Wednesday, 31 July 2013

New equipment required

Breaking news; Decorating in the home has been delayed until a new roller is purchased.

As the decorating was being done last night, Blue continued the game from the day before, pick up the dusting brush and run for the hills. Now there was a new game, if I stand in front of you when you are working, you have to stop and play with me.

So progress was slow, but after being a bit bored or tired, Blue went to the garden for a well earned rest, he did come in and claim the wallpaper hanging brush off the sideboard, while I was busy pasting the next lot of paper. He does give the game away, subtlety is not high on his list, the sound of knocking of wood against wood and scampering outside, tells you he is up to no good. But again it is just attention seeking so a quick play and safely retrieving the brush allowed work to continue.

Finally the papering was done and time to clear up, it was while clearing up that Blue was noticeable by his absence, maybe he was just resting.

No not Blue, he had found the paint roller and had managed to de-fleece it of half its pile. Unceremoniously it was removed from his grasp and thrown away, as no longer fit for purpose. Then we had a stand off, he was not happy I was not happy, and our mediator was over her Dads.

When Blue is challenged he always comes out trying to front you up, but as you approach he bows down and has this strange groan in his voice and tail wagging, almost as if he is not sure whether we have having a game or it is more serious.

My tone of voice and body language is enough to confirm he is in my bad books, but no more than that, Blue and I do test each other, both having a short fuse, which we now manage and time and distance works well for us both.

Mending the relationship with Blue is most important, but sadly nothing either of us was going to do was going to make the roller live to fit another day.

Ironically  the roller has lived in the house longer than Blue, so perhaps it was time to buy a new one.

We are once again the best of friends and will leave the decorating alone tonight and take Blue for his weekly swim.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Blue has no taste for decorating

Hard going this decoration malaki

At the weekend it was a chance to catch up on some much needed decorating around the home, the task in hand was the hall stairs and landing.

The last time we did some decorating Blue ended up with paint on his tail.

Close up of newly painted tail

So we began, any wallpaper that was larger than a fag packet, was duly shredded, and scattered as far and wide as possible, in order to stay in touch with the action, bedding down under where the walls were being steam stripped meant a nice soft warm bedding, dampness not being an issue.

Once the ladder was set up, Blue would be keen to go either up or down the stairs dependant on where he was at the time the idea took him, thankfully his skills or desire to climb the ladder did not surface, thus far to date. But that could change over the coming days.

Fetch the dusting brush is a game to relieve boardom, Blue will pick it up and run to the garden, and you have to fetch it back, paying a toll of one treat per item, so we may have inadvertently set up a reward game.

The paint roller was far to fluffy and needed a meticulous trim, and paint brushes have good handles for lifting out of the pot.

Yesterday as the ceiling was being painted, Blue decided to lick the emulsion out of the tray, mistaking the white liquid as his favoured natural yoghurt, though the expression on his face, did show it was not as tasty, and did not return for seconds.

So the decorating may take longer than planned and our Blue may become different colours over the next few weeks, tonight he will likely have his head buried in the paste bucket.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Cool coat Blue

Sun,sun and more sun, we are having a heatwave in the UK, temperatures exceeding 30c and often no lower than 18c

But not everyone enjoys it, poor old Blue suffers in the hot humid conditions, to the point it is very unpleasant in the car, and even out walking is not enjoyable, he has his weekly swim and even his own paddling pool.

With the Internet as a window of all that exists in the world, my wife was inspired enough to order Blue a "Cool coat" by Prestige (See link at the bottom of the page)

So within 3 days of the order being placed, it is on Blue's back and works a treat.

The coat is soaked in clean cold water until fully saturated and wrung out, like you would a chamois leather, with Velcro straps it is secured around the neck and girth.

Blue has now used this three times, and there is distinct difference in his dealing with the high temperatures and humidity, so much so that he is quite content to return from his walk and leave it on, clearly contented and comfortable. We only leave it on for a short while, as he would simply lay in the shade and control his own temperature.

As responsible dog owners we know that this does not give licence to go on excessive walks at the hottest parts of the day. However it is necessary for Blue to do his business, whatever time of day or temperature it is.

My wife Sue did say that people find it strange to see a dog wearing a coat in these temperatures, without realising its a "Cool coat"

If they came over and touched the coat, they would be amazed how cool it and our dog would be.

Well when I say how cool Blue, would be, that is not entirely true, very few people would be permitted to get close enough to touch the coat, as Blue is such a protective breed, so they would have to take our word on that one.

As I write this blog Blue has come in from the garden, and he still has a cool feel to his fur, nearly three hours after removing it. So on the cat walk is Blue in his "Cool coat"


So without fear or favour we recommend this product, which comes in many different sizes from a website Kind4K9

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Finders keepers, returned for a price.

New balls

While out for his dawn walk this morning in the local park, Blue dived into the undergrowth and came out with a football, moments later he was back in the undergrowth a bit further along and out came Blue with another, matching the same as the previous.

