Nancy in the wars

Sorry about the Jumbled offering on Sunday. Thanks, Ian for alerting me.

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday November 22nd 2020

 

Bev and T, Rufus, Nancy and Jake the cat are off to the Lake District at the end of the week.

These pre-holiday days are always challenging as one of the animal trio – usually Nancy,  tends to throw a sickie close to the day of departure.

For some years, Nancy has had a benign tumour growing on her long, whippy tail, a few inches from the root. The tumour doesn’t seem to bother Nancy, and with every operation, of course, there is the risk of infection. When the site is so close to the root of the tail, in a worst case scenario, there’s always the possibility that infection could travel to the spine.

Although the tumour is definitely getting larger, Nancy is her usual ebullient self, and no procedure is deemed advisable. In consultation with the vet, it is agreed that at present the tumour is best left alone. Its rate of growth will be closely monitored at home, and there will be regular check-ups at the practice.

All is well as preparations are made for a spring visit to the Lake District.

But, true to form, the day before the family’s departure, Nancy bashes the vulnerable bit of her tail against a cupboard door. The tail bleeds.

The vet cleans the wound, then prescribes antibiotics and some cream to aid healing.

It’s a long journey, but all seems well with the labradoodles in their roomy compartment in the rear of the car. They had a walk, of course, before leaving Birmingham and there is the pleasant silence of contentedly sleeping dogs.

‘Fortunate that Nancy didn’t wait until we arrived in the Lake District before knocking her tail,’ Bev and T might well have been thinking as they sped along.

It’s a good journey. All is well with the world, it seems.

On arrival, the dogs are pleased, as always, to be let out of the car.

But not quite all is well.

As she emerges, it is heart-sinkingly evident that Nancy’s tail is in an awful state. The area around the previously minor injury is red, raw and obviously inflamed. She must have been quietly licking it for hours.

Instead of a relaxed exploration of the vicinity, it’s an emergency visit to the vet.

Again, Nancy’s wound is examined. Again, it is cleaned and dressed. Now it is also bandaged.

The rest of the first day is pleasantly uneventful, and they begin to slip into holiday mood.

Unfortunately, this is a little premature.

Early in the morning, Bev discovers that Nancy has attacked the tumour so frantically during the night that she has burst it. Her tail is bleeding and infected, and the room is in an indescribable state.

So it’s off to the vet’s again. Nancy’s wound is cleaned with antiseptic, dressed, and bound. Now Nancy wears a large Elizabethan collar.

A third check-up visit to the vet confirms that the wound is not healing well. There are signs of infection. Bev and T decide to return home a day earlier than planned. They make an appointment with their home vet.

Reluctantly, it is decided that the only way to preempt the spread of infection is to amputate the tail below the wound. The vet explains that it will be difficult to balance the risks: she will have to cut the tail as far away from Nancy’s spine as she can, while at the same time attempting to expunge the infection.

The humans wait anxiously by the phone.

The operation goes well.

Nancy is a very laid back, happy-go-lucky dog. The day following her operation, she is chirpy and keen for a walk.

Sadly, only a week later the wound is infected again. The vet says that she may have been over cautious and not cut away enough of the damaged area. Nancy is readmitted for further surgery.

Back at home, the humans wait again for the phone to ring.

At last it does. All has gone well.

Nancy is driven home, and Bev and T open a bottle of wine to soothe their shattered nerves.

Being a dog and therefore blissfully unaware of their ordeal, Nancy again makes a remarkably quick recovery.

She wears a post surgery ‘medical vest’ to protect her wound from being licked, bitten or prodded by twigs or brambles, and the wound heals well.

It is now several months since her last operation, and she is doing very well. She seems not to miss her tail, to be quite oblivious to the change.

 

 

 

 

Phew! What they put us through, these dogs.

 

*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

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leaves to the rescue

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday November 15th 2020 

 

On November the 7th I note: 

No rain today. Damn. And the sun keeps faintly gleaming. Isis won’t like it, even though she’s had to make do with the lane for two days. She is a little uncertain for a while. Shame. Things’ll be flat for her today.

Ah, but there’s a strong, gusty breeze. And it’s autumn. So what do strong gusty breezes do in autumn. Yes! They detach clouds of swirly leaves from their twigs ….. ….. and blow them onto dogs’ heads and their faces and their backs and their legs!

Wahay! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent. We have a rain substitute.

She has always liked the feel of leaves touching her, but this autumn, she steps up her game.

On another day, we leave home in heavy rain but the shower ceases as soon as we park the car; the sun gets a bit twitchy, and, unfortunately, stays a bit twitchy throughout our walk.

But we’re saved again by nature’s rhythms. Squally breezes come, lifting and spinning the  autumn leaves.

