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Everything posted by nickyp

  1. Hygiene Routines?

    Cricket (malt x) goes to the groomer every 10-12 weeks for the works. In between she gets bathed about monthly, depending upon how dirty she is. We keep her coat pretty short because she doesn't like being brushed, so that doesn't need doing. Most evenings I run my fingers through the hair on her belly, legs and feet and pick out any bits stuck in there. I'm planning on washing her face tomorrow because she's managed to get something in her moustache which is black and goopy looking. If it won't wash out, I'll cut some bits out. Billy (greyhound) has been bathed twice in the 6 months we've had him, mostly because he was shedding heaps and it seemed like a good way to get the dead hair out. I haven't looked at his nails because he's walked on concrete daily, but I should probably check them. If they need clipping, he can go with Cricket the next time she goes to the groomer. I'm not going to risk cutting the quick on one of his nails - the screams would deafen us!
  2. Best Bed For Extra Large Dogs

    I got a single foam mattress from Clark Rubber for Billy (lanky Greyhound). I have it folded in half so that it would fit in the loungeroom and he just fits on it. At $50 it was cheaper than their dog beds and much bigger. I'm thinking of getting him another one to sleep on in our room. He prefers to be in there with us at night and won't fit on the bed with us. So far he's been sleeping on the floor, but it's going to get too cold for that soon. The good thing about using a single mattress is that it's easy to get sheets to cover it and quilts, blankets, etc. for extra warmth from op shops, etc. and when they inevitably get trashed it's not a big deal to toss them out and replace them.
  3. My OH keeps telling me that our greyhound is obviously broken because he needs to go for a decent (at least 20 minutes) walk every day. OH has heard about "couch potato" greyhounds and wants one of those. I point out that, at 3 and a half, Billy has much lower exercise requirements than our old working breed girls did at the same age - he's just out of practice and 10 years older! Billy's breeder, who also trained him for part of his racing career, told me that he showed potential because he's fast, but he was just never interested enough in chasing to be a winner. He only won one race out of 22 starts. We see that around the house. If he's in the mood, he will chase the cats when they run, but as soon as they stop he loses interest and he has no interest in grabbing them. He can be very easily called away when he's chasing them too - he'd always rather come and have a lean and a pat!
  4. Choosing A Dog!

    As a recent greyhound convert, here's my 2 cents: Our boy Billy is a 3 and a half year old GAP dog. We've had him for almost 4 months. I think he's a bit different from a lot of other ex-racers in that he did not spend all of his previous life in kennels, so he's more house-savvy than a lot of them. He does love to lie around for most of the day and loves to sit on the couch or bed. The short coat is really easy to maintain - a quick brush every now and then cleans up the dead hair. He doesn't smell much and he is the most polite and gentle dog I've ever owned. That's the pros. The cons: He NEEDS at least one daily walk of no less than 20 minutes, 2 is better. He is a very fussy eater and it took 3 months to get to the point where he will eat every day and has gained enough weight to cover his ribs. He does NOT like to be left outside and has made a (surprisingly small) hole in the screen door to get inside when left out. I think he would be OK inside on his own, but he doesn't have to be because we have another dog. Forget about sleeping in if he wants to go for a walk, he will whinge constantly until you take him. You need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure he's not going to be too hot or too cold. He's not a watch dog in any sense of the word, he doesn't bark and would open the door for a thief!
  5. Just In Case You Didn’T Know .....

    Thank you! Reading this thread just reminded me to give Billy his evening treat of toast with a smear of peanut butter on it. He was lying on his bed, looking dejected because he thought I had forgotten. When I put it down near him he tried to eat it without lifting his head. Lazy sod ... An icecream at the beach is a time honoured tradition with dogs I own. It wouldn't be the same if we didn't do it.
  6. Emmylou

