Update on the boys! I think you’ll all be pleased by our success. So in the mornings both dogs are allowed together for pees, then they have started to have breakfast together in the kitchen again (although they’ve always been fed facing different directions). I’ve made the time together in the house short and nice, i.e. biscuits and a shared fuss etc. We’ve started with going for walks with them together. We’ve been to the farmer’s field a few times now, with Zephy on the lead of course:
And so far, all is well and back to normal. There is a football/playing field, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, that’s near the army barracks at Fort George. I’ve walked the field a few times with Zeph on lead to check the fence and thankfully it’s in tact all the way around. It’s not a high fence but the location is quite remote but I do still watch everything like a meerkat!
Well, we’ve managed to give Zephy some off lead time!! Albeit short off lead time, and both dogs had a chance to run about together with a tennis ball (the best distractor of all), and both dogs were fabulous. Neither tried to kill the other! (not that I thought they would) but what a relief! Anyway, here are some pictures of the boys having some much deserved fun:
Hope you enjoy seeing these as much as we enjoyed watching our dogs being dogs and happily running around. Both are sound asleep (we had a wee scare from some fireworks but all is calm), and snoring peacefully.
Just to let you all know, Echo has had his drain and stitches out now. He still has to wear his cone of shame just to let the skin around where his stitches were to continue to heal. The fear being that he could open up the wound again if he keeps licking it at the moment. He looks all sad in his cone so here is a picture we took a few weeks ago:
The boys are still being kept separate at the moment which is keeping everything calm in the house. We are making sure that we spend time with both dogs so that neither of them hopefully feels left out. I had a good 4 hours of cuddles with Echo after lunch so now I’m sat in the living room with a Zephy who has a bone and seems content to just chew. We haven’t tried letting them be together yet, I think we’ll wait until the cone can come off and we can try and go for a walk together first. I will obviously keep you up to date.
In the mean time, back to individual walks which if you ignore the fact it takes me twice as long to walk the dogs, is actually quite nice. The one to one dog walking can be very enjoyable and I’ve found a farmers field that all the local dog walkers use in between the hay being harvested and it being ploughed. It is a good mile and a half all the way round this field and despite it being popular, it is easy to find times when there no one about so perfect for a Zephy.
You get a great view from the field over the Moray Firth and you can just see the Kessock bridge in the above picture to the right. Quite spectacular for an empty field.
And the big guys loves it. He looks so happy trotting round this field. I’ve been taking a tennis ball so he gets a chance to play and thankfully he’s not bothered by the sheep that are in the surrounding fields. Just looks at them now and then and then to me for a biscuit. He’s a good dog, despite what everyone thinks of him.
Hoping to get the wee man out for a proper walk soon too. He’s needing a good run about and I feel guilty that he’s stuck in the house so much and then hopefully we can get some more pictures up of him enjoying life.
For the moment, we can all relax a bit. The dogs seem quite happy with the current arrangements, who knows, it may be permanent but we’ll try and safely get the two of them living back together if we can.
Before I go into this: Both dogs are alive and well! So please don’t worry reading this. I wanted to share this story as often dog owners always say how well things go and how wonderful it is to have lots of dogs etc. Well sometimes things are far from peachy and if we don’t talk about these things, we can’t share ideas and experiences and learn from them.
WARNING! There is a graphic image in this post.
So I had lots of cute pics to post about our usual adventures however, on Thursday night, while Zeph lay at my feet, Echo chose to pick a fight with him. I saw Echo trying to coax him into a fight from across the room and as soon as we see them staring at each other we move them. Either we go to the biscuit tin as a distraction or we split them up for 5-10 minutes and both of those actions are enough to return everything to a calm normal. At the very most both dogs usually have a bark and a growl and a lunge at each other and we grab one each and that’s the end of it. I would like to stress that these ‘fights’ are very rare thankfully and often the boys end up lying together and grooming each other afterwards.
On Thursday night Echo had brought his food bowl through to his bed in the living room and I didn’t think anything of it. He left it lying, took a pillow and settled down on the floor. Zephyr lay down near me but his bum was near the food bowl, it’s the only thing I can think of that might have set Echo off on his “Hey you!” foot stamp and eye contact. We spotted them about to fight and we moved from the sofa to intervene as we have always done. Unfortunately on this occasion we weren’t fast enough.
