perjantai 23. toukokuuta 2014

Nice to Meet You

We are approaching the magical number of 1000 (one thousand!) followers in Instagram. Crazy, right? Tell me about it! I have got to know staffy people from all over the world, and some of the staffies I am following have become very dear to me. Instagram has also been a very good excuse to take more and more photos (to tell you the truth, I have always taken tons of pictures, even before the Insta Era - I think Luumu knew how to pose before he even knew his name :D) Long story short, that approaching 1000 followers gave me an idea to introduce ourselves more closely here in the blog, too. I have updated some highlights of our life from early on in English, but have to admit that I could do that more often. In the right-hand column (at the end), there is the search word "in English". By clicking that, you'll be able to read all the English texts.

You who have been following us in the Instagram have probably an idea of what sort of life me and Luumu lead. We live in (sort-of) countryside, and our lives are filled with all sort of healthy and not so healthy activities (like swimming and eating pizza...). I am married, but my husband has a funny thing about not wanting to be shown in the pictures... What's that? Haha. We also have a 10-year-old cat that is not asked whether or not he likes to be shown in Luumu's Instagram account every once in a while. I work as a translator; I run my small business from my home office (a small room in the attic that you can barely call an office...). Last year, I also started a small canine business for which I make and market beautiful and durable dog collars and other gear, also jackets, pullovers, etc. That's called Vau Mumu, and the web site is actually being designed as we speak.

Where are all the yummy ladies? 

I think there is one common thing that binds us staffy owners. We love our dogs and they are a huge part of our lives. For me, Luumu isn't just part of my life, I could say that he is my life. There are not many places or occasions where I couldn't take him with me, and a staffy as he is, he really enjoys participating in everything! We live in a house by the river Aura in Vanhalinna. That's South-West Finland... I guess Vanhalinna as such doesn't say much to any of you, even if I make it sometimes sound like a big deal ;) I love our old house, our big garden, that dirt road of ours and that river. Those fields, that Linnavuori (sort of a mountain, or a hill you might say) of ours and all the nature, serenity, all this room for a dog to run around all crazy. Luumu loves swimming, but even more than that he   l o v e s   obedience. That is a passion for both of us, and we practice obedience almost daily. Luumu competes in second class at the moment, or actually we have our first official 2nd class obedience trial next week. Nerve-wracking, really! Luumu is really motivated, he loves getting toys and tug-of-war games as a reward, but he doesn't say no to some delicious boiled chicken/turkey/pork heart either. Obedience is such a huge part of our lives, so I just decided to write a follow-up post for this one - one where I explain the true essence of our cooperative obedience work. So I'll hold my breath and save all what I have got to say about the theme later... (Difficult, though!)

Luumu has been on raw diet from when he was only 8 weeks old. He is a picky eater sometimes, especially when there are some lovely lady scents in the neighbourhood. For me, raw diet was an easy decision that I made several weeks before Luumu moved in. Even if I don't eat in a 100% healthy way every day, at least I know what my dog puts in his mouth. To be honest, I am sure his great condition is at least partly due to his healthy, natural diet. There is really nothing extra there, only the finest ingredients an active dog needs.

In addition to a healthy diet, health is an important aspect of our lives in so many different ways. Because of our active lifestyle, I like to keep my little furry partner in a great physical condition. Luumu has a massage every once in a while, but more importantly, he has an appointment to one of the best canine physiotherapists of Finland some 4 to 6 times in year. The physiotherapist manipulates Luumu thoroughly, and finds possible tight spots before they develop into more serious problems. Especially with such an energetic, adventurous breed, this is vital. 

Sometimes he's a photogenic beauty,
sometimes I get this creature instead. 

