Sunday, 26 August 2012


It is 1.52am.

I am sitting on my own with a glass of Southern Comfort with Pear and Elderflower water an odd combination deemed necessary due to my lack of shopping skills, I forgot the lemonade.

Flute and Tips sleep restlessly in their beds and I have just returned from the vet.  I wonder how many people are facing the same emotional journey right at this minute yet no matter how many share your journey you are on your own.

Shy is dying.  Tonight made that crystal clear to me and I am not ready.  Yet what am I fighting against?  After an afternoon of some restlessness he still didn't settle, endless pacing lying down only to jump up that lovely smelly mouth tight with pain his whiskers that always seem to tickle my face or hand tight pushed forward.  His eyes are wide and ears are high on his head a pose once reserved for bunny hunting.

Is now the time?  I look back on my day with him he has eaten his meals with his usual relish, wandered like a drunken man down to the green and even wandered off to take in all those delicious smells.  He supervised our outside jobs before getting bored and heading back indoors.

We even had a nice family portrait where all I could see was my once strong lurcher looking tired and a little forlorn.

Teatime came around with that look he gives me ' surely it is time for tea by now'.  I cooked them all some fish and brown rice with some carrots thrown in for good measure.  Not sure he noticed mind as it is always gone so fast.  But the restlessness is there.  An awful uncomfortable endless time of movement.  The short spells of rest are quickly broken by a sharp jolt and up he gets struggling to his feet only to wander some more panting.

I wait for his painkillers to kick in and when they don't I give him some more.  I walk with him whilst he toddles down the road up the village so he can sniff once more who has been past.  I feed him a little more and wait.

He gets more restless and I feel panic rising.

Soon enough it is midnight and he still hasn't managed to sleep for longer than ten minutes.  I phone the vet knowing we can't pace all night when a whole night is an eternity in his world.

We wait whilst the vet heads to the surgery and we drive there.  He can't pace and just has to focus on keeping his balance but won't lie down.  I drive slowly and try not to think.  I hate getting to the vet yet feel relieved knowing it might at least help.

It is now 2.09am and I sit in the dark and wonder if I did the right thing.  Was the two injections more for me or for Shy?  Nature is cruel and I could leave him to nature although I took over mother natures job many years ago when I took him on.  So I just hope I did the right thing knowing that it is going to be a short reprieve though how short I don't know yet.  She said he has an infection and that his heart is soon beyond help so I brought him home.

He stands here with me panting, crying something I haven't heard for so long.  Maybe I wasn't brave enough but I can't take it back if I am too hasty.  it is possible to be too hasty at this stage?

I will sit with him until the morphine takes some of it away, if it does.

Then I will face it all again tomorrow.  Tomorrow is another day if we get there.  I will soon smile that the midnight dash to the vet had my old boy trying to chase the bunnies in the carpark.

It is now nearly midday and Shy is no longer with us.  After the vets visit he continued to be uncomfortable and restless.  Soon he managed to sleep and it was obvious his heart was no longer able to keep going.  He was quietly PTS and thankfully quickly slipped away with a good dose of liver pate to see him through for Bunny hunting in the happy hunting ground.  That is if Swift and Buck let him join in the fun.  

Thank you as ever to Davy who is my very own personal gravedigger and Alex as I have no doubts she helped.  Thank yo to Brucey Babes for being man enough to show what Shy meant to him and for helping when I needed it.

Shyboy, Bob, Shybob will always be my one and only Blue Eyed Boy.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How canny

Yesterday whilst dropping the dogs off, a lady putting her milk bottle out smiled sweetly and said 'I love seeing the dog running out the house over the garden wall and leaping in the van saying hello to all his friends how wonderful' She was talking about Louie and part of her breakfast routine was watching out for us to turn up in our vans to pick Louie up.  She watches whilst I park up and Rachel sends Louie out to us, Louie flies over the garden wall( making sure there is no traffic obviously) and leaps into the van eager to get out in his 'schoolbus'!

This made me think of our morning routine.  Mine is a little different from Sams but essentially we use our vans to pick up our charges for the day.  Most of you have seen inside our van but in case you haven't we have Transits with a large open plan area in the middle and four cages in the back two on top of two.  All our dogs are taught to mix although we do tend to put them in with their friends and of course so they are comfortable and safe.

