Monday, November 30, 2009

The Operations

There's a sniff of anxiety in the air here at Barkingham Palace. Today is the day that Ellie has been taken to the vet for her spaying and for the dew claw that has loosely dangled from her leg since she was a puppy.

I'm told that both operations went well and she is, as I write this, currently trying to stand up after the anaesthetic. We can collect her at about 15:00hrs. She has a single stitch on the dew-claw wound, and will need to wear some sort of sock to stop her nibbling at it for a few days.

Although I felt sure that the vet would do a good job, and despite knowing that both operations are, in the grand scheme of things, quite routine operations, I hated leaving Ellie at the vet this morning. Ellie and I are very much a team and we have been since day one. I work from home and she is with me all day. When I go out, she comes with me. When I do things, I involve her too. That's how it's always been and anything else is really quite alien to both her and to me. I felt that I was letting the team down a little this morning. If I could have stayed there with her, I would happily have done so but alas, that's not how it works. But anyway, it's done now, all but the healing. Something tells me that Ellie isn't going to be one of those dogs to want to sit and heal for long. That should be fun!

This morning before the operation, I swear, we watched as she went to fetch the phone. Jan joked that perhaps she was urging us to cancel the operation! No chance of that. There's only so many phantom pregnancies that anyone can handle!

In other news, Monty has been to stay with us again, this time for a week. He left us again on Saturday night. I managed to snap the above photo of the three - Monty, Ellie, and Teal'c the Rottweiler - all together in the living room. Now that is a blend of breeds that you don't get to see together every day!

It will be a quite time here at Barkingham Palace for a few weeks now as we give Ellie time to recover from her operations. However, I do have a couple of new dog-related projects that I am working on which I hope to be able to reveal to you guys shortly. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Spaying is Booked

There is progress at Barkingham Palace. For me personally, I am delighted to report that the issue with my fingers has gone. I went to bed one Tuesday night with them hurting as they had been for weeks and weeks to an ever increasing degree. I awoke the next morning to find them completely fine. Answers on a postcard to the usual address for that one. Suffice to say that I have cancelled the hospital appointment. It would have been nice to know what caused it, but frankly, I'm just pleased to have full and painless mobility back in my hands.

As a result of this, and with Mavis now having passed away, I've been able to spend time processing the backlog of photos taken from various events.

Here is a slideshow from the Hougham Fun Day in August. Photos are available for purchase from my photo store.

I've also purchased brand new uber powerful computer equipment to make processing much more fluid and less taxing too. It is amazing how much more quickly I can process the photos now.

In other news, Ellie is getting spayed on November 30th. I was a little staggered at the price quoted from our vet: £175+ any additional costs of dressings etc that 'may be required'. Then we had to pay an additional £23 just to have her checked over to make sure she was fit and healthy - that took all of three minutes. After returning home, I checked with friends of ours who recently had their two Border Collie bitches spayed locally. They used a different vet. So I called their vet and am having it done for £118.20. Much better!

So, after the 30th, she will be in recovery at home, banned from exercise for at least a week I'm told. Poor ol' Ellie. All together now....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spending Time with Hoolie...

When you're a dog person as I am, dogs punctuate certain moments of your life in a similar fashion to how particular songs do. Hoolie, the black Labrador that you see in the photo to the left, will, for example, always be the dog who stayed with us throughout Mavis's funeral. He was a real comfort to have around.

Hoolie is the latest dog to have passed through Barkingham Palace as a home-boarder. Having stayed with us for eighteen nights, he's also the dog who has spent the most time with us in one stay. At the risk of reading like a sycophant, I absolutely loved having him stay. Again, similarly to the case of 'the Doodles', some dogs just take you by surprise with their charm. Hoolie is, for me, an almost perfect blend of energy and calm. He can have moments of incredible energy which makes for great walks. He certainly loved running around the fields with Ellie, and even allowed Ellie to practise her herding on him. But then, in the house, he just relaxed and you barely knew you had him. Though I did consider calling the Guinness Book of Records to see if he could take the title of world's fastest eater. I swear that it took longer for me to put the food down to the floor, than it took for him to swallow it!

It didn't take him long to learn what a soft touch I am, as he managed to join me on the sofa after just a few days. That is one area where he most certainly does differ from the Doodles. Having two JRTs on a sofa with you is nothing like having a dog the size of Hoolie on the sofa with you, let me tell you! Don't tell the Doodles, but I've had to put Hoolie in joint first place for the title of my favourite boarding dogs.

Ellie got on really quite well with Hoolie too. There were several times where she just laid her head on his chest and went to sleep. Isn't romance a wonderful thing... And then, to tell you what a charmer Hoolie really is, a day or two after he left, he sent us some flowers to thank us for the stay! Hmm, thinking about it, maybe he sent them to Ellie? Regardless, they were a lovely gift, though we do wonder what other trouble he's been getting into with his online credit-card shopping!

As Hoolie left on the Wednesday, two pugs, Bert and Ernie, joined us on Saturday (Yesterday.) They are now with us until next Saturday. They have come at a good time really. We believe Ellie was entering into a second phantom pregnancy. She was showing all the signs again. However, Bert and Ernie seem to have distracted her, which is a good thing as we want to get her spayed next month.

So far, they are proving to be good dogs. An occasional bout of energy, but they spend most of their time sleeping together. They really are very cute when you see them together....

In other news, Ellie is doing well. As mentioned already, she is on the cusp of another phantom pregnancy, but we're hoping that she will through this one as we so desperately want to get her spayed next month. Aside from that, it can't be nice for her. The discomfort in my fingers has now turned to bouts of pain as opposed to just discomfort, which is not helped, I suspect, by the cooler weather we are experiencing. I shall be very glad to get to the hospital at the end of November. There are already certain tasks that I am finding quite challenging and it is this that I want to remedy more than anything. Luckily, I can still operate my camera, but the time spent at the computer to process the photos, is just too much at the moment, due to my fingers being locked around the mouse for prolonged periods. I am shortly purchasing a brand new professional camera so that the time needed to make post-processing edits is minimised. That should help me incredibly. (Not to mention those who are waiting to see their photos, I suspect.)

My brain seems to have dried up in regards to thinking up new tricks for Ellie to learn. Maybe it's just because we've had quite some time of having Jan's mum's illness to deal with, as well as the problem of my fingers. Jan's mum is now at peace and hopefully things will start moving on my fingers after the hospital visit so that we can get back to normal at Barkingham Palace.

Finally, both Jan and I would like to thank everyone who helped us both during the illness and passing of Jan's mum, Mavis. Whether that help came by way of cards or messages of support, offers of dog-sitting, company, or anything else, it was hugely appreciated. Thank you.