So off came the lead, and as he chased one ball kicked across the park, he could not wait to get back for the other one also. So this mornings walk was a success in Blue's eyes. Normally he plays  with any balls found for a while then gets bored and leaves them for others to enjoy, today he wanted to keep them. Give it a day or so and we will return them from where they came.

Blue says if anyone wants to claim them, the going rate is one pigs trotter or pigs ear per ball will be a fair trade, applications must be in person, however they will only be available until the weekend,  when they will be set free again.

Blue does have a scent for balls, two days ago he retrieved two white cricket balls from the same park, but different hedgerows. Though he soon bored with them and carried them a few feet and left them for others to pick up in the middle of the park.

We were once walking in the Torridon Mountains in Scotland, behind Liactach, when suddenly he dived into some thistle and came out with a set of sunglasses, looked expensive and were in excess of £70.00 on the Internet.

Obviously Blue knows how to use his nose, though not sure if it is human scent or something in the material of the balls  and sunglasses.

Perhaps he could sniff out a good striker for our home town team Reading Football Club ;-))

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Something different in his smile (Occam's Razor)

Say cheese

Blue was happy playing in the garden having a great time with his pool and his footballs.

Uploading his pictures onto Flickr, one stood out, he was catching bubbles, another of his favoured games.

Looking closer, his canine teeth seemed to be less prominent than they should be, so the search began, what could be the cause.

      • Kong Blue has a kong stuffed with treats when we go out to work, as this is a very regular activity, could it be that he was wearing his teeth out extracting the treats.

      • Ceramic bowl breakfast is served in a ceramic bowl, and Blue is often trying to remove the pattern as well as the contents

      • Bones these are few and far between so unlikely to be the cause

      • Logs and twigs a favourite of blues, but prefers to carry, and snap smaller twigs, again not enough to cause the wearing down on the scale seen.

      • Stones no not even on his radar

Then came the eureka moment when it struck me,
could this be the cause, lets look at the facts.

Blue plays with this ball every day, sometimes several times a day, the ball is hard and durable, designed to be virtually indestructible, though now it is showing signs of serious wear and tear. Blue has managed to put a hole in it and change its shape. His canine teeth will be the main point of contact.

To ensure there is no further wearing down of his teeth, the "jollyball" will be semi-retired, out of sight, out of mine and a more tooth friendly alternative introduced into Blue's world.

The "JollyBall" has been a great success with Blue, sadly too successful. To other dog lovers, I highly recommend this ball with a caution, not to overuse.

Excuse the pun, but I may be barking up the wrong tree, but it is the only remaining viable explanation.

Occam's razor

It is often understood as 

"the simplest explanation is usually the correct one" 

until a greater explanation is found

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Looking back

Blues scarred back
Blues scar that runs down his back

Back in November 2008 Blue had gone lame, and required an urgent trip to the vets.

The diagnosis was not good, Blue had effectively a part of his spine overgrowing causing severe pain to his lower back and loss of mobility on his hind legs.

Clearly in discomfort he was taken to the world renowned Fitzpatrick Referrals 

On arrival, without delay Blue was taken into the assessment room where he was looked at by Noel Fitzpatrick, concerned with the discomfort that Blue was in he made provisions for him to have immediate health care, and was operated on the very next day.

After three anxious days we received the call we had hoped for, the operation to remove the extra portion of bone that was impacting on his spinal cord and a cause of the sudden lameness had been a success.

Though very glad to go and collect Blue, we had to ensure he remained as subdued as possible, and was quite a shock to see that a dog so full of life four days previous had now lost most of his back fur and had a prominent scar, and required a sling to support him to walk.

Very few pictures of Blue were taken during the next six months, but each day we scrutinised his every move, there were regular trips back to Surrey, in order to monitor his progress. 

During this time we needed to ensure he had regular but not excessive exercise, and when given the all clear that the wound had healed sufficiently he began hydrotherapy, which was very very slow, Blue would go through a hole packet of treats before he was enticed into the hydro-pool.

Monitoring his progress on walking, the longer you watched him the worse he got, in the end, we accepted that he was a dog with an awkward walk.

As a patient Blue was very good, his self confidence had took a battering, which did return along with his improved mobility.

Blue and us are so grateful for all the help we had through his recovery, all dogs are special, but Blue is extra special in our eyes as he had to endure life changing surgery at such a young age.

We hoped to do agility with Blue, but that was advised against, we are just so very grateful he managed to have the opportunity to grow into a fully grown adult. 

Blue has ascended Skiddaw and Helvellyn in the Lake District and a few mountains in Scotland, but we always know when we reach our limit, as we did at Haystacks last year.

Blue and Sue on Helvellyn
Blue and Sue on Helvellyn

Only now do we look back, in the past we had only ever been concerned with Blues future, he has grown up to lead an active life and has an incredible character, testament to veterinary science and all the staff and people connected with such a great profession.

One other special thanks goes to Aquadoggies, where the facilities they have, are beneficial and enjoyable for Blue to this day, which is where he will be tonight.