Monday, 16 May 2022

Keep on running..



This time last year, life was full of worry for our Betty Boo as she had been in pain with a cruciate ligament injury for some time, then developed a nasty infection in her leg following invasive surgery and became worryingly poorly. My husand and I raced Betty to the specialist vet for urgent treatment one horrible May morning, a couple of weeks after surgery and gave up any idea we may have had of celebrating her sixth birthday...

Betty was stoic, determined and sweet-natured throughout what was an incredibly tough twelve months to follow. She became our inspiration in how to deal with each painful day moment by moment and to trust and find joy in even the tiniest of things. Unfortunately our poor girl needed further surgery only four months after her first operation and didn't escape her injuries completely pain free, so is now coping with residual arthritis in one surgical leg but with treatment and careful management, she can now run free again ... and for Betty, that has been the best birthday gift of all.

Happy 7th Birthday my beautiful Betty Boo, may the sun continue to shine for you and may your new legs keep on running for many years to come!

Monday, 28 March 2022

Like the wind!

The past fourteen months have been a rollercoaster. Poor Betty tore her first cruciate ligament at the beginning of 2021, followed by a tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) in May of the same year. We had no idea back then of how major this surgery was and at that point, were simply praying it would help Betty walk without pain. 

When Betty was discharged from doggy hospital after spending a post op night with the nursing staff, she amazed us by walking to the car when we went to collect her and at that point, we breathed our first sigh of relief ... but little did we know things would take a turn for the worse a couple of weeks later, when a nasty infection set into the surgical wound. Betty was very poorly so we raced her back to our vet and he was kind enough to open the surgery on a Sunday to see her. Thankfully she recovered from her infection and seroma (I had no idea what that was ... a fluid swelling in the wound site) reasonably quickly and then the process of rehabilitation slowly began. Betty was enthusiastic about walking again and very determined, so following the restrictive exercise programme set by our vet wasn't a problem and she was soon taking short, steady, lead walks. 

By three months, Betty was signed off by her vet and free to run again. That was such a joyous moment! Sadly, that too was short lived as within four weeks, Betty tore her second cruciate ligament. I was so upset for her. There was a wait of several weeks while her injury was assessed and we waited for an appointment for TPLO surgery number two. During that time, Betty's mobility deteroriated dramatically and I made the decision to stop walking her as it was just too painful. Thankfully, five weeks after the injury, we were given an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon and Betty was taken back into surgery. Unfortunately, after surgery she developed another seroma and in view of the first infection, our vet decided to keep her in doggy hospital for five days to make absolutely certain she received the best care. Those five days were very hard, I knew she would be confused and stressed by our absence and it broke my heart when each night I rang to ask about her progress, to be told she needed to stay in hospital for another night. 

When she was finally allowed home, Betty burst through the surgery door into the waiting room and flew into my arms ... there was no way she was going to allow us to leave her behind again! We took her home, slept in the living room with her for weeks yet again and slowly, carefully, began a rehab programme for the second time in six months. 

Betty was incredible. She understood what she had to do and was determined to not only walk again, but run too. The second surgery was six months ago, which will give you an idea of how long recovery for TPLO surgery takes ... Betty has only just been signed off by the specialist orthopaedic vet for her second surgery, fifteen months after her first cruciate tear. This surgery quite literally puts an owner's life on hold. We abandoned any notion of a holiday last year or trips out; we were focused completely on getting Betty strong again.

Even after more than a year of injury, surgery and rehabilitation, Betty is still not completely out of the woods as she has subsequently developed arthritis in her first surgical leg (which we were warned could happen), so she is a little lame in that leg from time to time BUT and this is the important BUT ....


She runs like the wind in fact. Just like she used to before her injuries. She loves to run, it is the dog she is and the dog I wanted to allow her to be again. Yes, there is slight lameness in one leg, it tires more readily than before BUT she is doing great, she is loving life and she is strong. The exercise I made sure she had every day and continue with, has rebuilt her muscle mass, given her flexibility and made her strong once more. It can be done!

