Café Country & Portrush Trip

During our time off earlier in the month we decided to pay a return visit to Pet & Country Dog Friendly Café and Pet Shop. It is a fairly long but lovely drive to the café with some beautiful scenery. I can never seem to capture the true beauty of it from the car, maybe next time we will stop to take some proper photos!

Lush rolling hills

We had a look around the shop and then ordered a hot chocolate and a tray bake each. We had the hot chocolates the first time we came here and they were as delicious as we remembered! Bonnie settled well and the staff member who served us was lovely. We asked her to please ignore Bonnie as she can get overexcited and she listened to our request and didn’t try to make kissy noises, distract her from settling down or try to convince us it’s fine (whereas a lot of people try to interfere even after asking them not to).

Learning to settle
Yummy treats!

Afterwards since we were already quite far from home we decided to drive a little further out to go to the seaside town of Portrush. We had a dander through town and went over to the pet shop Pets at the Port to have a little nosy. They had a pretty good selection but we just bought a Frozzy treat for Bonnie as it was quite warm out.

Down by the sea
Happy to be surrounded by food! Pets at the Port
Taking in the scenery
Enjoying her Frozzy!
She got a bit too into it!

After Bonnie finished her treat we decided to walk further through town to the park that we had our re-enactment event at over the summer. I can’t even begin to describe how impressed and proud I was with Bonnie. She was able to walk past probably 100 people in close proximity. She walked past kids, adults, slow elderly people, people sitting outside a café and eating. And even more impressive was she did it mostly on a loose lead! This would’ve been unthinkable even a few months ago!

Bonnie being a total star

After all her good behaviour and great impulse control she was able to have a break and have a bit of fun off lead in the park. We mostly played around but did some recall training and I also did some work with “premacking” chasing birds. This meant that I asked for her to perform a cue then I would give her “permission” to go chase the pigeons nearby – the hope over time is that she will look to me for a decision when she sees a bird rather than immediately go to chase it. The great thing was after giving her access to one of her favourite things was that she actually kept coming back to re-engage with me as I was having fun with her rather than constantly restricting her.

You seriously gotta zoom in on this photo – her face is hilarious!
Chilling out and taking it all in
Recall in action
Panoramic shot of the park

After our fun at the park we travelled back through town to the fish shop. We bought a fish supper to share between us and went to sit down by the beach to eat it and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. I don’t think eating battered fish and chips get much better!

A very patient doggy waiting outside the fish shop
Family photo before we tuck into our food – just a bit windswept here!
Digging in the sand

After I had my fill of the fish supper I thought I would leave my partner to enjoy the rest while I went down onto the beach with Bonnie. As she was behaving so well on an off lead I thought I would let her drag her leash and have a relaxing stroll along the beach with her. Unfortunately Bonnie had other ideas!
As soon as the leash hit the sand she spied a seagull and immediately took off! I hopelessly run after her shouting her name “Bonnie! Bonnie come here!” She takes absolutely no heed completely absorbed in her mission, the seagull flies off and Bonnie stops for a second. “Bonnie over here!” She spots the sea and it’s waves lapping onto the beach and sets off at full speed again. I’m still shouting and running after her – god can she run fast – terrified that she will start swimming out to sea as she loves water and swimming whereas I am the weakest swimmer you can come across!
She finally slows down tracking along the water’s edge and I get close enough to grab for her lead – got it! Then I realise the elderly man nearby was laughing his head off at the whole thing. And I look back to see my partner just calmly eating the fish supper (he said it was like having popcorn at the movies xD cheeky sod). Needless to say she stayed on lead for the rest of the time!
After all that adventure it was a long journey home and a very tired pup and 2 humans!

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Week in review – sick ‘as a dog’ & raw food

This week started on a high note on Monday as we collected our portrait of Bonnie. Unfortunately the rest of the week was a bit of a bust! On Tuesday night I became ill with a bug and had to take Wednesday off work. Bonnie was my faithful companion and stayed by my side the entire day.

Nurse Bonnie looking after me

On Thursday I was still recovering but felt more rested so I was able to work from home. I was still very lethargic so instead of our usual lunchtime walk we played some football in the garden instead. It was a great way to tire Bonnie out without draining my energy too much.

Bonnie trying to fit the entire ball in her mouth!

On Friday I was well enough to return to the office but when we had came back we discovered Bonnie had an upset stomach and had a little accident (she does have a walker that comes by midday but this must have happened just before we came home). She had somehow managed to get a little bit in her “trousers” so that’s now a lot shorter and tidier. We were both pretty drained from being ill so we didn’t do anything adventurous together that night.

On Saturday I was finally feeling better enough to take Bonnie on a more exciting outing that would require a bit more concentration than our usual walks in the neighbourhood. We decided to go to Pet Warehouse NI which is an independent pet supply store nearby in Hillsborough. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos in store as we were trying to keep Bonnie calm and get our shopping done, but we were really impressed. There was a big variety of items that you wouldn’t usually get in other stores like Pets at Home, prices were pretty reasonable and the staff were all lovely and doted on Bonnie even though she was all overexcited.

It’s much bigger on the inside than it looks!

We bought Frozzys blueberry frozen yoghurt treats as we had tried them recently in Portrush and Bonnie loved it. It’s perfect for cooling her down on warm days but it is pretty expensive for what it is so it will be a rare treat.

We also purchased 7 tubs of Nutriment in the Duck flavour. Nutriment is a raw food that is highly rated and we have been wanting to try Bonnie with raw food and see how she gets on. She is currently eating Eden Country Cuisine which is one of the best dry foods and gets added fresh vegetables and fruit but after reading so many peoples’ positive experiences with raw feeding and reading about reducing risk of cancer and increasing lifespan from Rodney Habibs work, I just want to try my best by Bonnie to give her the longest and healthiest life I can. She will be starting it from tomorrow and I’ll keep you guys updated on how we get on.

Ooohh what’s this? This is for me right?

Today Bonnie was still feeling a bit under the weather as she had another upset stomach during the night so we haven’t done anything out of our usual routine. In other news I’m nearly finished reading through In Defence of Dogs and will be moving onto Don’t Shoot The Dog soon. I’m trying to read through as much as I can before class starts but I am also trying my best not to rush too much in case I skim over something important or not fully take in what I’m reading so it’s all about getting a balance!

Pensive little doggy sunbathing

I’m hoping this week I’ll be back to my usual self and can get stuck into reading, go on more adventurous walks with Bonnie and make some progress on my DIY project as I haven’t had the energy to work on it this week!

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