Farewell to a great dog

Last week, I posted about a trip to Yarmouth, in 2011. My step-daughters’ dog Baxter was featured, and I remarked that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Many of you expressed commiserations over that, so I thought I would bring you this sad news.

On Monday, he suffered a series of fits, and was taken to the prestigious Animal Hospital in Newmarket. Scans revealed no more could be done for him, and he was sadly put to sleep.
Both my step-daughters were distraught of course, and all of the extended family were greatly upset by the loss of our loyal and faithful family dog.

He had a happy life, and was well-loved.

Goodbye, Baxter. You will never be forgotten.

What Dogs Don’t Care About

Dogs don’t care…

If you haven’t mowed the lawn

If you haven’t had a bath

If they haven’t had a bath

If there’s a really good film on TV

If you haven’t changed the blanket on their bed

If you are wearing the same shirt you had on yesterday

If they smell bad

If you smell bad

If they have slobber all round their face

If you haven’t had your dinner yet

If your car doesn’t start

If the roof gutters need clearing

If you had that extra glass of wine

If you didn’t get round to vacuuming the carpet

If their fur falls out all over the house

If another dog sniffs their butt

If Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister

If Donald Trump is President of America

If Kim Jong-Un has a bad haircut

If you didn’t manage to go on holiday

If you have put on a lot of weight

If your clothes are so ‘last year’

They don’t actually care about much at all.
We could learn something from them

Sleep is hard to come by

I have been complaining about the weather on this blog for seven years and more, so I see no reason to stop now.

After the wettest June on record, we are now looking at the possible highest temperatures ever recorded in July.

Not just in Britain of course, as this is happening all across Europe at the moment.

If this is Global Warming, it has arrived early, and without its invitation.

But before you all tell me that I moan when it’s cold, I know. I am not actually complaining about the hot summer, as at least it isn’t raining. (Yet)
The problem is that we are not set up for the heat inside our houses. We don’t have air-conditioning, and most houses still have carpets. There are no shutters, and many windows only have small openings.

We live in a country that expects the weather to be cold and wet, so plan for that when we build homes. Even with lots of windows open, the design does not encourage through-draughts. Fans are brought into play, with no less than four in action as I type. But they mainly circulate the warm air, only giving the perception of cooling, without the reality.

Nonetheless, I am still not complaining. Honestly.

But at bedtime, it’s a different story. With the temperature during the day around 33 c (91), it doesn’t drop much below 25 c (77 F) during the night. Even lying naked on top of the bed, (not a pretty sight, I assure you) and with a fan going like the clappers in the corner of the bedroom, sleep is very hard to come by.

On Tuesday night, I did manage to get off quite quickly. Then in the middle of a deep, dream-filled sleep, I was woken up by a thunderstorm. That set off all the local dogs, and it soon felt as if I was in a real-life version of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. I checked the time. 3:15. I tried in vain to get back to sleep, but the thunder continued for almost another hour. It was almost daylight before I slipped away again, and I woke up at 8:00, roused by yet more barking dogs.

So this is my version of not really complaining about the weather.

Enriching Ollie’s Walks

At this time of year when so many people are on holiday, it is not so easy for Ollie to come across many of his regular doggy pals when we are out walking. So it is up to me to try to do something to make his long walks in the heat more enjoyable.

One word he learned a long time ago is ‘Hiding’. He usually checks out regular spots where he has seen cats or squirrels in the past, and when he is upset that they are not there, I generally say that they are ‘hiding’. I adopt a hushed tone when saying the word, and imply that he might have to find them. This makes him rush around looking for whatever he was expecting to find.

This not only gives him more exercise, it also provides him with some sense of purpose to his walks, besides sniffing and marking.

The recent hot and humid weather has made Ollie reluctant to do much. He has been lagging behind me, and spending too much time just standing in the river. So when we got over onto Hoe Rough today, I took him to the spot where he had last seen a deer, and pointed into the undergrowth. I hissed ‘hiding’, and off he went, understanding completely what I was on about. For a good fifteen minutes, he scanned up and down looking for the non-existent hiding animals.

When he returned looking hot and bothered, I let him go down into the river, to cool off.

The things we do for our pets…

Ollie and his medical history


Ollie’s eyes are stitched in the photo.

Ollie’s recent trip to the Vet got me thinking. The unfortunate dog has had so many things wrong with him, from a very young age. I have written about them all separately on this blog, over the years.

But this post is by way of collecting together the whole medical history of my very brave dog.

It started with a condition called Entropion. This is where a dog’s (or human’s) lower eyelids and lashes grow into the eye, instead of around it. It is unfortunately common with Ollie’s breed, and we were worried he might get it. And he did. At a few months old, his eyes were streaming with tears, and they were causing wet sore patches down both sides of his face.
Off to the Vet he went.

