Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't stand so close to me

Sparks fly when you get two working terriers who don't know each other in a waiting room no bigger than 6' by 8'. Looking on the bright side, they were already at the vet's.

Edit: Apologies to hutters - Blogger was playing up and double-posting and I could only delete the double post by deleting both. *rolls eyes* I seem to have lost the comments, but I agree that your link was one of greater sanity than most of such articles! Perhaps you could relink it?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Especially for you

For DoGGa's delectation ...

You see before you Harry, Beattie, Clover, Millie and Piglet. Clover is mum to the rest; Beattie's from her first litter, and Harry and Piglet are from her second. Millie's also from the second litter, but lives with another family and came back for holiday boarding (beause she hated kennels) last summer. She fitted in as if she'd never left - after being away for 6 years.

And me? I'm the one behind the camera, not in front!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Getting better all the time

Ten days after his operation it was time to take the Piglet’s stitches out. He’s been very good about being restricted to being on the lead and we’re all looking forward to him being able to run again. We were a little concerned for him because he’s not the bravest of dogs and relies very much on back-up from the others (and us, of course) to help him through difficult situations. (That’s one reason why he still has all his bits and pieces; if his source of courage was removed he’d be much worse. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) He’s particularly unsure of other dogs and can’t always be relied on to be friends with them until he’s met them a few times and realised they’re okay. And if they run, he’ll chase. Anyway, he’s not been awfully keen on us checking his stitches (“Grrrr, gerrroff, you perv”) and we were a little afraid he might rumble at the Vet; at least we knew he wouldn’t snap or bite – he wasn’t going to be pushed beyond his limit. In the waiting room he clambered onto my lap and quivered. In the surgery he sat on the table and quivered while Vet (not the one who’d done the op) had a look. Ned held his head (Pig’s, not his own), ready to react if needed.

“There, all done!” said Vet. Not a flinch, not a murmur from Piggy, even though some of the stitches had got quite tight and cut his skin. What a brave boy!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

When I'm calling you-ooo-ooo-oooo

pah! It seems that nobody reads the Fora on Mongers's's's's's site any more. Or if they do, they don't reply ...

*wonders if that hint was subtle enough*

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain

One's unwelcome, two's excessive and three's beyond a joke. They were big ones too. A sight like that first thing in the morning can do serious harm to one's mental equilibrium.

I'm both disappointed and relieved that it's out of focus.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Help me make it through the night

We’ve had a horrid 24 hours. Yesterday morning when I was taking the dogs out I noticed that Piglet was cocking more than usual. So I watched with more interest than usual and noticed that absolutely nothing seemed to be happening. We cut our walk short as he started getting more and more desperate, got home and rang the vet. That was the start of a day of to-ing and fro-ing between Leamington and home, with Piglet’s day getting worse and worse. The first visit involved a mild sedative (what a lovely quiet puppy he was) and the judicious use of a catheter. The vet knows what position not to stand at now, as he found himself wearing a substantial quantity of the three-quarters of a litre of strong urine Piggy had been collecting. Dalmatians are the only breed that produce uric acid instead of urea, and are prone to urate stones which, due to the anatomy of males, will cause a blockage far sooner than with females. A sample was tested and we went away with a supply of appropriate food for the condition and some antibiotics in case the catheter triggered an infection. So far, so good, and Piglet was walking with a smile again and a spring in his step.

Three hours later we were back to square one. Cocking, squatting, straddling, straining – all to no avail. By this time of course Saturday surgery was over so we had to call the emergency line. Ten minutes later we were on our way back to town again to meet the vet there. This time we took several x-rays, with Piggy being very good and not struggling too much when he was laid on his side (which he hates) and being tied to the table by legs and head and being weighted down by sandbags to keep him still. Ned stayed stroking his head reassuringly while Vet wore a lead pinny and I was shoved behind a screen. I didn’t notice Ned glowing in the dark last night so that’s all right. The plates weren’t really terribly helpful (I’ve learned that urate stones (as opposed to struvite stones, more common in other breeds) often don’t show up well. But there were certainly anomalies, so we realised he’d have to be opened up.

I’m amazed how unsqueamish I was as I sat in my corner and watched as my puppy was knocked out and opened up. Another litre of urine was drawn out of another catheter; Vet gave a good running commentary and I learned a lot and I earned myself some brownie points by making pertinent remarks, to the extent where his response to one comment was “How the fuck do you know that?” Anyway, after a certain amount of groping around in the bladder a small stone, about 5mm by 3mm was removed. Very small for all that trouble, but that’s boys’ anatomy for you. It'll be sent to Minnesota for testing to determine its composition so we can know how to adjust his diet. The catheter was used to give the system a good rodding and then he was closed up again, given time to recover and then we brought him home.

