Cairn with Colitis – Caring for Critters!

Todays post is part of the Caring for Critters round robin.

Caring-For-Critters2-125

Please be aware I am not a vet and I would always recommend that you discuss this with your vet. All I am doing is telling you about my experience. Be warned you may not want to read this post while eating as it will include such terms as ‘shooting out of both ends’ (well the first draft did)! So once we have all taken a moment to appreciate the alliteration attempt we will begin. Although I am not 100% sure where I will start… in fact I have already re-written this at least 3 times and now with one eye on the clock I am as concerned about finishing this as I was about starting.

I think the problem is is that Colitis is not an easy subject to write about. I don’t mean that as in it’s gut wrenching, painful, that you are fighting something aggressive like cancer more that it is just so…. random.

Google search the causes of Colitis and you will get a list as long as your arm; it can be related to stress, dietary issues, allergies, food in tolerances or some types of worms. It feels like pick a cause. So lets say you do, you chose dietary and decide to find out which types of food cause a reaction……… well I’m yet to see a definitive list.

Colitis makes no sense.

I have a Cairn that was horrendously ill when the dog food we buy him brought out a ‘new and improve’ recipe but yet he had no ill affects after stealing and consuming a large block of my dads best Stilton. We can’t predict what will make him ill, or when it will happen. So we just live day by day.

Advice from the Vet when Mity was first diagnosed was to buy him the cheapest food possible as generally they are the plane-est and this has apparently worked for him. I know other people buy prescription dog food and whether or not they have had success I cannot comment, but we have found the Chappie works wonders for him – so long as we pick the right flavour. Yep, accidentally grab the beef flavour (which my sister did once) and Mity will be ill for a week or more.

In the beginning the advice was to starve him when he had a flare up. 24 hours with no food and then slowly introduce boiled rice and minced chicken. However, recently the thought process has changed slightly and now the thought process is starving him agitates his bowels just as much. So if he is ill he switches back onto boiled rice and chicken or sometimes just rice – we have had him on this for months at a time waiting for everything to settle down. That’s another thing about this. There is no simple steps to get him better. He flares up (the runs) for almost no reason and settles down for the exact same unknown reason.

As I said it makes no sense.

To try and control the situation we carefully watch his diet. We have learnt that it isn’t worth giving the ‘occasional treat’ as the weeks of him being poorly just aren’t worth it. So over the years we have  list of foods and treats he can eat and we stick to that. Luckily my dog has developed an obsession with carrots and so we often use this for a treat. We stay away from anything rich, beef is a no and so is most forms of meat. In fact I can’t remember the last time he was given any fresh meat – he used to be ok with roast Chicken but even that caused problems last time he had some.

You may think that we have to be hard-hearted to not give in to his puppy eyes. Especially as since he is getting older he seems to always be wanting to be fed, but all you have to do is see him ill and you know it’s not worth it. I still remember one evening when he had it shooting out of both ends (and I mean shooting) he just sat there looking so sorry for himself, and so tiny.

I feel I should leave you with some words of wisdom, something ground breaking or just something more. But I’m afraid that I can’t. I think colitis is a very personal thing, specific to each dog, and all you can do is figure out what works for your dog and stick with it.

If your dog has Colitis and you want to discuss anything, any more details or just a good moan then you know where to find me.

 

And now I send you on your way to visit Leah at Let’s Go Dog and also remind you to visit the amazing lovely and wonderful Jodi at Heart Like a Dog where you can find links to everyone who has taken part in this round robin (I assure you their contributions are greater than mine!)

What a difference a year makes.

I can’t quite believe it, but I have been single for over a year now. I don’t know exactly how long I have been without a significant other   – I’m rubbish with dates! I know this time last year we would have still been living together, but I am confident that we would have ‘officially broken up’ as the actual conversation happened in the middle of our two weeks summer holiday and we always went away during the first two weeks of September, so give or take a day or so it was round about this time that he officially tore my heart in two.

I don’t know if I have ever told you how it ended?

We were watching the stars. I was wrapped in a blanket and he came up behind me and put my arms around me. We pointed out the different constellations – I saw and identified Sagittarius for the first time ever and then a shooting star shot across the sky. I told him to make a wish, and then after a little persuasion he shared his wish with me.

“I want you to be happy” he said.

I think in that second my heart may have stopped beating. I knew. He’d given up. He wasn’t considering a future with an ‘us’ any more.

That night was the worst of my life.