Both dogs went for the fight with Echo throwing himself at Zeph from across the room. Ben and I waded in and we always grab a dog each. However, on Thursday we didn’t manage the seamless break up we usually do. As I went to grab Zephyr, I somehow managed to get my hand in the way of teeth (I’m ok, just some bruising and a few surface scratches), the fact I don’t have a proper bite shows that the dogs were not trying to kill each other. There was a lot of noise and males in particular do a thing of snapping at each other, it’s the equivalent of them going “Look at me! I’m bigger and stronger than you, back off!”. However, obviously if B and myself get involved it escalates the fight so we have to move fast. Anyway, as I got a bite I lost grip on Zeph just as B grabbed Echo and pulled him away, this unfortunately left Echo open to Zeph lashing out. The noise was horrendous and I grabbed Zephyr and forced him into the kitchen while B moved Echo into our porch to safety.
So despite Echo picking the fight, he doesn’t seem to realise that Zephyr is almost 50kg (Echo is a mere 19.5kg), sadly he is never going to win against the big guy. Well Zeph has managed to get his teeth into Echo’s side. We went straight to the emergency vet.
On the night, the vet gave Echo some pain killers and antibiotics and put a patch over the worst of the wounds. As it wasn’t life threatening they asked us to bring Echo back the next day for anaesthetic, wound cleaning and stitch up. It is safer to wait for routine hours to use anaesthetic if it’s not life threatening so there is a full team around for support. Well come Friday he was put under, patched up and he currently has a drain in the wound as he has a subcutaneous emphysema (air trapped in the wound) so he is at risk of infection.
Thankfully it’s not any worse. I have no idea what got into Echo’s head that he thought this was a good idea. Both of them are feeling sorry for themselves. I don’t think they know what’s going on. They’ve had kisses through the bars of the baby gate as Echo is currently resigned to the kitchen as he’s leaking over the floor.
The wee guy is on a course of antibiotics and pain killers but after two days of feeling sorry for himself he’s starting to be his usual self. He’s got his appetite back, the chicken gravy helps!
So we have to have a think about how we deal with this all once Echo has healed properly. We are back at the vet today for a check up and hopefully they’ll give Echo a wee clean up as well.
We’ve had yet another busy few weeks, two weekends the dogs spent in kennels so that we could get on with other things. I love our kennels, the staff are amazing and the dogs are always desperate to get out the car there, so I feel a little less guilty.
So three of my friends are now engaged! It has been an exciting few months! One of the couples happens to be my new brother in law to his long term girlfriend – another Jenni so of course we had to celebrate.
So three weeks ago we headed down the road, stopping for a walk on the way down:
Dogs to the kennels, and we stayed over with my in-laws. We make the most of any visit and we’d promised my mother in-law that we would fix up her pond while we were down. So we spent the day digging out a pond (hence why best the dogs were away, the pond was like a bog!). So below is the semi finished product, we had to stop before we had finished properly as we had Jenni’s family coming round. But we will get round to finishing it off:
So that night we went through a few bottles of champagne and I cooked dinner for 7 for B and his family (Jenni’s didn’t stay for dinner). Three courses: antipasti to start, and steak with mash potato, honey roast parsnip and roasted greens for the main and then homemade Terry’s Chocolate Orange Mouse.
We were up early the next day and picked up the boys to head home and I can say that the boys were thrilled to be back in there own beds:
The following week I was on backshift so to ‘make up’ to the dogs I braved taking them to the Secret Beach by myself. We had some gorgeous, albeit cold, weather. The boys had a good run about:
I was enjoying the beach so much that I whipped off my shoes and joined Zephy for a paddle:
The water was so cold I thought my feet might fall off! But that’s what you get for paddling in the North Sea in September!
The following weekend we were away again to do some tree work. B is qualified in a number of different things and one of his skills is taking down trees. I am often roped in (excuse the pun) to be his “Groundy” (i.e. I clean up). I know it’s not dog related but thought you might want to see some of our pics:
We had two days of taking down trees and working hard, B has trained me to use one of the chippers so my job was dragging and chipping all the wood. Thankfully we had last week off so we enjoyed our time together and it was nice to spend so much time with the dogs and each other.
