Tag: Rosie

Sunday Column (334)

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. This is not only a post, it is an article I suppose about coping with change, making decisions and being self critical. I am sad, devastated. Yet the decision we made is final and right. This isn’t easy. But who ever said life was.

Whilst last week all looked very well with Rosie and we were hopeful to have new training methods that stopped her from jumping on people and snapping at them, we decided to give her back to her breeder after all. It broke the family’s and my heart. And the questions are asked whether we gave up? Did we fail?

We got Rosie despite knowing that C was scared of dogs. He turned out to be her best friend, and to that extend the person that loves dogs more than anything else. His whole attitude changed towards animals in general. He loves any animals and isn’t scared of dogs anymore. Rosie helped us to transform his life. But also she helped transform R’s life. He loved that dog too, and cuddled beyond acceptability, and she let him do it. True companion and friendship. This dog didn’t have a malicious bone in her, friendly, good with children, yet she needed a lot of attention too.

As you might remember we went a long way to get Rosie. A long journey every weekend. Proving that C would be fine with big dogs. We put a lot of research in which breed to get and settled for the GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) as this breed is intelligent, good with children and easy to train, willing to run for hours. That was the plan, once Rosie was old enough, we wanted to take her on daily runs.

However, the main problem we had with her was her jumping up. This started from day one. The first dog trainer at early puppy stage said this was a puppy behaviour and you tackle it when they get older. And that is where our inexperience came in, we had to believe that dog trainer. As time progressed and she started jumping up and snapping at our kids, it was time for another trainer. Even at that stage we put it down to puppy behaviour, yet she did jump up on strangers, out of the blue, after excitement, without excitement. The kids learned (!) how to kneel down and seek cover when she ‘attacked’.

The next dog trainer put it down to the dog, saying maybe this GSP in particular wasn’t going to stop jumping and might have to be on a lead all its life. This wasn’t an option or isn’t an option for a GSP. So we soldiered on, always on the look out for strangers, then putting her on the lead if she was off it. We stopped going to the park or the beach as we couldn’t take the dog.

We tried more training. We went from buying a citronella collar, to almost buying an electric collar but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the latter. My wife spend hours training her, any free minute she had, sacrificing a lot. Yet it seems as if Rosie needed more than 3 hours of attention a day, taking the attention away from the kids. Rosie then jumped on R again at a walk a few weeks ago, and shortly thereafter on an elderly woman. There was nothing I could do, I had no control of that dog. For all I know, I could be in jail if that person had pressed charges or had had a heart attack.

Rosie

Don’t get me wrong. There was not a bad bone in that dog. She wasn’t evil, just very excitable and very jumpy. A GSP through and through. And maybe the jumping was normal and will go away as she gets older. But maybe not. The snapping got worse and we continued to solve the problem. Yet, with her ‘attacking’ (playing with) a friend’s child and out of the blue, without any playing involved, coming up to C to snap his face (luckily nothing major happened), we felt we compromised on the safety of our children.

If we cannot trust the dog we love, the one we put so much hard work into, and yet the dog without prior warning comes up and snaps one of our children, a decision must be taken. Whether this is puppy behaviour, wrong training from our part, or whatever, the safety of our family and friends must come first.

We just had got another dog trainer involved who had the best approach yet. We are almost through the first year, her birthday coming up, how much longer can we wait? Will Rosie be ok when we go camping? We cannot put a GSP on the lead, can we? What if she decides to jump on a baby, another older person or seriously (if not deliberately) injures one of our kids?

Again, this dog is far from aggressive. She, and maybe it is just her personality, wants to play and expresses her needs by snapping at people. If she does that with a grown up, this might just be ok, yet not acceptable, but with elderly and children, vulnerable people, this isn’t going to work.

And yes, maybe we had to try it for another few weeks. Another, third, dog school. A gun dog trainer taking her away. And maybe she would have been fine. Maybe she would have hurt a child. We do not know. And giving her away for someone else to train didn’t feel like the right thing to do.

It is devastating. We miss her. It is one of those logical decisions, not emotional ones. I tried explaining it to the kids but one cannot. They will get over it. We re-homed our cat because of the dog. We cut our personal life and visits to friends short to accommodate Rosie and trying to make it work.