Isis is delighted. She rears up on her back legs, twisting this way and that as she does when rain is swirling. But now she claps her little front paws together trying to trap the leaves between them. I’m surprised at how many she catches.

Now and again, head down, she snuffles along speedily, snatching up bunches of leaves in her mouth.

Yes, dry or wet leaves in the air, on the paths or nestling in the grass are fine. But then one day when we arrive at the little pool, its surface is coated in shiny, wet, orange-gold beech leaves.

Oh dear, this is a very different matter. Each time a tentative paw is put down, it is hastily withdrawn.

Ew! We don’t like this at all.

Poor Isis wants a drink, but she certainly doesn’t want to put her feet on these nasty things. Even when I scrape out a little inlet for her, and clear a small drinking hole, she flinches and twitches her head away each time a leaf nudges her nose.

Eventually, I guide her half way across the stepping stones where the water moves quickly and drops into a hollow in a rock. Here she has a speedy drink before making her way very gingerly across to the opposite bank.

Later in the week I notice that she has grown accustomed to the feel of  leaves floating around her ankles. She still doesn’t want to drink from leafy water though. I guess it smells and tastes strange.

Now we’re in our second lockdown, Highbury is much busier than it used to be. There are many new faces in the park. I’m guessing South Birmingham’s population have realised that no, they won’t dissolve in the rain: it’s quite safe to walk in the park in the winter.

The more strangers there are, of course, the more queries there are about what ‘the dog’ is doing. And now there is more to explain. Those who usually smile knowingly as they pass Isis going beserk in the rain, are now puzzled to see her going beserk in the absence of rain, while those who have never previously set eyes on the hairy creature, are arrested mid stride.

This all makes life more interesting, and it’s always good to see how curious and concerned people are about animals, how responsive to them.

Sometimes Isis-spotting leads to fascinating conversations. And more than once someone has said, “Hello again. I’ve brought my wife (or husband or mum or dad) to meet her,” or “Well, she’s made my day.”

My little star.

 

*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

 

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dear, dear, dear, dear, dear ……

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday November 8th 2020

 

Well (or not), I’ve not been a diligent, efficient pet owner at all. As I explained last week, after the Hibiscrub had trickled over its label, obliterating the usage instructions, I had had to ask the vet over the phone to enlighten me.

I made notes as she spoke.

On Thursday Isis and I return for her check-up.

The good news is that the treated patches are healing nicely. The bad news is that I’d missed a large, new patch at the back of her thigh, close to the original damaged area.

I’d also failed to retain the correct number of minutes which should be left between each process.

She jots down some notes.

The sequences and applications are still not clear to me.

Understandably, the vet concludes that I’m losing my marbles – or, maybe, happens to notice my hearing aid –  and begins to repeat the information more loudly.

I explain, politely, that she doesn’t need to do this, just needs to write down, or let me write down, in order, what needs to be done.

Perhaps it is at this point that she observes my spectacles hanging on a cord round my neck, for she eagerly announces that she’ll write the notes in MUCH BIGGER WRITING.

No, no, she needn’t do that. They just need to be in logical sequence. (Actually, they’re my distance glasses, used for driving. My close up vision isn’t bad).

Fortunately, not only is she a very conscientious vet, but also a patient lady.

I follow as she writes. I interject when I need more clarity, and we add in extras like ‘sore’ or ‘healed’. It emerges that there are different instructions for the two different skin states: one for ‘healed’, one for ‘sore’.

The instructions are as follows: Sore areas must be treated twice a day with twelve hours between treatments. In the morning, wipe Hibiscrub onto each area. Leave for fifteen minutes, then rinse off. After thirty minutes apply Isaderm, the steroid cream. Leave.

In the evening apply Isaderm only. Leave.

Do this until November 10th, then follow the above instructions only every other day until our next check-up on the 16th.

Healed areas. Apply Hibiscrub once a day, every three days, for four days. Apply Isaderm once a day for five days.

Yes. Right.

I have to confess that in order to bore you with this tarrididdle (or is it tarry-diddle?)

I had to tear my Hairy One’s treatment schedule from the kitchen wall and keep it in front of me. I still can’t remember it in its entirety.

Poor Isis has to wear the Elizabethan collar all the time except when she is off lead or hunting for bedtime treats when she appears to forget her problems, or when she is eating. At mealtimes I hover nearby ready to lassoo her as soon as she’s finished.

Unfortunately, she is quite athletic, so that the collar can’t prevent her from scratching her undercarriage vigorously. At least she can’t chew herself.

This positive is, however, balanced by a distressing negative. Even when she is wearing the collar,  a quick flick of her naughty head enables the little toad to bite and tweak out quite substantial strands of her once lovely coat.

