Tag Archives: Bella

GETTING VERY GROWN UP

 Hi everybody!  This is me, Zeus, telling you about some of our doings. You would be amazed if you saw us now. We’re getting quite big. Well, me and Zorba and Zza Zza are, but Zoe and Zelda are different and aren’t as tall as we three are.

We’ve been eating some really good stuff that our Cathy mom makes for us. She calls it ‘being weaned.” I don’t know what that means, but she tells Ron that making baby food for human kids was easier. She started this weaning business by giving us human baby porridge all mushed up with tinned dog food and these little dry bits that come in a packet and are for weaning puppies. Those she’d first soak in hot water, and then with this noisy thing she has, she makes it what she calls “just right’ for us.

We’d sort of slurp it up when she gave it to us. It was fun because we were running from our own plate to each other’s plates, but it seems we all had the same food. Nobody got anything different. We liked it a lot – Cathy mom was worried we wouldn’t like being weaned, but we do. It didn’t taste like our mom, of course, but we would drink as much as we wanted from our mom. But our mom was getting a bit tired of us – so Cathy said. Anyway, Cathy was giving us this quite yummy stuff four times a day, and after we got used to it, she’d sprinkle the little dry bits into it without first soaking them. We like those dry bits – they make little crunching noises when you bite them.

Cathy and Ron spend a lot of time with us, and especially when we get our wet food – that’s what they call the yummy mixture they make for us. We have bowls of the dry puppy food there all the time for us and we like it, but for the wet food feeding times, they have to take turns to keep our mom busy because she really likes to eat our soft mixture. She’s not hungry – not at all – our mom gets some very good food for grownup dogs. She gets fresh meat, but Cathy thinks maybe she’s a bit jealous…Anyway, whatever we don’t eat, then our mom comes and finishes it all up.

We had to have pills that our mom got from the vet. Hmmm – we weren’t too sure about that, I can tell you. Cathy and Freddie were trying to get us to eat them – they were wrapped in some nice stuff. Ground meat, Cathy called it. Zorba, Zza and Zelda ate theirs quickly, but me and Zoe…well, we’re thinkers, we are, and so Cathy and Freddie had to really make sure we did eat ours. Seems it’s good for us. I dunno, but I did like that meat business. Quite delicious.

Apparently, I’m the biggest of all of us, and Ron and Cathy are always telling people I’m the leader. Whatever that means.

I really like to be with my brothers and sisters, and I ‘specially like to look after Zelda. She’s not furry like me, and she’s a lot smaller, but she’s a very feisty little girl and runs after me all the time. I look out for her because her legs are kind of short and she can’t always reach where I do. But she never cries – she just keeps on and on trying. She’s very determined, and she’s a really nice little sister.

Zoe is also different. She’s not like me, but she’s also not like Zelda. The humans say Zoe has a lot of labrador in her – mostly labrador it seems. She’s very gentle, very quiet, very loving. Zelda, the humans say, is a real mix. But they say mixes are good – being mixed makes them very strong. I don’t really understand all that, but we’re well and very happy and we love our lives.

 

WE’RE SIX WEEKS OLD…AND LIFE’S REALLY GOOD

Zeus

 Hi, this is me, Zeus, and I thought I’d tell you a bit about us and what’s going on here in the Ham household of Kalamos. Our mum, Bella, hasn’t got round to telling us who was born first, but Cathy, our nice human mummy, seems to think I’m Number One around here. Well, in our puppy world, I am. Seems that pesky white cat with the grey blob on his head and that short grey tail is important to the humans here. Raki, I believe he’s called. Anyway, I don’t mind him ‘cos I’m bigger than he is and he’ll find that out soon enough if he bugs me too much.

I love our humans. We all do. We can’t wait to see them in the morning, and we hate to see them go after they put us to bed at night. They are always very kind to us. They stroke us and tickle us, and say all kinds of nice things to us. They play a lot with us, and tell us how clever we are, and that they’re amazed we’re so calm and not frightened by loud noises. This is true – we’re not scared of people and other stuff because nobody’s ever been nasty to us. But our mother tells us that not all doggies are as lucky as we are, and though she doesn’t talk about it much, we’ve come to understand that mum didn’t always have the nice life she has here now.

