How Much Fur?

Ollie is a short-haired breed of dog, but when it is moulting season, you might be forgiven for thinking this makes no difference. The amount of fur he can shed on a daily basis is nothing short of phenomenal. It is a miracle he is not completely bald, believe me.

Substantial tufts of hair dance across the kitchen tiles like tumbleweed in a wild-west town, and the blanket on his bed looks like the floor of the local hairdresser’s shop. No amount of brushing makes even the slightest impact on the constant shedding, and our clothes bear witness to the fact that he only has to walk past you to completely cover you in a mulitcoloured selection of hairs.

Even as I type this, stray hairs have migrated from my sleeves onto the keyboard.

Of course, we try our hardest to tackle the seasonal fur invasion. Using the vacuum cleaner every day, often twice a day. The only thing in the container when it is emptied is a compressed cylinder of Ollie fur, which does at least show we are not untidy or messy otherwise. But no matter if I spent all day running the device back and forth across the carpets, I would never get to the point where it stopped scooping up yet more fur.

Ollie’s appearance suffers as a result. He is now at least seven different colours, with patches of dark brown in amongst lighter shades, and thin areas of fur on his legs that look like the back of a balding man’s head. This ragged patchwork appearance makes him look neglected and scruffy, which is a shame. Especially when I know the opposite is true.

Next week, he is going for a bath and grooming session on Thursday, the earliest appointment available. The last time, the lady removed a full bin-liner of fur before washing him.

This time, I suspect she might need a second bin liner.

International Dog Day

My friend Julian from The Usual Muttwits has reminded me that today is a special day.

Because you love muttwits, why not do the following:

– Go for a long walk in a new place. Most dogs love exploring
new and interesting places with their best friend. …
– Bake a dog friendly treat. …
– Donate to your local animal shelter. …
– Tell your muttwit you love them.

Every day is dog day with Ollie, but let’s make this one even more special!

The ‘Phantom’ Badger

With Ollie more or less back to his old self after the recent illness, it is good to see him so active again. Unfortunately, it also means he is back to bullying some younger dogs that he wants to dominate. One of those is the lovely Bertie, a Dogue de Bordeaux. (A French Mastiff, identical to the dog in the film ‘Turner and Hooch’)
This is not Bertie in the photo, but he looks just like this one.

At six months old, Bertie is already twice the size of Ollie, and he’s a big softy who loves other dogs and people. But he is not neutered, so Ollie has decided he must submit to him. Even though Bertie is happy to do this, Ollie keeps growling at him until he becomes scared. So when I spotted Bertie in the river with two other dogs, I quickly diverted over to Hoe Rough so that Ollie would not be able to start bullying him.

Now that there were no playmates to romp with, I needed to find something to divert him. As we got to the spot where he chased a badger some time back, he stopped and sniffed at the ground. His ‘smell memory’ is amazing to behold, and he has never forgotten the exact spot here he got the scent of that badger last time. I pretended to see a badger in some far off bracken, and using a low tone of voice, I hissed, “Ollie! Badger! Find it”.

He took off in pursuit of what wasn’t there, and had a good run around for more than ten minutes trying to find the phantom badger.

Ollie’s On The Mend

With my usual hesitation of not wanting to speak too soon, it would appear that Ollie is feeling much better, following his recent breathing problems.

Yesterday, he chased a pheasant around on Hoe Rough, and didn’t seem to want to go home after his walk.

He wants me to say a big Thank You to everyone who was so concerned about him, and sends tail wags from his curly tail to you all.

A Question Of Communication

This is a fictional short story, in 170 words.

Something’s not right.

It feels different, wrong.

How do I tell them though?

Maybe if I eat a lot more, they will notice?

That didn’t work, so I will try drinking too much instead.

No good, they just gave me more to drink.

I know what to do. I will walk around in front of them, try to get more attention.

Didn’t help, they just gave me a toy.

Tomorrow, I am going to go home early. Just walk off in the direction of the house.

That seemed to work. Caused a bit of a fuss. Got more cuddles.

It’s still not right though, and I wish I knew what it was.

Panting hard got me noticed. That woke them up.

But not enough to do something about it.

Perhaps if I breathe really, really fast, they will do something.

Finally! And now I am in the car.

I can only hope they are taking me to get help.

Dedicated to Ollie, who cannot tell us when he feels ill.

Ollie’s Blog?

With the extra posts about Ollie being ill recently, I have been reminded of the fact that my dog is genuinely the most popular thing on this blog.

Anything I write about concerning Ollie beats all other posts hands-down, and by at least 20% more views.

The second most popular thing here is anything to do with ‘Blogging’. Whether that be tips and advice, or just plain moans, those posts always get a big audience.

Photos have always been popular, and adding any image helps to create interest. But include a photo of Ollie, and those views go off the scale.

