Willow had her last check-up at the vet for her re-built knee on Monday. The vet signed her off, gave her the all-clear and said we could keep building up her walks by 10-15 minutes each week and – finally- she was allowed off the lead again when out on walks.

So the last couple of days when we’ve taken her out for a walk, we’ve done just that. The first time we made her sit and unclipped her lead she looked at us as if to say, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ but after very little encouragement she was off like a shot, tail wagging, tongue out, big grin all over her face. Yes I know I’m anthropomorphising but, I’m sorry, dogs ‘grin’ when they’re happy. What’s more she has been so good with it, running in short bursts but never straying far from us and always coming back when called.

Freedom and long walks, with some of the summer left to enjoy them in. Perfect!

Happy dog

Big grin!

Larks and Owls and Cats and Dogs

“Are you a lark or an owl?” goes the question about sleeping habits. Are you up early like the lark or do you stay awake late into the night like the owl? Apparently it’s genetic but also changes throughout your life.

In this household, however, it would be more appropriate to talk about being a dog or a cat. On a typical day I will let Willow out of her crate around 6.30 whereupon she will bounce on me for a few minutes then run out into the garden and run around in circles. For the first couple of hours she’s constantly on the move until I take her out for a short morning walk after which she will nap for an hour or so and let me get on with some work. Later on in the morning she’ll be burning off energy again, asking to go out, playing and generally trying to get my attention until she gets a lunchtime walk.

Afternoons are usually calmer, at least until the children come home from school and although Willow would never turn down the opportunity for an evening walk, mostly she’s a lot quieter in the evenings. From around 8pm onwards she’s usually flaked out on the rug or quite often will take herself into her crate to doze and is quite happy to be shut up in her crate from around 9pm onwards.

Cat, on the other hand, is a whole different story. She will get up at six when I do but only because she knows that’s one of the two times of the day that I will put food in her bowl. She’ll have a quick snack and then get straight back onto our bed to sleep for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. Mid-afternoon she’ll get more food and then she’ll be out of the door and into the neighbourhood. She doesn’t have a regular routine, sometimes she’ll pop back briefly in the evening but most times she’ll stay out.

Cat asleep on the bed

My personal opinion is that cats should be kept in at night, it’s safer for them and better for the local wildlife. In theory that’s what we try to do but Cat doesn’t always co-operate. If she does happen to come home after about 7pm I will lock the cat flap shut. However, particularly in the summer she often doesn’t come home before we go to bed and rolls in around three or four in the morning. Husband has suggested that her waking him up at this time by patting his face is the equivalent of the drunk coming home to say, “I really really love you…” before crashing out.

So, are my animals typical? Are yours the same? Do you crate your dog and keep your cat in at night? I’d like to know how they compare.

Incidentally, according to the RSPB, both owl and lark populations have decreased over the last few decades. Skylark populations, the UK’s most common breed of lark, have decreased by two-thirds in the last thirty years and consequently have been flagged up as being as high conservational concern.

The Human Walking Programme

I love inventive campaigns that actually work to get rescue dogs adopted, as I said in the post-script to this post.  So here’s another one that I think is fantastic from Australia:

The Human Walking Programme

Before dogs can be rehomed they have to be rescued and I confess to watching a few YouTube videos from Eldad Hagar’s Hope for Paws channel. These show you the other end of the story, in this case rescuing abandoned dogs, often in a pitiful state, from the streets of Los Angeles.

Huge kudos to all those individuals and organisations who work towards helping stray and unwanted dogs (and other animals) find new, loving homes. And from our family particular thanks to Friends of the Animals RCT without whom we wouldn’t have filled our dog-shaped hole.


Good news, bad news

Cairn Terrier with step ladder and toolsThe good news:
The vet has given Willow the provisional go-ahead to go out for walks again.

The bad news:
Only for ten minutes twice a day until her next check-up.

The good news:
The act of walking, even for a few minutes, encourages Willow to take a nap afterwards. If she’s napping, she’s not chewing.

More good news:
We’re finally getting our hallway redecorated. Brother-in-law who, like Husband, is a pretty useful chap to have around has done some re-plastering, some painting and is currently fitting new skirting boards.

More bad news:
There are lots of interesting new tools for Willow to run off with and chew, with one notable exception. Willow has developed an intense dislike to the retractable steel tape measure that BIL is using so every time he tries to measure something he does so to a chorus of loud barking and growling. The sponge that he was using on the walls, however, was silently and stealthily taken up to the furthest point of the garden and systematically destroyed.

The good news:
Willow still manages to be very cute, even when she’s being naughty…

Bored bored bored

So we’re 2½ weeks into Willow’s four week recovery period. On Tuesday she had a check-up with the vet who said she was really pleased with how well she was recovering, her knee-cap was nice and stable in the right place. As a result we’ve halved her daily dose of painkillers and also removed her protective collar.

Ah, the collar; the collar consists of an inflatable inner ring inside a tough outer cover. I had to apologise to the vet that Willow’s was punctured. Apparently this had never happened before. I’m not entirely sure how it was punctured but I think it may have been something to do with Willow getting into a fight with Cat and Cat’s claw getting stuck in the collar.

No, Willow’s not supposed to be fighting Cat. Not even play fighting, which is what this is; well, on Willow’s side it’s play fighting, I’m not sure Cat thinks the same way. The problem is Willow is bored.

Bored, bored, bored, so bored.

Willow with fast-wagging tail

The blur on the left is Willow’s tail wagging at speed!

She’s not allowed out for a walk for at least another ten days, depending on our next visit to the vet. She’s not supposed to jump on anything, run or stand on her hind legs. I’m really pleased that the vet was pleased with her progress because basically we’ve been a bit rubbish at stopping her doing most of these things. In our defence I would have liked to see anyone stop her doing all of those things without keeping her confined to her crate for two weeks. She’s a naturally very energetic dog.

So she’s chased the cat. She’s chased her tail. When we’ve taken her out to the garden to toilet she’s chased herself in big circles on the lawn. If anyone looks as if they’re going to go out of the front door she runs to the door and then sits against it looking sorrowful. This is a dog who is desperate for a walk. She’s also started barking a lot more and I think that’s also a side effect of the boredom.

We’ve given her lots of things to chew. We’ve given her puzzle balls with food inside and a kong with some really smelly food in it. None of them last that long.

So we persevere and hope that the vet is pleased enough with her at the next visit to give us permission to walk her again.