    I've been trying to come up with appropriate words for Em, but I can't, so I've stolen the ones my OH wrote for her: Goodbye, Emmylou, Puppy Deluxe Emmylou spent so long being a puppy, and waited such an incredibly long time to become a grown-up, that we almost forgot that, at fourteen years, she was an old dog. In some ways this was a blessing, because she didn’t jump over garden fences or simply push them down. And, while she still pulled on the lead, she didn’t actually pull us off our feet or flatten the children in every interaction. When she was young, I used to let her run while I rode along side her on the bike track at Point Cook, which sounds like a good idea, but she was both fast and strong. So fast that I had trouble keeping up with her on my bike, and so strong that she brought me off the bike at high speed at least once. Obviously, we went back to walking her on foot and, until quite recently, she was intrepidly exploring the neighbourhood on walks with us. Unfortunately, with her slowing down, we missed that she was properly sick, not that we could have done much more to help her. Several key organs were on the way out and, by the time we realised, it was too late to do anything but have her home with us for as long as possible to say goodbye with the time that we had. Emmylou, if you ever had the experience of meeting her, was called the Puppy Deluxe for a good reason. She came with all the optional extras – the plush coat, overdrive, and a killer smile. And, although she was mostly terribly amused with her own excessive personality, she was a kind and friendly dog, if you don’t count the few times that she flat-out harassed other animals who came too close to our son. It’s too early to wax lyrical about the Puppy Deluxe, since the feeling of loss at the moment is just like being knocked over by the dog herself, but she did have an amazing and vivid life with us and things will always be a bit less colourful without her being here in person.
  7. Emmylou

    Thank you all for your thoughts. She was, indeed, the Puppy Deluxe. It's far too quiet around here without her. I explained the idea of the Rainbow Bridge to my children and my daughter drew this picture. It shows Emmylou (black dog) being met by Indiana (brown dog) who died at the start of 2014 and my dad and my sister who both died in 2013. My sister has thrown Em's favourite red ball.
  8. Emmylou's Thread

    Our darling Emmylou (my avatar) is coming to the end of her road. I thought I'd start a thread here for her to see if anyone has any suggestions to make her path a little easier. Em had been slowing down a lot over the last few months and eating less. I suspected that her arthritis was worsening, or maybe her teeth had worn down too much and were tender (she was a compulsive chewer in her youth), but put off taking her to the vet because she never seemed really sick, just a little slower and more tired. And she was still stealing the cats' food every chance she got. She turned 14 at the start of this year and was never a dog to live life in the slow lane, so we assumed she was just wearing out. On the 10th of April I took her to the vet because she was due for a cartrophen shot and took the opportunity to talk the vet about the changes I'd observed. They took some blood and got back to me later in the day to say that her white blood cell was high and kidney and liver enzymes (I think) were off. They asked for a wee sample which we duly dropped of later in the day. They called back pretty quickly to say that Em had a bad kidney infection and would need a six week course of antibiotics, which we picked up. The next day, as luck would have it, I was admitted to hospital with an infected gall bladder, which had to be removed and I was there for six days. While I was gone OH tried to give Em her medication, but she refused it almost all the time and ate very little. When I came home last Friday I managed to get her to eat a bit and take some of her meds, but not enough. She went back to the vet on Tuesday for an ultrasound and it was decided that they would keep her to give her iv fluids and injectable antibiotics and get her eating again. They also did a biopsy of her liver. Today she started eating again and her urine sample shows that the kidney infection has gone, however the biopsy showed changes in her liver consistent with a bile duct or gall bladder tumour which has spread. So our girl is coming home this afternoon for however long we have left because I would rather have her here with us for any time - even a day - than have her never leave hospital. I don't want to prolong her life, but I want to make whatever time she still has as comfortable and pleasant as I can. I've never had this luxury - to spend some time knowing the end is near - before. Our other dog, Indiana, became very ill very suddenly and we had to make the decision to PTS quite quickly and the dogs I had when I was younger also died suddenly. I'm open to any suggestions to make Em more comfortable.
  9. Emmylou's Thread

    Thank you all again for your thoughts. I've started Em's Rainbow Bridge thread here
  10. Emmylou's Thread

