We ended up not going out to dinner last night, because yesterday morning, Bill fell while he was walking Noyzi. He turned his ankle. Then he put on shoes and went to work for a couple of hours, which made the pain and his mobility in the ankle worse.
When Bill got home from work, he was complaining about the pain. So I said that maybe we should just stay in so he could rest his ankle. This week is going to be very busy for him at work, and then on Thursday, he’s going on a TDY assignment that will last until the following weekend. He’ll be working nights, which will be hell for him, because he’s very much a day person whose brain goes down with the sun.
I’ll be sitting at home, probably shopping for more stuff to take on our trip or put in the garden…
I just bought a new hairdryer, not for my hair, but for the freezer. Our kitchen has an old fridge and it has to be defrosted. I decided using a hairdryer was the best way to accomplish that goal, since the fridge can’t be easily unplugged, because it’s built into the wall. And I got a new hairbrush, too, with an olive wood handle and boar hair bristles. It’s taking time to get used to it.
At least it’s sunny and somewhat warm out today. I took Noyzi for a walk and got some pretty new flower pictures for my photo stream. Here are a few for your own amusement. The last three photos are of the creek in our village. I’m glad I can count on my very fastidious neighbors to provide me with some lovely flowers to shoot with my camera. If anything, they’re a reminder that winter is finally over.
Our village is having Maifeuer– a bonfire– tonight in the Mother’s Day Shack on the northern edge of town. They will have sausages and beer on offer, as they light a bonfire, I guess, in honor of Whit Sunday. I might like to attend the event, but Bill says he can’t walk that far… He’s also been feeling guilty about not going to work today. Hello! It’s SUNDAY!!!!
Edited to add: My German friend reminds me that the bonfire wasn’t for Whit Sunday/Monday. It was for Walpurgisnacht… which I had completely forgotten about. You’d think after so many years living here, I wouldn’t forget these holidays. But sometimes, we’re not in town, and we never seem to take part in the festivities. I would have liked to have gone to the bonfire last night, but it was probably better to stay home and drink wine. 😉 Today, there’s a picnic going on, as it’s a holiday in Germany… but not for Americans.
I guess it just goes to show you that some Soldiers never really clock out. Bill is always going to have a “mission first” mentality, much to my occasional annoyance. I do appreciate that he has such a strong work ethic, but sometimes it’s a good thing to realize that the world won’t stop if you take a break and rest up. And given the condition of his ankle, that might be a good idea, because he won’t have the chance next weekend.
Last week, Bill kindly volunteered to take Arran in for his chemo treatment. This week, as our appointment was in the morning, it was my turn to take him in. It was cold and wet yesterday, as is pretty common in Germany this time of year, although it’s not as cold here as it tended to get in Jettingen. Anyway, because it was chilly, I decided to wait until after chemo to take the dogs for a walk.
I was surprised when I got to the vet clinic and was invited to sit in the waiting room, especially since there were a couple of people in there. Up until very recently, only one person was allowed to be in there at a time. That meant sitting outside or in the car. But anyway, there were a few of us waiting, all of us masked, of course. I’m sure this is no longer a thing in the United States, at least not at veterinary clinics. Here in Germany, masking is still required at any healthcare facility, to include those that serve pets.
While I was waiting for the vet, a vet tech carried some lady’s dog into the waiting room. She was wearing low rise jeans. I don’t understand this trend, since most people seem to underestimate the sizes of their butts. The tech put the dog on the floor, and in doing so, caused her shirt to ride up, while her pants rode down. I got a view of about two inches of plumber crack… a half moon, if you will. I tried not to react, but again… I don’t understand this particular fashion trend.
The vet called for Arran, and because he was being balky about going into the exam room, the same vet tech picked him up. Arran squawked a protest. She put him on the scale, which revealed that he’s gained a little weight, mainly because he wants to eat all the time, and it’s hard not to give in to his demands. The vet said he doesn’t need to gain weight, but she’d rather him be eating than not, and lymphoma causes patients to go off their food. In early October, Arran kind of quit eating and lost weight. That is definitely NOT a problem now.
Probably because of his crying, the vet did a thorough check to see if his lymph nodes had enlarged. Then she listened to his lungs. I waited to hear bad news, but she didn’t have any. She drew blood, and much to my surprise, Arran didn’t protest at all. After dosing him with his first IV push of Vincristine, we were invited to sit in the same infusion room where Arran got his first chemo treatment in October. Arran usually lies down immediately, but yesterday, he was curious and was sniffing around outside of the door. He didn’t lie down on the bed until it was time for his third push of medication.