For several days I ponder whether she would do this less if her coat wasn’t so long and dangly. I hate the thought of cutting her lovely coat, especially at this time of year, even though she’s not a dog who feels the cold. If she is less aware of the tempting fragles, will she be deterred?

Today, after watching her execute a number of crafty nips in the seconds between her finishing a meal and my replacing the collar, I decide.

Brandishing her dog scissors, I advance. I begin with her left flank. Snip, snip, snip. It looks as though a cow has been grazing on it.

But my skills are honed by experience, and by the time I’ve finished, she doesn’t look too bad. Not from the front and sides, at least.

The rear view is considerably less impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

We’re sticking rigidly to our timetable. All seems to be going well. The damaged areas are all improving already. It looks as though the our next check-up should result in a clean bill of health.

But over this weekend Hairy One’s attempts to bite and scratch herself become more and more frequents. By this evening, despite my frequent interventions, she has managed to create another raw patch.

It’s possible that she needs a bigger protective collar, although that, of course, will not prevent her from scratching herself.

A., commenting on last week’s post tells me of her cat, Daisy who developed a very similar problem and was quickly cured with Cytopoint. I’ll ask about this treatment when we next see the vet.

We can’t wait for the check-up appointment on the 16th.

I’ll have to contact the practice tomorrow.

Oh, Isis!

 

*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

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horses, vets and labels

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday November 1st 2020

 

We’re striding happily along the pavement in the rain, Isis and I, when I spot a funeral cortège making its way towards us on the opposite side of the road. Leading are four  magnificent black horses wearing feathery plumes.

There is a dog walking close behind us. He shows no interest at all in the horses. I wonder what Isis would think were she able to see them.

Just as they’ve clopped by, she leaps backwards, causing the dog and its person behind us to swerve out of her way. Her tail spinning like a helicopter blade, she leaps and twirls on the grass verge in wild excitement. Each time she lands, she emits a joyful little ‘Oof!

The scent of the horses has reached her.

The dog walker’s face is a picture of startled astonishment.

‘It’s the horses,’ I explain. She glances at me nervously before giving Isis and I a very wide berth. No doubt she’s concluded that we’re both unhinged.

‘Was that a specially lovely smell?’, I ask Isis, as she reluctantly allows me to guide her onward.

Obviously it was.

But tomorrow is Tuesday and we’re set for a much less fun encounter.

Yes, we’re off to the vet again.

Sigh.

The original dermatitis has cleared up nicely now, but over the past week she’s been diving at her hips, gnawing the other side of her buttocks and scratching the backs of her ears.

She’s had to wear her Elizabethan collar again. What can be the matter now? Surely the anal gland infection hasn’t returned?

As usual, her demeanour at the vet’s is exemplary. One light tap and she climbs onto the scales, carefully arranges herself so no bits are overhanging, and, lead removed, stands still until I replace it and give her a step down tap.

Our vet, of course, compliments her, and the nurse and receptionist breathe, ‘Oh, she’s so sweet.’

(I refrain from inviting them to attend when we’re back at home and I’m trying to trim off the  fluff obscuring the itchy sites.)

I explain Hairy One’s nibblings, and ask whether the infection could have returned.

The vet thinks it’s unlikely, but she checks the glands and, much to Hairy One’s dismay, collects a little sample. There’s no sign of infection.

I hold Isis’s head while the vet examines the rest of the rear end very thoroughly. Isis wriggles and dances from one back leg to the other. She emits low growls, but doesn’t snap or try to wrench her head away.

The vet points out that Isis has been chewing rather than biting the hair on her right thigh. There are damp curls to prove it.

I tell her that when Isis first came to me, the hair there had been well barbered. Even now, when upset, she roots around  this thigh.

‘Could it be stress’, I wonder.

‘Has anything stressful been going on?’

Ah. I’ve been moving stuff around the house all week. I’ve not put anything where she might walk into it, of course, but dogs do become upset when stuff is moved around. I remember my border collie Feather becoming quite distressed if she saw me putting luggage into the car, and not settling until I let her in to lie on the back seat.

And my Ellie, who used to be my friend’s dog, curled up in one of the packing boxes during preparations for a house move.

Perhaps Isis is anxious about furniture going missing, her home being dismantled.

Has she been left on her own more than usual?

Yes, she has. Not alone in the house, but alone downstairs while I’ve been recommissioning rooms upstairs.

The range of possibilities is vast: parasites, a recurring allergy, a specific skin disorder, stress, a return to old habits because of the anal infection.

As for treatment, the vet explains it might be necessary to send skin samples to the laboratory. This would be very expensive. It might or might not solve the problem. What would I feel about that?

I explain that Isis has her own bank account. When I first had her, I decided that it would be difficult to insure a deaf/blind immigrant dog, so put ten pounds a week away for veterinary treatment.