Bs parents came to stay on Friday night and the boys were so well behaved! They were ‘confined’ to the kitchen by the baby gate so they could see everyone and say hello but as they’d been out for a walk just before the arrival of the in-laws, they were wet from bog diving so didn’t want them all over us all. They settled down on there beds while we had food out on the table etc and they didn’t cause a fuss.
The next morning I was up before anyone else and I took the pair of them out for a 3.5 mile walks to let them have a good run. First came a lovely man with two cocker spaniels. He saw me move off the path and he called his dogs in to heel and thanked me for moving so he could pass. Zeph was a little wound up but he managed. Almost as soon as we had started walking again we came across a woman with a lab off lead. She saw me hesitate and shouted “mine’s friendly” to which I replied “unfortunately mines isn’t but I’ll move off the path”. She listened! She called her dog in and put it on a lead and gave us room as she walked passed and I couldn’t thank her enough. She was very polite and if I could’ve got closer to her I would’ve hugged her! It really makes such a big difference when we are all polite to each other. We made it past two other dogs on the way back as well as two vans with rattling trailers and not a peep from Zeph. I had the biggest grin on my face when I got back in. He was such a good dog. I am still feeling thrilled now!
As an extra treat Bs mum had a game of fetch with the dogs while I cooked us all lunch:
Zeph doesn’t like many people but he loves his ‘Granny’. He’s very gentle and patient. After they headed home we took the boys to the beach as a reward for being so well behaved. We’ve been really good trying to enforce some better manners again and we are trying to stick to it and it seems to be having a great effect!
So it’s been a busy one. We’ve even been out on our bikes, without dogs, just enjoying our new home. We’ve nearly been here for a year and we’ve still got so much to see! On the rainy days I’ve been working on some crochet items. I’ve only just learned how to do this, amazing what you can teach yourself these days. I’ve made myself some fingerless gloves for dog walking:
And my boss is knitting some unicorn mittens for my niece so I’m making dinosaurs for her twin nephews. One is finished already:
And as always the dogs are helping at every opportunity:
I will try to keep more up to date! xx
We had a wonderful weekend!
On Saturday I wanted to go a bit further a field than we usually do and so we packed the car up and all four of us headed North. B wanted to show me the beach at Bettyhill so off we went on a 230 mile round trip. Although we live near Inverness, it may shock some of you that to get to the Northern coast it is still about 2 and a half hours by car. It was a bit of dreery day but as you’ve guessed from previous posts, the worse the weather the more I love it! So off we went. We picked up some lunch in a small town so we could have a picnic which ended up just being in the car but the views were fab.
We made a few stops on the way up to make sure the boys were happy. One of the places we stopped at was just magnificent. We saw a little track leading off from the road so thought we’d stop and give the boys a quick walk which turned into a longer walk. As we came through the tree line the ground opened up and we felt hundreds of miles from anyone.
It was breathtaking really. And silent except for the wind blowing. I could’ve spent days sitting there.
As you can see, the boys thought it was pretty good too. Some good running about and massive leaps from Zephy. After this we headed back to the car and continued our journey.
The beach was gorgeous. The only people there were some surfers taking in the waves. Zeph must’ve thought the soft sand was snow as he kept burying his face in it and digging and then running in circles. He makes me laugh!
Absolutely love the picture above. I think I’ll get it framed, only thing is I wish I could take that bloody halter off but his happy face says it all. They had a wonderful time and slept most of the way home.
On Sunday I left B and Zephy behind and Echo and I went off to make a new friend. My new boss, W, was up for a long walk and we had originally set off with the intention of doing 12.5 miles…we managed 8 and stopped at a pub. Thankfully her wife came to the rescue and drove us back to our cars! So lazy of us!
Anyway, W brought along one of her three dogs, Oscar. He is a very sweet golden retriever and Echo and him had a great time running about together on our walk. We found a track that lead from Dufftown to Aberlour and is off road for all of the walk bar about 1 mile at most.
There were cows…
A very Scottish walk for any visitors!
