A Poorly Dog

Ollie is not on good form today. He is limping around on three legs, and his usual happy expression has deserted him. He has almost certainly pulled a muscle in his thigh, after chasing a deer at great speed a couple of days ago. It looks so sad, to see him holding up the leg as he tries to get around.

Even his curly tail is at ‘half-mast’!

But I am guessing that when he sees his lead appear soon, and knows it is time for his walk on the nature reserve, he will forget the pain.

Birthday Boy! Eight Years Old!

On the 12th of February, 2012, Ollie was born late at night, in the house next door.

Three months later, he came to live with us, and has been my constant companion ever since. Hardly a moment of any day goes by when he is not close enough to me to touch, and the only time he is ever on his own is when he settles down on his bed at night.

He has mellowed my moods, given me reason to exercise and explore, and through him, I have met most of the people I know in Beetley.

Despite all his numerous surgical procedures and other medical problems, he has stuck with me loyally, and remained my best friend for those eight years.

Happy Birthday for yesterday, to the best dog anyone could ever hope to own.

A Very Strange Dream

I had a disturbing dream last night. It woke me up when it was still dark, and I went back to sleep thinking about it. I was unsure whether or not to post about it today, but after walking round with Ollie for a couple of hours this afternoon, I decided to go ahead.

On the 18th of this month, I read a blog post on a blog I follow. Here’s a link to that.
The Seven Sisters

It was about a trip to the Seven Sisters in Sussex, seven famous chalk cliffs that overlook the coast. It is very common for people to commit suicide there, by jumping from the cliffs. I know that area well, and have been to the same spot many times in the past. I enjoyed reading the text and admiring the photos, left a comment, and thought no more about it.

Until last night.

I was driving along in a motor caravan, with Ollie on the seat next to me at the front. I have never owned a motor caravan, so that in itself is unusual. After parking the vehicle somewhere, I walked across the wide expanse of grass with Ollie running around in front of me, until I got close to the edge of one of the cliffs.The sky was grey, the weather cold, and the sea was turbulent, with waves crashing into the rocks at the base of the cliff.

Something made me inch nearer and nearer to the edge, until I was aware that small pieces of chalky rock were being loosened by my shoes, and falling into the sea below. With the wind in my face, and an uninterrupted view, I was really basking in the full force of nature. Ollie was still standing close, and just behind me.

Then for some reason, it entered my head to jump. Well not really jump, just step off into the void. The appeal of that idea continued to grow, and I started to move one foot forward until it was no longer touching the ground. As I did that, Ollie moved closer to the edge too. I turned and told him to ‘stay’, but it was clear to me that if I stepped off the edge, there was every chance that he would follow me. So I didn’t. I stepped back a few paces, and bent down to stroke Ollie. Concern for my dog had stopped me from doing something irreversible.

And then I woke up.

In the past, I have never really had any suicidal thoughts. I am sure the dream can be explained by having read the blog post, and those dangerous cliffs being on my mind.

But whatever the reason, it seems I can thank Ollie for saving me.

Ollie, the Moose, and a Deer

By the time it came to take Ollie for his walk on this Sunday afternoon, it had been raining here for almost 24 hours, non-stop. I was not in the best of moods, having been awakened early by a particularly torrential downpour whilst it was still dark outside.

I also had to wear my new Wellington boots for the first time, as last year’s ones had sprung a leak somewhere, forcing me to invest in a new pair. As we set off, I wasn’t looking forward to a couple of hours walking in heavy rain, trudging through mud and six-inch deep puddles. The new boots were not too uncomfortable, though the left one was rubbing my little toe enough to have me limping after less than an hour.

Ollie was looking around, in the hope of seeing some other dogs for company. But nobody else was risking the lunchtime downpours, and he couldn’t find any doggy pals to run about with.

Fjui X30 008

I decided it was up to me to enrich his playtime, and fell back on the old standby of telling him to search for an animal to hunt. For some unknown reason, I chose to mention a Moose. Now Ollie wouldn’t know what a Moose is, as we don’t have them in Britain. But my secretive tone, and half-whispered “Find the Moose, Ollie. Where’s that moose?” had him off and running immediately.