Knowing that if he wanted to he could have stopped my pain, taken away my heartache… all it would have taken was a “I have concerns but lets try” conversation. Knowing that the only thing that would make it better would be to fall asleep in his arm….. and yet I never would again. (Ok technically I did for about a month or so, but that’s a minor detail lost in the bigger picture!)

Despite being booked in for a week, we left the hotel a few days later. When we had first started dating the ex promised he would take me to Paris and this became important to him, in the middle of all this mess. So we went. We went with one rule. For that weekend we forgot about it all. The break-up. The future. All of it. We lived in the moment. We were in love (he still claims he loves loved me whilst we were there.)

I fell in love with Paris.

It was the most perfect weekend, and I soaked up every experience, every minute.

Before this split, I always thought love was enough. That love alone could get through anything. Now I don’t.

Before this experience I would always encourage anyone to deal with things in their past; work through it so you aren’t haunted by it. Now I know that sometimes to keep it all together you just have to shut that door. Block off your mind and move on. Learn from the experience. Don’t let it affect your future (too much). But sometimes things are just too raw painful heartbreaking well just too ….

The change in me in the last 12 months is obvious for anyone to see.

I have lost some weight. I am slightly jaded and I am scared to move on. To love again. To trust again.

But I am also stronger. I have so many new skills. I have more faith in myself and I have learnt to rely on no one but me (which I suppose could be viewed both positively and negatively).

My contact with the ex has changed. Whereas before I wanted to have a conversation with him, I know keep my messages short and to the point. Only ever discussing BD and if I can get away with a yes or a no I feel that the exchange has been a success. Often, after a conversation I wish for more. I wish he cared enough to ask how I was. A small part of me hopes he is still missing me, still thinks about me….. but I close off the thought process. I can’t go back so does it matter what he’s thinking? On occasions I do hope I will run into him out shopping, on an upcoming night out. I want him to see me at a distance and for him to feel a pang of regret.

This time last year I wished him nothing but good things and was hoping I would be able to spend evenings drinking wine, sharing takeaways and slowly falling back in love with each other.

Now I don’t. I put myself first, put my needs first. Am I more selfish – I think I may be.

I played by the rules, I gave love unconditionally and I got kicked in the teeth. So this time I am thinking about me. I joke with my friends that any ‘new guy’ is going to have his work cut out with me. My list of demands is at least 2 sides of A4 and to be completely honest I hope that I don’t meet him any time soon. For the first time (possibly ever) I am contented being alone.  Is this due to fear – I don’t know? But I know that right now I am content – and that’s ok.

This year has changed me. I have survived more heartache than I ever thought possible. I have had my happily ever after taken away but I’ve finally come back fighting!

The Budweiser Advert

So this week I just seem to be throwing YouTube clips at you – I’m not sure why exactly! My mind seems to be throwing around a lot of different thoughts but I can’t get them down on paper, or maybe I’m a little worried about what you may think of me if I admit to them…. who knows! I think I am in need of another dog walk with BD or Mity as I always find they help to get my thoughts un-muddled (how do people without dogs blog?!) But I’m not seeing BD until tomorrow and the last few times Mity has been at the house I have finished off DIYing while my dad took him on his late night walk so no thinking time for me there!

The good news is my house is so nearly there. I only have a few more rooms to decorate and then I will be sharing pictures on here. But until it’s done I am on a massive DIY push – Mum and Dad go away in a few weeks and the house needs to be done before they can go. My Dads not finding it easy to relax with the constant nagging of unfinished work. So it’s very much heads down to the finish line.

Until then, enjoy!

You don’t have to agree with me… in fact I may prefer if you don’t!

I was very lucky growing up. Almost every Saturday around 3pm we (my Mum, Dad, Sister and I) would walk the 5 minutes walk to my Aunt and Uncles house where we would have a lovely relaxed meal and the adults would sink a few bottles of wine. The get together would usually end in the early hours of the next morning, and usually after a selection of whiskeys had been trailed by my Dad and my Uncle.

Usually while the adults talked, my Sister, my Cousin and I would play games upstairs. However as we got older we started opting to stay downstairs where I would listen with fascination as two of my heroes would sit and debate…. well…… anything. Politics, religion, history, nothing was taboo, no topic was off limits.

I would sit and listen to them discuss the various view points and I loved it. Anyone was able to join in, and I know I would sit waiting for the conversation to shift from “how Great Aunt Maud was” to whether God created the Universe”.

Of course it wasn’t just my Dad and Uncle joining in, but my Mum and Aunt would voice their opinions and on occasions I would sit and listen to my parents arguing different points of view. Of course we (my Sister, Cousin and I) were encouraged to join in if we wanted to and on occasions I would even come down on the other side of the fence to my parents.