All of our dogs have favourite spots and preference.  Truffle prefers the middle but detests the upstairs cage, she is happy in the back and I haven't found a dog she doesn't like sharing with.  She comes downstairs with her dad and I waiting for her to get back out of bed( she gets up has breakfast toilets and heads back up lucky girl), her time to wait at the door whilst I lock the door and we walk together down the drive.  This is where she subtly positions herself in a neat sit with her head firmly placed so I know she would like to be in the middle.  If she happens to be in the back one gentle come on Truff sends her in a trot never looking up just in case I dare to pop her upstairs.....she gently jumps in and always sweetly greets whoever is in often Phoebe or Bobby both of whom will greet back and a slow thump of their tail.  Once in she likes to settle down and have a doze, as does both Phoebe and Bobby, Bobby is partial to a doze whilst sitting up on the way out but always sleeps lying down on the way home knowing he couldn't possibly miss anything!

Louie however likes to get his moneys worth and jumps in the van and looks to see who he can play with Charlie is always inevitably in the van before him will either be ready dozing or up for a good play  Louie accepts a refusal to play gracefully and usually waits patiently for Esther.  Esther Just loves a good tussle so invited from Louie are impossible to ignore though she prefers Truffle at the moment.  Once upon a time she only had eyes for her best mate Lola and Lola for her but in true teenage girls style they fell out one day over a moments rough play and that was that a polite and affection snuggle is all you will see from these two now.

Whilst Esther and Louie make primordial noises in the back there is a noise like no other......a noise that  had me stopping in my tracks five times the first time I heard it....much like an animal in dire need, a cross between a demented Muppet and a dog with its head stuck this noise emanates from the diminutive Leyla.  Mila simply flumps down in her cage the smaller the better( a remnant from her sad beginnings) and Leyla jumps in and sits in the boarded out wheel arch.  Leyla and Roly both have a love of the wheel arches and I do giggle when I go round a corner and I can hear both of them sliding gently on the wood only to be deposited on to Mila who accepts all input, interaction or indeed insult with much joy.  So back to the ungodly( or is it undogly) noise...Leyla is St Bernard baiting, her moves would have been much prizes by Bull baiters of yore.  As Mila lies motionless only her eyes moving Leyla dives in grabs a choller and worries it before leaping back and diving onto Mila's prone body after a good bounce back she goes pushing with all her might getting under that colossal head and doing goodness knows what.  After a good ten minutes Mila starts to thump her tail, them thump!  Leyla is bashed with a huge paw and her head disappears into a massive gob.....then its starts all over again.  I often wonder how often this is played out at home, Leyla see's Mila as her playdate and Mila lives to worried by the little heathen!

Willow's fond of her upstairs cage and at time is joined by Esther and her usual cage mate is Fluffy.  Now Willow used to be a cage mate with Leyla but Leyla was a little too relentless so now Willow enjoys her comforts and snuggles with one bed and only one any others will be pushed aside and occasionally shoved out of the cage completely!  Her time in the van starts off with watching and inevitably ends up with her fast asleep.  Fluffy however likes to watch and intermittently his tail wags I haven't worked out who he is wagging with though if my two are in it ends up being them as they spend most of the time saying hi to everyone upstairs....the advantage of having long legs and a long nose!

Belle likes to just settle, she sleeps after a walk but rarely before always in a calm state of watchfulness and often the only one on guard whilst the other sleep.  When Poppy is in my van she is a cage hopper which drives me mad yet also makes me chuckle.  The gap is so small but is no match for Feral.  She has a free ranging mind that one and the grass is always greener haha.

Sam's van much like mine has a changing routine dependant on who is in the van, like mine most jump in find a free spot settle and say hi before resuming normal van activities.  Without doubt our guys prefer an open cage rather than the closed type cages that are in Sam's van( we are still waiting for our new cages once the cage man is better).

The cutest pair have to be Breeze and Megan.  The  seek each other out and snuggle in tight whilst not physically rejecting all others they share only each others space.  Unlike my van when Louie is not in Sam's van there is little play this is a snoozy van maybe saving their energy for the walk or being older and more sensible they just settle down for the journey before their day really begins!  Oscar and Bella are playful types and luckily Bella has her playmate Louie on her days Oscar isn't fussy and just plays with whoever will put up with him before settling with his brother Hugo.

