A dog or a rabbit

Today I am going to tell you a story about Mity. I am very aware that he doesn’t feature on this blog as much as BD does and that is for two reasons. The first is I see him less, since I now live by myself I only see him when I am seeing my folks and b. because compared to BD he is pretty prefect. Other than his health issues he just loves everyone and everything, and although he is getting a little more demanding in his old age – he has his routine, and if you deviate from this, boy does he let you know  – he is generally pretty perfect.

However, this story was just too good not to share.

Mity is obsessed with carrots. Bring in the shopping and put it on the floor, he is there sniffing out the carrots. Put the shopping on the work top, so that he can’t help himself and if he can smell the carrots he will stand and bark at the bag until we give in and he has a little bit – and by give in we are talking 10 minutes of constant barking, not he barks and we give in.

He has been known to let himself into my grandparents spare bedroom, open their cupboard and retrieve the bunch of carrots which they had stored in the bottom (I don’t know why). Now every time we go to visit them he spends the entire visit trying to make it back into that cupboard.

He smells a carrot and he wants it. So much so that we now actively hide carrots from him. They are smuggled into the house and put away while he is distracted with a toy, or a game.

However, this last weekend Mity and my folks came to stay at my house. it was a nice day so we decided to walk into the local village to get some groceries – including carrots. My dad headed by to my house, with the groceries and Mity while my mum and I headed into one final shop.

Half way home my dad realised Mity wasn’t lagging behind as usual, and was in fact trotting along nicely next to him – Mity does not do this. There is always a sniff, or a smell, something to be peed on…

So my dad looks down to check on him.

Mity is trotting along beside him, and in his mouth he has the canvas bag with the groceries in it. Somehow he has managed to find the carrot in the groceries while walking along and he was as proud as punch trotting down the road with the carrot (still inside the canvas bag) clasped firmly between his teeth.

Dog or rabbit you decide!
Dog or rabbit you decide!

Can I just bury my head and run away?

Long-time readers will know I have a dog with fear aggression. Having a dog with these issues was relatively new to me, and was something I was determined to work on when I moved in with the ex and BD. The day he was racing around with other collie dogs, playing and ignoring a puppy who was clearly trying to get some sort of reaction, was the happiest day of my life. It was also the day before I moved out of the house I shared with the ex.

Now I live in my own house and (unless the ex is away) I have BD one night a week and when I have him I like to go for a ‘proper’ walk; in the hills, miles from anyone. It is perfect. The problem is on these walks it is only him and me.

We don’t encounter other people. We don’t encounter other dogs.

This means I have lost my doggie reading skills and along with BD being attacked last year, this has made me very nervous when I see other dogs out and about.

Mity loves other dogs. He would leave our side and bound across fields to go and say hello to the dog he saw in the distance; and no amount of calling, running in the other directions or promise of treats would do anything to distract him from saying hello. This is something he has never grown out of and now it is only the fact that his eyesight is poor meaning he can’t see the other dog that stops him.

So if I see a dog with BD I panic that the approaching dog with be a ‘Mity dog’. I know panicking is not the thing to do. I try not to. I try my best to hide this concern from BD, but the panic in the pit of my stomach will not go away.

When I was living with BD I worked so hard with him, hence the playing with the puppies. We tried agility. We walked where other dogs were. I had him with Mity (which still happens occasionally) I read books, searched online, stalked pet bloggers… but now I am not it is harder to work with him; especially considering I spend a lot more time walking none responsive Mity.

Now when I see a dog in the distance regardless of who I am walking I freeze. I look for escape route and run walk briskly in that direction.

Here’s the thing. BD is perfectly happy on a walk with me. So long as he has his tennis ball he genuinely could not give a dam whether or not there is another dog. In fact he may prefer that there isn’t. Mity and BD can be walked together, and have been often where they just ignore each other. BD is a little bit of a pain on a lead and will bark at another dog. I don’t leave the house without BDs muzzle and if I see another dog in the distance, the muzzle goes on. He is never put in a position where he can hurt another dog. He is never put in a position where he needs to feel threatened by another dog.