‘If you think tests are necessary, then that’s what we’ll do.’

The vet weighs up the possible routes which could be taken. She suggests that the symptoms are treated and the patient monitored very closely for two weeks, then she is brought back for a check. If the problem has not cleared up by then, we’ll think again.

She prescribes Hibiscrub to clean the sites of irritation, and a steroid cream to calm the skin. She explains exactly what needs to be done. I’ve never been able to hold any information which contains numbers in my head. Words are fine. Numbers elude me.

I  immediately forget everything she says. But that’s fine, she assures me, it’ll all be on the labels.

By the time we get home, both Isis and I are worn out with the stress of it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decide I’ll read all the information again the next day, then we’ll begin the regime.

By next morning we’ve both come round. I read the information on the the Hibiscrub bottle, then carefully apply the solution to the affected areas.

Isis expresses her gratitude with long, menacing growls.

Although I am quite gung-ho when treating my own wounds, I feel very apprehensive when treating my animals, am always afraid of getting it wrong and harming them.

Are other pet owners the same?

Probably.

As I screw the lid back onto the Hibiscrub bottle, some of the solution dribbles onto the label, obscuring the ‘how many times a day’ information.

Great.

Never mind, I’ll look it up on the internet tomorrow. Gingerly, I rinse her skin and then apply the cream.

The next morning, I pick up the bottle of Hibiscrub again.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh.

Obviously potent stuff.

I read the instructions on the cream tube. ‘Use twice a day’ it tells me ‘after the Hibiscrub.’

Oh.

When I get to the site for confused Hibiscrub users, it’s full of queries such as

‘Do I put the Hibiscrub on my pet before or after the cream?’

‘Am I supposed to dilute it?’

‘How much is “a small amount”?’

‘How long do I leave it on?’

There are pages of questions. So it’s not just me then. But the answers vary. Now I’m more confused than I was before I went online. I even forget what I could remember the day before.

There’s no other solution. I’ll have to ring the veterinary practice.

It’s all too much. We’ll go to the park first.

When we return I ring the hub. I tell the pleasant receptionist what has happened to the label. ‘Oh’, she titters, ‘That always happens when I use it.’

Right.

After conferring with a colleague, she tells me that an entry will be made in the practice diary to ask the vet to ring me.

She does, after evening surgery. Even after a very long day, she’s still patient and clears up all my queries. I write down every thing she says. It all makes sense.

So Isis has one treatment on Wednesday. On Thursday, we begin the proper daily routine.

On Friday I recall that Hairy’s diet has been changed on the vet’s advice. She thinks more fibre could alleviate the anal gland problem. The change was very gradual and no other signs of intolerance are evident. But I should have mentioned that at the consultation.

We plod on with the routine. When she’s on a walk, I note, Isis doesn’t bother to scratch or chew at her coat. Perhaps she’s bored at home. I must play with her more.

On Thursday, I check the calendar. Isis is due to have her Prinovox tomorrow. That needs to be given every three months. That’s right, isn’t it?  I check the label. No, it doesn’t – it should be given every month.

Then I recall with dismay that it was prescribed by an RSPCA vet because skin problems are very common among dogs of Isis’s hair colour and type. It’s a very effective preemptive treatment for various worms, fleas and other kinds of parasitic invasion.

Perhaps parasites have attacked her because she’s not had the Prinovox every month.

Oh my dog! Another confession to the vet.

 

*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

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out and about, here and there

 

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday October 25th 2020.

Over the weekend the car is still at the garage because the M.O.T. man leaves on Friday after forgetting to sign the certificate. Since it’s bright and sunny outside, Isis refuses to take a  pavement walk, taking her exercise instead in the lane. She’s not played here for months and thoroughly enjoys herself.

We have the car today, so off we go to Highbury.

Still no rain. The sun is gleaming, albeit faintly. She’ll not enjoy today then. She is a little uncertain for a while. Shame.

Ah, but there’s a strong, gusty breeze. And it’s autumn. So what do strong gusty breezes do in autumn. Yes! They detach clouds of swirly leaves from their twigs …….. and blow them onto dogs’ heads and their faces and their backs and their legs.

 

 

 

  I feel exhilarated during and after this walk because Isis is so energetic, happy & entertaining.

Tuesday

Today she’s being very boring! She finds a ball and all she wants to do now is lie down and mouth it. If I pat her to urge her into another run around, she obediently moves, but then walks back.

Now Pat, Isis didn’t come into this world to please you. She belongs to herself. I guess dogs are like people, inconsistent. I have energetic days and bombed out days. Ellie was always powered up, always highly energetic. Only external events like explosions, thunder slowed her down. . .

