered names for our new puppy, DD recalled the history for a book he is writing. The heroine is a young woman of Norse ancestry, and her closest friend and companion is an Irish Wolfhound named Freki.
Our dogs have a history of unusual names, and this certainly is different. People usually nod, then ask us to repeat it, then nod again. A few ask what it means. Some think we meant 'Freckles'. But we don't mind. We enjoy talking about our Freki. Just ask us. <g>
You might construe from the title of this blog that this puppy rarely sleeps. Not so. Like most puppies, Freki spends a lot of time asleep. Just not in large consecutive blocks of time.
We are very fortunate that she understands bedtime when her humans are sleeping. She does not cry or howl in her crate at night, and she occasionally puts herself to bed after a long day. However, during the night, she plays with her toys.
She also moans, groans, yips at and chases her toys in her crate. It is hard plastic, and it resonates. In case you are unaware, German Shepherds talk. A lot. And though she is most vocal in the morning after missing us all night, and when dad gets home in the evening, in the middle of the night when she is bored, she talks to her toys.
I'm sure she would rather sleep on her pillow, the floor, the couch, or even the bed. But she wakes often during the night, and there is simply too much for her to get into if left on her own. For my own sanity, I need to know she-and the rest of my house-is safe.
She is now tall enough to put her feet on the kitchen counter and offer assistance on whatever is going on. We discourage this-who really wants large puppy feet in their plate of pork chops?- but now take the precaution to make sure the knives and chops are set back from the edge of the counter.
She has also discovered there is water in the toilet, and we will be closing the lid on that bit of excitement.
Freki can also reach the faucet in the bathroom sink and discovered, while Dad shaves, water runs in the sink. Amazing!
She is endlessly curious, and from time to time, she sleeps. Sometimes she settles down, Ben and Dixie have a bit of peace and quiet and I get to stop wondering what she is getting into.
Sometimes, during the day, we have quiet moments like this.
And then it's off to another adventure.
Let's face it. An active GSD puppy can be destructive. We spend hours developing activities to challenge her brain, and are always looking for toys that can stand up to her vigorous play. Stuffed toys? Yeah, may as well light a match to that ten dollars as it will take more time to pick up the pieces than it did for Freki to destroy it.
And so, the search for the perfect toy. OK, not a perfect toy, but at least one that prorates at less than twenty dollars an hour.
We found the Jolly Ball. I originally heard of these from a friend with horses. The company makes much larger versions with a rubber handle for horses to play with in the pasture. As sturdy as they are, people use them as dog toys for their very tough, active farm dogs. Bingo! Sounded like the toy for us.
I found this version at our local Tractor Supply store. The rope through the middle is perfect for Freki to grab, and the rubber ball construction is tough, tough, tough. It also makes a great tug toy, since we are encouraging her assertiveness, as the ball is always between my hands and her mouth.
She loves to sling it around, and will actually smack herself with it as she romps around. I saw her whack Ben with it once and scolded her. She gave me the 'What?' look and took off across the yard, whipping it about her head and shoulders as she went.
This has become a great way to expend her energy in the evenings. It is amazing how she can go from a long-legged, furry tornado to sweetness personified, ready for bedtime in a matter of minutes.
I think I will buy the larger Jolly Ball when she is a bit bigger.
All Adventures With Rezso After Christmas Angus The Cat Basketball Bath Bath Time Ben Best Toys Birthday Chiropractic Treatment Christmas Corgi Dixie Dog Training Flowers Freki Fun On The Farm Gardening German Shepherd Gunnar Happy Birthday Harvest Helper Jolly Ball Life With Dogs Life With Freki New Puppy Ninja Dog Obedience Class Odin's Wolves Pool Time Service Dog Snow Soccer #Sonicdrivein Spring Springtime Square Foot Garden Square-foot Garden Swimming Pool Then And Now Tracking Treats Water Games Winter Fun Wonderful Wednesday