Tuesday 18 August 2020

Saying Goodbye....

It doesn't seem that long since I wrote a post about losing my little Chihuahua, Choco, in fact it was just over a year ago.  And now today, sadly I'm writing about losing another little Chihuahua, Kara.   Yesterday we took our little girl to the vet for her to be helped to go over the Rainbow Bridge.  

Kara was about four months old when we first saw her.  She sat like a poor little waif in a pet shop window in October 2008, this was when pet shops here in Spain were still able to sell dogs from their windows.  Against our better judgement we went into the pet shop and asked all about her.  It was obvious that the guy working there didn't have a clue about her, but he must have spotted a pair of suckers when we entered the premises!  Well my husband wasn't happy to buy a dog from a pet shop and who can blame him, but as we drove home (an hour and a half in the car) we couldn't stop talking about this little sweetie in the window and how she would fit in with our other three dogs!!  

(Kara always ate on the sofa on her own 'tablecloth' (an old tea towel) because she was a slow eater and her sisters would steal her dinner if they could!)

I remember we got home and immediately decided to call the shop and tell the guy to hang on to her, we were coming straight back to get her!  So off we went, another hour and a half in the car and so little Kara came home with us that Saturday evening.  Of course she wasn't called Kara then, she was a nameless little thing, as quiet as a mouse and not much bigger!  Brian, my husband, suggested we call her Kara, after the Supergirl character, Kara Zor-el, and so Kara she became.

We wanted to take Kara straight to our vet for a check up but it was too late that Saturday evening, but as soon as we got her home we realised that something wasn't quite right with her.  First of all her tail had a 'kink' in it, it felt like a 'knot' and it stuck straight out the back.  It didn't worry us how it looked but we didn't want her to have any problems with it.  Also her back legs appeared to be twisted.  Her fur didn't feel as soft as it looked, it had a slight dryness to it but we thought we'd leave it for the vet to look at on the Monday.


Kara settled in but she was extremely nervous.  She seemed to be petrified of feet, if we walked anywhere near her she would cower down as if she thought she might be was not nice to watch but we were determined that she would feel at home with us as she was already very well could we not love the little sweetie?  She was gorgeous, the sweetest little dog and very cuddly!


On the Monday, when the vet saw her, she was really angry.  She said that Kara was obviously undernourished, her tail had been broken and not set properly, her back legs were indeed twisted because she actually had rickets.  Our vet hadn't seen a puppy with rickets in  in a long time.  Her fur was dry because she'd not been given the correct food for a puppy of her age.  


We went home with her and continued feeding her on the food that we'd been giving to our other pups, Lucy and Yoda, who themselves were only 9 months and 7 months respectively.  A week later when we went back to the vet, she could already see an improvement in Kara, her fur was beginning to feel silky and soft and she blossomed from then on.  She continued to have silky soft fur for the rest of her life.

Then a few years later, one Boxing Night to be exact, Kara suddenly started fitting.  I'd never seen a dog having a fit before and it was incredibly upsetting, plus I was so scared that we were going to lose her and what vet would be open at 8pm the day after Christmas?  Luckily, we didn't reckon with my son's future mother in law, who, knowing everyone in our town, got on the phone to a local vet who agreed to see us straight away.  And so little Kara was diagnosed with epilepsy and put on phenobarbitol.

Phenobarbitol is not a drug to be messed with but once we got her dose right, she had less fits although she did continue to have a few a month...however, what we didn't know was that it was affecting her eyesight.  We eventually tried other drugs and reduced her phenbarbitol right down but by then it was too late, her retinas were already beyond help and she gradually lost her sight completely.

At first her loss of sight wasn't that much of a problem for her, she'd never been a dog that liked going out for walks, she was actually a little bit of a Diva and enjoyed being carried about!  But as long as we didn't move the furniture she was fine, she could find the water bowls, she could find her way around without many bumps.  However about a year or so ago I noticed that her behaviour started to be a bit 'different'.  She started to walk around in circles and bark for no reason at all, and it was a 'strange' bark, not a normal one but we didn't really think too much of it at the time.  I asked the vet if she thought Kara might have the start of doggy dementia but she felt that she was too young at that point, so we didn't worry too much.


However, by the beginning of this year she started to get worse.  I'd done some research and found out quite a lot about dementia in dogs and she was showing quite a few signs, it was really sad.  As if the poor little thing didn't have enough to contend with, she was definitely showing strong signs of dementia.  The vet gave us a drug that is supposed to help dogs with these signs, called Cognadine, but although it seemed to help at little at first, we soon realised that she was getting worse.  We tried other medications, we tried cannabis oil but nothing really helped her.  She got worse and worse. 

In February when my husband was away visiting family in the UK, I was at the end of my tether.  Kara was walking around in circles and continued to do so for about 3 and a half hours.  Every time I picked her up and held her, she would struggle to get down, I would put her in her bed and she would get straight out and off she'd go again with the circling. She also started to bark for nothing at all and this too would go on for hours at a time.