To me, open discussion, disagreement and this kind of debate was normal.

I can still remember being amazed the first time I realised that this may not be the norm.

My Dad and I were both on the church counsel for a while and on one occasion my Dad was very much against the decision being made by the counsel. My Dad and this lady both fell at opposite sides of the fence, and both weren’t willing to budge on their opinion. In the end it went to a vote, and the counsel went with the lady. After the meeting had finished, the lady approached my Dad to apologise for her difference of opinion and ask if they were still friends – but this wasn’t a ‘jokey’ are we still friends. The grown up in front of me was convinced that my Dad would stop being her friend purely because she didn’t agree with his opinion.

Having been brought up around debate and seeing people who love each other disagree I couldn’t believe that this person genuinely believed that in having a difference of opinion a friendship could be ruined.

I have a few older friends who say I seem very grown up for my age, and I think that a lot of this is due to my parents and the manners in which I was brought up. I have been brought up to vote (with my Dad encouraging me to spoil my vote rather than just not bother) and I have been brought up to enjoy a healthy debate. So long as the debate is respectful I have no problem with you disagreeing with anything I say or think. Religion, Politics, Sexual Preferences, War, Dog Training, the Zombie Uprising… I am happy to and would welcome the chance to discuss any of these topics with you.

There is nothing I love more than a good debate.

Looking back, I can now see how lucky I was that I have been raised in this manner. That I will stand up and speak my mind when so many other people may not. Being able and willing to discuss anything with anyone is liberating and something I would encourage more people to do; being able to debate, argue, reason and evolve is such an important life skill.

That’s why I love receiving comments on my blog. That’s why I invite you to honestly tell me what you think about anything I put on here. Don’t think “I don’t agree so I can’t comment” I don’t expect you will always agree with me, in fact I welcome when you don’t!

I hope this space will become a place where people can debate and put across their point of view.

 

They voted no

I can’t help but feel that a ‘no’ vote is a bit of an anti climax. I know deep down it’s for the best but it would have been brilliant to find out what would have happened, how things would have changed had they voted yes. I will admit a little part of me was excited to see what our new flag would look like, and what would we be called. A brilliant joke I heard doing the rounds would be that the United Kingdom would have to be known as the Former United Kingdom or FUK!

Following on from yesterdays post when I was feeling all empowered and certain that if we all stuck together we could make a change. This morning, I feel slightly disappointed. There was so much buzz about what would happen, and now I worry that nothing is going to change.

Scotland walking away would have certainly forced the politicians to sit up and take note.

I worry now that the powers in West Minister will congratulate themselves on a job well done and then slowly forget the promises they have made. That nothing will change. I can’t help but feel at the moment the UK is on a bit of a downwards spiral…..

 

Scottish Independence #VoteYes #VoteNo?

I can’t help but watch the unfolding story of Scotland as ‘they’ vote for their independence….or not. I don’t know which way the vote will go. I think it’s too close to call. Part of me hopes they will vote ‘Yes’ but that’s mainly because I would love to see what would happen if the ‘Yes’ vote  won. What would it mean for Scotland, what would it mean for the rest of us?

I have followed the twitter feeds as people voice the reason as to why they are voting yes. As one tweeter pointed out there appears to be no corresponding #nobecause stream trending, however part of me wonders if that is because of the scare tactics that people are talking about with people too afraid to admit that they may be voting no?

But I’m not here to focus on that. I am a firm believer of if you hear two sides of a story if you look somewhere down the middle you are likely to get the true-est version of events. I don’t think either side can claim to be ‘whiter than white’.

Reading the twitter streams it was filled with people who are voting ‘yes’ because they are pissed off with our rubbish government and the politicians who govern. I can’t say I blame them. The last time I voted I will admit to ‘ruining my vote’ as not one of the names on that piece of paper was worthy of my vote and I told them that; wrote it across my ballot sheet in black pen. I don’t know if the message will have reached those in power (I sincerely doubt it) but I felt proud. I had exercised my right to vote but had indicated my displeasure at the ‘parties’ on offer.

How many people know that you can spoil a vote?

Russell Brand was very vocal about encouraging people not to turn out to vote at the last election; to show your displeasure. However, I think a low turn up can be mistaken for people just not caring, I think you are much better to turn up and spoil your vote, tell them they aren’t good enough. Could you imagine turning on the news to hear that 100% of voters had turned out yet 90% had spoilt their vote as they felt the political parties weren’t good enough? I bet it would hit home a lot more than “this year only 20% of the population turned up to vote”.