Yes she was a hard work, like any dog would be, to be dependent when you go on holidays, travelling in general, taking her for walks in bad weather, making a mess. The inconvenience she caused, not least of her behaviour, that limited us to do things, all that we could and would have and did deal with. She was the greatest joy and transformed our lives for the better. She taught me patience most of all. It is empty in the house without her. No one that greets you in the morning or when you come home from work. And, without a doubt, I would get a new dog tomorrow. But I suppose we wait for a while…before we decide on another pet.

I guess, my honest conclusion, is that we got the dog at the wrong time. A time when our kids still needed most attention and they weren’t in school yet. Also, I believe we got the wrong breed at the wrong time. A smaller breed, or quieter breed might have been better. One that might have needed less constant attention, less energetic. Whilst of course there is hassle, and the dependance, and all the negative things that come with a dog, we were happy to do that. I remember the pain of going to Germany, putting my parents through the experience of a hyper active GSP. This was all fun πŸ™‚ However much inconvenience it caused.

This isn’t about blame. Whether the less experienced breeder had the right limitations with giving us the dog or whether we should have been less determined to get this breed. It is not about whether the breed is bad (which it isn’t, we would get one again), and maybe it was just Rosie’s personality. Maybe we did a mistake from the beginning or should have waited another few years. Hindsight is always easier. The only thing I would do if I could turn back time is to wait another 2-3 years before getting a GSP. So the kids can be more involved and hence the dog got more attention. Then again, more than 3 hours are hard to find…and I still wonder if there was something wrong with ours (Rosie).

But we don’t know and can only speculate. The decision was right. We were not able to judge if the snapping develops into a more malicious biting, and whether you could have friends with children around – and it wasn’t fair on the dog to put her in the crate when all others were playing? Or, we likewise didn’t know whether she might just stop snapping tomorrow. Speculations.

So we are glad the breeder took her back. Matter of fact she managed to re-home her with an experienced dog handler who already has a GSP. We are glad about that. I could have not brought myself to put her into a dog home. I love her too much. We couldn’t risk injury of the kids for the sake of a dog. And that is what the kids will understand over time.

Things in life, I tell them, happen for a reason. Rosie transformed us, tested our patience, was a true companion, a lovely cuddle and great friend. She was a challenge and we loved her. She gave the boys so much confidence in dealing with animals. She made us learn so much. Rosie, you will always have a place in our heart and we will miss you. When we put you in the car to drive you back to the breeder, you knew. Your eyes told me that you knew you were in trouble. Yet you loved being back with your sister and mother.

And we tried a lot to make it work. I hope, for my Karma, and for Rosie’s sake, that Rosie will be able to forgive us. That she understands that she wasn’t the right companion for us in the long term. That she went one step to far, and that we couldn’t bear the thought of her not being controllable. That she understands that we tried, and tried again but at the end of the day, the life and health of our family is more important than her. And I hope she understands that she enriched our lives, and will always be in our hearts. And that we love her. We cherish her and wish her well. And we believe we put her in a place where she will be happy.

Farewell Rosie. You have been amazing!
We lost a true companion.

Sunday Column (297)

This week’s highlight was my trip to Germany. Not only did I attend some really great meetings and a fantastic conference for work, but I also stayed over for a night to catch up with my old fraternity friends in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt. This was for the first time since 2006!

To get there I treated myself to a 1st class rail ticket on the German ICE train. I was very excited and it was fantastic. Matter of fact, as many people asked me when I write my posts, I am writing my column on the train just now, to be published on Sunday as usual. I got WIFI, I worked, I chilled out and got a lot of thinking done. I enjoy rail journeys (no, not the daily Southern Railway commute) but overall, I find it quite relaxing. And compared to driving, this is much more chilled out and you get so much more done. Fantastic really.

Fraternities, mine is Corps Franconia, sometimes have a bad reputation. Yes, we used to drink a lot, and yes we are very good networkers, high achievers and usually a bit more conservative. But we are a band of brothers for life, friends for life, as we all stood at some point for the same ideas and values – and most of us still do so today. We are not in any way discriminating against anyone, have many members with a variety of political views, integrate our women (yet they can’t become members but there are sole women sororities too), accept foreigners as members and we do NOT tolerate any racial discrimination of any kind plus would never accept a member with extreme views (either way). So we Corps are good.