Our vet then suggested another drug that is supposed to help dogs with dementia and had no side effects...we tried this and yes, for a few weeks it seemed to work.  It was increasing the blood flow to her brain and supposed to calm her symptoms down.  But over the last few weeks we realised that it just wasn't working anymore and there was nothing left that we could do for her medically.


Last week we realised that her time had come to leave us.  She no longer recognised us which was just so heartbreaking and her circling had got so treacherous for her because she couldn't see, she no longer was aware enough of her surroundings to know where everything was and so she spent a lot of time bashing into furniture, it was horrible to watch.  Horrible to see our sweet little girl in such decline.  Physically she looked fine, her fur was lovely and soft, her appetite in the main was good, but her mental state was in such decline. 

I cried all weekend after we'd made the decision to let her go.  I felt like I was 'playing God', deciding that her life was over.  But our lovely vet talked with us at length and she is not one to put a healthy dog to sleep or make decisions like this lightly.  She told us that Kara's heart was strong but her mind had completely gone and her life must be scary for her, she didn't know where she was and she didn't know who we were...that was horrible to hear but then the truth often is.  

So we said goodbye to her yesterday morning at 9.50am.  We held her whilst she was sedated and we cuddled her in her blanket as she was given the injection and  breathed her last.  My heart feels heavy and my eyes are swollen, but she will always be our little Princess Diva who'll live on in our hearts forever.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I'm sorry it was so long but it's hard to put 12 years of love for a little dog into just a few lines.  

Please give your beloved pets an extra hug from me tonight

Big hugs, Sharon xx 

Sunday 31 May 2020

Gotz Happy Kidz Emilia...A New Custom!

Last week I bought a Gotz Happy Kidz Emilia because I both liked the sculpt and wanted to do some customising.  I got Emilia because she has an interesting face sculpt, not the prettiest of the Gotz Happy Doll sculpts but a face that I find I'm drawn to.  I liked her on arrival but always like to make my dolls 'my own' and she was no exception.

Emilia before:

I've always liked Gotz dolls as their quality is very good and they're great as play dolls, being made with very safe and well tested materials, and for adult doll collectors too.

Firstly I removed the factory makeup and the acrylic eyes.  The eyes were not bad quality but I prefer them to be more realistic so they had to go, along with the eyelashes.  Here she is with her cleaned face, but eyes and lashes still attached.  I felt these eyes were also a tad too large for her eye sockets too.

The hair on these dolls is rooted so I covered her head with an old shower cap to protect it from the chalk and the sealant.

The hardest part was getting her head off.  I had to soak it in boiled water until the vinyl was soft and then pull it off.  The eyes are seated in little 'pockets' inside her head but the back of these are open so you can easily remove the eyes through the neck hole.  Here she is will her default eyes and lashes now removed.


I then gave her a new faceup using watercolour pencils and artist grade chalk pastels.  I wanted her to have glass eyes but I found that the ones I have here (and I have quite a few pairs!!) did not suit her or were the wrong size.  In the end I decided that I would stick with acrylic, so these eyes are by Glastic Realistic, unfortunately I have no idea what the colour is called.   As acrylic eyes go, I think these are a great alternative to glass or resin eyes as they are very detailed and natural looking. 

Between layers of chalk pastels, Emilia is sealed with several coats of Mr Super Clear Flat sealant. 

I hope that I've bought her more 'to life' and less dolly looking.  I enjoyed working on her, customising really is one of my favourite parts of the doll hobby to be honest!

She's wearing an outfit that I made for my Zwergnase dolls, I thought the grey of the outfit went well with the grey of her eyes.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you're all having a very nice weekend.

Big hugs and stay safe!
Sharon xxxx

Thursday 21 May 2020

A bit of sewing for Holly....

Holly is my Zwergnase Junior Wentje who came here at Christmastime, a present from my  husband Brian.  Until now the poor girl has stood for ages in her default outfit then she was changed into a 'hand me down' from one of my other dolls, but today, finally, she has an outfit of her own.

I wanted to make her some loose fitting linen overalls and so searched on line for photos of what I had in mind.  So firstly I made a pattern by taking her measurements and drawing it out on a large piece of brown paper.  She's 55cm tall so the usual A4 sheets wouldn't work for her.  I tweaked it a few times and then decided to use an old pair of trousers of mine to cut up for the fabric.  I don't have much linen type fabric here and all that I do have would have been too small.  Plus I didn't really want to use good fabric in case the pattern was not a good fit for her.

I'm really pleased with how they've turned out.  I used some red metal overall clips that are meant for human sized items, and they worked perfectly for her.  I made a simple cap sleeved white tee shirt to finish off the look.

The overalls have large pockets on the sides so that Holly can fill them with her belongings or of course she can fit her hands in them too.

