A Little Catch-Up
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and focus on the blog and writing, having ME/CFS on top of all the extra things has really taken its toll on my energy levels, this past month. So I thought I’d do a little catch-up to let you know what’s been happening here.
So, put the kettle on, have a cuppa with a chocolate digestive (or two!) and relax whilst you read all about what’s been keeping me busy and just a little bit tireder than usual!
A Dog Attacks Barney
At the end of June whilst we were out on our morning walk and heading back home, we had a run in with another dog. Sandy is a bit anxious on our morning walks, she is scared of people, traffic, prams, trolley cases and loud noises, but she is doing really well. Now, she will sit, or move in behind me and continue to walk on, if a person is walking near us. We were just sitting waiting for someone to walk past when a small dog ran across the road! Sandy positioned herself behind me, I had Barney on a loose lead and all seemed fine. I was looking for the dog’s owner because I wanted to continue on.
Suddenly, the small dog attacked Barney, I had to put my boot in-between them to get it off Barney. Finally, the owner came running over, apologising and picked her dog up. I was shaking with shock and Barney was limping, but it was raining and I couldn’t see any damage to his paw. I took her details, in case the limping got worse and we headed home. Even before we got home, I could see a small amount of blood on Barney’s paw.
Once home, I had a good look at his paw and found a small puncture wound on the top of one of his toes. I got our dogs’ first aid kit out, cleaned it with antiseptic wipe, sprayed it with some colloidal silver and on went the ‘cone of shame’ to stop him from licking the wound.
I didn’t think it needed a visit to the vet at that point, so I decided to monitor the wound and if he didn’t stop limping, then I would take Barney to the vet. Over the next couple of days, I bathed it regularly in a warm, salt water solution and Barney stopped limping a couple of days later. I could see that the wound had scabbed over and was healing (happy days 🙂 ).
A Long Weekend Away with Friends
We were very lucky to be invited out to Spain for a few days with some friends, whilst this is a real treat, it does put a certain amount of anxiety on me. When you have dogs, going away for a few days is never just ‘chuck a bikini and toothbrush in your bag and off you go’ any more!
You have to plan ahead; book dog care, ensure there is enough food & treats, write a meal list for each dog and a daily outline plan, make sure all the dog details are available (vets, insurance etc) as well as pack for yourself!
As this was only the second time we have left Sandy with our dog sitter, I was worried how she would cope. The first time was just one night away, but this time we were going for 3 nights, but at least our dog sitter was staying in our home so that would give Sandy some stability.
Needless to say, I shouldn’t have worried. Sandy had lots of new experiences and coped really well with them all. I am so proud of how far Sandy has come since May 2016. I thought, back then, that we would never be able to go away without the dogs again. It shows me that Sandy can learn to not to be scared of people, but it just takes time for her to trust them. Our dog sitter has spent a lot of time with Sandy, slowly at first, building up interaction, to get us to this point. We are grateful to her for doing that and Sandy is so excited and happy to see her, it is wonderful to watch!
On our return from Spain, my sister and family arrived to stay with us, with their new puppy Bella. Whilst they were heading off on holiday for a week, we would be looking after the absolutely adorable Bella, a 12 week old border terrier!
We were aware of what we were letting ourselves in for but it has been nearly 4 years since we had a puppy in the house. So, not surprisingly, we had forgotten a few things! Such as; night-time wake up calls to let Bella out, razor-sharp puppy teeth, boundless amounts of energy when awake, keeping an eye on them all the time when they are awake, chewing anything and everything, finding a ‘toy’ in anything left on the floor and little ‘accidents’ around the house.
However, much of the above was forgotten because Bella was just so adorable, she made us laugh with her antics and brought a new dynamic into our lives.
It took a couple of days for Bella to settle and it took even longer for our two not to constantly growl at her! I have to be honest, I was more worried about how our two would react to a feisty, playful puppy in the house more than anything else. Sandy can show signs of jealousy and Barney well, he just didn’t want to play at all!
My lovely friend offered to come and stay for a couple of nights to help me look after Bella and this was a life-saver. I fully expected to be tired but I didn’t realise quite how tired I would be! It also, allowed me to keep some normality for Barney and Sandy, and between us we got Bella into a good routine, with plenty of day time naps and playtimes.
When people think about getting a puppy, they don’t realise how much disruption and work a small puppy can be, all they see is an adorable, cute puppy. However, I had to remind myself that;
- Puppies need routine,
- Puppies need a quiet, safe place to rest,
- Puppies need about 19-20 hours of sleep a day,
- Puppies have small bladders, they need to pee about 15 minutes after eating and poop about 30 minutes after eating. Also, you should take them out as soon as they wake up and after any playing.