Wednesday

It’s dull and drizzly, so Isis is keen to walk to Kings Heath Park. She plays happily, running up and down the bank with sticks. After a while, B. arrives with Eb. While B. and I catch up on local dog news, Isis continues her hedge and bank explorations and her sudden little forays onto the old bowling green to smell out sticks. Two hours later, it’s quite a struggle, as it often is, to persuade Isis that the car is not in the car park, and therefore we have to walk home.

Thursday

We’re back in Highbury. It’s wet and dull again. Another good day for hunting.

I am always fascinated by her ability to pick up the scent of a stick, track it down and home in on it. 

Sniff! Sniff! Found it!

Scratch, scratch.

Sc-r-a-p-e, s-c-r-a-p-e. Nearly got it.

Or scrabble, scrabble, scrabble, this one’s all rolled up in grass stems and moss

Or snuffle, tug! Snuffle tug. This one’s stuck in the hedge, wrapped round with brambles.

Soon dispatch those. Brace all your paws, hold your position, stutter backwards, a jerk at a time.

T-u-u-u-u-u-u-g! It’s looser. Now, swing your body to the left, to the right, left, right, left, right.

OOOF! Skitter backwards. Triumph! Now arrange it in your mouth so it’s well balanced.

Head up high, tail waving aloft, she circles the arena in a victory trot, then takes her prey for a quick tour of the hedgerow as though to announce, ‘It’s mine. I caught it!

Yes! All by myself!

Later, we move on. She plays on the grass opposite the pond. She searches under a tree and finds a slim branch covered in clusters of rattly leaves. She bears it off into the clump of tall plants. Usually, when she plays here, after a while she tries to cut across to her favourite playground, the boggy, coal black area where she’s established a dog mud bath.

But today, strangely, she is content to hide among the tall marsh plants. This should make me suspicious. But it doesn’t. The patch is at the edge of the steep slope down to the path, so it’s well drained. She’s always clean when we leave. Nothing to concern me.

I relax and chat to several passers-by who have caught sight of the eccentric Isis twirling about, snapping the air, occasionally emerging from her patch to leap and shake her branch.

A couple of guys are particularly fascinated. When I explain my companion’s behaviour, one of them says, “I’d normally feel sad to know that a little dog can’t see, but not her! She is so happy.”

They find Hairy very interesting and ask a lot of questions about her. I have just explained that it’s great that the area she’s playing in today is well drained so I don’t have to wash her when she comes out, when one of the guys looks over at her.

‘Fraid you do today,’ he says.

Sure enough she is absolutely filthy. The photo below was taken in similar circumstances this May, and I assure you, she is much, much blacker than this.

 

 

Sigh.

Never mind. She’s having a wonderful time and entertaining a lot of people.

Friday

It’s a disappointing day for Isis. It’s lovely weather: dull, damp and grey. Even more appealing, are little drippy gusts of rainy wind. We set off merrily for a pavement walk. Isis wants to continue to Kings Heath Park and hopefully tries to guide me down all the right turns along Howard Road.

But Human has not organised her time well, so we only have an hour and a quarter before the St. Mary’s Hospice men are due to collect furniture from the house. Not long enough to walk there, have a good, long play and walk back.

We follow a different route though, and find a multitude of scents. Sniff, sniff. Gosh, haven’t smelt her around here for ages. Snuff-snuff. Ah yes, he always widdles up this telegraph post. Forward jolt. Side skitter. Wahay! Kitty’s recently passed this way. She’s crossed the pavement, cleared the wall and squeezed through this privet hedge.

Saturday

The sun is out when we  set off. No chance of a road walk this morning. Our tail is tucked out of sight as we dip and flinch our way along the path, through the gate and across the pavement. Hmmm, she’ll be very choosy about which bits of Highbury she’ll walk in today.

But the clouds are still, the sun is steady, the shadows are light and Isis trots out onto the grass perfectly calmly. Sometimes I follow her; sometimes she follows me. It’s a day for wandering, allowing ourselves to cross and recross the meadows, taking time to follow up the scents lingering from last night.

Today is perfect Isis weather again. We’ve been very lucky this week. While Isis says hello to her hedgerow, and checks out all its different trees and bushes, I surreptitiously feed the crows with kitten kibbles. Then off we go to the orchard to take the high path through the woods.

Believe it or not, Human, who has no sense of direction, even manages to go off piste in the park.

I suddenly come to a dead end. I look round for Isis but she’s nowhere to be seen. There have been several dog thefts in South Birmingham lately. Panic! Panic! Where is she?

I dash back and find the right path. Where’s my Isis? Where is she?

Stop, foolish person. Stop. Where is Isis likely to be?

Yes, on the path we should BOTH be following.

I hurry along the path.

Yes! A glimpse of white.

At least one of us knows where she’s going.