The vet told me that Arran’s red blood cell count is still low, but not any lower than it was on previous visits. She invited me to wait for the rest of the blood test results, which would be ready in about ten minutes, or she could call Bill. I decided to wait, since I didn’t have any other pressing business to attend to, and I know sometimes the vet plays phone tag with Bill.
The office was really busy yesterday, and people were coming in and out. One lady who was holding a plastic cage, had what appeared to be a guinea pig. She seemed charmed by Arran, and asked me if he’s a beagle. I answered that he is, although obviously he’s not all beagle. He has a pretty healthy dash of coonhound in him, which is where he gets his spots and cuddly personality. He also has some setter in him, which makes him pretty good at birding.
I am convinced that the hunter who bred Arran’s parents was trying to make the perfect hunting dog. Arran, however, did not make the cut, and wound up surrendered to a veterinarian in North Carolina, who gave him up to Triangle Beagle Rescue. There, he went through a few foster homes, and was adopted and returned by his first family.
It always amazes me when dogs end up with miracles… Arran is perfect for our family, even though he can be cranky and stubborn, and he does things like crap on the floor and raid our pantry if we don’t thoroughly “beagle proof” the house (especially since he’s been on Prednisolone). In spite of that, we’re about to celebrate ten years with him, should he make it to January 12… and it’s plain to see how much he adores us– especially Bill. It’s tough to see him with cancer, but he’s such a fighter, and once we go home from the vet, he’s living his best life.
I’ve noticed that Germans seem fascinated by beagles. When we came here the first time, back in 2007, we had two different beagles with us. At that time, it didn’t seem like there were many beagles here. People would stare when our dogs would bay. Nowadays, it seems like beagles are much more popular in Germany, but they are usually bigger and stockier than my American beagle rescues have been. Of course, Noyzi has no beagle in him at all, and it’s been fascinating to see how he’s different than my hounds have been.
The vet later told us that Arran had a couple of slightly elevated liver and kidney values, but they are expected because of the medications he’s on. We’d love for him to have more red blood cells, but for now, he’s able to live with what he has. And once we got the results, Arran practically sashayed out of the vet’s office and back to our car. He knows which one is ours. I do have to help him get in now, but he can get out on his own, and once we were in the house, he ran around like a puppy, hoping for a cookie or two. He got a walk instead.
I’ve been doing an abbreviated walk route lately, mainly due to the weather and my own laziness. At one point of our normal route, there’s a narrow “Weg”, with dense bushes on either side. We were about a third of the way down the weg, when we encountered a woman with her dog. She stared at us, giving me a clue that she didn’t think the path was big enough for the five of us, so we turned and went back the way we came.
A couple of minutes later, we ran into another woman with what appeared to be a border collie. That dog was lunging and barking, as she repeatedly screamed “Nein!” I crossed to the other side of the street as we passed the lady and her agitated pooch. Finally, as we approached home, our next door neighbor appeared with her labrador, Tommi, who jumped into the back of her station wagon. Noyzi LOVES Tommi, so he jumped out of the car and they started to play. Our neighbor had carrots, so I correctly assumed she was going to go see her horse. I miss having a horse, but not on cold, foggy, wet days…
I do believe that if Noyzi and Tommi had a big backyard to play in, they would wear each other out!
Arran is hanging in there… and Noyzi has definitely developed a love of YouTube. Especially when I watch dog shows. He was enchanted by the Purina National Dog Show, where we managed to catch the toy dog division. I think Noyzi is pretty fancy for a street dog. He’s definitely well behaved and stealthy!
So ends another week of canine chemo treatment for our dear, brave, saucy Arran. He’s amazing.
Before I get started with part four of this series, I want to record something funny that happened this morning when I walked the dogs. Unfortunately, both of my boys seem to have picked up kennel cough during their recent stay at their Hundepension. Kennel cough is annoying and very contagious, but it’s kind of like catching a cold. In most cases, it goes away on its own.
Nevertheless, I didn’t want to risk giving it to another dog, and all of the articles I’ve read suggest letting the dog rest. For that reason, we took a shorter route today, which brought us through the Dorfplatz in Breckenheim. I saw two men in the Dorfplatz talking. One of them had a dog with him. Naturally, the dog noticed mine, so I crossed the street so they wouldn’t meet.