Zorba

Zorba’s my best buddy. He’s very like me. He thinks like I do, and always wants to do what I’m doing. It’s such good fun to have a pal like him. I don’t know who’s going to be bigger – me or him – but he doesn’t try to be the top dog around here. He’s very nice to Zoe, who’s the smallest of us.

Zoe

She loves him and runs behind him a lot, but she’s more careful than he and I are, and watches and thinks before she does something. Our humans think that’s a very nice quality she has. She’s very pretty, our little Zoe, and very gentle, and she likes to play with us.

Zelda

Zelda’s like that too. She and Zoe are our baby sisters, and we love them, and we look after them, but they aren’t the same size and shape as us. Our humans tell each other that Zoe and Zelda have a different father to us, and that they will be just like our mum, Bella. I don’t know about this fathers stuff – we just know our mom and we’re only interested in her. She really is the bestest mom.

Zza Zza

Zza Zza, it seems from what our humans say, has the same father that Zorba and I have. She’s smaller than we are, but that’s apparently because she’s a girl and won’t be quite as big as we are. But she’s not a sissy girl, for sure she’s not, because she does just exactly what Zorba and I do, and she often has even better ideas than we do. Our Cathy mom tells Ron that’s because Zza Zza’s a girl – this makes her more clever than us boys. I don’t know about that but Zza Zza is always up for anything. We love all this exploring!

There’s such a lot to do around here. You can’t get bored, and now that we’re not sleeping as much as we used to do, there’s all kinds of things we’re learning about. Especially the cats.

They have a lot of cats, these Hams, but this one doesn’t like us much. His name is Mythos, and he’s old and grumpy, and he’s actually quite big, so we leave him alone. Zza Zza hasn’t learnt yet that it’s best if we don’t bother him.

Zoe and Zorba are pals, but I have a lot of time for Zelda. She’s grown up a lot lately, and is not so timid. She thinks I’m a very nice big brother, and I try very hard to be, but I have to keep remembering that she’s little and make sure not to stand on her.

  Zelda often gets too crowded when we’re eating, so Cathy tries to give her a plate of her own.

But sometimes I try to take it from her, and she always lets me. Yes, I know I’m bad, I know I shouldn’t, but Cathy always has lots and lots of our special puppy food she makes us, so nobody is ever hungry.

There’s this sort of water place where we love to play around now that we’re big enough to climb in and out of it. The best fun is when Ron turns on that thing that lets the water run out and we can chomp on it.

This morning I found this lovely chew thing and I kept it quietly to myself, hoping the others wouldn’t notice.

No chance!

  

THE ZED-TEAM

ZEUS

Zeus stood out from the others almost immediately, not only by virtue of his colouring, but because of his striking personality. He’s so distinctly the leader of the group that Zeus is a name truly befitting him. And it’s also somehow appropriate that he’s the biggest of the gang. At least, so far he is. He’s quite fearless, and very inquisitive. I foresee much mischief!

ZORBA

Zorba is the other male. He and Zeus are great pals, often together which doubtless means they’ll be partners in crime. They are similar in size and shape, very broad of shoulder and beam, with sturdy legs and thick tails. They almost certainly have the same dad – he must be quite big –  but goodness only knows who he is and where he is. Bella was pregnant when she arrived at our house, and where she came from is also unknown. We are outside of the village, and there are no other dogs around us here, so I guess their dad might even have been some distance away.

Zorba’s a happy, happy little guy. He runs about all over the place, wanting to play with the others. But most of all he wants to be petted. He only has to hear my voice to come scampering along, wriggling between my feet, tail going like a little windmill. Scratch his back, behind his ears and he’s beside himself with delight. Put him down and he begs to be picked up again. He’ll be a most devoted pet. No question. They will all be, for each one is affectionate and contented.