Our network is globally yet based on the time we spend together whilst studying in Germany. Our principles are around personal development, growth, and success in a career. This of course can be defined by each individually. A community, bonded by common experience (academic fencing) which is compulsory. We have all done it, from our 19 year old members to our 90 year old members. It is something special and difficult to grasp for someone on the outside.

Coming back to the 125 year anniversary and seeing old and familiar faces was great. A unity and a great event catching up with ΒΎ of our120 alumni. There aren’t many clubs where you meet the majority of members over 15 years since you have been an active member. And the bond is stronger than ever.

But never mind, enough about that. As of this weekend we were allowed to take Rosie, our dog, outside. Finally we can tire her out, get her used to noises, smells etc. and get her to learn that there is a world outside the house. Exciting times once again. I am glad the baby stage with a dog only lasts a few months rather than years. I cannot wait to start running with her in the morning and getting her to be my “running buddy”.

Work, I have to say, was fantastic this week also. It shows the 2nd screen market is really taking off. I have written a bit about it over on Linkedin, and I can see very exciting times ahead with the cross screen/channel tracking. Isn’t it great if you enjoy what you are doing? You never work a day in your life again πŸ˜‰

So I am thankful for what I have. I enjoyed Germany, and nothing like coming out of an agency to meet a good friend from the UK having a meeting just after me with the same agency. That cannot be coincidence. Things happen for a reason and when I was sitting down with some of the guys for dinner on Thursday, we could just feel that the real stuff is just to begin. There is an exciting buzz in the industry.

I leave you with those thoughts, and the idea of more to come, more to look forward to whilst being really grateful for what we have.

Amen.
Volker

Sunday Column (296)

This week I feel like I have been there before. When the baby (puppy) cries, I roll over and wake my wife, or vice versa, and one of us attends to Rosie. Taking her to the loo at 11 pm, 1 am, or 3 am. At 5 am it is my turn. I am getting up and whilst Rosie needs the loo and some entertainment, I have breakfast whilst doing some work. That’s fun, yet I can’t exercise as I cannot let her howl in the corridor waking everyone up. Soon, in a few months, I will be able to take her for a run in the mornings. I cannot wait.

In the meantime I go running at night, and did 3x10K this week – that is if I a not watching Twin Peaks. If you are the generation I am from, you were either just old enough or just too young to watch it. I enjoyed watching it as a kid but don’t remember much. It was more for my brother, I was 13 at the time I believe. Just maybe a year or two too young. Now, revisiting it with my wife (who was definitely too young πŸ˜‰ ) I enjoy watching it all over again. However, after watching the pilot and the first episode the other day, I did dream about it. A very intense, old school David Lynch movie/series. I really enjoy it!

Twin Peaks

It is bizarre watching a movie without internet, mobile or smart phones being present. People smoke in the movie too. That is odd, besides the “80ies” hair styles (which of course are 90ies). Yes, I guess I am getting on a bit. And my most favourite quote so far: I like my coffee black as midnight on a moonless night. Yupp, I am getting a Twin Peaks geek I suppose LOL. Also, Colin commented a bit about my wrinkles, and me getting old and all that stuff. The old charmer πŸ˜‰

Rosie, on which most attention is focused on, has now had her 2nd jab, which means we can take her out between one and two weeks from last week. So soon we can get her socialised and walking her for 20-30 minutes. Things are improving and her baby stage won’t take as long as with human babies, so we will be alright.

Looking back at half term, particularly at the weekend, I come to the conclusion that there are two important things for me at the moment. One is to really put my phone away at the weekend unless I am going out or having down time. Down time is defined as not spending time with the kids or when the kids are occupied elsewhere. Playing Lego or actively engaging with the kids for 2 hours each day on the weekend is key. They love me being around and I enjoy unwinding from work with them. This of course is normal yet I do want to do this much more consciously as they really deserve as much attention as I can give them. It is part of the effort to enjoy every moment, unfiltered and without distraction. Living in the now and making it count. Each and every time.