Sure enough, Entropion was diagnosed. They suggested stitching down his lower eyelids, in the hope of correcting the way they were growing. The poor young dog had to endure a general anaesthetic, and then walk around with his bottom eyelids stitched to his face for weeks. He stood it all very well, and didn’t let it bother him too much.

But when the stitches were removed, nothing had changed. The local Vet recommended specialist treatment, at the famous Animal Health Trust Hospital, near Newmarket. We took him off for the 90-minute journey by car, and he was seen by a canine eye specialist. Little Ollie had to endure having test-strip papers inserted in his eyelids, and sit there until they changed colour. But he didn’t complain at all. Not once. They told us he would have to come back for surgery, to have a section of the lower eyelid cut away.

Not long after, we took him back there, and watched as he trustingly walked off with one of the nurses. He would be staying for three nights, after surgery that morning. They telephoned to say it had gone well, and that he was recovering. The next night, they even took the phone into the recovery kennels, so he could hear our voices over it. When we picked him up, he had to wear a ‘cape’, to stop him being able to use his back legs to scratch the wounds. But he was pleased to see us, and didn’t seem too bothered about the experience.

He had to go back for a post-op check, and the news wasn’t good. The eye tissue was growing back rapidly, and into the eyes again. He would have to endure more surgery, this time to remove much more of the lower eyelid, and the eyelashes too. Once again we had to leave him to face surgery, and another three day stay. He was still no trouble, and the staff loved him, as he never complained at all. After this third operation, his eyes were literally ‘wide open’, and he had no recurrence of the condition. That was a relief.

Then his skin started to flare up. There was a redness under his body, and between his back legs. Very soon, large patches of his fur fell out in perfect circles, leaving bald skin with a large crusty sore at the centre. It was obviously causing him some distress too, as he wasn’t eating, or wanting to play. Off to the Vet once more. They diagnosed a bacterial skin infection, and told us is was associated with certain breeds, including Ollie’s. It was a yeast-based infection, and not something that could easily be cured. He came home with a special shampoo, and assorted tablets for the irritation.

That slowly cleared up, but we then found that the infection had spread into his ears, something that would come back to haunt both us and our dog. More tablets, and now ear-drops too. His little ears were so swollen inside, he would cry out when I put the long spout of the applicator down deep into them. The medication eventually did the job, but we were to learn that this was going to be a lifelong problem for him, at least twice a year. And it has been, right up to last week.

Once I thought I was on top of everything that was wrong with him, I considered that I could at least cope with knowing what to expect. Then one day over The Meadows, Ollie tried to dominate a small feisty terrier, and the tiny dog turned and bit off the end of my dog’s curly tail. Not only did he scream with pain, he wouldn’t let me look at it. For the first time, he turned on me as I tried to examine the wound. When I got him home, I noticed the small injury wouldn’t stop bleeding, so had no option but to take him to the Vet.

They gave him an anaesthetic, cleaned out the wound, and bandaged it. But when I picked him up, it was apparent the bandage irritated him too much, and he wouldn’t stop shaking, until it fell off. I went back in, and they re-bandaged with an adhesive option, adding the bad news that this could be very serious, as it was at the tip of his spinal column. If infected, it would kill him very quickly. So surgery was the only option once more, with the top of his tail being amputated, so they would have enough skin left to close over the wound. Ollie had to go under the knife for yet another procedure.

Now with a slightly shorter tail, perfect eyes, and me having a handle on the continuing skin infections, I finally hoped that all the trauma was over for Ollie. Then in the summer of 2017, he was chewing on one of his favourite plastic ‘bones’, when he yelped, and jumped up. When he wouldn’t eat his dinner that night, I knew something was wrong. I carefully lifted his jowls, and inspected his teeth. I knew he must be in pain, but he let me do it with no complaint. I found an otherwise perfectly good large molar cracked in two, and was able to move it with my fingers.

Back to the Vet for Ollie. Another anaesthetic, and no option but to remove the damaged tooth.

This post is now well over 1,000 words, and all about the treatment one dog has had to endure, over just seven years.

It is frankly amazing to me how he has remained so docile, and such a loyal friend.

A message from Ollie

A 2014 plea from Ollie. This is for the benefit of new followers, as many of you have seen this before.

beetleypete

DSCF1450My dating profile photo.

OK, just because we can’t talk, does not mean that we cannot learn the basics of how to work a computer, and publish a blog post. After all, I have watched countless hours of Pete doing this, so it can’t be that hard. It is a bit tricky with paws, I will admit, but if you are careful with your nails, it is not impossible. The mouse is a lot easier, as my right paw covers that completely.

You will know a bit about me, if you read this blog. I am Pete and Julie’s dog, Ollie the Shar-Pei. The truth is, I am a bit lonely, and would like to have some female company. I thought that I would use this blog as a platform to advertise myself. If you are regular readers, you already know a lot about my life. It is a comforting routine…

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