I can’t quite believe it’s April already, the year seems to be flying by.
Each week as I walk Judy in our local park I notice different things. This week I have spotted some of the Camelias flowering beautifully and the first Bluebells are starting to flower in the woodland area:
Also, as the snowdrops and crocus displays in the park are finishing flowering, there are wonderful displays of daffodils to enjoy.
The park is full of wildlife and recently I have even heard one or two woodpeckers, which I have never heard before.
I think that Leicester City Council should highly praise their park keepers, as they really do work hard to keep this park beautiful.
A ‘Judy’ Update (Our rescue dog)
It’s been a long time since I have written a ‘Judy update’ so this week I thought I’d write about her progress. I will first give a little recap for those that haven’t been reading my blog for very long.
The RSPCA described Judy as ‘A little bit nervous‘ but when we brought her home in October 2014 we realised very soon that she had a lot of problems. We later found out that we were Judy’s fourth owners.
She was very underweight when we brought her home and she also had lots of ‘doggy’ nightmares where she would whimper and cry in her sleep and her little legs would twitch like she was trying to run away. However she loved fuss, but if she wasn’t expecting you to stroke her she would ‘cower’, which used to break my heart. Our trainer seems to think she was hit at some stage, but we will never know.
By February 2015 our first behaviourist said that Judy was untrainable and we should look to rehome her, so we went to the vet in desperation who prescribed her ‘Selgian’ which is an anti anxious drug for dogs (which looking back, it didn’t really make a lot of difference to her).
We were then told about Steven Havers and contacted him in in April 2015. We wrote a list of Judy’s problems to show Steven when he visited us for the first time. I’ve listed below just some of Judy’s problems at the time:
She would bark and lunge aggressively at vans, cars, lorries, buses, motorbikes, bikes, every single off lead dog, every single on lead dog, balaclavas, hats, men (especially in dark jackets), walking sticks, council litter picking sticks, prams, pushchairs, birds, squirrels, cats, walking sticks, workmen with equipment (especially spades), diggers / cranes etc.
In the house she would bark at every little noise from outside or the neighbours, birds flying past the windows, washing machine, hoover, hand mixer, hairdryer, postman, TV. She would ‘bite’ the water coming out of the shower/watering can. ‘Wet’ if I left her on her own and pace up and down the room if I went into the garden. She would also ‘wet’ if I left her in a room and shut the door.
In the garden she would also bark at birds, the neighbours when they were outside and she would never ever sit or stand still…she would just run backwards and forwards up and down the garden.
It is nearly a year since Steven Havers first visited and as he says, he has trained me and not the dog. Previously Judy was too stressed and scared to take treats, which was why I struggled to train her however Steven doesn’t use treats to train. So after lots of training the ‘Havers way’ I am glad to say we have overcome most of Judy’s problems and she no longer needs the anti-anxious dog tablets that the vet prescribed. She now has doggy friends who she enjoys playing with on the park and she isn’t bothered by ‘normal’ noises in the house anymore. We can also walk past people and traffic etc. easily now (except the very noisy lorries).
She has now put on 2kg since she first came to us and is a healthy weight, Her coat looks lovely as we regularly brush her. She now sleeps well next to our bed and she always comes for a cuddle first thing in the morning with Mr Thrift and I, which we don’t mind.
The one problem that continued was she still barked and lunged towards dogs on leads when I go to the park and I have really struggled with this. So last month Steven Havers walked with me and showed me different methods to use when we see a dog on a lead. Finally I am managing to walk past dogs on leads about 50% of the time, but I will keep practising until it is 100% of the time.
Would I have a rescue dog again?….I’m not sure if I would, as it’s been such hard word and I have cried many tears over Judy. However I have spoken to lots of people who have had rescue dogs that have settled without any problems.
It really has been a rollercoaster ride with Judy, but I am so glad I have persevered as she is adoreable. She deserves to be happy after her bad start in life and we all love her to bits.
This week I have been busy seed sowing again. I have sowed my climbing peas in toilet rolls and my dwarf peas in guttering. The peas will be kept in my mini greenhouse until they germinate. Peas can be sown direct but I find I get a better gremination rate this way.
I have also sown my parsnips in kitchen roll tubes and they are in the warmth of my house, as again I get a better germination rate this way.
I wrote a post a few years ago about growing parsnips in kitchen roll holders rather than toilet rolls and you can find it here.
I sowed some cucumber, pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes, melon and patty pans. As these are big seeds I put two seeds in each newspaper pot and I will remove the weaker seed upon germination.
“Squash seeds have a tendancy to rot in the compost so it is important to sow the seeds on their sides and not flat”
These seeds will be kept inside my house in a propagator until they germinate and they will then be moved to my now heated greenhouse to grow on (it is warmer in my house at night than my greenhouse).
I have also sowed spring onions, beetroot, turnips, kohl rabi and outdoor tomatoes.
Previously at my allotment I would grow something new every year to try. So this year I thought I would carry on with my tradition. Last year one of my good friends gave me some mini tomatoes to try and I was fascinated with them so I saved some of the seeds on kitchen paper. After doing some research I have found that the tomato is called ‘Solanum pimpinellifolium’ or better known as the ‘currant tomato’ and it is the wild ancestor of all the tomatoes we eat today.
The tomato has the ability to freely cross with other tomatoes so this has allowed it to be used for the introduction of disease resistance traits in tomato varieties, as well as in the study of the genetic control of tomato traits such as fruit shape and size.
I sowed the saved tomato seeds by just laying the paper towel on damp compost and then covering them with a thin layer of damp compost. I have placed them in a propagator in the window and I will keep fingers crossed that the seeds will grow:
After all the seeds I have been sowing this week, I am really looking forward to filling my kitchen garden as full as possible with plants in a month or two.
Well that’s it for this week.
I will be back next Friday as usual. Have a good week.