Reading through the reasons to vote Yes I couldn’t help but sit there thinking “but that’s how we all feel” or at least that’s how I feel. Peoples need for a food bank – appalling; the growing privatisation of the NHS – shocking; our education system – failing; Nick Cleggs broken promises, over paid politicians, illegal wars, the expenses scandal, lack sentences for criminals……

But I couldn’t help but feel the way to fight this is together, not apart.

Do people of Scotland really believe that their politicians will be any better behaved than the ones currently in the Houses of Parliament? Do they not think that promises will be broken? Bad decisions made? Surely the way to do this is to stand up together, as a nation and force our politicians to do more; to be better.

Before looking at the reasons people voted, I was hoping that Scotland voted Yes. I wanted to see the fall out, watch the fireworks, I was a once in a life time event and I was wanted to be around to witness it, have a story to tell my grandkids. Hell, I’d even figured it all out – Northern Ireland wants to be British, Scotland doesn’t so let’s just do a bit of a swop. Northern Ireland gets Scotland, Scotland gets Northern Ireland Bobs your Uncle and everyone is happy.

I will even admit to agreeing with a tweet saying that if Scotland votes no the rest of the UK should then be given a vote to see if we want them back.

But now I am keeping everything crossed for a no vote. Because I can’t help but feel united we stand, divided….. well you know the rest!

The more men I meet….. the more I’m sticking with my dog.

The other night when I had BD I decided it would be nice to go on a walk around a local forest together. It’s a lovely place to walk, it’s close to where I pick him up from and the gravel path means that he doesn’t get too mucky (I love him, but I have new creamish carpets so although I want him to have loads of fun on our walks at the moment I am all about good clean fun!) It’s also nice and quiet, we very rarely run into other people or dogs and when we do the path is big enough I know we can easily pass – I call it a low stress walk!

However, last night my ‘low stress’ walk backfired slightly when an idiot male passed crossed my path and I went from relaxed to full out stress in the space of about 5 minutes, and it was all his bloody fault.

Bd and I were happily walking along, BD had is tennis ball and I was chattering away to him and focusing on being in the moment when in the distance I spotted a man running and a black dog behind him. Now anyone with a reactive dog will tell you one of the skills you develop when your dog doesn’t like others is an ability to spot another dog at 1000 paces.

I knew this was going to be a challenging situation for BD and that more than likely we would have a reaction. For some unknown reason he has started barking at every dog he sees (not a popular habit he has formed!) however the massive improvement is it isn’t a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ bark more a ‘look, look, over there is a dog, have you seen it?’ bark. To me this is a big improvement, not so much to the people with the other dog, you should have seen the dirty look the cute young vet gave me when he passed me in the street, his terrier trotting along nicely in front of him while my ginger nutcase bounced and barked and tried to pull me into the street, while I told him he was a good boy, to calm down and tried to persuade him to sit (apparently asking for a ‘trick’ distracts them). Anyway I digress!

So I called BD to me, took his tennis ball from him and put on his muzzle.

This is my fail safe way to get BD past a dog. I do not put him back on his lead as he feels restricted and so is more likely to react. So I muzzle and then carry on with the walk. With his muzzle on he can’t bite the other dog, so even if anything was to look like it may happen BD can’t do any damage. But the really play is to make sure I have the tennis ball in my hand. My boy is ball obsessed and so long as I have the tennis ball his eyes will be on me. A marching band could parade past him and unless they got in his face he would not bat an eyelid – the ball is all that matters.

Ideally in this situation I will just try and walk past the other dog, as I once read you need to make seeing another dog a ‘none event’ but as this was a running dog I thought it was better to pause in a nice wide part of the trail and wait for them to pass.

Which the runner did. He said hello as he ran past, but the dog froze. I called after the runner to ask if that was his dog, but he just ignored me and carried on his way.

I assumed that one of two things would happen. One the runner would stop and wait for the dog to catch up, encouraging him past me and BD so they could carry on with their walk or b the dog would pause slightly but as his ‘dad’ carried on he would run past us both to catch up.

Neither of these things happened.

The man kept on running, as in out of sight, gone, forgotten about.

And the dog froze.

I waited and then I swore.

The man had gone. Clearly this was not his dog.

There was no one else about, and we had been walking for a while. I knew we were in the middle of nowhere and for a dog to be here alone it was probably lost.

I swore again.

I couldn’t just leave it.

But I was with BD, I will admit to grumbling something along the lines of “why does this only ever happen when I have BD with me.” Had this situation presented itself with Mity he would have trotted along happily next to the new dog, thinking he had found a new friend. In fact once we used Mity as ‘bait’ when a neighbours scared dog got out. We encouraged it to follow Mity all the way home and Mity thought the whole thing was the most fun game ever.