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

 

 

Posted in a joyful dog, clever Isis, deaf/blind dog plays, Highbury Park, oh dear, rain and more rain, running running, scenting, twirling, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Isis is back!

 

 

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday October 18th 2020

 

A couple of weeks ago, a newly recovered Isis has a whale of a time on her walks. Every day it either rains steadily or at least drizzles, and Isis, of course, is as happy as the proverbial sandboy.

Now , too, while we walk I am able to leave the Elizabethan collar in the car, and she rarely pays any malign attention to her rump or her legs.

My little canine meteorologist always knows it’s raining before we prepare to leave the house. On Monday she can’t wait to get through the door. Down the path she goes in leaps and bounds, tasting the rain. Once on the pavement, she jogs impatiently on the spot while I fumble with the latch.

I take a step towards the car. Isis doesn’t. She obviously has no intention of getting into a car. She tugs to the left and off we skitter at a spanking pace along the pavement.

It’s weeks since we’ve walked this route, and she is assailed by the exciting scents which lurk between the inner edge of the pavement and the bases of walls and fences. So on we go, walking briskly, then stopping dead for urgent smell investigations.

What a joyful, joyful dog

We cross Vicarage Road. Soon after we enter Kings Heath Park, I release her and she rushes onto the first field, leaping and twirling.

I only need to stand beneath a series of dripping trees watching her in case she dances too far over to the left towards the railings which divide the park from Avenue Road, or she ventures back towards the gate. I am sure she’ll not do either, and she doesn’t. She’s much to busy enjoying the huge uninhabited space all around her.

She leaps and twirls and dashes back and forth for well over an hour. This, I decide, is enough for any small, soggy hairy who has yet to walk the twenty five minutes’ homeward path. She doesn’t pace herself, and I think that two hours of unremitting action should be enough for any dog.

Besides, I am soaked too, and beginning to shiver. She is perfectly contented to be re-dressed in her harness and to have her lead replaced.

Off we set at a steady pace. At home, I relieve Isis of her waterlogged lead and harness, drop my anorak, shoes and waterproof trousers on the porch floor, shoot down the hall to stay ahead of her so that I can cover the day bed with a large dog towel before she soaks the mattress.

I don’t know why, but she always tries to fling herself onto the bed before I get the towel on it. Then, naturally, she growls indignantly when I struggle to shove it under her.

I wipe the rain from her face and ears, place another towel on top of her and then go upstairs where I strip off the rest of my clothes – yes, all of them – quickly dry myself, throw something else on and return downstairs to dry her.

After this wonderful outing, she insists on walking to Kings Heath Park each time it rains. Which it does relentlessly for the next two or three days.

Then on Friday we meet up with Bev. in Highbury. Isis seems unusually pleased to see Rufus and Nancy. Although she is always happy to walk with them, she generally shies away from their exuberant greetings. Not today though. Today she stands while they greet her. To my surprise, later on she even exchanges a nose to nose encounter with a gentle male beagle. Hmm. That’s progress.

We set off towards the Community Orchard, all three dogs off their leads, Isis trotting  along, a little way apart but definitely a member of the group. We walk through the wooded paths, then back to the stream. Here, the others make their way towards the car park, and we turn left back onto the second field.

By now, the rain has set in for the day.

This is Isis heaven.

 

 

 

 

Thirty minutes go by. Then an hour. Every now and then, dancing dog approaches me. Ah, good. I take her harness from my pocket and unwind her lead. But having established that I’m definitely where she thought I was, she wags briefly and skips back to her playground.

By the time we finally make our way back to the car, we’ve been in Highbury almost three hours.

Out with the dog towels and off with the clothes yet again. Yes, I do have a super-waterproof jacket, but it’s impossible to take it off without runnels of rain descending onto the next layer. This goes for the waterproof trousers too: inevitably they dribble copiously onto my socks and drip into my boots.

Oh but what happy, happy walks. And how lovely to see Isis back to Isis again.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

 

Posted in a joyful dog, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, Isis at home, Isis meets other dogs, Isis says "No"., Kings Heath Park, park dogs, park people, rain, rain and more rain, running running, scenting, walking in the park, walking with Rufus and Nancy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

shrieks, barks and lots of food

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday October 11th 2020

 

When Autumn creeps in, it’s too cold for Y, Blitzi and I to spend the evening in the garden,  so we have to socialise indoors. As we know, this does not please Isis, who makes her hostility quite clear.

The day after the visitors’ first sojourn in our front room, Isis, of course, is well aware that her house smells of Blitzi. It was bad enough when he took over her garden, but his intrusion into the house is the last straw. After I wake her, she sniffs meaningfully at the bits of floor he has walked on. She doesn’t look pleased.

