When my husband was diagnosed with MS some 13 years ago, it was a shock, from which in some ways, we are still to recover. The problems that sprang immediately to mind were how his mobility would be affected, could we cope financially and would it affect our animals.
Having owned German Shepherd Dogs for the majority of our married life, we were used to the strenuous exercise and mental stimulation that this particular breed required. Zak (our GSD at that time), was a mere youngster and was already enjoying the prolonged walks and regular training that Doug provided. We were sailing into the unknown and as anyone who suffers from MS will testify, it is a relapsing remitting condition. This makes the symptoms variable and unpredictable, and you are forced to face the uncertainty of when new relapses will occur.
In the years that followed I noticed a big difference in my husband. In some respects his life with Zak became almost regimented. A strong bond between dog and owner had already been forged, but Doug had become to rely on the regularity of their walks and even lengthened their duration! Zak’s devotion was uncompromising and it was almost as though Zak’s presence increased Doug’s determination to remain well and throughout their years together our dog remained a real focus for him to retain his mobility. Despite setbacks, Zak’s walks took priority and remained so until we eventually lost him some 15 months ago to cancer.
Our grieving for Zak had pushed us both to our emotional edge, but I will always be mindful of the wonderful gift that our dog had given Doug and the determination to continue as normal a life as MS would allow.
We now have our fourth German Shepherd whom we have named Luika. Ironically he also has health problems, being diagnosed with cow hocks at an early age. This condition actually limits the amount of exercise that he can enjoy, which in some sense is a little comfort. I have now taken over the training, but Doug continues his walking duties, with all the enthusiasm and gusto he shared with Zak. Luika is but a year old, yet already I am beginning to see those early signs of blind devotion.
Luika has been doing extremely well with his dog training, and this morning was no exception.
He runs freely with the bigger boys in class, but now when class begins he is starting to find his manners.
He has one particular friend, whom he constantly seeks out, so it is vital to keep class order that they remain apart. I am hoping to post some up to date photo’s after next weeks class.
Did I also mention that the Specialist has given Luika’s hips the all clear? Our appointment was a month ago now, and we were extremely apprehensive, but hugely relieved to when the examination confirmed that it was no more than a slight malformation of his back legs, which should not prove too much of a bother to him.
We have now increased his exercise and upped his socialisation, since this is extremely important for young dogs.
Stay tuned for our next installment.
As our last few bookings our confirmed and with Christmas almost upon on us, my thoughts at this time of the year, inevitably turn to those poor homeless pets who languishing in rescue shelters. No crackling fire to warm themselves upon, no hearty dinner or long Christmas walks. Just a cold empty kennel and maybe the odd glimpse of a Christmas tree, if their kennel, pod or cage happens to be situated by the reception area.
I watch with amusement as Melody and Edna paw at the brightly colour baubles that adorn our tree, and cannot stifle a giggle, as Luika tries in his own clumsy way to gate crash their game. In fact, that’s just what he did the other day and the tree quite literally crashed to the floor, tinsel and all! I rather think that he frightened himself the most, since the next few hours saw him eyeing the tree with suspicion rather than the source of his amusement.
Last Christmas our two cats enjoyed the festive period at the RSPCA shelter in Aylesbury. We had chosen them a week before and although we understood the policy of not allowing animals to be re homed over Christmas, we were extremely saddened to think of our two scamps sharing a small pod together, when they could be in the comfort of our warm home.
As Luika nuzzles my arm again in pursuit of another throw my Kong game, I decide that this year, all of our unwanted presents to be sold, with the proceeds going to a local animal charity. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful if all animal lovers followed our lead. If we all raised just £5.00 each, it would help rescue centres all over the country to buy a few extra cats of food, another box of biscuits, or even a few toys to keep their inmates busy until they too, can find their forever home for next Christmas.
My mum has very kindly allowed me to take over her blog for today’s post.
She keeps saying that I am a big boy now, and I am allowed into the garden by myself, but under supervision. I am a bit partial to digging, and just love the taste of mum’s roses and flowers! I also enjoy a quick paddle in the shallow end of the pond, and chasing the frogs is great fun!
Anyway, on Sunday morning, I had my usual constitutional. There are very few flowers left now, and those in the tubs are being well guarded, so I had to make do with a bit of digging behind the lavender bush (I can’t be seen there). Now where was I? Oh yes, I must have disturbed the frog, since it sprang into the air and darted towards the pond, with me in close pursuit. I honestly cannot remember what happened next only that I was up to my neck in water!!!!
My dad must have heard the commotion, and luckily came running over to my rescue. I was absolutely soaked and even though I say it myself, a bit whiffy!
Mum came home and decided that I needed a proper bath, so the next thing I know I am being frog marched into what looked like a huge bathroom and lifted into a sink! I had already received one soaking that day and didn’t count on another, but a lovely lady called Diana from Self Service Dog Wash at Woodside Animal Farm took over from my mum and it was really quite enjoyable!
I even got a nice treat before leaving, so a quick message for all dogs in the Beds area that are in need of a good wash. Go and see Diana and if you’re really good, you may even get a treat afterwards. Now where is that darn frog?