Mommy and daddy brought back what smells like a tree but it doesn’t look like the trees at the doggy park. It doesn’t have orange and red leaves. It doesn’t have a sweet smell and gives me apples. Did daddy dig it out? Doesn’t he know that mommy doesn’t like that? I could’ve helped him too. We could’ve dug and dug till we found the treasure. My brother leaves me yummy treasures like treats all over the yard. Maybe it’s a good thing daddy dug the tree out by himself. They moved the tree around all over the house before placing it high up in the sky. I can quite easily reach it. I’m a big boy now. They did something strange to the tree. It will suddenly just light up. Mommy played around and the lights did all these crazy things. It was scary and strange. I don’t mind the normal lights. It’s nice and warm. I like sleeping right below the lights. Mommy gets so happy and takes my picture. I’m a good boy. They also hung up a lot of balls on the tree. It wasn’t my usual play balls so I got quite excited about my new toys. There are so many of them! Mommy and daddy didn’t like when I licked the one ball. They called me a bad boy. It made me sad so I gave daddy a big kiss and cuddle. He couldn’t stay mad at me. I’m too cute! The tree kept growing and growing. The bottom of the tree has all these different shapes and sizes. One of the new funny shapes smells nice. It looks familiar and I know the smell but I’m not allowed to touch. I don’t like this tree. I’m not allowed to play with the toys and run around in the living room. And then one day it was suddenly different. Mommy and daddy took some of the presents and seemed so happy. My brother got yummy treats and ran away with them. He doesn’t like to share. Mommy took the yummy smelling present out and helped me unwrap it. It was strange. I didn’t know what mommy was doing but boy was it fun. I could immediately tell what it was. It was a bone! The biggest bone I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s so big that I can’t even carry it! I licked and licked on my yummy bone with the twinkling lights in the background. Maybe I don’t mind this new tree.
I wanted to write something short and sweet for the holiday season. What did you think? As you’re reading this the day before Christmas, allow me to take this moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas! May it be a time full of great food, joy, and laughter with friends and family and so much more. Thank you so much for all the love and support this year. I’m truly so excited for this new year and so happy 2018 is finally behind me.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!
PS. I will upload pictures of Dankie and his bone on here when the Christmas rush is behind us. I will definitely have it on my Instagram and Facebook for those who can’t wait.
Edit from future Cassy
Speculoos took ownership of the bone and now Dankie is to scared to eat it.
One of the main reasons why I desperately wanted a dog was for my mental health. I’ve been struggling with my depression and bad days ever since I could remember. I didn’t want my demons to swallow me whole. I wanted something that would force me to get out of bed and start my day. Something that would be my companion throughout the day and fight my loneliness. As it was my loneliness that always seemed to welcome those negative thoughts. That something turned out to be my dog, Dankie. I knew getting a dog would force me to go out and get some fresh air on those days where I never wanted to leave the bed. I knew seeing my dog doing something silly would make me laugh on the days where I only wanted to cry. Dankie has delivered and them some more.
I’ve talked about it before but those first two weeks were absolutely terrible. I regretted getting a dog every second of it. It was overwhelming. Suddenly I had this living thing to look after and I couldn’t just stay in bed all day like I wanted to. I had to care for this little puppy, teach him tricks and stand outside for a hour as I wait for him to go to the bathroom. I wanted to wait before posting this blog for prime moments to share. The first really big moment was just yesterday (23rd of October). I was in a bad state mentally. Very dark and gloomy. It was a bad day. Sometimes on a bad day I will force myself to go out for a walk and then come back home with a positive outlook. Other times on a bad day I just allow myself to sit back and feel what I feel. I spend the entire day on the couch watching Orange is the new Black and Dankie barely left my side. If he wasn’t on the couch physically touching my body, he was within an arms reach. He didn’t want to go outside and well leave me alone. He was right there by my side. He wasn’t restless or anything either. He was very calm and simply just cuddled with his mommy. Writing this now, I’m getting quite emotional. I needed that you know. I needed the company and love and Dankie just delivered. It was a natural process for him. He sensed my dark thoughts and supported his mommy in his own way. He would comfort me with kisses when I cried and he was just so amazing. It made me love the little fart even more.
