Monday, 23 December 2013

Blue on the mend in time for Christmas

Blue is still on the mend, in time for Christmas, though not yet fully recovered.

Poor Blue has had a few issues recently with his hot spot and loosing the fur on his left ear, and required a further visit to the vet on Friday evening.

To bring things bang up to date, Blue has had all swim sessions cancelled until further notice in the new year, it is now over three weeks since he enjoyed the pleasures of the pool. But until we get on top of these infections, it would be fool hardy to return prematurely.

So how did it go at the vets Friday, we began with a refusal to get in the car, end result was we had to physically lift Blue into the back of the car, stubborn, apprehensive, feeling too weak to jump, or a combination of the afore mentioned. But time was against us and at this rate we were going to be late for our 5.00pm appointment.

As the last visit, we were the first appointment for the surgery, with only a few minutes to wait, time enough to weigh Blue, 47.2kg, slightly down on his last visit, understandable in the circumstances.

We were summoned into consultancy room one, and then as we entered to see the same lady vet as before, Blue made his feelings very clear. Today was not a day for handling touching or even looking at, vociferous barking, offensively stances and general gnashing of teeth and snarling like a dog possessed. Blue was expressing an opinion of not being a happy bunny.

We were all safe, Blues muzzle prevents teeth contacting skin, and a firm hold of his short strong lead preventing any contact, the barking though we had no protection against.

Like all good vets, through all the mealy, she managed to get a good look at his hot spot and his ear, and sufficient to recommend a course of anti-biotic to deal with infections and a course of steroids to boost his immune system. 

I did wonder before, if on this visit they may need to take a skin sample, however by leaning over the operating table, looking down on Blue, totally unaware of the close examination, her feeling was the ear fur loss was down to an unknown allergy, which could be difficult if not impossible to identify with a degree of certainty.

By the time the consultancy came to an end, the noisy snarling dog, had returned to the placid, companion we live with. (As a puppy, Blue was taken to the vets for familiarisation and to remove any fear and/or anxiety, sadly the problems with his back, changed his view on vets, but we manage it and live with it, and the vets at Abbey Vets in Reading, know Blue, and he does get a lot of oohs and aahs when he arrives).

Taking Blue out into the car park, we had another refusal, so he was lifted into the car, Sue at the rear and me at the front, safely in the car his muzzle was removed and the door closed.

The vet did advise there would be a some changes in Blue while on the steroids, his thirst and appetite would increase and he would wee significantly more, and boy does he wee more.

Over the weekend the incessant scratching has abated, and Blue seems to be happier within himself and enjoying playing with his toys. No longer do I have to get up and sit with him through the night, his scratching would wake us up, but as soon as I went downstairs and sat on the sofa, he would get into his downstairs bed. or spread himself across the lounge floor and enter a deep sleep.

Now we have finished work for the Christmas holidays and Blue is feeling better, it will be a good time to break out the balloons.

My sister Kay and her husband Andy called in yesterday to exchange gifts, Blues behaviour was impeccable. Neither of them are doggy people, but by the time they left, Blue had licked both their hands received a treat and even a bit of petting. Blue remained on his lead the whole time, to ensure everyone was comfortable with the situation.

We do need to work on Blues greetings, they normally involve open mouth and teeth, but because of his size and exuberance could easily be mistook for an aggressive action by those not familiar or comfortable with dogs.

We are all now preparing for Christmas, so below are a few shots of Blues preparation.

As you can see, Blue takes the laid back approach, saving himself for the big day.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Feeling blue for Blue

The events of the last week leaves Blue with a troubled expression, in his eyes, you can tell he is not his normal self, even playing in the garden is very reserved.

Sunday morning and Blue has been out done his walk and business, in the night he had to have his buster collar put back on as he could be heard "licking" his wound.

Despite clearly being troubled by the oozing of the hotspot, he rarely has to be told not to lick the wound, and if he does, just the mention of his name and he stops.

It will take a while for the antibiotics and bacterial spray to kick in, and he is now having the Yumega oil put on his evening meal, so we are attacking this hotspot from outside and within.

