Ollie and The Painter

For the last three days, poor Ollie has been discombobulated. When the painter arrived early on Monday morning, as far as my dog was concerned, he was just a guest, and a potential playmate. He wagged his tail enthusiastically, and brought his most treasured toy, a tattered and smelly stuffed lion. But there was no time for play, as much work needed to be done.

Living in a one-level bungalow, there is no escape from having to go in and out of the two small hallways. We did our best, by leaving one of them free, which meant I was exiled from the small office room. But the other hallway is essential for access to both bathroom and kitchen, so disturbance of the tradesman was inevitable.

But worst of all, Ollie’s habit of following me around had to be curtailed. He could not understand why he wasn’t allowed to accompany me into the kitchen or bedroom, and why he was not allowed to lay down against the freshly-painted skirting boards. Much of the day was spent telling him to ‘Lie down’, ‘Stay’, or ‘Move’. He just didn’t understand what he was doing wrong, and took it as if he was being scolded for something. The sorrowful expression on his wrinkled face was painful to behold.

By yesterday afternoon, as all seven doors were in the process of being painted, the area available to the distressed dog had been reduced to not much more than twice his own size. Refusing to rest, he just stood staring at me, wondering why I wouldn’t throw his toys, or play tug-of-war with them. Even extra strokes and fuss couldn’t shake his gloomy mood. Once the painter had finished, and left for the day, Ollie naturally presumed that he would be granted his usual freedom to roam. But no. We had seven wet doors and some skirting boards to contend with, and he could not be allowed to brush past them, or lean against them.

I took him out to the kitchen for his dinner, shepherding him carefully past the wet paint. When he had eaten, he expected his evening play as usual. But once again, I had to disappoint him, as I could not risk him swiping one of his large stuffed toys across the fresh paint. His gloomy visage returned, and he slumped down on his rug with an audible sigh. I felt so guilty, and wished he could understand it was only temporary. But he couldn’t of course, and spent the evening stressed, and unable to relax, constantly seeking reassurance.

Today, we have no work going on. Ollie has crashed out, fast asleep on his rug. He is catching up on all the rest he has lost over the last three days, and dreaming his canine dreams.

I dare not mention the carpet layers, who are arriving next week. I will let him rest for now.

My Eyes, and poor Ollie

After my positive post about Ollie recently, he has suffered a relapse. Despite great progress at the start, his itches and rashes came back, and he is now in a sorry state indeed. Covered in small sores, and constantly worrying at himself, and scratching. It’s a sad sight to see, indeed. Tomorrow, I am back to the Vet, to collect a higher dose prescription of more of the same stuff.
At least he is still hungry, and eating well.

I had to go to the eye clinic in Norwich city centre today. I don’t get in there that often, so it tends to feel like being in ‘New York’, for a village person like me. The bus journey from Dereham was a joy though. Smart double-deckers, leather seats, tinted windows, free Wi-Fi, and LED information boards. There is also air-conditioning, and on a bus! The bonus is that it is free for me, with my Pensioners’ Travel Pass. The 20-mile journey takes just 40 minutes, and was bang on schedule.

Today, I had to go to the rather swish private eye clinic. This is funded by referrals from the NHS, and copes with the backlog of appointments that the main hospital is overwhelmed with. Right in the centre of the city, and a long way from the NNUH (hospital) on the outskirts, it is ideally situated, close to the bus station. I had a 14:20 appointment, so was seen almost immediately. It started with a basic eye test wearing my glasses, which I passed with flying colours. Then I had to see the technician, and have a selection of more tests, including the dreaded ‘brush in the eye’ pressure test, visual fields exam, and photos of my eyes. (Which look like satellite shots of the planet Mars.)

It was all good. No increase in pressure, no changes since the last appointment, and cataracts stable at the same level. The results will now be passed on to the ‘main man’ at the general hospital.
Let’s hope he is satisfied! 🙂

The sad howling dog

Although I write this blog from Beetley, I have no idea how many people who live here actually read it. I have been approached by a few dog-walkers in the past who tell me that they do read it, but as over half of my readers are from America, and more than ten percent from other countries, I cannot say with any certainty that more than three residents of Beetley are regular readers.

