Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Holly in her holly-collar, thanks to Helen on Greyhound Gap's forum.

And Herbie, who rarely wears a collar these days on account of his poor lymph glands.
A very happy holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the move

The stress levels are cranking up - I'm moving house on the 7th January, and the new house is still a mess, and I have no cooker, and and and... So I may not be blogging much for a while, even though I want to get a picture of Holly in her Christmas collar on here. So while you're stretched out in front of the TV, think of me, stripping wallpaper and trying to get years of grease off kitchen tiles...

I keep telling myself I could just move in and live out of cardboard boxes for months, but I'd still have to decorate, this time with dogs. Decorating With Dogs -someone should write a book. It's hard to keep greyhounds and paint apart, so I have to get as much done as I can.

If I don't get as far as a Christmas message, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last week was difficult. I'd like an easy one this time, please. This morning was the last straw, my sister blowing a gasket - it's been rattling for a while, and I know she's anxious about her chances of staying employed, but.... nnngghhh (sound of teeth being gritted). I am just staggering through till Christmas, and I'd like to get there in one piece. If that's not too much to ask for.

On the plus side, the big scarey parking attendant in our local market town came over to greet the dogs, and ruffle their ears. He lost his own Great Dane a couple of weeks back, dilated cardiomyopathy - one week his dog developed a cough, and by the end of the week, despite drugs, her heart gave out. He can't face having another just yet, but likes to borrow other dogs for 10 seconds. I didn't give him the "You need a greyhound" speech, the grief was obviously still raw in his voice, but... he needs another dog.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cabin Fever

There's so much ice around, that trips to the outside world have been few. I had a snow day on Thursday, since all the local schools were closed and Radio York gave their "Is your journey really necessary?" pitch. Work? Nah.

The dogs are not happy, though, and have both skidded onto their not-so-well-padded behinds. (I've gone over on mine a few times, but I've got the cushioning to survive!) The sharper pieces of ice hurt their feet, and at one point we found a load of blood on the ice - I think someone else's dog may have cut a pad. Either that, or there's been a murder at the roadside, and when the snow melts, there'll be a body under a pile of snow. Or maybe the snowman in the garden on the corner wasn't made by kids, but by the murderer concealing the evidence... I've been trapped indoors too long with only a pile of old Agatha Christies for company.

A friend once said she couldn't live in the country in case she turned into Miss Marple, and I though, Too late, I've already turned. But even if the neighbours have all murdered each other, I'm not going out to investigate until some of this ice has melted.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008


OK, this is an old snow picture now, with Herbie trying to melt it as fast as he can. This week has been more about mud and scraping ice off the car every time I want to go anywhere.

I have seen the inside of more DIY shops than I care to mention, and the marvellous Mr Hood, who does gates and fencing, has talked me into having laminate flooring, so... yet another trip to the builders' merchants. This house will become inhabitable. Soon. Really. I am totally convinced.

I am about to go back to work for a rest. I'll miss the dogs though - Holly has been much more cheerful with her human at home. If I had the money to stay home all day, I would.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cool Runnings

Two inches of soft powdery snow = the perfect racing surface for greyhounds! They tiptoed out of the door, with that "eek it's cold, don't make me go out there" expression they sometimes have, then realised it was snow. They both took off for the gate, then ran back, ran round me in circles, back to the gate, then towed me down the road. At eight o'clock on a Sunday morning, we were the first ones out, and had a pristine world to walk in. And run in. Herbie was full of the joys of snow, pelting down the track just because he could.

Now they're both sleeping it off. If the snow lasts till this afternoon, I'll take some pictures. In the meantime, it's preventing me from going to Homebase for paint, so we're having a quiet day in. I got the keys to the new house yesterday, and I've taken this coming week off work to do some decorating, consult with builders, and all the routine tasks that you can't do from the office. It's unfortunate that the new house is well off even a secondary gritter route, but this snow isn't scheduled to last.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Scare

A bad morning yesterday. Herbie's been coughing the last couple of nights, and yesterday he wouldn't eat his breakfast. He wanted to come out for a walk, but after a couple of hundred yards, he turned for home. He'd had enough. Once home, he was gasping for breath, lying with his neck stretched out and back, like a swan about to fly.

I called the vets, crying, and they said to bring him right in. I've always known that secondary tumours would develop, and lung tumours are high on the list of probabilities. The new junior vet (they're the ones who have to work weekends) listened to Herbie's chest, took his temperature, then said "There are a lot of respiratory infections around at the moment. Let's try antibiotics first, rather than go for a chest x-ray."

Twenty-four hours later, Herbie's breathing is fine, he is bright and lively, and wants all his meals and everyone else's meals too. Yesterday I was so convinced that I was taking him on his last trip ever, that now I feel silly. We have to go back to the vets tomorrow for a check-up, nd I'm going to have to apologise for crying all over their nice clean surgery.

PS A big hello to Jenna and her blog - hope the treatment goes well!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Please to Remember...

... the entire first half of November? When will the fireworks end? Herbie had a really bad night on Friday - I didn't get home from work till after six, and he was already delirious with fright, panting and shaking so much he could hardly stand. Last night, he was dosed with everything veterinary science can throw at him, but not a whole lot better. I need to keep buying lottery tickets, so I can have my own private island where I go every 5th November. (Given the number of dog and horse owners I know, I won't be on my own there, it'll need to be quite a big island!)

Anyway, I'm hoping this is the end of the explosions, now we've had the 5th and the weekends either side. On the plus side, I've exchanged contracts on the new hovel, so only another couple of weeks, and I can start decorating. The ghastly green in the kitchen will be the first to go, then the green stripes in the hall. Then there's the navy blue wallpaper in the bedroom to strip, and... endless hours of joy.

Enough of my news, there are more important events in the world. Yes, THOSE elections, but equally greyhound racing has been banned in Massachusetts. Wish our legislators would follow suit.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Another Hallowe'en Gone

So pleased we made it through. Again, it may not seem like a big deal, but my mother died on Hallowe'en five years ago, and I don't think I could bear it if Herbie were to go the same night. My mother was in a hospice thirty miles away, and I would drive over every night after work. She wasn't really conscious much, her last few days, but I told her on the 30th that I wouldn't come over the following night, too many idiots on the roads- my father would come in the morning. She died the night of Hallowe'en, when the veil between the worlds is supposed to be at its thinnest. (So really not sure why it's the one night we throw small children out onto the streets after dark?)