The guy with the dog walked away, and the other man came up to me. He was well dressed, speaking German, and seemed friendly. Then I noticed that he had a mic in his hand with radio call letters and what looked like a station number. It looked like the guy came from a local radio station. I quickly surmised that he was approaching me for a “man on the street segment” for the local news.
The guy continued speaking to me, so I suddenly blurted out, “Sorry, I’m American.”
The guy immediately stopped, switched to English and stammered, “Oh… the Germans wouldn’t… they wouldn’t… ” Then, after a flustered pause, he said with a smile, “Have a nice day.”
I chuckled to myself as I continued walking home. On any other day, I would have missed that guy, because we don’t usually walk through the Dorfplatz. But because of kennel cough, we went a different way… Once again, I fooled the locals. Edited to add…. Looks like the dude was there to ask people what they think about the new village toilet.
Now, back to our travels…
On Thursday, October 28th, we checked out of Hotel Ploberger and made our way to Croatia. I was kind of excited about the trip, since I had only been in Croatia once before, and that had been on an impromptu joyride from Trieste, Italy, back in 2016. I had heard nothing but great things about Croatia and I super excited to see the Plitvice Lakes. I had a nice rental house booked that looked really promising. Off we went, traveling through Austria’s beautiful Alps, then continuing briefly through Slovenia, and on to Croatia. We were slowed down at the border of Slovenia and Croatia. The border guard in Slovenia stamped us out of the country, and then we had to show our passports to the Croatian guard.
Not long after we passed through the Croatian border, we stopped at a truck stop, where we proceeded to have an excellent lunch. It was surprisingly good. If only we’d encountered something similar in Bavaria. 😉
Because of the delay at the border, I sent a quick amendment to our arrival at Peter’s Holiday Home in Korenica, near the Plitvice Lakes. We were an hour later than we expected to be. The drive was easy, as Croatia has great highways, even though there are tons of toll booths on the high speed roads. Below are some photos from our journey to our destination, which I found on Booking.com.
We finally arrived at Peter’s Holiday Home in the late afternoon. A kind elderly couple who lived across the street greeted us, as did another lady who lived in the house next to theirs. The husband spoke some English, while his wife didn’t. She showed us around the house and lit a fire for us. I could see we were well set up for our four night stay. Korenica is located very close to the border with Bosnia. If not for COVID-19, Bill and I might have visited there. But COVID has made everything more annoying and complicated. I have heard Bosnia is an interesting and beautiful country. Hopefully, someday we can visit.
We noticed a lot of apartments and homes for rent near the Plitvice Lakes. There are also lots of restaurants in the area, though a lot of them were closed. We learned that November 1 is truly the beginning of the off season, so our arrival in late October was just on the edge of when a few places were still open. For instance, we could have visited the Barac Caves, but just barely. They closed for the season on November 1, which was the day we left. Ordinarily, I would have liked to visit the caves, but I kind of felt weird about going so late in the season. Also… COVID. I also noticed a lot of outdoor activities, like horseback riding and kayaking available. I’m sure in the summer, that area is hopping. In fact, the caretakers, who said they’ve lived in Korenica since 1968, confirmed that it gets super busy in the summer. That made me glad to be there when we were. On the other hand, if you’re visiting in season, you will have PLENTY to do.
Anyway, Bill went to the nearby grocery stores, called Konzum, of all things, and picked up some food and local wines for us. We were both kind of tired from the day’s long drive, which was long, even from Austria.
As I wrote in my main blog this morning, I seem to be on the mend from the weekend’s sickness. I was feeling noticeably better after I finished yesterday’s post, and by the afternoon, I even had enough energy to take Noyzi and Arran for a walk. They were delighted to go, since I think they thought they’d be missing out yesterday. I usually walk them in the mid mornings, but somehow they knew I was green around the gills and didn’t bug me like they usually do. I’m being serious. My dogs will pester the shit out of me if I don’t walk them when I’m supposed to. Luckily, they seemed to notice a lack of energy from me yesterday and left me alone, although I was definitely feeling better than I was on Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s post title is inspired by a story by Dr. Seuss that I read when I was a little girl. I never have been the biggest fan of Dr. Seuss’s books, but I did used to have a great general children’s storybook anthology that was handed down to me by my three older sisters. The book happened to have Dr. Seuss’s story, “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street” in it. Wikipedia tells me this story was Dr. Seuss’s very first, and it was written in 1937. You can read the Wikipedia entry I linked for the gist of the story by Dr. Seuss. I would describe it here, but Seuss’s story is about a fantasy, while I’m about to write about real life. In other words, I really DID see this stuff in Breckenheim over the past couple of days, and I’m left with some wonderment.