I don't mind admitting that at times I wondered if surgery was the best route. I was so scared for Betty, hated seeing her in pain and didn't know how we would cope when her world turned upside down ... but we took our vet's advice to heart, believed in him, gave him our trust and thankfully, it was well placed. Without surgery Betty wouldn't have been able to walk, let alone run, but now she enjoys her old life, is back to walking, playing and running freely each day for at least an hour and a half. A little arthritis is a small price to pay and it can be managed by our local vet; also it is only fair to keep in mind that Betty is now seven years old, not a youngster any more ... mind you, to see her run now, you would never believe it!

Monday, 7 March 2022

Mischief and magic

It's hard to believe Polly and I have now been together for nine years... 

She led me a merry dance at times when she was a youngster, diving into a river full of indignant geese without considering her exit strategy, then having to be hauled out unceremoniously by her collar, charging across wide open spaces to introduce herself to unsuspecting picnickers and their sausage rolls, toppling my husband down Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall and almost knocking him unconscious when she suddenly launched herself across a muddy field without warning with him at the end of her long line ... and the barking, oh my goodness the barking! Polly is an expert guard dog, taking her job extremely seriously ... until anyone actually enters the house, then she becomes a most welcoming waggy tailed, licky, hostess, eager to share her teddy! If there was ever a swamp to dive into and become stuck in, Polly would always find it and she has never failed in her lifelong mission to become a poo roller extraordinaire. 

I have worked so very hard at Polly's obedience training through the years but swear there have been days when she blatantly laughed at me as I shame-facedly attempted to reinstate my 'new handler' dignity on the training field, under the irritated gaze of our instructor. She learned all skills required to become a beautifully behaved show dog... and yet somehow also held on to her indomitable spirit and unerring right to show me the error of my ways where necessary. Polly has always been the quintessential golden retriever, minus the biddable bit.

However! My big bossy bird also taught me much over her nine years and for that I will forever be grateful ... I can now spot a shoulder dip and potential poo roll at record speed and understand the true value of a good cheddar. Joking aside, without Polly I don't think I would have learned nearly as much about dog behaviour ... and I certainly wouldn't have learned how important it is to achieve a polite, responsive dog! 

Polly is an amazing dog. Clever beyond clever, loyal, determined, funny, playful and very loving. She is a fabulous girl and I love her foibles. Our nine years have been filled with mischief but also with pure magic. My beautiful girl is begininng to creak a little on occasion now, old age is creeping up ... but she's not old yet! Polly is still the zoomie queen, busting her crazy moves on my living room rug several times a week with all the exhuberance of her young puppyself. Her zest for life is ever present ... nine really is just as number as far as Polly and I are concerned!

Happy Birthday Big Girl, I love the very bones of you! xxx

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Home at last!



When I took Betty to the vet for TPLO surgery on her hind leg a week ago, I was expecting an overnight stay ... not a five night stay! Poor Betty developed a nasty seroma after her operation, so had to stay under close observation in doggy hospital. The vet did an amazing job with her and thankfully, she was allowed home on Sunday and despite two bionic legs, is already walking confidently again! I couldn't be happier for her.

It will take several months to rebuild muscle loss and regain full fitness but the most important thing is, Betty is bearing full weight on her hind legs and the awful lameness that resulted in her being unable to walk properly prior to surgery, is now nothing but a bad memory. With a little rest and recouperation, she is already looking so much happier!

It has been such an anxiety filled year but at last, the worry is starting to fade. This surgery will give Betty back her life and for that, we are so very grateful.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Here we go again..



Sometimes life is very unfair... and this is one such time. You may recall me writing about Betty's tplo surgery for a cruciate ligament rupture back in May. Well, at the time I was full of hope that after all the lameness and an anxious recovery and rehabilitation period, Betty was at last progressing back to full fitness. We had started hydrotherapy to rebuild muscle wastage and by about four months post op, were back out walking with my other golden retriever Polly, enjoying the Summer together...

