Paws in my soul

They say dogs are angels sent down to earth to help people feel Unconditional love. Honestly, my first few dogs in the family didn’t touch me at all. I felt happy when I saw them and sad when they went but did we have a relationship, not more than just friends. My world changed when I met a girl and she had a dog. 

The first paw print to be left in my soul was one from a Border collie named Xabi. This dog changed my life and opened the doors to where I belong in this world. The relationship between me and Xabi’s owner was a very fragile one and had many ups and downs. Xabi and I were best friends and there for each other at all times. You see at first I thought the problem was with me. However, when I looked in his eyes I could see he felt the same way I felt. The first time in my life where I felt I wasn’t alone. Where I felt and saw that my self and this brown-eyed lanky border collie were of the same heart and soul. This moment got me addicted to finding more. After about 12 months of this emotional roller coaster of a relationship, I started seeing the effect it had on Xabi, the choice between two people he loves. I didn’t want to case this dog pain and so I looked for my own set of paws that I could run with. Thus the second paw was placed in my soul.

This paw belonged to my dog named Altair. From the moment we met we were best friends and very soon we noticed that this was a relationship that was well beyond the realms of this world. I knew every thought that went through his mind, and he knew mine. We took the dog world by storm. He gave me a strength that would push me through an emotional suicide and life-changing adventure. This dog taught me things about dogs that I have never been able to learn or get explanations from any behaviourist or trainer. He was my angel that connected me to a world that was worth living in. The need for more brought the next paw.

Ksora, never have I seen a dog who thinks as much as she does. This little girl has refined my ability to understand a dimension of dogs that many people don’t believe exists. The rounded mind. Well, that is what I call it. In a simple explanation, it is the ability to see a situation, think of solutions, and assess the risks, alter the plan based on unexpected changes and not rely on being told what to do. At first, this came as a bit of a shock and frustration. I would ask for one thing and she would do another. It took me 20 000kms and training in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Croatia before I would find a way to work with this super intelligent mind. Did my dedication to this cause pay off? Well, we compete in dog agility internationally and are always in the spotlight, with judges around the world rating Ksora as the future world champion and competitors asking how I did it. 

With my soft gentle soulmate Altair and my crazy smart Ksora, we would change the world. This mission started with a trip. A trip across the world to show people that there isn’t a reason great enough to separate an owner from their dog, besides the thought that we more important than them. We travelled from South Africa which is where our home was with all our family, to Europe. All this without a job, and income or stability. We would put ourselves in the most difficult environments that a family could end up in and we would show that there was a way to make it work. The aim was never to place my dogs needs below mine. What was to come of this trip has now become my purpose in life. But we will get to that later. I came to Europe to show people that there are no impossibilities when having dogs. This goal didn’t have any effect on people, but what did start taking effect was the people we were meeting on the way. We started changing the opinions about dogs where ever we went. Encountering many people who hated and feared dogs. Many people who saw dogs as just an animal that should be left in the garden and given food and water because that is all they need. These people meeting us in coffee shops or in the parks and experiencing the bond my pack and I have started something. They started seeing what is possible with a dog. It changed their reality. Created a spark in their eyes. I saw the tears of the old as they shared their stories of their dogs who once ran. I felt the struggle of the good-hearted who have rescued past problems. I have smelt the fear in the mistaken mothers. My trip across the world became about changing the image of dogs in a whole. To teach, touch and take people to the world where angels chase balls. 

My dogs have not only changed lives, not only wowed those they encounter, but they have given me a route in life that makes this world seem worth fighting for. They have pulled me through depression, altered my ADHD tendencies, given me ears who listen and do not judge me, given me a reason to wake in the morning and experience life. 
So are these animals just a mouth to feed and a form of security? Or do they have a world of good to share with us? Can they change who we are? Can they alter our soul? We know they touch our heart but are they able to change our being? Guide you to where you belong? My dogs have done all this and more. I will never stop showing the world the possibilities and try to eliminate this mindset that dogs are “just dogs”. 

Kühl Stealth VS Quechua hiking pants

To start I will be going with the pair I got first and those were the Kühl STEALTH hiking pants. 
The cost of the pants were R1400 or close to 90€. They were made from a light material and had zip off legs just above the knee. 

The Quechua pants cost R300 or about 19€ and had the zip off legs at the same place as the Kuhl pants, just above the knee. 

The material used in the Quechua pants was much thinner than the Kuhl pants and this was great for summer but shit for winter which meant buying another pair for winter hiking. 