BD would not think this is the most fun game ever. BD would not like this dog following him home.

I told BD to wait, and I slowly crept towards the strange dog. I noticed it was wearing a collar and so I decided I would ring the number on it. Simples.

I crept forward, talking calmly.

BD watched my every mood.

I have to admit he was very good and he didn’t make a fuss and let me approach this dog.

As I swapped between watching this dog and checking BD for signs of concern/reactivity I tried to assess the condition of the strange dog to see how long it may have been out there.

I found some dog treats in my pocket and held one out, hoping that the other dog would be tempted. I kept my tone low and my movements slow.

As I got close the dog let out an almighty yelp and raced off.

I swore again.

BD watched it go he sort of went to follow it, but not in an aggressive manner and returned to me as soon as I called. But now I was more upset. In this situation I can’t help but wonder what would happen if it was BD or Mity; how I would feel about them being out there alone. I felt like I had let down this dog and its owner. I wondered what I should have done different. I considered leaving the rest of my treats on the trail so it would have a little something to eat. Granted it was about 4 large treats, but still it would have been something.

I decided to pull myself together. Unmuzzled BD and chucked his ball for him resigned to the fact that I couldn’t do anything more.

And at the point the idiot running man came back into view with the dog clearly with him; turns out his was his dog after all. Initially I was relieved that the dog was going to be ok, but the relief was replaced with annoyance with this bloke. He had seen my muzzle BD. His dog had been held up, too afraid to pass me and BD and yet he had ran off and not given a flying ……..feck.

You don’t have to have a dog. It is a choice not a necessity and if you can’t be arsed to properly care and look after a dog, then don’t have one.

I tell you this guys complete disregard has me boiling for quite some time. In fact even now it gets me cross just thinking about it.

Until it doesn’t

Or at least the dog shares rocks until he has to go back.

And then I hate it.

I hate having to say goodbye to him again. I hate cuddling him and willing him to understand that I don’t want this. I hate leaving him. I hate that we only get a few days together a week. I hate that I couldn’t make it work – that I wasn’t enough.

I pray that he understands this isn’t his fault.

I didn’t want to leave, not like the other ‘mum’ did.

I want him to understand that even when we are apart, a little bit of me stays with him. That I count down the days until I next see him, and wonder what I can move in the diary to fit him in.

It’s a balancing act.

Seeing him as much as I want but not annoying the ex too much. Not being overly demanding – BD is not my dog and if I over step the mark the ex could cut all ties, then and there and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s funny, this time last year (ok maybe a little over a year, let’s say 2 years ago!) I would have told you that my ex was a man of his word and that if he has promised I can continue to see BD he will let me…….but I’m not that naïve anymore.

I am acutely aware that any minute all this could end. BD could be taken from me, and that thought terrifies me. So I jump through whatever hoops the ex asks me to jump through.

I pray he doesn’t find anyone else.

Not because the idea of him with someone else kills me. It does; but that’s not the motivation. I’m scared about what sort of woman he will choose, and how high he will jump when she asks him to…. “of course you’re ex can’t continue to walk your dog twice a week.” If he’s listened to anything I ever said to him he won’t let an old relationship ruin a new one. And so I will be out; replaced.

I know it would have been easier, and possibly better to make the clean break. But I promised BD I wouldn’t leave him, and I can’t. You’ve seen the videos of how crazy a dog goes when re-united with a soldier who has been on tour, I watch those videos and think how much the dog has missed their owner. After tours lasting 6 months the dogs still remember and are over joyed at the reunion. I don’t want BD to suffer that separation – not if it is in my power to spare him that.

Don’t worry I am very aware of the elephant in the room, the unspoken fear in my friends and family. The nagging voice that sometimes can be heard in my own head “are you hanging onto him, because it lets you hang on to your ex?”

Honestly, I don’t think I am. Do I like that on occasions having BD means I can pop back into my ‘other house’ very much so. But am I hanging onto the ex, the life I had….maybe. But I know that it can’t be. I can’t go back. I have to move on. And although I don’t want to, I will. And to be honest, there are months at a time when I don’t see the ex, where conversation is literally a text confirming date and times so I think it’s more holding onto my second home.

But I would give it all up if I could only guarantee a future relationship with BD. If a new girlfriend lands on the scene I would happily negotiate access with her. I would cut all contact with the ex, and stay away from the house so long as she didn’t take my dog from me.

But that’s the problem, he isn’t my dog.