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!