Molly Mc and Poppy have a mutual respect and liking of each other and they lie nose to nose against the partition watching all there is to see from their vantage point.  Izzy likes a corner and of course being a lurcher needs a decent bed so ensures she has a good bed a couple of walls to lean on and she is set sometimes being a little reticent about leaving her spot especially if it is raining.  Jasper being Jasper is a flat out across the cage kinda guy much to the disgust of whoever shares with him I do like Nanci or Sirus's style as they just lie across him until he shares nicely.

Nanci and Milliedoodle are window hoggers that is if they can get past Murphy's huge noggin, Murphy is every dog van drivers nightmare with his constant drone, 'are we there yet' 'are we there yet' 'I wanna be there are we there yet?' He also likes to constantly check you are indeed still there( urm how do you think the van is moving my dear).  Harry likes to sit back to back to Sam until sleep overcomes hima dn down he goes a mass of golden fur.

Lastly, although we have of course missed out many, we have to mention Winifred.  No it isn't pug preference it is because she NEVER gives in.  from being a black blimp she refuses to sleep.  Of course she does sleep but she doesn't allow her eyes or body to succumb so you often have a sinking Pug in a hunched over sit with eyes still open yet clearly fast asleep.  Not one to miss out  she is always quite indignant if she lapses and should she see Sam or I leave the van there is a complaint lodged with the management.

Funny things dogs.
You just gotta love 'em

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Had a thought

I had a thought today ( and it didn't even hurt!) we have a policy of doing basic 'maintenance' jobs ourselves and trying to keep our guys as fit and healthy as we can.  So nails are done at least four times a year as the terrain we take them over means a ripped toenail is a real possibility, then we have anal glands blurgh!  It is much easier to keep a record of dogs who's glands fill up quickly and clean them on a regular basis( when required) then they don't have to have the stress of going to the vet.  Many hairy dogs also have a problem with hair growing in their ears so we pluck their excess hair( minimal amount possible to allow the normal self cleaning of the ear) hopefully before there is a problem with ear infections.  In time most dogs will get tartar build up and many of the products sold to clean dogs teeth are not only loaded with chemicals they are also what I call people pleasers....on the market and sold to please the humans rather than be of use for dogs.

From day one of coming to Petnanny we spend time with our guys, have firm but flexible understandable rules and handle our dogs constantly, from cuddling to body checks.  This means we build up a mutual respect and they understand we may ask them things they dislike or feel uncomfortable but it will be rewarded with something quite amazing.

This works so well we can descale the dogs in the field without restraint.

So if we work on an average
Trimming four times a year  average groomer charge £5 per trim      Total £20
Glands four times a year       "           "             "         £5 per session Total £20
Ear Plucking                                                               £5 per session Total £15
Teeth descaling average price  per session                  £100

It all soon mounts up.  Obviously a vet can do a much better job of cleaning and polishing your dogs teeth unfortunately to do so involved a full day of upset including a general Anaesthetic.  Whilst I am happy to anaesthetise dogs when required I will do all I can to prevent the need for one.

So why do we do it yet don't charge?

I know all of our customers work hard to pay whatever is required to keep their pups in good order.  We charge a normal dog walking rate and turn it into an extraordinary service because we all gain from it.  I gain from healthier dogs, appreciative owners and the satisfaction that we make a difference.  The owners gain even if it means there is the occasion nag from a weight obsessed nanny and the dogs gain from limited trips to the vet, an understanding that sometimes you have to put up with stuff and of course a fresh pair of eyes keeping an eye on them.  Simples!

Mickey is my inspiration

The sight of Mickey bum scooting set the theme of today so we donned the gloves!

The following dogs had their anal glands emptied and all fine( no infections) I am delighted to say:


Only two had muzzles on as a precaution.  Duke was very good so hopefully next time we won't have to use on and we always use a muzzle when handling Harvey!

Very pleased with them and have to say you do feel sorry for the likes of Harry who is always mortified and Izzy who clearly felt she had been abused whilst standing stock still like a treasure.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The dangers of paperwork

Now I can think of many dangers whilst doing paperwork but the most time consuming one is reading and updating the pet forms.

Not only do you lose hours you also are transported back in time.  Odd little notes I have written in the margins give you a snippet of a time you have nearly forgotten.  

Drift was an old man.  A grumpy old man, his margin note was Very very fat, pretty grumpy actually really grumpy, bad hips?  Bites and doesn't like men!    He wasn't even old but when you met him he was like a little ol' grumpy man.  You could serve a full english breakfast on his back but you know he was canny.