For those that are unfamiliar here are some pictures up close and personal of Blue's hotspot

As you can see they are an unsightly sore, which must be kept as clean as possible, we have successfully removed some of the fur around the infected area, but at the moment it has spread a little further.

What is the cause, and why has Blue had them for a second time?

Searching the Internet, the most likely cause is anything which breaks the skin, such as a nick from a bramble, a tic or flea bite or anything that has broken the skin, which has become infected, due to the thickness and insulating properties of Blue's fur, bacteria has formed, which has also been moistened by the dogs natural tendency to lick their wounds.

Dogs with a naturally dry skin will also be more susceptible.

Thus you have the perfect breading ground for bacteria, an open wound and  moist warm environment to propagate growth.

Prevention is better than cure;

The lessons we have learnt from Blue having these hotspots for a second time;
  • Many breeders and knowledgeable dog owners provide their dogs with a supplements such as coconut oil or an omega rich formula, within their food diet.
  • Act sooner, with hot spots, the sooner you are fighting any infection the better chance you have of combating it, don't delay a visit to the vets.
  • Regular grooming, especially with medium and long haired breeds. As well as a health check the benefit is the continuing strengthening of the bond between you and your dog
  • Change routines, share grooming and inspections between family members, extends the bonding, and each of us has our own way in handling / grooming / inspecting our dogs
  • Be more patient and pick up on the "postcards" normally a change in behaviour or posture is an early indication that something has altered.
Dare I state the obvious, the Internet has a wealth of free information, select the key word to search and knowledge, experience and free advice is there at your fingertips. But the real experts are the Veterinary profession, it is wise to be knowledgable and understanding, but consult with the professionals.

Blue has missed out on his usual swim last week, and will again not be going this week, once the sore has healed he will back in the pool having fun like before.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Back from the vets

Poor Blue has had a poorly week, culminating in a trip to the vets tonight.

Blue began the week with a ear infection, which caused some scabbing and loss of fur to his right ear, so we decided to miss his swim session this week, and all of a sudden he has also developed a "hot spot" on his right rear flank.

At an empty vets, we were seen by the local Vet, who confirmed he had a hot spot, and talking things through, it is difficult to pinpoint the cause. The problem with his era could be the root or primary cause. 

It is likely that he is a little run down and has sensitive skin condition, which has progressively worsened. I asked if there was something lacking from his diet or because of swimming, it is difficult to pinpoint any one or combination of causes.

The Vet, Sophie, has prescribed a cause of anti-biotics, continuing with the spray brought in the early part of the week, cleansing and drying around the infected area. Returning in two weeks to check progress.

Blue now weighs in at 48.5kg and used every gram of that tonight and his full vocal power to prevent close inspection, but between the Vet, my wife Sue and myself, Blue succumbed to a close visual inspection.

The hot spot is now effectively an open wound, so plenty of TLC is required.

Although we parted with over £150.00 to date, he still got a cuddly Santa for his troubles. 

Before we left, poor Blue had bleed a bit on their floor, but they were very understanding, and were going to clean the floor after we left.

Feeling for the poor thing, who is thankfully laid out resting at my feet as I type this blog.

Below is a small snippet of today's encounter, and his new Santa Buddy

Morning started in a cone

Hot Spot

Spray for his ear

Santa wants to go out and play

Santa gets it, as you can see his left ear and the missing fur

Monday, 2 December 2013

Blue's Ear infection

We managed to get a picture of Blues ear on Saturday, which may be useful if we need to go to the vets tonight.

Over the weekend Blue has had Tea Tree oil and Flea & Tic Spray. Both of which he has accepted very well. My wife Sue has put Blue's muzzle on and he immediately conforms, so that she is able to rub the oil over the effected area.

Fortunately he has not had an urge to scratch, which is evident by the fact the wound / affected area is still clean and free from any evidence of scratching.

Since we noticed the loss of fur on his ear last Friday, it has remained localised and not spread.

Apart form a bit of a touchy temperament on Saturday, he seems generally relaxed about life, and seems to be very content about things.

More updates to follow after checking him tonight, also by taking pictures there is a direct comparison to monitor any changes, good or bad.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Itchy, touchy, scratchy and limpy

No not anything from the Simpson's, but a summary of Blue this week.


