Thursday, August 11, 2011

Update on the Dogs and the Greenhouse Orchids

17 month old Toby

Our daughter, Linda, and her 5 month old rescue puppy, Noodle, have been with us all week...

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Noodle being dressed (by Linda) in her new jumper
Our five dogs, Bonny, Heathcliff, Toby, Milo and Coco have fully accepted Noodle into their pack.

Bonny, 10 years old

Heathcliff, 6.5 years old

Toby, 17 months old

Milo, 7 months old

Coco, 6 months old

We decided to place Noodle with them from Day 1, as we wanted the puppies to bond and play together and we also felt that the influence of our two older dogs would help her become more self-assured.
It has worked even better than we'd hoped! Noodle not only sleeps through at night now, but she has put on in excess of a kilogram in the 12 days since Linda adopted her and, more importantly, she has recovered fully from the nasty bacterial infection she had.

  She has been quick to learn and obeys basic commands. She loves all the positive interaction with her new playmates and is thriving on all the attention we have been giving her.

She seems to be fully housetrained now as well, which is going to make Linda's life a lot easier when they return home.

She is well-behaved in the car and easy to bath.

She's rapidly developing into a robust and spunky little pup and we are all enjoying her immensely.

Since I last reported on Milo and Coco's progress, there have been several developments. Both have now been sterilised (Coco, spayed; Milo, neutered).

They attended their initial puppy training/socialisation classes where they were successfully introduced to the "clicker" method of training. They both proved eager to learn and we are very happy with their development to date. 

Coco and Milo sound asleep after a busy morning in the garden! They remain best of friends!

Toby and Bonny enjoying their outing today! My husband takes them and Heathcliff to a lovely field to run and play, but we have not yet introduced the puppies to this activity, as we do not yet want to risk having them off-leash. They stay home with me and we have plenty of fun playing in the garden, where they are safe!

Toby's skin rash was successfully treated and he has bounced back superbly. His coat is soft, dense and shiny and he no longer scratches and bites himself. He attended a more advanced training programme than Milo and Coco and did very well. He is a natural and displays all the most desirable breed qualities of a well-bred German Shepherd. We are thrilled with him.

Bonny is just as sweet, loving, tolerant and patient as always. She interacts and participates in everything during the day, but prefers to have her own space at night and sleeps in her own room. Heathcliff sleeps in our room at night, while all four puppies snuggle down together in the kitchen at bedtime. 

Heathcliff snatching a catnap with Toby, Milo and Coco before he heads down to our bedroom with us at bedtime. They all HAVE to huddle right in the narrow doorway opening even though their beds take up half of the rest of the kitchen!

Noodle and favourite teddy wrapped up in a sleeping bundle right up against the childproof gate

Our house is open plan, so we have fitted a childproof gate across the open doorway to restrict the puppies to the kitchen at night, but we are within  earshot of each other.

Heathcliff assumed the role of alpha-male after Tessa, our 12.5 year old alpha-female died 17 months ago. With the subsequent introduction of, firstly, Toby, then Milo and Coco, Heathcliff felt he needed to demonstrably take charge of his expanded pack. It's amusing to watch him controlling and shepherding them during play, or when things reach an over-exuberant state. He muscles in, obviously instructing them all and growls and barks to get their attention, yet (amusingly!) he is by far the shortest!

He has also recently fallen in love! Deeply! Possibly even bordering on obsessively! The object of this affection? Coco!

I am IN LOVE!!!

Heathcliff lovingly licking Coco. He washes her whole face and even cleans inside her ears!

He spends hours gazing at her, wagging his tail next to her, trying to cuddle and snuggle at every opportunity, "protecting" her if he thinks she's being shown too much attention by the others and, disconcertingly, appears to think his rear is his best feature. He edges up to her presenting his posterior to be admired whether she is interested or not. Coco is very even-tempered and will continue to chew her toy or bone, good-humouredly ignoring him for quite a time, but if Heathcliff's demands become too amorous, she gives him a short, sharp, unmistakable telling-off (not that it has much effect nor does it succeed in deterring him for long!)

Noodle thinks both Milo and Toby are too marvellous.She can romp all over them and snap and nip them and they just roll with the punches taking it all in their stride. Bonny loves Noodle to bits, following her around, gently nudging and edging her and, in the process, drools all over her! Coco adores Toby and is often to be seen either sitting beside him or lying snugly against him. She has quite a haughty demeanour, and clearly finds rowdy boyish behaviour a bit excessive at times. We then allow her to join us indoors for some "young lady" quiet time and individual attention (she is with me right now, lying on the couch while I'm typing). 

Milo and Toby, being the young males that they are, are ball obsessed, but Milo is very definitely our professional athlete. He arrived wearing white socks and we've subsequently seen why! He is incredibly agile and super fast on his feet and is permanently in the crouched mode, quivering with anticipation whenever we are outdoors. He has yet to figure out that tennis balls don't actually miraculously sprout from the end of our arms! Toby is intensely focussed, but Milo's super-attentiveness and visual acuity, coupled with his incredible co-ordination skills exceeds that of any dog we've owned, or indeed, observed elsewhere. He was born to catch and chase any ball, whether kicked, thrown, rolled or whacked and seldom misses the mark. Were he human, he'd be an Olympic athlete par excellence!