So the forthcoming weeks, or 45+ days to Christmas going to be passing quickly. I am travelling again a few times and also stream line some processes and workflows prior to year end. That will be done with some help of a new employee which I am looking forward to welcoming shortly. This year has been great in terms of development for me and the product I am evangelising, and it has once again shown how I can scale even smaller products across Europe within 10 months. I have done it again πŸ™‚ I enjoy what I am doing and getting better at presenting and placing companies at the heart of the European adtech industry. It is a lot of fun.

I will have my yearly review of course at some point around Christmas and will have some guidance and help over at tidWOWs about goal setting, new year resolutions and how to achieve what you want to achieve in 2015. Make it your best year ever. I am confident it will be.

In the meantime there is also a lot to achieve on the private side of life. Besides the aforementioned time with the family, I plan to attend a fraternity meeting I haven’t been to since 2006 (!) and spend some quality time with my wife; I also want to increase my exercise output and decrease my “bad food” input. That as a balance should see me out in a good way of making 2015 my best year ever too. Stay tuned.

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (294)

There are few joys as great as having a baby. You do the poo duties, you don’t sleep and you have to teach them things over and over again. Let me tell you, a puppy is not much different. At night time a puppy cries for its mummy, and you have to let it get on with it. It breaks your heart but after a few days it stops. No sleep, whilst worrying she might pee or poo into her den (cage). That of course happens, accidents are prone to happen. So is poo or pee on the floor, so thanks for putting in laminate earlier this year, carpet would have been a disaster. Getting up at 5 am, my daily routine, had to change. I cannot go running whilst a super hyper puppy, which has yet to get along with our cat, is jumping on and at me. So running moved to the evenings and poo duty to the mornings, sitting in the kitchen catching up on work. We make it happen. A content puppy to your feet, chilling out – after 3 poos (!), and jumping on my freshly washed pink shirt. Nice. We love her to bits though.

Wow, I got this blog post off to a good start, didn’t I. It is difficult, yet one has more experience these days, to not shout at a puppy when an accident happens. Not to loose your temper when things go wrong. Trying to make her sit or stay or anything is hard work but after a week we are making progress. It is actually very pleasing to have a puppy (or dog for that matter), this true companion that wants to sit with you, keeps you company and brings you lots of joy. And above all things, this puppy will only stay a baby for 8 months, not 3 years πŸ™‚ On that note, if you are considering getting a puppy, make sure your kids are ok with it. We have one that is a bit shy/scared but makes daily progress (which makes you think that you made the right decision on adding a dog to the family) and we have one that is super hyper thinking it is a toy (which makes you think we should have waited another year). Either way, it is a great challenge for the family, a new chapter and overall we really enjoy having Rosie here. And she is more pleasing than the cat really.

Rosie

I personally start looking forward to taking her for long walks and chill out after work. Instead of sitting down and get comfy after dinner, I get some “exercise” and some nice fresh air prior to going to bed. That will wind me down after work – that is the theory anyway until it starts getting wet and windy like this week, snow and the like. Surely, I will keep you posted.

But what else happened this week? Not much compared to the above. Three conferences, lots of work and deals and trying to wrap things up before I was off for half term next week. I might have to do some work next week, just to keep on top of things, as a restructure makes me even busier than before. Having said that, I really enjoy the remit and products I am selling, adding value to the industry I work in. Great stuff! And a conference this week I do believe I made a difference explaining what it is all about. Let’s at least hope so.

As of next week I haven’t got much planned. Repair my bike, get new firewood stacked in the garage, play and train the dog, play with the kids, check the lego set for Christmas we got from eBay is complete, chill out with the family, have a dog trainer, go to the vet, watch a few movies, get a hair cut and just do all those things that need to get done and I have been putting off for a while. Like clearing out the loft. And cooking for the family. Going for walks. And I will be sitting here next week realising I didn’t do all those things I was hoping to do. But that’s life, isn’t it?

So I hope you all have a good week.
Volker

Sunday Column (293)

The week began with watching Noah on Sunday evening. I wanted to watch this movie for a while, and whilst my bible reading days are long gone, I wasn’t too sure of the interpretation of the story. Yet it was entertaining and Russell Crowe is one of my favourite actors.

