Ollie: Back From The Vet

I have just returned from taking Ollie to the Vet this morning.

After getting his booster vaccinations, and a full check-up, the Vet pronounced that there is nothing wrong with him whatsoever. His weight, temperature, and heart are all good, and he has no signs and symptoms of any infection or discernible illness.

My concern about Ollie not eating as much and drinking more water was put down to Ollie’s age, and the fact he has slowed down considerably. Less rigorous exercise means that he is not as hungry, and because it has been unusually cold and we have had the heating on might well make him more thirsty in the house.

It seems I was over-reacting, but I am glad that Ollie has been checked over, and is fine.

Thanks to everyone for your concern about him. That is always appreciated.

New Arrivals: Rusty

Last December, I mentioned Rusty, a puppy that had arrived on the dog-walking scene. Full of youthful exuberance, he is always excited to see Ollie, and beside himself with the desire to play. Unfortunately, Ollie considers himself above such childish behaviour now, so Rusty has to make do with pretending to play, while Ollie stands still and gives him an occasional warning growl.

Rusty is older now of course, though not that much bigger. He enjoyed himself in the snow when it was here.

He recently had his first trip to the groomer, and his super-soft fur is looking in top condition.

I am hoping that Ollie will soon decide that Rusty is in his gang, and one of his new best friends. But I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

Ollie: Missing His Lost Friends

When I started to take Ollie out in 2012, he had at least nine best friends in the canine world.

Now, few of those are left. We recently heard about Ellie, the Spaniel. She was around ten years old, and had to be put to sleep after a large tumour was discovered inside her.

Some are still around. Toby the Jack Russell for one. Then yesterday, we encountered Rocky, the Black Labrador. We hadn’t seen him that much during the bad weather, so it was nice to discover that he was fit and well, and as lively as ever. Ollie was pleased to see him, after all that time.

There are some new friends arriving, but Ollie is reluctant to admit them to his ‘gang’. Missy the Whippet. She loves Ollie, and runs circles around him, like a tiny whirlwind. Ruby, the Chocolate Labrador, who searches him out with obvious delight, whenever she sees him. He still stands and looks at the entrances to Beetley Meadows and Hoe Rough, and I just know he is searching for his absent friends.

We also met up with Teddy, the young Alsatian. He wants to play all the time, but doesn’t realise just how big he is. After a lot of jumping around Ollie, and barking at him incessantly, Ollie finally allowed a short play. Chasing round in circles, splashing into the river, and trying to avoid Teddy as the big dog swipes him with huge paws. Ollie has soon had enough, and a few growls tell Teddy playtime is over for now.

As I chat to Teddy’s lady owner, Ollie stares into the distance at the entrance to Beetley Meadows from the road we live on. He seems to be waiting for older, more familiar friends. I try to tell him they will not be coming, but of course he doesn’t understand.

And what of Strudel, one of his best-ever friends? We haven’t seen her for so long now, I am wondering if she is okay.

Just as we mourn our friends, dogs do too.

They search for their smells, sniff their familiar owners, and wonder why the dogs are no longer around.

Loss and grief are not just human emotions. I’m certain of that.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Waking up late, and writing.

I woke up late today, nine fifty-six, to be precise. Unlike last week, I didn’t lie in bed thinking random thoughts, but got up with something specific on my mind.

I was busy doing stuff yesterday, so didn’t write an episode of the latest serial. And that also meant that I didn’t write today’s episode in advance, something I generally do, especially at weekends.

Later this afternoon, I also didn’t write tomorrow’s episode, let alone writing and posting the one that should have gone out today. So by tomorrow, I will techically be two episodes behind. Hopefully, this is just a blip, and not a case of writer’s block.

We will all find out tomorrow.

( On the plus side, Ollie met new friends on his walk today. Bambi, a dog rescued from a life on the streets in Croatia, having to stay on her lead in case she runs away. At least until she is used to the area, and her new home. Then Misty, a Collie pup with pale grey and white fur. Twenty weeks old, and excitable. Both of those new arrivals were a little bit ‘in your face’ for Ollie’s liking. But he will get used to them in time. )

Ollie’s New Friends

Over the years, Ollie has sadly lost many of the original canine companions on our dog-walks.

More recently, both Oban the Labrador and Rocky the Newfoundland have died, and then we heard that Bruno the Pug has gone too. He was sixteen though, a good age.

Slowly but surely, new friends are appearing on Beetley Meadows. There is Zen, the tiny Chihuahua who thinks he’s a Lion. Freddy, the pure white Labradoodle who always gets upset when Ollie won’t play with him. Another potential playmate ignored by Ollie is Teddy, a young Alsatian who barks noisily when his attempts to play are treated with disdain.