Dylan a chocolate lab.  Just a pup when I went to go see him he had already worked out exactly what he wanted and that was mostly what his owners didn't want him to do.  Oh he was hard work!  This time it wasn't so much what I wrote on his margins as remembering vividly being gutted that by the time we have worked hard to turn him into a well rounded lovely dog they moved.

Denzel and Harley were tall elegant cats Both so alike that I had written clear instructions on who was who by their markings....Denzel was mostly white with a black nose where as Harley had a white chin mostly black with white.  Once I got to know them I didn't need the descriptions after reading them it took me right back.

Dill and Daisy....two Westies.  I had never used a spray collar until I had met Dill.  I phoned my dad one day, I probably didn't need the phone I still remember him wincing as he answered the phone and I screeched down the phone that I wasn't gonna walk this doe eyed, white haired wassick ever again and he was going to have a longline surgically attached to him if he ever wanted to be let off again.  Dill ran off in an secure area( no mention of him being a confirmed runaway on his form!)whilst I practised recall with him, he refused to come back.  I actually smiled for just a moment when it started to rain and I walked quietly to my van after locking everything up and sat and watched him gad about thinking what fun he was having, soon to be followed by where is everyone else I want to play chase, to starting to feel a bit bored, then he decided he didn't like rain so he sat under a tree.  I waited still.  It took four whole hours.  Then he gave up, I called him and he came.  Sigh.  Needless to say I like a challenge so continued to walk him on a line until I set it up with a spray collar and as he ran off I timed it spot on and he stopped like he had had a bucket of water on him.  Running off thereafter no longer seemed the best game ever.  It is the only thing that ever worked.  The owner admitted that if she ever let him off she just gave up and headed home he found his own way home!

Flopsy was in a way well named.  Without doubt the fattest cat I ever met.  Now Tom was always and is still way to big but Flopsy was in a different league.  I even remember her reaction to my face when I first saw her.  Already unusual this queen was ginger and ginger cats are generally male.  But she looked like she had consumed a beachball.  Being as diplomatic as ever I quietly but firmly stated I would not be continuing to over feed her whilst the owner went on holiday!  Slightly incredulous I stared when her mum said she doesn't like to jump so it was safe to let her in the garden.  Urm she couldn't get up the step never mind jump the fence I even wonder if the fence wouldn't splinter!  It took time but with me helping( nagging, cajoling in fact anything to get her to lose weight) she managed to become at least just plump.

Grace.  Dalmation bitch.  Suffers occasionally from a sore back.  How was I to know Grace would steal my heart?  A stunningly beautiful bitch it is hard to just describe her as a dalmation bitch.  I was lucky enough to walk Grace daily for many years and even seeing her form makes me smile and sad.

Isis and Hedra's form states simply and clearly.  NO RECALL in bold letters.  Mmmm I recall tested these two and these were two huskies I knew recall training would merely be done via a longline always held firmly!  Even at the field completely fenced in they would leave you instantly and patrol the field endlessly hoping to find a hole or escape route.  I once received a phonecall off a very calm owner asking if I was heading for Stanley.  I had said funnily enough I was and why?  Oh Isis and Hedra have headed that way.  WHAT?!!!!!
Sure enough they had escaped from the garden went straight along the road through Perkinsville, along to the A693 and were trotting hard on the path up the A693.  I nearly fainted.  They were eventually headed off the road and trapped in a corner before they were caught.  Still trotting and barely tired.

Tyler was the very first official dog I took on and being a husky I learnt a lot from him.  His recall was excellent after some years of practise though we couldn't trust him near sheep, oh when I had him he thought Sheep were the supermodels of the dog world.  Strange lad haha.  We had so many adventures with Tyler and later Tegan but I will always remember him for being the first and teaching me so much.

Barney the cockers form merely stated.  Could be interesting.
Oh lordy he was like many red cockers at that time he was a split personality.  Willing to use whatever arsenal he had to prove his point he would come out to say hi ask to go with me then walk behind the sofa.  You certainly didn't go behind the sofa to get him or you would feel his teeth so I worked out ingenious ways of persuading him to come and get his lead on.  His barking made my ears and head ring not helped by grandma Barney saying you best get him he bites me!  He had never been taught recall mainly because when he came back he would bite so we played a merry game of come with me but lets just agree to respect each others space.  His was a management issue rather than train for a better temperament.  We trained and he learnt but if the red mist came down he would even bite himself.