Sadly, by the time we reached mid August, Betty's other hind leg began to fail, which is apparently a common problem after tplo surgery and one our vet mentioned as a possibility after her first surgery. Of course, we were super careful with her rehab and convinced that our previously fit, healthy pup would be fine ... but we were proven wrong when by month four post op, Betty began to limp again but this time on her 'good' leg. A visit to the vet soon confirmed my fears and we were referred, once more, to the orthopaedic specialist vet.

Specialist vets are very busy at the moment so we have had to wait several weeks for our appointment. During that time, Betty's mobility has deteroriated significantly. A couple of days ago I made the decision to keep her home on bed rest until our appointment, as she is clearly in pain and struggling to walk even the shortest walk now. Although she is bored without her little sniff walks, she seems relieved that she can spend time on the living room rug, rolling on to her back, waving her legs in the air instead ... walking may be a problem, but upside-downing is still very much operational it seems!

Surgery is the only option for Betty and although I am extremely anxious for her, I am also relieved she is in the hands of an excellent vet and will be given this opportunity to walk and run again... albeit with a leg full of metalwork.

My goodness this year has been a rollercoaster for our poor girl. She has the sweetest nature and is the most gentle, loyal dog. She really does deserve the very best in life. Praying that soon life will be much happier and pain free for my sweet girl.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

All shapes and sizes!


Doggy Pals come in all shapes and sizes!

Polly and Nobby

When my daughter rehomed this little Chihuahua who was being bullied by his family dogs, we wondered how Polly and Betty would take to him but we shouldn't have worried, the dogs soon had it all worked out! 

Nobby quickly became devoted to Polly and now rarely leaves her side whenever he visits. Betty is a little less sure of the tiny dog because he likes to reverse manoeuvre into her face then sit down right in front of her nose ... but that doggy indiscretion aside, both girls have completely accepted this funny little doglet as one of their gang and he is now a frequent visitor to our house for sleepovers!

Thursday, 15 July 2021

A golden life worth living

Betty update. Week 10 post tplo op:

All pet barriers have now been removed at home so at last, Betty has free reign again. She is using stairs confidently and taking up her old position on the landing outside my workroom door, happily napping while she waits for me to finish work. She is also back to playing a little gentle tag downstairs with Polly. We're not quite back to complete golden chaos on the living room rug yet, but I'm sure it's coming!

Betty is clearly delighted to be back to daily walks with Polly and having short, managed bursts of exercise off lead. Yesterday she was also put through her paces on her second session of hydrotherapy and swam really well. Her exercise is being carefully monitored and she is progressing with great enthusiasm.

This cruciate ligament injury and subsequent surgery has been a long, worrying process. It was so hard to see our girl in pain, but at ten weeks post op, we are now really seeing the benefits of this major surgery for Betty.

I am so glad we were able to give our Betty Boo this opportunity to live a full golden life again. We no doubt have several more months ahead of rebuilding muscle wastage and stamina and will have to be careful with her for the forseeable future, but Betty is now pain free and most importantly, clearly enjoying her life once more.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Garden Party

It has been all about Betty and her surgery lately, so here are a few pics I took of Polly yesterday. She was invited to a family garden party at my sister's house. After eighteen months of lockdown, Polly was beside herself with excitement to find all her favourite people in one garden! She had a wonderful afternoon playing with the other family dogs and greeting everyone!

Polly is eight and a half now, but played like a puppy with her pals Nobby the Chihuahua and Boris the mini Schnauzer yesterday. Size really didn't matter, they are all great mates and had a whale of a time together. Polly has missed being able to rough 'n tumble with her sister Betty for the past few months, so watching her having so much fun with her little pals in the garden yesterday, made my heart sing!

Making a splash!

 After Betty's eight week TPLO surgical assessment, our vet recommended hydrotherapy to aid muscle recovery, so I booked Betty in to a local centre and she had her first session last week.

Betty was a little anxious to begin with but with gentle encouragement from her therapist, soon began to relax and enjoy herself in the pool.

She received lovely muscle easing massages between swims and was carefully monitored throughout the session. Apparently a five minute swim is the same exercise as a five mile walk, so Betty had a jolly good workout. These swim and treadmill sessions will help rebuild muscle wastage and strength so they will be invaluable for helping Betty regain a full and active life... and improve her swimming technique in the process hopefully!

