Doggy Tales

Last year in Poppy’s house

Our old friend Poppy has come to stay with us for a week.

Cookie greeted her with a most unfriendly snarl, but within minutes they were playing rough and tumble around the house like they’d never been apart, while Cinnamon watched from a distance and gave grown-up growly warnings every so often : “Someone’s going to get hurt”  “It’ll end in tears”  “Don’t come crying to me when you get hurt”

Poppy settled in quickly, even though I don’t think she’s ever been here before.  She slept in Cookie & Cinny’s little bedroom last night and came for a 5km walk with us in the woods this morning, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  She loves the big picture window, and when she wasn’t wrestling with Cookie today, she sat and looked out at the wolrd going by.  Evenings are sprawl-on-the-couch-watching-telly time…
although she does tend to hog the TV remote!

Cinnamon had her vet appointment this afternoon.  It’s not awful news but it’s not great news either.

On full alert in the waiting room

First of all, there’s the little lump on her side.

It’s grown a bit since I first noticed it in early December.  I was hoping it was something trivial like a blocked pore, but unfortunately the Vet thinks it’s some sort of tumour.  The only thing to do is to remove it, do a biopsy to see what it is and then see what course of treatment is best (hopefully no treatment!)  She’s booked in for Feb 14th – Valentine’s day – and he will scale her teeth while she is anaesthetised too.

What I found worrying, though, was what he had to say about her heart murmur.  I’ve been a bit concerned about her because she’s been wheezing and coughing every so often in the evenings.  When the heart isn’t functioning properly, the lungs also don’t work efficiently and can fill up with fluid, causing wheezing and a chronic cough – I was worried that what we were seeing was an indication that her heart was getting weaker.

I came away reassured on that front – he said the sort of wheezing and coughing we’re looking out for is something that happens every day and goes on for ages – so we’re definitely not there yet, and if/when we get there, we can adjust her medication to help.  Well, that much was good.

The rest of what he had to say was not so good.  He advised me to take the following precautions with her :

No big long hikes – five hours was the number he picked (does that mean 4.5 hours is ok?)

Don’t take her hiking in the mountains – he specifically mentioned Mont Ventoux, but also said nothing over 2,000 metres

Be very careful with her in the summer, keep her indoors and cool, and only exercise her early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cool

In the winter, don’t exercise her when it’s very cold (she’s kinda told us that herself, actually!)

Don’t let her get hyper and excited – he told me a cautionary tale of a dog with a similar heart murmur who died after playing happily in its owners garden for the afternoon.

Which begs the question – is it better to mind her carefully and restrict what she does or should we allow her to enjoy a full, active life and die a little younger?

I think I could not, with a clear conscience, take her on long treks with the horses, which is something we’ve been hoping to do.  This is quite a blow – of the two dogs we have, she is the one who I know will follow faithfully beside us, no matter what we meet, whereas there is a good chance that Cookie will someday disappear in the wake of a cat/rabbit/goat/sheep on the side of a mountain.

We are going to have to rethink our plans and shape our treks to suit our dogs as well as our horses.

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