Despite this fact, I am going to appeal to any Beetley readers for information about the sad howling dog. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been woken in the early morning by the mournful howling of a dog, in a nearby house. It sounds like a wolf in one of those old films, and can howl for more than an hour at a time. On occasion, this has lasted well into the day, and also started much earlier in the evening. It is very upsetting to hear, and makes us most concerned about the poor animal, which is either shut in alone inside, or left outdoors for long periods.

Locating the source of this canine lament is not as easy as you might think. Despite being a relatively small area there are many houses around, and some side streets to investigate too. Then there is the nature of how sound travels. Sometimes, it seems as if the sad dog is howling from a house behind our back garden. But if I go outside, the sound appears to be from the other direction, across the road at the front of the house. Even wandering around as the howling can be heard is of little help, as when I think I might have located the place of origin, the source of the howling changes to come from behind me. Sound is a strange thing indeed.

So, if anyone knows what is going on with this dog, and its heartbreaking cries, please let me know.

Ollie and the dentist

Ollie has lived for well over five years without any dental problems. His teeth have always been in excellent condition, even the Vet said so.

On Tuesday, he suddenly stopped eating his dinner, and sat down. He looked at me plaintively, so I checked his mouth, to see if something was stuck in his teeth. I was alarmed to discover that one of his top molars was loose. On further investigation, I could see that the large tooth was actually split in two, with the outer section easily moved by my finger. He wasn’t complaining though, and finished his dinner soon after.

The next day, I phoned the Vet. They made an appointment for Thursday, to check the tooth. Sure enough, it had broken in half, just held on by being secure in Ollie’s gums. The best guess was that he had chewed too hard on his plastic bone, ironically intended to promote dental heath. The Vet advised tooth removal, and booked Ollie in for an extraction on Friday morning. I took him in at 08:30, and he reluctantly walked off with the nurse, oblivious to what awaited, but undoubtedly suspicious.

I phoned at 1 pm, and was told it was all over, and he was doing well. I could collect him before 4.
When I arrived, he was dopey, and fed up. Not interested in pats or cuddles, he marched off to the car, eager to get in, and get home. Along with the enormous bill, (£300) the Vet gave me the tooth. It was a huge double molar, otherwise very healthy, save for the large split.

Ollie was not his old self at all. He took to his bed, and looked sideways at me, no doubt upset at his treatment, and being abandoned. Despite pain relief, he cried intermittently, and refused to wag his curly tail. I gave him his favourite meal, chicken and pasta, but he took almost two hours to eat any of it. He is now sitting grumpily beside me, in a half-doze. In ten days time, he has to go back for a check-up.

He’s not going to like that.

Five today!

This photo is a couple of years old. But he hasn’t changed much since, and it is one of my favourites.

Ollie was born on the 12th of February, 2012. Not long after that, I moved here for good from London, and we took him in full time. I have spent every day with him since, and established an unbreakable bond with our dog. He has always been a joy to have; well-behaved, good company, and popular with guests and neighbours too. He has never chewed anything he wasn’t supposed to, never stolen any food he wasn’t allowed to eat, and the only time he has had any ‘accidents’ inside the house has been when he was ill.

He has endured four eye operations, two tail operations, and endless bouts of treatment for ear infections and skin problems. He has been in an animal hospital, and made numerous trips to the Vet. But he never once complained. He didn’t snap, whine, or refuse to get out of the car. He trusts us completely, and even if he is left with friends or neighbours for a few hours he is no trouble, as he is confident that we will soon return.

Of course, he has also been the star of this blog, and more popular than the blog writer, certainly. His antics are always received with delight, and much joy is expressed at any photos of him as they appear. He is the heart and soul of beetleypete, without doubt.

As he is now thirty-five in equivalent human years, I tried to tell him that he should be acting a little more grown up. Perhaps he should be doing less sniffing around, and not bothering to run around the house with a stuffed lion clamped in his jaws. But he is having none of that, and is determined to carry on being the same old Ollie, even at the grand age of five.