As I mentioned up post, I usually walk my dogs in the mornings. They insist upon it. But yesterday, I was still feeling kind of yucky, so I had to wait until the afternoon to catch a burst of energy for our stroll. Consequently, I saw different things than what I usually see. Most days, when I walk the dogs, I see and hear kids in the local schoolyard. They take their recess at about the time the boys and I take our walks. I’m sure the kids notice us. Sometimes, I see little girls looking adoringly at the dogs and remember myself as a horse crazy child. I used to get excited whenever I saw a horse. If I’m honest, I still do. But I don’t stop and stare like I did when I was a kid. Many little girls love animals, and German girls are no exception.
Well, because I was walking in the afternoon, school was about over. I did see a mom with her daughter, though. The girl, who wore her striking strawberry blonde hair in a pony tail, looked to be about 9 or 10 years old. Mom was talking to the girl as she got into the backseat of their little red car. I saw the girl glance at my dogs with that expression of adoration as she settled into the seat. Mom gave me a friendly, confident smile as she shut the door and made a move for the driver’s seat. I nodded and passed, then continued on my way.
We got to the place where we usually turn to walk past the neighborhood gardens. Arran needed to take a dump. We happened to be near a trash can, so I cleaned up the poop and dragged him back the other way so I could drop off the bag. He was planting his feet, not wanting to cooperate. I broke a sweat. It was a bit humid and I might have still had a slight temperature. Then I noticed a sign posted on a tree. I wondered if it was another admonition against lazy pet owners not cleaning up their dog’s shit. But it was just someone looking to rent a garden plot. I saw another sign just like it at the other end of the garden plots. I missed the second sign yesterday, but noticed it today.
We turned to head uphill past the farmer’s fields that I’ve noticed are as likely to be growing plastic sex toys as they are wheat and corn. Someone discarded their facemask, not by throwing it on the ground, but by neatly hanging it on a sunflower. The gardens are in their last hurrah of the Indian summer as they prepare to go dormant for the onset of cold weather. The pictures below were taken this morning, but I noticed the mask yesterday… I thought to take a photo yesterday, but decided not to. I guess I was too eager to get home and back to the proximity of a toilet.
Finally, we got to the point of our route at which we turn toward home. It’s near a cemetery. There’s a custom picture framing business there, as well as a couple of apartment houses. Today, I took a photo of the area where I saw the most interesting and exciting thing on yesterday’s walk, just to give those who read this a visual reference…
So yesterday, the dogs and I were walking down the sidewalk pictured above. There were several more cars parked there yesterday afternoon than there are in the above photo, which I took this morning. In fact, there was a utility truck parked where that open stretch of street is. Workmen were on the other side of the street doing some kind of work on the street. If you picture that, you might realize that the passageway was more narrow and busier.
Noyzi and Arran are not close to being the same size. Noyzi is humongous next to Arran. He has a tendency panic sometimes, when he’s in unfamiliar situations. Arran wants to sniff and eat things. So I was focused on handling them and negotiating the narrow passage down the street. Where the cars are, there’s a grassy, nettle covered hill, which closes things in even more. If I wanted to avoid something on the sidewalk, I’d have to cross the street or walk in the middle of it. It would have been complicated to walk in the street yesterday, thanks to the workmen.
As we passed the utility truck, Arran tried to sniff something the workers had left by the curb. I pulled him away and issued a grumpy reprimand. Then I noticed an orange car with an older woman sitting in the passenger seat. She was about to open her door, which I knew would block my egress. I groaned inwardly, since I’ve run into this scenario a few times. People park on the street and open their doors, oblivious to pedestrians on the sidewalk… even those with two dogs, one of whom is the size of a miniature horse.
Sure enough, the woman got out of the car. I started thinking about how I was going to negotiate this challenge. But then I was met with a surprise. The woman closed her door, straightened the neat blazer she was wearing. I was noticing how nice and put together she looked, as if she was going to see someone important.
