Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Bella!

Today was a very special day -it's three years since Bella was born.

Bella's Birthday

I had some time to kill downtown Reykjavík after my physiotherapy and decided to revisit the dog fence with Bella. It has been fixed so me and Bella played ball in beautiful but cold weather.

Bella's Birthday 

Bella's Birthday
Photo taken around 3 in the afternoon, yup, that's the sun setting!

I was freezing when I got into the car so I almost decided not to bother checking the other dog fence that was about 10 minutes away and had also been built without being dogproof. I had also botched something up with the camera so it wasn't focusing as it should. 
However I still had enough time so when I found the fence I decided to take a better look at it. For some reason it didn't feel as cold there.

It's a lot nicer area than the other fence, it's next to a public park and the Reykjavík petting zoo. However it's placed in a giant field and the ground is still very sore after the construction. 

Bella's Birthday 

Bella's Birthday 
Bella was ready to play some more.

Bella's Birthday 

Bella's Birthday 
"More please, it's my birthday!"

Since I knew the fence hadn't been dogproof I decided to see if it would contain my terrior after being fixed. Bella was not amused.

Bella's Birthday 
"Let me out! Let me out!"

Bella's Birthday 

Both fences are in fact a lot better and at present they should keep most dogs in. The gates themselves will however allow dogs with narrower chests than Bella to slip through. She got herself halfway through and probably could squeeze her way through if she really desperately wanted to.

When we got home Bella was acting a little uneasy. The kind of behaviour that always she does to suggest I am forgetting something.

Water available? Check.
Been out to play? Check.
Had the opportunities to send peemail? Check
Napped in the car? Check.
Hungry? Ah... of course, I skipped breakfast to give her a birthday "cake" in the afternoon!

So me and my son Magnus created a gourmet cake from an Icelandic speciality that consists of liver, fat and oats... I better not get started on what sort of food Iceland is known for!

Bella would jump through fire for most liver-based foods so she wasn't about to let some puny candles stop her from gorging herself.

Bella's Birthday 
"Just to be clear, I'm not on a diet tonight!"

Bella's Birthday

It's not every day that treats are allowed for an entire meal, usually I use normal dog food as treats so today was something special.

Now it's time for Bella's regular evening nap to get rested for tonight's sleep. I think she's been happy with her birthday and I'm glad I had the time and energy to do something for her.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Difficult Owner

I took a session of combing with a furminator and some stripping. Bella can think of a lot of happier things to do.


We did some nose work afterwards. I bought a lot of children's shoes last weekend and am using the shoe boxes to hide the "contraband" mint tea. It's rather too easy for her but she really enjoys doing it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Party Sunday

Yesterday we celebrated my stepdaughter's eight year old birthday with family while she was with us this weekend. Bella put her party hat on and as usual was the life of the party as the photographic evidence reveals.


After the arrival of the first guests Bella is already overwhelmed. She wore her bell collar while they arrived but I then removed it as soon as everybody was there. Bella was in fact so distraught with all the guests (all 7 people!) that she laid down on the middle of the floor or roamed around like a bird with a broken wing and I ended up closing her in the hallway to be alone. She was really relieved.

The photo below was taken after everybody had left. She hurried into "our" sofa and was just out of it for the rest of the evening, looking super worried if there was some commotion from the kids.


I may not have a party or a family dog, but she more than makes up for it when we go out and find her element.

Bella Bella Bella

I really can't wait for my health to improve so me and Bella can continue doing those things we love and enjoy. I recently got a new car that I can use to haul my mountain bike and my dream is to take Bella to the outskirts of town next autumn and bike on the trails with Bella off leash.

My sacrum bone is super loose and if I push myself too hard I limp something awful (as in, can barely walk). That's how today is after yesterday's birthday preparations. I've reached a point where my physiotherapist is working on containing the condition but she keeps telling me she's going to fix me after baby is  born. Here's to hoping she's right! 
I believe that after this round my babymaking days are over! In fact I keep telling my fiancé that if I ever get the urge again I'm rather getting Bella a doggy brother to bully.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bella's Family Life

Me and Bella managed to go out around noon this week and snapped some nice pictures. I just haven't had the mental capacity to fully process them yet.