The couple who lost Rocky have now just acquired a puppy. He is a rust-coloured Retriever/Poodle cross called (appropriately) Rusty. His fur is beautifully soft, and at thirteen weeks old, all he wants to do is play. Naturally Ollie ignores that, and just sniffs him instead, letting him know who’s the boss.

Little Hattie the curly black Shih Tzu has finally decided she likes Ollie, and is now happy to walk around with us for a while.

Then today, the lady who lost Bruno the Pug appeared. She has decided not to get another dog, but misses the walk and the company. So she has started to walk around with us again, just like old times.

Ollie might have to get used to a new gang, but at least he still has one.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: Y

Yappy Dogs.

I love dogs, and there are few breeds I am not attracted to. I even like tiny dogs. But why oh why do so many of them have to constantly bark in such an annoying ‘yappy’ fashion?

Some of the worst offenders include these breeds.

Pomeranian. (Sorry Kim)

My uncle had one of these for years. It would sit on his shoulder and yap constantly at anyone who came into the house. It could never be silenced, making conversation almost impossible.


One of my fellow dog walkers owns one, and it never stops yapping at everyone and every dog it sees. He has to resort to holding its mouth shut.

Miniature Pinscher.

These tiny dogs like to be heard. They yap for attention, yap at people walking toward them, and yap at any dog they don’t know.


Perhaps being so low to the ground makes them nervous, but the miniature variety of this breed is also famous for constantly yapping.

Other well-known ‘Yappers’ include Yorkshire Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. I really like all of these breeds. They have great personalities, and also make very loyal companions.

But I don’t like that yapping!

Ollie And The Beauty Parlour

I am just back from collecting Ollie from ‘Pawsh Dogs’, where he goes for his bath and general tidy up a few times a year. He loves Kelly the groomer, and always behaves impeccably while he is there.

As well as being shampooed twice in his special (and very expensive) hypo-allergenic Vet recommended shampoo, he gets his nails clipped, and his ears cleaned too.

He also has his wrinkly face washed. Today’s choice of face wash was Lemon Verbena, with added avocado oil, so it doesn’t irritate his skin.

He looks sleek, and smells great.

If only that lasted for longer than two days!

Ollie’s Sad/Happy walk

I took Ollie out earlier today, hoping to take advantage of the sunshine while it lasted. With full darkness by around 4 pm now, it makes sense to be out long before that.

It was a crisp and cold day, with bright sunshine that was uncomfortable to look into. It had also stirred up some insects, and four bites on my head later, I was beginning to regret my decision.

Ollie wasn’t too happy either, as there was nobody else around. With no other dogs to greet and sniff, he had to resort to sniffing anything left behind by the early-morning dogs, those taken out before their owners leave for work. It was sad to see him looking decidedly fed up after almost an hour of us being the only two on the usual route.

He was staring along the path that leads to each of the three entrances, his concentration intent, no doubt hoping to spot a canine pal arriving. But to no avail. As we headed home, he plodded along reluctantly behind me, making me feel extra guilty for leaving home forty-five minutes earlier that usual.

Suddenly, his head shot up, and he started into the distance. I looked in that direction, and could see a dog running for a ball a long way off. Ollie wasn’t waiting for permission, and took off like a rocket. When I finally caught up with him, I saw he was wth our next door neighbour, and her dog Henry. She was accompanied by a friend with a small Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and both dogs were chasing balls as if their lives depended on it.

Although Ollie has no interest in the balls, he ran alongside each dog as they chased them, and kept that up for at least fifteen minutes. Then a lady arrived with a large white Retriever that Ollie loves, and he scooted off to see that big dog, yelping with delight.

I felt vindicated. His sad walk had turned into a happy one, and he got some great exercise into the bargain.

Ollie Changes The Rules

Last week, for the first time in eight years, Ollie started to refuse to eat his dinner at the usual time of 5 pm. Every day since the spring of 2012, he knew it was dinnertime around five, and would be ready and waiting to gulp it down.

But not anymore.

At first, we were worried that he might be unwell. But he still enjoyed his midday treat, and his late evening Bonio biscuit. After throwing away his dinner on three occasions, I decided to try something.

When we get back from his walk at around 3 pm, he often eats some of the dry pellets left over from the previous evening. The exercise and fresh air obviously gives him an appetite when he gets home.

So I gave him his dinner at 2:45 the next day, and he ate the lot as if he had never seen food before. So now he is fed as soon as we get back from his walk, and he has been eating everything.

By changing his behaviour, Ollie changed the rules to suit himself.