Monday saw an early start into the day and a busy start into the week. A trip to Milan, a moderation at a conference and a good catch up with industry friends – a week how it should be, making lots of progress at the end. Flying in and out of Milan is still one of my favourite sceneries, the Alps, the right light and the feeling of coming home. Just nice.

When sitting on the 652 train in the morning you realise why you prefer to get up and exercise. I bet everyone on this train will not have the energy to go home tonight after work, commute an hour, and then exercise. I am still convinced that the early morning starts for exercising are the way forward. My main bug bear I had to overcome was to be able to go to bed at 10 pm. For years we wanted to stay up longer, were forced to bed early. Now that we can we don’t – it goes a bit against our instinct.

The highlight of the week of course was the arrival of Rosie. Adding a dog to the family is a big step, a huge responsibility. Well thought through and lots of effort put in. We picked her up on Saturday lunch time and brought her home. It is like adding a baby to the family. I remember, just a week before we found out that my wife was pregnant with our oldest, we got two kittens. It changed our life then as the dog will change our life once again now.

IMG_3296

But what is it what we hope to be able to achieve by having a dog. An exercise partner, a loyal friend, a playmate for the kids, a companion, a friend, someone to look after. We hope to add joy and fun to the family, particularly for the boys, ridding them of fear from animals.

I had one morning this week where I was thinking ‘I am on top of the world’. That was on Tuesday. I went to bed rather late for my liking but slept extremely well. Very deep sleep, got up to do some weights and running, to then play Lego with my oldest. A chirpy chat with the station person, a joke with a mate whilst boarding the train, big smiles all around. Those are the days your confidence creeps up on you and all day long I pushed boundaries, made things happen.

Those are the days you are on top of the roller coaster ride. The days you don’t want to let go to waste, the days you are on top of the world. Then a part of our company got sold this week, good news all around, some organisational changes and more focus on the advertising space. Again, all good news.

It has really been a busy and exhausting week. But a good and satisfying one at the same time.

Let’s hope next week is going to be fine, as I am off the week after for half term.

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (292)

I start writing this post enjoying yet again the best bacon sandwich at Gatwick airport, at Apostrophe in the South terminal. Maybe not in line with my healthy eating ambitions, it serves as a treat for the 5 am start, the 4.15 am alarm. I will be back here the coming week.

This time it was a bit worse as C was up at night, having nightmares. We have been exposing him to dogs almost on an excessive basis to secure utmost preparation for the arrival of Rosie. I will update on that below. As a parent having to do manipulative work with your five year old is fine yet not if it is forced and needs to be done quickly. Never mind, things will work out at the end. I am actually a bit chuffed that my NLP and personal development work has had such a great impact on my son. A bit of anchoring and positive reinforcement, a role play and his fear of dogs was cured πŸ™‚

IMG_2874

After my trip to Turkey last week, I was in Zurich for a day, and will be going to Milan next week. I enjoy it somewhat but it is tiring and exhausting. I have done little exercise due to some restrictions from the cold. I also got some tape that hopefully will improve my pain when running. Fingers crossed. I did some stationary biking, the weather was far from pleasant this week. On Saturday the changing weather put me in a right pickly mood. Not good and not happy.

I couldn’t even say it was a busy week. Busy enough yet not crazy busy until Friday afternoon of course. I had two solid days in the office being able to catch up on lots of things and almost getting on top of everything – as if that is ever going to happen…..being able to let go and take a step back sometime also helps. Having support at home, someone to fall back on helps too.

Anyway, the highlight was the visit to Rosie, our German Shorthaired Pointer. It was a bit up in the air whether we would get her due to C’s fear of dogs but with my work and his brave effort to face different dogs this week, the breeder was happy. C even jumped on a trampoline with a Vizla this week and totally lost his fear of dogs. We cannot wait for her arrival next weekend which is going to be so good.

