As Junior is still recovering from his surgery, I didn’t get much time to cook the past week. However, I still cooked two dishes.
Junior is slowly getting his energy back, so we just decided to have some fun last night.
So many things going on at the moment! Although it is difficult to balance it out and simplify life, but sometimes it is too much to handle. Junior is scheduled for his blood test before his stye and cataract surgery, my work is expanding which has increased my work load, all of a sudden my electrical gadgets are mutilating, my car broke down on the highway in heavy rains, etc. Knowing the person that I am, I can handle every punch thrown at me by life. But sometimes, it becomes overwhelming and I need to shut down or take a break for a few days to recharge myself.
And that’s exactly what I did! I left for a short trip with Junior and some cousin; not just to give myself a break, but also for Junior to have a little change. We had gone for only two days, but trust me when I say this; those two days were enough for both of us to recharge and come back fresh. It all mattered to the company we had and the place we went to. Junior was the center of attraction and he was playing and running around like a free bird. Seeing him being a happy dog made me so happy that I was automatically rejuvenated.
We went to a place called Deolali in Maharashtra. Deolali was a British Army camp 100 miles north-east of Mumbai (then called Bombay). It was the original location of the Army Staff College. Basically, it is an Army Camp in the Hills. However, now there are many civilian residents there and we have a home as well. So Junior was going from one home to another. The difference is, Junior had ample of open space to run around, the weather was good, we were in nature, we were in our private property where we didn’t have to wear our mask or fear the CoronaVirus and we were with our best people.
In this post, I won’t write much. I just want you all to see the beautiful place and how Junior had fun.
Besides our vacation, today is my elder son Casper’s birthday. Had he been living, he would have been 11 years old. Every passing year I miss him more. All I can do is, hold on to his memories until the time comes and I get to hug him Heaven.
Over the years, I have a bought a lot of toys for Casper and Junior. Unfortunately, I had to donate everything when Casper passed away, so I cannot show them or review them for you. Although, Casper would predominantly only play with Tennis Balls, and, at times, with a tug-of-war rope with Junior, later I again bought a lot of toys for Junior. So today I have decided to give an insight of what toys Junior plays with, which are worth the money, and, which are absolutely useless.
Let me start with brain stimulating or treat puzzle toys:
- Paw Puzzle Toy:
As you can see in the video above, Junior still doesn’t understand this quite as much. And in just a few minutes, he gets bored and leaves it. This toy is expensive, and, really not that worth the money. Personally, I do not recommend this.
I actually have a free and better alternate for this toy. Make your dog smell some kibble or treats and then keep your dog in a room while you hide the kibble or treats in the house. Let your dog out and command him to search. This way, he is physically and mentally active and also will spend a good 30 minutes searching for the treats.
- Wobble Toy:
While you can see in the video, Junior has chewed on the toy rather than making an effort to remove the kibble. This toy is still better than the above one, but one of the biggest con is that if you do not have carpet at home, then you will have to keep getting up again and again to remove this from below the couch or dining table. Again, it is expensive and not worth the money. Another alternate for this toy is to get a snack rubber ball where your dog will run, and also be rewarded with treats falling out of it.
- Kong Ball:
I highly recommend this. Woefully, I cannot remove a video of this as Junior is on medicated food due to Pancreatitis and this toy needs a binding agent like curd or peanut butter (which I cannot feed Junior just yet) to lick on or to keep the kibble or treats from falling out. I propose you put in some kibble, then add curd or peanut butter (if your dog is not allergic to it), then add kibble and curd or peanut butter again till it’s full and freeze it. Once frozen, you can give your dog and he/she will relish it and also be occupied for a long time. Since Kong Balls are expensive, another proxy for this is to take a cucumber, remove all the seeds and make it hollow from the center and fill it with kibble/treats and curd/peanut butter, freeze it and then give it to your dog.
- Suction Tug – Of – War Toy:
This is a really good toy. A friend gifted this to Junior. It is highly priced. But the problem as you can see is, the suction doesn’t stay for long as shown in the advertisements. You can even place some kibble or treats in the ball to attract your dog towards this toy. But as I said, the suction cup is not effective.
- Tug – Of – War Rope:
Something else I would recommend. But as you can see, if you have only one dog, then you personally will have to be a participant in this. Junior has always been a fan of playing Tug-of-War as he would play this all the time with Casper. Post Casper’s passing, I became his partner for the same. We play every morning for 10 minutes. This helps me spend less time on my phone and little more on my physical activity. Make sure your dog doesn’t get too excited while playing as that will lead to palpitations and an over exerted dog. Also, as you can see in the video, Junior has chewed up on the handle, so keep an eye that your dog doesn’t swallow it. This is a wallet friendly toy and durable.
Outdoor and Indoor Toys:
- Squeaky Pink Crocodile:
Absolutely durable, inexpensive, safe and cute. I just throw this toy like a ball and Junior brings it to me for more. Besides playing, Junior loves sleeping with it as well. Just remove 10 minutes of your day and play indoors or outdoors with this.