I have tweaked my pattern slightly to make them a little less full under the arms, and next time I think I will make them with short legs for the summer.  

I hope you're all keeping safe and having a nice day.

Big hugs, Sharon xxx

Friday 1 May 2020

Doll Review - Daniela with Pink Outfit by Llorens of Spain - PHOTO HEAVY!

In my last post I wrote about my impulse buy from a doll store here in Spain.  The order was for a Daniela with Pink Outfit by the Spanish doll company Llorens who are based in Onil, Valencia, Spain.  Well the doll arrived very quickly, the company I bought her from, Dolls and Dolls state on their website that they will ship within 24/48 hours and I ordered her on the 18th April which was a Saturday.  The Monday was a public holiday in Valencia where the doll was made and so she shipped on the Tuesday and arrived on the Wednesday.  A very quick service. 

I apologise in advance for the number of photos but wanted to be thorough 😃

The doll was packed safely in a brown shipper and then inside she was in a very sturdy decorated cardboard box which could be used by a child in a number of ways. 

She was held safely in the box by some ties but none of those horrible plastic ones that are often pushed into the dolls head.  

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the box but hope you'll enjoy this little review of the doll out of the box.  (I would have liked to have photographed her with other dolls in this size range but I don't really have anyone to compare her to!  But if anyone wants photos of her alongside dolls that I do have, such as Sashas, then please just give me a shout).

Straight out of the box.  She is wearing this very cute winter outfit consisting of pink knitted jumper with long sleeves and hood, the hood is edged with beige cream faux fur, a pair of mid calf length knitted leggings, a pink knitted bobble hat and faux suede fur lined 'Ugg' type boots.  She doesn't have any underwear or socks.

The yarn used for the jumper and hat is pink but it has a sort of 'tweedy' effect with white and grey flecks.  The jumper has pink turn back style cuffs.

 She has a very pouty face, the sort of face that really appeals to me.

She stands really well straight out of the box.  

Daniela has a very sweet profile, the scult is child-like with a cute nose and pouty lips.

The face painting is soft and natural looking.  Her eyelashes are a little on the long side for my liking but they are not too bad.  I will probably replace them with slightly smaller darker ones at some point.

Her hair is lovely and well rooted, there don't appear to be any big gaps between the rooting holes.  The hair fibre feels very much like the more expensive modern dolls from Gotz in Germany, very silky and soft.  The colour in the photo below is not true to life, the real colour is more like my other photos, it's a warm golden blond.  The style is good too, it falls nicely into a short bob.

She has cute well sculpted ears.

Her eyes are blue inset acrylic and they are quite detailed.  She does not have sleep eyes.  Her eyebrows are very sparcely detailed, I may well redo those by filling them in with more 'hairs' using watercolour pencils and chalk pastels.  And she doesn't have lower lashes, so I will add those, again with watercolour pencils.  

Her lips are very detailed with lip creases and are not overly painted or glossed.

Below you can see the outfit with the hood up. 

Daniela has quite a lot of head movement, she can pose with her head looking up, or over her shoulder, she can look down (although her head tends to want to come up again from the looking down position).  When her head is turned all the way around to the back, it remains level and does not look upwards as some play dolls do.  She certainly has good and natural head movement.

Her feet are quite detailed, with cute little toes and neat nails.  

Her hands are also very detailed, with small neat fingernails and lines on the finger joints.

She even has detailed lines on her palms!

Also her hands are not the same, each hand is slightly different!  Below you can see how detailed the lines on the fingers are.

When Daniela sits down her legs do splay outwards but not as bad as some dolls do.  She can sit up unaided without falling backwards.

Because the weather is warm here I wanted to make her something more summery to wear, so I took her measurements.  I compared her measurements with the Heart 4 Hearts dolls, Corelle dolls and the American Doll Wellie Wishers who's details I found online.   It turns out that she is almost the same size as the 14.5 inches Wellie Wishers dolls!  This was great to see as I do have patterns already in that size.  I think the only difference is that Daniela's hips are a couple of centimetres bigger.  

I made her this outfit below, in my favourite colours of blue and white, which I think suits her perfectly.

Outfit and socks by me, shoes by the late Jean Jensen (made for Sasha dolls and slightly too big for this dolls feet).

So to sum up, would I recommend this doll?  Yes!  I definitely would recommend this doll for both children and adult collectors.  She is very well made, using high quality and safe materials.  Her hair can be combed or brushed and she is sturdy enough that a child could play with her without fear of her falling apart quickly.  The company recommend her for children of 3 years and over and I would agree that she would be perfect from that age upwards.  Price-wise this doll is excellent value for money; she cost me 37,95 euros plus 6 euros postage within Spain.  

I would certainly recommend both the Llorens company doll and the Spanish retailer Doll and Doll for a good dolly shopping experience.

I hope you've enjoyed this review and seeing this new little girl!

Thank you for stopping by, keep safe and well everybody!

Big hugs Sharon in Spain xxx