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I have a problem. I am a puppy/hound shopping addict. I have just ordered vegan friendly hemp “HOWND” balm to keep Ivy’s black nose, ears and paws soft. All justified at least for her paws because she has big paws and with her chasing The Cat (who celebrates 10 years today), bumble bees, tail-less squirrels and Antonov cargo-style pigeons, it is needed. Secretly, I am keen to try it on my summer weary feet. Bargain of note is that it has SPF as well.

Ivy has her own cupboard at home. There are outfits that range from a Barbour winter jacket, to an outfit that turns her into a fox, to a reversible rain hoodie. Ivy hates wearing them by the way. But that is a detail.

She will have enough collars for every day of a 31-day calendar month when these collars arrive via courier:

  • Hounds tooth collar (this will be appreciated by the human granny) (from RSA)
  • Crazy faces collar (not sure why I ordered this one!) (local is lekker)
  • Bright yellow collar (I mean…why not when chasing bumble bees?) (local is lekker)
  • Halloween (ready for 2019) (from the UK)
  • Festive season (with snowmen and snowflakes) (British is best; Brexit or no Brexit)
  • Union Jack (to match the Mini’s side/wing mirror caps) (British is best).

Now that she plays with a ball (at last, we cry!), I am considering an automatic ball shooter from “ifetch” as a Christmas gift (i.e. why not go huge, go overboard and then scare the dog away from balls forever?! Here is a link to the product: It would be too big for her customised advent calendar pockets (they are filled in any event) and her Christmas stocking so perhaps we need to put it under a conifer tree.

For all such things, we consult the Christmas Excitement Officer or the family CEO, otherwise known to all as Valerie. With the move from Irene came down boxes the size of large coffins with loud décor for use over this time of the year. The CEO will know what to do with large gifts for Ivy. I expect her to continue her tradition which is to make sure the family dog has his/her own tree for Christmas with edible treats thereon. Given the CEO’s on-going excess “late summer animal print open-toe shoe” dilemma, I do suggest she uses 12 pairs of shoes as decoration on Ivy’s tree. They will be reduced to a soggy mess in no time. Utter bliss!

Not that I do not like to spoil The Cat (codename: “The Monkey”, real name: Italy) or do not want to pamper him. It is just that he is a lean 10 year-old with a sensitive stomach, who does not need to wear a collar (a missed opportunity in my mind) and he has had every type of scratching post, feathery toy and soft blanket available for cats and humans.

Italy just wants to be able to sleep in a box in the linen cupboard, be tickled under the chin and eat his morning chicken liver gravy mixture (warmed-up by Husband, thank goodness) and his evening room temperature shredded chicken breast in sauce. He eats this in his 10th birthday bowl that is a batman inspired bowl which matches Ivy’s bumble bee bowl that says “bee happy”. As a side dish, he eats freeze dried wild Alberta boar treats.


Apart from leads and harnesses, the collection of toys and chew things (excluding mats, carpets, shoes and slippers) that Ivy has, is very over-board and the range depends on the room concerned, while the Mini’s backseat has its own toy collection. She has a stuffed toy (most without eyes after some chewing) of every animal type (e.g. shark, snail, snake, monkey, giraffe, mouse, squirrel, fox, moose and rhino) with 4 balls and personalised Christmas gifts on order.

There is no space here to mention the daycare she attends as that is a blog on its own but I can share a photo of her outing last week for the daycare’s smaller hounds, to a small forest nearby. Here the dogs are in the daycare school bus:

Ah the joys of being Ivy and Italy in the Malan home. They have us wrapped around their very soft paws.