There were a few fireworks last night, but I think the credit crunch has cut down on the number of huge exploding rockets. Everything seemed more restrained this year. Good job, as Holly refused to touch the drinking water with Rescue Remedy in. Herbie panted a bit, but he survived. There'll be a few more on the 5th, but the main public displays are over. Sighs of relief.

However, Hallowe'en claimed one greyhound, Magic alias Meg from Greyhound Gap. She ran away in the New Forest last Friday, and people from all over the country went to look for her. I'd hoped she was living rough, and would find her way home, but it wasn't to be. On Friday her body was found. Rest in peace, Meg. Not forgotten.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Motheaten and Moulting

... that well-known firm of London solicitors (senior partner: Cuthbert Moulting). Herbie's pale beige undercoat is coming out in handfuls. He didn't shed much at all this spring, and I do wonder if the chemotherapy had something to do with that. Either that, or the cold wet summer it's been.

Anyway, I may yet be able to felt a whole new little greyhound out of clouds of fluff I'm gathering.

Herbie seems to be slowing down and sleeping more. He still wants to go for walks (we saw a double rainbow this afternoon) but I get the impression he's trying to conserve energy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eight and a half

Herbie had a half-birthday on Thursday. Eight and a half might not sound like much to anyone else, but it means the world to me.

He is moulting, patchily, about two months later than Holly. I don't know if cancer has thrown out his internal clock, but he is looking a bit motheaten round the rear.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nothing to Relate

... nothing that isn't anxious-sounding, anyway. Weirdnesses at work, house purchase slowed to a crawl, a family member trying to pick a fight no one else wants... the reiki principles are coming in handy this week ("Just for today, do not anger, do not worry). I am trying to remain calm and serene, but spend much of my time sounding like Muttley just after he's been hit on the head by Dick Dastardly (if anyone remembers the Wacky Races cartoons!) Or do I mean just before he gets hit on the head?

Herbie and Holly came in the car to visit my sister, and were baffled to see a cat on her windowsill. Herbie kept looking from the cat to me to her, as if to say "Does she know there's a cat in her house? How did that get in there?" Yes, Herbie, she knows all about Solly, she put him there on purpose. It's a bit tricky, because Holly isn't cat-safe, and never will be.

Glorious sunshine today, crunchy autumn leaves and T-shirt weather. The world economy may have gone south, but at least it's a nice day...

Sunday, October 05, 2008


... and the greyhounds are nesting.

Overheard in the local Co-op:

"Bit back-endish this morning."

"Too back-endish for me."

They mean the back end of summer, i.e. it's definitely time to switch the central heating on. I've had to search for gloves, and the woolly scarf is on stand-by. It's cold and dark now on our pre-work rambles. At this time of year, I'm chasing the light at each end of the day. By November, winter is winning, and the dogs only have a brief lunchtime outing in daylight. The guilt of being a working "mother".
The lumps in Herbie's armpits are growing bigger.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cats This Week

This is Solly, my sister's Maine Coon kitten, supervising gardening operations.

It's been a difficult week for dogs. Herbie threw up several times on Monday night, then wouldn't eat for a couple of days. I thought this might be the beginning of the end, but he's eating again. He seems more frail, though. He doesn't have the reserves any more to fight off stomach bugs. I was beside myself with worry, but he pulled through this time. I'm not sure we can get through another bout.

The house thing plods on, as these things do. The HIPs pack isn't acceptable to the bank, so searches have to be done over again. I genuinely don't see the point of the buyer and seller each having to do the same work, but someone somewhere will be making money out of it. I'm hoping we can sort everything out for the end of October.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Basking some unexpected sunshine, after one of the wettest summers on record. Never mind the sea levels rising, the rain alone made last weekend miserable on the edges of the moors. This weekend we're drying out.

Herbie's nodes are somehow even bigger, and Holly seems to be going bald. She always sheds a lot in autumn, but this year her legs are looking bare. More sardines all round.

I've had the survey back on the house. It needs a lot doing, but it's mostly structurally sound. I say "mostly", but that really means "fixable at a price". Hmmm. But it's on top of a hill, so it won't flood.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things That Make Me Smile

Every now and then, you find something online that just makes you grin. Stephen Huneck, who created the Dog Chapel on Dog Mountain is selling the Healing House there. If you scroll down the page until you find the dog faucet... well, it made me smile. I never knew I wanted a bathroom with a labrador, until now.

Then there's cats that look like Hitler...

Yup, I'm distracting myself. I think I've found a new house, but worries are creeping in. Anyone know of any other displacement activities I could take up? (Ive already washed, vacuumed and ironed, I'm houseworked out now.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

An Ear-y Tale

This has been a tricky week. Herbie got an ear infection (and a lump I was worried about, but vet's dealt with that one) and so I have had to chase him round the house twice a day in order to clean his ears and put drops in. He's normally so stoical and brave, but ear-cleaner? Noooooo!

Once I've pinned him down, I then have to squirt CleanAural into his ears (or "Nettoyant Auriculaire pour Chien" in case I ever have to ask for it in France) and duck as he shakes his head, and coats me with whatever's in his ears. Then I add some oozing yellow antibiotic drops, and have to massage them in. I think the vet was quite impressed with how much he fought the pair of us at the surgery. "He's still quite strong, isn't he?" Yup.

And smart. There's no bribing him, no distracting with pieces of cheese, no hiding little plastic bottles of ear-drops in my pocket and sneaking up on him from behind. I've had to resort to brute force, and I'm not proud of myself. His ears are much better, though, and I'm counting the days till Tuesday, when I can stop putting us both through this.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nothing Much

It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, as Garrison Keillor always used to say. I have sniffles again, possibly as a post-Reiki training clear-out - they warn you to expect this kind of thing. Holly is shedding so much I may have to get her fur turned into something useful.