Blue had been a bit itchy in recent weeks, so for a while after his shower we decided to omit the body lotion spray, which helps to reduce the wet dogie odour after his weekly swim.
As it turns out this has made little difference, though it is amusing when you touch his side, without effort you get his "itchy spot" and the back leg comes up in response. Even when he is being blow dried, as soon as the air touches the itchy spot, he lowers his back and raises his rear leg as a reaction.


This week is my turn for taking Blue out on his inaugural morning walk, I used to call it a dawn walk, but the sun is still not up when we return home, not at least for another hour this time of year. As we exited the front garden, spinning like a top, back arched and doing a rat-a-tat machine gun bark, the scent of foxes, got Blue's juices going, he was then re-acquainted, with an old foe, the "Milk float" which Blue had calmed down a bit, but out of nowhere he decided that it was a mortal enemy that must be warned off, and as we walked along the bottom alley on the way home, a black cat appeared from nowhere, and tore off down the alley, with Blue eager to follow in hot pursuit, though the lump holding the lead was not as sprightly as him or the cat, and soon the alley was feline free.


Though not related to the "itchy" saga above, Blue has been scratching his ears a lot recently, what is also noticeable is that he has made his ears sore and lumpy. We will keep a close eye on this, it may be that the central heating is making him a bit warm, and the ears are getting scratched both out of a reaction but also habit. Blue normally likes to have his ears massaged.
Not sure how we ever discovered this, or what his last slave died of, but it does come in handy keeping a watchful eye on his ears. If they get worse or show no signs of healing over, it will be a trip to the vets, that will be interesting with Blues bedside manner at the veterinary clinic. Blue has no longer got the temperament for up-close, manhandling.


To complete this set, on arriving home from work yesterday, as is customary, unless he is being taken out for a walk, Blue likes to play his favourite game in the garden, football.
Running catching, chasing, jumping are all part and parcel with the ball in his mouth or fetching it to parade around, so very proud of himself.

As is quite often the case, two or more balls are required, and in this particular incident it was in pursuit of a ball that went under a shrub, that Blue came out without a sound, but a limp.
Mortally wounded he made his way to me with the limp getting worse each and every step. Arriving at my side he collapsed at my feet, summoning enough strength to lift the injured paw for me to inspect, no bones broke, no penetrations could be felt, he would survive. But it meant the game had finished, and he was ushered back into the house where he was given bed rest.
In the past when Blue has had a similar incident rest for  24hrs or 48 normally gives enough time for a full recovery, and this was once again the outcome.

So Blue has had a varied week, and continues to be a great companion, and a pleasure to share our lives with;

Below are a couple of pictures involving Blue this week

Blue 1-0 Football

You can shower me but I will not let go of the ball!

I'm still not letting go!

Blue leaves some of his fur in the pool

Blue find "Ironing" boring!

For more pictures of Blue check out my Flickr photo-stream

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Blue on a walk in Annat

While on holiday this year in Scotland there was memorable moment on our walk.

We encountered a bit of boggy ground and Blue did what Blue thought best, it was amusing at the time but could have had serious consequences, but apart from a bit of soggy smelly bog, all ended well.

Tale of Blue and the boggy ground

Hope you find the tale amusing, and continue to follow the adventures of Blue.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Facial expressions of Blue

Recently took some pictures of Blue and below are a few of his more expressive ones.

and in contrast some profile shots

Blue is keeping well, continuing to fill the house, supervise the garden and patrol everywhere he goes.

We now have had to turn the phone ringer volume down to silent, as Blue howls when the phone rings, no problems for us while we are at work, but not sure what the neighbours think, though they have yet to complain. He is not digging the dark morning walks and hasty evening walks before the sunsets, but he does still enjoy his weekly swim and playtime in the garden.

For more images of Blue checkout the link below to a dedicated set on Flickr

Check out a dedicated Set of pictures of Blue

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Not exactly Humpty Dumpty

Strange title, but here the tale goes.

 Each evening after dinner is done, Blue has a ritual which must be obeyed, resistance is futile, as proved in the past.