Sometimes when I find myself in a circle of dark days that I can’t escape, I will force myself to go outside for a good hour if not more and just allow my brain to think of something else. Before getting my little fart, this wasn’t as easy to do. I would walk around the city but I wouldn’t come back home feeling like a brand new woman. I need to surround myself with nature and completely disconnect. There is this massive field by the river close to our house and twice a week I will take Dankie to this spot. There is just something so heartwarming about seeing the dog so absolutely happy while he hops through the long grass. Dankie is the biggest goofball and it’s a guarantee if you set him free in that area that he will do something silly and you will find yourself laughing. Since getting Dankie he has been the main source I turn to when I desperately want to flip that switch. I just take him for a nice long walk, sit down on a rock by the river and watch him play. For that hour or so I’m not thinking about those dark and heavy thoughts. They linger in the back of my brain don’t get me wrong but they’re not the only thing I’m thinking about. My main focus is instead the air around me. The smell and the happy bark that Dankie lets out when I call for him. That’s another thing that’s so amazing about having a dog. It’s always happy to see you. I mean how can you not smile when this little creature looks at you like you are his entire world.
Something that I want to touch on before I continue is about those dark days. I still sometimes have no idea what I’m supposed to do heck sometimes it even takes me a while to realize that I’m the dark loop again but what I started to do is allow it. I allow myself to feel these thoughts and emotions but I don’t act on it. I simply let it happen and write about it once I find the words. I just let myself feel what I need to feel and then ideally the next day or a few hours later shake it off. I don’t have all the answers. I just recently accepted my depression and the fact that I need help but hey I’m getting there. I’m taking one step every day and learning along the way. Dankie has been a massive help.
I think I’m going to wrap up the blog after sharing this next moment because it all comes down to one thing. My dog makes me laugh when I want to cry. He stays by my side when I need him too and he gets me out of the house when I need fresh air. He also forces me to get out bed. I mean I basically had the short version of the entire blog in the introduction. Some of you are probably like wow third time is the charm right? Did you get my joke? I basically said the same thing three times…Alright moving on. So somewhere last week I was waiting for Onno to get home and I was watching a show on Netflix to kill time. The entire day Dankie has been this massive ball of energy but he was finally getting sleepy. Although we don’t want to approve of this behavior, he cuddled with his mommy on the couch. The little fart knows that his only allowed on the couch when he gives me a cuddle. Anyway, he was completely spent and stretched out on the couch like he owns the place. Dankie let go of the biggest and most foul smelling fart ever and I saw the entire thing. That’s right. My eyes were on his anus (excuse my French but come on that’s the word for his butthole. I almost feel butthole is worse on the ‘bad word’ scale) and I saw it vibrate when he farted. The timing of the entire thing and how the dog woke up from the fart sound, glanced back before snorting and going back to sleep was timeless. I blinked for a few seconds still so shocked about what I just witnessed before I scared the dog awake with my loud and uncontrollable fit of laughter. I full on, I shit you not, lost the ability to breathe as I laughed. It was one of those crying from laughter while hugging your stomach because your abs hurt to laugh. It was brilliant and I will never forget that moment. Even now as I’m writing this I’m chuckling with this small smile on my face. I’m so happy to have Dankie apart of our little family. I’m so grateful for my furry best friend and all the joy he brings to our family. I love him so much.
If you’re struggling with mental health I really recommend you consider getting a pet. Especially if you’re alone for the biggest part of the day. it’s dangerous to be alone when you’re in a such a dark space mentally. It doesn’t even need to be a dog. I mean my cat is pretty damn great too but now that he can explore the outside world he doesn’t really stay by my side enough. You can get a bird, a hamster, a rabbit, a snake anything your heart desires. Just something that can interact with you throughout the day. Something that would require attention in the morning that would force you out of bed. Give it some thought. I realize not anyone has the living opportunities for a pet but there is other options minus an animal companion. I’m currently exploring different activities to help with those dark days. There really isn’t a wrong activity (well murder is pretty bad) to choose from. Just explore. Try new things. Don’t give up.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!
