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...