 Last night into the dark back garden we went, as is customary the football would be Blues focus of attention. With the Sue's first throw of the ball,Blue knocked it straight into a clay "Owl", sending it tumbling to the floor, breaking into two halves, oh well accidents happen.

 Changing tack I kicked the ball hard, so that it would bounce off the garden wall, with a thud it rebounded with Blue in hot pursuit, unfortunately Blue was not quick enough to prevent the ball, striking an ornate "Rabbit" figurine. As the rabbit tumbled to the ground, his fall was broken by his left ear, well to be more accurate, his ear was broken off upon his fall.

 So two strikes and we have two casualties, but for Blue the game is still to be played. Without any further casualties the game lasted for 10 minutes or so before retiring to watch a film on the TV. (Scream4, the least said about that the better).

 Blue has been keeping in good health, enjoying his weekly swim, thankfully taking very little notice of the fireworks going off in the evening, but finding the shorter daylight restrictive.

This week I have resumed walking Blue at the crack of dawn, well actually we are normally returning home long before the sun makes its daily appearance. Normally we are out shortly after 5.30 am; Blue likes to get up and do his business early.

Blue is still very, very protective, and in darkness or poor light, his senses really are on full alert, this week we saw cats scattering upon our approach, a cyclists having to swerve out of the way as Blue took exception to him riding past, me nearly being dragged into someones garden, to follow god knows what. It is also customary for Blue to announce he is out on patrol as he leaves the house in the morning. As we leave the front door he barks in a rat-a-tat machine gun bark, and looks around to see if anything has dared moved.Surely loved and appreciated by our sleeping neighbours.

 Oh and then there is the feasting of discarded food tossed aside in the night by those souls returning home from the pubs and clubs, with takeaways they are unable to finish. On Thursday, Blue dived into a hedge and came out with a whole piece of fried chicken in breadcrumbs, unfortunately for him as he let go to get a better purchase, i was able to pull him away from it. Much to his disgust!

So what has the title "Not exactly Humpty Dumpty" got to do with Blue.

The Owl and the Rabbit have been put back together again.
Owl and bunny glued back together 

and returned to their spot in the garden
Not such a cross bunny

Owl be back

Blue shows his caring side, checking to see if the rabbit is ok

Happy little bunnies

Now it is time to relax 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Looking forward to sharing

Some time has passed since Blue's blog was updated, mainly problems with PC but just as importantly, an excellent two weeks spent in the Lake District walking the fells and mountains.

Blue like us has enjoyed the many delights found in the Cumbria countryside.

The picture above was taken on Barf summit, and as can be seen, there were some serious rain clouds.

Blue has been keeping well and healthy, he continues to enjoy the many admiring comments about his size, kids especially seem to be impressed and often we here "look ! there is a German Shepherd"

Just for fun here is a recurring image of Blue, after a good walk it is nice to get your head down and have a sleep over with friends.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Blue gets his booster

Blue visited the vets last night for his annual booster. We travel a couple of miles to our local vet Abbey vets, which have been Blues vets since a puppy, just over 5 years now.

As the back door opened in the car Blue was raring to go, attaching his short Wainwright leash, we made fast tracks across the car park, taking all my weight and strength to hold him back.

Barging through the doors into an empty waiting room, Blue looked around and then up at me as if to say where is everyone, what do we do now!

While waiting, as per usual we take the opportunity to weigh Blue. Manoeuvring him around, first attempt, we noticed he had slid one back foot off, readjusting him, he then was leaning with his back against the wall. Finally sat on the scales, in his entirety, 47.2 Kilo's (104 lbs) slightly up on his last visit.

So we took our seats after he had been booked in at reception, taking the opportunity to put his muzzle on in a calm environment.

On time the female vet opened the door and said Blue, you are next. On entering the consultation room Blue began to bark towards the vet, muted partly by the muzzle.

We explained that Blue was in good health and he required his annual booster, so with syringe, in hand the wife held his head while i held a tight reign on his leash; Quicker than you can say Blue, the jab was in and out, without a flinch.

The consultation was conducted for a further five minutes with Blue relaxed and sniffing around, still on his leash and wearing his muzzle.