On the plus side, I have a permanent job with effect from tomorrow. Salary not great, but a step in the right direction after a year and a bit living off the proceeds of selling my house. This means I might be able to buy another house, instead of living/camping out in a family member's renovation project. I am immensely lucky to have such a generous family, but there are times when I'd like not to owe anyone anything, you know? So I've been looking at tiny houses online this week, and thinking: hmm. Deep breath. It's going to be OK.

Herbie is slowing up. He still dragged out Henry Kitten's (RIP) toy chicken from under the furniture at my father's, for a good shake, but I can see him pondering whether to race Holly to the far corner of the lawn, and deciding not to. One day at a time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


It's been a week of medical education for me. On Tuesday, I watched Dr. Alice Roberts explain how a normal lymph node was no bigger than a baked bean. She had some bean-sized pig nodes to demonstrate, as well as a pig thymus gland (where T-cells come from). I still don't really know what a thymus gland does, but it was an interesting programme on the immune system.

I also received my copy of Dog Anatomy, by Peter Goody, that I'd ordered from Amazon, and can now be quite sure that Herbie's bulging bottom rib on his left side is due to his spleen. The ultrasound (way back in the mists of time) picked up that he had an enlarged spleen - and he still has. (For anyone squeamish, who doesn't want to see pictures of an enlarged spleen, don't look here.)

Herbie could show veterinary students where the lymph nodes are - every major node is lumpy. I wish he wasn't quite so educational.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Never Quite As Planned

I was going to take a photo to prove how well-furred Herbie's hind end is. When I try and take a front-end photo of him, all I ever get is a rear view, as he runs away, so this should have been easy. But no, Holly runs in front. Then he follows me round with the camera, blinking sleepily into the lens.

Then I remind him he was 8 and a third yesterday! He remembers, and runs upstairs.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy 4th Gotcha Day

It's been just over four years now since I went to see a tiger-striped greyhound standing in a paddock at his foster-parents' house. He was skinny, and nervous, but when they let him loose, he went flying round the field, then rolled onto the ground in front of me and waved his legs in the air. "Oh," said his foster parents, "he's never done that before." He was meant to come to me, and he knew it long before I realised.

Herbie was in poor shape - he'd been found on the roof of some sheds on an industrial estate, 12 feet up, unable to jump down. He'd been left on a sheet-metal roof, so he had third degree burns on all four feet, he was dehydrated, and close to death. He wasn't supposed to have survived, but somehow he did. I realise now he had an incredible will to live, and I'm seeing it for myself every day. He was skinny when found, six kilos under his racing weight (which is already light) and minus a lot of his fur. His foster parents warned me he might always have a bald bum.

Now old Fuzzybum is on my bed, after a large meal and a gentle potter in the sunshine. The bad days left their legacy and it seems particularly cruel that he won't live to be the oldest greyhound in the world. But I'm glad we had these four years.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Day After Reiki

SO tired. I did Reiki 1 in York yesterday, a day of concentrating, and driving, and being with strangers, and today I can hardly move. The moral of the story is, book a day or two off work after a course. It was an amazing day - such an odd sensation, to feel your palms prickling as you run your hands over a stranger's aura. An interesting group of people, all there for different reasons - and all of us trying not to drop each other's heads back onto the therapy table...

I hate being away from Herbie for a day, when I'm already at work during the week, but my sister came and dog-sat, and fed them her left-over moussaka and gave long ear scritches. I hope I learned something that can help Herbie.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pant Pant Pant

Too hot. Heat seems to make Herbie's lumps grow, so he looks worse this week. I think the extra energy he uses to stay cool drains him - either that or heat makes cancer cells grow faster. Tomorrow I'm going to buy him a fan. He's been resisting ice packs, and won't drink water if it's got ice cubes in.

I used to love hot weather, but having dogs changed that. It changes so many things, and that's only a minor one. We've all been sitting on the concrete driveway, in the shade of the house, where the concrete is cool. The neighbours must think I'm mad, but there's no breeze in the back garden, surrounded by high fences and bushes.

Work is going to be grim tomorrow - no air-con, very little ventilation - I'm dreading it. I can't be the only one contemplating a rain-dance.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't Like Beans

... at least, I assume that's what Herbie's trying to tell me. There I am, doing my bit for the global food crisis, growing a few bean plants, and can I get them to stay in the ground? Can I heck.

But Herbie is unrepentant.

Holly has checked out the situation, but doesn't see what the fuss is about.

Herbie is quite amused by it all.

I am tired. I went to London yesterday, for a friend's wedding, and three separate tube lines were closed for maintenance. King's Cross resembled a scene from a disaster movie. I think I've done cities for this year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lumpy and Snotty

... a couple of the dwarves that didn't make it into Snow White's top seven. I've not been giving Herbie garlic capsules all week, on the basis that if garlic can make dogs anaemic, I should give him time off now and again. As a result his nose is all crusty and patchy.

I was going to be on a reiki course all day today, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Instead, I've done nothing all day, and I'm about to go and watch junk TV all evening. (I'm sorry, but Midsummer Murders is comfort TV - I know it's untrue to life and rots your brain, and is probably about to cause the collapse of western civilisation as we know it, but I'm going to watch it anyway. If Holly will let me.)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Working 9 to 5

... what a way to make a living. I can't believe it's been three months since I started work again, terrified that the moment I put on that dark suit again, and headed out the door, Herbie would give up the ghost. He's still here, and I'm the one that's fading fast. I'm only on a six-month contract, and it's coming up to the time when you start wondering if it's time to look around again. There is a mega-reshuffle going on at work, so do I stay in the hope that I get a good job in the new structure, or... I like the people here, but there's a new boss due...hmm... decision postponed for a week or two.

I started this blog when I hated my old job, and realised that all I really wanted in life was to be At Home With Herbie. Economically, however, if that home is to be something with walls and a roof, and not a caravan, I can't stay home for ever. ( Though I've been looking at ruins in Portugal, thinking, I could learn Portuguese, and roof-tiling, and plumbing, and...)

Still, if it comes to people putting their brave pants on, I could learn a lesson or two from the latest fund-raising effort at Greyhound Gap - spending a night in the horribly haunted Derby Gaol. If they can face their worst fears, maybe it's time to face mine (not having indoor plumbing or heating for any length of time). There are worse things in life than a composting toilet. (The ones at Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales have a warning on one door: Extra Wide Seat - Children May Need Supervision. I guess someone found that out the hard way.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is He Mobile?

