Saturday, 25 August 2012

You ate what?

Digger spent most of yesterday miserable and horribly inert at times. No barking at the postman, no drooling over our dinner, only eating under sufferance when I hand fed him morsels of rice and fish. He wouldn't walk more than a few steps before giving up - I guess because of stomach cramps. My poor sweet boy did manage a momentary grin at me when I came back from walking Mojo. Needless to say we were getting really concerned, and he slept in our room so we could keep an ear on him. Throughout it all his breathing and heart rate stayed normal, so we thought we'd wait till morning before taking him back to the vets and scheduling an x-ray. (It's odd, but whenever one of our four-legged family has a crisis, it's always a bank holiday.)

Anyway, this morning he had the poop to end all poop. A proper Digger dumper.  And most of it was tough plant material (not sticks, thank goodness, so no perforation scare) that was instantly recognisable as reedmace. There was one particularly tough chunk complete with roots.

Mojo discovered reedmace a long time ago. We live along a canal with wild vegetation on the banks - in fact, the exact conditions that Airedales were originally bred to hunt along. Mojo pulls the tall stems up, then peels the tough outer layers to find a soft, floury core that's totally yummy. It was a food source our ancestors probably used before agriculture. Smart Mojo figured it out very quickly. Digger, on the other hand, has very little common sense, and seems to have just devoured the lot.

Anyway, he's feeling much better since his apocryphal toilet time. He's going to take a few days to get back to his usual self, but his appetite and joy for life are back.

Many thanks for your Airezen. It worked! Especially on a mummy who was feeling helpless and worried sick.

So, Digger...
You were only a few months old when you ate a visiting child's sock and had to be rushed to the vet.
You were about a year old when you tried to eat a fishhook with three barbs and mummy had to catch it just before it went past the root of your tongue and down your throat.
And at a year and half you've tried to top yourself with a reedmace.
Pack it in!

Friday, 24 August 2012

pear shaped

There's a great British phrase - things going pear-shaped. It's when everything just goes a bit awry. And that's been the story of the last few weeks. So the Olympic tribute went out the window.

Once the extra menagerie went home and we didn't have to keep the doors shut and half the house barricaded (dog in season), we thought we'd relax. But then my computer started having fits and I spent forever sorting out the problem. Good job too, as I've been asked to do a bit of post-production on some photos for a charity calendar. The photos are of people who work in a beautiful National Trust garden near here, and in keeping in the spirit of charity calendars they are all naked save for a strategically placed plant or watering can. Ha! I'd love to show you but I think that might be a bit too much!

Anyway, the real pear-shaped moment is Digger, who is not well at all. He's been a bit peaky for a few days and has vomited a few times; not unusual for a dog who likes to eat everything. But last night he was sick everywhere, and today he's carried on the same. He's so miserable. The vets can't feel a blockage and his temperature and heart rate seemed ok so he had an anti-vomit injection and we see how he goes. But he's not a happy chap. Completely off his food, and feeling lousy. If he's the same tomorrow we'll be back to the vets. Even if they x-ray him they may not be able to see soft blockages, and which bit to open up? I must admit we're feeling really tense and worried right now. So any Aire-zen would be appreciated.

Here's a pic of the little chap exactly a year ago, when he decided to check on my painting with a nose-poke or two.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Olympics day 8

So what Olympic sport suits a pack of four dogs? All kinds of running, of course.
Running one way:

running the other way:

and running all ways at once:

Things were going just fine until we tried to organise a proper start. Time after time, a certain young Airedale boy with fast-twitch reactions kept doing false starts:

 The starter man had to step in and read him the riot act. One more false start and you're out. Okay, okay, I'll be good, says Digger.


D is for dog.
D is for Digger.
D is for disqualified.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympics day 7

Now if there's one thing the humans in this house disagree on, it's how much football is enough football. So although one of us was hoping to avoid a football tribute, it's inevitable considering there are two bears who never tire of playing it.

There are serious tackles:

some serious teeth:

 and some serious attempts to run over the photographer:

We confess that our Olympic tribute is a little lacking in verve today, because canine chaos has arrived in our house. See the big fella below?

That's Sol, who we have for a couple of weeks every year while his people go on holiday. Well, a day before they were off this time he was hit with a horrible gastric thing that had him vomiting and pooing blood. So for the last week we've been doling out an endless array of tablets that all happen at different points throughout the day, and having to cajole him to eat. We even had to syringe water into his chops as he just wasn't drinking. Well, he's feeling much better now, thank goodness. Meanwhile, his sissy was staying with another family, but she's come into season and they have an entire male... so now we have her too. Daisy is hormonal and can't be let off the lead, Sol is feeling well enough to try to mount her continually (even though he's been 'done') and Digger is having serious issues with mummy's divided attention. Mojo is just being perfect, thank goodness. We're going to need that bottle of Ouzo when our friends get back from Greece!

Walkies looks like Ben Hur's chariot race but with the perfect country collection: two Airedales, a huge lurcher and a spaniel/lab cross. Or as we call them: two bears, a wolf and a beaver.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympics day 6

The best thing about the Olympics is that you find yourself watching sports you know nothing about and still end up cheering like crazy. I've been fascinated by the judo all week, but today things reached a peak with the finals of the ladies 78kg. I shed a tear or two, for the British woman competing in the memory of her mother, and the American winner who had to overcome appalling circumstances to get there.

Anyway, I still know little about judo. I can tell you that there are points scored for different throws. The lowest points are given for a yuko, which throws the opponent on their side. Here Mojo (at 5 months old) demonstrates how:

The highest points - and an immediate win - is for a ippon, which involves throwing the opponent onto their back. Mojo demontrates here with her pal Harvey:

Harvey was only 6 months old in these pics - he's part Saluki and is now twice the size. Even at 6 months he gave as good as he got:

Opponents can signal submission. Either by grinning:

Or by making noises like a whoopee cushion:

It didn't take long for Digger to get the rules. Just squash your sissy and bite!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Olympics day 5

So four badminton teams have been disqualified for not trying hard enough. Harrumph! You would never say that about an Airedale. Although Mojo can be selectively deaf on recall unless she sees proof of biscuit rewards.

Anyway, our tribute today has to be swimming, what with Michael Phelps being both awesome in winning and gracious in defeat, and Chad le Clos's father being spectacularly emotional and thrilled.

We're lucky to live next to a canal that has been turned into a country park (for wildlife and people). For the first two years of Mojo's life she would paddle daily but only up to her armpits. In winter she'd lick the ice to try and break through to the wet stuff. Then one day we went up into Dartmoor, got into our swimmies and took her in the deep bit of  the river. The penny dropped, and now we can't keep her out.

We keep a stash of sticks in a tree, and believe me she knows which tree it is. So in she goes.
She always has to turn to the left, probably to do with her left hip being weaker. I'm always amazed she doesn't inhale a gallon of water when carrying sticks back.

Good job Airedales have semi-webbed feet.  I love the periscope tail!

In fact, this next pic makes me wonder if those old sightings of the Loch Ness monster were simply swimming Airedales - the serpent shapes following the high-held head...

Such a happy bear. Luckily she hasn't chased after any ducks yet, but give it time.

Meanwhile, Digger is  absolutely , never ever going to get his belly wet, no-sirree-bob, not on your nelly. Heh heh. What a wimp.