Until then, here's one of Bella playing the family dog from today:

Darri and Bella

I keep telling her she won't be receiving any Oscar nominations for best actress anytime soon but she doesn't listen!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I have been staying at home today and yesterday. That's how me and Bella roll when we're home alone:

Bella Napping

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Run

Me and Bella took the family out earlier this afternoon. Unfortunately we were late and missed most of the daylight, it starts getting dark after four.


Bella Stalking

Bella Ice Dog

Bella Ice Dog

The road (which is actually a riding path) is covered in solid ice. We tried to keep out of the road but did a short stunt on the road because the lighting was better for the camera.

Bella Ice Dog

I'm limping now after this but it was well worth it. The weather was super. Bella is also playing dead in the sofa but then again, it's nothing new!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Camera Woes - Part II

I had to buy another replacement memory card for my camera yesterday. I finally gave up searching and admitted to myself I had lost the other one I bought before ever being able to use it. I was being stubborn about giving up the search because my last memory of the card was when I decided I should insert it into the camera to not lose it... d'oh.

So I bought a new one and decided to not just think smart but act smart and now the new one is inside the camera. Yay!

I need to go out soon and snap some pictures of Bella. She's now safe to let loose in our normal area just outside the city. 3 minute drive from our home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lazy Bones and Dog Fences

Last 2-3 weeks have been uneventful at the household. Bella has been in heat and the first several days she looked pretty much like she was dead.

Little Lazy Bones
I don't like this time of year.

My mobility has been getting worse as well so this has been an awkward time for both of us. We've been a pair of couch-potatoes.

However she's been coming into her own the past few days and it's actually helping my own spirits as well. Yesterday I took a trip to one of the new dog fences that was built about two weeks ago. It's very close to my place of work so I figured that since I only work a few hours a day I could take Bella with me and allow her to run free on our way back home. At least until she's definitely past her fertile phase and I can let her loose in our usual spots.

Now, I work in a very urban area and the city decided a dog fence was perfectly placed on a rather small patch of grass surrounded by big traffic lanes. This is what me and Bella found:

Dog Park - Reykjavik Style
A dog park - Reykjavík style!

It's not a very good photo but apart from the terrible half-muddy ground there is a pretty big gap under the fence. This was one of the smaller gaps. Bella could have left the fence pretty much everywhere along the entire length of the fence. Much larger dogs than my Border Terrier don't need an iron will to escape.
And right outside this gap in the picture is a street with rather heavy traffic on most days. There's traffic just a short distance from anywhere outside this fence.

So my terrior-in-heat didn't get to stretch her legs much inside this fence. I was really excited to see these small dog parks get built in the hopes of a dog friendlier city. This effort just fails on so many levels.

So in the meantime until I can turn Bella loose outside a fence we are working on our contraband-peppermint scent skills at home. Bella is doing well but now the handler needs more knowledge.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twilight Tracking

Me and my son went to lay some tracks for Bella tonight before it got dark. I took some videos and totally forgot to turn the camera correctly but I did remember to turn the flash on. I have been buying a lot of reflective gear for the winter so Bella is almost invisible due to reflective light in the video.

I laid out three short tracks but the second two had some turns in them. The video below is from track number two. I'm pleased with how she worked that one.

Track three was a bit of a mess, I forgot where exactly I had left it and was distracted from trying to record Bella tracking it, Bella got distracted as well and started marking (the peemail kind!). I stopped my attempts of recording and started fresh from the start with my full attention. I don't think Bella went the right way but she ended in the right spot so it wasn't a failure. But it taught me that perhaps it's better to focus on the job at hand.

Yesterday I downloaded a book on tracking, Making Scents of Tracking by Deborah R. Davis. I don't actually know much about this kind of work but would like to know a lot more. Finding books proved a little tough as I don't really know what exactly I was looking for and some I found that looked somewhat promising didn't get very good reviews. I'll see if this one sheds some light on the sport.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Camera Woes

The memory card for my camera broke and they are so ridiculously expensive in Iceland that I will rather order one from abroad.

