Monday, 29 May 2017

A dangerous activity

There I was, out with Freda and Ziggy, giving Diesel a lovely walk down by The Water Wheel in Selkirk, when a very enthusiastic Ziggy ran at full tilt behind me and smacked into my left leg, which ended up with me on the ground and a skinned elbow and an extremely sore foot.

Freda and I collected up the dogs and walked (ok... well I hobbled) back to our cars, where I took some Arnica and then went into the cafe for a cuppa and an ice pack. However, the swelling just got larger and so I made the decision to go to The Borders General to check all was ok.

A quick phone call to friend, Lynne and then off to hers to dump Diesel and she then drove me to A&E. It only took just over an hour (which I thought was pretty good) and I was diagnosed with a severely torn ligament - luckily no break and Lynne came to pick me up.

I'm so grateful for wonderful friends, who've sorted Diesel for at least today, that I drive an automatic and that it was my left foot and not my right - otherwise I'd never have been able to drive myself to Lynne's in the first place.

The person I really felt for was Freda, who was a bit freaked by the whole thing, but is now feeling a bit better as she knows it's nothing too serious and is just pain and swelling, which will go away in due course.

Who knew that dog walking was such a dangerous activity!

Not a pretty sight!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A taste of freedom

The walkaround arranged by the puppy supervisor for Friday was cancelled due to a funeral she had to attend. That meant that Diesel's free-run, supervised by the PS, was also cancelled, but she told me to go ahead and do it on my own.

This sounds good, but to be honest I've been a little anxious about Diesel's recall. He sometimes comes and sometimes he doesn't. In fact in the garden he seldom pays any attention to me at all and will trash the flowers and eat moss and anything else he can do before even looking in my direction. Not a good start.

However, he needed to start walking off the lead and knowing what a proper dog walk entails, as for the last two months + all we've done is tramp the pavements and do lots of shopping!

So what to do? I made the decision that it might be a good idea for us to do the first free-run with another puppy who's recall was completely sound. It just so happened that on Friday I was invited over to the next village where another puppy walker, Kate, lives with her puppy, Robyn and Robyn has a great recall. We arranged to do a walk yesterday and so Diesel and I went back for lunch and a walk.

It went ok. Not brilliant as Diesel still wanted to take his time to do anything if he was engaged in, like sniffing, but at least he came back. We only managed a 15 minute walk as it started raining and also Diesel needed his lunch.

This morning I decided to brave it and take him out on his own and to my complete surprise he was excellent. He came when he was called and he ignored another dog when the owner said she didn't think her's wanted to play. It took quite a lot of treats, but I do think he's got the idea and I'm hoping it'll only get better from here as a good walk is the cure for a lot of doggy problems in my book... as long as he returns when called of course!

My only other bit of news is I've been picked to read one of my poems at the Borders Book Festival in June. I wrote it for the Borders Writers Forum Anthology and there were only 5 of us from BWF picked. I'm now feeling a bit anxious as the other 4 are well-known writers (at least in The Borders) who regularly read their work at festivals. I've only read one of mine out at a small village event way back in 2009, so I'm a complete festival virgin on that score. Funny really... I can talk to a whole conference about anything to do with work, but when it comes to my writing... well that's a different story. It'll be an experience that's for sure. Now I just have to hope it'll be a positive one!

Friday, 19 May 2017

The grand plan

Today Diesel was 16 weeks old. He went to the vet for his jags and was given an A* rating for behaviour and gorgeousness.

The gorgeousness is part and parcel, but the good behaviour was down to an exhausting day for him yesterday.

We started off by going into Edinburgh to meet up with my friend, Shirley. We went to the Market Street Cafe, where Diesel disgraced himself by barking when no-one was paying him any attention. Not great Guide Dog behaviour! But then we went for a walk around town (better known as shopping) and I have to say he was pretty good. He even passed a proper Guide Dog who wanted to say hello, but Diesel (aided and abetted by a treat) walked on by without a blink.

We also had an extraordinary serendipitous meeting. Shirley and I went to pay a visit to the Laura Mercer counter in Harvey Nicks for a spot of eye shadow and the girl that was serving us was asking about my puppy walking. It turns out her boyfriend's grandparents have Diesel's sister, Jinny. I gave her my details to give to them and they were in touch on Facebook. We're going to get the sibs together when they get back from their hols in June. How amazing is that?

Then yesterday evening I was invited to Susan and Gordon's (other puppy walkers) for drinks and nibbles and Gordon even came to pick me and Diesel up. Diesel had a wonderful time playing with his pals, Minnie (formerly Millie/Molly... don't ask) and Folly. We didn't get home until 11.30.

This morning I didn't get him up until 7.30 (we usually get up around 6.45) and when we went to the vet, he walked beautifully in Kelso, showing off his skills... but of course he was really tired from yesterday.