A moment of misunderstanding with a friend. I was explaining to her that my father visited at lunchtimes, and would take the dogs for a walk if they wanted to go. "Oh," she said, "is he mobile?" "Yes," I said, "he's only 72, he can still get about fine." Laughter at the other end. "Herbie, I meant." Yes, he's still mobile. It may not seem that way from photos, since they almost all show him lying down (normal position for greyhounds) but Herbie does actually manage a couple of 45-minute walks a day.

He's a bit saggy from the prednisone - seen from above, he's wasp-waisted - and he's got the equivalent of a squashed tennis ball under his jaw. Which is why I asked the Harry Edwards sanctuary to send him healing. It's not as if anything else is working now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

...dem half-chewed messy leg bones - or how to keep a pair of dogs very happy. There's only one butcher, about 20 miles away, that will give you huge lumps of sawn-off cow leg to take away, everyone else mutters about EC regulations, so yesterday I had to make the trek past all the obstacles that clog our roads in summer. The things we do for love.

One person who must be celebrating at the moment is Raven and Cypher's person. Raven has come through her bone marrow transplant and is now lymphoma-free! The Australians are way ahead of us on this - it wasn't ever mentioned as an option here, and Herbie went to Cambridge Vet School for first diagnosis, one of the top places for cancer treatment. I probably couldn't have afforded it, even with insurance, but maybe one day it will become more available. Or maybe we'll find out why lymphoma is so common in dogs, and be able to avoid it.
I think Holly's jaw has become permanently stretched from yesterday's bones.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Afternoon at Jerry Green

There's a Jerry Green sanctuary at Thirsk, not far from us, and we went along this afternoon for their annual dog show. I always take family, so they can talk me out of coming home with a wonky dog or three. Today's favourite "wonky dog" was Grace, a black and white lurcher bitch, minus most of her tail, and with a sore nose from pushing her face through the wire. Unfortunately the card on her run says she doesn't get on well with other dogs, and needs to be homed as an only dog. Oh well.

I won some dog treats and a dog frisbee in their tombola, and we managed (just) not to be rained on, so it was a good afternoon. The thing that always makes me sad about lurchers and greyhounds in rescues is that they have such thin, pipe-cleaner-y tails. Once they've been in a home for a while, their tails build up muscles from wagging. You can see immediately if a sighthound has had much of a life.

Herbie picked up remarkably on Monday, with the cooler weather, and ran away when I tried to take him to the vets. He's done this before, and I need to learn to distinguish between "I'm hot, leave me alone" and "I'm dying here". In Terry Pratchett's novels, one of the three witches was found lying with a sign pinned to her chest saying "I ATEN'T DEAD" (for when she'd gone on her mental travels, borrowing animals' minds), and if Herbie could write I'm sure he'd have something similar. Though possibly better spelled - he's a fastidious dog.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Churchill's Motto

During the Second World War, Churchill's motto was, apparently, "KBO - Keep Buggering On." That pretty much sums up where I'm at, just now. Herbie seems more subdued, so I'm taking him to the vets tomorrow for painkillers. He's not really interested in being patted, now that the nodes in his shoulders are so big, and I'm beginning to wonder if he's more uncomfortable than he's letting on.

He's still wanting food (and how), still wanting walks, and will stand on your head to get at a fresh bone, but even so, I have a faint sense that he is slowly, imperceptibly slipping away.

Holly is trying to roast herself to a crisp in the front garden, because I'm using the strimmer in the back garden. What with one thing and another, the wild patch at the back has grown a whole lot wilder, and I know I've got some redcurrant bushes in there somewhere...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Angel Dog Maggie

Sad news from Emily: Maggie has gone. So brave, and strong for so long. No more words, but my thoughts are with the humans and dogs who knew her.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wow, Garlic Works

The nose situtation is better, after only a week. Not perfect, but better, and no garlic smells. I'm not sure he should have 1,000mg a day for long periods, but I'll keep going for now. It's also supposed to help keep fleas away. He's become very pill-shy, he's had to have so many during his months of chemo, but soft capsules wrapped in ham can still get past his pill-detector. All I'm giving him at the moment is garlic and a daily selenium pill (50mcg), plus a 500mg arginine capsule opened up and sprinkled on his food. I've tested the arginine, and it doesn't taste of anything, so it hasn't put him off his food. It's one of the key ingredients in Hills' canine cancer tinned food, and is supposed to have some effect. The oncologist said cancer fed on amino acids from the dog's muscles, so supplements shouldn't harm the dog or feed the cancer... not sure how that works....

Huge scare from Holly on Friday night, when she chased a rabbit and overheated. She staggered back to me, then keeled over. It was a muggy, humid evening, warm even at half past seven, and we were a mile from the road. She just lay in a patch of ground elder, her tongue hanging onto the ground, her breath rasping. I carried her back to the road (with some difficulty, and many stops for breath) at which point she decided she could plod the last 200 yards home. It's taught me not to let her off lead in hot weather. She has no internal "hmm, best not, eh?" mechanism to tell her to slow down.

So, still here, but I'm worried about Emily over at Life with the Dogs...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Snot Fair

I am trying to get Herbie's nasal problem under control, but it's pretty much like King Canute telling the North Sea to back up a bit. Ever since he stopped chemo, the crusty nose thing has been happening. Last week, he rubbed his nose so hard on the bed, he made it bleed. This morning, I found him trying to dislodge bogies onto the ironing pile. Sigh.

The vet suggested Vaseline on his nose, and I've added de-odorised garlic capsules to his diet. Someone had a miracle sinus cure with their whippet and garlic capsules, but I've no idea how much to give a Herbie-sized dog. Is 1000mg a day a lot? Well, he's still here, still snotty, so it's not a lethal dose. I am glad he's still with me, and glad his histiocytoma's cleared up, but I wish he were well.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

And Now We Is Cold...

Last week, 8 a.m., T-shirt and flip-flops. This week, long-sleeved T-shirt, fleece, waterproof jacket and walking boots. A typical English spring.