Reading about BDs fear aggression I was advised not to avoid dogs. It makes it worse when you run into them. But when I only have him for two walks a week, and I have tactics to deploy if we do meet a dog, am I being selfish not taking time to actively work on this and relying instead on evasive actions?

Pet Bloggers Gift Exchange – Oh My Dog!

How about I start 2015 with a confession. I have once again bitten off far more than I can chew, and I owe the very lovely Maggie from Oh My Dog a slight (gigantic) apology. You see I signed up for the Pet Blogger Gift Exchange again this year having enjoyed taking part so much last year (ok, yes I am technically not a pet blogger but the lovely Pamela who organises this over looks that small matter) and having been matched with Maggie I promptly forgot all about the entire thing until this morning.

I always feel very sorry for the people who end up paired with me. They sign up for a pet blogger exchange and then get lumped with…well me.  Whereas I always end up with the loveliest people who remind me of me, but are such a better kick ass version of myself and Maggie is no different.

I knew she was my kinda girl when the first post I came across came with a disclaimer “This rambling post brought to you by Finals Week! And Emmett stress! And Cooper stress! And too much coffee! Way, way, way too much coffeeee!” I can’t remember the times I have gone a little crazy after too much coffee, and there was one time I ran around M & S with one shoe one and one off, trouser legged pulled up, screaming “I need this” because I had skipped lunch and drank about 4 cans of Lucozade in one sitting!

I am struggling to sum up quite how brilliant Maggie is… yes this ‘wonder woman’ not only writes a daily (almost) witty, intelligent grammatically correct blog (she is a self-confessed grammar geek – I wonder if she’s currently going through my blog with a red pen?) but whilst preparing for finals she finds time to help with rescues, is currently experimenting with cooking for one of her dogs who is struggling with dietary issues, backs up her computer once a month (I have never done mine) and still finds time to sings down an empty wrapping paper tube at her dog.

If you have a few minutes to spare today I implore you to head across to meet Maggie and her ‘pack’ she is guaranteed to raise your spirits!

Maggie with Emmett, Lucas and Cooper.
Maggie with Emmett, Lucas and Cooper.

Holy crap I’ve adopted a rabbit!

There is a guy at work who has been trying to get rid of his kids pet rabbit for as long as I have known him. His two children have grown up and so this rabbit spends its days sat along in a hutch. The guy openly admits he doesn’t want or like this rabbit…

I tried my family, I tried my friends.

I said I couldn’t…

I said I wouldn’t…

Then in a moment of weakness I said ok…

I am a mixture of terrified and excited. I know I could say no, but I feel that for this poor rabbit although life with me may not be perfect, it will be a lot better than it is now.

My first argument against was BD and Mity but when I thought about it more I realised that I only have BD once a week (the majority of the time) and Mity less frequently. I know that it will mean one night when the rabbit will not get a whole lot of company, but that still means 6 nights a week that rabbit will have me all to itself and Ok 6 nights is not 7, but it’s an awful lot more than 0.

Then only other thing that puts me off is the cost. Actually that’s a lie, I have only thought about the costs involved now… after I have agreed. Yes, this may very well be a case of shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted. I think I will be alright, hell I have to be alright. I have made a promise and I would hate to break it.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a whole load of rabbit things to learn about!

Dumb Ass Dog Owners – The Straight Line Walkers

Today I am joining in with the Dumb Ass Dog Owner Blog Hop, hosted by Tales from the Backroad and Heart Like a Dog. As it is the perfect chance for me to complain about my newest erk in life, namely Straight Line Dog Walkers (SLDW). You may have seen them, you may know them…. hell you may even be one (in which case congrats, grab the award!)

This is for you!!
This is for you!!

Its the dog owner who comes onto a field, with a clearly defined route and come hell or high water they will walk that path – usually with a very board looking dog following!

