Walking Stanley

There used to be a local man walking a small Lurcher. The dog is named Stanley, and he is very friendly. Recently, I saw Stanley with a lady, and it turned out to be the wife of the man I used to see regularly.

She told me the sad news that her husband has been stricken with Alzheimer’s, and will have to live in a care home. She is going to be busy arranging all that, then visiting him when she can.

I offered to help out by taking Stanley for a walk with Ollie when she was unable to take him herself.

Yesterday, we arranged that first walk. Stanley was pleased to see us at the house, but a little reluctant to walk off with us at first. Once we got to the path leading to Beetley Meadows, his tail came up, and he trotted along happily. He is younger than Ollie, with lots more energy, so it felt a little strange for me to be having to keep up with a dog, instead of waiting for one to catch me up.

After completing the usual walk, I headed back in the direction of his house, two streets away. He picked up the pace and pulled on his lead, knowing he was heading home.

Next week, I will take him out again. It is company for Ollie, and helps out the lady.

It is also what living in a small village community is all about.

How Animals Perceive The World: Sound And Sight

If you have a pet, you may want to watch this short film. It examines how various animals, insects, and birds (including cats and dogs) hear and see the world that surrounds them, in a very different way to human perception. There is some science to listen to, but even I could understand it.

My friend Antony sent me the You Tube clip, and I think many of you will find it fascinating.

Holiday Snaps (3)

Just the one photo on this post. I wanted to take Ollie to Cleethorpes Country Park, north of where we were staying. It was just less than 30 miles, so under an hour on small coastal roads. It turned out to be a good decision. Parking was free, and there were dozens of dogs for Ollie to interact with. Long paths and bridges around a huge lake gave us a very pleasant afternoon, in excellent weather.


(The photo can be enlarged, by clicking on it.)

Ollie was in his element, and even ventured into the lake for a paddle and a drink. Unfortunately, he was extra-reluctant to have his photo taken, so Julie had to ‘ambush’ him so I could get just one photo.

That was the only one I was able to get that afternoon, but it did not detract from our enjoyment of the visit.

The Beetley Meadows Wasps

The long dry summer has brought a new hazard to our regular dog-walks. Underground wasp nests.

A couple of weeks ago, Toby the Jack Russell Terrier was chasing his ball into the long grass when he screamed in pain and ran back onto the path. He seemed agitated and unwell, so his owners took him straight to the Vet, concerned he may have been bitten by an Adder, a poisonous snake. However, it turned out he had been stung several times by wasps. He was given some treatment, and made a good recovery.

His owners went back to check the area where he had been stung, and found a series of holes covered in wasps entering and leaving. They notified the Parish Council, who arranged for a pest controller to come and destroy the nest.

Then yesterday, in a completely different area of Beetley Meadows, a family group were making their way down to the river when they were attacked by a large number of wasps close to the main path. The wasps appeared from holes in the ground inside the long grass nearby, and a child and her mother were stung. The mother was stung 12 times as she attempted to shield her child.

Today, a sign has been erected warning people to avoid the area. Hopefully, someone will advise the Parish Council tomorrow.

I know they are valuable pollinators, but we can’t have openly aggressive wasps stinging small children and dogs on a family-friendly recreation area.

Fans And Flip-Flops

After my recent complaints about chilly summer weather, the heatwave arrived yesterday, and is set to last until late Saturday evening.

77 degrees (F) on Wednesday, 80F already today, and a possible 91F tomorrow. (I am going back to the pre-Celcius values, as they still seem more relevant to me.)

Naturally, English people are panicking about sunstroke and sunburn, hydration, adequate sunscreen creams, and not leaving dogs in hot cars.

I took Ollie out much earlier today, and it was still very warm despite that. Ollie’s fur is thick of course, so it must feel like he’s wearing a padded jacket in this weather. He was able to cool off in the river, then I took him into the shade of the woodland area for the rest of the walk.

As for me, I was wearing shorts and a straw sun hat, so no issues. I was pleased to see another bright sunny day. In the house, it is windows open, flip-flops on my feet, and a small ‘doughnut fan’ blowing on me as I sit at the computer.

Making the most of that three-day heatwave.

Ollie: Treatment Complete

Yesterday, Ollie had the last of the medication for the current round of treatment.

He has had a lot of tablets, both antibiotics and steroids, as well as daily ear drops for some time now.

We finally managed to get him to swallow the tablets with no fuss, by concealing them in a small chunk of Brie. He lets me give him the ear drops without resistance, though he flinches every time I insert the tube deep into his ear.

I would flinch too.

His fur is slowly growing back, but some of the bald patches are still clearly visible. The head shaking has stopped, and he has been sleeping and eating well.

Once the steroids are out of his system by the weekend, I can start to give him his Arthritis tablets again. Despite being stiff-legged now, he still manages his walks.