By the end of Betty's first hydrotherapy session, she was absolutely beaming. We are now seeing the true value of the TPLO surgery for Betty; without it she was crippled and in pain but now, almost ten weeks after this major surgery, she is enjoying life again and is able to walk confidently, run (carefully supervised!) ... and swim!

I couldn't be more delighted for her.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Smiles all round!



Week 9 post TPLO operation:
Thank you so much to everyone who has shown such concern for my sweet girl Betty after her cruciate ligament surgery. I know many of you own pets yourselves and will understand completely how hard it is to see them suffer. As you know, sometimes you just have to trust the experts to know what is best ... and pray for a successful outcome, which is what we have been doing for the past few months.

Last week Betty returned to the vet for assessment X-rays on her leg and I couldn't be more delighted to tell you, the vet reported that her surgery was successful and the bone is now fully healed. It is such a relief.

We are now able to take longer walks with Polly again and will soon be able to introduce a little off lead fun time. Next week Betty begins hydrotherapy sessions to rebuild the strength in her leg. I think she will enjoy swimming and the treadmill. It should be fun!

It has been a long, worrisome process to reach this point and throughout, Betty has been incredibly patient and gentle with us, despite being in pain for such a long time. I am so glad we placed trust in our vet and went ahead with this major surgery. Betty is now pain free and gaining strength everyday... and best of all, it is clear to see from those great big smiles exactly how much happier she is now!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Betty's ray of sunshine



As we enter week 4 post operation, Betty has good reason to smile... her infection has subsided, wound has healed and the vet has at last removed her stitches! Horaay! We celebrated this progress with a teeny tiny, very slow walk, at one of Betty' favourite local haunts ... and as you can see, she was positively beaming!

We still have a long way to go to recover Betty's full mobility after TPLO surgery. At the moment after her infection, she is still under strict vet's restrictions, but slowly and steadily, growing in strength. Each day we take very short lead walks to gently rebuild muscle loss in Betty's leg; she hasn't run for many weeks which was always her biggest joy, but she is an amazing dog, adaptable and always willing to find the best in life, whether that is a cuddle, a sniff, or simply a short walk on the grass in the sunshine ... or eating the top of my banana!

Yesterday I was able to fold away the pen which has been Betty's safe space for the past few weeks; now the living room feels more like home and less like a doggy hospital. We still have gates placed across stairs and doorways to prevent accidents of course, but my girls are able to share living space once more and it is clear to see they take comfort from being together as sisters again. Hopefully it won't be too much longer before they can play in the garden together again!

In the meantime, this is our week 4 update ... still being careful, but now feeling cautiously optimistic and able to enjoy some sunshine!

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Bionic Betty



Betty's recovery after her knee surgery was proceeding well last week, but out of nowhere, my poor girl took a dip in mood and stopped using her bionic leg. On further investigation I noticed the surgical incision was oozing... never a good sign! My husband and I decided not to take any chances and raced Betty back to the specialist vet, over an hour's drive away. He confirmed that poor Bets had developed a post surgery infection in her wound ... so, armed with strong antibiotics, we brought our girl home, feeling anxious. Having a member of your family go through major surgery is a rollercoaster of emotions and extremely stressful as you will understand.

Anyway, thankfully Betty is doing better today and tentatively using her leg again. It seems those antibiotics are starting to do their job ... which as you will understand, is a massive relief.

Hopefully we will soon be back on track with Betty's recovery. She is an absolute star patient, so compliant and gentle. Get well soon Bets, it will all be worth it in the end ... with that bionic leg healed and strong again, freedom beckons!

Friday, 7 May 2021

Doggy Hospital



My poor Betty ruptured her cruciate ligament several weeks ago whilst playing ball and running like the wind, as she so loves to do ... despite putting on a brave face, she has been in severe pain and deteriorating while we waited for TPLO surgery. After an anxious twenty four hours, including an overnight recovery stay in doggy hospital, we drove for over an hour yesterday, to collect our precious girl.