- Puppies can only hold their bladder for about an hour for each month of age, plus one, i.e. 12 weeks old would be around 4 hours before needing to go out for a pee, hence you need to set an alarm to let them out during the night (if like Bella, your puppy won’t go on the puppy pad) or you have a pen with their bed and puppy pad in the pen.
- Puppies should be trained from as early as possible, they pick up things very quickly at this young age, so a lot of foundation training can be started. Short 5 minute sessions, 2/3 times a day will mentally tire a puppy. Keep it positive and fun and always end on a positive note and some playtime.
- Puppies need regular meal times, feeding 3 times a day, puppy specific food.
Puppies are amazing though and by the time my sister arrived back from her holiday, Bella was settled into our routine, not only that Barney and Sandy were including her in their play, it was so lovely to watch them all. After all my anxiety, Barney and Sandy did what all older dogs do with puppies, let them know when they have over stepped the line, with a growl or two.
We missed Bella when she headed home, she really lifted our spirits, she was so clever, funny and feisty and it was lovely to see the interaction with Sandy and Barney grow. I was exceptionally tired after they all left, but because my friend came up to help me look after Bella, I wasn’t quite as bad as I thought I would be and I didn’t crash afterwards. So I’m definitely stronger this year than I was this time last year!
Will we be getting a puppy any time soon? I don’t think so, two dogs is enough for us at the moment, maybe when I am stronger and my husband has retired, we might have a rethink!
Barney’s Dicky Tummy
Whilst Bella was staying with us, she had a dodgy tummy. We thought it was because she was out of her routine, it was exceptionally hot down in London and there was so much excitement for her. We managed to get Bella’s tummy back to normal with a bland diet of boiled chicken and chicken water, so we were pleased not to have to take her to the vets.
However, once Bella left, Barney got a dicky tummy too! Barney has had a sensitive tummy since he was a puppy and has had so many courses of antibiotics to clear it each time. However, now I am keen to try get him back to normal without antibiotics (obviously, I would always take Barney to the vet, if I thought it was serious). As Barney was his usual self, was drinking and his appetite was normal, I thought I would see if we could sort him out without going to the vets and more antibiotics.
We started him on the boiled chicken and chicken water, along with Kefir milk and Dorwest Tree Bark Powder, which I keep at home and take away with us (he always gets a dodgy tummy when we are away!). I gave him the Kefir milk before his morning and evening feed and this seemed to settle his tummy. He was back on his normal food after 3 days and back to normal poos after 5 days. I’m so pleased that he didn’t have to have another course of antibiotics and we were able to clear it naturally.
Sandy’s Dew Claw Removal
Phew… after all of the above, it began to feel like I was running a dog’s nursing home! This was to continue as Sandy was booked in to have one of her dew claws removed. This claw seemed to grow really rapidly, it would curl right round and Sandy used to pull at it and chew it, so I thought it must be annoying her.
I have to be honest, I was very nervous about leaving Sandy at the vets. She has never been left there before and I was worried about her because she is so anxious and scared around people she doesn’t know. I dropped her there at 9 am and went home to wait to hear from them as to how she was doing.
I received a call around midday saying that she was doing really well, all her blood results came back OK and she was having the claw removed. They said she was coping really well and even had a cuddle with one of the vet nurses! I checked back with them around 5 o’clock, to be told the little operation had gone well and I was able to collect Sandy.
Poor Sandy was not a happy bunny and she cried the whole way home, which was upsetting for me, the whole time we have had Sandy, I’ve never heard her cry. When we first got her, even though she was terribly scared and nervous, she never made a sound. We had a restless night, as she couldn’t settle but the next day she seemed to calm a bit. We were back to the vets two days later to have the bandage removed. I have to say I was quite surprised how big the wound was. For the next week Sandy would be on lead walks only, we couldn’t let the wound get dirty or wet (just when monsoon season started in London! Typical!) and she had to wear the ‘cone of shame’ all the time.To be completely honest with you, I was so happy when we took her back to the vets and they gave her the all clear. The week in between was hard work, she didn’t like the cone, but did get used to it. As Sandy started to feel better, it got harder and harder to stop her playing with Barney and you could see she was desperate to go out for long off lead walks, she had a lot of pent-up energy, just waiting to run free!
Sandy no longer needed to wear the cone for walks and playing, just when she was asleep, or in the car. So we took them both to the beach on Sunday for a good long run around. Sandy loved it, even though it was super windy!
The wound is healing well, now the stitches are out I am bathing it in warm, salty water and spraying it with colloidal silver.
So, it is safe to say that after a very hectic July, we are hoping that August will be quieter and back to our normal routine. For which, I will be truly thankful, I love Barney and Sandy so much, but when they are unwell or something happens to them, it is worrying and exhausting! Here’s to warm summer days and more long walks on the beach.