Freddie came back today from Albania where he’d gone to spend Easter with the family. When he left, the puppies were six days old. To say Freddie was astonished at their growth is something of an understatement. Zorba ran straight up to him, and wanted to be friends. I think that’s amazing at only four weeks of age, and shows what a trusting and friendly doggie Zorba is.

ZOE

Zoe, one of the three girls, seemed at first to be of the same father as Zeus and Zorba, but is smaller. Now as she grows, I’m not so sure for her tail is more slender than theirs, and her head not as square. She’s very fond of her brothers and makes a point of being around them. Zoe means life in Greek, and she’s certainly full of life. She’s a solid fawn colour with just a titch of white on the paws, and a little white bib. Some darker hair is beginning to appear on her back, so maybe she will change colour as she grows. It’s hard to tell. She’s as well adjusted as her brothers, though the girls are not quite as strong as they.

ZZA ZZA

Zza Zza has a teensy tip of white on her ever-wagging tail. She’s very particular about where she’ll lie down, and very dainty when she eats. It’s quite funny to watch her. She doesn’t like to be spattered with food by the boys who are rather rambunctious in their eating habits, rushing from plate to plate as they do in their eagerness to stick their noses into everybody’s business.

Why did I call her Zza Zza? For some reason the late Zza Zza Gabor flashed into my mind as I watched the fastidious doggie trying to brush puppy food off her face. Miss Gabor was always immaculately groomed – and quite a character she was – so Bella’s little girl has been named for her.

ZELDA

Zelda is different. Freddie says she’s a hunting dog, whereas her siblings are mostly Greek sheepdog. Certainly Zelda has a different shape, a smaller head, a longer, thinner tail, and the brown markings typically seen on the hounds here on the Pelion. She’s the smallest of all the pups, leaner in build, and a little less adventurous, but is happy and thriving.

She’ll sit quietly in the kennel, watching and pondering, and then, after much consideration, she’ll join in all the fun; it seems she’s of a philosophical bent. Why Zelda? Zelda Fitzgerald was the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. She was a complicated person, greatly talented and very high spirited – different, one could say. So yes, I’ve called Bella’s smallest pup Zelda, but that’s not to imply that she’ll have the tragic life Zelda Fitzgerald did, but rather that she marches to a different drum.

Never a dull moment here!

And who was perhaps the most delighted of all to welcome Freddie back?

Raki, of course.

 

THE GREAT ESCAPE!

 Bella’s pups are growing and maturing so fast that people are finding it hard to believe that they aren’t yet four weeks old. I think they’re going to be bigger than she is, and as we have no idea who papa (or papas were) we can only wait and see how they develop.

Zeus

 This past Wednesday, when they were just exactly three weeks old, led by the obvious leader of the pack – I’m calling him Zeus – they clambered over the rocks keeping their door ajar and out into The Great Unknown. Actually, it wasn’t quite so unknown as we’ve carried them outside before several times and placed them on the ground, but on this occasion it was under their own steam.

It was funny watching them. They were a bit bewildered at first, not too sure of themselves. There was quite a bit of high-pitched squealing, and snuffling around, and several attempts to get back inside to the safety of the familiar, but once inside again, they climbed directly back out. Ron opened the door wide for them to make it easier, and then the game was on.

Bella, however, was totally disinterested. This rather surprised me. Did she not care, or was she letting them find their feet, as it were, in the Great Big World? She wasn’t far away, but she made no effort to approach them, no matter how much they squeaked and wailed. Ron and I were greatly amused watching them, and I suppose Bella was well aware that her puddle of pups were in no danger. Interestingly enough, as each one tired, he or she waddled on shaky little legs back to the snuggly comfort of their bedding and dropped off to sleep very quickly.

Again, I was a bit taken aback that Bella didn’t join them. I guess I’m more accustomed to mother cats who are far more solicitous – at least in my experience – of their babies. The pups’ little bellies must have been full though, for they slept quietly for a long time. Or maybe they were simply exhausted by their adventure.

It definitely hasn’t been dull around here in this quiet little part of Kalamos.

 

FROM HOMELESS TO PROPERTY PORTFOLIO

Bella has moved right up in the world, and well she deserves it. When she got what I’m calling her sunlounger, she surely thought that’s as good as it could possibly get.