Betty amazed my husband and I by walking unaided with her nurse across the car park, where we were masked up and waiting for her as per current Covid19 rules and regs. She was clearly foggy headed, very tired and wobbly, but determined to get back to us for a big cuddle and home. It was such a relief! She rode home on the back seat of the car, snuggled on my lap.

Our first night at home has passed smoothly. Betty is a model patient and mostly just wants cuddles and quiet. She is suffering from separation anxiety and now cries if I leave the room, which is new to us, so I need to help her build back confidence and trust that I won't leave her while she is recovering. I have a mattress on the floor next to her pen so we can sleep together at night and woke this morning to the gentlest of licks on my hand. I wasn't sure whether she would manage to get to the garden without a sling under her tummy to steady her this morning, as walking is currently a mix of three legs and the odd toe tap-hop with poorly leg, but little Bets is a tidy girl and wanted to do her toilet on grass without a fuss, like the lady she is. She walked out steadily on her lead, up the ramp we had prepared to the lawn, did her business, then walked right back in again for a big sleep in her pen... even the smallest trip to the garden is exhausting for her.

We will be 'in recovery' for several weeks as this was a major surgery and Betty now needs to rebuild muscle strength and heal slowly and steadily. It has been a worrisome, anxiety filled few weeks, but this operation will give Betty back her life. Now that it is finally over, I am hugely relieved and ready to give my girl everything she needs to make a full recovery in the weeks and months ahead.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Life in the fast lane



Betty has always been the kind of dog who loves to live life in the fast lane. She is full of joy, a true delight to watch as she races like the wind, returning at the peep of a whistle, good girl that she is.

Unfortunately, it now transpires that my sweet girl has developed cruciate ligament failure, which will most likely require invasive surgery and a long, slow recovery period. Needless to say I am heartbroken for her, although relieved we are now on the path to specialist referral and hopefully, working towards Betty being able to run freely again one day. For now though, we are restricted to short, careful walks and plenty of tender loving care.

Thankfully Betty is currently managing her pain well and is as always, full of smiles, nose nudges and soft licky kisses. 

Monday, 8 March 2021

Happy 8th Birthday Polly

It is eight years since my fabulous big girl bounced into the world. Polly was the most beautiful chunky golden puppy, destined to become my constant companion at just seven weeks of age...

As anyone who has read our earlier blog posts will know, Polly has taught me much about a dog's needs over the years. We have walked many miles together in all manner of meanings and each step shared, has been an important life lesson learned... live in the moment, enjoy life's small sniffs, rainy days eventually turn to sunshine, avoid head on collisions, share snuggles often, shake off stress, listen carefully, protect your loved ones, trust, make sure your bark is always worse than your bite, play like no one is watching ... and of course, love unconditionally.

After re reading my last post, I realise I haven't updated you on the outcome of Polly's surgery. Sorry! Thankfully that worrisome lump was nothing more than a benign fatty lump. That was such a huge relief! 

Last year was a gentle reminder to us to bear in mind that, much as I wish they would slow down, the years are ticking by and despite Poll's eagerness to play like a puppy and happily, a good general level of fitness, I find myself more cautious about the terrain she races over these days and have stopped her from leaping over things when possible, in an effort not to trigger that joint injury again. The problem with her leg at the begining of the year took quite a while to recover from, followed by a painful bout of cystitis and then of course with that nasty lump removal, 2020 was rather challenging healthwise at times for my girl. 

This photograph was taken on Polly's 8th birthday walk yesterday. As you can see, she is currently in fine fettle and full of smiles!

Eight years of loyalty, mud, barks, sticks, stinky teddies, zoomies and the very best of life lessons. I have never for a single moment regretted the day this wonderful girl came into my life.

Happy Birthday to you Poll xxx

Thursday, 22 October 2020

A perfectly horrible day

 My Polly is a big 'ol hairy bird. Her coat is dense, soft and gloriously wavy. Thankfully, despite all the fluff and fidgeting whenever I brush her, I noticed a lump deep down on her chest about four weeks ago. It didn't seem to bother her when I tentatively felt around it, so I left it for a couple of weeks hoping it might disappear on its own. But it didn't. It didn't grow, but it didn't go away either.