They do not interact with their dog. They just appear to want to get the miles done so that they can get home and onto more enjoyable past times. The reason I hate them so, is because not being content with ruining the walk for their dog they also manage to ruin the walk for BD and I.

On a morning, we take a ball and go and spend an hour wandering the fields near my house, playing fetch, sniffing sniffs and generally enjoying some time the two of us. However, mid fun a SLDW will appear and so I have to move my focus from my dog, to figure out what the hell they are doing and try to make sure their board dog doesn’t decide that it would be much more fun to come and play with us. So I stop chucking BDs ball, not a popular or fair move for my ball obsessed collie, and instead we just wander aimlessly trying to ensure that we keep as much distance between the idiot and us.

BD and I go from chilled, relaxed and in the moment to me being on high alert watching and waiting all because these other people are selfish. I’m not saying having a route is wrong. I am not saying that heading out to cover a set distance is wrong, but could you be a bit more observant and realise that if a chilled out happy dog walker, suddenly starts watching your every move perhaps met that person half way by making a slight detour to help keep maximum distance between the two of you  and don’t..oh I don’t know… make a beeline for the couple while walking down the middle of the field. Especially if they were there first!!!

Cat adds value to property

And this is another video that leaves me struggling for words, but for a completely different reason…

 

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

Can you believe it? Just in case the video doesn’t play, the story in a nut shell is that a family has had their house on the market for a while, but have only managed to sell it by agreeing to leave behind their pet cat for the new owners to look after. For a moment i gave the couple selling the house the benefit of the doubt when I thought the agreement was that they would just proved ‘a cat’ but not. This couple are just leaving their cat behind. Grrr just grr!

 

I scooped the wrong poop.

It happened to me again this morning. Yes, that’s my first confession I have scooped the wrong poop on more than one occasion (hangs head in shame) the second is that I may have already shared at least part of this with you, but here’s to hoping your memory is as bad as mine!

The first time it happened it was dark. I had let BD out for a poo and although I thought I had pin-pointed the location clearly I hadn’t. BD is a bit of a pain. He refuses to go on-lead unless desperate (I am working on this) and generally if you move, or breath, after he has ‘assumed the position’ he will stop and you can be out walking the field, in the dark for another half hour. So, he squats and I freeze wherever I am and then have to reward him (again trying to make him better at pooing) while getting the bag out my pocket, moving towards the poo whilst keeping one eye on the spot and the other looking out for any other poo someone else has failed to scoop. Please note, this is not so I can pick it up… I am not that kinda person.

Anyway, the first time I scooped the wrong poop BD has run slightly down this hill and so in the dark I carefully made my way to the area where he has positioned, and I bent down and scooped the poo. I then looked at the poo I had scooped and saw it was filled with maggots. Yep, rather than picking up my dogs poo I had picked someone else weeks old, stone cold and maggot riddled poo. I shudder to this day thinking about it.

After this experience I have always been extra carefully whenever I scoop, I mean it’s bad enough I have to pick it up and usually end up wearing most of it and you want to make sure if you’re going to wear it, it came from your dog.

However, this morning I yet again picked up the wrong poop. BD – it is always with him, can I blame this on him I wonder?!! – had stopped a few meters away, squatted, finished. I threw the tennis ball and told him he was good. Switched on my head torch and walked towards the spot. I always stop a little way away to properly check the ground as I am approaching the spot and was shocked to see I was closer to it than I should have bee. He had done the ‘walk and poop’ technique so I wasn’t surprised to pick up a trail which I could see back to the tall tuft of grass he has started his business on. I bent to pick up the first bit and had a thought of “oh well, at least this will warm my hands a little.” I had thought it would be warm enough to not wear gloves – I was wrong!

However, the first bit wasn’t warm.

Neither was the next bit.

I said to no one in particular “gosh I knew it was cold, but didn’t realise it was that cold” and then I picked up the third piece (am I over sharing?) and that bit was still warm, as was the rest.

It meant only one thing…Yet again I have scooped someone elses poop. Surely this will get me into Heaven right??

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!)

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!

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.