Coco is our thoughtful, gentle gardener. She is fascinated by plants and bark and is always bringing bits of the garden indoors to dissect on the kitchen floor, or her bed. There has not been a dull moment around here since we took them in!

My large flowered, yellow cymbidiums are currently in bloom.

 The original plant was a gift from my parents, just before they left South Africa (in 1996). They had visited Duckitt Nursery just outside Darling, a quaint, rural town in the Western Cape of South Africa. Dickitt's is the largest orchid nursery in the southern hemisphere and I would love to visit it in person! 

These individual blooms are huge. Twice as large as the pink ones which are now coming to the end of their flowering.

When you give someone a flowering plant, as opposed to fresh flowers, it continues to bring pleasure for years to come and, each time it blooms, they will be reminded of you!

Thank you, Mum and Dad, for my beautiful orchids!



  1. Glad to hear the dogs are doing so well, especially Noodle! She has such a cute face. And it's good to know that Coco and Milo are doing well too, I was wondering about them with all the attention you've been giving Noodle. Heathcliff in love is so funny!

    Beautiful orchids too. It's so true that a live plant continues to give.

  2. I am so in love with all of these dogs. They are beautiful and look like such fun. Quite the personalities too I gather!! I don't know if you saw the new puppy my granddaughters rescued in my post from yesterday. It's adorable! We can't have pets here but we open our door and our neighbors Huskie just happens to appear in out of nowhere!! We don't say a thing!

  3. What a houseful of dogs! I love it!

  4. Hi Desiree.Those flowers are gorgeous! Oh, the photos of all the doggies are absolutely gorgeous. I just adore Noodle with her new jumper on. How cute is that?! Isn't it wonderful that the other five dogs have taken to her so well. She must think that she's in heaven. The photo of her snuggled up with her teddy by the stairgate is wonderful! Noodle will miss the other ones when she goes back home though, won't she?

  5. What a lot of dogs you have...i love that !!!

  6. so you have 5 dogs, right? then noodle is your daughter's new pup. we have 5 big dogs here too. sometimes it is a dogs' house and they just let me live here! :)

  7. Hi takes a real leader to have such a well behaved pack! Your pups are all beautiful and sweet. I agree with Diane, Noodle in the sweater is just too too cute!

    I'd love to be able to see you and your family...human and dog in action out in a field!

    Orchids, I love them so and seem to have a huge black thumb when trying to keep them growing.

    Happy Friday and

  8. In the first picture with the stripes he looks like he's saying Mom! Do I have to wear this?

  9. Oh, that first photo, the closeup of Toby's eyes - wow!
    I love to hear how well you look after all your dogs - it's a real family group thing too isn't it.
    I know I've said it before, but your dogs must be the luckiest in the world to have such careful training and management... and yet, are free to express themselves.
    Noodle is delightful and it's obvious the progress he's made.

    I love the sentiments you make about giving a flowering gift Desiree. It's true, and holds good for the giving of cuttings from one's garden to another as well. Each time the flowers bloom we think of that particular person. Just love our gardens.

  10. Your dogs are so cute! I'm so happy Noodle is doing better.
    As for your flowers they are as usual gorgeous and make me green with envy.
    I am trying to behave and stay still but sometimes I forget. I get so cranky sitting on my duff all day. I feel a little useless I can tell you. haha. Oh well 3 weeks and I'm clear.. Just three weeks. I can do this I can I can. Thanks for checking in on me. It means a lot.

  11. Hi Desiree! You sure have some lucky dogs! I love how enamored you are with them, and they are in such a good place. It is fun to get to know your household. Noodle is going to miss them when she goes home. :(

    Those flowers are absolutely gorgeous! I agree, I love plants over cut flowers as gifts, especially as you can always bring a few choice cut ones in the house, and save the plant for outside! Reminders of the giver inside and out!

  12. Love your dogs... so healthy and beautiful...

  13. You know, I am so happy for these puppies that I just wanna cry!(happy tears!)
    Desiree, about those Shakers, that was a GOOD question. The communities grew their membership in a number of ways: the adoption of orphans, widows with children, and anyone else, could join the community if they so desired. Eventually, many people left because they could not live in celibacy and in 1920 there were only 3 remaining Shakers in the Village! So, I guess it didn't work out so well...

  14. I was robbed! I left a comment earlier...all right you guys out there...fess up, who grabbed my comment?! Nothing for it but a rewrite (of course since I can't remember what I said two seconds will be a rewrite not a repeat)...
    Those pups are just too A-dorable, and Noodle Noggin in the striped looking Toboggan sweater, puhlease pass some more cuteness around the table!
    I am so envious of your Orchids and in love! Orchids are my some of my favs but they are one of the few blooms I can't seem to keep alive! Secrets?