And of course there was mud…lots of mud:
Thankfully, there was also a stream and both dogs had a good dip before we headed to the pub for some food!
8 miles wasn’t bad and wee Echo was suitably tired out so although it wasn’t our intended distance, it did the job:
I think we are getting quite good at this free time and weekends thing!! Loving it!
I apologise the next few updates may be a bit out of order but we’ve been up to so much over the last few months. Exploring lots of different places.
I’ve been a bit braver again and I’ve had the boys out by myself a bit more. I thought I’d start off with going back to Culbin woods. They are huge! So less likely to run into too many people and obviously my bigger concern, other dogs.
Well, we managed two walks there just me and the boys and only one incident where Zeph had a grumble at a lovely big pointer out for a run with his owner. However, I couldn’t be more grateful for the owners reaction. He stopped, put his dog on lead, said not to worry and continued on his way. When we got back to the car I had put the dogs in the boot and the owner with the pointer turned up. I apologised for the scene that Zeph tried to cause and he replied with “ah don’t worry about it, no one got hurt it was just noise.” I nearly hugged him! If only more people could be that understanding.
So, I skipped ahead there! Of course I have lots of pictures to share we had two different walks in the same woods and came across a total of 2 people, one with a horse (far enough away we had no drama) and of course the gentleman with the pointer. Other than them, no one. Not a soul. Oh what bliss can be found amongst the trees!
As you can see from the pictures both walks were very sunny and quite warm so obviously the boys had to have a few mud baths and as I mentioned, there was a horse. Well what comes from a horse that dogs just love!? POOOP! So of course they waded and dived and rolled and ate in some cases so when we got home it was absolutely bath time!
Echo dislikes a bath hence no photos of him as I have to hold him in place to get his shampoo. Zeph on the other hand comes towards me for a bath in the garden and stands wonderfully for a good massage while I shampoo him. However, he does get a bit over excited and has to burn off some energy half way through:
Bath time play time, who could ask for more!?
I was off on Monday as I was due a day off for working this weekend. As I said in a previous post, it’s usually only Echo that gets to go to work with B…well we all went! I don’t know what I was thinking having a day off and going to someone else’s place of work instead but there you go. Since I was going along obviously Zephy got to join us too for a wee treat. So all of us packed into the truck, packed lunches included, and off we went to work.
The boys and I had a great time! We did help B out a little by checking some trees and some fences etc but mostly…mostly we just ran about!
The plus to B’s job is that he access to the occasional planting site and we were lucky that one of the sites we visited that day was fully fenced in, 6 foot all the way round! So, you’ll be excited to hear that Zephy was off lead for the first time in 2 years!! There was rolling:
Absolutely loved seeing the big happy face! I nearly had a wee cry seeing him be a dog again without fear of “who’s round the corner?” “What if he runs off?” etc etc. We were only on the planting site for about a half an hour but it was the best half an hour we’ve had in a long time!
For the rest of the day we helped out in other parts of the woods, and by helped out I mean continued to do what we liked and run about!
All in all I think it was a good days work. All of us out the house for a full day, the boys slept soundly once we got in and they looked so happy in the back of the truck:
Not a bad view for a lunch break!
Echo often gets the pleasure of joining B out at work these days. Spaniels seem to thrive in being allowed to run about all day and it means come night time he goes straight to his bed and seems very content. Unfortunately, it’s mostly not possible for B to take Zephyr with him. This is down to the fact he has to be on lead and is reactive to other dogs obviously, so this makes it hard for B to be able to do his work and doesn’t make a good impression to any land owners.
As I do shifts, I had a weekday off recently and decided to take Zephyr out on his own little adventure. I found a route that took us up Cairn Daimh which is in the Cairngorms. It should have been 6.5 miles but ended up being 7.5 miles as I got a wee bit lost. But a mile out isn’t bad!