 I was certainly not prepared for how fast her offspring would grow, and soon it became clear that it was getting a bit crowded in Sophia’s kennel, big though it is.

 Several years ago we turned the large space under the front steps into a dog house for Sophia to use during the day if we were away; Costa would put her into the house at night. We had the cement floor tiled, installed a heater for winter, and ordered a dog door over the internet. It certainly is very comfortable, but Sophia preferred to use the kennel on the porch if she wasn’t inside the house with us.

Over the last few years we put a large pallet inside the understairs space and placed several olive crates with blankets on it. In there the many and varied cats who seek refuge here, and which we provide food for, could get shelter from the miserable winter weather. (We have seven much-loved pet cats who sleep inside the main house).

Last week we took all the cat beds out – the hanger-on cats are not sleeping there now as it’s warm – and arranged bedding for Bella, who was not made aware of the new accommodations. We went to Volos for the day, intending to introduce her to the new home when we returned. The kennel was empty when we got back and I panicked for a moment, but would you believe – Bella and family were stretched out in there! How she got them in I have no idea. They are far too big for her to pick up, so we can only assume she pushed them out of the kennel, and then rolled them into the new apartment. She loves it in there. That dog is not stupid, that’s for sure.

Ron was anxious about not having a kennel for the ‘wild’ cats to use if they wanted to, so while we were in Volos, he bought another kennel of the same brand, but smaller. These are made of cedar wood, stand on legs and are wind and water tight; very nicely constructed.

Well, no sooner had he assembled it and placed it on the porch than Bella took her ease in it.

Got to hand it to that dog – she knows a good thing when she sees it. When she’s not feeding her pups she has a choice of three spots to relax in, and she all but grins.

 The pups are walking about in their house-under-the stairs – not that they’re awake very much – and it can only be a day or two before they’ll get out into the yard. We’re having to give some thought to containing them. It’s certainly going to get very lively around here, and I will literally have to watch my step.

 

SOME RESPITE FOR MUM

 Bella’s devoted to her silky little puppies, but they’re already taking a toll on her. The black one with the wide white collar – rather like a nun’s wimple – is particularly demanding, and sets up a noisy protest as soon as ma’s not doing his or her bidding. Does this mean it’s the leader of the pack? Maybe it’s just convinced of its own importance. Whatever, it’s certainly not going unnoticed, and its strong character’s sure to make it a lovely pet one day. A red collar’s going to set off that white neck fur very nicely.

We placed Sophia’s dog bed just outside the kennel, and Bella took to it right away. She’s spending a fair bit of time in it, escaping the fatly fed pups when they fall into a contented cuddle as they drop off her into puppy dreamland. Can’t say I blame her. They’re a great deal of work, and I cannot even begin to imagine how she’d have coped alone in the wilds. How do these unfortunate animals find food? I’m not going to go there because I get overwhelmed at the thought of the endless misery in the world.

To happier thoughts then. Bella’s one lucky dog, and one whose pups will surely have good lives. I’m certainly going to do my best for them all. They will be strong and fit, completely used to people, not terrified  – a very good start for them indeed. Bella’s got a very sweet personality, and given her happy circumstances I’m sure her babies will be delightful dogs too.

PAWS is very supportive of our efforts. You can see Bella and her cuties here on PAWS Facebook page. PAWS does the most amazing work here on the Pelion Peninsula, under very difficult circumstances, and with very limited means.

We put the puppies into the dog bed for a little while yesterday; gave us a chance to freshen the bedding.

Bella took advantage of the opportunity to wander off through the grounds for a bit. It’s quite humbling how much she trusts us with her babies. She sat calmly watching us as we put them back into the kennel, then followed them inside.

Bella’s relaxing in her sunlounger as I write this morning. It’s quite funny really, rather like a mum’s day out for her, or perhaps spa time.

Her ear looks a lot worse than it is, and is responding well to treatment.

I’ll keep you updated as the pups grow. It’s certainly getting even more hectic around here!