    So glad you're back Desiree, looking for more lovely pets, plants, travel logs all presented in your gorgeous photography!

  15. So good to see you back, Desiree with an update on the "pups" (meaning Bonny, Heathcliffe and Toby as well) Noodle is just too adorable. Of course the rescues thrive in your loving and pet-friendly home. I just love Heathcliffe's being in love. Love your orchids too, you have such a green thumb. I have wild orchids in the boles of many of my garden trees here in the valley. Stanley brings them to me from the bush! Have a wonderful weekend, Desiree. Blessings. Jo

  16. gorgeous orchids!!!

    now THAT's a LOTTA doggies!! you (& your daughter) have obviously done a wonderful job!! spreading that love around...they're all so happy!! i'm partial to Shepherds!! but i'm loving NOODLE...all dressed up in the striped outfit!! sooo cute!!

  17. Both the dogs with whom you live and Noo are such a blessing in your life. The blooming plants give you a depth of beauty. The dogs force you willy-nilly into engaging in play. How fortunate you are, Desiree.

  18. Noodle is such a cutie, and Toby is so royal! Lovely photos Desiree! All the dogs look so happy!

  19. Of course I LOVED all of your pictures of the pups.
    However, Noodle seems to be emerging as the star. The camera loves his (as they say).

    As for Toby...every time i see him I get a little melancholy. He reminds me so much of my Luke who I lost several years ago. I can never have another shepherd because I still miss him so. kt

  20. It's easy to see why the dogs thrive in your company. You so obviously love them all. They thrive on it.

  21. Thank you, Desiree, for your response to my blog posting today. I had never thought of this story--a strong memory within me--as "stirring." That you used that word touched me deeply. Peace, Dee

  22. D- It feels like forever since I last 'saw' you! This post was so sweet. It made me want to come to your house and just sit in the middle of all those pups! Tucker wants to come too! So sweet!

  23. Lordee bee woman, your'e one of those crazy dog-lovers-can't get -enough-dogs-in-our-house- families ! My aunt was like that, actually two of my aunts were like that. I have a follower who is a dog fanatic, I will have to remember her blogger name, I think it is the unfaithful widow. She has dogs all over the place too. You need to follow her blog. I'll get back with the name of it later. take care, Gina

  24. Ok, here's her link. Tell her I sent you !

  25. I can only imagine the joy and love these wonderful dogs bring, not to mention the entertainment. I am so glad Noodle is thriving and I find the striped sweater absolutely adorable. I think Toby is so handsome ( I love German Shepherds) and the 'romance' between Heathcliff and Coco is so sweet. I would love to be able to gambol and snuggle with them all day. Your flower photos are, as usual, gorgeous and I agree 1000% that flowering plants are so much nicer than cut flowers. And orchids are a favorite of mine, also.

  26. Your dogs are all beautiful, but nothing beats Miss Noodle in a sweater!
    Lovely flowers - don't you just want to crawl inside.

  27. Good to hear that they're all doing so well. :)

  28. I am not really a dog person,but I always seem to find yours so cute :)

  29. That dog sweater is cracking me up! Noodle seems happy about it, too! We don't have a dog yet. We should change that soon! I need to learn from you!

  30. Ok Now I'm giggling over all the responses. I do my best writing when it's nonsense of course. haha I would love to have read Carol's version of this also. Or even better her mon's. Oh what a stitch that would be. Anyway I'm glad you got a laugh. I know I sure needed one.

  31. Thanks for the follow. Melynda is great, isn't she? I've enjoyed your blog as well and am now following....and I'm totally in love with Noodle! Adorable.

  32. I'm loving reading about the dogs. It's so interesting to hear about their individual personalities and to see the gorgeous photos.

  33. You sure have a big canine family. We have restrictions on how many dogs/cats we can have. We have none because we travel a lot and we don.t have a fence, but I love dogs and when we stop travelling we might get one. We used to have a German Shepherd and that is why I like Toby the best. He reminds me of our Ricky (Richard von Wagner). It was fun reading about all the different personalities. They are lucky to have you as carers. Noodle is coming on a treat, you have done a lot of work with her. She is so scruffy and cute.

  34. Oh Des, I loved this post. Your dogs are outstanding! While reading your post, realized that I could be doing a lot more with Ozzie. I love that you put blankets on your dogs when they nap. Since it's so warm here, I don't think our sweet boy would appreciate that but when winter comes I'm going to try it. I'm not sure if you knew this about me but I was once attacked by our neighbor's dog and for several years I lived in fear of all dogs, big and small! I'm recovering and losing that fear every day.

  35. Enjoyed reading of your Doggy Family and am drooling over the orchids - gorgeous color!

  36. nice captures...lovely reading about them.

  37. Boy do you have a houseful. I'm impressed with all your dogs and how well everyone gets along. Noo is quite adorable in her new duds. Great stories, as always.

  38. What an adorable dog family you have!



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