It’s not a massively dog friendly route as Zeph and I had to attempt going over a few styles which the big guy was not happy about. The first part of the walk also saw us walk through a few fields which I am adamant contained the entire Sheep population of the Cairngorms!! The big guy was amazingly very good considering. It was very tiring however hiking up the fields and holding onto him. He was quite excited to start with but the further we went the more relaxed he became which was great. By the time we got to the view point above we’d past all the sheep and took a wee break. Although it was cloudy it had gotten quite warm so I made Zeph lie down in a wee stream to cool off:
Further ahead I was able to put him a stretchy lead so he could have a good nosy about us as we ambled along.
The walk became a good mix of walking through fields, woodland and then up onto the hillside. We were treated to a good strong wind which helped us both cool off.
And we made it to the top, just the two of us!
We had a wee biscuit at the top and then continued on the circular route back to the car with a few stops for a good roll about:
Not long after this I’d missed the path to the right we should’ve taken but thankfully our detour only added on an extra mile. The big guy was so good, even made it through a field of cows before we got back to the car. Although he was tired I think he enjoyed the one to one attention. Can’t deny it, I loved every minute of our walk together.
A few weeks ago my parents went off on holiday and our Wee Mo (Elmo) was off on his own little holiday to the kennels. He goes to the same kennels that I drop my boys off at so it’s quite nice that they know us all.
Unfortunately, three days in to their holiday I received a phone call from the worried owner saying that Elmo had been discovered in the morning lying on his side and he appeared stuck. He couldn’t move one side of his body and was in distress. Well I tell you my heart stopped and I felt sick. They were rushing him to the vet and they would let me know how he got on. The wee guy is 13 now so it wasn’t too much of a shock in a sense but as you’ll all know it’s never easy. I decided to call my parents in France to let them know. It was awful trying to decide whether to call or not: on the one hand my mum always said don’t call, just tell her when she gets back, on the other hand, my Dad doesn’t like surprises and likes to be eased into things. He has said before that he never wants to come home and be handed a collar. So I called them. I felt terrible. I know I would like to know if it was my boys.
So the update I received soon after was that our wee man had had an embolism on his spine and its almost like the equivalent of a stroke in humans but thankfully doesn’t affect his brain. The vet informed us that if he didn’t improve in a few hours we’d have to think about the options which unfortunately was only one option, PTS. I couldn’t bare to make the decision but if it was in his best interests I would’ve. My auntie and I were making plans to be with the old boy if that was the case, we wanted him to have some family there.
For those of you that haven’t read the first post, Wee Mo or Elmo was my first dog and he became my Dad’s dog really so when I moved out he stayed with my parents. He’s now 13 but has been old for some time. He hasn’t aged well poor man.
Anyway, I can hear people shouting at the screen going “tell us what happened!”.
Amazingly, with a lot of support from the kennel staff (the kennel is 3 hours away from my house), Wee Mo has made a full recovery!! When I say a lot of support I really mean it. The staff were amazing. They used syringes to help the old boy drink, and held him up to eat and they fashioned a harness to support his back end while he pee’d etc. Absolutely above and beyond. This is why I don’t leave my boys with anyone else.
Mo went from not being able to move one side of his body to being back on his feet albeit a little more shaky than usual. He was already a bit unsteady on his feet before so this has made it a little worse but all in all, you wouldn’t know he’d had such a traumatic event in his life. I went to pick him up a day earlier than planned for my parents, my Dad was worried. Thankfully, when I brought the wee man home he seemed to perk up. I guess he’s like all of us. You feel ill and you just want to go home! The first thing he wanted was nap and to check his toys over:
I had to leave his harness on for a few hours so I could help him balance and I had a few strips of towel from the kennel to put round his bum initially. He very quickly started looking for his independence which was amazing. My only problem was that he wasn’t keen on water, which we all know is a problem! I tried everything, and he wasn’t interested but he was happy to eat slightly moistened food so that was a start:
When my parents arrived the wee man perked up again and was thrilled to see his mama and papa. I told my mum about the concern over his water intake. The conversation went as follows:
Me: “Mum, he isn’t drinking anything. He’s not interested!”
Mum: “what water did you give him? Is it filtered?”
That’s right folks, filtered water!! The Prince is so spoilt he won’t drink tap water! As soon as my Mum put filtered water into his bowl he had a huge gulp of it. I couldn’t believe it!
Important part of this story, Mo is doing great! He’s a wee trooper! And he is continually being spoilt.