I was rather sad as I missed a nice photo opportunity when me and Bella met two Labradors two days ago. We don't often meet other dogs as Bella can get insanely insecure but this meeting went well in gorgeous camera perfect weather.

However I had to leave after a while as the dogs were getting more and more aggressive about sniffing Bella which was clearly starting to freak her out. It confirmed my suspicion that she's due to go into heat soon. Which got me thinking if I should go ahead early next year and have her spayed. I wasn't going to even if I had decided I didn't want to breed her but not being able to let her loose for almost two months a year is a lot of time spent not playing frisbee.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

That Evil Ribbon

Normally I am very respectful of the fact that my Bella is a dog who prefers not to be handled. We have a good thing going on where she doesn't mess with anyone in the home and in turn I make sure she gets to be free from harassment.

The only downside for Bella is that I sometimes can't contain myself. I sometimes pick her up just to hear that unevitable heave of sigh. I hug her just to get the exact same reaction. Yeah, Bella's not the cuddly little lapdog type. That's perfectly fine with me.

Then sometimes I take a step further. Not always intentionally. The other day was one of those days where my poor Border Terrier got more than she bargained for when me and son found a ribbon. It was an innocent enough idea putting it on. We didn't expect the huge reaction we got!

When Will This Be Over?

Going away, throwing herself down and 'yawning' - "What is this torture decvie??"

Now What?
"I've lost a piece of my soul"

Bella Waiting
Waiting and hoping

Looking Prettu
"I only look like I'm fine with this since this is my blind side."

Bella's Tough Life
"I really hate my life right now"

I Am Not Enjoying This
"I'm going to lie here in a bad mood until this horrible thing has been removed"

I removed the ribbon after taking these photos, I don't really enjoy making her get this upset unless I really need to. But her huge expressions do put a smile on my face, when it's over something as harmless as a ribbon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bella vs the Wobbler

So I'm pregnant again.

There, I've said it. 16 weeks finished out of 40. While I should be living a normal life wondering about things like if I'm showing or not, I have instead spent the last few weeks wallowing in self pity over not being able to go out and walk, run or bike as I'm used to. I went on a 10-15 minute walk yesterday and I was punished for it.

I have got a condition called Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD, where the ligaments in my hips get too lose and causes my hip bones to be moving too much. It causes pain. If I do too much I can start limping. Last pregnancy I was using crutches in the last two months and this time around I've already been adviced to use them at home. Ugh! I have got a maternity support belt to try to hold my hips together, I do physiotherapy twice a week and have already had to reduce my work to 50%. All this combined seems to be helping, I've stopped wallowing and am now out of the constant pain zone and am starting to enjoy life again.

This of course is not very fortunate for Bella, well except the fact I'm staying at home more. I am trying to find out how to entertain her and activate her here at home, for example by teaching her to clean up like I posted on two posts ago.

I also bought two Kong toys, a Kong Extreme and a Kong Wobbler.

The Wobbler is a food dispenser for those not familiar with it and it makes Bella jump around like a stag when I pick it up. She loves it.

 Bella vs Wobbler

Bella vs Wobbler

Bella vs The Wobbler

The only problem is that she is SO GOOD at it! It takes her maximum five minutes to empty it. I was hoping for a little more engagement! I did try sealing a part of the hole and it took her about two more minutes that way. I need to seal an even bigger part of the hole. 

Oh, and those that noticed on the second picture how long Bella's claws are, this is a work in progress. One tiny snip at a time. I drew blood last month and I'm trying to get to a point where we don't have to do this fighting one another.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer Memories

I have been lazy with the camera since this spring. I wish the reason was better than it is but I got a new laptop in Berlin and it took me all this time to get a program to process my photos. This evening I finally sorted it out.

The summer was good. We went exploring Iceland,

Bella exploring Iceland

we stayed at two summer cabins,

Bella Sunbathing

and we also did some camping, which Bella hated.

Bella camping

The laziness with the camera is a part of why I have been lazy posting. It doesn't feel right posting text alone.

With winter looming, there's quite a few interesting things me and Bella are looking forward to in the coming months.

I'm trying to stay involved in the Responsible Dog Owner's Association and there are a few kickass people in there with a lot of drive towards improving life for dogs in Iceland and the rights of the owners.