It's been a sad weekend. My father's cat, Henry Kitten (he never grew very big) went AWOL during the week. He was of feral stock, and was rounded up along with his mother by the Cats Protection League at a local feed mill, as part of a trap-neuter-release programme. When he didn't come back home on Sunday, we all feared he'd heard the call of the wild and answered it. Yesterday, coming back from an outing with the dogs, I spotted a black body on the verge, a couple of hundred yards from my father's house. I went to fetch Dad, and it looks very much like Henry. Unfortunately he looks to have hit a car head-on.

Then (big mistake) I read the last chapters of Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote. It's a wonderful book, about a man who tries to put himself in his dog's shoes, and let his dog have some choices about the way he lives. The two of them lived in a national park, and spent their days out in the wilderness - but the ending is a three-hanky job.

As a result, I've spent today fussing over Herbie. First, I thought I'd found a new tumour in his stomach - I'd actually found the end of one of his ribs. They're all knobbly at the end, and so are Holly's - it's nothing new. Then I went to clean his ears out, and found that they were black inside. Not just dark brown wax, but deep charcoal black. I wondered if this was one of those symptoms of cancer that no one talks about, because it's too much of a bad sign. Maybe his brain was starting to rot and leaking out through his ears.

Then I remembered I'd repotted a few plants yesterday, and put the spent compost on one of the flowerbeds. Herbie had had a really good dig, and redistributed it all. When greyhounds fold their ears back, the ear canal is wide open. He didn't have a brain tumour, he had compost in his ears. Only person with a leaking brain round here is me. Very glad I didn't call the vet.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We Is Hot

Lots of outside time, but the garden is south-facing, and just too hot in the afternoon. Herbie doesn't deal well with heat, so he's back in his usual spot, on my bed.

Big things are happening over at Emily and Maggie's - Maggie is taking part in a trial of a new drug. Here's hoping this one turns out to be more effective than some of the other things I know Maggie's tried.

Oh, and Holly's just told me she never gets in the blog:

Monday, May 05, 2008

Relaxing Bank Holiday

We've been staying home. No DIY, no visits to superstores, and only a couple of brief visits to relatives. Yesterday we were pretty much confined to quarters by the annual Tractor Run for charity. All winter, people have been tinkering with their vintage Massey Fergussons in preparation, and yesterday was the big day. I live right by the start of the run, and a couple of hundred vintage tractors chugging in a 20-mile circuit round your village means you have to leave early, and stay out till dark - or stay home.

Herbie has had his first trip to the vet in over four months. He has a histiocytoma on his leg. He had one a couple of years ago, and I didn't think you could get them twice, but those good folks on Greytalk have assured me that lighting does strike more than once . The vet was pleased with how well he was looking. "I was dreading this visit, when I saw your name on the list. I thought it was going to be one of those difficult ones. But he's kept the weight on really well." I think that might be code for "Your dog is fat".

There was an elderly man in the waiting room, dogless, trying not to cry, and when he collected his drooping, bleary-eyed dachshund, I could see why. Daxis aren't supposed to be floppy like that. I wanted him and his dog to be OK, but you could tell the vet had said "There's nothing else we can do." It's the worst thing, not having any hope. I am currently hoping Herbie outlives his histiocytoma - they take at least six weeks to clear up - but I have absolutely nothing to base that optimism on.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today we have mostly...

... been getting wet. Now it is thundering, and Herbie is panting under my desk. Holly is snoring in her own bed, completely unperturbed. There is nothing that will fix Herbie's fear of thunder, not even hiding in the wardrobe, or cheese. Cheese will compensate for most things in life, but not this.

I have some phosphorus homeopathic spray to spray on his gums, and I learned T-Touch for situations like this, but these days, I've given up. I just go and get on with whatever I'm doing, and he can do what he likes. At the moment, he's drooling on my left foot.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nodal Inflation.

Just how big can lymph nodes get before they explode or something? Your whole life, you never see a lymph node from one year to the next, then half a dozen come along at once...

Oh, and I meant to mention this article last week: a Radio 4 newsreader has a rare type of lymphoma. It's odd, his first symptoms were the same as Herbie's - a perpetually snotty nose. With Herbie, it wasn't until he started chemo that it went away. Now it's back, but I know it's not a cold, it's part of the lymphoma territory.

The other interesting thing was the man getting odd sensations in his fingers and toes. Herbie's been stumbling occasionally, always the back left foot, for no apparent reason. He'll be trotting along happily, then just miss a beat. After reading the article, I realise it's part of the illness too. The things you learn. That you never intended to know about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eight Today!

Herbie, not me. I never thought I would see this day - it was about this time last year when his lymph nodes came up, and the vet said, "Well, it could be his teeth, but I hate to say this, it could be something else..." In the autumn, my whole focus was on Christmas, if only we could make it till then. After Christmas, when the chemo stopped having any effect, I started really to take one day at a time... his eighth birthday was beyond imagining.

He's had some tinned salmon, and a new toy. This morning, the gods of dog-birthdays produced a black and white cat that ran straight towards him instead of away. Herbie sprang to life, the cat realised his mistake and shinned up the nearest tree, and Herbie stood under the tree, wagging his tail, delighted that he almost got a cat for his birthday.

Incidentally, apologies for the time-lag in moderating comments, and I think I accidentally deleted a couple - I've been spammed by some "Make $$$ at home" blogger, or bloggers, who are so desperate for links they're posting spam comments, or whatever the correct terminology is. The only way to keep them out seems to be to set the comments field to "Moderate". I may go back to instant commenting later, once the splogs have gone away :-)

I must post more often - the trouble with these job things is, they suck all your time away. I haven't forgotten everyone, I'm just scrabbling for time to log on.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Made it through!

End of the first week of a new job, and I'm still alive, and more importantly, the dogs are still here. On Tuesday Herbie sicked up grass all over my duvet, so I came home to dried-up green goo all over the bed, and on Wednesday Holly shredded newspaper, but today Dad left the dogs most of a dish of moussaka, so this evening they were happy, and barrel-shaped.

Herbie's nodes are huge, and I keep asking myself, how can he survive? The oncologist warned me this would happen, but he said timings are anyone's guess. I've just found out about Cole, and my thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Surviving Separation Anxiety

First day in the new job, and I managed (just) to survive without the dogs all day. My father comes up at lunchtime to let them out. He came twice today - the first time, it was beginning to snow, and both dogs looked out of the front door, then bolted upstairs and refused to come off their beds. Mid-afternoon he tried again, this time with a packet of tongue in his pocket, and was able to lure them out and slam the front door shut.