So let’s be honest about it. This is really Ollie’s blog. Maybe I should change the name of it? 🙂

Ollie’s Vet Visit Today

***Another update following Ollie’s illness last week.***

Ollie had to go back to see his regular Vet today. Fortunately, he had a better day yesterday, and didn’t seem to be so distressed. He slept well and was eager to get into the car this morning.

The Vet looked at him in the car first, (social distancing) before taking him inside for an examination. A little while later he returned with a provisional diagnosis. Ollie’s chest and heart were all fine, and his temperature in the normal range. The Vet concluded that he may have developed a reaction to the steroids he is often given to control his skin problems. That reaction is well known, and often causes hyperventilating, and breathing issues.

His advice is to immediately stop all remaining medication, and wait to see if Ollie improves dramatically in the next 48 hours. If he is no better by the end of this week, then he will have to go back for blood tests to try to find out if there is anything more sinister causing the problem. If he makes a full recovery, then it will prove it was the medication, and he will need no extra tests.

So once again, we have a couple of days watching him closely, and hoping for the best.

Ollie Update

As I know so many of you are concerned about Ollie, here is an update on his condition since we had the emergency with him in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The medication he was given makes him extra thirsty, and super-hungry.
He is drinking 4-5 bowls of water every day, as well as what he drinks from the river on his walks. And he is eating like he has never seen food. Anything we put in front of him is demolished in moments.

The breathing problems sadly continue, and are worse at night. After his much shorter than usual walks, he is panting heavily, but relaxes when we get home. However, as soon as it gets late and he is ready to sleep for the night, his breathing changes to hyperventilating, and is still very worrying.

So I have booked him to go back to see the Vet on Tuesday morning, as I want to find out why he doesn’t seem to be getting better.

I will let you know what happens on Tuesday, or if anything changes before then.

Ollie Emergency!

After finishing his course of antibiotics and steroids yesterday, Ollie’s skin was clearing up nicely. But something else was happening. He was beginning to pant a great deal, and seemed to be out of breath after not much exertion. Late last night, that started to get much worse and his respiratory rate increased to over 80 per minute around four times faster than it should be. By 2 AM, he was getting visibly distressed, so the Emergency Vet was called. After telling her the symptoms, she agreed to travel to the surgery in Swaffham, and told us to meet her there.

Luckily there is little traffic at that time of the morning around here, so the journey was quick and easy. With social distancing still operating, she met us in the car park and took Ollie inside to examine him. It was a worrying wait, but when she came back with him she looked relatively unconcerned. She suspected he might be carrying too much fluid from the recent infection, and had given him an injection of Furosemide to make him urinate more often, as well as booster injections of both antibiotics and steroids in case the rapid breathing was caused by a chest infection. There were lots of tablets to take home with us too.

By the time we got home it was close to 4 AM, and time to try to get some sleep. This morning, Ollie is very tired and his breathing is a lot slower, if not quite back to normal. It was the first time since we got Ollie that we have had to use an emergency Vet in the middle of the night.

I hope it’s the last.

Ollie’s Skin: The Saga Continues

So many times I have written on this blog about the skin conditions afflicting my poor dog, Ollie. After the last bout cleared up, the fur grew back slowly. But by the end of March, he was looking pretty good. Good enough for other dog-walkers to remark on how well he was looking, and how shiny his coat was.

Then the weather warmed up in May, and he started to moult. Nothing excessive, and to be expected. Just a lot more of his shed fur collected in the vacuum claner. Two weeks ago, he started to smell rather ‘doggy’, and I thought about booking him in for a bath at the groomer’s by the end of June. But while the tiling was being done, I wanted to stay around the house.

Then last week, we got the real mini-heatwave I have mentioned. Ollie started to scratch a lot, and I noticed the fur that had grown back had fallen out again, leaving bald patches of inflamed skin. So today, he had to go back to the Vet yet again.

They have a new procedure for Covid-19 safety, whereby no customers are allowed inside the large building. You telephone on arrival, and let them know you are there. Then a Vet comes to inspect the dog in your car, or outside it, before deciding whether or not he has to take your dog (or cat, or whatever) back inside for treatment. In Ollie’s case, the regular Vet knows him well, and carried out a car-park examination while Ollie stayed on his bed at the back of the car.

Allergies and skin infection was diagnosed, as it has been so many times before. He returned with steroid tablets, antibiotic tablets, and the suggestion that we give Ollie a cheap antihistamine tablet every day of the summer months. I had to come home and pay over the telephone, as he wasn’t letting anyone use the card machine, for fear of infection.

Ollie now has two weeks of tablets, twice a day. We already know they make him extra thirsty, and increase his appetite too. So I will give him slightly bigger dinners while he is on them, and make sure to keep his fresh water filled up.

I phoned as requested, to make a card payment over the phone. £160. Pretty hefty, for ten minutes in a car park.

But he is worth it of course.