The day arrived a couple of weeks later, when I finally scraped together enough courage to make an appointment to see our vet. He too felt the lump, checked Polly over thoroughly while she waited politely and then pronounced that said lump, probably a benign fatty lump, must be removed and examined... just in case. 

Back home after her op, sleeping off the anaesthetic, with Betty by her side.

So yesterday was lump removal day. Before we set off in the car, we did what my dogs like to do in the morning. We played. We rolled around together on the living room rug, playing tug, bitey face and scratchy bum and we had heaps of daft fun. Hopefully enough fun to last us until Polly's lump-less chest recovers from surgery and we can play 'dog' again...

Coronavirus connundrums make veterinary practices uncomfortable places to visit in pandemic times. On arrival yesterday morning, it was pouring hard with rain, so hidden behind my soggy face mask, we waited on the Vet's doorstep until he opened the door and invited us to step inside to a designated waiting area. It was clear to me Polly was anxious as she kept giving me her paw to hold while we dutifully waited ... I'm really not sure who was comforting who! To help with Polly's anxiety in the waiting room, I decided not to take the traditional option of sitting and waiting politely, instead I put Poll through her doggy paces ... sit, stand, down, sit, give paw, other paw, walk to heel etc etc... keeping her busy to take her mind off all things worrying, until the vet came back with the pre-med injection. Thankfully it seemed to work and she obliged me with a rather neat routine.

Once Polly had been given the pre-med to relax her and I had signed the inevitable disclaimer, I was then relieved of a hefty deposit and sent on my way with my girl's eyes boring a hole in the back of my head from a wire cage as I was ushered out through the front door. For me, this was the most agonising moment. After building Polly's trust for seven and a half years, it was the moment we both knew I had broken that trust. I sat outside in my car and promptly burst into tears as I drove away. 

Never underestimate the emotional impact of these moments in your life as a dog owner... believe me, they hurt like hell.

Dad is home from work and despite her pain and confusion, 

Polly is delighted to see him.

Back home I was greeted by a waggy tailed Betty who didn't seem to mind that Polly hadn't come home with me, she just wanted a walk. It was still pouring hard but a deal is a deal when it comes to dog ownership, so out into the rain we went. It was a good call, Betty's exhuberance cheered me up and the rain meant no one else had been silly enough to go out, so we had the park to ourselves and didn't have to explain to any other of our regular dog walking pals, where our poor Polly was.

The vet called at 1pm to tell me Polly was in recovery after her surgery and could be collected. Relief swept over me as I raced to grab my car keys. A glassy-eyed Polly gave a hesitant wag with the tip of her tail when she heard me enter the recovery room. Through my joy at finding her sitting up and looking for me, I didn't absorb much of what the vet said to me except that he thought the lump was probably 'just a fatty lump' but we would need to wait 12 days for the histology findings to confirm this. He thrust a bottle of pills and a printed A4 sheet containg post operative care instructions into my hand (and just as well, because when I read it at home I realised how little information I had actually absorbed in the surgery!) made an appointment for a check-up,  handed me Polly's lead and let us wobble our way back to the car.

I was worried I might struggle to help Polly onto the backseat of my car, but even through the fog of anaesthetic, she knew what she needed to do and with my hand against her backside to prevent any slipping, she launched herself onto the seat. 

The journey home only took five minutes, but it was enough to exhaust poor Polly. She was confused and scared when we went into the house and she clumsily rushed to the back door, so I let her out onto the lawn but she just sat staring into space. It was a shock to see her so disorientated and once again, I burst into tears. After a sob and a cuddle, I managed to encourage Polly back inside onto the bed I had left in the lounge for her and that is where she slept the rest of the afternoon away... well, most of it. I hadn't considered the doorbell! It rang and penetrated her deep sleep, so she suddenly lept to her feet, ran to the window and instinctively jumped up to see who was outside! I was horrified and flew across the room to gather her into my arms, praying she hadn't done herself any further damage. For anyone going through post op care with their dog, I would highly recommend keeping them close to you on a collar and lead indoors when they first come home.  Lesson learned the hard way, I clipped Polly's lead on and led her back to bed where she settled back into a very deep sleep. Later that evening, she heard my husband come home, managed to sit up and absolutely beam at him, despite her perfectly horrible day!