This was also a good opportunity to obtain a worming tablet, which we collected at reception, along with a new furry friend a rabbit "Wubba"

Back into the car we went home for Blue to play with his new friend.

Blue plays with his new mate

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Catching up with Blue

Cat in the box

Blue has some more experiences to share, the cat in the box is significant for a couple of reasons, and it is all about fun, and keeping the mind active.

As Blue is now on twitter BluetheGSD he has begun to find new followers, he is still learning the lingo, but he has recently been followed by a cat,    "sienna skye". The mere mention of the word CAT drives Blue to distraction, I don't think they wind him up, but he winds himself up into a frenzy. But we guess cyber-cats are fine.

So where is this going, while out in the garden his coat looked, dry and dull, clearly in need of a brush, well he is such a wriggle arse and has so many itchy spots, grooming is like a game of tickle with him.

Distraction is the key to grooming Blue, and today we tried a new method, with the thought of his new cat friend on twitter, we placed a garden pottery cat in his treat box, he could just about lick the treats, but the pottery cat prevented removal of the goodies. Worked a treat for nearly a whole minute, but blue decided there was a better game, turf the cat and contents out of the box.

Pussy, you have been evicted from the big brothers box ;-))

Blue claims the spoils of war
Eventually the game was ended, by the collection of the treats not eaten, though Blue did get a good few, I think the he would have given a "Dyson" hoover a run for its money.

When we have our dinner, Blue always has his dished up at the same time, he is amusing to watch, some days he will dive straight in other days he will wait to our cutlery is placed on the plates, signifying we have finished our meal, then he will go and eat his dinner. Tonight's dinner, he went straight to his bowl, took out and ate the mackerel skin, and went for a lay down, obviously dinner was a poor substitute foe the a fore mentioned treats, but he does this other days, so it is just how he is feeling at the time.

Blue has always been very relaxed about food, he is not a fussy eater, and is definitely not a food guarder, we were advised to hand feed him on occasions as a pup, to help ensure he did not guard his food.

On this night lord and master wanted to be hand fed by his minions, but it is all part of the fun and interaction with Blue.

Hand fed Blue
Hand fed dinner.

After a good nights sleep, Blue was ready for his dawn walk at 6.30am so off he went with my wife Sue, while I stayed at home and prepared breakfast. and caught up with twitter etc.

About 07.20 am in the distance could be heard a dog barking, but not just any bark, that was Blue barking, but it was not a happy bark, so I quickly grabbed some shoes and went out of the house to see what was the cause of the distress. As I reached the edge of the local park, Blue was still going at it with another dog, my wife was so glad that I arrived, she quickly explained that this other lady could not get hold of her dog who was goading Blue. Just prior to my arrival another dog walker with his boxer entered the park, looked at both women with their dogs, and said "good luck" and walked off.

To cut a long story short, the other dog which turned out to be a seven month old Labrador, was eventually grabbed by its owner, as I held out treats for the curious dog, she then managed to put a collar/leash onto her dog. The collar she had was a metal one with links and prongs, no wonder she had trouble putting it on, and I guess it is not the most forgiving collar a dog could wear. Apologies given and accepted, all was well, as she continued her walk around the park, and we headed home with the wife explaining what had happened.

So the Lab was seven months old and just wanted to play, but as Blue had had spinal surgery as a pup, he is not allowed to play rough and tumble with other dogs, vets advice, given to us during his rehabilitation.

As Blue is a well known figure in our local park, and surrounding streets, my wife thinks he will get the blame for the raucous at dawn this morning, she shouldn't worry, me and Blue don't.

As I was writing this blog, Blue spotted a cat in the back garden, and high tailed it out there to clear the area of felines, one day they may learn to co-habitat, but not sure that will be any day soon.

A week from now Blue will be going to the Lake District in the North of England, he walks the fells and mountains as if they are his own.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Blue's favourite treat

Blue's favourite

After being very patient while we have been decorating, Blue will have his favourite treat.

A quick game of football, always time for a quick game of football with Blue.

Friday, 23 August 2013

BluetheGSD Twitter

Following numerous other twitters, thought the time was right to set up Blue with his own account.