Wham! At breakfast she reverts to her mealtime madness of long ago: she growls, barks and screeches at the top of her noisy podengo voice. She dives at her bowl and snatches the food with fierce, pecking motions. She attacks it so wildly that her teeth clack against the metal, and the rim of the stand bashes against the wall, adding to the cacophony.

I am horrified. I can’t even remember when she last behaved as badly as this.

I hope it’s a one-off.

It isn’t, of course.

Sigh.

Back to the old routine. She begins to growl and bark. I remove her food. She goes ape. When she stops performing, the food is returned.

But now she is even more angry than she used to be. One day, although I wear my gardening gloves, she loses it, spins round and catches my arm. The wound is deep and painful. I leave her for forty minutes before returning the meal. She eats silently.

This behaviour won’t do.

Perhaps a more positive approach is called for.

I begin hand feeding her a little of each meal. She likes being hand fed and doesn’t make a sound. I praise her hugely as I offer her some more of her food – in the bowl this time. I have the last portion ready in a spare bowl to reward her again.

This works like a charm. Step by step, I eliminate the hand feeding and serve the rest of the food in two portions. The experiment is going very well.

Then she becomes ill.

She approves wholeheartedly of the vet’s instructions to feed her as much as she wants. She’s eating twice her  usual amount and still waits for more. No problem. When she completes her course of steroids, we can gradually reduce her rations until she returns to normal.

The steroids make her ravenous of course. She’s desperate to eat. Not a good time to persist with the training.

For the first few days of the ‘let her eat as much as she wants’ regime it’s difficult to gauge how much to give her, so I am feeding her in increments again – only now the increments are much bigger.

After the first large helping, she goes to the door and waits for the next one. And the next. And the next. We peak at 150 grams, twice her normal daily amount.

Then, with the gradual reduction of the steroids, we reduce the amount to ninety grams which seems to satisfy her. That’s where we are now.

We’re also transitioning from Burns to Royal Canin high fibre food because the new vet wants to see if Hairy One’s anal gland function can be improved.

With all these food related issues, I am ignoring the mealtime vocalisations. The screeching has ceased thankfully; now there are merely spasmodic growls and bursts of loud barking.

Although I find the racket very irritating, I do not attempt to correct her.

Yet.

As you can see, she is back to her healthy, lively self again

 

 

 

 

 

 

but I will delay the corrective training until her antibiotics finish and she is back to normal rations.

Obviously, we can’t go back to the three servings routine as she is only just accepting that we now have just one bowl per meal – albeit a very large one.

I think next week we’ll have to return to the ‘dog raises hell, food disappears’ regime.

One day I come across a pair of thick leather welding gauntlets in the art room. I’d forgotten I had them.

Good. I’ll wear those when removing her dish.

Perhaps I’ll also post a ‘wanted’ on Birmingham Freegle for a suit of armour.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

Posted in food rage, Isis at home, Isis is no angel, oh dear, poor Isis, strange behaviour, training | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

back in the saddle again ……

 

 

Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday October 4th? Really?

Quite obviously, I’m losing it. I am preparing myself to write this week’s post and discover that I forgot to click on the ‘publish’ button last week.

 

Sunday September 27th 2020

The new vet is confident that the steroids and antibiotics will sort out the dermatitis and the infected glands. She tells me that the steroids will make Isis very hungry and thirsty and that I should let give her as much food and water as she wants. She also says that I shouldn’t prompt her to do anything, just let her do what she wants to do.

“Follow her lead,” is the parting advice.

As we make our way home, I feel greatly relieved; I also feel very upset and angry that I have bathed her three times with the prescription shampoo. She is hot to the touch, her skin is bright pink, and a large area around her anus, on top of and underneath her tail are red and inflamed. I cringe to think how painful the water and shampoo must have felt while it was being applied and afterwards as it soaked into her skin.

No wonder she snarls and growls when I attempt to stroke her.

She has her breakfast and I give her the medication. This is very easy. She’s the most co-operative animal I’ve ever had as far as swallowing tablets goes. They only need to be wrapped in a thin layer of cheese, and GLUP! They’re gone.

Unlike Isis, but just like my border collies, my previous dog Ellie was extremely suspicious of the Trojan horse approach and refused, point blank to eat whatever delicacy hid the dreaded tablet. She was also very athletic so that getting her to swallow it was a battle royal.

She was, however, very well trained and very, very bright.

One day, after three abortive efforts, we sat on the floor facing  one another. “Ellie”, I told her sternly, “You have to eat it.”

She looked at me. I looked at her. I held out the tablet on the palm of my hand. “Ellie, eat it, I told her.”

She picked it up from my hand and ate it.

She had been taught ‘food manners’ for her Kennel Club Gold, and had excelled at the exercise where a dog is required to stop by a bowl containing a treat and not touch it until commanded. “Eat it” was the command I always used.