24 hours later and Polly is on the mend. 

That was yesterday.  Today the anaesthetic fog seems to be lifting gradually and although Polly is far from her usual cheeky self, she is noticeably improved. She has eaten and had a drink and a wee but I think she is still quite confused, or maybe reluctant to respond to instructions, which is fair enough. If she wants to just sit and watch between naps, that's fine by me. I'm sure she'll let me know what she wants, when she is ready to tell me but I miss her bossy nose nudges and her tail wags. I do hope they come back soon.

As for the histology report and what comes next, well, I think I'll simply take a dog's eye view of this and live life in the moment, rather than doing what we human's usually do... worrying about what's to come. 

Right now my beautiful girl Polly is here with me, her lump is gone, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining.



Thursday, 17 September 2020

Fresh air, family, friendship ... and freedom.

 I haven't posted for a few months as it has been the strangest of times. This Spring, we found ourselves living through a global pandemic. Our lives were forced into Lockdown, which essentially put the world on hold. Family and work life was severely restricted and no-one truly understood the full impact this situation would have. Within a few short weeks the UK economy was shaken to the core, families were torn apart, worldwide fear was rampant...

The only freedom legally available to us during Lockdown, was a single walk each day, from our homes ... and so we walked. And each day we were so grateful for that walk. Polly and Betty never failed to keep us smiling, reminding us to enjoy all that was still beautiful around us.

We walked many miles during Lockdown and were blessed with wide open spaces, sunshine most days and of course, the odd muddy puddle here and there.

Polly and Betty never failed to lift my spirits at a time when the private pain of being forced apart from my children and grandchildren was a daily struggle.

We kept walking through Spring into Summer. We saw bluebells, pear blossom, dandelions and clover. We walked and we walked, until at last our family was returned to us by the Government. 

In July, we could hardly believe our good fortune, when the Government announced family holidays were to be made available again. Without a moment's hesitation, we headed to the property we had previously booked in Norfolk, to reunite with my son, his family and my daughter. Polly and Betty were delighted to see bags being loaded into the car and eagerly hopped into the backseat to begin their adventure.

They spent the next week having the time of their lives on the beautiful Norfolk beaches, with their most favourite people in the whole wide world.

They splashed and they crashed, they swam and they ran...

And after all the anxieties and strain of Lockdown, I spent the entire week, grinning from ear to ear, eating ice-cream, playing with my grandchildren, chatting with my adult family and simply being so grateful for every single moment we were able to spend together.

2020 has been a year no-one will ever forget and few will remember with pleasure I am certain. I will always be grateful to my amazing golden girls for keeping our life together focused on fresh air, family, friendship and freedom... because that is what truly matters in life. 

I am so grateful to you for always being by my side girls. 
Never more so than throughout this year.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Spring 2020 has Sprung!

At last, it has arrived ...


A very joyful Betty!

Here's to sunshine, blossom and hopefully, a little less mud!!!

Saturday, 7 March 2020


It seems only a moment ago I was introducing a gorgeous chunky Golden Retriever puppy and here I am today, wishing my big, bossy, barky girl, a very Happy 7th Birthday! 

Throughout our seven years together, Polly has been the most fabulous friend ... clever, funny, loyal, cheeky and of course, always by my side. As anyone who has read this blog from the beginning will know, Missy Pollychops led me a merry dance as a youngster, always the first to race across a field to introduce herself, bark at a passing horse, or abandon a training class in favour of sniffing an important sniff but she has also worked incredibly hard to be a good girl for me over the years and those earlier misdemeanours are now nothing but a dusty memory ... well, most of them!