When Piglet sneaked onto Ned's chair when we were washing up we didn't have the heart to turf him off as usual, which left Harry totally gobsmacked, practically pointing at Pig and looking at us and saying "Mumumumumumlookathim!He'sabadboy!" Then he sulked. At bedtime though we were doubtful Piggy was going to make it till morning. He was very poorly, sore and sorry for himself. Sleep was reduced to the exhausted coma one slumps into for a few minutes before the nightmares begin. Then, at the third nocturnal visit he wagged his tail at me, turned over and settled down again! Hooray! His early-morning painkiller was readily taken with a little food, then an hour later we had a tentative turn in the garden. At my suggestion he went over to a vertical, straddled and tried to pee. I held my breath. Ned held his breath. Piglet held his breath. Nothing seemed to be happening until … a drop! Then another! There followed, not a stream exactly, but certainly a flow, albeit of unusual colouring. Ned heaved a sigh, I cried and Piglet closed his eyes in bliss. We were over the mountain.

Now it’s a matter of post-op care and dietary alteration to prevent a recurrence. And to remember never to have boys again.

The wound.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Then up from under the ground

And now, an update specially for Omally. :)

According to this page, a grown-up daddy-long-legs doesn't 'munch on bugs', thus doing something useful. All it does is mate and lay eggs in the grass that hatch out into leatherjackets which eat the roots of your grass and ruin your lawn or (more importantly) the grazing for your livestock. QED: the daddy-log-legs species is utterly pointless and I can continue my campaign of eradication with no addition to my guilt complex. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm such an ug-i-ly bug

Yuck eeeeeeww eeuurrrrgh. It's daddy-long-legs season again, and they're blundering into the lights and bouncing off the walls like drunken miniature remote controlled helicopters. I'm sure I've told you about the time one flew up my nightie when I went to the loo. Honestly, what is your purpose on the planet, apart from giving people the heebie-jeebies? Die, you horrid things, die.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The king of wishful thinking

At work the other day a girl brought in a shoebox. I’ve already learned that unusual boxes mean interesting contents; the first time I came across this phenomenon was when the bringers said that “it’d been hit by a car and we couldn’t leave it”. When I cautiously peeped into the box a very tetchy buzzard tried to get out. My, they have sharp pointy bits and very big wings in a small waiting room. However I reckoned a shoebox couldn’t be all that hazardous and slowly lifted the lid, to reveal two very pathetic kittens. The girl (who turned out to be one of The Boy’s friends from junior school) had found them on the farm where she lives and knew they wouldn’t survive if left. They were very young - much younger than Tigger had been when we found her. They were about six inches long, nose to tail-tip, and their eyes – what you could see of them through the gunk – were blue. One was clearly very poorly indeed, lying on the base of the box with its legs splayed out, barely breathing. The other was a bit brighter, lifted its head and peered over the edge of the box. When I put my hand towards it to stroke it with a finger it cowered away. Their coats were a dull black and they were absolutely crawling with fleas. When they were taken through to the consulting room (I got a bit of a ticking-off afterwards because I’d been so busy chatting to the girl about what she was doing now, how she was getting on, wasn’t her brother doing well for himself (a lovely lad who stopped The Boy being bullied at school; he’s now an actor, in TV and movies – last seen as Ivan in Emmerdale) and all that sort of thing I hadn’t logged them onto the computer) I heard myself tell the vet that if they were saveable I’d take them.

What? Where did that come from? I thought I didn’t want kittens because of the dogs. I don't want kittens. If I did want kittens I certainly wouldn’t choose such dull, manky-looking specimens as those. Sorry, but they were. These kits couldn’t be more different from Tigger whilst still being the same species. She was everything they weren’t – healthy, friendly, clean, parasite-free; having seen these two I’m even more convinced that Tigger had only recently been dumped. Isn’t it silly – every time we walk the dogs up to those fields we look in the same place to see if there are any more abandoned kittens. What are the chances of that happening?

The kittens weren’t saveable and were quickly and quietly put to sleep, poor little scraps.

*hardens heart for next time*

Friday, September 08, 2006

Every breath you take

The latest news on Libs is that this morning she woke briefly and made eye contact with a nurse before falling asleep again. The amount of help given to her breathing is gradually being reduced and she can respond to voices and physical contact. So thanks for all your positive healing thoughts and keep going!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds

I'm begging everyone who reads this to send their strongest healing thoughts to my friend Libs, who, after months and months of being told nothing's wrong, is now on a life support machine with a very poor outlook. She's one of the nicest people it's ever been my pleasure to meet and doesn't deserve this.

That is all.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it

In my job I have to be very diplomatic and know my place (that of ‘minion’) which makes it extremely difficult to watch someone taking a course of action which has been advised by others but seems to me to be the wrong thing to do (because it isn’t working), where a much simpler and cheaper method (frequently advised by specialists) exists which will either solve the problem or prove that the problem has a different cause. Today my tongue has been well and truly bitten. The saddest thing is that the victims don’t deserve it. Surely there’s a way I can orchestrate an accidental meeting with the person and put my idea forward – but if it gets back to Big Boss it’s possible it’d be construed as disloyalty.

Stuff it. A brief chat in passing wouldn’t do any harm, would it? I simply can’t stand idly by and not try to help. Although I wouldn't class myself as an expert, I do have 30-odd years of adult dog-ownership under my belt and do know alternatives to conventional wisdom. I hate possible conflicts of interest.