The new job seems fine, the people are lovely, so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dumbstruck Wednesday

... but not for long. Today was going to be a day for fluffy photos of well-chewed Easter chickies, or the strange crop-circle effect Holly's been having on the lawn, but instead I've found a soap-box and fully intend to stand on it.

Dogs Today magazine has just published a two-page rant about greyhounds, illustrated with a drawing of a young boy saying "Daddy, what's a greyhound?" The article advocates treating all greyhounds as livestock, and then wiping the breed out, because they are apparently the biggest killers of other animals in the known universe, and their mere presence on this earth offends the writer of the article. Even the tabloid press, writing of children killed by Rottweilers, haven't called for all Rottweilers to be euthanased, but only to be kept under control. It's therefore particularly alarming to see a vet, who in theory should be able to keep a clear head, calling for a breed to be wiped out just because she's had a bad day at the office.

The editor of the magazine has been swift to disown the vet's views, and says she didn't read the article before it went to print. Oh-kayyy. Nice to see responsible journalism is alive and well... any chance of the magazine trying to undo any of the damage it's just caused? The irony is, the first half of the magazine is full of the plight of Staffies, abandoned in their thousands for being a bull breed, the victim of media scare stories.

OK, I'm going to take a lot of deep breaths now, and try and take up some form of meditation.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Food Storage - and Courage

If anyone has run out of things to feel guilty about, here's a new one - food storage. Apparently cancer can be caused by rancid oils in dog kibble, and keeping a bag of kibble open for more than a week is A Bad Thing.

Leaping ahead on the courage front is Raven, a border collie with lymphoma, who is heading for a bone marrow transplant. It's not something that's been done much, if at all, in the UK, I suspect on cost grounds, and it's still unusual in the US. It's now a relatively normal treatment for humans, but Raven's still something of a pioneer. My thoughts are with her family.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A White Easter

We had snow all four days of the Easter break, and it's snowing again now. OK, that's enough snow, I'm bored now. And there's a biting cold wind. I met my most of my regular dog-walkers this morning, all elderly gentlemen, all of them mopping streaming eyes with large handkerchiefs. And they all dabbed at their face and said "Bit nippy, eh?" as I passed. I think there's a script that gets handed out the night before, and I'm the only one who doesn't get a copy. But I've got some big checked cotton hankies, and everything...

The dogs are resting, exhausted by their Chirpy Chicks. I went out to Tesco's this morning and bought them each a reduced-price Easter chicky that makes near-realistic cheeping noises. Herbie's is fine, but soggy; Holly's now has no cheep and is minus a foot.

I don't have a start date yet for the new job, but I'm working my way through the maze of bureaucracy that attends such things.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Changes Afoot

Herbie is still here, still wanting food and walks, and still with the energy to be naughty. On Saturday, my sister had spent much of the morning planting up tubs and re-arranging her flower-beds. We went in for a cup of coffee, leaving the door open for the dogs, but Holly came in to observe us for signs of biscuits. Ten minutes later Herbie trotted up, very pleased with himself, and proceeded to kill a toy owl for a while.

I went to shut the door - and discovered he'd undone a morning's work. My sister looks on her plants as precious babies, so this was a bit of a blow. "What was he thinking?" she asked. (Umm... "Remove phlox? Check. Take bulbs out of tubs? Check. Spread potting compost across the drive? Check. Ha, my work here is done." Something like that.) It was a difficult moment, because while I commiserated with my sister, secretly I was happy he still felt like getting up to mischief.

When we went to see the oncologist, back at the begining of January, and he told me that there was no point in continuing with treatment that wasn't working, Herbie was sniffing through his waste-bin and then scouting along the work surfaces - the vet's had a row of what looked like kitchen units, and to Herbie that means food. The vet looked at Herbie and said, "You know, I get dogs in here that can barely stand, barely lift their heads." I think he meant, he's not ready to go yet. Herbie now is getting lumpier and lumpier, but he still acts like a normal dog in so many ways.

This is all a roundabout way of saying, I don't want to go back to work, but I have to. I haven't worked in over a year now, and the financial pressures have increased to a point where I have to. I've accepted a job in York, and will start soon, though the date is still to be agreed. Part of me feels that to go back is to invite instant doom upon Herbie, and that somehow he has only survived so long because I've been at home. At the same time, I can see how arrogant and irrational that sounds - he might do a whole lot better if he can kip in peace all day. I just don't know, but I do know it's time to do something about my finances. One day, I will be able to work from home, and never have this dilemma again, but this year, I need to take action. Despite all the stress and angst, it's been a great year being At Home With Herbie, and I hate to leave him with only a lunchtime walk from my father. (Good job my father doesn't read blogs!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Memorable Day

I have an award! Thank you Fiona!

Now I need to do some serious thinking about who to send one to - this may take all weekend.
It's also been a memorable day because Herbie had his annual bath. (I'm saving Holly till tomorrow.) Greyhounds have very fine short fur with little natural oil, so they tend not to smell "doggy", but I bathe them every spring whether they need it or not.
Holly is a roller (fox poo, bird droppings, pond weed, you name it) so has had many, many baths in her short life. Herbie is a fastidious creature who spends a fair amount of time grooming himself, so I don't have to. I thought my bottle of "Puppy and Kitten Shampoo" would last a liefetime, until Holly arrived to tell me different.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Confined to Quarters

Not only is the weather lousy, but Herbie has holed one of his pads, and is limping horribly. Yesterday, Holly spotted a rabbit and took off, up the side of a quarry, and with barely a moment's hesitation, Herbie followed. He seemed a bit stiff on the way home, but it was only in the evening, when he didn't want to play tickling games, that I realised something was wrong. One of the pads on his front left foot is completely raw, and he won't wear his nice black neoprene boot. That's the trouble with velcro straps, even a Herbie can undo them.