Then I heard a flurry of footsteps and saw a flash in the corner of my peripheral vision. Next thing I knew, a young girl of maybe eight or nine had jumped into the woman’s arms, obviously overjoyed to see her. The girl had shoulder length blonde hair and a huge smile on her face. I heard them trade enthusiastic and loving greetings. I was about to pass them on the sidewalk, when the girl suddenly let go of the woman and launched into the older man’s arms. He’d been in the driver’s seat, and I hadn’t seen him until he had exited the car and moved behind it. He had a delighted expression on his face. I had just enough time to notice that the girl was similarly ecstatic and more expressions of love were traded among them.
I was witnessing what appeared to be a reunion of people who obviously love each other very much and had missed being together. I’m assuming it was Oma and Opa visiting, but I don’t know. Obviously, this was a bonded group. I gave them a warm smile as I quickly passed, not wanting to intrude on their private moment of reunion, but yet happy I was able to share it with them in some way.
My mood suddenly brightened considerably, which surprised me. I often get really cranky when I walk the dogs, mainly because there’s not the greatest walking route where we live. We often have to dodge cars, farm vehicles, horses, other dogs, looky lous, and pedestrians who aren’t watching where they’re going. Just this morning, I encountered three cars, a biker, and a tractor all in one spot, as I turned off the main drag to walk past the gardens. We’re also very close to the Autobahn and a high speed train track, which makes the area a bit noisier than I’d like. So, unlike our neighborhood in Jettingen, which was next to a huge nature park, Breckenheim is not quite as dog walker friendly, although the people are friendlier, and are, themselves, very dog friendly.
When I saw that orange car, I was expecting to be inconvenienced by someone. But, what I saw instead was something I very rarely see in Germany. I mean, I’m sure it happens… it’s just that I don’t see it or haven’t seen it much. People are polite and cordial here, and they love their families, but they don’t seem to be that demonstrative (unless they’re at a Fest or something, then all bets are off). I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an unbridled and honest expression of pure love and affection like that on the street. It was really nice to see, especially since I was totally caught off guard and experienced a temporary mood boost because of it.
Then I finished walking back home and got back to the work of healing, which involved some more time on the toilet. But I’m feeling much better now… Pity, though, since I notice my clothes are already looser. I noticed today on our walk, I was a lot crankier on the last stretch, mainly because someone in a Volkswagen came careening around the corner. I probably looked really bitchy as they passed. What a contrast to yesterday, when I was feeling unexpectedly cheerful despite being sick.
I was reminded, yet again, of the Buddhist monk we saw in 2015. I was super cranky and hungry, not feeling well, when we stopped outside of Munich for lunch. Then I saw a Japanese monk sitting near us who gave off incredibly calming vibes. It was like just seeing him erased all of my grouchiness.
Watching that reunion yesterday had a similar effect, making me forget my crabbiness and sickness for an instant. It was like a gift. I looked for the orange car today, wondering if Oma and Opa are still visiting. I’d like to know the rest of the story that started on an ordinary day in Breckenheim. And to think I never would have seen that if I hadn’t been sick and taken a walk later than usual… not that I’m ever that grateful for the experience of diarrhea and vomiting. But there’s good in everything, even if it’s just a story I can share and a lesson about staying observant, even when your day is mundane. You never know what you’ll see, even in a place like Breckenheim.
Five more days to go before I’m fully “street legal”, as Bill puts it. I don’t know what we’ll do this weekend, but if we stay home, it may be the last time for awhile. Next weekend, we will be going to Heidelberg for the weekend. I’ve booked us a beautiful hotel which has a (hopefully) great bar, a spa, and gourmet food. Since Bill is now considered fully vaccinated and I will be by the time we check in, I don’t expect we’ll have to take COVID-19 tests. I have yet to actually be tested for COVID, because I have spent most of the pandemic holed up in our house.
It’s been a long, monotonous stretch since last October, which was when we had our last trip. That was when we picked up Noyzi, the Kosovar wonder dog. I look forward to interacting with people again. I think it will help Bill and me a whole lot. Bill needs a vacation. He’s been working non-stop, as have all of his co-workers. So this planned trip to Heidelberg will be a welcome taste of freedom, and it will give Noyzi the chance to try out the Tierpension. The next trip after Heidelberg will probably be to Stuttgart, so we can see the dentist.