Occasionally the warning or note was more about the owner.  One who shall remain anonymous made me feel I needed a lie down afterwards.  No wonder the dogs were up a height as the owner resided high up in the stratosphere....Now I can talk( no kidding?) and I talk fast but nothing compares to this customer. I eventually learnt to tell him to stop and just tell me in a few words what he meant.  He fell out with everyone and everything so it came as a bit of a surprise when I had to 'sack' him as a Petnanny dad because of bad behaviour!

Another lady I worked with was a Vicar or was she a parson/ priest eek?  She had two border terriers.  The notes in the margin said:  Bad with dogs, bad with people.  Will kill little animals and owner bad payer!  Unfortunately I have no idea how I knew and indeed why I took her on if I knew she wouldn't want to pay!  The dogs were noisy and reactive but far better than I hoped and they enjoyed their training but indeed she was a terrible player and I had more bouncy cheques off her than I have ever had bouncy balls.....a woman of the cloth too tut tut

One booking form had doodles on and I'd put never met a Rastafarian rabbit before.  SHe was very difficult to groom so I was booked in to groom her bunny whilst they were away.  Now this did bring me out in a cold sweat.  Angry bunny, dreadlocks and a pair of scissors will strike fear into the heart of most professionals.  Rabbits skin is like tissue paper.  Literally but the alternative was her getting fly strike again( before I cared for her) so we gently battled on for a whole week snip by snip and I was proud to have on one tear in Rasta Rabbit!  Shudder

Jessica didn't really have any interesting insights in her margin but I do remember her vividly.  All the owners I meet are dedicated to their dogs( in degrees) you don't book and pay for a Petnanny unless you dearly love your dog.  Jess's mum loved that lab with all her heart.  I had to go for weeks and weeks before she entrusted her baby to my individual care.  She was such a lovely peachy colour and again too fat so we worked slowly on reducing her weight.  Over time I wasn't needed and I didn't meet up with Jess and her mum for some time and what a suprise it was when I met them.  Jess had had a heart attack some years down the line and she was fitted with a state of the art pace maker up in Edinburgh.  One of the first pet dogs to be fitted with one.  She looked fit and well, a lot slimmer and other than the shaved areas and scars I would never have known.

Denby's margin read.  Golden retriever or polar bear?
He was big.  I mean St Bernard big.  I am guessing if someone gently secretly sent off a dna test there would be Pyrenean mountain dog in there!  Looking back what struck me most was the Denby size unhoovered marks left behind.  A clear statement that sleeping dogs where left to lie in this household.  He had a knack of lying down when in disagreement of your suggested route.  Inevitably because the route you had chosen was a longer slightly more strenuous route.  Having never been moved before he was quite taken aback when he lay down in the road in front of a car attached to me and I bit by bit shifted him.  Sweating and cursing not unlike the day though far less dramatic than the day the great Dane Harley did the same on Saltwell road infront of a bus full of passengers.  He never tried it again I got the impression he would have phoned puppyline if he had been able.

Well it is time yet again to get the sleeping dogs out of the van and give them an afternoon tootle.  I shall finish with the racist dogs.

Buffy and Willow were two West Highland Whites and their margin simply said.
They hate black dogs!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A lost Pug

A friend has lost her pug puppy whilst attending an agility show:

Here is a photo of his brother they look the same

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

When we win the lottery

Sam and I had a discussion this morning and when we win the lottery:

We shall hire a driver each to pick up the guys and gals.

We shall turn up just to do the walks and training at our facility and local walks as normal.

Our local facility shall have a groomers for our guys so we can encourage as much dirty smelly bog monster behaviours as we like.

Our own vet and nurse will do health checks and any procedures required but with minimum fuss and no anaesthetics or sedation unless absolutely required.

The facility will be at the field have an indoor arena for agility, flyball, horse riding( for Flute hehe) a hydrotherapy area for the oldies and infirm to have their treatments and a swimming pool for the water dogs.  A soft play area for all who like to injure themselves ( thankfully no longer have these dogs oops yes we do!  Murphy will have his own padded room if required hehe).

Our field will have more trees in it and a digging area for the diggers of the group.

Did I mention our chef?  For us girlies to keep slim and enjoy great food and of course for the guys and gals.

Then we will of course have a creche for all the owners to enjoy fun time whilst enjoying watching their pooches having fun as they do now.

Lastly( for now) a bedroom cos we are all gonna need a lie down after that!