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.

Your Dog Online: Usual Muttwits

The Usual Muttwits site may well feature your very own canine pal on their ‘Most Wanted’ page!
Dogs tails from Westley Piddle
Just follow the instructions below, and your favourite doggy pal may well become a blogging star!

Who likes Muttwits? You do, of course – but wouldn’t it be great if you could see your very own muttwit on Muttwits.com?

Introducing the Usual Muttwits Most Wanted page of all your furry besties!

Simply trot over to the Usual Muttwits Facebook page, or go direct to Muttwits.com and upload a sharply-focused Muttshot of your sharp-looking doggy (together with name, age and breed, plus a few words on personality) and we’ll share on our new sub-page.

Every month Zozo will choose a few Muttshots and draw them. Some may even trot into upcoming stories…

Ollie: Moving on video!

I took my newish smartphone out today, intending to try it out with photos of Ollie. However, the sunlight was reflecting off the screen, and I couldn’t see anything. So I pressed the video button instead, and these are the results. I couldn’t see any of the function buttons, so they are straight video captures in portrait format. But at long last you finally get to see Ollie moving! They are all very short clips, uploaded to You Tube.

**Select fullscreen for a better viewing experience**

Ollie on Beetley Meadows.

Ollie in the river, with old friends Maggie and Giggs.

Meeting up with Maggie and Giggs.

Over on Hoe Rough, encountering his friend Stanley.

The riverside path on Hoe Rough. He’s heard something!

Back in the river, this time from the other bank.

I was sitting on a fallen tree, and he came to find me.
Look at that stumpy tail wagging!

I hope you enjoyed these. I will try to get better at taking video.


Yes, you read that right. Beetley has been inspired by the spirit of Rio’s Copacabana beach, well at least one tiny part of this small village has.

It’s a nice day today. Blue skies, and sunny. But it’s not that warm, as a chilly easterly wind is keeping down the temperatures. Walking around with Ollie was pleasant enough, but I still needed a light jacket, and rubber boots for the mud.

Halfway down the main path at the centre of Hoe Rough nature reserve, I suddenly noticed someone coming toward me in the distance. It looked to be a young woman, but with the interesting addition of being naked.

At that point, I should have of course done the decent thing, and taken one of the smaller paths to the right, thus avoiding encountering her.

But you can guess that I did no such thing, I’m sure.

As she got closer, I could see that she was actually wearing a (very) pale pink bikini. If you could actually call it that, as it consisted of three small triangles of pink cloth, barely covering her ample assets, which were wobbling like the proverbial jelly-on-a-plate. She was talking on a phone, and using small headphones. Making no effort to avoid me, she continued in the same direction, until I could make out that she was at least wearing something sensible, a pair of stout tennis shoes on her feet.

I moved off the path to allow the requisite Covid-19 social distance of six feet, and even Ollie did a double take as she walked past. The rear section of her swimwear consisted of little more than a pink bootlace, most of which was lodged deeply in the cleft between her buttocks.

I couldn’t help but wonder where she had come from, and where she was going. She had no handbag of any kind, and was not carrying car keys. I can only presume that she must either live nearby, or be staying with someone in Hoe or Beetley. Whatever the answer, she certainly livened up a dog-walk.

And it made a change from spotting Muntjac Deer.

Another Covid-19 Saturday

A week has gone by in Beetley, with little of note to report. Next door has a man in fixing the roof, so Ollie is constantly barking at the hammering. The supermarket in town now seems to have abundant stocks of everything, including a whole aisle of toilet paper.

I haven’t left the village for more than two hours this week, and driving into town still feels like I am going back in time to when traffic and parking issues were unknown. But the setup at the pharmacy reminded me what is really going on. A queue outside, and a lady wearing full PPE asking why we were there. One customer allowed in at a time, and only her allowed to open and close the doors, wearing gloves. No browsing the cosmetics and toiletries, just up to the counter, get the medicine, and leave. Good to see that implemented.

I spoke to someone yesterday (across the river, on the opposite bank) who said it was good to have a dog, as it gave us a reason to go out every day. That made me wonder. If I didn’t have Ollie, would I bother to go out, to simply ‘exercise’? I can’t answer that, as because I do have Ollie, I will never know.

Having a dog is definitely helpful during this period of uncertainty. It gives me a structure to the day, and someone to play with when he wants ‘toy-time’ in the early evening. And it is a joy to see how he is completely unaware of what is going on, at a time when it is the only thing anyone ever talks about.

The Blue Tits are back in the nest box fixed to the oak tree, and the Wood Pigeons are fighting over available females, as well as any food I put out on the lawn. They wake me up at first light, clattering around on the flat roof of the extension, then crashing into the windows during their bloodless battles.