Bill and I have visited Heidelberg before, back in October 2008, when we lived in Stuttgart the first time. In those days, there was still a functioning Army post there. We had several friends who were posted there. After we left in 2009, two more of Bill’s former co-workers moved to Heidelberg. I think they both left when it came time to move their offices up to Wiesbaden in anticipation of Heidelberg’s closure in 2013. It will be interesting to check out the city without the Army flavor that existed there for decades. It really is a nice place, and I look forward to relaxing, eating good food, and taking lots of new pictures.
This morning on our walk, I went the “old” way, rather than the new route we’ve been doing. It’s a slightly shorter route to go the old way, but it doesn’t really change where we go much. I just wanted to avoid disturbing a hardworking farmer who was tending his field on the newer route. I’m glad we went the old way, because we were treated to sounds of a neighing horse. There have been a few times we’ve walked on our route and run into a lady with a couple of bay mares she hitches to a wagon. I think she might actually have a barn for her mares on our walking route and puts them out to pasture in one of the fields nearby. Sometimes, when we’re walking through there, I can smell the heavenly scent of horses, but today was the first time I actually heard one neighing.
And we were also visited by a special feathered friend…
It’s not that uncommon to see these birds in Europe. I have seen them a lot in Alsace, but also down near the Swiss/German border. I have never seen a stork in Breckenheim, but obviously they exist. I didn’t see a nest anywhere, and stork’s nests are pretty easy to spot. Wonder where this bird flew in from…
Wiesbaden is already notable because there are wild parakeets/parrots here. Sometimes people who don’t know about them spot them in trees and think someone’s pet got loose. I haven’t seen any of the special birds yet, but maybe I will before we leave here someday. Below is a video someone posted of the parakeets copulating.
Well… just a week before I can bring this blog back to its original function of being a “travel” blog. Looking forward to it! And on the occasion of our planned trip to the next state, here’s a plucky song about Heidelberg a German friend shared with me today.
Now… off to go turn off the lawnmower, have some lunch, and take a nap.
I took these this morning on our walk… A male mallard was enjoying the creek that runs through Breckenheim. He was a little shy, and I was juggling Arran and Noyzi, so please forgive the lack of artistic merit in these!
I also managed to catch a rather epic play session between Arran and Noyzi. Arran still growls at him a lot, but I think they’ve developed a wary respect for each other. Nice to see them playing, anyway. It’s especially nice to see Arran playing, since he’s officially an old man with the rancid farts to prove it.
I love running into water fowl. I especially like ducks a lot, and we see them very occasionally here in our village. I like creeks, too. The one in Breckenheim is often polluted, though, which is a real shame. I guess it just goes to show you that even rule abiding Germans can be disrespectful to Earth when no one is looking.
And last but not least, I made a new video for my YouTube channel. I haven’t shared it anywhere else, because it seems like a pointless exercise… but I think it turned out okay.
My vaccination site is officially back to normal. There’s no more pain, itching, or swelling, and the redness is minimal. I don’t look forward to feeling yucky when I get the second shot, but maybe it will turn out okay. Either way, the first shot wasn’t a problem. Glad to have it behind me, especially now that Germany is officially relaxing the rules for vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19. I’m ready to reclaim some of my life.
The sun is out this afternoon, and temperatures are kind of pleasant outside today. Arran missed yesterday’s walk because it was yucky outside and I was waiting for a package that never arrived. The package still hasn’t arrived yet, but I couldn’t miss the chance for some fresh air and exercise. Walks are also when Arran does his business best, otherwise we run the risk of him going in inappropriate places at inappropriate times.
On the way out of the house, Arran and I ran into our landlady. We don’t talk to her very often because her husband handles most of the business with us. We learned from the landlord that his wife’s brother built the house we’re living in. Our landlord then joked that he gets called “slumlord” a lot, but Bill told him this is the nicest house we’ve ever lived in. I think I agree with him. We’ve lived in a few houses we’ve enjoyed for various reasons, but overall, I think this one is in the best shape. The only place I absolutely hated in all ways was our apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was the true epitome of a dump, along with inconsiderate neighbors, high crime, and shitty infrastructure. For that dump, we paid about $900 a month in 2003. By contrast, the house we’re in now is the most expensive of any we’ve ever lived in. But, for the most part, it’s completely worth it… and not just because it’s a nice house, but because we are treated respectfully, like adults with the right to privacy. It’s also a very comfortable home with many nice amenities and no one freaking out over dog hair in the doorway.