    Well, I rang and made the appointment a little while ago. Today Em is worse again. OH had to carry her out to toilet and back in again. She won't eat. We'll have to take her into the vet clinic this afternoon because they're booked solid and can't spare anyone to come to us. It's not the way I wanted to do it, but I can't make her wait another day and it might be easier to leave her body there than to watch them carry her out of the house. Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. It has helped. Tassie, I'm going to talk to OH about sitting down with the kids to put together pictures and stories about Em for a book. Here's a picture of baby Em that OH found recently. So much mischief!
  11. Emmylou's Thread

    Yesterday SIL came to visit. She is one of Em's favourite people and the feeling is mutual. Usually Em would climb into her lap and spend the entire visit cuddling with her, but yesterday Em barely acknowledged her. I almost cried looking at SIL's face as she watched Em and I could see her coming to terms with what she was seeing. Em doesn't want to move for any reason. She has to be coaxed to get up and go to the toilet and is very wobbly on her feet. She will have a drink when she goes outside, but has only eaten 3 small pieces of roast chicken today. Everything else I've offered, including the bone broth, has been refused. I put her up on the couch so I could cuddle her earlier and she insisted on getting back down onto her bed. There are times when she lies there with her eyes open wide and I wonder what happening for her - is she in pain, or frightened? I'm going to talk to OH tonight about when to let her go. I think it will be by the end of the week. I've decided that I'm going to buy Em a big, showy rose bush to put her ashes under. Something with either a strong scent or really bright flowers. Something really attention grabbing to remind of her.
  12. Aaaah Life With Dogs!

    Cricket gives no warning. There's just a little cough and there it is. Em used to be very good about trying to get outside before she hurled, but she's too unwell these days and just stands still, heaving, until it comes up - usually with either OH or I standing over her yelling and gesticulating towards the door. She always looks so apologetic afterwards. Indiana (RIP) would occasionally bring up bile in the middle of the night. If the dogs were in their crates and Indi started to heave Em would bark to let us know. She saved us from many messes that way.
  13. Emmylou's Thread

    There is one class I have to attend tomorrow morning because it's the last class for the subject and I'll have to repeat if I don't go. I'd be away from home for 5 hours at most and I think Em would be OK if I was away for that long. That said, I went out with OH and the kids to do some grocery shopping this morning and drove for the first time in 3 weeks and I'm not sure if I'm up to going back to classes at all... We can see that Em is fading daily. This morning OH had to help her back up the 3 steps to the verandah after she'd been out for a wee. I can't help feeling that we're down to days before we have to make the big decision. OH has - correctly - encourage me not to get ahead of myself, so I'm focusing on now as much as I can. I roasted a chicken this morning. The bones are in the slow cooker, becoming bone broth, and in a moment I'll get some of the meat, hide Em's antibiotic in it and see if I can convince her to eat it.
  14. Emmylou's Thread

    Em is eating tiny, tiny amounts, which is better than nothing, but I really don't think it's enough to keep her going. It seems like she can only manage 3 or 4 mouthfuls at a time. She seems less well today than yesterday and has barely moved off her bed all day. She didn't get up to greet a visitor this afternoon and isn't interested in barking at the dog over the back fence when Cricket does. Fortunately I've improved a lot in the last 24 hours, so I can start to do more around the house and get to making some special meals for her. There's a chook in the freezer that I'll defrost tonight and roast tomorrow. The meat can go in the fridge for sandwiches and for Em and I'll boil the bones to make some bone broth. I'm studying full time and have to go back to classes on Monday after missing two weeks, but I really don't want to leave her. OH will tell me I'm silly because she just sleeps all the time, but I don't like the idea of her being alone if she feels unwell.
  15. Mac's Last Days