Obedience, of course, is an anathema to Isis, but she does know what it’s like to be very hungry. She doesn’t hesitate.

After breakfast, she retreats to bed. She’s very, very miserable and, clearly, extremely uncomfortable. Her irritated skin is maddening her, and she wants to tear out her hair. Throughout the day, she becomes more and more distressed. I entice her into the kitchen for her evening meal. She doesn’t want to go out, so I don’t insist.

Soon after I leave her for the night, I hear her snarling and growling. I know there’s nothing I can do for her. She barks throughout the night.

In the morning, I take her out into the front garden. She doesn’t want to go, but needs must.

She is very sorry for herself. It’s upsetting to see her so lethargic. She eats and she sleeps. She sleeps all that day and she sleeps through the night. She’s quite limp, and her nose is pale.

The following day I stay with her on the day bed. And she does something she’s not done before. She creeps up to me and lies very close. Then she readjusts herself several times until she is pressed up against me as close as she can get. Then she sleeps.

After her evening meal, she does the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I wake her on Thursday morning, she leans against me and slowly wags her tail. After eating, for the first time since Monday, she walks down the kitchen, waits for me to open the back door, and goes out into the garden on her own.

She soon returns, follows me into the front room and lies close by on the rug while I have my breakfast. As soon as I get up,  we return to the day bed. She rests her head on my ribs and snuggles into me.

Again we sleep all day. I give up all thoughts of doing anything else. After all, the vet told me to follow Hairy One’s lead. She needs me. Who am I to argue?

I switch on the radio, pull a fleece over me, and acknowledge that it’s very pleasant, actually, recuperating with my Isis.

Isis doesn’t even object when a bit of fleece strays onto her. She sleeps deeply. She wakes only once or twice from a bad dream, accepts gentle strokes, wriggles closer to me and goes back to sleep.

By Friday, I can see a big difference in her. She is alert. She’s lifting her head and wagging her tail.

Would she like a little walk, I wonder. Yes, she would. A transformation. She’s excited when I fetch her harness. She’s eager to get out of the door. I don’t want her to go to the park yet and hope she might be up for a road walk. I doubt it though, as the sun is out.

I’m surprised when she hurries round the gate, turns sharp left and sets off at a very brisk pace along the pavement.

Gosh, a lot has happened out here since she last walked this way. She sniffs and sniffs. I only intend to take her for a short walk, but she shows no sign of flagging.

Then, on the way home, her pace slackens. She’s walking very slowly now. She must be tired. I’ve overdone it. Oh dear, we’re not halfway home yet. I urge her on. She’s reluctant to walk.

Then, suddenly, she lifts her head high. She sniffs the air. It’s about to rain. Brilliant. She leaps forward, executes a couple of twirls, and we’re off on our erratic pavement dance. A light drizzle continues until we reach home. We’ve been walking for almost an hour. She sleeps peacefully for the rest of the day.

Her skin is much less inflamed. On Friday I dare to let her ride in the car without her Elizabethan collar and she doesn’t attack herself. I carry it with us when we get to the park though, just in case. She has two or three little snaps at her tail, but she doesn’t close her teeth on it. She dances on the grass in the shade.

At home she has a brief play with a new, springy piece of cardboard I’ve given her, but she’s still too sore to play for long.

She’s definitely getting better, though. She doesn’t cringe and creep now when she goes into the garden. She’s interested in her surroundings again.

When Blitzi visits on Saturday, she menaces him as she usually does, tracking him down and facing him off. He finds her even more scary when she closes in on him with that offensive blue plastic weapon on her head!

Today she elects to stay in Highbury for over two hours. I leave her collar in the car, and she’s fine without it.

Now, she no longer snuggles into me. She returns to normal, settling in her own space at her end of the bed.

Oh well, you can’t have everything.

It’s such a relief that she’s well again.

 

Sunday October 4th 2020

Isis is doing very well. The vet was very pleased with her. She has to continue with her medication for a few more days but appears to be bouncing with health.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in a vet visit, dear little Isis, dreaming, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis is sad, Isis says "No"., nightmares, oh dear, poor Isis, rain, scenting, self-damaging, self-harming, sleeping, sleeping arrangements, strange behaviour, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Isis bulletin 2

Friday 25th 2020

Hello there. Isis is making a good recovery.

Yesterday she was keen to go for a road walk – her first walk since Sunday – and today she had a good time in Highbury.

Pat

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Tuesday 22nd September

Hello everyone. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Isis barked until 2.30 this morning, then just as I’d gathered my sleeping downstairs stuff together, she stopped.

She’s much calmer today & no longer snarling and growling but she still refuses to go outside. She just wants to squash herself as close to me as she can get – not like herself at all. But she is eating & drinking.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments