Animals


Poor Zeph. He had to get The Chop. A few months ago, he developed a bit of a prostate problem due to The Ladies. You may know that a whole male dog can sniff the ladies miles away (2km or 1.2 miles according to our vet). The scent of the female dog in heat enlarges the male prostate and this all pushes on the bowel, so the dog ends up with toilet problems.

So 10 days ago, Zeph had his operation. I was calm about it but when he came home well….vets really should warn you that animals coming out of anesthetic cry and are terribly unsettled. El Hubs picked him up around 4.00pm and I think he was operated on before 10.00am. Apparently, vets do cats first, then dogs.

We put him on our bed and basically we both slept with him all night. Thankfully, we have a huge bed. He was very hungry around 7.00pm but I only gave him a tiny amount of food. Didn’t want the poor thing to throw up. Next morning, you would not have known anything was wrong. He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as we Australians say.

Then began the “keep your dog quiet for 10-14 days business.” Well, Zeph wanted to run around like a lunatic and play with Zsa Zsa (who was a little provocateur!). I admit to being a bit of an hysterical dog mum, so I made sure Zeph remained as quiet as possible. Thankfully, there’s been no swelling or any problems and his toilet issues have disappeared.

We had a good vet down South and we’ve found an equally good one here. Can you believe we’ve been in the Far North for over four months now?!

I love this photo of Zeph and Zsa Zsa’s paws. When little ZZ wasn’t being provocative and trying to get Zeph to play, she sat quietly with him.

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At the top of our property is native bush. I’m still coming to grips with what the trees are but I think they are Totora. They’re very tall and are home to wood pigeon and harrier hawks.

In the bush (or forest as I call it) are these amazing rock formations. The Far North is volcanic so I’m sure these rocks have been formed by past eruptions. Only the North Island of New Zealand has volcanoes and there is a long history of eruptions. It’s said that Auckland is sitting on a super-volcano – let’s hope not!

I’ve been told that the previous owner of our property, when he was a kid, would play in this forest with his siblings and they built rock walls to play behind. Zeph and Zsa Zsa love to sniff around these walls because rabbits hide there. I’ll try and do a video soon – a walk-through of the forest.

Can you spot the dogs behind the wall?

 

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It’s just been snowing down south where we used to live. I think I’ve said it before: for the first year or so, snow was really magical for me. Coming from Sydney, where I was born and lived for a long time, I never saw snow (unless I travelled to Europe in their Winter or went to someplace in NSW like Cooma). When the snow melts though….nah. You also have to deal with feeding out in the middle of a snowstorm and breaking the ice on water troughs.

Over the years we lived in the South Island, we became used to it but I’m very happy to be here in the winterless Far North. El Hubs thinks it is cold here (albeit not as cold as the South); I don’t think it’s cold at all. Crisp in the mornings and evenings yes, but not bone-chilling like I’ve experienced.

My horses are still down South staying with a good friend. Miss Rosie is in foal and expecting in early December and Karma is keeping her company. My friend sent me a video of Rosie with the stallion she is obsessed with and I can’t stop watching it. Just magical the way the stallion moves and with the snow falling.

Press the play button and enjoy!

What do you call it when a whole lot of bulls come together? A conference of bulls? This looks more like a flash mob.

I looked out the kitchen window of The Shed early the other morning and was greeted by this sight. Not sure what they were all planning or why they were looking towards the window. Probably they are just curious cows. Zeph has been very curious about them but came a little too close for comfort – and decided to run off.

Have you noticed the name change for the blog yet? Can’t change the URL but I thought it was time to pick a new name. So the Daily Oxford is now Up North.

In this post, I’ll give you a first look at our (rather large) property. We decided to downsize. We had 30 acres down South and we shifted to….wait for it….47 acres. Yep. We simply fell in love with the property and that was that.

We arrived on April 3 and went immediately to the property and let Zeph and Zsa Zsa run wild and free. This was before going to the pet-friendly accommodation! I promised the dogs that they could sniff and explore their new home as soon as we made it up North.

We will be living temporarily in a shed, which I refer to as The Shed. Next post, I’ll show you what it looks like. It is a serious downsize – from a two-storey home to a shed.

The Shed was not quite ready for our arrival. We started the build around November of last year not knowing when we’d actually sell our house. We have no power or water on the property, so we have to install solar panels, a composting toilet and get a phone line put in. This has taken a bit more time than we had hoped because it was hard to organise things whilst still living in the South Island.