Nevertheless, he stayed up late to watch Crufts (he normally puts himself to bed around 8!). For once, the BBC commentators were spot on, and the Giant Schnauzer did take Best in Show. I think it showed real confidence on the part of the owner, to win Best of Breed three years in a row, and still come back in the hope of going higher. All in all, a great evening of dog TV!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

So Lumpy

It's difficult to get a good picture of just how lumpy Herbie's neck is, because he spends vast amounts of time at the greyhound's favourite pastime - sleeping. Suffice it to say, his neck isn't supposed to look like that.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Early Spring

At the end of February, the daffodils are already opening. In North Yorkshire. This is at least a month early. Nearby, in Farndale, they run daffodil tours in April, to see the massed banks of yellow; either there'll be some hasty re-scheduling, or the coach tours will be looking at spent bulbs.
As is often the way round here, no sooner has a flower opened, than the moles try and dig it up. My garden is one of the few mole-free areas, mainly because Holly likes to widdle down the centre of mole-hills. She can hardly bear to pass one by without squatting over it, and given the scorch-marks on the lawn, I can't imagine her wee is doing the moles any good.
Still thinking about Yogi. There was a post on DogPages recently, about the lengths we go to for our dogs, and one person wrote: "If love could have saved her, she would have lived for ever."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Run Free, Yogi

Yogi lost his battle with gastro-intestinal lymphoma today. He had been doing well, so it came as a real shock to me, and now I have a soggy keyboard, but I had to post his picture, to say run free, little one, you are not forgotten. My thoughts are with Fiona and the rest of his family.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Idling through the hours

Another site I wish I hadn't found:

I may not spend much time updating my blog, but I sure know how to waste time online... The dogs are both snoozing. Holly has pulled the duvet half-way off the bed and is nesting under it, in the sort of tent we used to construct as children. Herbie has all my pillows and his own duvet, pulled into a ring doughnut shape. He's lumpy, but otherwise in good spirits.

Holly is turning into a hippo, because she won't go on walks without Herbie, and he doesn't want to go more than half an hour, fairly slowly. If I take Holly on her own, she digs her heels in because I've obviously forgotten Herb, and we must return to the house immediately to fetch him. If I try and drag her, she blocks me with her body, trying to herd me back. It's sweet, but she's not getting enough exercise. I'm currently devising cunning plans, many of them involving chicken on a piece of string. Somehow, I need to lure her away from Herbie for a while.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Must Stop Counting

It's becoming an unhealthy habit, this obsessive calendar-marking, but... Herbie was 7 and five-sixths on Saturday. Holly, incidentally, was 3 and five-twelfths; by some strange coincidence, they were both born on the 16th of the month. I didn't know either of their birthdays when I adopted them. For Holly, I had to ring up the Irish Coursing Club in Ireland with her ear-marks, since she wasn't on Greyhound Data.

It's also been 16 days since Dennis the greyhound ran off after a traffic accident. There have been no sightings for a couple of weeks, so it's not looking good. We've had a couple of very cold nights, and if he didn't manage to get his muzzle off, there'll be little chance of him surviving this long. If he's passed, then run free, Dennis, and if he hasn't, then stop mucking about and head for the nearest friendly-smelling house!

We've had freezing fog all day today, and the spider webs on the bushes are still thick with ice. Like spiders, we've been stuck in our web all day today. Weirdly, Herbie's lumps seem to go down in really cold weather, and come up again in warmer weather (I'm talking 10 degrees C here). There must be some scientific explanation, but for the moment, I'm darned if I know.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It Must Be Spring...

... the crocuses have been out for weeks, the daffodils are in bud, and both dogs are shedding more hair than seems caninely possible. One of my fellow dog-walkers tells me it's a sign of a long hot summer to come. His Jack Russell-God knows cross, Becks, is also shedding a month or so early, and he only ever does that when it's going to be a hot year.

This would be the penultimate week of Herbie's initial chemo protocol, back when he was diagnosed at the beginning of September. Then, 25 weeks seemed a very long time, and I wasn't at all sure he'd see the end of it. Now, his shaved patches are almost grown back, and with him going into moult (I know he's not a bird, but same thing) you can hardly see the wide patches on both flanks where the initial ultrasound was done.

I've found out he has T-cell lymphoma, which has a worse prognosis than B-cell. I'm glad, in many ways, I didn't know that last September. He might be Mr. Lumpy-Neck, but he's still with me.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Looking for Dennis

I took Holly on a long expedition this afternoon, to see if we could spot Dennis. He's a black greyhound who was in a car accident last weekend on the way back from a track. His trainer's vehicle was hit on the A64 near Copmanthorpe. Three greyhounds were killed outright, a vet had to put down a fourth at the scene, and Dennis ran off, still with his coat, lead and muzzle on.

The last item is a real worry - a greyhound can live off the land better than most, being able to catch rabbits and smaller wildlife, but with a muzzle on, his chances are not good. It wasn't until the end of the week that the notice went onto DogLost and some of the greyhound forums. He was spotted several miles away from the crash the day after, but since then, there's been nothing.

The area he was seen in, Sherburn-in-Elmet, has a fair amount of woodland close by, so he could be hiding locally. Greyhounds can cover a lot of ground, though, and by now he could be anywhere. It was worth a try, and we met some nice dog walkers who promised to keep an eye out. Other people on DogLost have already postered the area, so now all we can do is wait and pray for another sighting.

It's a long way from me, but Holly enjoyed her trip out. Herbie stayed home to guard his bone. I hope Dennis is still alive, and turns himself in.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Always Something New

I keep learning new things about lymphoma as I go along - today I found out about Lymphoma Heart Dogs, a Yahoo support group. It's only for dogs in chemotherapy, or who have been, or who are scheduled to start. I guess there's tension between those who believe in chemo and those who don't. Anyway, I've joined, to see what else I can find out.

I've also been reading about lymphoma in humans. I was told by the oncologist we saw at Cambridge Vet School that the typology of lymphoma was not as well understood in dogs as it is in humans. In humans, there is something called "indolent lymphoma", which is not particularly responsive to chemo, but equally, is not aggressive in its spread. I'm wondering if Herbie has something of the kind.