Nose to the ground, he crisscrossed the whole of Beetley Meadows in search of the non-existent animal. Every so often, he would stand stock still, lift his head, and sniff the air. When he had decided that his search was in vain, he ran back to find me, looking dejected. Trying to keep the momentum going, I took him through the gate into the small woodland area, talking to him as if he was a person. “It’s in here, Ollie! Find the Moose!” In the heavily overgrown woodland, his search was more difficult. Avoiding the nasty clumps of thorny brambles, he soon gave up.

I led him back through the gate onto the Meadows, and turned right. Around 250 yards straight ahead, a small white-tailed deer was busy nibbling some berries from a bush overhanging the path. It hadn’t noticed us as we walked from the gate. Ollie took off at high speed, sensibly making no yelping noises, and with the long wet grass muffling the sound of his galloping paws.

I became concerned that he might actually catch the small animal, which was no larger than my dog. So I picked up speed as best as I could, hampered by the new boots, and muddy ground. Just as I was convinced that Ollie would grab the little deer in his jaws, it turned and spotted him, at the last possible moment. Bounding off as if it had springs for legs, it took the route through the overgrown central area of Beetley Meadows, meaning I could not see Ollie at all as he continued in pursuit.

I carried on in the general direction for a few minutes, until Ollie finally returned to find me. His face was frothy from the chase, and he was panting hard. When I asked him “Did you get it, boy?” he snapped his head around to look, in case it had come back.

He may not have seen a Moose, or caught a deer, but he was happy for having had the chance to try.

Ollie At The Vet Again

Just over a week ago, we noticed that Ollie’s fur had still not grown back completely, after his last skin infection during the hot spell.
I took a photo of it, when we were out on his walk. You can make out the circle of bare skin, and the mark where a scab had formed.

Then over the weekend, his back got a lot worse. Hair was falling out in more circular patterns, and it was soon looking like this, with more scabs appearing.
(Notice his tail is uncurled, a sure sign he was unhappy at being photographed close up.)

On Monday evening, we noticed this awful sore had appeared on his neck, just above his right leg.

I rang the Vet on Tuesday morning, and managed to get an appointment for today.

Now we are back, with a diagnosis of a yeast infection of the skin, an ear infection in the right ear, and a sample sent away for laboratory testing in case it is Ringworm. Ollie has a week-long course of antibiotics and steroids, ear drops for the right ear, and the sore at the bottom of his neck has to be washed twice-daily with salt water.

I may have to bathe my wallet too, so it can recover from the amount taken out of it…

He was very well-behaved, and allowed the lady Vet to scrape, prod, and poke. For his good behavior, he was rewarded with some delicious cooked chicken pieces once we got home.

Let’s hope that it clears up soon, and he gets no more infections for the remainder of 2019.

A Dog Tweet On A Blog

I don’t normally hold with dogs wearing clothes, or being dressed up in silly outfits.

But this one is just fabulous! I absolutely love it!

Please play the video clip, it is very short.
(Don’t worry Ollie, I couldn’t get one in your size!)

A Trip To Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth is a traditional seaside resort on the East Coast in Norfolk. Always popular, it is unashamedly ‘down-market’.

(The photos are large files, so please click on them for detail)

But it does have a long seafront, a nice old pier, and a big sandy beach.

In late 2011, before we lived here permanently, and before we got Ollie, we went for a day trip with Julie’s identical twin daughters, and their dog, Baxter.

Julie with one twin.

And with her sister.

Baxter is a Mastiff cross, and enjoyed playing on the beach.

Sadly, he now has cancer, and his prognosis is not good.

We didn’t go on the Carousel, but I love the old style of such rides.

And on the pier, I insisted Julie pose for photos in the reproduction Victorian cutouts.

Baxter is still holding his own, despite the diagnosis. He is a great dog.