Puppy Progress Weeks 11 & 12 - Vet's, Beaches & Dad Home Alone

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Thursday 20 April 2017

Puppy Progress Weeks 11 & 12 - Vet's, Beaches & Dad Home Alone

Another fortnight passed already and another action packed one it was for the 4 strong puppy pack and Leela. We continue to receive happy and positive updates from the departed Jess and Teddy (I suppose to be accurate I should say the updates come from their humans, their paws are rubbish on keyboards) which is great news, although we still miss them very much. Seeing how much bigger and dog-like the remaining 4 are becoming is a stark reminder of how different Jess and Teddy will be when we next get to see them. Come to think of it, it's also a stark reminder of just how fast the other 4 are growing as well!

Adopting Leela has inspired a collection of dog-themed poems and illustrations:
Love, Fluff and Chasing Butterflies - 50% of profits is donated to the Dog's Trust 

So what's been happening in puppy land? Well the big event was Esther's 5 day absence from puppy HQ to attend her grandma's 100th birthday party!!!! It was a busy 5 days (for both of us) to say the least. Here at HQ I tried to stick as closely as possible to the puppies usual routine. Typically that meant they woke me up at 6.30 for a short outside play, followed by an hour or so upstairs until they'd let off a little steam. Then they went back in their pen for breakfast while Leela got a walk for an hour so, followed by her breakfast. By now they were waking up again and it was time for our wonderful next door neighbour Marijke to come and dog sit while I worked through their individual training time.

Recall continued to be the big focus while Esther was away. 'Sit' they've been doing for weeks, but having a good recall is something we are putting a lot of energy into except it can only be done alone at the moment. Brothers and sisters, it seems, are far too distracting.

What this means in practice is 4 trips back and forth to a street far enough away that they're not tempted to dash home, which in the San Jose Easter heat was a good workout for me as well. Thank goodness for Marijke is all I can say as I couldn't have done any of this without her. We're so lucky with our friends here in San Jose.

By now it would be late morning and, if I could face it, I tried a short run for myself, or alternatively some time sitting in a beach cafe with Marijke and Frank down in San Jose. It was lovely of them to help take all the pups into town giving me some enjoyable time out and keep the pups getting used to the hustle and bustle of San Jose, especially over the Easter time rush.

Back at base it would then be time for lunch all round, another short play session if required and then if my luck held we all got a bit of a siesta before a cycle of evening playtimes, Marijke puppy sitting yet again (thank you so much!) while Leela got her second big walk and then waiting for the final steam to run out by about 9.30 when I could clear up and get to bed.

Phew....we were all very happy when Esther came home! She was also very complementary about how much better their recall was getting so that was nice and I was relieved that the van was back for some extended road trips to tire the pups out in the great outdoors again. It certainly made a big difference to the volume levels in the mornings at home, but more importantly they just love the beaches.

A few days later the pups got to 'enjoy' another vet visit for their third puppy vaccination, which means that by now they are pretty much covered for the usual suspects, another weight off of our mind as they are so strong and inquisitive when out and about now.

Adopting Leela has inspired a collection of dog-themed poems and illustrations:
Love, Fluff and Chasing Butterflies - 50% of profits is donated to the Dog's Trust 




To be frank I am starting to find myself using the words 'the dogs' to describe the pack now rather than 'the puppies'. I know that in age they are still definitely pups, but size wise some aren't too far off their mum any more. Rose, for example, weighed in at 4.9kg at her vaccination and Leela was only 7.3kg. I've even confused the pair of them once when I saw them trotting outside.


Even putting this post together just now I'm staggered at how much they've changed in the past 2 weeks from the photos, and also reflecting on how much their personalities are developing too. Bella is incredibly loving, Rose is incredibly inquisitive, George is playful and mischievous and Pati is wonderfully docile and gentle. They've been like this for a while of course, but the differences between them seem more apparent, which of course could be my interpretation as well I suppose.

Not that they can't all be devils if the mood takes them. I've had to say goodbye to several good pairs of socks already. Turns out you can buy as many toys as you like but you can't beat a used sock! Can't be angry at them though. For a start there's no point in terms of teaching them anything, but I actually find it very hard to feel angry at them anyway.....it's the eyes, and besides a pile on is guaranteed to cheer me up.

In the weeks ahead we're looking forward to an exciting time as we gear up for our departure from San Jose, leaving is in the mood to make the absolute most of our remaining days here on the golden beaches with the pack.

Enjoy the pictures.


  1. Hi guy's, do you have to worry about the processionally caterpillar issue at all while on your extensive walks? We will be bringing our 4 to this area for a month May/June. Regards, Mary.

    1. Hi Mary,

      It is something we worry about, especially during Feb - April when we have read they are most active. I should say from the outset we haven't been doing very remote walks so our experience this year is limited to the areas in the Cabo de Gata natural park. We just haven't gone much further afield with the pups being so young.

      Here in San Jose, throughout late Feb and March particularly we often saw processionary caterpillars on the streets that have pine trees along them. Sometimes they were crawling across the road, but since they are nocturnal usually we saw remnants of processions of 20-30 caterpillars that had been run over showing just how many were out at night.

      We are less worried now, but still vigilant. In theory I think in southern Spain by now most of the caterpillars should have buried themselves and started turning into the moths they become. We can certainly see fewer nests in the trees and haven't seen any on the streets for a few weeks.

      Still we continue to be cautious. Our routes in and out of town when we have the dogs avoid roads with pines trees on them. We take our outdoor shoes off at the door or rinse the soles if we have gone down a pine tree street when out without the dogs for example.

      In the wild it really depends where you walk. Some hikes we have done have what seems like thousands of pine trees on them, others not so much. Near San Jose there are plenty of hikes with no sign of pine trees. Up in the Almahillas behind Nijar I remember there being lots.

      If we were to go on a hike (and this will be true next year when we come back) I think we would still avoid certain areas or turn around outright if we saw a big patch of pine. As I said above, in theory the caterpillars go to ground around now in this area and don't come back until next year (varies with latitude/temperature as I understand) but that doesn't mean there won't be a dead one in the scrub a dog could decide to eat.

      So I reckon we'll stay cautious as long as we have a dog with us from now on.

      That said, on the flip side, we see many people walking their dogs off the lead along pine tree lined roads here right through the caterpillars most active season. I guess it's about what risks you're willing to take?

      I hope this helps. It's just our point of view. We have chosen to be quite risk averse, reasoning there are plenty of places without pine trees to explore as well.

      Best wishes,



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