As well as simple day to day activities it will be a chance to share some of his actions and reactions to things in his doggie world.

All views will be an interpretation into the way he responds, and to give it a bit more personality I will learn to use some of the lingo as used by others.

OTRB. Over the rainbow bridge. Doggie resting place after they have passed away, just like humans
BOL Barks out loud
Humans. That would be other people
Hudad;; My human dad
Humum; My human mum
Furdad; My doggie dad
Furmum; My doggie mum
Furbro; Brothers from my litter
Fursis; Sisters from my litter

* current action/activity

There are probably loads more to learn, if others dislike it or find it inappropriate, then my suggestion is either read it for the fun it is, or don't read it your choice.

As said on many previous blogs, Blue is very special, and what he gives us is so much, there is enough to share out.

So if you know any phrases we can join in with, share them with Blue on his twitter page, he will always follow, those with good intentions who share the view that life is for living and fun helps the journey.

Remember to follow @bluethegsd "Bol"

Friday, 9 August 2013

More than a hobbyhorse? After a day out.

Blue and Sue at the White Horse, Uffington
On Tuesday this week we had a trip out to the White Horse at Uffington near Wantage. A place we had never visited before. The reason being that there would be no weekly swim for Blue due to the owners of the pool being away on holiday.

A relatively short trip from Reading, down the M4, in less than an hour we were parked up in the National Trust car park.

Our walk we decided would be along the famous Ridgeway to Wayland's Smithy, even though we did not have a clue what it was. Like so many walks Blue is happy to be out and about with us, though we are very mindful of where and how long to walk, dependent very much on weather and distance. Our destination was to be a mile and a quarter heading west from the car park.

Upon the gate there were signs to signify the field contained sheep and dogs must be kept on a lead, no problem for Blue. There was also an additional sign saying that due to recent incidents some livestock had to be destroyed after an encounter with a loose dog.

As said before this is not a problem for Blue, most of his walks are on a lead and he has a good temperament most of the time, but around sheep he is excellent. Once we were walking back from Haystacks in the Lake District when a whole flock came charging off the hill completely surrounding us as they passed, Blue sat and watched in bewilderment, probably too many to focus on.

The few people and dogs we saw on our outward journey on the Ridgeway were met with a courteous look and nod and we passed each other without incident.Our biggest problem was pesky flies, though they did not seem to bother Blue too much.

We arrived at Wayland's Smithy, an ancient burial ground, time for a few pictures before we made our way back along the Ridgeway to the "White horse hill"

Even with OS map we  missed our turning on the return trek and extended our walk by a little bit, before finding a gate onto White horse hill. This is also the site of Uffington Castle and a chance for another photo of Blue on location.

As we made our way down, from the castle ramparts to the White horse chalk figure we came across more dog walkers, whose dogs were also well behaved on leads, and we were all having a good time.

After nearly two hours walking / sightseeing we now made our way back to the car park along a grassy track. Where bobbing up and down was a Red Setter, off lead and clearly lost, running hither and thither in the long grass, we could not do anything because of Blue, but it did disappear shortly after, presumably to its owner. Remembering the sign about dogs, leads and sheep, the sheep were noticeable by their absence, so no livestock were in any immediate danger, but either someone was being negligent or bloody minded about not putting their dog on a lead, because at no point was anyone even calling it.

When we arrived at the car park, there was a picnic bench which we all sat at to drink in the view and refreshments.

While sat there, through the gate with all the previously mentioned signs, came a woman with both her dogs not on leads, one of which was, yes you guessed the Red Setter from before. The smaller dog stayed with the owner the Red Setter wanted to check Blue out. Blue don't do checking out so took a very defensive stance and bark to match. We made no attempt to discourage him, as this dog was under no control of the owner who simply went to her car murmuring about "Shepherds"

So to the title More than a hobby?
The dictionary meaning is "Hobby - activity pursued in ones spare time"
Hobbyhorse is a "favourite topic"

Yes Blue could be described as a hobbyhorse, but to be honest he is so much more than that.

Taking Blue out is a great joy and experience, and we know he loves it so much as well.

 The end of Blue's tail