    Good to see that Mac is doing well.
  16. Emmylou's Thread

    Thank you all for your thoughts. And, yes DDD, I am still convalescing. I'm on the couch with Em on her bed near my feet. She loves attention and pats, but doesn't really like anyone lying close to her. Fortunately she doesn't seem to be in any pain, just very tired and lacking in appetite. She did eat a small breakfast of yucky cheap tinned food this morning and tried to steal the cats' food, which is a good sign. She's still finishing her antibiotics for her kidney infection and I managed to get one into her hidden in a piece of my ham and cheese sandwich - people food is almost never refused. As long as she's eating and I can get medication into her, we'll keep going. The kids have a curriculum day today, so are home from school and I explained what is happening to Em to them. They were very upset. My daughter, in usual form, is very angry that there isn't some medicine that can fix her and spent a lot of time raging about how unfair it is. She's 8 and my son is 11, so they've known Em all their lives. Although we lost other pets who they'd always known too, Em is particularly special to them. She's always been tolerant and loving towards them and has been their mate. It's interesting watching our other pets. Zelda, our 16 year old cat, doesn't really engage with anything that goes on in the house these days, but last night she came in and gave Em's head a thorough sniffing and a bit of lick - that's never happened before. Cricket, our other dog, cleans Em's head and ears every couple of hours, but hasn't tried to engage Em in play, which is unusual. And Panther, our kitten, is sleeping with Em today. As I said above, Em doesn't like anyone lying close to her and has tried to push Panther away a couple of times, but Panther just ends up closer to her each time. Here's a pic of them I took earlier: They're closer together now.
  17. Doggie Alarm Clocks

    Emmylou has a very sharp bark which is a bit like being smacked on the side of the head. When she was younger she'd use it at the first sign of daylight to wake us. She's 14 now and will sleep in, unless something wakes her (like the kids getting up early). As soon as she's awake, though, she starts. Cricket, our little malt x, has to be coaxed out of bed and there's lots of stretching and yawning before she does anything.
  18. What Food Can Your Dog Not Resist?

    Hooray for some anti-nausea meds! I know when I was suffering from vertigo a while ago and took some the relief was so great I almost cried. I hope Danny feels the same.
  19. What Food Can Your Dog Not Resist?

    I take Pantaprozole (I hope I got that right) and it does work to keep the acid down, but does nothing for nausea and I still need to use Gaviscon occasionally to settle things. I imagine Danny's meds are similar. I've heard that dairy products can cause inflammation, so the milk, ice cream, etc. may not be helping his stomach. That said, if he'll eat it ... Emmylou has a very high pain tolerance, so it took me quite a bit of work to convince the vet that she needed medication for it. Also, when at the vet, she's so stressed about being there that she doesn't behave at all normally. I know her back hurts her, but she has rarely yelped or show any sign of pain that anyone who didn't know her well would recognise as such. Is there a veterinary gastroenterologist that you could get a referral to? I don't doubt that your vet is doing his best, but it doesn't seem to be working and it might be time for a new set of eyes on the situation.
  20. What Food Can Your Dog Not Resist?

    This might have been suggested somewhere in the previous 20 pages, so I apologise if it has. What about some ginger? It's great for nausea. If he would nibble even a little bit of a gingernut biscuit it might settle his tummy enough for him to eat something more substantial.
  21. It can be very hard for elderly people to accept that their move into care is permanent. The house next door to us has been empty for nearly 3 years. The lady who lived there has gone into care, but refuses to accept that it's permanent, so the house sits there with her family visiting regularly to maintain the garden and occasionally stay for a night. They want to sell it by the old lady won't agree. It sounds the same for this elderly man. Letting his dog go may make him feel like he's never going home and that's probably a huge thing for him to accept.
  22. Emmylou has done something similar in the past when she's had a wound and licked it. Recently she developed a bit of a habit of licking the knees on her back legs - the vet thought she may have been having more arthritic pain than usual due to the cold and the licking was a self-soothing action - and she would do that sometimes after licking for a while, although she hadn't broken the skin. Fortunately, she stopped before it became an issue.
  23. With Emmylou, it has always been her attitude to everything - her willingness and optimism. She's always been up for anything and excited by doing anything or going anywhere. At 13 that has barely changed, except when her arthritis is bothering her and then it's clear to see that the spirit is still willing, but the flesh can't match it. With Cricket, it's the fact that she's such a ridiculous little creature! :laugh: She's our first SWF and, after having working dogs, it's almost impossible to take her seriously. She's a very busy little ball of fluff and she makes us laugh daily.
  24. Catalyst Tonight

    Yes, it was Corvus. I recognised her dogs too, although I couldn't hear a thing because our SWF was so busy barking at the dogs on the telly! Here's the link to the story on the Catalyst site.