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.