Me and Bella and a lot of other people are eagerly awaiting for three (or four) dog parks to rise in my city that the city has promised to build this year. Those will be the first enclosed areas to rise in several years, there are currently none. This is in part thanks to people in the aforementioned association who submitted ideas to build them in a citizen election on things to do to improve the city. I had my idea to build a dog park in my neighborhood submitted for the voting but unfortunately it did not receive enough votes for the idea to be materialized. However when those dog parks get built I plan to visit them with Bella. This is a big step as there are currently very few areas where dog owners can turn their dogs loose within the city.

I am also considering whether to take some doggy classes this winter, one I have been waiting for for over a year is being scheduled in January so I shall see. I might also do a repeat of a Clicker/Obedience based class in November if I don't find anything else.

I have at this point decided not to continue with agility. Both due to health reasons but mainly because the atmosphere gets Bella way too overstimulated and I just don't enjoy it that way. I love the sport and haven't given up on it for good, I just don't believe that putting Bella into this environment once a week will cure her. I do have a dream about getting funds to build an outdoor course/arena that's open to the public. I just know it'd be very vulnerable to vandalism and would require some sturdy equipment but I'm going to look into it when I have more time and energy sometime.

Friday, August 31, 2012

We Still Live

After a while of being missing in action I return with a video. Of Bella! yay!

To make a long story short, my back is messed up big time again and I have been struggling with work and home life.Physiotherapy, acupuncture and painkillers are some of the things awaiting me. Unfortunately, my doctors are advising me not to walk, jog or bike much if I can avoid it and instead going for a swim. Unfortunate for a person with a dog? EXTREMELY!

However, after feeling very guilty and like the world's worst dog owner I decided to stop grieving and get creative with things to do with Bella. I do try to take her to a field to go frisbee-ing or ball throwing but I am also getting back into more regularly activating her in my home. Mainly with trick training.

When I was pregnant with my son I taught her to pick things up for me, something I have used from time to time. I never got around to actually getting her to drop them into a box like I was planning. Yesterday I finally got around to finding a suitable box and we got going. I took a short video and it's actually only our second training session working on this, ever. I think it's going pretty well already.

With a kid that loves spreading his toys (and the contents of my kitchen) all over the apartment, maybe Bella could still try to impress my fiancé with her tricks.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Euro 2012

The European Football Championships 2012 started 8th of June and for a couch dog like Bella, it's an ideal sport.

I've got the Carlsberg and remote, now what's missing? Slave, do your work!

Baby Magnus runs for NOMS.


Now we can watch the matches. Owner, get outta the way!

Bella is real serious when watching the players. Who be the fittest? Who be the fastest? Who could play frisbee with me the whole day?

Not this one...


Oh, a cute one! With a prize! Did he win???

Bella, tough day

Monday, June 11, 2012


Yesterday afternoon, after a busy day cleaning the apartment, me and Bella went out for a bike ride. I didn't know what hit her but she was craaaaazy, running like she was late for the last meal of her life.

We went so fast that there was no time to catch us on camera. Instead we had a small photoshoot during a pitstop.


Mr. Bike seems a little tired.

After the pit stop I thought we would relax a little but Bella took off like a rocket and my leisurely afternoon bike tour was like a thundering race down the homestretch. Bella didn't even have time to bathe in the awe people we meet have for her shoes.

When we got back home in record time Bella's victory lap was a little lacking:

Gimme a sec here!

Of all the things we conquered, the new blue shoes were the true victims of Bella's terriorism on the track:


From riches to rags?

Afterwards, I felt I had to get to the bottom of this transformation Bella took from a terrier to a greyhound. 

Is the furry Lady a greyhound in terrier disguise??

I soon realised that while I had been cleaning the whole weekend a certain someone had been taking advantage of the iPad. I carefully peered over the edge of the sofa to oversee what Bella was looking at inbetween her naps.


Then it suddenly dawned on me that this was Belmont weekend where Union Rags won with a photo finish! Bella had secretly been following the Triple Crown trail without letting me in on it. Sneaky little iPad stealing dog!

Union Rags's Photo Finish
AP Photo/David J. Phillip