R I P, Big Rocky

I wrote recently about how some of Ollie’s canine pals are becoming unwell. Big Rocky (I call him that because there’s a small Rocky too) the Newfoundland cross has been unwell lately, and hardly able to walk. His loving owners, Steve and Gill, bought him a cart so that they could at least wheel him down to the river for a swim, and to see some familiar faces.

Today, I was informed that they had to have him put to sleep at home.
Naturally, they are heartbroken, and all of us dog-walkers are very upset too.

Rocky had a great life, with two of the best people who could ever own a dog. He was loved and cared for, given all medical treatment when necessary, and never wanted for exercise until he could no longer manage it.

Steve and Gill have lost a much-loved companion, and Ollie has lost one of his oldest friends.

Ollie’s Poorly Friends

As any dog-walker will tell you, regular haunts mean meeting lots of other dogs, and their owners. At one time, Ollie enjoyed the company of the same afternoon gang. We could have up to eight dogs in a very happy pack, and they would play together as we chatted walking around Beetley Meadows, or Hoe Rough.

Sadly, some of those dogs have since died, or owners have moved away. Each year, the old canine faces become fewer, and new ones arrive to replace them. But the boisterous new arrivals rarely interest Ollie, and he still scans the paths and fields for a sight of some of his ‘best mates’.

Just lately, we have been hearing some bad news about some of Ollie’s oldest friends and companions. Winston is fifteen now, and has recently suffered a stroke. He can still come out, but only for around ten minutes a day. Big Rocky the Newfoundland has suffered a complete collapse of his back legs. His owners bought a special cart to wheel him around in, as once in the river, he can still swim to his heart’s content. But he can no longer walk without assistance, and wears a harness with handles so that he can be lifted in and out of his cart.

Yesterday, I heard some sad news about Spike, the Rhodesian Ridgeback. He was born in February 2012, the same time as Ollie. For many years, they were firm friends, and used to enjoy the rough and tumble of dominant play. But for some time now, I haven’t seen him around. I spoke to his owner yesterday who informed me that he has a complete deterioration of his spine, and can hardly walk. If he stands still, he falls over. The prognosis is not good, and they are just ‘keeping him comfortable’.

Earlier this year, Buster the Lhasa Apso died unexpectedly from kidney failure. Paddy, the Collie who lives next door, is over fifteen years old. His back legs have crossed-over, and although he can still manage to walk, it is upsetting to see him struggling.

Some of the old gang are still the same. Toby the Jack Russell, as mad for his ball as ever. Poppy the Lakeland Terrier, still lively at ten years old. And a few of the new arrivals are slowly being accepted by Ollie too. Marley the black Labradoodle, and his terrier partner, Duke. Buddy and Walter, the frantic yellow Labradors, and Flossie the young Whippet, who trembles with delight every time she sees him.

Ollie is one of the ‘old guys’ now. Respected, sometimes avoided, but still in charge of his walking grounds.

At least as far as he is concerned.

Ollie: An update

Well, as expected, Ollie does not have ringworm.

After some ‘moral blackmail’ from the Vet, I paid over £30 to have him tested, even though I was 100% convinced he didn’t have that.

28 days later, she rings me to confirm what I already knew. ‘Ker-ching!’

However, his fur is not growing back as quickly as I had hoped. His ‘crop-circles’ are still evident, though minus the sores he had before.

The Vet suggested it might be his age. He will be eight in February, quite old for his breed. She suggested I wait for another eight weeks, and if the regrowth is no better, bring him back.

I always care for Ollie, as you know. But I am reluctant to line the Vet’s pockets to be told it will get better in time.

So for those of you that worry about him, and I know there are many, he is doing fine. He eats his dinner, doesn’t scratch any more, and is happy to play with any dog he encounters over on his long walks.

And now I have the ‘all-clear’, he can go to the groomer in December, and have a nice wash and brush up, ready for Christmas.

Thanks to everyone who cares about Ollie, and asks after him.

He sends a curly tail wag to you all.

(This is an old photo. Ollie in the sea, just one year old)

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.

What Dogs Do Care About

Not long ago, I published a post titled ‘What Dogs Don’t Care About’.
https://beetleypete.com/2019/07/30/what-dogs-dont-care-about/

I thought it was now time to write about the things they do care about.

Dogs do care…

If you don’t give them their dinner

If you don’t leave them fresh water to drink

If they don’t have any toys to play with

If you make too much fuss of another dog

If you make too much fuss of a cat

If you make too much fuss of a baby

If you read a book or magazine and ignore them

If you don’t take them out for a good walk

If you leave them alone in the house for too long

If you shout at them for being in the way when they don’t know they are in the way

If you leave them with someone else and go on holiday

If you break their routine

If you forget to give them a treat or biscuit at the usual time

If you bring a new dog into the house to live

If you forget they are outside and leave them there for too long

If you tell them off for barking at the postman or delivery courier

If you forget to stroke them and cuddle them

If you shut them in another room when you have company

If one of your visitors doesn’t like dogs

If you have stroked another dog and they can smell it on you

If you eat something nice in front of them and don’t give them even a tiny bit

In many ways, dogs are just like us, especially us as children.
If you ever intend getting a dog, please remember what they care about.

September Stuff


(Not my photo)

Sunny days and chilly nights, Autumn is here in Beetley.

September is one of my favourite months of the year. A late summer if you are lucky; never too hot, or too humid. A breeze that refreshes, instead of feeling like a blast of hot air, and a strangely nice smell from the plant life beginning to die off.

Dark at 7:30 now, until the clocks go back at the end of October. Foggy mornings, awaiting the sunshine to burn it off, and that ‘long-evening’ feel once you are settled for the night.

Owls hooting, as you drift off to sleep. An avian lullaby.

Thinking of heartier meals too. Casseroles, warming food, cooked long and slow. Relished once the sun has gone down.

Ollie has finally stopped shedding hair, and the ‘holes’ in his fur are less noticeable as it grows back. He spends less time in the river cooling off, and more time investigating his territory. I can gauge the seasons by the habits of my furry best friend.

Acorns to collect and clear away, as well as twigs and leaves. Gutters to clear before the rains come, and more jobs to put off until next month. 🙂

The blogging season gets going again, as those holidaying bloggers return to writing, or perhaps don’t bother anymore. New faces, reliable regulars, and farewell to some old friends who have called it a day.

The Christmas cards will be in the shops soon.

Then it is all over bar the shouting.

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.