We have learned the importance of health the hard way. When Luumu was only 6 months old, he slipped on a wooden terrace and sprained his knee. He was x-rayed several times, and only after a while they could see a small piece of cartilage in the knee where it shouldn't be. A tiny piece they said, and it shouldn't affect Luumu's quality of life in any way. Of course, we needed to rest for several weeks, months even, when it comes to more energetic activities. I needed to be the bad cop here all the time, I was the one to forbid all the fun. When the knee had fully recovered (well, the cartilage is where it is, there nothing to remove that), we needed to learn a completely new way to play with each other. When I rewarded Luumu for something with a toy, he'd always take the toy as far away from me as possible (so that I, the bad cop, wouldn't take it from him). Our cooperative obedience work is strongly based on prey drive and aggressive playing, so you might guess what a job it was to learn and to teach that from the beginning, when all Luumu wanted to do was to run as far away from me as possible... Hmm, I sort of promised not to write about obedience here, but you see how it   a l w a y s  turns out. 

Other than the minor knee injury, Luumu has been really healthy all his life. Of course he has had all sorts of small things every puppy or a young adult goes through during their development, and the way I am, I haven't always been able to take them as they really are: normal conditions that belong in a normal life. Luumu is my first but extremely desired dog, and I have really gone through the entire emotional scale during his development. At the moment, we are in a good place. The knee hasn't troubled him at all in over a year, and last time we visited the physiotherapist, she said that Luumu is in the best condition ever! Call me silly, but I really take pride in my dog's well-being and excellent condition. And hey, it can't be a bad thing for me too, if that means more exercise for me! Last year I bought us running equipment (a belt for me and running harness for Luumu), and I have been saying out loud that in September, we'd participate in a local dogs' running event Kuntokoira in the 10 km running class. Now that it is said out loud, I should really do something about that too... Gladly we still have some 4 months to practice running. I know it's a piece of a delicious cake for Luumu, but me..! Last year, we participated in the 6.5km walk class, and even if it really wasn't a competition, we came first. Hell, we even passed one contestant in the running class! (I don't like to brag, but...;))

I've captured better jumping photos before... 

Enjoying the rural life 
What staffy? I am a cow!
In addition to our active lifestyle, I like to lead a social life too. Luumu has always had different kinds of canine friends, and he gets along with everyone, really. At one point, he didn't like pups, but I believe that's water under the bridge now. Also a few months ago when Luumu was approximately two years old, he became really anxious when passing dogs in our neighbourhood. As I have taken him everywhere with me from early on, he'd have no problem passing dogs in the city, in all sorts of events, in the dog hall, in shows... you name it. But here in our neighbourhood, where it is really quiet, he'd speed up, even ruffle his hackles a little when a strange dog came right towards him. I take pride in my dog's well-being, yes, but I also take pride in his good behaviour. I know the behaviour was due to his uncertainty, and with some constant work we are in a much better place now! I taught him a word so he'd glance the strange dog, but immediately after when he noticed the dog, he needed to focus on the treat I had in my hand. We'd keep walking all the time, and he'd get rewarded when keeping an eye on my hand. At the moment, he isn't now entirely relaxed when passing dogs in our neighbourhood, but he know the game already. He knows that a strange dog means lots of treats and that is always a positive thing. 

I tried some #catchseries thingies... 
... not very successfully. 
Recognize this? It became the new banner!
I believe that behaviour belongs to a normal development, too. Luumu is such a great little fellow and I often hear people changing their opinion of staffies into a more positive one after getting to know Luumu more closely. I know it's a drop in a bucket, but to me that's really important. Luumu is actually going to a mental test next week after the obedience trial (the Swedish MH). Mostly I take him there for me. I am interested in knowing if my perceptions of him are "correct" and also I would like to show the world what a great dog he is. I don't know why that is so important to me, isn't my own opinion enough? I have never seen a mental test in reality, so that is interesting too. I'll definitely report how that'll work out :)

It's becoming late - like I really didn't have anything better to do in Friday evening. I really don't! Tomorrow, we'll practice some obedience again first thing in the morning, then I have a meeting (topic: obedience and practicing obedience) and then we'll go camping in the archipelago. On Sunday, after we come back home again, guess what we'll do..? That's right, practice obedience again :DD You deserve an applause for reading through the entire text. If you feel up to it, please leave a comment. I really enjoy reading those comments, just like I enjoy reading the ones in Instagram. Thanks for @lovingluumu, like I do. See you around!

Some new angles.. working? 
... not so well... 
... but I like this one, though. 

Kiss <3 

Bunny of a dog 

You keep your eyes open in the grass! 
Spring, almost summer!

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