Polly may be a bit bossy and is barky without a doubt, but I am so very happy this amazing golden girl is mine and I pray we have the good fortune to be granted many more years of fun and love together. 

I am immensely proud of my beautiful big girl.

Wishing you the Happiest of Birthdays today Poll. 

With loads of love always, 
Mum xxx 

Friday, 7 February 2020

Capturing the moment..

It has been a while since we did any agility classes, but we always keep our eyes open for agility fun on walks because Polly, now almost 7 years old and Betty, almost 5, still both really enjoy it. Last weekend this orchard fence offered a perfect opportunity for a little synchronised 'over' between sisters ... 

 ... and by some miracle, I managed to capture it in focus, on my camera! 

Whoo hoo!


Sunday, 26 January 2020

Bouncing into 2020!

It has been a while since I last posted, so I thought I would share a few recent photographs of Polly and Betty today...

Unfortunately, Polly received an injury to her foot (a bite by a very grumpy German Shepherd, who took us by surprise when he stuck his head under a gate and by some fluke, succeeded in sinking his gnashers into poor Poll's paw, resulting in general anaesthetic, deep sutres and a huge hole in our bank account right before Christmas. The owner has duly been asked to secure her boundary so this can't happen again!) Poor Polly was out of action for about three weeks over the Christmas hols, but I am happy to report, is now back up to full steam, running around in the mud, like the proverbial puppy again.  

Note to self: always expect the unexpected!

I don't mind admitting, my energy levels are not at their best during the dark days of January, but it's not possible to hibernate with two eager goldens to entertain, so we make the most of our walks every day and by the time our walk is over and I am back home with a cuppa in my hand, I am always grateful for that walk, even on the days I think I might have preferred to stay on the couch.

Months of rain has been tiresome, but my girls never minded it. I tried to keep them clean by putting them in their raincoats now and again, but they only rolled in the mud even more when they wore them. Incidentally, in the pic above I think they were a bit confused by the fallen tree after the Storm Brendan had swept through!

We have enjoyed a rare sunshine walk and my goodness, what a boost to the energy levels the sunshine is, in fact, all three of us had a decided spring in our step on the day above.

One of our favourite walks at this time of year, is on a huge area of scrubland. Here the girls can bounce their way across tussocks of grass and brambles, stick their noses down rabbit holes and generally indulge in a jolly good blast together!

It's a great area for recall practice - both Polly and Betty love a good game or chasing back for sausage as soon as Mum blows her whistle. That said, my husband took them out here this morning and reported that the surprise distraction of a cat at the far end of the field had them racing in the opposite direction for a moment ... tut tut girls!!!

It has been a joy to see my big girl Polly back up to full speed after her miserable Christmas nursing that poorly paw. The vet did a great job and even though she is now almost seven, it seems no-one has mentioned this to Polly yet ... she really couldn't care less and was just delighted to be declared fit enough to bounce on this field again!

Recently we were walking on this field and I lost my mobile phone here. I heard a dog barking frantically on the other side of a railway track, so went hacking through brambles to see what the trouble was. I eventually spotted the little dog and it was clear he needed assistance, but sadly, I couldn't help as I was on the wrong side of the tracks ... somehow, in the process, I lost track of my phone and despite several walks in the area, failed to find it among the brambles, bracken and long grass... it really was a needle in a haystack situation! As for the little dog, after making local enquiries, I had to assume he was part of a group that live on the traveller's site beyond the railway track and he had probably escaped, then made his way back to them again. I do hope he's okay.

I hope you have enjoyed these photographs, they are a few of my recent favourites of the girls, taken on my new mobile phone camera (a Samsung Galaxy S10+). I am very pleased with the results so far and am taking great care to remember to zip this one safely into my coat pocket on walks!!!

I notice there are tiny hints of Spring now beginning to show on our walks. Snowdrops, little buds and occasional bursts of warmer sunshine are hinting of better days to come, so my fingers are well and truly crossed that the worst of the wet Winter weather is at last nearing an end. We are so looking forward to brighter days and drier walks in 2020!

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