PS Dankie has an Instagram account where I try to remember to post pictures and videos. You can find the link here — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/ — But otherwise here are some of my favorite pictures that I took recently.
Onno and I’ve discussed about getting a dog for a really long time. I’m a dog person. Nearly my entire life, we’ve owned a dog. It feels natural to me and after a few years I always miss it. Onno has never owned a dog in his life as his father is allergic to the furry animal. We decided that once we have our house with a nice backyard, we will get our dog. We also had the breed down because well I’m obsessed with a golden retriever and nothing else would do. Flash forward to buying a house, renovating that said house and working in the garden. Once we moved in and finally start to work in the backyard, we started to browse the internet for our new family member. We found him just as his breeders placed the ad for him and his four brothers. The ad was placed just after he was born (2-3 weeks) so we had more than enough time to finish the garden and prepare our home for a dog. We called the lady and we made an appointment to choose and view the dog in three weeks.
I could barely contain my excitement and slowly started to buy anything dog related we might need minus the big stuff. Mostly just toys and his blanket. Finally the Saturday I was waiting for arrived. We drove through all the way to the South of the Netherlands with our new car to see our puppy. It was a part of the Netherlands neither of us has been too before so it was exciting to see how the area looked like. A lot of farms. I kind of liked it. I’m all about the country life but there is this fine line I love, but that’s a blog for another day. Back to the puppy, we arrived and I practically drowned in puppy love. Dankie immediately climbed into my lap and started to play with my hair. Stole my heart right then and there. We want the pink dog! He wasn’t pink of course, but the breeder had color collars on the dogs to tell which one is which. We stuck around long enough for lots of cuddles and drools, one container of strawberries (The breeder owns a strawberry farm. The freshest strawberries I’ve had in my entire life.) before we headed back, incredibly excited for the end of July. We of course didn’t leave without taking pictures of Dankie.
For preparation of welcoming a new fur baby in our house, we worked on the garden almost daily. It was a rough and dirty work. We literally laid down the grass the day before we got Dankie. His bench/cage arrived a week before that and we had a hick up with his food. The company send two bags of the wrong food and it took us over a week to get the correct bag of food. A few days before we got Dankie, we also got his food ball and more toys. The last bits of pieces. In between all of the shopping and slaving in the garden, I was reading a book about puppy training. As mentioned before, I’ve had quite a few of dogs in my lifetime. All of them turned out to be decent happy adult dogs. Decent as my one dog has the bad habit of jumping onto people and scratching the living hell out of them. A habit all puppies have, a habit that I never learned to nib in the bud before it became a habit. Oh wow that’s a lot of habits in one sentence. My brain nearly hurts. Anyway so I know enough about dogs but I wanted to go the extra mile. I also knew that having a dog here in the Netherlands is a lot different than what I’m used to.
In South Africa most of our dogs sleep outside in a kennel. Some dogs aren’t even allowed inside the house while others are allowed to come inside for a few hours. Others will also have the dogs just sleep inside the house and have free rein. There is a lot of different type of dog owners out there. We personally always had an outside dog. Our dogs sleep outside in the dog kennel but can come inside throughout the day. But here in the Netherlands, things go a bit differently. No dogs sleep outside, mostly because in some winters it snows. You can’t exactly have your dog sleep outside in that type of cold weather. Maybe quite a bit of the year it’s okay but definitely not in the winter. Anyway, so here most dogs are inside dogs. They sleep inside and spend most of their day inside. I knew that this would mean more training for the dog. I need to properly house train him. I need to teach him to stay of the couch and bed and many more. Hence why I spend two weeks reading the most boring book ever. I learned a lot though, but some pages were mind numbing things.