Consequently, next Friday, which is when the puppy supervisor is coming to Kelso for walking around and then assessing Diesel for a free run (his first off the lead experience), I've already arranged with Gordon and Susan that Diesel will be taken over to theirs the night before for a play with his pals. Hopefully this will end with Diesel being exhausted enough to behave well when the PS is down.

That's the plan anyway. I can only hope it'll work!

16 weeks and looking gorgeous!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sickness, teething and a trip south

How come the days go by so quickly? Here we are on 17th May (I've realised I've not posted in almost 2 weeks) and next month, half the year will have gone by... Xmas next!!

Okay, well... I've had a sick puppy on my hands. He's had diarrhoea, which started almost 2 weeks ago. He was given medication and a light diet and all seemed ok, but then I had to go to London and my friend, Lynne, took him and that night there was a reoccurrence. I did offer to not go (I was off the next morning), but Lynne told me it was fine. I went, feeling super guilty, but she insisted.

Lynne took him to the vet then next morning and he was given more meds and back on the light diet, with a gradual intro to his food. All was going well. I picked him up on Saturday evening and he seemed fine only to revert back to diarrhoea by the next morning. So, after consultation with Guide Dogs, he was back on light diet and I've been slowly putting his own food back in, in the hope that all will be ok. So far so good.

He's actually been teething too, which won't have helped and is due his 16 week jags on Friday, so really needs to be better for them. We'll see what the next couple of days brings.

Meanwhile my trip to London was a great success. Apart from when I got there and my mother had had yet another fall that morning and was feeling sore, but wouldn't accept any help and then didn't remember falling.

I had a lovely social time with friends and my cousin, who was over from The States. I'd actually arranged the trip to spend time with him. We went to a rather fascinating restaurant, Gauthier Soho, where you have to ring the bell to go in. Also, they don't let anyone in the door before 6.30 (when our table was booked) and so, after arriving at 6.15 and being told politely to go away and come back in 15 minutes (I wasn't the only one by any means) and wondering what I was going to do with myself, I needn't have worried. I sneezed and had a nosebleed, so had to find a toilet to go and deal with it. Thank goodness for the Pret A Manger across the street! Anyway, that took up my 15 minutes and then I went back and was let in.

It's a Michelin star type experience (with the price to match), but good fun, good food, good company and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Since getting home I've managed to finish my play and send it off. Now I keep dreaming of all the other dialogue I could have put in. Will it win prizes? I have my doubts, but an achievement is an achievement and I'm super proud I've managed that.

Diesel is growing bigger by the day... literally. He goes to bed and comes out every morning even more leggy and with bigger paws than the day before. He's either going to be a big dog, or look extremely silly and I'm not betting on which of those two it might be!

Diesel showing his two missing top teeth

True relaxation with his best friend, Teddy

Friday, 5 May 2017

It's a dog's life

It's felt like a busy week, except of course that it's not been... just feels like it.

Diesel has had some lovely playtimes, some of which were meant and some definitely weren't! He had a wonderful time with Oscar, who's 18 months, on Sunday. They raced round and round the garden, played tug and did quite a bit of playfighting. 

Diesel with his new best friend, Oscar

Then on Tuesday we had puppy class. Diesel immediately spotted Oscar and decided it had to be playtime. Then there was Folly and Milly and Robyn to name a few and that was that. One decidedly badly behaved puppy who wouldn't do a thing he was asked, apart from a great recall, which surprised everyone.

Wednesday we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh to meet up with William (better known as Prince William) a 9.5 week old retriever, who is absolutely gorgeous. He's a big boy and looks like a teddy bear. Diesel thought it must be playtime again and I struggled to get him to walk nicely, which in the end I gave up as a lost cause and we went for a cuppa. Lovely to sit in the sunshine and enjoy some warmth though. I've decided if William is the Prince, then Diesel is the court jester!

Court Jester Diesel and Prince William

From the Botanics we headed for Portobello to meet up with a new boarder. She's going to take Diesel for a day later in the month when I have a writing event to go to. He loved it at hers as she had a great plant at Diesel height and he spent an hour being told off for keeping on attacking it. At least she hasn't refused to take him.

Yesterday my car needed something sorted and so we were given a courtesy car so I could get about. Diesel immediately decided that the lever that moves the seat back and forward was a far better toy than his monkey. I now have to pay for a new one. Oh dear! He was definitely in the dog house for that one!

And from that disaster we went off to Susan and Gordon's, so that I could air my woes and Diesel could play with his chums, Milly and Folly.

Milly looking adorable

Diesel was warmly welcomed and even got to sit on Susan's knee for a cuddle.

'Don't take my pic!' - Oh dear - too late!

Before finally heading home and crashing for the afternoon.

Exhausted at last!