I get that said to me a lot on our walks. At least twice daily.
"Hey Princess, I think that nice French lady just said we were beautiful!"
"Comment dits-on "duh" en Francais?"
Culture shock is setting in. So far, Mr. Wild Dingo and I only wanted to flee back home about 87 times. Even though this is Europe and I've been here several times, I didn't realize how difficult it can be to live in another country. The language barrier, unspoken rules, navigating, common behavior for shopping, oh and the parking... the damn parking in these Slim Fast parking spaces. I have no idea how I'll ever be able to park quickly and smoothly or exit the car without needing a can of Pam.
Loki's not all that happy here yet. As I predicted, he's having a hard time feeling settled. For one thing, everything scares him. Remember how he loved to play "get in the box?" Well, he's now taken on a very irrational fear of cardboard boxes. He became frightened of them on the day I unpacked the air shipment. While he was napping, I inadvertenly hit an empty box which made a loud noise and scared him awake. Now he won't even be in the same room as any cardboard box.
"Get in the box already sissy-boy! Geesh, don't you remember how much fun it was in California?"
"No way Princess! I'm stayin' far away from that monsterous thing that woke me from my sweet dreams of my old back yard!"
The weather so far has been mild, mostly sunny and warm. On the days it rains, it seems to rain for 20 or 30 minutes and then the rest of the day is sunny again. The weather is typically gorgeous after a day of on and off raining. The other day, it rained on and off with some clouds and sun and the next day the winds blew in heavily blowing away the clouds and causing Lake Leman (Lake Geneva to the rest of the world) to actually have some serious waves.
Loki is spooked by the high waves and winds. But he's spooked by everything these days. He broke his sit stay (very unlike him) when the high winds blew something down in the shop next to him. Juno has nerves of steel and doesn't even notice. She normally breaks a sit stay just out of general disobedience.
"Princess, what was THAT? Is it the end of the world?"
"Oh pipe down silly boy. You're breakin' my concentration on finding just the right excuse to get up from my sit."
On top of all this newness, his routine has been broken. In California, their routine had been to get up in the morning and do some training or games with me individually. Then we'd have a play session and a couple of runs around the yard. After that we'd go in, have a bully stick or bone and I would start my day. At the end of the day we'd have a long walk. Our routine here is different because I don't have luxury of just setting them outside to go potty or go have a run in the yard yet. So most of my time is spent taking them for very long walks to get their exercise. The other parts of my day are spent shopping or taking care of things that need to be done for us to live here.
Loki is bored. I can see it. I never really knew how much he loved to work and train until now. He truly enjoys using his brain. He loves puzzles and thinking through new behaviors and loves to get things right. On the other paw, as much as Juno loves training, she's more interested in just walking long distances and experiencing life. They're so opposite.
The other morning when I saw that Loki didn't want to eat his bully stick, I took them out and did some training, with a longer focus on Loki. His spirits picked up and when we came in, they both went for their bones. A few hours later we went downtown to Morges at lunch time for a long walk. The wind was intense and the water on the lake very choppy. Juno was unphased and very interested in it but Loki was spooked by it all.
"Hey Daddy-O! Check out those waves! Reminds me of the Cruz, doesn't it?"
"Princess, there's no way, no how I'm even gonna look at those monsters."
"I love how the wind from France behind me just floofs up my jodhpurs!"
"Holy crap Princess! There's a monster in that lake! I'm outta here!"
"You'd better run Big Boy. I heard the Lemaness Monster enjoys Formosan dogs for lunch. And it's just about high-noon!"
"I could bask in the sun all day long."
"Princess, tell me when the monster is gone. I can't look!"
"Hey, where'd my brave guard dog suddenly go?"
In the park, we ran into two English people on bikes were impressed by Loki and Juno staying down on a distance while I picked up their poo. Swiss and foreigners compliment their behavior often, "oh my your dogs are so well behaved!" Sigh. If they only knew. The Swiss have their own set of "rules" in regards to managing dog behavior that are a bit different than mine and so a down-stay in a busy park often turns peoples heads.
Although the Swiss have their own rules for dog behavior mangement, they are quite tolerant of welcoming them into any store. Last weekend we wandered into the Froidevaux Cycles bike shop in Morges, to buy a new road bike for me. Mr. Wild Dingo and I are big cyclists (or at least I used to be). We brought almost all of our bikes--mountain, road and cyclocross--with us, but they are still in transit. Mr. Wild Dingo even brought his time trial bike for indoor training. I needed a new road bike anyway. Rather than bring my old one, we opted just to buy one here so I wouldn't have to wait for our "sea" shipment to arrive to start riding. They tried to sell us a Trek or other American made bike, but we insisted on a European brand just for kicks. After all, it was less-expensive AND American bikes are several thousand dollars more here than they are in the States! For the cyclists who want to know: I bought a beautiful carbon La Pierre women's specific road bike. The "groupo" components will need to be upgraded as they are too heavy for my taste, but we'll do that later.
The dogs were mostly good, until Loki spotted a big dog outside the shop and went a little cracker. He also went cracker as I test rode the bike. Dog-forbid his pack should be split apart more than 20 feet of eachother. Safety in numbers and all that.
"Oh my dawg Princess, is Mom gonna make us model all these helmets just like we did for Doggie-Gras?"
"Big-Boy, no worries. Your brain isn't big enough to fit in any of these helmets."
Meanwhile Juno has taken to opening the doors while we're gone and raiding whatever she can find in our bedroom. She got into Mr. Wild Dingo's flip flops but spared them any masticatory damage. Damn Mr. Wild Dingo always gets off easy with the sibe. The other day she took out all my dirty socks and undergarments from the laundry basket and had her way with them. She must have been channelling the dingo who did the first time I stayed over her house. It's obvious she enjoys punishing me over Mr. Wild Dingo. Fortunately for you Internet, I won't post photos of my unmentionables strewn around the house to prove the husky's criminal activity. I think you can take my word on it by now.
The fence guy is coming again on Saturday. The first quote made our eyes bug out of our head. Luckily for us he offered to come back and discuss other options. We're so anxious to get this done. Now if we can only figure out a way to get Loki to chill out and cheer up. I"m already back to our morning training routine, so that has helped a lot. But if you have other ideas, send them on!
"Sigh. I miss all my peeps and canines in California and at K9-clinic: my search buddies Rolf, Honey and Sierra, my favorite chi Louie and my favorite pack of wolves, Jim and his huskies. I even miss that crazy vet, Dogtor Hilary. Woah is me. An international dog living in a beautiful country. And all I have is this stupid duck."
No cash for the treat jar but you'd like to show the love? No problem! Connect with me on LinkedIn and endorse my creative writing skills. Let me know how the pups and I can love ya back!
"Your project is guaranteed to meet superior Siberian standards or I will fatally masticate it. You have my "woo" on that!"
"I keep your project safe from crows, coyotes, and flies. I prefer to be paid in salmon treats and tennis balls."
"I manage the treat jar & the staff's daily payroll of cookies and bones. The staff is excellent at math and let me know when I come up short."