I also asked for advice. Onno’s aunt has three golden retrievers and obviously knows the ins and outs of having a dog here in the Netherlands. The main thing that I struggled to wrap my head around is the whole bench/cage situation. It felt wrong, to lock up your dog in a cage throughout the night. Now I see it as his kennel. It’s his safe little place. No one else goes into his bench. It’s his bed. Of course it keeps him safe throughout the night while we sleep. He can’t chew and eat on our furniture (choking hazards) or raise terror for the cat. I will share a blog about bench training in more detail later but the quick rundown, get him excited for the cage. Play around it. Leave treats in it. I always have his favorite teddy in there.
In the beginning your puppy won’t have the ability to hold his bladder. There is more bathroom breaks. Heck the book said you should take him out every 30 minutes. The less he goes inside the house, the better. In the beginning, we would take Dankie out around 3am. Now Dankie sleeps through the night. After about a week of waking up at 3am and then 5am, with a dog refusing to pee…we just let him sleep through the night. He does sometimes bark in the middle of the night to tell us he wants to go potty but other than that, he can hold it and sleep through the night. Oh I should make a blog about house training. I just have so much to share. So much knowledge. Some has nowhere to go! Oh Dankie can also do a few tricks! He can sit, wait for his treat while sitting, lay down, wait ten seconds with his treat right in front of him before I tell him to go eat it, he can kind of roll over. That one is still a work in progress. Fetch is okay. It needs more work and I just started to teach him to shake my hand before he gets a treat. He is a very smart boy and learns the tricks quite quickly. Most of the tricks he only does with me, so he needs some more work.
Where was I? I was talking about something before it went off to so many babbles. Oh yes. The cage/bench thing. I think I said everything I wanted to say about that. Let me think. What else was there I wanted to say in here? How funny would it be if you could actually answer me right now? I would probably have a heart attack and ask why the hell you’re in my house at 8am on a Monday morning. Not cool buddy.
Oh yes. What I learned. So by the time I’m writing this, we’ve had Dankie for one month. I learned that patience and repeating things is the key. Patience because your puppy won’t know that this is what you want from him and repeating things because well it will take him awhile to learn it. Puppy brain and all. Plus he needs to learn the human language and that might take some time. It took me two weeks of constantly fretting over the dog, constantly taking him out before he got into the habit of going outside to potty. He knows he has to go do his business outside. We still have a few accident inside here and there. House training can take a year. My main advice is to always be excited for him/her when he goes outside. Make a big deal out of it. Your puppy wants to please you so when he sees if he goes outside, he makes you happy, he will do it again. We cheer, congratulate him and even give him a belly rub. If he does go inside, don’t punish him. It will cause mistrust and most of the time he peed there twenty minutes ago and he won’t connect your punishing him about this. Just clean it up and move on with your day. I know it’s frustrating but hey patience is key. Just study your dog, eventually you will be able to pick up when he wants to pee. The way he walks and acts before doing so. Then jump up and take him out.
I will be honest with you, the first two weeks of having Dankie was rough. I was an emotional mess, two minutes away from a mental breakdown, but the added frustration that I can’t really leave Dankie alone or do much didn’t help things. Dankie had a really bad case of separation anxiety. I’m not even joking. He would full on lose his shit when he couldn’t see me for five seconds. A week after we got him, I had to go to the dentist. I put him in his cage for that time. I was gone for a hour and half tops. He was screaming when I left and he was screaming when I got back. Now he is a lot better. A real big boy.
That’s about everything I wanted to tell you. Oh wait. I should explain the whole Dankie as name thing. I explained it a little on his and mine Instagram account but I should explain it on here as well. And yes he has an Instagram account. I will have a link at the bottom of this blog. So Dankie is Afrikaans for Thank You. When I was young my mom would tell me that you need to be thankful and say thank you every single day. A good lesson right? So basically I called my dog thank you because I found it funny. And now I say thank you 300 times per day. Maybe this is only funny to me? But yes. The name is Dankie. I was stuck between Happy and Sunny for a few months, but Dankie is just so original.
Alright now that’s everything. I promise. Before I end this blog. Here is a bunch of pictures of my second fur baby.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!