Earlier this week, he even chased a Muntjac deer into some reeds by the river, and the animal escaped Ollie by running through the water and leaping out onto Hoe Rough.

On the 12th of February, Ollie will be 10 years old. Around 80 in human years, for his breed.

You can bet he will get a birthday tribute!

Ollie’s Treatment Review

This afternoon, I had to take Ollie back to the Vet for his review of the recent treatment for the ear and skin infections.

My poor dog had started to shake his head again yesterday morning, and was ‘dropping’ his right ear constantly.

After the Vet had dug around in his ears long and hard enough for Ollie to start growling at him, the Vet concluded that the right ear was still infected, but the left was clear. He was pleased with the re-growth of fur, and declared that the skin was no longer infected.

As the Prednisilone Steroids had finished, he suspected that Ollie could once again feel the itch in that right ear. So he is back on those tablets for another ten days, accompanied by antibiotic ear drops that I will have to administer once a day. If things haven’t improved after those ten days, I have to take him back again.

Ollie was not happy at all, and couldn’t wait to get out of the Vet’s. But he had to wait until I had paid the £81 bill. ($111)

Back at home, he slurped down a whole bowl of water, then accepted a small treat from Julie for being good.

Now he is sleeping soundly beside me.

Ollie: A Dog On The Spectrum

Ever since Ollie was ‘grown up’ by the age of two, he has been exhibiting behaviours that make us think he is on the Autistic Spectrum. Or at the very least, suffers from chronic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Despite him being a wonderful well-behaved pet and companion, he lives his life by a rigid routine that he cannot stand to have broken or altered. I wondered if dogs can actually be diagnosed with these human disorders, so looked it up.

Yes, they can.

So why have we come to this conclusion about our beloved pet? Here are some examples of how he behaves every day, seven days a week.

When he comes in from the garden in the morning, he gets a treat of Schmackos. These HAVE to be eaten in the living room on his rug. If the rug is in the wash, or not there for some reason, he cannot eat his treats. After walking around with them for some time, he wil drop them on the floor, and not return to them until his rug is back in place.

At lunchtime before our walk, he gets some slices of cooked meats which contain the tablets he has to take, then four small cubes of cheese followed by a twisty dental stick that helps keep his teeth clean. The cheese and the dental stick HAVE to be eaten on his bed. If his bed has been moved into another room, or a different place, he will take the food to wherever it is, and eat it on the bed.

If Julie is at home, he will then go and sit by her and raise one paw, in the hope that she has something extra to give him. When she raises her hands and says “No more”, he walks over to his rug and lies down, carefully licking his front paws to clean them as if he had been eating with them.

After we have eaten our dinner in the evening and gone into the living room to sit down, Ollie brings each of us a toy. But those toys are not for us to play with him, they are ‘offerings’. He drops them in our laps, then looks expectantly from one of us to the other, in the hope that we will exchange his ‘gift’ of one of his toys for a treat of some kind. When nothing appears, he slumps down on his rug and goes to sleep almost immediately.

Around 10pm every night, he stands up and walks over to me, to indicate that he wants to go out into the garden. On his return thirty minutes later, he gets his final food of the day, a Bonio biscuit. But he CANNOT eat that biscuit unless both of us are in the living room, and both sitting down. If one of us is doing something else, or is in another room, he will parade in circles around the coffee table with the large bone-shaped biscuit in his mouth until he is certain that we are both sitting down and not leaving the room. As soon as we are, he eats the Bonio at great speed, but only on his rug, nowhere else. Once again, if his rug is not there, the biscuit remains uneaten until it is.

If I go to bed, Ollie wants to go to his bed too, and before I go into the bedroom I have to place his bed in its usual spot in the kitchen. I usually go to bed a lot earlier than Julie, but Ollie doesn’t care that she is still up, perhaps watching TV. He runs straight to his bed as soon as I close our bedroom door, and doesn’t move until morning. On occasions when I have been ill or unwell, and have gone to bed during the day or very early in the evening, he seems to sense something is wrong, and sits outside the bedroom door until I appear, however long that takes. He won’t go to his bed if he thinks I might be coming out before morning.

All of these habits have been rigid for almost eight years now, and never change as long as we are at home in Beetley.

When we go to stay with a friend or relative, or take Ollie on our annual holiday, the break in his routine almost shatters his world. Anyone who remembers his glum expression in the holiday photos I posted can see that. It takes him a week to work out we are not going home, and by that time we are usually packing up and leaving. Without his rug to eat treats on he hardly touches them, and as we can only take one or two of his toys and not the whole huge box of them, he ignores those too. Walks on the beach are no substitue for his regular Beetley Meadows, so he will stand on the sand crying or whimpering.

It’s probably not possible for him to have any treatment for this, and I doubt I would bother anyway, as it is all part of his particular canine personality. According to what I read online, dogs like this are born with those disorders, and unlikely to change.

I wouldn’t really want to change Ollie, so that’s okay with me.