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Remember how we wobbled over slippery paths last week? Over the past week, that penguin challenge was completely resolved after a good night of snow. In the morning a cheerful sun above a white fairytale landscape greeted us.

Yesterday evening I read on several Facebook groups that snow was expected in Belgium and the Netherlands- something that doesn’t happen that often. I spotted the two camps: snow lovers versus snow haters plus warnings and worried messages. I realized that, despite not living here for so long, I don’t always consider everything that I share or don’t think about things that I would when I lived in Belgium. So a few thoughts I wanted to share:

– I sometimes get the question if my dogs need shoes. For now, they are fine but I did make paw wax to prevent ice between the toes (especially Mogwai suffers from it now and then). On the roads, no salt is used here (except on the large connecting roads), but they scrape off a layer and if necessary, sprinkle some kind of kind of sand. As a result, our dogs don’t suffer from irritated paws because of the salt.
– The cold is usually different here than in Belgium / the Netherlands. There is almost no wind (really little wind) and the air is dry. I do wear a few jumpers but if we take a brisk walk, I’m usually melting in all my layers. Of course, we keep an eye on the dogs and when it is freezing or there is wind, we put Lizzie in a coat. Oona and Mogwai are not bothered by the cold, but if we have to drive back, we have bathrobes or sweaters for them.
– Mo is the only one that sometimes has issues with snowballs in her fur and this depends on the kind of snow/temperature/ … Last year I cut her hair short, this year I wanted to test if long hair is better – but it seems to have the opposite effect.

– I read fierce messages/warnings about dogs on the ice, and even though I assume that everyone knows that ice can be dangerous, for the sake of clarity: we are not daredevils. I love my dogs and based on common sense I try to find a balance between letting them enjoy some freedom and their well-being.  To begin with, we keep an eye on the temperature and snowfall, we always have ice picks, avoid risky zones and also see what the locals do. A good indication is eg when they chop ice out for ice-fishing because then you can see exactly how thick the ice is and of which quality. We only walk on snow-covered lakes so the dogs have an excellent grip.

I don’t often write about safety or health aspects here because I especially want to share nice moments and inspiration, but it is important. Every year I read about accidents related to ice, both here in Sweden and in Belgium or the Netherlands.

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Back to the snow and the fun! (but if you’re ever wondering about something, feel free to drop me a message!)

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While the air cleared up again after the snow, the temperature also went into free fall until Sunday. The coldest moment measured was -17 degrees, but then we sat nice and warm in the car. During Lizzie’s birthday walk it was about -14 degrees but – and I probably repeat myself- it didn’t feel that cold. Only the tip of my nose was a bit cold until I was warm enough from walking and I had my hat pulled over my ears.

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Oh, and dogs need to have a purpose, of course. Just being sweet and cute isn’t enough! So we’re teaching Lizzie to shovel the snow so we don’t have to.

(Just kidding,… I wish she could do it 🙂 )

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Yeah, this birthday girl loves to cuddle,… except when you want to take a picture of it!

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But when she thinks nobody is watching:

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But my dearest Lizzie girl, we wish you a great birthday and many more adventures to come. Especially for her very first birthday, Joeri bakes peanut butter cookies and they loved it!

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For Oona, we are looking for a dog trainer/therapist to work on her issues with strange dogs and maybe something dog sport. (She also gets treatment from our vet * for separation anxiety, but that goes well now). While it was already difficult to find the right person in Belgium, it seems totally hopeless here. We got a few names from the vet but no websites or contact details. Challenge 1: find the right person while so many people have the same names. Also, I don’t trust just anyone with my dogs. So what do you do? You turn to google for information about training, working method, vision, … Something. Anything.

Of all the recommendations we got, 2 have a website. The first person doesn’t respond, the 2nd is more than 3h drive. Then there is one other person with an inactive Facebook page where there is literally no dog to see. The last hope seemed to be someone about whom I at least found an article, but first, the photo didn’t give me the right feeling and a thorough translation made clear that it’s the ‘I have a German shepherd and I am the boss’ type.  Neither I nor Oona are waiting for a Sieg-Heil kind of training so no thanks.
Of those I found myself, nobody is competent/willing to deal with issues and they only give retriever training sessions, walking on a leash or puppy lessons.
If my first choice does not respond, it will probably be the person at 3 hours driving- if we get a reaction from him.
Frustrating!
Especially because I don’t know what to say to our vet. She would, of course, like to see that we get professional help to make progress and because no one wants to see Oona on medication full time, but how on earth can I say in a polite way that nobody even looks like a pro?
* At the moment Oona gets a very mild form of antidepressant.

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The light in Sweden:

Sunrise: 08h31 (almost a quarter of an hour earlier than last week!)
Sunset: 3.45pm (almost + 20minutes!)

That’s it for now and I wish you a great week!

See you later!

x

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