We've had every weather during the past month. Baking sunshine, pouring rain, hail and snow. But one thing has remained consistent - the mud.
There seems to be a continual trail of the dark stuff through our home at the moment with muddy paw prints leading from the front door into the living room, kitchen and conservatory.
We've been using an old towel to dry Zippy down as soon as we get home but he often wriggles out of it and bounds into the house leaving a path of sticky soil stuck to the carpets.
Mud, mud, glorious mud
At 20kg he is growing fast meaning he has more surface area and bigger paws to cover in mud. Although he is still afraid of water, leaping awkwardly over puddles rather than wading through them, he is prone to rolling around in the mud with any friendly dog he meets.
We have fields less than five minutes from our house which are a favourite walking spot. The problem is they are either boggy grass or ploughed, cloggy soil which means even as the weather gets warmer there is still plenty of dirt around.
We are also off for a seaside holiday soon and despite his adversity for water I suspect Zippy will absolutely love chasing around in the waves as they crash onto the shore.
Thankfully we are now fully prepared and Zippy seems to enjoy wearing his Ruff and tumble drying coat. It will come in very handy at the beach.
We have also found the Ruff and Tumble drying mitts extremely useful and Zippy thinks it is a brilliant game to have his feet and body rubbed by two mittens. He leans into me as I get the mittens out, rather than running away, and thinks I am playing with him as I scrub the mud off. The mittens are also great for shoving in a pocket and much more mobile than an old towel.
We are really excited about taking Zippy on his first staycation and hopefully now he is a little older at seven months, he will travel better. He used to be a quivering wreck in the boot, slobbering away, refusing to sit down and throwing up every 30 minutes.
But now we have covers on the back seat so he can sit between the children, clipped in on a harness and he is happy to lie down and snooze. We managed two hours the other weekend with no vomiting so fingers crossed that a three hour drive to Somerset is puke free.
We have tried the hormonal calming sprays and travelling on an empty stomach but neither of those tactics made any difference. As a slightly anxious dog, who has some separation anxiety, sitting in the boot just did not suit him. Fortunately our kids are small enough at age nine and six to accommodate a dog between them in the car. Although we do still have a sick bucket to hand - just in case.
Talking of anxiety, last month Zippy was still struggling to sleep through the whole night without whining because he was on his own in the crate downstairs (which was underneath our bedroom).
We decided to move him to a different room so he wouldn't disturb us or the neighbours so much and he actually much preferred it.
Instead of putting him to bed in the crate in the living next to the fire, we now have the crate in the utility room. At bedtime he goes out for a wee and then trots happily into the utility room and into his crate.
We have stopped using the baby monitor to shush him as he is no longer whining in the night. It seems that going to sleep in a smaller room dedicated to him (it's where his food, treats and toys are kept) is more comforting than being left alone in a big living room. Like us he likes going to his 'bedroom' at night.
We are still working things out along the way and often hit upon a solution by accident but each month Zippy is becoming more and more settled.