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.