He will get some extra treats today, and no doubt more fuss too. There will be some birthday presents of even more stuffed toys, and something very tasty to supplement his dinner tonight. He even got a birthday card, with a photo of two Shar-Pei dogs on it!
In every way imaginable, he is a ‘Good Boy’, and the best dog I have ever had.

Happy Birthday, Ollie.

The return of the crop circles

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a worrying skin condition that was affecting our dog, Ollie. His fur was falling out in a circular pattern, revealing a sore patch on the skin, and a worrying baldness in the area. After some visits to the Vet, it was eventually cleared up by a combination of creams and shampoos, as well as some antibiotics. Since last November, Ollie has had his fair share of ear infections, and some more trips to the Vet, but after his main moult, he seemed to have been clear of most problems.

Sadly, I have to report that the crop circles are back. And they are on his back too, running in a discernible line along his spine. As well as being unsightly, they have sore patches in the centre, and they are obviously causing him some distress, as he cannot reach them with his paws. I have applied the same cream, and been careful when stroking, but they are not going away. If anything, they are getting worse.

Last year, the Vet was unconcerned about them. He said that they were a non-infectious, bacterial problem, well-known in Ollie’s breed; that of a Shar-Pei. That doesn’t really help, when you love your pet, and don’t want him to suffer. So we make sure he is happy in every other way. He gets the same walks, the same food and treats, and also plays with his doggy pals over The Meadows. I know many of you think a lot of Ollie, so I can assure you that if it gets any worse, he will be going back to the Vet. In the meantime, he is still eating, still playing the same as always, and still seems to be as happy as ever.

Here is a link to the last post, in case you didn’t see it.


Just keeping you updated.

A walk with the camera

As it is Sunday, I decided to take the longer walk with Ollie, from Beetley Meadows, to Gingerbread Corner. I have described this walk many times before, so this time, I thought I would take my camera along, and illustrate it with some photos instead. Leaving the house on a warm and sunny afternoon, my plans were soon confounded, by a change in the weather. A freshening wind arrived, blowing in some dark clouds, and ruining what had been excellent light. I decided to take the photos anyway.

We left by the shortcut, at the side of the Fakenham Road bridge. This iron and stone structure has seen better days, and I felt it suited a B+W photograph.


Crossing the road into Mill Lane, we headed up the path. It is always dark along there, whatever the weather, as it is heavily shaded by trees.


Ollie hasn’t got used to the camera yet, and every time he sees me get ready to take a shot, he tends to stand very close. You can see how a recent moult has left him with a variety of colours on his fur. it will be a while before he returns to a uniform brown all over.


Where the path opens out, it goes through the large estate of Goregate Farm. This old farm machinery has been left to rust, presumably unwanted. It might be good for a B+W shot, but I wanted to show the nice rust colour. I sometimes sit on this on the return journey, but I had very light shorts on today.


The plum orchards seem to be neglected. The branches can be seen heavy with ripening fruit, but there has been no weeding between the rows, and some trees appear to be in need of pruning.


Arriving at the huge pig farm, there was little activity to be seen. Most of the occupants of the small huts seemed to be fast asleep, with just the odd pig’s head peeping out to watch us.


Further on, we could see a large combine harvester working in the field bordering Holt Road. You can see the dust created, billowing at the back of the machine. Just a few weeks ago, Ollie was chasing rabbits in the green shoots of these crops, and now they are on the way to market. It still feels strange to think that this is only a short distance from where we live. Makes me feel very ‘rural.’


Before arriving at Gingerbread Corner, we have to walk thorough another section of dark woodland. Ollie likes to look for squirrels here, and as I photographed my favourite tree stump, he was scanning the leaf litter for furry friends.


Arriving at end of the walk, I took this shot of Gingerbread Cottage, which gives the corner its name. We now had to turn around, and reverse our steps. Two hours and fifteen minutes out in the fresh air, and despite five insect bites, we both had a good time.


I have used smaller files, on advice from Jude. You are still be able to click to enlarge, and despite choosing a smaller size in the edit process, they are still quite big! But I am not so happy with them today, as I was struggling for good light the whole time. I hope that you enjoyed being able to put an image to what I have previously described in words.