I dog proofed the fence and gates this weekend, we went shopping on Amazon and Pets at Home and make sure everything is set for Rosie’s arrival. We cannot wait. The kids are very excited and so are we. Whilst the last few weeks I was wondering how cute a dog could really be, the puppies at 7 weeks are just adorable! Seriously, they are amazing. I got all soft πŸ˜‰

It was also nice to have my cousin over for the weekend. She is really good with the boys and good to us too. Whilst I was in Zurich myself I didn’t have time to buy chocolate. She did πŸ™‚ Again, this is going against the healthy eating regime but how couldn’t you πŸ˜‰ Swiss chocolate is heaven. And an extra pair of eyes to watch the kids is nice too.

A mixed bag of feelings this week. Mixed weather. Yet it all worked out at the end. Another two weeks before I have half term off to really work with Rosie. You can just see her loving me already, I even ordered an extra bag of treats πŸ˜‰

Have a great week yourselves, enjoy what is left of the Indian Summer, rain and winter are slowly taking over.

Cheers
Volker

Sunday Column (289)

There have been a few things that went through my head this week. Starting last weekend with the final decision to get a dog on Monday. So coming mid October we are able to pick up “Rosie“. I am excited, ecstatic yet apprehensive. When you wanted something for 30 years, and when you were always told that you cannot have it, and then had your wife saying that it isn’t feasible for years and then the day comes that her and you agree it is a good thing to add a dog to the family – this is a big day. That is a dream come true. But also a reality come true. I can no longer say “I always wanted a dog”, I now will “have a dog”.

To a certain extend, yet with less people talking about how many nappies you have to change and how this will affect your life, it is like having another child. And it is interesting to see how people give you advice. Some are very pragmatic and tell you about their own experience and what they never thought of. That is appreciated. Then there are those people that never had a dog and think they tell you all about it. Those are the annoying ones. And then you get the odd comment that a dog needs walking and you cannot take it in a plane. Those comments I am not sure about; they are either sarcastic or give you reason to doubt those people’s input.

Making the decision to get a dog is not easy. For me it was a childhood dream and also for my kids to grow up with a dog. This is particular true for them being as they are scared and not used to dogs. But foremost this will be a true companion, someone that is loyal, someone to take for a walk, someone wanting to please you and be on your side. And your wife’s side. And your kid’s side. A best friend, play and sports partner.

Enough about it. I am very much looking forward to it.

jobs ppt

The picture on the left got a bit of attention on Linkedin this week. I am not 100% sure why and I notice me using Powerpoint solely because that is what the company uses. But overall, I am normally on the whiteboard, drawing things up and discussing things with clients. That is more fun and it shows I know what I am talking about. Also it is a lot more engaging.

Moving on from there I have been active working last week at dmexco, the biggest online marketing show. So this week I feel a bit under the weather. Not sure if I caught a bug from one of the 30,000 visitors or if two late nights (I don’t remember when I was last still up at 3.30 am), little sleep and a 10K run on Friday contribute to my physical state, but something clearly isn’t right. I felt a bit under the weather, slept a lot but still got up early. My legs just don’t feel like exercising. Maybe I did too much or needed a break, you never know. The travelling and late nights, constant entertaining and talking take their toll. Luckily this only happens once a year. Also, the weather has been very warm and humid for mid September, not something I overly enjoy.

Looking forward to next week I am going to be in Paris, soon Istanbul, Milan and Hamburg, yet probably another few trips to come before the end of the year. Things are at the pivotal point, so the hard work is paying off. I enjoy what I am doing, and the industry is accepting what we are doing. But I don’t want to write too much about my job today.

Everytime I write my blog post, I am looking at the word count in the lower left corner, how it starts adding up. At 400 words I think I better come to an end and by 630, about now, I believe I should come to an end.

I don’t want to bore you with my thoughts too much, despite knowing that most of you enjoy reading it. This is a huge compliment. Speaking of compliments, the biggest one I got this week was from a lady I don’t even know. She said “my dad used to speak a lot about you, I remember your name” – that is nice to hear. I cannot go into further details (not because of the lady) but because of a surprise. I might reveal it in a few weeks time.

Now we visited Rosie again this weekend. It is nice to see Colin bonding and Rohan liking the dog. Also nice to see Rosie myself.

Have a great week ahead,
Volker