 

A BELLAFUL OF PUPS

 A few weeks ago a rather scrawny, rather timid dog showed up in the yard, obviously very hungry. I fed her, and hoped she’d go away, and for a while, she did. I noticed that she’d clearly had pups at some point though how long ago I couldn’t tell, and she wasn’t nursing at the time.

She came back now and again, ravenous, and began gaining in confidence. We weren’t sure if she had a home, and even if she did there was nobody in Kalamos that we were aware of, so it was highly unlikely that she was being fed. She came and went. Came and went. I decided we needed to give her some kind of name, so Bella she became. I bought her a collar which I managed to put on her – she didn’t like it much – so that at least she’d appear to have a home and not be shot as a stray.

Yes, it happens. And yes, there’s no excuse for it, and yes, I’m likely to be arrested for attacking any person I see doing such a thing, but the area is remote and the population outside of the holiday season can be counted on one hand. And the @#$%#@ who do this sort of thing know that. And they know it’s illegal and they know they won’t be caught and frankly, they don’t give a damn.

We didn’t see Bella for a while, and then she arrived, fat with pups, her face, head and neck bloodied with many tiny wounds. “Birdshot,” Ron said. “Birdshot. Some bastard has shot her full in the face.”

We cleaned her up and put Betadine and Fucidine on the wounds. She shook her head violently at the Betadine, making the nasty wound on her ear worse, so now I only use the cream. It’s slow going, but is getting better.

It was obvious that she was very close to birthing puppies. What could we do? We still have the kennel that my beautiful dog, Sophia, who broke my heart when she died, hardly ever used; her bed was in the house with us.

I persuaded Bella  to get inside it and she settled in. For one night. The following night she wasn’t in it, but she didn’t show up for breakfast either. “She’s had the puppies somewhere,” I said to Ron. We started looking through the grounds, and although we couldn’t see her, we could hear little noises in the forest. The forest is dense; no way could we have penetrated to search for her.

We left a large bowl of food which was eaten at some point during the day. We left another that night. And that night it poured and poured and poured, and was cold. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t appear. Why she didn’t come to the kennel. It’s a very big one, very nicely made. The bedding was clean. I worried that harm could come to Bella and the pups she surely had, and spent most of the following day calling and calling to her.

And then, late in the day, as night began to fall and I was filling the drinking troughs outside, I saw Bella racing across the yard to the kennel. She’d definitely had the pups. She dashed into the kennel and emerged in a flash with the teensiest of puppies dangling by the scruff. Hardly bigger than a large mouse. It was all kinds of colors, but the way it dangled, and the way Bella was keening, I realized it was dead. She raced into the forest with it. There was no other puppy in the kennel and there hadn’t been all through the day. It was very strange.

I went back upstairs, not knowing if there were other puppies. Not knowing what had happened. Suddenly I heard heart-stopping screams and squeals and just managed to get a glimpse of Bella running from the forest with a most indignant pup clutched in her mouth.

For such a little thing it had a massive voice! She ran back and forth some 100 yards in a matter of mere minutes from forest to kennel, kennel to forest, and brought the rest of the family to their new home. She’d finally seen the light, or felt the warmth, or had some sort of epiphany and brought the babies in out of the cold and danger. So rapidly did she make the transfers that I barely had time to grab my camera, and take pics from the balcony.

Five. There are five of them. Had she brought the teensy one first? Was it already dead? Did she change her mind? And what did she do with it when she fled into the forest with it? It was much, much smaller than the rest of the litter, so perhaps it had no chance. I’ll never know what happened.

 Bella’s pups were born sometime through the night of 19th /20th March. She brought them to the kennel on the 21st, and they’ve not moved since. They’re growing at such a pace that she can’t pick them up in her mouth anymore.

Their eyes started opening yesterday, and they are cute, cute, cute. The black and white one’s already a live wire. He keeps tumbling out of the kennel…you’ll note ma’s keeping him firmly underfoot. Not yet two weeks old and their characters are becoming evident.

Somehow I have to find homes for them. And that’s going to be a real battle.