One nice thing about our current landlords is that they don’t mind dogs. Arran went over to say hello to the landlady. She gave him a pat and asked about Zane. I told her that he’d died. I’m sure they were wondering, but probably didn’t know how to bring it up. I mentioned that maybe we’d have a new dog after the holidays. She nodded in agreement, which makes me feel good. A few weeks ago, one of our elderly neighbors asked about Zane, and remarked that the dogs are like our children. That’s definitely true in our case. I was kind of happy that he’d asked, since I never know how the neighbors feel about our dogs. It seems like they’re well liked in this neighborhood. Obviously, Zane has been missed, and not just by Bill and me.
So we did our usual loop, and on our way through the messy field by the Rewe, I noticed an older lady coming down the hill with a little Yorkie. The Yorkie was off lead, which usually makes me nervous, since you never know how dogs will act when they first meet each other. The little dog came running up to Arran, who was whining and shrieking, trying to make contact. The lady smiled at me as our dogs sniffed. Her little dog was so cute, dodging, barking at Arran, yet curious and wanting to sniff my hand. I said to the dog, “Hello… aren’t you cute?”
Then the lady laughed and said, “You’re American?”
“Yes!” I responded, with a giggle.
“Me too!” she laughed.
We shared another awkward moment, then said goodbye. What are the odds?
I’ve heard there are a number of Americans here in Breckenheim. I know there’s a little hotel and there are a couple of Air BnBs here, too, where people have stayed until they find housing. This was the first time I’ve bumped into an American while walking the dog near my home in any of the three places in Germany I’ve lived so far. Or maybe I have run into them, but because I pass for German and so do a lot of other Americans, I just didn’t know it.
Anyway, it was kind of a funny encounter. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime. I hope so, since I think Arran and her dog may be buddies now. I love how our dogs serve as such excellent canine ambassadors. I’ve met a lot of nice people in Germany thanks to my dogs.
Today also happens to be the seventh anniversary of losing MacGregor, who was Arran’s predecessor. MacGregor was such a wonderful dog. He was best friends with Bill, who was probably the only man he ever liked. I can’t believe it’s been seven years already since we lost him. Time flies!
Every once in awhile, I write about things I see when I walk my dogs. Bill and I happen to live right next to a large nature park. It’s a great area to live in if you have dogs. There are a lot of dog owners in our town and they’re pretty friendly and helpful. Case in point, about a month ago, my dog Arran escaped from our house and several locals were instrumental in helping us bring him back to safety.
Lately, I’ve noticed a woman parking a car advertising holistic medicine for pets. I don’t know her and have never talked to her, but I see her and her son walking their Maltese dogs several times a week. She drives a SUV with decals on it advertising her services as a naturopath. I’m actually kind of interested in what she does, since I have been exploring natural approaches to veterinary care with my dogs, Zane and Arran. Both of my dogs have had mast cell tumors since we’ve been in Germany.
I already belong to a great Facebook group that offers advice for natural approaches toward caring for dogs with mast cell tumors. In that group, there’s information about how to feed dogs with mast cell cancer, hot to use CBD oil and other essential oils for healing tumors and lesions caused by the cancer, and nutritional advice for overall wellness.
To be honest, I’m not as much into “woo” as some people are. I do think natural approaches can be helpful and are often not harmful. I can personally attest to how much CBD oil has helped Zane and Arran, but I also give them Benadryl to discourage the histamine release that can cause tumors to develop. I give Zane Tagamet or Pepcid to help him with the upset stomach he gets sometimes and also to help discourage new tumor growth. It’s been over a year now and this approach seems to be working well for both of them.
Still, I wonder if there’s more I could be doing. That’s why I took notice of the SUV advertising holistic services for pets. The other day, I looked up the woman on Facebook. Her name is Sylvia Fiedler, and according to her official Web site, we were born at around the same time in 1972. She charges 60 euros an hour in cash for her services. It appears that she comes to your home, although I see she’s located in Oberjettingen, which is just up the road from where Bill and I live.
It appears that most of Fiedler’s training is very recent, although she started in the field in the late 80s. I can relate, since my very first job was working for a veterinarian, too. I quickly determined that as much as I like animals, I didn’t want to work in the veterinary field. However, my dogs have pretty much demanded that I learn more about how to take care of them. Our local vets have been surprised by what I know. One of them thought I was a nurse, but actually, I have a master’s degree in public health and used to work as a technical writer for a public health agency. I think that’s why I know more than the average person about some of this stuff.