I'm back to chewing my nails, and reading things. It's a form of escape, always reading, but it's all I can really do right now. Herbie's skin has gone all loose, as if it's coming away from his body. He's lost most of his muscle mass from the prednisone, but up till now, his skin has stayed firm. Now, when I groom him, it's as if all his skin is just floating away from his bones, but there's nothing in between to anchor it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lenten Fare

It's pancake day today, and Lent starts tomorrow. Last chance to stuff my face before Easter. I'm giving up cheese and chocolate for Lent. Really I need to lose a stone; I've spent so much time cooking Herbie's meals that I lose impetus when it comes to my own. Net result has been lots of pasta and pizza, and now my jeans are squeaking at the seams. I'm hopeless at diets, but if I cut out the most fattening things, maybe... or maybe not. Whatever.

If I ate what the dogs ate (now) I might be a lot healthier. Maybe not Herbie's entirely carb-free diet (the sugar beet pulp gives him alarmingly black poos)(though it could be worse, I could have a squirrel in the house), but Holly's brown rice, cabbage/broccoli/green beans and chicken or beef mince, split into 3 meals a day... the Dog Diet. How Living Like Your Dog Will Change Your Life. I think I feel a best-seller coming on!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No News Is Good News

Nothing to report, guess I should have taken some photos of my bedside table! Herbie has been enjoying the sunshine here, running up and down, chasing a golden retriever we met in the woods. The owner said apologetically "He loves greyhounds, he won't leave them alone!" Nothing to apologise for, but I nearly acquired a golden who didn't want to get into his owners' greyhoundless car.

This would be Not-Chemo Week 22, and Herbie is doing fine, all things considered. It's getting a little harder to keep the weight on him, but he's eating well.

I did some snow-shopping this morning. There's meant to be a few inches on the way, and I'm just far enough off the gritter route for that to be uncomfortable. The freezer is full again, and all is well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rolling Along

Herbie still seems happy enough, which is a good thing. I steeled myself earlier this week to ring about cremation arrangements, and the details came through today from the Ashes Pet Crematorium. Ashes. In other parts of the country, they call them names like Sunnybank, or Lawnwood, but in Yorkshire, they tell it like it is.

Today, fortunately, he is still walking about, except when he's waving all four legs in the air.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why, Lumpy Addams

Herbie's neck lumps are a lot bigger. It's hard to show in a photo; at first he looked as if he'd swallowed marbles, then golf-balls, now yo-yo's. This is not good.
The title comes from one of my favourite films, "The Addams Family", at the point where they're throwing a party for Uncle Fester. Morticia (Anjelica Huston) is greeting her guests, and spots a young hunchback dancing awkwardly with Wednesday (Christina Ricci). Morticia glides over and says "Why, Lumpy Addams! All growed up."
The film also contains one of my all-time favourite exchanges. A female guest, who has been charmed and flirted with, says playfully to Morticia: "These Addams men! Where do you find them?"
Morticia thinks for a moment, then murmurs "It has to be damp."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What do you tell your pets?

A man in Wales has been arrested after police put listening devices in house. Allegedly, he confessed to his cats that he had murdered his former partner.

If anyone bugs my house, boy am I going to be embarrassed. Not only do I use made-up words in a high-pitched voice ("my little snoofly-noofly") but everything normal tends to be said twice ("Was that yummy? Was that yummy?"). I also ask a lot of stupid questions ("Who's a little Holly, then?")

The thought that a human might be out there listening to this drivel fills me with horror, but it also raises some interesting questions. Will the cats get called as witnesses? Will animal communicators have to come to court to interpret? This could be history in the making...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

7 3/4 today!

I don't normally celebrate the quarter-birthdays, but Herbie is 7 and three quarters today. But in dog years, every couple of human months is another year, so it's got to count for something, right? A pound of stewing steak is already on the stove for him.

Yesterday, we had an early night. On the North Yorkshire moors, electricity is a bit of an optional extra at this time of year, and at seven p.m. precisely, we lost ours. I have candles everywhere in case, and this year's main Christmas presents included:

1) A wind-up radio (power-cuts, for use during)
2) A portable camping stove and gas cylinder (ditto)

I just wasn't expecting to have to use them quite so soon! The wind-up radio worked beautifully (except that Radio 4 wanted to tell me about footballers in Africa... could we please have even one radio station with no football on?) An early night, two dogs snuggled up under their blankies, and me reading a book by torchlight while the wind howled outside.

On the subject of dog-parenting, I think it must depend on how old the dog is when he/she arrives - Herbie came to me aged four, with a full career behind him, so I never felt like a mother, more of a guardian to a Distinguished Otherworldly Guest. He had certain expectations, certain ways of doing things, and I adapted to those as much as he adapted to me. Holly arrived as an adolescent hooligan, a week short of her second birthday, and I think of her more as a child - but as she's not that well-behaved, definitely someone else's!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A New Week, A New Car Sponge

On Sunday, I had just finished washing the car when my sister dropped round, and what with one thing and another, I forgot to hide the car sponge. Over the years, Herbie's dismantled three or four, but I got wise to the habit, and started hiding the bucket and sponge.

Sunday afternoon, I realised my mistake - the living room was wall-to-wall foam chips. A whole year the little lad's been waiting for an opportunity; it's been a long time since I last forgot. Yesterday I went to Thirsk market and bought two car sponges, one for the car, and one for Herbie. At this stage in his life, if he wants car sponges...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The East Wind Doth Blow

...And we have had snow, and the dogs are loving it. There's something about powdery fresh snow underfoot that makes them want to run like crazy. We had an inch or so overnight, and the same again during the course of the morning. I'm glad, in a way, that Herbie didn't have chemo yesterday, because it means he's feeling well enough to enjoy a run.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Not Chemo Week 18

We've reached the end of the line, as far as chemo goes. The last time, Herbie was weak for a fortnight after the treatment, but the lumps only stayed down for a couple of days. I talked things through with the vet, and he felt that it's not a good sign that Herbie's not bouncing back from the chemo. There's a risk each time with the doxorubicin, and it's better that we leave him as he is now, happy and wanting walks, though with a lumpy neck, rather than making him downright miserable for little progress.

In theory, 80 per cent of dogs achieve remission with chemo - for the stats to work out, there has to be another 20 per cent, and unfortunately Herbie's in that group. So, all I can do now is feed him lumps of chicken, and enjoy the time we have left.