- Squeaky Ball:
This is Junior’s by far the most favorite toy. It is a little worn out, that is because this was the first toy I bought for Junior after Casper’s heavenly adobe. It’s been 4.5 years since Junior is playing with it and still doesn’t want to part ways with. Absolutely affordable and I will continue using this by stitching it from where it is torn.
Bonus: Your slippers. Ha ha ha ha ha! I do not recommend this, but this has been a universal toy for all dogs, big or small, any breed. Dogs love playing with our slipper, every house has it, and, no special time required to keep them engaged. They will play with it whenever and wherever.
I hope all the above was helpful and I could help you’ll in saving some bucks. I always get carried away by seeing fancy pictures of dogs toys and buy them, but not all are worth it and value for money. Many are even dangerous as they break or tear and dogs tend to choke on the broken or torn pieces. Be mindful, attentive and smart for your dog’s health.
Few years ago, I contemplated with the idea of taking Caper and Junior to the beach for a photo-shoot. I was a little intimidated with the whole idea as I had never taken both of them out to the beach all alone. Hence, I requested my brother and cousin sister to come along, but, neither of them had any kind of experience with handling one dog, let alone 2 extremely hyper dogs! After weeks of planning to do a photo-shoot with my dogs and contemplating whether I could take them outdoors or no, we finally decided on a day and went on for it. Gladly, I didn’t cancel the plan out of fear of handling Casper and Junior alone in public, because after a few months, Caspu passed away.
It was a Sunday morning that we had finalized for the photoshoot. My cousin sister is actually a photographer and also a dog lover. She was the best of whom I could think of to capture our moments. My brother joined us to ensure we were safe, and, also helped take care of my dogs as he knew that Casper and Junior would take me for a complete ride, and it would be difficult for me to handle them alone.
The day came and 7.30am we reached the beach. The beach wasn’t much crowded, just a scattered few individual jogging or doing yoga. There were a few who had bought their dogs for walk. The weather wasn’t very hot as winters had already started. All in whole, it was extremely calm and serene and in fact a great day for photography. Within minutes of reaching the beach, both Casper and Junior went completely ballistic, and, started running like maniacs. I, to be honest, wasn’t exactly confounded by this behavior of their; Mumbai being a thickly and cramped city, we do not get any open space for the dogs to play around. And this was their first time at the beach. They were more than delighted.
It took me sometime to calm Casper and Junior down before we could actually start clicking pictures. For a safer side, I had made them wear a collar and a body belt. They were on a double leash and I had carried two separate leashes as well. Yes, I was paranoid……hahaha!
Once they were pacified, we started with the photoshoot. And to my marvel, Casper and Junior posed like Vogue Cover Page Models. An anxious morning turned into the most amazing morning of my life. The sound of the waves, the cool breeze, the crisp sand and two big calm dogs. I would have stayed there forever! My cousin could capture so many beautiful pictures that it was incredible.
After the photoshoot, I had become so confident that I even let Casper and Junior go into the water. And they were splashing water, digging in the sand and savoring like little babies. I believe, it was the best day of their lives too. They even played with other dogs there who had come for a walk. I had also taken a ball for them to play with. We stayed there for about an hour and a half as Casper and Junior were then exhausted. If anything in the world I would ask for to God, it will be to let me live that day again with my dogs. We sat in the car and reached home and I immediately took Casper and Junior for a bath. After bathing, they had their meal and slept right away like babies!
I am so thankful to my cousin to click these pictures for me which is a marvelous memory of lifetime and grateful to my brother to join for our safety.
You can checkout her excellent photography skills on Instagram (link below).
I would like to share some tips with you’ll if you are taking your dogs to the beach. Hope they are helpful.
- If you notice your dog panting or vomiting or excessively drooling, abort immediately and take them to the Vet at the earliest. This could be due to overheating and they can collapse.
- Bring plenty of fresh water for them and a water bowl and offer refills liberally.
- Carry a toy like a ball or Frisbee.
- Take breaks. Let them calm down and then play again.
- Don’t let them too deep into the water. Carry a life jacket.
- Never take puppies under 4 months to the beach.
- If you have a hairless dog, consider making them wear a t-shirt.
- Leave them off leash only if they have a solid grasp on the recall command. Carry a long leash instead. It gives them freedom of movement and won’t be out of your reach too.
- Discourage your dog from drinking sea water.
- Carry a big towel to put it on your car seat when returning home from the beach.
- Give them a bath immediately after reaching home.
- If it is a hot sunny day, protect his paw and be careful of the sun stroke.
And last but most important tip, click a loooooooooooooot of pictures. Always remember, the most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes (yes, we do not mind dirtying our clothes for our dogs). Sometimes we will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. These memories are all I have of Casper and I will capture as many memories as I can of Junior. Because memories never fade and a picture is worth a thousand words. One day, our tears will dry, smiles will also fade, but these memories will always stay. So click as many pictures as you can, Cheers!