The Kuhl pants had a lots of pockets and I found this nice but having the back pockets although for every day was great, for hiking made it uncomfortable to do long distances with anything in them and after a while of sweating the pockets ended up causing more problems than they solved, on the other hand, the Quechua pants had only three pockets and they were not very big. Great for hiking but pretty useless when it came to carrying anything. 

What I like about the Kuhl pants is that the zipper stays with the piece that you take off. This means you don’t have that little metal ball rubbing on your leg. The Quechua pants end up rubbing your legs in all the wrong places. 

The life expectancy is not bad when it comes to the kühl pants as I have done almost 2 years and many Kms in mine and with a little seam coming loose only recently I felt that they really stuck it out. I will be fixing them and going forward with them into their 3rd year of hiking. Their loose fit and the ability to wear them all years round by simply slipping thermals underneath makes them a ‘one pant does all’. 

The Quechua pants, on the other hand, has taken some beating in the 3 months that I have been using them. With the fit being much tighter and having more elasticity. It has lead to the appearance of the little Cotten balls from chafing between the legs and scratching of the zipper I will be laying them to rest until I have a less demanding job that may require them. 

The conclusion is that you pay for what you get. 

The Kühl STEALTH pants live up to their name and their cost and are recommended for those who are going down a road that needs strength and multi purpose clothing. 

The Quechua pants are not terrible but serve more for sporting pants in the periods where the mornings are fresh and the days are hot. Ideal for instructors and trainers. 

Why i change food for winter

With the cold weather coming soon. I start looking at new foods. Foods that are high in fat and oils. This is for both me and my dogs. 

We have seen that most dogs that live in very cold conditions have a very fatty and oily diet, this is because oils and fats hep keep the coat and skin well hydrated and insulated. It also stimulates new hair growth and a thicker coat for the winter will help your dogs more then you may think. 

In the summer i feed a very large poultry diet and maybe some Dutch and lamb every now and then. Withthe winter coming i slowly increase the land and add fish to their diet. Salmon is a great prep for the winter and offers the dogs great support for the winter. 

 It is also very important to look after he joints as the temperature decreases, especially in older dogs or your working breeds.

Go to your food specialist and ask them what to do for your breed and how to look after them for the winter.

The shadows behind the photos

I have gotten a lot of negative feedback from people over the last 12 months, as I ask for support in the form of sponsorships I get told that I am not able to ask for any support due to the fact that I am living the dream everyone else wishes to live. Well I can promise it’s not all just beautiful landscapes and pretty pictures. 

I have given up my house for a tent,

I have given up my car for a pair of hiking shoes,

I have given up my bed for a blanket on the floor, 

I have given up my family and friends for a community that doesn’t understand me,

I have given up breakfast and lunch many days so I can afford to take my dogs out and have fun,

I have given everything up to live my life,

I made the choice to reach for my dream and I live it.

Is it always easy? No

Can I manage to survive here? I don’t know.

Do I struggle to put food on my plate? Yes.

Do my dogs ever go hungry? No. 

Do they ever stay at home? No. 

Would I change my life? No. 

If I am asking for support, it’s not because I am looking for an easy way out, it’s not because I want you to feel sorry for me. It is purely because I am not able to carry on posting those beautiful photos, it is because I can’t give my dogs the most amazing experiences 

I ask for help because everything I do here I do it to help and change the world for dogs. And I don’t ask them to pay me for that. 


News

We have been struggling lately, we bought a camper about 10 months ago and it has been impossible to have it registered here in Italy, it has drained our money and has stopped us from travelling, I am hoping we manage to fix the problems and push on but it is not easy. 

We did manage to get to Croatia for a few days. It wasn’t really a holiday as we were there for training but the dogs had Fun so I guess it counts. Well here are some pics

Why do you wake?

I live to be alive. The ultimate feeling of life is to feast, to drink, to have relationships, to discover both the external and internal worlds. I live so I can love. I hurt so I can love again. I wake up so I can fill my day and once my body is tired I rest my head to prepare for the next. 
I wake because I was given a gift. I wake because I have the possibility to wake. 

I wake because I believe there will come a day where life will be peace, where all heartbeats will be free, where the world will live on love.

1 year and going strong

So it has officially been 1 year that my dogs and I have been travelling. Well I can tell you that it definitely didn’t go the way we planned but if has been perfect, we have had the most amazing times, met the most amazing people and seen the most amazing places. I am thankful for the people who have helped us with our travel and with our necessities. We are not done yet. Unfortunately travelling will still be done on an extremely low budget, but will be following the road that the wind guides us along. I stand here 12 months from the person I was, I can’t believe that that was me. Who I have become and what I have had to do has left me in a state of disbelief. From here we go forward.