We’ve been at the pet-friendly accommodation for two weeks now and I think one more week to go before we can move into The Shed. But we take the dogs to the property every day so they feel right at home there already. El Hubs is now project managing the build so things are moving faster.

The best part of the property for Zeph and Zsa Zsa I think is two places. The first area I call The Forest. No idea what the trees are but they are massive, tall trees and underneath them is a lovely shady area with mossy rocks and a small stream. The second place is a part of the stream. We actually have two streams that merge into one. Near The Shed is a gorgeous spot – shallow pools of water with green ferns.

When Zeph first saw the water he was a bit scared. He gingerly put one paw into the water and drew it out immediately. Two weeks down the track, he runs through the stream and uses the mossy rocks in the water as a bridge to get to the embankment on the other side. This embankment is a bit steep and Zeph and Zsa Zsa found it tough the first few days. You could see they were worried about their footing. But now they are like a couple of mountain goats.

These photos show you just how happy they are to be on their new property.

Three days in the car with the dogs! We were originally going to send them up to the North Island by pet bus. In the end though, we felt they would be safe and secure with us. I wouldn’t want to do this road trip again though. But I’ve noticed that Zeph is a lot less worried about noises now. Before when a car zoomed by, he would get a fright. No more. And especially after surviving the ferry to the North Island with all its loud noises, he’s pretty well bomb-proof LOL.

We stopped every two or three hours to exercise the dogs. There were a few pet-friendly cafes along the way where Zeph and Zsa Zsa could sit with us.

Because I was an anxious mother, I didn’t take a lot of photos along the road. But here are a few to whet the appetite!

For some reason, Zeph decided to steal Zsa Zsa’s pink blanket to make himself comfortable in the car.

I took this in Picton. We stayed there the first night so we could catch the inter-island ferry early the next morning. I have a strong liking for Picton. My Dad, who was from Wellington, wanted to retire to Picton but never got the chance.

We rarely eat out but when we do!!! This was a yummy hamburger with waffle-cut chips. At a cafe on the Picton waterfront.

Getting a glimpse of the Kapiti Coast, just outside of Wellington. This was the area we were very keen on but there is a major fault line around here. My Dad always said that when Wellington goes, it will be pretty bad. We also felt the Coast is a little crowded.

This was a great pet-friendly cafe. I didn’t get the name of it, sorry. I think it was somewhere between Matamata and Lake Taupo. Zeph and Zsa Zsa loved it and the girls serving us coffee loved the dogs and spent time patting them.

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What a schlepp dear reader! It took us three days’ road travel to get to our new home in the Far North of NZ. My biggest fear was the dogs – I was worried that they would not travel well. But they did just fine and were such good dogs.

The worst part was the ferry ride across the Cook Strait. You can book a dog kennel but the kennels are right next to the door where they load and offload vehicles. You can imagine how much noise there was and how scared Zeph and Zsa Zsa were. No-one is allowed in the cargo hold area, so we could not check on them for 3.5 hours. All sorts of things went through my mind!

Staff on the ferry though were great. They allowed us to go immediately down to the kennels, after the ferry turned and headed towards the Wellington dock. They were both sitting in their kennel and barked and jumped up when they saw us. We gave them their pet beds and blankets to sit on and I think that helped them feel a bit safer.

We had three nights’ accommodation and had to find pet-friendly places along the way. Let me give a shout out to Spirits Creek Cottage in Picton. We stayed there on the first night. Lovely cottage and a very understanding owner with her own dogs and miniature horses. She allowed us to shut the gate so Zeph and Zsa Zsa could roam around the yard.

Our next night was in Lake Taupo. I will not name the accommodation as I’d be up for defamation. Horrid 1960’s era motel that has seen better days and an owner who carried on about no pet hair to be left behind. We did not feel welcome and we hardly slept. So we did an hasta la vista outta there and left at 5.45am.

Our third and subsequent nights were at Kerigold Chalets. Great accommodation! Zeph and Zsa Zsa had a welcoming bowl of water and the owner put up a childproof gate so Zeph could sit on the balcony and watch the world go by. The chalets are located in gorgeous sub-tropical gardens.

In my next update, I’ll show you our temporary accommodation. We bought bare land. No power; no water. Well, we have a beautiful stream that runs through the property. We will be living in a shed on our property whilst we build the Dream Home. But…we have to get solar power and water tanks for the shed.

I must say people up in the North Island are a lot friendlier than down South. The weather is also warmer. So far, I’m not complaining!

Here’s a photo of Zeph on Day 1 of our road trip to the North Island. We decked out the back of the car with lots of cushions and blankets to make them both comfortable.

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