Anyway, it looks like Fielder’s practice centers around feeding a raw diet, laser therapy, acupuncture and acupressure, Bach flowers, and even leeches. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be calling her… although it may get to a point at which I might decide to give homeopathy a whirl. Some people do swear by it and it’s kind of cool to know that it’s available in my current “hometown”. It’s also kind of cool to know that the lady who offers it walks the same routes I do with Zane and Arran.
I’m mainly just writing this post because I know I have some local dog lovers/owners who read my blog. Perhaps some of them are looking for a naturopath/holistic practitioner for their dogs. Hopefully, this information might be helpful.
Jettingen is a great place for dog owners… not just because there are so many trails, but also because we have a resident naturopath.
Sometimes I see strange things when I walk my dogs. Most of the time, the things I see are benign. I’ve seen discarded bras, half empty bottles of Jack Daniels, abandoned children’s desks, kids sucking face… even someone’s glasses. This morning, I saw something very strange and kind of frightening.
Pictured above, perched atop the “Robidog”, which is where we discard our dog crap, was a board with pieces of what appeared to be schnitzel. There are two dead mice among the pieces of pork.
I don’t know if someone found this and put it on top of the poop can or if this was originally put on the can and the mice found it. Either way, it was very creepy.
Unfortunately, there are people in Germany who put out poison. The poison is usually intended to kill rodents, but some people also do it to kill or injure pets. Regardless of the intention behind putting out Giftköder, it has potentially lethal consequences for animals. If a pet eats the poison or manages to catch and kill a mouse that has eaten it, there’s a good chance the pet will become sick and even die.
It’s enough of a problem that there’s even a “radar” for tracking poisoned areas. There are a bunch of fields near where I live and, yes, I’ve seen mice out there. However, I’ve never seen any poisoned bait before today.
I posted the picture above on Facebook and my German friend, Susanne, was concerned enough to contact the police in Gäufelden, the village next to ours. The police actually went out and found the dead mice, then contacted the police in Jettingen, which is the town where the above Robidog is.
I generally love the area where we are for walking the dogs. There are lots of trails and other dog walkers are friendly. But this business of dead rodents near what looks like poisoned bait gives me the creeps, especially since my dog Arran has a habit of eating mice. More than once, he’s caught one while on his leash. I don’t like being scared to walk my dogs, but a dog that eats a poisoned mouse can end up in trouble.
I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled in the meantime. Hopefully, there aren’t a bunch of these little “gifts” spread throughout the area.
Every once in awhile, I run across strange sightings while walking my dogs. I have blogged about this phenomenon before. Sometimes I see weird things. Sometimes I have odd or funny conversations with people. This morning, I saw something especially interesting.
As I was walking down the slope leading to the road where my dogs do their business almost every day, I saw something on the ground. I couldn’t be sure in the distance. At first, it looked like a big man lying on a blanket. I thought maybe he was using an iPad or something.
Off in the distance, a mysterious sighting… writhing on the ground.
As I got closer, I saw that there were two people lying there. It looked like they were kissing. My dogs gamely trotted along, for once not making a sound. As I rounded the corner, the duo sat up. I could see they were teenagers who appeared to be very horny. I said nothing as the dogs and I passed, but in my mind I was thinking that this area is where my dogs most enjoy pooping.
Zane was curious and wanted to watch the teens as they sucked face. I had some trouble pulling him away from this romantic scene.
The kids kind of gave me a smile, then got right back to their business. She laid down on the blanket and he started passionately kissing her. And sure enough, just past where those kids were making out, both of my dogs crouched into number two position and took prodigious dumps. There weren’t any other people out there walking their dogs or biking when I passed the youngsters. I wondered how long they’d been there.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen people making out so publicly. When Bill and I visit the Mineraltherme, we often see young people practically having sex in the water. It’s pretty funny for us because neither of us are into such public displays. It’s even funnier to see the disapproving looks shot their way by cranky grandmas. But I guess if you have to see something odd like that, it’s better that it’s two people in the throes of lovemaking than two people beating the hell out of each other.
Not long after I passed the teens, I noticed more people were out and about, including a very nice elderly English speaking lady I often see, and her two pugs. I wonder if anyone said anything to the kids, since they seemed very much into their kissing session when I passed and were nowhere to be seen a short time later. I hope they enjoyed themselves. Oh, to be young and randy!