I watched some news reports, including one from America where people were demanding their civil rights to refuse the lockdown. One man said he wanted his barber to open so he could get a haircut. At first I thought it was meant to be funny. Sadly, he was serious.

China has a second outbreak of Covid-19 close to the border with Russia, in the north-east. They allowed their citizens to return from Russia by train, and the virus came back immediately. They now have a lockdown all over again, in a different place.

The US and UK should take note of that. We are still flying home Britons supposedly stranded on holiday or visiting relatives in places like India and parts of SE Asia. I want to know why those people thought it was okay to travel to those places in the middle of a pandemic, and then expect to be allowed home to potentially bring more infection back with them.

We cannot get anyone to take jobs involving picking fruit and vegetables here. So last week, 400 workers were brought in from Romania to work on farms. According to news reports, none of them have been isolated, or tested for Covid-19.

Do Britain and America have some kind of death wish? Do our governments know something they are not telling us? As death rates start to fall in Italy and Spain, they are still increasing in Britain and America. At least 15,000 deaths in the UK, and 33,000 in the US. Per head of the population, the UK figure is significantly higher than that in the US. That should tell us that our government is doing something very wrong in their feeble efforts to contain this virus.

Enough of that. The workman has stopped banging, and Ollie is no longer barking.

Peace has returned to Beetley.

Ollie’s First Week

Julie found some more photos of Ollie, from 2012. It was his first week of living with us full-time, and he was just eight weeks old.
They are from an old phone, so not great quality.

He loved that ribbon. It is still in his toy box.

Hoping to play some more.

Getting tired.

Fast asleep under his blanket, on his first dog-bed.

A Poorly Dog

Ollie is not on good form today. He is limping around on three legs, and his usual happy expression has deserted him. He has almost certainly pulled a muscle in his thigh, after chasing a deer at great speed a couple of days ago. It looks so sad, to see him holding up the leg as he tries to get around.

Even his curly tail is at ‘half-mast’!

But I am guessing that when he sees his lead appear soon, and knows it is time for his walk on the nature reserve, he will forget the pain.

Beetley, and The Virus

Whatever happens, 2020 will always be remembered as the ‘Year of The Coronavirus’. Life in Beetley was always pretty quiet, but this year it is even quieter.

The population of Beetley, including the hamlet of Old Beetley, is just 1,390. On a busy day, I might see perhaps ten or twelve of those people, and they will mostly be walking dogs. Almost every home here has a pet, and the majority of those are dogs.

On large dog-friendly areas like Beetley Meadows or Hoe Rough, we might be joined by prople from the next village of Gressenhall, or from the nearby market town of Dereham, four miles south. But since returning from a short trip on Tuesday, I have hardly seen anyone.

People here are taking self-isolation quite seriously. Like me, many are only venturing out to walk dogs, or to buy groceries. Even though the schools are not closed until Friday, lots of children have already been kept away from school.

My daily dog walk has become quite strange. Other walkers are keeping a distance, in some cases turning round and walking away from me and Ollie. Over on Hoe Rough today, the sight of us approaching sent one family into an apparent frenzy to avoid walking past us. I felt as if I should have a bell around my neck.

I wonder how long it will be until we have to start painting black crosses on our front doors?

Guest Post: Ollie, Dad’s Dog

I have got to make this quick. Dad’s in the bath, and has left himself logged on.
I put my photo here so you will know it is me.

I need your help. You all have to write to Dad, and tell him stuff for meeeeeeeeeeeeee
(Sorry about that, not easy to use this with paws.)

Don’t let him know though, as he doesn’t know I can use spellcheck.

First, I would like to have two dog sausages at night. One just doesn’t hit the spot. I stand and stare at him, but he doesn’t seem to realise he should give me two.

And those dry pellets he puts in my bowl. How would he like to have to eat those every day, even with some slices of chicken on top?

Tell him to give me just the chicken, and a lot more of it.

Now I admit that I have a lot of toys, but some more new ones would be nice. Why don’t you suggest that he gets me new toys? Don’t mention I asked though.

I am always a good boy, and keep out the way when Dad is eating his dinner. But when he is having some biscuits later on, I reckon he should give me more than one. He says that I have already had my Bonio Biscuit, but that’s not as nice as a tasty digestive is it?

Say something about my walks too. Dad seems to hate the mud, and when it is bad, he only stays out with me for two hours. Why don’t you tell him to make it four or five hours? It’s all right for him to come home and type in the office or watch the TV, but all I can do is go to sleep. I would like to stay out all day, until it is time for my dinner.

Tell him that please.

If I get the chance, I will let you know if it has worked!

Love, Ollie. xx