Friday, 9 April 2021
Monday, 8 March 2021
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.
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!
Thursday, 22 October 2020
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
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.
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.
Monday, 9 March 2020
Saturday, 7 March 2020
I am immensely proud of my beautiful big girl.
With loads of love always,
Mum xxx ❤
Friday, 7 February 2020
Sunday, 26 January 2020
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Friday, 11 October 2019
My girls have been taught to sit and wait for the other dog to pass quietly as this shows the other dog they don't wish to interact, however, bear in mind, this is a big ask for some dogs as it may make them feel vulnerable. In an ideal situation, my preference is to keep moving forward if there is sufficient space to do so safely, using an encouraging voice, loose lead, treats if necessary and putting myself between the dogs where possible. I also always say a friendly but brisk hello ahead of passing, so that my dogs hear I am in control on their behalf, relaxed and have decided it is safe to move forward.
If an approaching dog is off lead while yours is on lead but approaching calmly and slowly, you could try stopping where you are and giving it a moment to decide to return to his owner .. don't make eye contact, just show you don't intend moving towards him. Usually this will result in off lead dog stopping his approach, not always, but if he isn't racing up to you initially, just heading your way, it may work.
Always give the owner enough time to lead up before you begin moving forward.
Ditch your mobile phone! It always amazes me how many people are completely unaware of what is happening ahead of them and their dog simply because they are engrossed in their phone screen or are wearing headphones to listen to music (please don't get me started on that one!!!) Responsible, safe dog walking either on or off lead, requires the owner's total awareness at all times.
I hope this post is helpful if you are concerned about keeping your pup safe and also, being a polite, responsible dog walker.